The Movements

Concerning Horse-Riding-Tips 2:

Riding is the ability to communicate to the horse
your desire to be carried from point A to point B ...(on his back)...

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Before we can delve into any horse-riding-tips concerning the particulars of the movements we need to distinguish between the way these terms are used in dressage.

We already know from the History of Dressage that these movement were developed in 450 BC and rediscovered in the 16th century.

These movements developed as a series of gymnastics exercises to strengthen, supple and increase the ease of movement of the horse when carrying a soldier into battle. The process of teaching the horse the exercises or movements made him attentive and confident for use on the battle field.

All the exercises were developed from observation of how the horse moves in nature while interacting as a herd. For instance, during play or excitement, the piaffe is often seen as the horse trots in place before making a speedy departure.

According to our Glossary of Dressage Terms the USDF gives these meanings to the word movement.
1.The manner in which the horse moves over the ground.
2. Test Movement: a section of a dressage test to be evaluated with one score on a score sheet.
3. Dressage Movement: an exercise, as opposed to a figure. Movements are: leg-yield, reinback, shoulder-in, travers, renvers, turn on haunches, half pass (trot or canter), flying change(s), pirouette (walk or canter), piaffe, and passage.-

The "high school" or haute ecole school jumps, popularly known as the "airs above the ground," include the courbette, capriole, levade, and ballotade.

The Progression of the Movements

All the movements serve to increase the horse's attentiveness, obedience, and confidence. They are used to make the horse, supple, strong, athletic thus increasing ridability. The movements are progressive in difficulty but the progression is also dependent on the talent of the horse.

  • Transitions
  • Halt
  • Half halt
  • The leg yield
  • Stretching the frame
  • The Rein back
  • Turn on the Haunches
  • Shoulder in
  • Simple change of lead through trot
  • Traver
  • Renver
  • Simple change of lead through walk
  • Half Pass
  • Counter Canter
  • Flying Change of lead
  • Passage
  • Piaffe
  • Pirouette at Walk
  • Pirouette at Canter

Classical dressage Haute Ecole ( high school) movements are not part of competitive dressage and are the

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  • courbette,
  • capriole,
  • levade,
  • ballotade

The movements need to be distinguished from the figures. A figure can be a part of a dressage test movement. For Example:" First level test 1 movement 5 : A-C 3 loop serpentine width of arena”

As defined by the USDF

FIGURE: Geometrical component of a dressage test, such as a circle, change of rein, figure of eight. Erroneously used interchangeably with “Movement.”

Practical applications Horse-Riding-Tips #2

How we get from point A to point b (figuratively speaking) can be accomplished using geometric figures such as circles, diagonal lines and serpentines. The dressage arena letters assure us that our figures are geometrically correct. Correct geometry is important for the horse to understand attentiveness, straightness and obedience.

Summary of Horse-Riding-Tips #2

To summarize and keep it simple, if you think of our

Horse-riding tip #2: Riding is the ability to communicate to the horse your desire to be carried from point A to point B... (on his back)... :)

  1. The figures are the way we maneuver around the dressage arena.
  2. The movements are the specific exercises we use to develop the horse’s strength, balance and athletic ability.
  3. The use of the figures and movements increases our communication with the horse (The Aides) as we build his strength and suppleness.
  4. His increased strength, suppleness, and understanding of our aids makes his job of carrying us on ‘his back’ easier and more pleasant for him to accomplish.

Quote for a Saturday
"When the figures and movements are taken
beyond their limits of physical exercises,
when the communication between horse and rider
has reached almost absolute refinement,
when expression and emotion
are added to these figures and movements then:
dressage goes beyond sport and training and becomes
an expression of art…a dance."
~ author~

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