Series: Dressage: A biomechanically founded and artistically cultivated system of training This month: Understanding aiding –science and art interwoven: Part II - Suppleness
Last quarter we took a brief look at the bio-mechanical foundation which dressage schooling is built upon for both horse and rider. Now we’ll begin to discuss aiding. Regardless of discipline, the basic goal in riding is for the rider to feel balanced and comfortable in the saddle, for the horse to feel balanced and comfortable under saddle, and for the horse to do what the rider asks with as little resistance as possible. Sometimes the demands can seem pretty daunting! It is important for the rider to understand what she is asking in order to expect her horse to understand well enough to offer an acceptable response.
The word dressage often conjures up images of high level collection, fantastic lateral movements, and even airs above the ground. The truth is, dressage is a French word that simply means training. How do equestrians progress from the daily schooling of the basic paces – walk, trot, and canter – to training these advanced maneuvers? Dressage is built on a biomechanical foundation for both the horse and the rider. Understanding how both equine and human bodies work and how they work together is the first step to climbing the levels.