Larry Poulin says, “Less conditioning work is needed now that our marathons are shorter. Back in the day, we went 22 kilometers in a five-section marathon. Of course, conditioning still needs to take place, but two days a week can be riding days, focused on contact, with the horse being over the back, regular, and rhythmic. A horse can’t use itself properly if hollow in the back and not round. The training scale is the blueprint for dressage, both ridden and driven.”

When building an equine athlete, one of our goals should be to make them as ambidextrous as possible, including being as strong and supple on one side as the other. This can be easier to feel riding than driving. Tiny braces and small changes in connection are more obvious to the rider. Small losses of balance are more easily felt. Frequent changes of direction and smaller figures are more simple when riding. An important benefit gained in ridden dressage is using.

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