First Level

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Results from the Dressage Today Virtual Show III

See the top-placed pairs from our latest virtual dressage competition!

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Results from the Dressage Today Virtual Show II

See the top-placed pairs from our latest virtual dressage competition!

Credit: Courtesy, Corinne Foxley In this moment, Bomol is changing the flexion in the direction of the new lead to strike off into canter.

How to Correctly Ride a Change of Lead Through Trot

Learn the steps to ride this movement that appears in First Level Test 3.

Credit: Arnd Bronkhorst - Arnd.nl When you give the aid for the canter, your horse should respond immediately. He needs to know that your aids are giving him specific directions, not just asking him to run off.

How To Teach Your Horse to Pick Up the Correct Canter Lead

Dressage trainer Madeleine Austin gives advice on this common problem.

moving up to second level

Are You Ready to Move Up to Second Level?

Kate Fleming-Kuhn explains how to be sure you and your dressage horse are prepared before moving up a level.

If a horse is struggling to keep his balance in the canter, it is best for the rider to use the Training Scale to help problem-solve the issue.

How to Help Your Horse Maintain Balance in Canter

Lisa Pierson answers a reader question and explains how to balance your horse in the canter with exercises to improve engagement.

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At What Level In Dressage Are You Required to Sit the Trot?

Find out when you should be prepared to ride the sitting trot in dressage competition.

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First Level Frustrations

If you want to set yourself apart at First Level and earn points that others don’t, check out these two movements where mistakes are commonly made.

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Tempel Farms: An Educational Landmark

In celebration of the facility’s 60th anniversary, we take a look at the past, present and future of this iconic home of classical dressage training.

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Shift Balance to Encourage Self-Carriage in Dressage

Biomechanics expert Susanne von Dietze critiques Cristina Kayvon-Pierce at First Level.

Barb Shannahan on Aero

Carry Your Hands to Maintain an Active Core

Rider biomechanics expert Susanne von Dietze critiques Barb Shannahan on Aero.

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From Feedlot to Dressage Finals

How one Adult Amateur and her rescued Pinto made it to the 2016 U.S. Dressage Finals.

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The Soundtrack of Our Lives

Through a miracle of technology and modern medicine, a dressage rider regains her hearing and her ability to reconnect with horses.

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A Noble Champion Emerges

One dedicated rider and her team bring an unlikely dressage hero into the spotlight.

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A Common Mistake in First Level Lengthenings

Margaret Freeman shares a tip on lengthenings in First Level tests and discusses the importance of staying straight.

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How to Ride and Utilize Shoulder-In with Ernst Hoyos

Learn about this classical straightening exercise that produces throughness.

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Hilda Gurney: First Level Movements with Young Horses

Learn how to begin schooling First Level movements with a 4-year-old.

AHSA "S" judge Natalie Lamping demonstrates the First Level canter lengthening with Lucinda Boyle's gelding, Court Jester.

Tone Your Horse's Topline by Riding the Canter Lengthening

This First Level movement is your means for developing your horse’s topline and belly muscles, both critical to successful upper-level work.

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How to Ride First Level Leg Yields

Learn how the leg yield prepares for advancement in dressage training

Credit: Courtesy, Corinne Foxley Bomol, a Russian Warmblood formerly owned by the late Betty Thorpe, is helping to demonstrate the moment when a rider is in balance when practicing the Up, Up, Down exercise. The rider’s hands are forward, without pulling on Bomol’s mouth, while her balance is over the ball of her foot with her shoulder, hip and heel aligned.

Building Skills for First Level Dressage

Focus on rider balance and coordination of aids.

Credit: Holly Linz Corinne Foxley rides Aragon GAF, owned by Cynthia and Craig Roberts of Glen Aryn Farm. At this moment, Foxley is lightening her inside rein to check Aragon’s ability to balance himself through the turn and to invite him to reach for the contact.

Are You Ready for First Level Dressage?

Make an educated and confident decision about moving up.

Credit: Gil Makover Carmen Deville Makover and her young PRE stallion, Quinones Mac, compete at First Level.

Improve Reaction Time in the Circle of Aids

Suzanne von Dietze critiques Carmen Deville Makover and her PRE stallion at First Level.

Credit: Amy K. Dragoo If you have a horse who tends to become mentally excited and nervous when sharing warm-up arena space with many other horses, it would be best to find an area with the least amount of interference from others.

Warm-Up Exercises for First Level Dressage

Lisa El-Ramey Hyslop shares her tips for a proper warm-up.

Credit: Courtesy, Madison Ingraham Madison Ingraham and Patriot, her 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood, compete at First Level.

Develop Straightness at First Level

Biomechanics expert Susanne von Dietze critiques Madison Ingraham at First Level.