Straightness training To prevent the consequences and symptoms the horse will be trained using straightness training.
Straightness training is made up of exercises to bend the horse so that it becomes supple and flexible on both sides, and to make both hind legs equally strong.
Straightness training consists of diverse exercises such as circles, serpentines, shoulder in, quarter in, renvers and half-pass.
The exercises shoulder in and quarter in are the foundations of straightness training.
The shoulder in activates the inside hind leg to carry, and the quarter in does the same with the outside hind leg.
Both exercises demand a correct lateral bending, in which the inside and outside hind leg need to step under the point of weight to take some weight off the front legs.
From natural crookedness to a straight horse Natural crookedness is a muscular problem that can be corrected by proper training.
A straight horse: • Can bend equally to the left and to the right • Can do all exercises to the left and to the right • Can push and carry equally in both hind legs • Is prepared for collection.
From a natural balance to a riding balance Only a straight horse can let itself be collected.
The goal of the academic art of riding is to maximize the carrying capacity of the hind legs to take weight off the front legs.
This way the horse is able to carry the rider properly.
Finally, 3/5th of the weight needs to be carried on the hind legs to create a riding balance.
The straightness training is the basic training to prepare the horse for this goal. ©2009 Marijke de Jong Pag. 18 of 45 Academic Art of Riding 8.
SHOULDER IN Marijke de Jong In the academic art of riding, the horse is strengthened through logical gymnastic exercises.
In this set of exercises, the shoulder in is an important exercise the horse should learn.
Definition In Shoulder in, the horse walks in a forward-sideward movement, in which the body is bended laterally from neck to tail.
Shoulder in is a side movement on three or four tracks. • In competitions the shoulder in is done in 3 tracks.
The inside front leg walks in one track, the inside hind leg and outside front leg walk on one track and the outside hind leg walks on one track. • In the classical art of riding the shoulder-in is also done on 4 tracks.
In this exercise the horse bends even further making both front legs walk on two different inside tracks. History Shoulder-in was invented by the Duke of Newcastle (1658) and was in those days done on the circle.
The grand master Robichon de la Guérinière (1733) performed the exercise (‘’L’Epaule en dedans’’ in French) on the straight line.
Other masters in history named the exercise the ‘’corner stone’’ of dressage, ‘’pillar’’ of the art of riding, ‘’mother’’ of all exercises and even the ‘’aspirin’’ of riding, because the exercise was supposed to solve all riding problems. Goal The goal of shoulder in is to teach the horse to step under the point of weight with its inside hind leg.
The benefit of the exercise lies in the increased bending of the inside hind leg and the increase of shoulder freedom in the outside shoulder, because the outside shoulder is supported by the inside hind leg.
By stretching the outer back muscles it increases the will to accept and soften in the outer rein.
The shoulder in has great value because it counters the natural crookedness and makes the horses equally supple to the left and right. Teaching the exercise to the horse In the academic art of riding, all side movements are first taught to the horse in hand.
This teaches the horse to move in side movements and find its balance without the additional weight of the rider.
Later on, the horse will find it easier to learn and execute the same exercise under the rider.
At first, a few steps are enough.
When the horse gradually becomes stronger a whole long side of the riding arena can be done in shoulder in. ©2009 Marijke de Jong Pag. 19 of 45 Academic Art of Riding Marijke de Jong The aids The rider guides the horse in shoulder in mainly using the inside leg and outside rein, the so-called ‘’versal’’ aids. • • The outer rein lies against the neck and guides the shoulder inwards.
The inside leg of the rider is on the girth, asks the lateral bending of the horse and gives a little aid the moment the inside hind leg steps forward to make it step under the weight.
The inside rein is away from the neck and asks the stelling.
The outside leg of the rider is behind the girth, maintains the lateral bending and prevents the hindquarter to fall out.
The rider puts more weight on the inside seat bone, to take pressure away from the stretched outer back muscles.
The inside seat bone points down to where the horse should step with his inside hind leg.
The riders centre and point of weight is deep in the rider’s pelvis, pointing straight forward like a compass giving direction to the movement to prevent the horse from turning to the inside.
The rider keeps his shoulders parallel to the shoulders of the horse, and his hips parallel to the hips of the horse. — Goal renvers Renvers has the same gymnastic effect as hindquarter-in.
In hindquarter-in, in which the head of the horse is moving along the wall, the horse can walk forward-sideward automatically instead of following the rider’s aids.
In renvers, the horse is not supported by the wall and has to follow the riders’ aids in order to carry out this exercise on its own legs. ©2009 Marijke de Jong Pag. 23 of 45 Academic Art of Riding Teaching the exercise to the horse Marijke de Jong The renvers is first taught in-hand, then riding.
As a preparation to this exercise, the rider should ask shoulder-in.
Then the rider asks the horse to change the bending and this leads to the renvers.
At the beginning, a few steps should be enough and when the horse gets stronger this can be built up towards an entire long side of the arena. The aids For riding the renvers to the right the following aids are used: • As a preparation to this exercise, the rider should ask shoulder-in on 4 tracks.
The rider sits in a socalled ‘right seat’, meaning that the rider has more weight on his right seat bone, with his right leg on the girth and the left leg behind the girth. • The right rein is away from the neck and the left rein is against the neck of the horse. • Then the rider changes his seat from a right seat to a left seat to change the bending of the horse. • In the left seat, the rider puts more weight on his left seat bone and his left leg is on the girth. • The right leg is behind the girth and keeps the hindquarter along close to the wall. • The left rein asks for new stelling, keeps the shoulders on the second track and then relaxes.
The right rein controls the extent of stelling and keeps the horse straight since there is no wall to guide the horse on that side.
Variations The exercise can be done is walk, trot and finally also in canter. Transitions from hindquarter-in to renvers in walk and trot prepare the horse for the canter change. Fluent transitions from shoulder-in to renvers improve balance, coordination and suppleness as well as the reaction of the horse to the aids. Renvers can be ridden on the straight line along the wall, through curves and in a circle. The old grandmasters used to ride renvers on a circle and gradually decrease the size of that circle until a turn around the shoulders was done.
This way they managed to ride canter pirouettes in renvers. ©2009 Marijke de Jong Pag. 24 of 45 Academic Art of Riding 11 HALF PASS Definition Marijke de Jong When doing a half-pass, the horse moves diagonally in a lateral bending, in a forward-sideward manner and looks in the direction it is going.
During the half-pass, the horse steps under with its inside and outside hind legs alternated.
The outside legs step in front and over the inside legs.
The horse in both carrying moments: 1.
The outside hind leg steps to the point of weight. 2.
The inside hind leg steps to the point of weight. Connection shoulder in, hindquarter-in and half-pass Doing a half-pass is the same as hindquarter-in, except that the exercise is not done along the wall bet on the diagonal.
This requires that the horse carries itself as the wall no longer supports the horse.
Imagine that the wall is on the diagonal and ride hindquarter-in along that imaginary wall.
This will result in the half-pass. In the half-pass the shoulders should always lead, meaning they are always in front of the hindquarter.
During every moment of the halfpass, the horse should be able to continue in a straight line in shoulder-in.
Then you are sure the horse has had the right shape during the half-pass.
For horses that still lack some strength and lose their balance quickly, it is recommended to alternate half-pass with shoulder-in on a straight line. ©2009 Marijke de Jong Pag. 25 of 45 Academic Art of Riding Marijke de Jong Teaching the exercise to the horse One can only start with half-pass when the exercises shoulder-in and hindquarter-in are properly taught to the horse.
It is first taught in hand, and then in riding.
At the beginning, a few steps should be enough.
When the horse gets stronger, this can be built up towards an entire diagonal.
The exercise can be done in walk, trot and finally also in collected canter. Aids As preparation to the exercise, the rider rides a circle to the right or a shoulder-in to the right.
The rider then moves his point of weight towards the diagonal and asks the outside hind leg to step under the point of weight.
The aids are similar to the hindquarter-in: The outer rein lies against the neck and guides the shoulder inwards.
The inside rein keeps the stelling of the horse. • The outside leg of the rider is behind the girth and gives a little aid the moment the horse lifts the outside leg to bring it in under the point of weight. • The inside leg of the rider lies on the girth and maintains the lateral bending. • The outside rein allows the amount of bending in the horse. • The rider puts more weight on the inside seat bone to take pressure away from the stretched outer back muscles. • The point of weight of the rider, located in the riders pelvis, moves toward the inside front leg of the horse. • The rider keeps his shoulders parallel to the horse’s shoulders and his hips parallel to the hips of the horse. • The rider looks between the ears of the horse in the direction in which they are going.
Variations • The ¼ half-pass leads to the middle of the short side and the horse is less bended in this exercise.
The horse goes more forwards than sideward. • In the ½ half-pass the horse has a similar bending as on a 10 meter circle.
The horse goes as much forward as it goes sideward, thus having equal pushing and carrying capacity in his hind legs. • In the ¾ half-pass the horse is more bended and moves to the centre of the long side.
The horse goes more sideward than forwards. • In a complete half-pass the horse has maximum bending and steps sideward.
A little bit of forwards should be maintained so that the outer legs can continue to step in front of the inside legs. • It is recommended to practice all variations and not to limit yourself to just 1 variation. • • ©2009 Marijke de Jong Pag. 26 of 45 Academic Art of Riding 12.
PIROUETTE History Marijke de Jong The pirouette was used in the times of man-to-man fights to make the horse turn on the place.
This way, the rider could prevent being attacked from behind by staying face-to-face with his opponent.
Mastering pirouettes was therefore important to survive in battle.
In the baroque period, riding became an art and the skills of horse and rider were demonstrated in the pirouette.
Definition The pirouette is the smallest hindquarter-in circle.
The hind legs stay in the centre of the circle and the shoulders make a larger circle.
This way the pirouette is a turn around the hindquarter.
The horse remains equally bended through the spine from the neck to the tail during this exercise.
The bending is in the direction of the movement.
The hind legs move over a smaller surface than the front legs.
This makes the hind legs bend more and enables the horse to collect.
The pirouette can be ridden in walk, trot, canter, piaffe and in terre à terre.
There are ¼, ½ and complete pirouettes.
The canter pirouette is done in two, three, four or eight canter jumps.
The pirouette in the academic art of riding is done in eight jumps that correspond to the eight geometrical directions of the arena.
Developing the canter pirouette 1.
Make a circle smaller in hindquarter-in Ride hindquarter-in on a circle and make this circle smaller.
In this exercise, it will become very clear when the strength and the mental limits of the horse are reached.
The circle should not be made smaller than the horse can do.
When the horse can canter controlled and collected it can be asked to make the circle smaller in hindquarter-in.
At first just ask a few steps, reward the horse and make the circle bigger again. 2.
Carré in hindquarter-in with ¼ pirouettes A carré is a square circle on two tracks.
The rider rides hindquarter-in and in every corner of the square he makes ¼ pirouette (90° turn).
In total, the rider rides 4 time ¼ pirouettes, making a full pirouette in 4 phases.
First practice in walk and then in collected canter. — ©2009 Marijke de Jong Pag. 28 of 45 Academic Art of Riding 13.
FLYING CHANGE By nature, the canter is the gait in which the horse runs away from danger.
In dressage, the canter is used to show controlled exercises such as the canter change.
Canter is a three beat gait but it also has a moment in which all 4 legs of the horse are in the air.
There is a left- and a right-canter.
In the right canter, the right pair of legs comes further forward while in the left canter, the left pair of legs comes more forward. Marijke de Jong In the right canter the legs are lifted and put down in the following order: • Left hind leg • The diagonal pair: right hind leg + left front leg at the same time • Right front leg • All legs in the air Canter change In a flying canter change the horse changes the canter from right to left or vice versa in the moment when all legs are in the air.
This is the best moment for the horse to change the canter.
In the drawing the horse changes from the right canter to the left: • • In phase 1, 2 and 3, the horse is in right canter.
In phase 4, the canter change is taking place in which the horse changes position of all 4 legs and the right hind leg is coming forward.
In phase 5, the horse jumps with the right hind leg in the left canter. • Preparation If you have never ridden a canter change before, make sure you find an experienced horse to learn it on.
The canter change is a normal canter jump and feels so, if done right.
After mastering this feeling, you can teach it to your own horse.
Your horse is ready to learn the canter change when it is trained into straightness and can bend equally on both sides.
It is important for the rider to place the position of the shoulders and hips precisely in canter.
Therefore, the exercises shoulder-in and hindquarter-in have to be understood very well by the horse before the canter change can be practiced.
The following exercises can be used to prepare: 1.
Canter from walk When the horse can jump into canter easily from trot, the horse can be taught to jump into canter from walk. ©2009 Marijke de Jong Pag. 29 of 45 Academic Art of Riding Marijke de Jong 2.
Transition canter to walk The transition from canter to walk increases the ability to collect.
It is therefore important in this exercise to keep the energy going up-hill. 3.
Tempo changes in canter It is important for the rider to carry a precise tempo in canter Ride the horse in a circle , collect the horse on the outside hind leg (hindquarter-in style) and make the steps longer by riding the inside hind leg forward under the point of weight. 4.
Renvers-canter (counter canter) Renvers canter improves the straightness and the balance of the horse.
Ride the horse slightly into a renvers in walk and jump into renvers canter. 5.
Transition from renvers to hindquarter-in in walk Make transitions in walk on a straight line, from hindquarter-in to renvers.
This trains the horse to keep placing the other outside hind leg under the point of weight. 6.
Simple change Make a transition from canter to walk.
Change the bending in three to five steps and jump into the other canter.
The number of steps in walk can be reduced in time to one step.
Make whole transitions and halts shorter and shorter.
Finally, the horse will already change the canter at a half halt (actually, this is disobedience from the horse since it does not wait for the riders aids, but in first instance it should be rewarded.
Later on, the horse should learn to distinguish between a canter-halt transition and a canterhalt- canter change transition).
By bending the horse from a slight renvers to slight hindquarter-in in the flight moment, the flying change is done.
Aids The following aids are given simultaneously during the flight-moment: • The new inside leg is placed on the girth. • The new inside rein and the new inside leg help maintain the new bending around the inner seat bone and inside leg of the rider. • The new outside leg is placed behind the girth and moves the outside hind leg under the point of weight (like in hindquarter-in). • The rider looks over the new inside shoulder forward. • Do not forget to reward and stop when the change happens for the first time, to print the positive experience in the horse’s mind.
Teaching the exercise to the horse It is recommended to practice the change in the same place of the arena, until the change is confirmed.
This fixed place should be on a straight line and not in a corner of the arena.
Afterwards, you can practice the change in other places in the arena.
Series When the horse is taught to change on the riders’ aids and responds with 100% accuracy, you can start teaching changes every six, four, three or two steps.
The question is “whether the changes every other step are a classic exercise or not?” The exercise is from origin a circus exercise and was invented in the 19th century by Mr.
No matter what, it is very difficult and therefore impressive when a rider and horse can do this exercise effortless. ©2009 Marijke de Jong Pag. 30 of 45 Academic Art of Riding 14.
PIAFFE Definition Marijke de Jong Piaffe arises by collecting in trot.
Piaffe is like a trot in place, with only one hoof print forward in every step.
The horse is bending in its haunches, the hind legs step under the point weight and the horse’s surface support becomes smaller.
The pelvis is tilted, the back arches and the horse lifts its front. — ©2009 Marijke de Jong Pag. 31 of 45 Academic Art of Riding Step 1: Bending the body Marijke de Jong On the circle the horse learns to bend its body from head to tail. Step 2: Bending inside hind leg By using shoulder-in, the inside hind leg steps under the point of weight and gets more weight to carry.
Because of the extra weight, it has to bend more. Step 3: Bending outside hind leg With the exercise hindquarter-in, the horse learns to make his outside hind leg step under the point of weight, to bend and to carry. Step 4: Bending both hind legs Piaffe makes both hind legs carry and bend. ©2009 Marijke de Jong Pag. 32 of 45 Academic Art of Riding Teaching the exercise to the horse: Marijke de Jong In the academic art of riding, the piaffe is usually first taught to the horse in hand, starting with half-steps.
You can achieve these “half steps” by collecting the horse more and more in trot.
By halving these steps, the piaffe is then created.
When the horse shows a few proper steps during the first attempt, stop ad reward the horse extensively.
After this, the piaffe can be developed under the rider.
The rider collects the horse in trot and when the rider feels that the horse has reached its limits, the rider should ride forward again.
It will take some years before the horse is capable of perfect piaffes, but the way towards it already makes the horse stronger, more supple and better maneuverable. Aids Collection and a rising of the shoulders happens when the hind legs are stepping forward under the point of weight.
This should be done with as little use of the rider’s hand as possible: • The inside leg of the rider asks the inside hind leg forward, the outside leg asks the outside hind leg forward.
This makes both hind legs step towards the point of weight.
The base of the tail can be touched with the whip to ask the horse to lower its pelvis.
The rider opens his seat and upper legs to give the back space to come up.
The rider should sit quietly.
The rider tilts his pelvis to transfer weight to the hind legs.
Half halts re-balance the horse onto the hindquarter.
When the hind legs actually do step forward towards the point of weight, the rider will feel increasing lightness in his hands. • • • • • Variations • In the academic art of riding, the piaffe is often done with a bending to the inside.
The piaffe is right bended on the right lead, and left bended when going to the left.
The straight piaffe is done on the center line.
Shoulder-in and hindquarter-in in piaffe improve the bending in both hind legs separately.
Transitions in tempo are valuable gymnastics.
Transitions to- and from walk, trot and canter in piaffe improve all gaits.
The piaffe makes the horse more bended in its hindquarter and provides more carrying in the gaits.
And the gaits improve the piaffe: Walks brings calmness into the piaffe.
Trot improves the correct placement of the diagonal legs into the piaffe.
Canter brings more uphill into the piaffe.
The piaffe-pirouette is an exercise the horse can start to do when it can produce a long series of equal steps in piaffe.
Work between pillars is another alternative in the Academic art of riding to develop the piaffe. • • • • • • • • ©2009 Marijke de Jong Pag. 33 of 45 Academic Art of Riding 15.
PASSAGE Definition Marijke de Jong Passage is a collected and rising trot movement with only a little forward and a long flight moment.
The energy is directed upwards instead of forwards.
When done correctly, the upper legs of the horse are lifted horizontally.
The carrying hind legs are taking a lot of weight and step and bend powerful forwards-upwards.
Read more about • In the classical art of riding the shoulder-in is also done on 4 tracks: