THE REAL BASICS

                                   

There is perhaps no concept in dressage as misunderstood as 'the basics', and there is no dressage trainer more ably equipped to explain exactly what the term means, than Hans Heinrich Meyer zu Strohen Hans Heinrich was for many years a rider in the famous Verden auction team, and now runs the Riding Club at Hoya, just half an hour from the centre of Verden. He regularly represents the Hanoverian Verband at clinics in the United States.
This is simply one of the most brilliant instructional articles we have ever published!
Photos by Roz Neave

         
 
People often ask me at my clinics in America, 'what are the basics' - it is not so easy to translate into English - the six point German training scale. That is the only basics we have.
If we have a three year old horse it is necessary to ride that horse in a very slow way. We like to work him just in the gaits: walk, trot and canter. To have a good, but light contact, from the hand, to the rein, to the mouth. If a horse is ridden on a loose rein, then it is just going around and around - he must learn from the beginning to accept the contact, and from this contact you say to the horse, with your body and your seat, 'when you accept this contact and you accept my body, especially my legs, okay boy, you go forward in walk, trot and canter'.
 
When you have a good rhythm and contact then you say 'okay boy, we would like to make some schooling transitions - trot to canter, canter to trot'. Start with these transitions, but with contact on a longer rein, so that the neck is not in a higher position, just in a deeper position, with contact.
   
 
 

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