Monday, May 10, 2010

I've Got Rhythm

Now that I am back in the saddle again, so to speak, I want to do something and not just walk and trot around in circles. So I went back the basics of dressage the training scale/ pyramid.
If you are a dressage rider this pyramid no doubt looks familiar. I actually copied it from The Art of Classical Riding, if you are unfamiliar with the training pyramid that site does an great job of explaining it. I highly suggest you head over there and take a look. It is good thing to keep in mind as we are working with our horses, even if you don't do dressage.

A Gymnastic Riding System using Mind, Body, and Spirit, shows a unique way to apply the pyramid. Yes, I know, I have an issue with books. I love them. I have way too many. Anyway, the training pyramid is handled differently in this book. Not only do they have rhythm, suppleness, contact, impulsion, straightness, and collect, but Betsy Steiner broke each level down into mind, body, and oh yes, spirit. She also calls them intellectual element, athletic element, and psychological element. Then she tells how to apply this to both human and horse.

Of course it is always best to start at the bottom, rhythm. Rhythm is the regular, even, steady, cadence of the paces. Using Betsy's book we can expand on that. Rhythm for the rider is knowing the tempo and footfalls of the horse, having the strength to ride all three gaits, and the patience to work with the horse. For the horse this means moving forward off of leg pressure, having the strength to carry the rider at all three gaits, and being obedient and having a good work ethic.

The book gives a check list for horse and rider for each element. I am having fun working through the rider sections. For example under the strength section she teaches about Pilates. She is a big Pilates believer and includes some how to on that. I am going to add some Pilates to what I already do. I have a video I picked up at one time I never actually used. I am not sure how much I can do with Drew, as he is not my horse and I am not riding him more than 2x a month, but we will work on obedience and leg aids tomorrow.

I didn't mark this as a book review because this is more of an ongoing process with this book. Her suggestion is to keep a riding journal. Set goals that can be met in a month for mind, body, and spirit for both horse and rider.


  1. Sounds like a very good book - I'll have to look that one up - thanks!

  2. Looks like a great book. Too many people do not have rhythm and collection, the top and bottom of the pyramid. On the weekend I took my wordless Wednesday pictures at was a dressage show. Not one of the 30-40 horses there were properly collected and none of them had a rhythmic walk, they just kind of ambled along.

  3. Wow that sounds like a great book! I'm definitely going to look into buying that one because I like how she breaks it down into easier to achieve steps. The training pyramid has always been a little daunting to me, but I think that book will help me with that. I need to learn as much as possible if I'm going to start Chrome the right way in two or three years. Thanks for telling us about it.


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