Dressage Pyramid - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-02-2009, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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Dressage Pyramid

I want to point this out for those who don't know, or tend to forget ( I think we've nearly all done this at one point or another )
It all starts with Rhythm. With this, comes Energy and consistent tempo. Rhythm cannot be skipped, because with Rhythm also comes a calm horse.
Next, Relaxation - which goes hand in hand with the Rhythm (and calmness). This is where you notice the bouncing tail, and bobbing ears.
Followed by Connection. Don't associate this with Contact. Connection is the horse accepting the bit through accepting the riders natural Aids.
After these 3, comes Impulsion - asking the horse to move forward willingly with free flowing movement, and tracking strides. The strides should be active and with energy.
Next comes Straightness - the horses hip and shoulders aligned with the riders, and working between the aids and moving forward.
Last but not least, Collection! With this, the horse is thoroughly 'engaged' in the hind end, while the front end remains light and the horse carries itself - NEVER allow a horse to ride and balance itself on YOU! Everyone should ponder on this question: "Where does extention fit in?" The answer is too Collection. The horse lifts its front end, and a burst of energy "blows" through the circuits so to speak, ahah, while carrying itself.

This is a breif description of the training scale every dressage rider should follow. Keep in mind, i'm not one to treat any horse as another - each are individuals; like humans; and deserve to be treated as equal, SO alterations may need to be made to an extent.
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-04-2009, 09:37 PM
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Honestly, I don't see it as a 'dressage' pyramid so much as a 'training' pyramid.

No matter what you're doing with your horse, the basics are the same.

As for connection vs contact, I love the way they describe it in 'The Simplicity of Dressage' (written before the Power and Paint photo fiasco). It's not simply contact with the mouth, but the horse accepting total contact with the legs, seat and being ridden up to the hands.

As for straightness, in my personal (and VERY humble opinion), I see straightness being further up than the training scale puts it. I mean, if your horse isn't straight, they can't truly be supple. They also can't be completely on the contact, as there is some evasion somewhere (unless they are being ridden crooked, in which case the rider needs to be longe lined pronto).

Take chances, make mistakes, get messy.~ Ms Frizzle, Magic School Bus
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-04-2009, 09:47 PM
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True straightness requires a high degree of strength from the horse, aka muscle building. You can't hop on a horse who has no rhythm or acceptance of the aids (ie contact/relaxation) and make it straight. The horse needs to build muscle on its weak side in order to truly be straight.
Yes, you can hop on any horse and make it go in a straight line, but it won't be straight in the sense of how the training scale means it.
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-04-2009, 10:04 PM
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I'm not talking about having the horse %100 completely straight. I understand that it takes a lot of strength to be completely equal in both directions.

However, a degree of straightness is required in order to have a horse that is completely accepting the aids (as in having the haunches follow the path of the shoulders).

Like the OP said, every horse is an individual. The training scale is a good system, but one must weigh the benefits of following the system with the individual needs of the horse.

It's all in the matter of degrees. What I mean by that is that if your horse is EXTREMELY crooked, you can't expect him to fully accept the aids, even though contact is a larger priority on the training scale.

Take chances, make mistakes, get messy.~ Ms Frizzle, Magic School Bus
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-05-2009, 12:20 AM
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That's a different kind of 'straightness'. You can't get 'straightness' (per the 5th element) if the horse hasn't accepted contact and doesn't have impulsion.

Straightness and 'straightness' is like comparing 'acceptance of contact' and 'on the bit'. Two different worlds.
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-05-2009, 11:55 AM
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^ Could you please explain?

Take chances, make mistakes, get messy.~ Ms Frizzle, Magic School Bus
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