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POINT OF VIEW


“freedom from anxiety,” represents three different con- cepts. Suppleness comes from lateral gymnastics and flexions (lateral and longitudinal), which cannot be achieved without the impulsion (step 4) that gets the horse to reach toward the bit—and then yield to it, which constitutes contact (step 3). Elastic gaits are ei- ther natural (in horses born with rebound) or taught by progressive collection (step 6, using “school trot” or pas- sage) with flat-footed breeds. “Freedom from anxiety” comes from total relaxation, produced by flexions and balance—only mentioned at step 6—which comes first from uprightness (vertical alignment of the body with the pull of gravity, an important aspect of straightness in step 5 that is not mentioned in the scale). Step 3 is contact (connection and acceptance of the


bit through acceptance of the [driving] aids) which can- not be achieved without impulsion (step 4, defined as engagement and the desire to go forward). Step 4 is impulsion (engagement and desire to go


forward), which has been needed since the beginning; without the desire to go forward, how have we been training him all along? Impulsion actually has two dif- ferent meanings, both necessary: “Constant desire to go forward on demand” (French version) or “Jump of the steps in trot and canter” (Schwung, German version). Step 5 is straightness (improved alignment and


equal lateral suppleness on both reins), which needs to be worked on from the start: straightness of direc- tion and symmetry of turns should be taught before the horse is even sat on. Suppleness was already step 2. Step 6 is collection (balance and lightness of the


forehand from increased engagement). This is when the horse achieves the regularity of tempo and elastic gaits from steps 1 and 2, and can perform, with cadence, the “school gaits” slower tempo (than in the working gaits). Lightness, another name for self-carriage, demands the cessation of the aids for the horse to balance him- self. This does not fit with the constant use of half-halts which are, in all doc- trines, the rebalancing of unbalanced horses.


Historical Perspective “The “Skala der Ausbil- dung” (the original name for the training scale) was developed from the 1912 German Cav- alry Manual and the term only started be- ing used in the 1950s.


66 March/April 2019


The original manual named the goals and principles for the training of a horse and provided a detailed training plan as guiding rules for the training of a military horse. The forerunner of the scale is found in Siegfried von Haugk’s 1940 book, The Training of the Recruit in Horse- back Riding. In the appendix he defines the training goals in the same order as in today’s training scale: 1) Takt (Rhythm) 2) Losgelassenheit (Relaxation) 3) Anlehnung (Contact) 4) Schwung (Impulsion) 5) Geraderichten (Straightness) 6) Versammlung (Collection)


There is a YouTube video that can be found online


of the Cavalry School of Hannover in the 1930s. In it, you can see pre-World War II German riding at its best, most of it centered around cavalry formations moving at speed, hunting with hounds, etc. We also see Olym- pic medalist Lt. Colonel Gerhardt, head of the school, training a horse for piaffe in the pillars and Otto Lorke (German team coach), head of the dressage section, working a horse in-hand at the piaffe in side-reins. Mas- ter Lorke helped Germany to its early Olympic success- es and to develop a long list of successful trainers and competitors. German dressage is what it is today because many


followed his path. This unquestionable leader trained and taught differently than trainers and instructors to- day. Andre Montheilhet, in The Masters of the Equestrian Art, wrote: “Enigmatic, autodidact and a pure pragma- tist, Lorke was an enemy of the systematic approach to training. He adapted his talent to the character and the capacity of each horse and each student. Even his most experienced students were often astonished at the training of the horses he produced when they got the opportunity to ride them after him. The horses obeyed their aids just as they did the aids of the master, which


The total elevation of the poll of the horses pictured here, especially if the poll stays open, does not pull the withers forward but creates an insufficient stretch of the back and puts too much weight on the hind legs. Left: Fritz Stecken demonstrating lightness. Middle: 1936 Olympic gold medalist Heinz Pollay on Kronos. Right: Otto Lorke in piaffe.


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