The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 117
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2008
    Location
    South Central PA
    Posts
    248

    Default Classical Dressage--does it even exist in the US?

    So after being introduced to the concepts of classical dressage from an excellent trainer in Southern CA, I am curious who else practices similar methods in the US. I know of many classical riders in Europe, where it could be argued that classical dressage originated, but I know of very few in the US.

    Trying to broaden my horizons here and learn about classical riding in the US, so any comments or pointing toward the right direction are appreciated.
    Last edited by ontarget; Aug. 6, 2009 at 10:39 AM.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2000
    Posts
    24,408

    Default define classical.

    What do you mean when you say 'classical', and what do you mean when you say they train classical, but badly? How do you know someone is failing at being classical?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Posts
    110

    Default

    I, too, would like your definition of classical. Are you interested in the Iberian Principles? Viennese? Etc? Or someone who trains sans popular gimmicks?

    Personally, I like Dr. Ritter. IMO he is neither a low level rider or trainer. He isn't in So CA but OR is not that far for you to consider travelling.

    I follow the Iberian Principles but not strictly as I like to bring other ideas into my training as no one horse is like another. The name does not limit the tools to Baroque horses only. I ride a 17.2 H OTTB. So perhaps if you give us a few clues as to a more specific training concept you wish to follow, we can offer you some choices.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2005
    Location
    Desert Southwest
    Posts
    6,210

    Default

    Oh, gack!

    I'm all out of popcorn.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2008
    Location
    South Central PA
    Posts
    248

    Default

    By classical, I mean using finesse rather than force with focus on lightness. Classical as in adhering to the original techinques documented by Xenophon. Some examples of the riders/trainers who keep to the principles I have in my mind would be Phillipe Karl, Sylvia Loch, and Ernst Bachinger. Yes, Iberian Principles, except not limited to baroque horses.

    I wouldn't necessarily use the words "bad" of "failing" when referring to those who use classical dressage concepts, but, in my opinion, do not adhere to it fully. Just that they say they teach classical dressage, but still have horses heavy and on the forehand, strong bits in mouth, and a focus on competition above balance and composition of the horse. This is not to say all are like this, just the couple I have encountered so far, so I am looking to see if there are others out there, and what they teach.

    EDIT: By the by, I realize my first post may have come off as a bit... haughty? Definitely did not mean it that way. I cannot pretend to know much about the classical principles other than what little I have learned and researched. I am looking to learn more, and hoping to find people in my area to collaborate with.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 15, 2007
    Location
    (throw dart at map) NC!
    Posts
    4,248

    Default

    Sooooo, where are you?

    Heavy and on the forehand with strong bits is not any kind of dressage. It's simply bad training and riding.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Posts
    110

    Default

    Beasmom, a popcorn shipment is on the way.

    Besides Dr Ritter you might consider a clinic with Dr Gerd Heuschmann.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2008
    Location
    South Central PA
    Posts
    248

    Default

    J-Lu--my thoughts exactly, which is why I was shocked when alleged "classical riding" instructors were using these techniques. Granted, they were not big names and I had to search them out, but still. Classical dressage is classical dressage. Speaking of strong bits, Rollkur is also something I find quite disturbing.

    I would love to attend a clinic with both Dr. Gerd Heuschmann and Dr. Ritter. I was very interested by Tug of War, and definitely think there is a lot of truth to it. My trainer has been singing it's praises ever since it came out.

    I give fair warning... please forgive me if I ever sound stupid. I am of a hunter/jumper background and am trying to learn more and use classical dressage principles in my riding. Would really like to see more classical dressage principles used in the hunter/jumper rings.

    I am in the mid atlantic region. Will be in south central PA in the next month, but have been in VA for the past year after moving from Southern CA.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2000
    Posts
    24,408

    Default

    I am extremely disbelieving of the assertion that one can only take classical dressage lessons from one of three people in the United States.

    "focus on competition"

    "heavy on the forehand"

    "harsh bits"

    "too forceful"

    These, I think are your definition of 'not classical'. So classical would be mild bits, light on the forehand, less forceful, and less interested in competition, more interested in 'balance and form'.

    Not sure what 'form' means but have an idea of 'balance'. 'Balance' has many meanings to many people - for some it means 'in a frame' (headset, which others condemn as hand riding), for others, it means going with the head and neck up...for others, it means the hind legs are swinging forward...for others, it means 'not in hyperflexion'.

    'harsh bits' - people vary in what they think is harsh. So don't know what's meant by that. Some are categorically against double bridles as being too harsh, though the double is traditional for fully trained horses....again, what's harsh is an individual opinion.

    'forceful' - again...people vary even more in what they feel is too forceful. So hard to comment on. To me, a certain amount of obedience is needed from the horse or it won't be through, supple, balanced, collected, and a rider has to do something if the horse is running off, bucking, etc. Often today, 'forceful' means 'hyperflexion', many seem to feel the horse would only be in that position because of an extreme amount of physical force being applied constantly. By that logic, anyone who uses hyperflexion is overly forceful.

    'heavy on the forehand'...often again, linked to hyperflexion, many feel if hyperflexion is in use, the horse can never perform any correct work, and must be heavy on the forehand whether in that position or not.

    Or...the observer may simply be looking at less experienced riders who have learned to create some activity, but not yet moved to the next phase of their riding - these usually are relatively on the forehand...but sometimes it's something some people see everywhere....one wouldn't expect a lower level horse to be completely not 'on the forehand'...how much on the forehand is acceptable for a given phase of training (or moment of a ride, or during a given exercise) is not so simple.

    I don't think of a yawning divide between 'classical' and 'competitive', with 'competitive' equal to forceful, harsh bits, in a hurry, anky-spanky, despises poor miserable horsey who is treated like sports equipment, and classical equal to takes time, perfection, respects horse, etc. To be honest, I'm usually scared to death of people who say they're 'classicists' and usually run screaming in the other direction the second i hear the word 'classical'...with 'philosopy' almost as alarming. Why? Because usually the word classical and a whole lot of very bad riding seem to find themselves in very close proximity.

    For an extremely ironic touch, the word 'classical' was previously used by competitive riders, to indicate a more traditional or personally favored way of performing a specific exercise in a competition. For example, a serpentine with more pronounced straight sections, is 'less classical', a serpentine with one stride of 'straight', or even more classically, going from one bend to the other without stopping at the 'straight' point, just one fluid motion, is 'more classical'.

    Your favs are Ernst Bachinger, Phillippe Karl, Sylvia Loch.

    I am not sure I am on the same page with 2/3 of it. I don't care for how Sylvia Loch rides or how her students ride (I see horses on forehand, lacking suppleness, struggling with basics and a rap that goes along with it that seems to be completely disconnected from what's actually happening with the horse and rider), or Phillipe Karl (tense, fast tempos, lacking of collection, on forehand, problems with backward tendency in piaffe, but extremely popular with the riding public today for criticizing hyperflexion of dressage horses).

    Ernst Bachinger was 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1996 Austrian champion, his main horse, Honeymoon, was trained by Thomas Zindl and he got the horse in 1987 and competed extensively for many years, so not only an SRS rider but also an extremely astute competitor.

    So you might admire him for not sacrificing form and balance while competing, especially if 'form and balance' actually means 'not doing hyperflexion', he appears to have stopped competing before that became widespread, and within his SRS background, there are different ways of suppling the horse. Bachinger is director since end of 2006, first 'director' in a long time to also have been a Rider, he was a rider at the school for 20 yrs(1959-1978). So he was out competing from 1978-1996, at least 20 years, and took the admin position 10 yrs later.

    I'm sure there were many more, but he worked with Kay Meredith for four years, he worked with Princess Anne, during the mid 80's Bill Warren(former working student of Karl Mikolka, winning at regionals), Kathy Connelly trained with him (all according to their bios).

    I don't see why not work with any of the many students of Ernst Bachinger, for starters. None of the people I mention are worthy? But they were trained by one who is....boy I don't know.

    So he appears to be a highly successful competitive rider other competitive riders greatly admire and sought out for years. With an SRS background and the competitive experience, a pretty unbeatable combination. But also, worlds different from either of your other two choices, in fact, I can't understand how you could admire all 3 blanketly, they are so completely different.

    Even so, I can't agree that there are only a few people in America who know what they're doing or who are worthy of taking lessons with. There are a large number of people who don't teach or ride with hyperflexion, if that's really what you're talking about, but they all have some way of suppling the horse - and you may turn out to not like those other ways very much either.
    Last edited by slc2; Aug. 6, 2009 at 08:22 AM.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2003
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    5,869

    Default

    When somebody says classical, I immediately think of a tricorn hat, curb bit, huge spurs, reins held in one hand, and a whip held upside down. I'm thinking that's not what you want for your showjumpers. Just a guess. Unless it is the airs above ground??

    Three others who I can think of in the USA who have not been named are: Paul Belasik in PA, Karl Mikolka and Vitor Silva in MA.

    If you are going to be in PA, then you may want to check out Belasik (as long as you are not overweight!)

    http://www.paulbelasik.com/
    Last edited by Eclectic Horseman; Aug. 6, 2009 at 09:29 AM. Reason: add link
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2004
    Location
    Sacramento area
    Posts
    602

    Default

    Classical dressage is restoring the horse’s ability to display its optimal balance and freedom of movement under a rider in the most harmonious way possible.

    My interest in dressage has always been in classical horsemanship – probably because my first book on dressage was Horsemanship, by Waldemar Seunig. Over the years, I searched high and low for a venue where the rich and noble heritage of classical dressage had been preserved. I explored a number of programs and audited and rode in countless clinics. I had come across a great number of authors who described the classical art beautifully yet, when it came down to it, they weren’t putting what they had written about into practice. I had about given up on my search when I rediscovered the book, Dressage Formula, by Erik Herbermann. The book sounded really good so I thought I’d at least give this guy a shot before hanging it up. I was pleased to find that Erik could practice what he preaches to every last detail! He has a vast understanding of horses’ movement and behavior, the classical masters and the art (its physics, history, nuances, etc, etc, etc). If you are serious about learning the classical riding art, Erik Herbermann is a phenomenal wealth of information.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2008
    Location
    South Central PA
    Posts
    248

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    I am extremely disbelieving of the assertion that one can only take classical dressage lessons from one of three people in the United States.

    "focus on competition"

    "heavy on the forehand"

    "harsh bits"

    "too forceful"

    These, I think are your definition of 'not classical'. So classical would be mild bits, light on the forehand, less forceful, and less interested in competition, more interested in 'balance and form'.

    Not sure what 'form' means but have an idea of 'balance'. 'Balance' has many meanings to many people - for some it means 'in a frame' (headset, which others condemn as hand riding), for others, it means going with the head and neck up...for others, it means the hind legs are swinging forward...for others, it means 'not in hyperflexion'.

    'harsh bits' - people vary in what they think is harsh. So don't know what's meant by that. Some are categorically against double bridles as being too harsh, though the double is traditional for fully trained horses....again, what's harsh is an individual opinion.

    'forceful' - again...people vary even more in what they feel is too forceful. So hard to comment on. To me, a certain amount of obedience is needed from the horse or it won't be through, supple, balanced, collected, and a rider has to do something if the horse is running off, bucking, etc. Often today, 'forceful' means 'hyperflexion', many seem to feel the horse would only be in that position because of an extreme amount of physical force being applied constantly. By that logic, anyone who uses hyperflexion is overly forceful.

    'heavy on the forehand'...often again, linked to hyperflexion, many feel if hyperflexion is in use, the horse can never perform any correct work, and must be heavy on the forehand whether in that position or not.
    First of all, I edited my first post because I believe it may have ruffled a few feathers, and that was not intended. As I corrected later, I am more interested in learning rather than assuming that I "know it all" and there are no classical instructors/riders in the US.

    It would be impossible to go into my specific thoughts concerning what classical really is without writing a book. Those words, which you ripped apart, were only meant to represent a general concept counter to what I believe classical to be, which, in simplest terms, I believe is harmony with the horse. This could also be accompanied by such phrases as "moving from the hind end" and "lightness." That is so gross and simple to describe something so vast and complicated, maybe it is simply impossible to convey the concept.

    When I said "harsh bits," I was referring to the principle that every horse should be able to go in a plain snaffle. I do not dispute the double bridle, but I feel it is something that should be used only when the horse has attained a high level of balance, moving correctly from the hind end so that it can take the bit rather than be held back by it. The double bridle should not be used to force the head and neck into hyperflexion or force the horse to go behind the vertical and thus interfere with the natural balance and musculature of the animal.

    When speaking of force, obviously it is necessary to correct a disobedient horse (although usually I have found they have a reason for being disobedient unless they are spooking/have too much energy/sugar in their system), but pulling the horse to oblivion/fighting with the horse or using so much leg that the horse's sides lose their sensitivity are unecessary and "forceful." I do not disagree with whips or spurs when used correctly (ie, spurs never digging into the horses sides, but rather used as morse code) as I think they can increase finesse and the vision of effortlessness of the movement.

    As far as heavy on the forehand, I absolutely believe that horses cannot perform correct work in hyperflexion and that it is counterproductive to the horse's welfare. This has been proved by Dr. Gerd Heuschmann in Tug of War.



    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    Or...the observer may simply be looking at less experienced riders who have learned to create some activity, but not yet moved to the next phase of their riding - these usually are relatively on the forehand...but sometimes it's something some people see everywhere....one wouldn't expect a lower level horse to be completely not 'on the forehand'...how much on the forehand is acceptable for a given phase of training (or moment of a ride, or during a given exercise) is not so simple.
    Of course there are moments when horses are on the forehand... no rider is flawless. There are those horses who are downhill who are built to travel on the forehand. But I believe it should be the goal of the rider to get the horse off the forehand and moving from behind. If the horse is moving correctly from behind, then it will not be on the forehand. I have gotten on completely green horses and had them really use their hind end, and they have not been on the forehand, so I might not expect a lower level horse to be on the forehand as I think the horse should be asked to move correctly from square one. No, it is not simple, but the concept of desiring to never go on the forehand and the committment to working toward that goal should be fairly simple, which I believe is something practiced by many competent classical riders.

    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    I don't think of a yawning divide between 'classical' and 'competitive', with 'competitive' equal to forceful, harsh bits, in a hurry, anky-spanky, despises poor miserable horsey who is treated like sports equipment, and classical equal to takes time, perfection, respects horse, etc. To be honest, I'm usually scared to death of people who say they're 'classicists' and usually run screaming in the other direction the second i hear the word 'classical'...with 'philosopy' almost as alarming. Why? Because usually the word classical and a whole lot of very bad riding seem to find themselves in very close proximity.

    For an extremely ironic touch, the word 'classical' was previously used by competitive riders, to indicate a more traditional or personally favored way of performing a specific exercise in a competition. For example, a serpentine with more pronounced straight sections, is 'less classical', a serpentine with one stride of 'straight', or even more classically, going from one bend to the other without stopping at the 'straight' point, just one fluid motion, is 'more classical'.
    I never said that competitive dressage was equal to the things you list, so you are coming up with that one on your own. The only thing I have been discussing so far is classical, with one mention of rollkur and how I find it disturbing. When you say you find "classical" and "bad riding" in close proximity--this is what I was referring to in my first post because I feel that some of the people I have come across who call themselves classical are not really maintaining the values and riding/teaching of a classical rider, and therefore are not classical. However, that does not mean all classical riders are bad (I'm sure the records prove that Ernst was not a bad rider...), just that some maybe don't get it or aren't quite there yet in their education.

    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    Your favs are Ernst Bachinger, Phillippe Karl, Sylvia Loch.

    I am not sure I am on the same page with 2/3 of it. I don't care for how Sylvia Loch rides or how her students ride (I see horses on forehand, lacking suppleness, struggling with basics and a rap that goes along with it that seems to be completely disconnected from what's actually happening with the horse and rider), or Phillipe Karl (tense, fast tempos, lacking of collection, on forehand, problems with backward tendency in piaffe, but extremely popular with the riding public today for criticizing hyperflexion of dressage horses).

    Ernst Bachinger was 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1996 Austrian champion, his main horse, Honeymoon, was trained by Thomas Zindl and he got the horse in 1987 and competed extensively for many years, so not only an SRS rider but also an extremely astute competitor.

    So you might admire him for not sacrificing form and balance while competing, especially if 'form and balance' actually means 'not doing hyperflexion', he appears to have stopped competing before that became widespread, and within his SRS background, there are different ways of suppling the horse. Bachinger is director since end of 2006, first 'director' in a long time to also have been a Rider, he was a rider at the school for 20 yrs(1959-1978). So he was out competing from 1978-1996, at least 20 years, and took the admin position 10 yrs later.

    I'm sure there were many more, but he worked with Kay Meredith for four years, he worked with Princess Anne, during the mid 80's Bill Warren(former working student of Karl Mikolka, winning at regionals), Kathy Connelly trained with him (all according to their bios).

    I don't see why not work with any of the many students of Ernst Bachinger, for starters. None of the people I mention are worthy? But they were trained by one who is....boy I don't know.

    So he appears to be a highly successful competitive rider other competitive riders greatly admire and sought out for years. With an SRS background and the competitive experience, a pretty unbeatable combination. But also, worlds different from either of your other two choices, in fact, I can't understand how you could admire all 3 blanketly, they are so completely different.
    I never said that those three were my "favs," merely used them to give everyone an idea of the classical I was referring to. To be completely honest, those are just the names that popped up in my head at the time. No rider is perfect, and yes, they are all completely different. Honestly, I'm not sure I even know enough about Sylvia Loch to vouch for her (have only been reading up on her and am reading something by her now which is why she popped into my head). I do say I have to disagree with you about Phillippe Karl, and would ask you to show me an example of when he has horses on the forehand, or an example of a piaffe that is not executed from the hind end. Maybe my knowledge simply does not extend that far.

    I never said the people you mention weren't "worthy." My own trainer trained with Ernst. Here comes where I lack knowledge, because I did not know who has trained with him in the US, so thank you for educating me. I cannot even begin to pass judgement on those people until I have seen them ride/teach, so no, I definitely would not call them unworthy, just unknown to me until now.


    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    Even so, I can't agree that there are only a few people in America who know what they're doing or who are worthy of taking lessons with. There are a large number of people who don't teach or ride with hyperflexion, if that's really what you're talking about, but they all have some way of suppling the horse - and you may turn out to not like those other ways very much either.
    So, you think that "classical" and "bad riding" seem to run in close proximity, yet there are clearly some decent riders who use classical principles, and they are in America? Hmm. There may be a large number of people who don't ride or teach hyperflexion, but hyperflexion has seemed to become a sort of phenomenon, and when I look around my "hunter/jumper world" and see everyone going around in draw reins and nasty bits, and watch many of the top dressage competitors with horses heads behind the vertical and not travelling from the hind end, with the bottom reins of their double bridles cranked to the full, it makes me wonder. A very inflammatory subject, I know, so let me pour a little water on the flames and say that this is not to say all do this, this is not a criticism of people or their riding, it is merely pointing out that some definitely do it, and it could be argued that even a majority do it (I can definitely say this for the h/j world), and what will be the results in the long run?



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2008
    Location
    South Central PA
    Posts
    248

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Eclectic Horseman View Post
    When somebody says classical, I immediately think of a tricorn hat, curb bit, huge spurs, reins held in one hand, and a whip held upside down. I'm thinking that's not what you want for your showjumpers. Just a guess. Unless it is the airs above ground??

    Three others who I can think of in the USA who have not been named are: Paul Belasik in PA, Karl Mikolka and Vitor Silva in MA.

    If you are going to be in PA, then you may want to check out Belasik (as long as you are not overweight!)

    http://www.paulbelasik.com/
    Haha... no, that's definitely not what I had in mind, although maybe I should go in one of my jumper clsses with a tricorn hat. What do you think? Might start a new trend. My idea of classical is what Tonja was referring to. I believe it shouldn't matter if I'm riding h/j or dressage... the same concepts can apply. Although it would be pretty awesome if my horse could perform a Levade right before jumping a 5' fence.

    I will definitely check out Paul Belasik! He is very close to me, so thank you for that name.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2003
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    5,869

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ontarget View Post
    Haha... no, that's definitely not what I had in mind, although maybe I should go in one of my jumper clsses with a tricorn hat. What do you think? Might start a new trend. My idea of classical is what Tonja was referring to. I believe it shouldn't matter if I'm riding h/j or dressage... the same concepts can apply. Although it would be pretty awesome if my horse could perform a Levade right before jumping a 5' fence.

    I will definitely check out Paul Belasik! He is very close to me, so thank you for that name.
    You're welcome. Good luck!
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2005
    Location
    Desert Southwest
    Posts
    6,210

    Default

    I have rehabbed horses (my own and students) using "classical" principles. I do not see a disconnect between "classical" and competitive dressage. So I get irked when I see these topics come up in the BB.

    But that's just me. Surely there are competitive dressage riders who eschew classical principles. We have plenty of those around here. Some of them even do well at shows, BUT their horses suffer in the long run.

    My Hannoverian, rehabbed through careful riding and various therapeutic exercises (some from the ground in the early days of rehab) is doing fine now, 18 months after I purchased him, and schooling 2nd and a bit of 3rd level stuff. There has never been any cranking or spanking, he goes in a French link loosering bit.

    We are classical AND competitive. And God willing, he will progress and stay happy and sound for many years to come.

    When looking for an instructor, watch the lessons, observe at the shows, ask questions. It's EASY for a trainer to pay lip service to "classicism", but ride and teach in a very different way. Compare and contrast many instructors. Some will be more "classical" than others. Certainly there are unique cases where a trainer may have to deviate from "classical" dogma, but in general, the best interests of the horse should prevail.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar. 5, 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    406

    Default

    I think the disconnect stems from the fact that all you have to do is make business cards and call yourself a trainer of classical dressage. I know many people in my region that have never ridden above first level and yet are trainers with multiple clients and horses in training *cringe*. Personally this blows my mind, but I think this is part of the reason why there is trick dressage (horses pulled in, and taugh to do tricks even though they are not through and over their backs) and classical dressage.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2009
    Posts
    600

    Default

    http://dressageesquire.blogspot.com
    "The ability to write a check for attire should not be confused with expertise. Proficiency doesn't arrive shrink-wrapped from UPS and placed on your doorstep."



  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2005
    Location
    Desert Southwest
    Posts
    6,210

    Default

    Good link, Quest52.

    "Adjustability" has been drummed into my head by my regular coach and every clinician I work with.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2003
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    5,869

    Default

    Thanks for posting that link to Robert Dover's discussion of "Classical," Quest52. I think that he is right on.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep. 16, 2005
    Posts
    995

    Default If its 401 its correct, never mind classical

    And it is competitive.

    Now as to wether it is upheld or not, that's up to you to decide:


    "Article 401 OBJECT AND GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF DRESSAGE

    The object of dressage is the development of the horse into a happy athlete through harmonious education. As a result, it makes the horse calm, supple, loose and flexible, but also confident, attentive and keen, thus achieving perfect understanding with the rider.

    These qualities are revealed by:
    • The freedom and regularity of the paces.
    • The harmony, lightness and ease of the movements.
    • The lightness of the forehand and the engagement of the
    hindquarters, originating from a lively impulsion.
    • The acceptance of the bit, with submissiveness/throughness
    (Durchlässigkeit) without any tension or resistance.

    2. The horse thus gives the impression of doing, of its own accord, what is
    required. Confident and attentive, submitting generously to the control of the athlete, remaining absolutely straight in any movement on a straight line and bending accordingly when moving on curved lines.

    3. The walk is regular, free and unconstrained. The trot is free, supple, regular and active. The canter is united, light and balanced. The hindquarters are never inactive or sluggish. The horse responds to the slightest indication of the athlete and thereby gives life and spirit to all the rest of its body.

    4. By virtue of a lively impulsion and the suppleness of the joints, free from the paralysing effects of resistance, the horse obeys willingly and without hesitation and responds to the various aids calmly and with precision, displaying a natural and harmonious balance both physically and mentally.

    5. In all the work, even at the halt, the horse must be “on the bit”. A horse is said to be “on the bit” when the neck is more or less raised and arched according to the stage of training and the extension or collection of the pace, accepting the bridle with a light and consistent soft submissive contact. The head should remain in a steady position, as a rule slightly in front of the vertical, with a supple poll as the highest point of the neck, and no resistance should be offered to the athlete.

    6. Cadence is shown in trot and canter and is the result of the proper harmony that a horse shows when it moves with well-marked regularity, impulsion and balance. Cadence must be maintained in all the different trot or canter exercises and in all the variations of these paces.

    7. The regularity of the paces is fundamental to dressage."

    Though I much prefer the older definition:


    "1. The object of Dressage is the harmonious development of the physique and ability of the horse. As a result it makes the horse calm, supple, loose and flexible, but also confident, attentive and keen, thus achieving perfect understanding with his rider. "



Similar Threads

  1. French Classical Dressage?
    By lovehors86 in forum Dressage
    Replies: 37
    Last Post: Dec. 27, 2011, 08:20 PM
  2. Just for 'fun' cowboy dressage v. classical dressage
    By spirithorse in forum Dressage
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Feb. 5, 2011, 10:42 PM
  3. Classical Dressage .......
    By siegi b. in forum Dressage
    Replies: 56
    Last Post: Jan. 26, 2010, 07:38 PM
  4. Replies: 26
    Last Post: Aug. 18, 2009, 12:10 PM
  5. Replies: 28
    Last Post: Oct. 22, 2008, 11:17 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •