Basic Principles of Dressage, Naturally

There’s a different way to look at what dressage has become.

There’s more to add to what natural horsemanship has become.

I love what Karen Rohlf  has done to bring both worlds (dressage and natural horsemanship) together. For inspiration and clear tips (humans love lists, right??), here is one of Karen’s lists that I find helpful when I’m in need of guidance.


  1. Balance feels good.
  2. Horses and humans will naturally seek harmony if given the opportunity.
  3. Basics of dressage are for the horse; otherwise it has no purpose…see it from the horse’s perspective.
  4. Mental, emotional and physical development are equally important doorways to our goal.
  5. Dressage can only be as good as the partnership, bio-mechanics, communication and riding skill combined.
  6. Everything comes from and returns to relaxation.
  7. Qualities of dressage can be found in a dynamic of relaxation, energy and balance.
  8. Humans must also have mental, emotional and physical collection.
  9. Freestyle inside the finesse.
  10. Remember the horse’s natural motivators.
  11. Isolate, separate and recombine.
  12. Precision and play in balance.

Photo by: mister sullivan (

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