The Importance of Straightness 

The trainer at dressage camp last week was saying that he doesn’t use the Scales of Training when teaching because he feels that straightness is way up near the top of the Scale, when actually it is paramount in being able to establish the basic rhythm, suppleness and contact.
Which made perfect sense to me. Although I wouldn’t ignore the Scale because it is an excellent baseline and system of referral for riders, I’m glad I’ve heard someone else say that they don’t think the building blocks are in the correct order and we should pay more attention to the aspect of straightness.

The Rubber Curry Comb

Straightness comes quite high up in the Scales of Training, but I feel it is often overlooked with novice riders, which can often cause problems later on in their training, or cause injuries due to over stressing a limb.

I wouldn’t expect a child or novice rider to be able to straighten a horse, and correct them very easily, but I would want them to be aware of what straightness is in it’s most basic form.

Firstly, it’s important to understand the importance of riding evenly on each rein, and changing diagonals whilst hacking to help the horse develop symmetrically. A horse with even muscle tone is more likely to travel straight. Straight being when the left hind foot follows the path of the left fore foot, and the same with the right limbs.

Lessons and guided schooling usually instils this to riders quite easily.

Another area I like to…

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