Travel & Outdoor
Practical Horseman

Practical Horseman

Dressage Today Extra Volume 12

It presents step by-step training programs and showing advice from recognized experts in hunters, jumpers, equitation, dressage, and eventing, along with money- and time-saving ideas on health care and stable management.

United States
Active Interest Media
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$8.19(Incl. tax)
$27.34(Incl. tax)
4 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
the purpose of training and first level tests

Before you ride your dressage test, be sure to know the purpose. You can see that the purpose of Training Level is to confirm the first three steps of the Training Scale: Training Level Purpose: To confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics, is supple and moves freely forward in a clear rhythm with a steady tempo, accepting contact with the bit. Next, you can see that the purpose of First Level is to introduce the fourth element of the Training Scale, Impulsion or Schwung. First Level Purpose: To confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics and, in addition to the requirements of Training Level, has developed the thrust [impulsion] to achieve improved balance and throughness and maintains a more consistent contact with the bit.…

10 min.
how improve the basics

Recently, I asked an extremely competent rider a question about the Training Scale. She hemmed and hawed, mumbled and apologized and said she knew that Collection was at the summit. But she didn’t know about the basics of how to get to the summit. Well, she’s not alone! On the very same day a Dressage Today reader named Heather Collins asked for more information for newcomers to the sport. It was not the first time we’d had such a request. A few weeks earlier, a different reader had said she was sick and tired of reading about the stars of the sport instead of more relatable riders. “Tell me how to ride,” she said. So here you go. I hope this helps. In 1986, the Training Scale was introduced to Americans through…

1 min.
the purposes of second, third and fourth level tests

Check out how the purposes of our dressage tests incorporate the Training Scale: Second Level Purpose: To confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics and, having achieved the thrust required in First Level, now accepts more weight on the hindquarters (collection); moves with an uphill tendency, especially in the medium gaits; and is reliably on the bit. A greater degree of straightness, bending, suppleness, throughness, balance and self-carriage is required than at First Level. Third Level Purpose: To confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics and, having begun to develop an uphill balance at Second Level, now demonstrates increased engagement, especially in the extended gaits. Transitions between collected, medium and extended gaits should be well defined and performed with engagement. The horse should be reliably on the bit and show a…

1 min.

When the first three elements of the Training Scale are understood and demonstrated by both horse and rider, they present a lovely picture. The ideal Training Level horse is beautiful. However, attaining this level shouldn’t take forever. Three- and 4-year-old horses are often born to go forward in a clear and steady rhythm, be supple and accept contact with the bit. So don’t set the bar too low. Clinicians often see young horses who are inconsistent, not on the bit, tense and demonstrating poor rhythm. The excuse is that the horse is young. But often the rider isn’t even making her wishes known clearly to the horse. Patience is sometimes a virtue, but not if the horse is uncomfortable and out of balance just because the rider hasn’t helped him…

1 min.
making knowledge useful

You might have noticed that one can actually have lots of knowledge, but it’s not particularly useful until you can organize it. When the filing system in your brain recategorizes certain bits of knowledge, suddenly—AHA! A concept that you thought you understood perfectly makes even more sense now, and you’re able to utilize it better because you see it in a different context. Let’s take Rhythm as an example. If you didn’t know that rhythm was an important part of the Training Scale, you know it now. You also know in the sidebar on the purposes of the test (see sidebar on page 3), that this quality is why you’re riding your Training Level test. Now here is a little bit of information about rhythm in other contexts: • In all…

6 min.
ask the experts

Juggling Dressage, Job & Family I have shown and trained on my own for many years. As I’ve moved up the levels, no local instructors offer what I’m looking for. They either demand too much commitment from students in show attendance, lessons and/or full training for the horse at their facility. I simply cannot afford the time or money to do what they require. I have two small children at home and I work part-time, so traveling the hours to get to a lesson isn’t in the cards either. I feel it’s unfair to continue to train and compete without a good set of eyes on the ground. I’m heartbroken but don’t see any alternatives. Do you have any suggestions? Name withheld by request SHELLEY LAWDER A Dressage is no easy undertaking in the…