7 steps to using the Scales of Training – how it all fits together

If you go right back to the introductory post of this series, “Do you know how to USE the Scales of Training?” you will find an outline of the reasons why it is so important to understand the scales, and how to apply them.

To quote the FEI handbook, ‘the training scale is the most important guideline for trainers, riders and judges.

‘By following these classical principles the object and general principles of dressage can be achieved. In addition, the training scale is the measure of the quality of a performance and the guideline for the judges while judging a competition.’

How do the Scales relate to the Stages of Training?

I described in that previous post the way to use the scales in your everyday schooling sessions, but a clearer understanding of the bigger picture can help you to understand their application and relevance relative to your horse’s stage of training.

When you train a young horse from scratch, consideration must be given to your horse’s

  • understanding of your aids
  • physical ability to respond to those aids
  • strength

As discussed before, whilst the scales cannot be tackled totally in isolation from each other, they must be developed in the prescribed order:

  1. RHYTHM (and relaxation)
  2. SUPPLENESS
  3. CONTACT
  4. IMPULSION
  5. STRAIGHTNESS
  6. COLLECTION

Each scale is more or less related to the Stages of Training:

  1. STAGE 1 – the familiarisation, or preliminary riding stage
  2. STAGE 2 – development of pushing power
  3. STAGE 3 – development of carrying power
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