Manolo Mendez Dressage

The Importance of Training Transitions in Dressage

by Manolo Mendez Specialist of in-hand and Classical Equitation with writers Ysabella Dean and Caroline Larrouilh

This article originally appeared in Issue 4 of Baroque Magazine (March 2012, pg. 24)

Article Excerpt: The Importance of Training Transitions in Dressage

In this article we will discuss transitions, their importance in training, and how to develop them in the young horse.

Classical Training philosophy teaches us that the High School and Grand Prix movements – piaffe, passage, half-pass, tempi changes – and even the Airs Above Ground – levade, capriole, etc.- are not tricks. Far from it, they represent the culmination of all the training to that point. In Classical Training, everything is taught step by step; one thing leads onto the next.

To execute these movements correctly, with ease and artistry requires that the horse be physically and mentally ready: fit, straight, supple, balanced and rhythmical. These qualities result from having solid training basics that are logical and progressive. To train without taking the time and effort to establish these basics which allows the trainer to develop the horse without strain and tension is to train the horse without respect.

Transitions are a big part of the horse’s learning curve, one of the most important steps on the road to the Grand Prix. We must develop soft transitions so that when changing from one gait to another the tempo or rhythm becomes one fluid movement. But remember, the horse is still in kindergarten – we must keep everything simple and softRead More on

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