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The German Scales of Training "purpose is to develop to the fullest the horses's natural physical & mental aptitudes"

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   May 29, 2011 09:27 has had numerous requests on training (from english and western disciplines), how do I achieve a horse that is a pleasure to ride?, how do I achieve collection?  How do I...the list goes on.... is committed to providing current, relevenet information to help you on your riding quest.  Below is the first of many articles from reliable sources that will help you achieve your goals of a better ride regardless of your discipline, enjoy!

Adapted from “The Principles of Riding”Official Instruction Handbook of the German National Equestrian Federation (Book 1, pp.136–141

The purpose of dressage training is to develop to the fullest the horse’s natural physical and mental aptitudes, making him into an obedient riding horse that is a pleasure to ride.

The Training Scale sets out, in the order they are obtained, the basic qualities of the riding horse and the phases in the development of these qualities.  None of the six qualities can be considered in isolation, however—they are all interdependent.  They must be developed in accordance with a systematic plan, though not singly and in a rigid order.  There are, instead, three main stages of training that overlap (preliminary ridden training/familiarization, development of forward thrust/pushing power and development of carrying capacity) that are links between the different concepts.

Rhythm, looseness and contact/acceptance of the bit (the first three qualities in the training scale) will be of primary importance during the stage of familiarization, but as the horse is to develop thrust and pushing power, impulsion and straightness will also become important, and collection will be necessary as well for the development of carrying capacity.

The six qualities are:

1.  Rhythm (Takt)

2.  Looseness (Losgelassenheit)

3.  Contact and acceptance of the bit (Anlehnung)

4.  Impulsion (Schwung)

5.  Straightness (Geraderichtung)

6.  Collection (Versammlung)

These qualities are essential for the dressage horses, however all horses (show jumping, cross-country and even leisure horses) should still receive the same systematic basic training to ensure that they are sufficiently supple and ‘through’ at all times (Durchlässigkeit or ‘letting the aids through’).  This ensures that they can be ridden harmoniously and also helps to keep them sound.

The training scale can be used for both the systematic basic training of the young horse or as a basis for a training session with an older horse (i.e., each individual lesson contains this training plan in a condensed form).