In my article Alois Podhajsky; Theory for Successful Dressage, I laid out the principles Podhajsky believes are important to guide one’s dressage practice on horseback. These principles constitute the “why” we do what we do in pursuit of the classical dressage goals .
Using words alone to describe these principles can become a bit overwhelming. So I’ve put together a diagram which provides a visual for what Podhajsky is saying. This is very rough, but it’s a start and can be compared to diagrams offered by other masters. I’ll be doing this in future articles with the idea of developing some kind of unified approach we can use when practicing dressage.
Contact and balance are developed by forward.
Throughness is enabled by forward and contact.
Contact enables head position which is of utmost importance for balance.
Impulsion is necessary to raise the head and neck necessary for balance in collection.
Suppleness improves longitudinal balance ultimately necessary for collection.
Purity of gaits. A trot is a trot, a canter a canter, and so on
Obedience. The horse yields to the rider’s wishes
Gaits which exhibit energy.
Call to Acton
I challenge every rider who’s reading this to run through the above principles in his/her mind every now and then when riding. Take stock of what’s going on with your horse and how things can be improved.
Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.