New equestrians are handed the keys to a deeper level of communication and harmony with their horses in this great starter guide to dressage. With her lighthearted style, Jane Savoie takes the mystery out of training and shows how dressage techniques can be used to improve every horse's athleticism, performance, and well-being, regardless of the rider's chosen sport. Starting from the building blocks of dressage--forward, straight, rhythm, gait, and contact--this handbook delivers an excellent starting point for neophytes. Simple details for flatwork, explanations of the process of suppling, a sample schooling session, and chapters on troubleshooting pesky problems are all clearly presented for the rider with little or no dressage experience. Hundreds of photos, diagrams, and drawings are also included to enliven the text.Dressage sometimes gets a bad rap. To many, dressage theory comes off as complex and antiquated, and dressage training as arduous and frustrating. Famous classical texts can be heavy reading and hard to understand. But the benefits of dressage are enormous, for both the rider and the horse, and for all disciplines--so how to make it less of a struggle, less of a mystery, and more of a sunny, happy, joyful pursuit?Turns out, it's easy if you have Jane Savoie's Dressage 101 in hand. Jane's highly illustrated how-to book is not only for beginning dressage enthusiasts, but also for those who have no intention of ever setting foot inside a competitive dressage arena. That's because dressage can help you clearly communicate with your horse and develop his body and movement, so that over time, he becomes more beautiful and athletic. You don't need a judge to tell you that is worthwhile!Dressage 101 provides a simple, riddle-free system of training that places a high priority on the horse's physical and mental well-being. Beginning with the three golden rules of dressage training--clarity, consistency, and kindness-- Jane walks you through her four stages of dressage education. Stage One is an introductory course in the basics, and Stage Two covers the "nuts and bolts" of training, including transitions, school figures, and movements. By the time you finish Stage Two, you'll have a happy, responsive horse that understands going forward and being straight; accepts contact so you can communicate with him through the reins; moves in a regular rhythm and a steady tempo in all three gaits; and can do transitions, circles, and turns, back up, lengthen his stride, and go sideways.In Stage Three, Jane translates the secrets surrounding the half-halt, enabling you to put your horse "on the bit," and adding a whole new dimension to your training. You'll even be ready for some "fancy stuff" in Stage Four. Don't worry, everything in this book is well within the capacity of most horses--we're simply talking about the work required in the United States Equestrian Federation's (USEF) dressage tests at Third Level. This includes collected, medium, and extended gaits; advanced lateral movements; and flying changes.Ultimately, correct dressage is simply training. Its stages are as easy to employ and as satisfying to understand as those of any other training method in any other riding discipline. Best of all, you don't have to be smart, rich, or a super athlete to master dressage fundamentals and have an enthusiastically willing, exuberantly forward, excitingly athletic horse--you just need this book.