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Reflections on Self-Carriage

October 2016 by Allan Buck

In the May issue of Horses and People, Allan Buck wrote about the decline in judging and training standards in relation to the horse’s head and neck frame. This month, he talks about another quality that is clearly stipulated in the dressage rule books, yet is less prioritised by today’s riders and judges. 

Dressage is a dance between a rider and the horse. As human dancers, we do not constrain our partners, nor interfere with their freedom of movement. As dancers interact and support each other, they also allow each other their own self-carriage. 

When we ride our horses, we are also interacting with our dance partner and, as such, we should not interfere with their ability to freely perform as their body requires - we should aim to train our horses to perform in self-carriage.