Online Lecture Demonstration Series
Episode 3: Dressage Dissected


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Price: £20
Running Time: 2hrs

Lecture Description

When it comes to dressage the scales of training are the stepping stones that many riders live by when training horses. They form the basis of what judges look for in horses during a dressage test. But what about biomechanics? How does anatomy and biomechanics link in with the scales of training?


These questions are explored in greater detail in this online lecture demonstration Dressage Dissected. Our main rider in this demo is dressage rider Lily Brooksby-Dalby who has produced horses, up to Grand Prix level. She rides the lovely Hans a 17hh Dutch Warmblood. Gillian's horse, Artistic Flair, will also be making an appearance.

The Anatomy of Dressage

In the first half of the online lecture demonstration we look at the anatomy and biomechanics specifically related to dressage. This covers many popular topics of conversation in the horse world such as; how the horse maintains an outline, the different head and neck positions and how those different positions affect the movement and way of going of the horse.


We will look at the 2 very different ways a horse achieves "getting his nose on the vertical". And question whether this really is the best marker for a good outline? Also, what is the correct way of going for improving posture and musculoskeletal health and the positive impact on the horse’s performance?

The answer to these questions and many others lie in an understanding of anatomy and biomechanics.

Other topics that will be covered include, the importance of the base of the neck, the positioning of the hind limb relating to the sacroiliac joint and lumbar sacral junction, and how this is important for collection and engagement.

Lecture Structure

The Scales of Training

In the second half, Lily and Hans demonstrate a variety of different dressage movements and exercises designed to improve each of the scales of training and in turn we discuss the relevant biomechanics.

1. Rhythm

Here we look at exercises designed to improve the first scale of training, rhythm, focus the mind, relieve tension and relax the topline and utilise the fact that physiology can affect psychology!

2. Suppleness

The second scale of training, suppleness, refers to suppleness of mind as well as body. In this section we focus on the biomechanics of lateral flexion and anatomically how the horse achieves bend.

3. Contact

The third scale of training, contact, is not just about the horse - both horse and rider symmetry and balance will affect the contact. Often by focussing on rider position, symmetry and hand position and stillness, the horse's contact and outline will improve.

4. Impulsion

Only when the first 3 scales of training are consistently established can the fourth scale of training, impulsion, be significantly improved.


5. Straightness

When it comes to the fifth scale of training, straightness, it is easy to think this is all about going in a straight line. In this lecture demonstration, we study how the horse moves sideways and the muscles involved in not only creating adduction (taking the leg towards the body) and abduction (taking the leg away from the body) but those involved in lateral stability.

6. Collection

Collection is considered the pinnacle to the scales of training. In this lecture demonstration we look at the biomechanics of more advanced collected movements and methods to assess correct posture and way of going throughout.

Other lecture demonstrations in this series...