Manolo Mendez on Pirouette (Part III of III) Introducing the Canter Pirouette

(© Manolo Mendez and Caroline Larrouilh. First published Baroque Horse Magazine, 2013. Image Courtesy Manolo Mendez Dressage.)

The canter pirouette is a high level movement, a very difficult exercise that requires balance, suspension, suppleness, listening and collection from the horse. To have a good canter pirouette, we must have a good…canter.

We must have a pure three-beat canter and be able to collect and lengthen the horse’s body without struggle. We must be able to go from gallop to medium to collected, to very collected canter and out again without the horse losing power, balance or willingness.

Defining the correct canter pirouette

In the canter pirouette, the horse has to bend through his entire body and spine in the direction of travel for six to eight strides. He has to turn on a small diameter circle and his inside hind leg has to act as a pivot, lifting and dropping in the same hoof print with every stride. His outside hind leg has to travel on a bigger diameter circle around the inside hind leg.

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Rose Caslar on Dressage Sabbatical: A Year of Classical Riding at Lost Hollow Farm

(© Rose Caslar 2017. “Dressage Sabbatical: A Year of Classical Riding at Lost Hollow Farm” published by Editions Mistral. This excerpt published with permission of the author and publisher. Drawing by Elise Genest. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher.)

The First Month

September 2, 2013

I have now been at Lost Hollow Farm, home of the Pennsylvania Riding Academy, working with Paul and Andrea, for one month. I have not written until now because frankly, I have been A) exhausted, B) occasionally confused, and C) rather unsure just how to describe the experience. Lest that all sound terribly negative and discouraging, let me explain.

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Edwin Muir: The Horses

(Poem “The Horses” by Edwin Muir 5/15/1887 – 1/3/1959. Painting by George Stubbs, Mares and Foals in a River Landscape, c.1763–1768)

Barely a twelvemonth after

The seven days war that put the world to sleep,

Late in the evening the strange horses came.

By then we had made our covenant with silence,

But in the first few days it was so still

We listened to our breathing and were afraid.

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Sylvia Loch on the Iberian Horse: Generous Beyond Belief

(© Kip Mistral. First published in the Spring 2004 issue of Horse of Kings magazine, and in May 2008 in the Equine Journal. Photograph of Sylvia and her beloved Lusitano stallion Prazer, courtesy of Sylvia Loch.)

“The Lusitanos have taught me everything,” exclaims Sylvia Loch warmly, when asked what she has to say about the Iberian horse. Being an internationally-recognized classical rider, trainer, and judge and internationally published author of numerous books and videos on classical riding, she is considered an authority in matters of the Iberian horse and particularly of the Lusitano from Portugal. And the glow in her voice emanates not just from her knowledge but from the depth of her love for these fine horses that she just cannot live without…

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John Richard Young: Shoulder-in technique requires time, attention

(© John Richard Young. First published in Arabian Horse Express September 1990. Thanks to Yvonne Welz and her archives at Image of François Robichon de La Guérinière and student, “L’Epaule en Dedans” (Shoulder-in) by Charles Parrocel.)

Last month I expressed my negative opinion of the shoulder-in as an efficient schooling exercise, particularly when attempted by the average, semi-skilled rider. I gave reasons for my opinion and quoted other horsemen who agree with me.

However, I do not expect everybody else to agree with me, nor would I presume to force my views on those who prefer to think differently. I would rather help them, if I can, in pursuing the way they wish to go with their horses. Therefore, the following remarks about the shoulder-in are addressed to fledgling trainers who, for whatever reasons, elect to follow in the footsteps of tradition regardless of what I think.

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