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The Importance of a Pyramid

Those of you who have studied classical dressage know of the dressage pyramid and that many masters refer to it as a great visual aid for training the dressage horse. If not, let me introduce you to the dressage scale of training!

This image is a wonderful example of the scale and shows nicely where the horse should be physically in each stage.

The dressage scale of training is often referred to as a pyramid because training the dressage horse should be looked at as building a pyramid or structure. Each level or "layer" of the structure must be laid out and secure before working on the next phase. In the scale, rhythm and relaxation are always the base, the foundation for which all else is built. Correct classical training is nothing without a happy and relaxed partner! All too often we see people too eager to move further up the pyramid and begin the climb without correct preparation of their equine partner. Now of course every horse advances at a different pace, but we should never surpass what they are capable of. This is how holes in training are created.

For a horse to reach the highest level of training, both horse and rider must put in hours and hours of careful training and planning, ensuring that the correct foundation and building blocks have been put in place to be sure that the horse reaches the upper levels fit enough to perform and still happy to do it with their rider! The training scale has been created for a reason, because it seems to work for the horse! Of course it is generalized because again each horse and rider are different so truly catering to the individual is important as well. But horse training and education is nothing new! Master horseman have existed for hundreds of years and through their trial and error and pooling of knowledge they have created a basic system to help future generations. The path to harmonious training and riding has been laid out by many wonderful people past and present. How we get there is up to us!

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