When you read this title I’m sure you know I’m going to be telling you about another Lou Denizard dressage training image. Yes…you are correct.Here we go.
As I’m riding Lou says :”You want to be riding a square.” I can see the square in my mind; four equal sides, all interior angles equal. A square.
Then he says: “You do not want to be riding a parallelogram!”
A parallelogram? My mind whirled through my mental Rolodex of shapes. Ah…yes a parallelogram.
Why do I not want my horse to be in a parallelogram shape? The parallelogram shape would mean he is either leaning forward and putting weight on the forehand or he is leaning back and is no longer “in front of my leg”. For non riders let me explain that. You always want to have the horse ‘in front of your leg’ because then he will respond to your leg aids. Not in front of the leg means the horse has tuned the rider out and is “sucking back”. This is not a good place to be as a rider. You cannot be effective in that situation.
What about the parallelogram that is leaning forward? For a Thoroughbred racehorse this is ok.
But for the dressage horse it is not ideal. Here is Lynsey Rowan riding Tattoo. She is riding a “square” horse. Even though the horse is moving forward he is still square under the rider, ready to respond to her aids, and do whatever she asks for next. Can you see the square?
As with many of Lou’s training tips this is a mental image. No one is going to run into the arena to measure the angles and decide if I am riding a square or a parallelogram. If I think about what shape I am riding I can quickly have a sense of what the shape is. And if I am not on a square then I will have problems maneuvering Biasini into a shoulder in or a half pass or a series of changes. I need all four quadrants, of the horse’s body, under me, like a square, to be able to have him respond to my leg and rein aids. The parallelogram would not have all four quadrants under me. Two of them would be out behind or out in front. If that is happening I must use my leg aids to bring him back to square.
I find this is a very effective training image for me. Give it a try. Ask yourself ; am I riding a square or a parallelogram?