You Don't Know Sh*t About Dressage

Ok, you probably know a lot about dressage. But listen. A friend of mine posted an article this morning about how in the good ol' days of classical dressage they used to school a two beat diagonalized walk which was used in preparation for teaching the piaffe. As someone who loves to read the classical literature on the history of dressage, this inspired me to discuss some of the movements we generally don't see anymore. 
Wait, whaaaat?!? Yeah, old dressage dudes used to collect their horses so much in the canter that it would travel backwards. James Fillis writes about canter to the rear in his book Breaking And Riding. His book is certainly an interesting read for those interested in the history of the French school and those wanting to learn more about the system of Francois Baucher. Baucher (1796–1873) was this dude who had a chandelier fall on him while he was riding, and due to his injuries came up with a new system for training horses that seriously irritated the Germans. But that's for another blog.
Check out this clip of canter to the rear:
No, this isn't short for a jam and baguette sandwich. Jambette is when a single front leg of the horse is held suspended in the air. You can do a Jambette at the halt, where the horse just holds his font leg up, or you can do a turn on the forehand with one leg extended. The Jambette can also be ridden in the canter, which is termed "canter on 3 legs", and is shown below. 
It's a cool exercise to freak out your vet when he watches you ride. 
Everyone knows about the Spanish walk (if you don't, click here) but did you know you can also do a Spanish trot? Nuno Oliveira, in his book Reflections On Equestrian Art, talks about the benefits of this exercise in suppling the horse's shoulders. Nuno also talks about teaching the Spanish trot to horses who are struggling to learn the passage. Interesting stuff!
So there you have it! Now you have some cool info to share with others the next time you are at an uppity dressage cocktail party!
Happy Riding!


  • the "spanish trot " clip looks scarily like Totilas’s extended trot. LOL

    Yo coah
  • Stephen I am loving your blog posts. Totally teaching Zen the Jambette for the vet visits lolololololol


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