Twenty Top Quotes from Charlotte Dujardin

Surrey, BC ­- May 7, 2015 ­- Charlotte Dujardin had plenty of advice to share during her clinic in Surrey, British Columbia, May 1­3. Following are twenty of her best comments and tips that didn’t make it into our daily coverage of the clinic.

Charlotte Dujardin looks on as Roanne Tyson and Isleno XXXVII practice their piaffe/passage tour

On being brave:
“People are so afraid of letting go of them and afraid they’re going to get bucked off. If you give a kick, you have to let go. I’m not necessarily looking for the speed, but the reaction off of the leg.”

“You can’t be afraid of the power. You need to use it.”

On paying attention to the details:
“How many people actually practice the walk? They think it’s time to sit there and text. It’s a times­ two [coefficient]. You want to have your horse really marching. You want the feeling that they’re taking you forward.”

“Your corners and short sides are what make your movements. Nine times out of 10, you have to do something out of a corner. If you ride a bad corner, you ride a bad movement.”

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro go for it at the 2015 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas

On building a relationship from the ground up:
“I think some of the best combinations in dressage are people who have worked from the bottom and got to the top, rather than just buying horses pre­trained. I still break my horses myself. I think it’s so important. You get so much of a partnership and connection with the horses. I want to know them inside out and get their trust.”

On keeping her priorities straight:
“I said to Dean, my fiancé, ‘You know the horses come first. If you don’t like that, you know where the door is.’”

On the basics:
“Keep it easy and simple. That’s what it’s all about.”

“Hot horses have to learn to be ridden with your legs on. Lazy horses have to learn to be ridden with your legs off.”

“Every transition you ride at home has to be a good one.”

“Do less. Less is more.”

“The more he says no, the more I sit there and go, ‘Uh, yes.’”

“Think of your hands being in front of the saddle and always pushing the horse to the bit, not pulling the horse back.”

“The lazy horse makes you want to chase them all the time. You have to get them engaged and get them quicker, not chase them always.”

Charlotte Dujardin on Samba Hit V

On young horses:
“You have to really reward the young horses and make it black and white with quick reactions.”

“Straightness is one of the hardest things of dressage. Even when they’re young, you still need to start teaching them straightness.”

On what makes for top scores:
“The top Grand Prix horses are the ones that can sit and push. A lot of horses are talented at one of them, but to find a horse that can do both is hard.”

“For the extended trot, what they must have is the overtrack. When you watch some horses at the top levels, you think it looks amazing because all you see is the front leg, but there is no overtrack. That is not a good mark.”

On horses’ wellbeing:
“We always hack our horses after a ride. Athletes stretch, and your horse is an athlete. It’s really important you look after that. He’s your tool and your best friend.”

“When something is done well, give a reward and a little breather. Don’t be greedy.”

“As riders, we have to make sure horses don’t anticipate what we’re doing. We can’t train just going and doing the same test movements every day. For example, for the pirouettes, we do exercises: we make them bigger, smaller, faster, and slower and we change the bend. We do exercises to make the test work better without having to do proper pirouettes every day. The strain on the horses is far too much, and it’s not something that’s needed.”


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