ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE
At the age of 10 years with his training completed, the stallion is presented for the first time in an evening performance. During a performance, the fully trained stallions wear a traditional gold-plated breastplate and crupper, called a "Goldzeug". They also carry a "school saddle", which is made from buckskin and larger than the more commonly seen English saddle used by the school when training the stallions and riders. Gold-plated double bridles are only used for performances.
The entrance of the riders is marked by the stately and regal sound of the "Overture to Suite No.1 in F Major" from Handel’s Water Music. This music reflects the grace and nobility of the white stallions.
STEPS AND MOVEMENTS OF THE HIGH SCHOOL
Here we are shown the ultimate perfection of the "Haute École". Embedded into a harmonious presentation each horse and rider show their own individual performance. In a minute, elaborate sequence, in tune to the music, the individual steps of the "high school" are presented.
This is used to prepare the horses for the lessons of the "Schools above the Ground". Here the most important school jumps (Levade, Courbette, Capriole) are shown on the short rein. Without the weight of a rider, this exercise gives the horse the chance to find his balance and the confidence needed to perform these jumps.
PAS DE DEUX
Total symmetry and harmony are the centre piece of this performance. Two horses and riders position themselves in a mirror image. In perfect lines and figures in strict time to the music, the two riders demonstrate all the movements of the "classical school", mirroring each other exactly.
ON THE LONG REIN
"Work on the Long Rein" is a challenge to which only an extremely sensitive and intelligent horse can respond. The rider walks directly behind the horse, guiding and supporting him in the presentation of all the lessons of the "high school" only with the long reins and the light touch of a whip.
The challenge of the "school quadrille" is that a minimum of 8 horses show the various movements of classical dressage on short lines in a unique choreography and in perfect harmony. This is the longest part of the programme, demanding the utmost concentration from both horses and riders.
All horses, except the young stallions, wear red and gold or green and gold "Shabracks", or saddlecloths, under the saddle. Red is for "All Steps and Movements of the High School", "Pas de Deux", "On the Long Rein", "The Grand Solo" and "The School Quadrille." Green is used for "Work In-Hand" and the "Airs above the Ground". The Shabrack is also used to differentiate the status of each rider: the "director of the school" has three gold bands and gold fringe, the "chief riders" have three bands and no fringe, "riders" have two bands, and "assistant riders" have one.
The young stallions are not exhibited in the same equipment as the more mature animals. They are ridden in a plain snaffle bridle and a simple dressage-style English saddle. For training sessions, black snaffle bridles and double bridles are used. Horses are clean and well groomed. The "Capriole" horses wear a braided tail wrapped short in a "queue" (known elsewhere as a "mud tail"), which is fixed with a decorative tail bag (Schweiftasche).
All riders wear the traditional uniform: a brown tailcoat, a "bicorne" style hat, white buckskin breeches, white suede gloves, and black top riding boots. Swan neck spurs are also part of the uniform. The empire style uniform (1795–1820 in fashion) has remained relatively unchanged for 200 years.
TRAINING THE STALLIONS
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