Dressage, a word deriving from the French word for training, is a subset of the equestrian sport dedicated to strengthening the physicality of a horse while simultaneously reinforcing level-headedness and concentration. The “Pyramid of Training” offers a guide for the skills your horse may learn over time as they train in dressage. Read on to take a quick look at each level.
Rhythm is the most basic fundamental you and your horse will learn when beginning dressage rider training Westhampton MA. It is the first skill in the “familiarization phase.” A horse must learn to adjust their rhythm under your weight, and you must in turn learn how to guide the horse through basic gaits and align your pelvis with the swinging motion of the horse’s swinging rear.
Suppleness, the second portion of the “familiarization phase,” is based mostly on trust. Your horse needs to feel relaxed around you, enough to have a soft mouth and relaxed muscles. Your horse needs to be obedient and “malleable.”
Contact is the final staple skill that completes the “familiarization phase.” It describes the communication line between your horse’s mouth and your hand. In addition to needing to be confident yourself, your horse must also have built up the confidence to foster this connection.
Impulsion has four components: the desire to move forward, the elasticity of gait, suppleness of the horse’s back, and engagement of the rear. Together, these work to propel the horse forward.
Before straightness can be achieved, a horse must be supple. Straightness describes the horse’s ability to align itself, allowing for easier turns.
Collection is the skill that sits at the very top of the pyramid. It can only be achieved once all other pillars of dressage have been mastered. It describes the fine-tuning involved in teaching a horse how to arch its neck, shift its weight, and move in an animated fashion.
Together, these skills create the sport of dressage. Each one will not only help your horse perform better, but also strengthen the bond between you and your horse.