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Ingrid Klimke Dressage Masterclass: Walk pirouettes

Fidera ridden by Greer Moloney, with Almania Felix and Nicky Kirkby in the background - © Stephen Mowbray

The Medium level horses: Fidera ridden by Greer Moloney, with Almania Felix and Nicky Kirkby in the background.

© Stephen Mowbray

 

By Dr Kerry Mack

By the time we were watching the third group at Ingrid Klimke’s Dressage Masterclass, we were all getting the idea of the lesson plan, and all appreciating Ingrid’s approach. Always positive, always encouraging. Systematically warming up, collect, go forwards. Careful training, step-by-step to build confidence in the horse and rider.

The two combinations in this Medium level group were Almania Felix ridden by Nicky Kirkby and Fidera ridden by Greer Moloney.

 

Almania Felix ridden by Nicky Kirkby - © Stephen Mowbray

Almania Felix ridden by Nicky Kirkby.

© Stephen Mowbray



Ingrid repeats certain things: “Sink into the saddle” to half halt and collect, or to do a downwards transition. “The hand comes last”. She keeps reminding riders to hold the reins correctly; thumb like a roof (insider tip, there are no flat roofs in Germany, the thumb must be flexed). Straight line; heel, hip, shoulder — “I am not picky I am precise,” she says this over and over. Certainly Ingrid is fastidious with a lot of attention to detail, as we would expect of someone who’s achieved so much. She reminds us to be precise.

Once again after the warm up is the trot, walk one step, and trot out exercise. The degree of difficulty is increased for these Medium level horses by putting the transitions into more complex lines. Serpentines, loops, voltes. Cavaletti at rising trot, then shoulder in on the circle; only three tracks, not more. Repetitions of this both sides and the horse is showing more engagement. Shoulder in on the long side as far as B, change rein by two half circles across X, and then shoulder in the next long side from E. The collection really improves with this exercise, so go medium trot and then walk. Walk break, on the buckle.

 

Fidera ridden by Greer Moloney - © Stephen Mowbray

Fidera ridden by Greer Moloney.

© Stephen Mowbray



The next exercise uses the cavaletti to improve the walk pirouettes. The cavaletti are set up across the arena at a distance of 6 feet. I was surprised to hear her use a term referring to old imperial measurements — but she wasn’t, she meant six times the length of your foot! Very close together.

This helps the horse keep the correct rhythm and activity at the walk coming into the walk pirouette. Walk over the cavaletti, straight, shoulder in, walk pirouette right and straight away back over the cavaletti, straight down the middle of the cavaletti. Active. Left pirouette. Repetition trains; Ingrid keeps the horse in the exercise until he understands and is marching around the exercise keeping the correct rhythm all the way. Enough, canter forwards.

 

 Greer Moloney and Fidera, with Almania Felix and Nicky Kirkby in the background - © Stephen Mowbray

 Greer Moloney and Fidera, with Almania Felix and Nicky Kirkby in the background.

© Stephen Mowbray


 
I loved this exercise. What a great way to keep the walk fresh and the horse concentrating. I am starting to understand that Ingrid wants the horses to develop focus and attention as well. They must keep focus on the rider.

An exercise is introduced, quality achieved and onto the next thing — which will be the flying changes. Stay tuned!

Read part one and two below:

Session One: The lesson plan

Session Two: Managing the distracted stallion
 

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