I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
What in the world do a night club and the training scale have in common?
October 24, 2016
Proper dressage is the systematic gymnastic training of the horse which develops the horse for optimal athleticism and obedience to its rider. After all, dressage is very old, and dates back to when horses were used as cavalry - riders literally put their lives in the hands of their horses and needed to know not only would their horse have enough stamina for battle, but that he would respond precisely to the riders aids and it was literally a matter of life and death. For the modern rider, it is absolutely crucial that he or she remembers and operates under the training scale, primarily for the well-being of the horse. A horse can perform the movements of dressage naturally in a field, but to carry and balance a rider, it must be developed physically and mentally.
Puterbaugh Dressage Sport hosted an intensive riding camp a few years back and during theory lecture, asked our riders to come up with a way to remember the training scale, and one suggestion was the most amusing we have ever heard in decades of training, and we thought it would be worth sharing.
The setting is a night club. You walk in and hear the music, and feel the RHYTHM. You grab yourself a drink and loosen up - SUPPLENESS. Your eyes pan the room and make a CONNECTION with a good-looking someone. You get the courage and the IMPULSION to walk over and say hi. You chit chat for a while and then STRAIGHTEN up, COLLECT your things and get out of there.
This makes light of something so serious, and critical to proper training. But we love to share this story with our students because it really seems to stick! The only exception to not proceeding in a strict order is perhaps left for the expert when training the remedial horse. It takes patience, discipline, and understanding from the rider to adhere to the proper scale, but it truly gets the quickest and truest results, and prevents holes in the training later at higher levels.