As they learn more skills, the stallions are assigned to experienced "riders" and "chief riders" for training. Once they are partnered they start to form a relationship getting used to each other, to performing turns and circles in all three gaits. They learn bending, suppleness, impulsion from the hindquarters and the sitting/moving back of weight on the hindquarters (collection). The stallion gradually learns correct position and bend in the lateral work and tempo differences in all three gaits.This phase is the longest of the stallions' training, and it takes two thirds of the total training to complete (around 4 years). The stallion always determines the pace of the training, some things he will take to easily, and other things he needs to be given more time to perfect. He is always be allowed as much time as he requires. The most difficult movements the stallions learn are the Half Pass, Counter Canter, Flying Changes, Pirouette, Passage, and Piaffe
Stallions tend to show potential themselves to learn the "high school" manoeuvres as they begin their training with their "chief rider". These horses are carefully selected for their temperament, their strength and courage. Once they have completed their training, the stallions are allocated a white school saddle and a gold bridle, to be used during their performances. The "high school" movements performed are the Levade, the Capriole, and the Courbette
The "Levade" was first taught at the beginning of the 18th century, asking the horse to hold a position approximately 30-35 degrees from the ground. The low angle makes the Levade an extremely strenuous position to hold, and requires a great effort from the horse. Therefore, many horses are not capable of a good-quality "Levade. The "Levade is also a transition movement between work on the ground and the "airs" above the ground. Neither of these movements are equivalent to rearing, as they require precise control, excellent balance, and a great deal of strength, and are the product of correct training, rather than resistance from the horse.The horse is asked to enter the Levade from the Piaffe, which asks the horse to increasingly engage its hindquarters, lowering them toward the ground and bringing the hind legs more toward its centre of gravity. This gives the viewer the impression that the horse appears to sink down in back and rise in front. The position is held for a number of seconds, and then the horse quietly puts the forelegs back on the ground and proceeds at the walk, or stands at the halt. The Levade is considered to be pinnacle of collection, as the horse carries all weight on the back legs, and has an extreme tucking of the hindquarters and coiling of the loins.
In the "Courbette", the horse raises its forehand off the ground, tucks up forelegs evenly, and then jumps forward, never allowing the forelegs to touch down, in a series of "hops". Extremely strong and talented horses can perform five or more leaps forward before having to touch down with the forelegs, although it is more usual to see a series of three or four leaps.
In the "Capriole" (meaning leap of a goat), the horse jumps from a raised position of the forehand straight up into the air, kicks out with the hind legs, and lands more or less on all four legs at the same time. It requires an enormously powerful horse to perform correctly, and is considered the most difficult of all the airs above the ground.
TRAINING THE STALLIONS
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