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Muscles & Fitness

Dressage riding

Dressage is a discipline of equestrian sport in which the horse's natural predispositions are promoted and refined through gymnastic exercises. The goal of dressage is the rideable horse, which can be induced by minimal signals ("help") towards the exact execution of a desired task ("lesson"). The dressage training of the horse is the basis of every riding activity and finds its completion in the high school. The so-called scale of training is decisive for the training of all horses in dressage.

Dressage promotes and refines the horse's natural movements and enables it to carry the rider's weight optimally and thus contributes to the horse's health. In this context, dressage means less conditioning the horse to commands in the sense of freedom training than gymnastics and sensitisation of the horse to increase strength, mobility and permeability:

"The basic idea of classical dressage is to keep a riding horse healthy for as long as possible by practicing gymnastic exercises that enable the horse to remain usable for riding without suffering damage. The horse should become more beautiful, expressive and self-confident by the systematic training, whereby the overall picture of a [....] harmoniously built athletes."

The training of a dressage horse is classically based on the training scale.

Cavaletti work

With the Cavaletti work a "muscle training" in the sense of strengthening on the one hand and loosening on the other hand takes place. The cardiovascular system is strengthened and this goes hand in hand with "fitness training". This work with poles also increases the "sure-footedness", the horse learns to move its "centre of gravity quickly and safely" and exercises its "balancing" through increased feet. There is an increased demand on the attention of horse and rider and the horse trains the "evaluation", i.e. the visual measurement of distances. There is even talk of "intelligence training". In dressage training, the work promotes the basic gaits of walking and trotting, the constant distances improve the pace, the higher offshoots train the swing and the sublime expression, the cadence.
Not to be underestimated is also the factor'variety' for horse and rider, the work becomes more interesting and consequently increases motivation.

bar work

Working with poles is an important exercise for horses and riders in equestrian sport. This promotes the horse's musculature, especially the back muscles are loosened. It shows a greater cadence and develops a better beat in all three gaits.

Pole work is useful for both dressage and show jumping horses and can also be used with beginners and young horses with certain modifications. It is not only used for gymnastics, but also for increasing the horse's attention, for variety (for horse and rider) in training and for lifting the legs in the sense of an increasing cadence and finally for getting used to a possible later jumping training. In addition, a step in the direction of the pass can be counteracted with bar work. When used right at the beginning of a training session, the poles have a loosening effect and can calm over-enthusiastic or very spirited horses.

gymnastics jumping

By several small jumps in short distances the horses learn to work flexibly in the back and to balance themselves always in the same rhythm.

Gymnastic rows can improve the attention and obedience of the horse by alternating the obstacles in height and width. Instead of jumping, a pole can also be placed on the ground. The "missing" jump requires more concentration from the horse.

Heavy horses can be trained with the help of in-out rows not to storm over the jumps, as they must gather again immediately after each jump to overcome the next jump.

The horse cannot overcome three or four in outs in a row with the help of momentum, so it must jump out of its hindquarters with force. This results in a high training effect, even if no jump is higher than 60 cm. However, care must always be taken not to overtax the horses.

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Adel Massaad