THE TRAINING SCALE
The training scale is the most important guideline for trainers and riders and consists of six parts. Training a horse according to this scale is the correct way to develop the ability of the horse whether it is a dressage horse or a show jumper. Each part of the training scale works in conjunction with one or more of the other parts of the scale. One part is never used in isolation.
Sally on Anchorage
The six principles of the training scale are:
The training scale can be divided into three parts:
- Development of understanding and confidence, focusing on rhythm, suppleness and contact;
- Development of pushing power, focusing on suppleness, contact and acceptance of the bit , impulsion and straightness;
- Development of carrying power, focusing on impulsion, straightness and collection.
The result is a horse that is fully responsive and "through" meaning that the horse "lets the aids through". The horse is prepared to accept the rider’s aids obediently and without tension. It should respond to the driving aids without hesitation, i.e., its hind legs should ‘swing though’ actively, creating forward thrust. At the same time, the rein aids should pass through, i.e., be ‘allowed through’ from the mouth, via the poll, neck and back, to the hindquarters, without being blocked by tension at any point. The horse can be said to be ‘through’ or to ‘let the aids through’ when it remains loose and responds obediently, and equally on both reins, to the driving, restraining and sideways-acting aids, therefore being submissive. This quality is the hallmark of the correctly schooled horse .
"If you want your horse to be submissive, it is imperative that you are able to give with the rein." - Kyra Kyrklund
The training scale is a program of systematic physical education of a horse, a gymnasticising program to develop the horse's natural physical and mental aptitudes. By following these principles, the rider obtains an obedient, supple and comfortable horse with a good basic training. This systematic basic training ensures that the horse is sufficiently supple and "through" at all times. It has been developed over the centuries as a method to train horses harmoniously and to keep horses sound. The overall aim of training is to develop a horse that is "through" (German term - durchlassigkeit) and a horse that is willing to obey the rider's aids immediately without the slightest resistance in all exercises, movements and transitions. This applies to all horses, whatever they are used for, not just dressage horses.
(Please note that parts of the Training articles are taken from the FEI Dressage Handbook and GermanDressage.com)