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The Scales of Training.



There are a variety of “Systems” around the world used for training horses, but many tend to be specific to breed types.

The scale of training is a system that evolved in Germany and has proven over time to be applicable to many different breeds and types of horse.

 In its origin the Scale of Training does not include “Acceptance” however this is a critical element for riders whose skills are still developing, in order that the horse does not modify and adapt the rider through his changing balance and to avoid working!

The scale of training is a systematic, developmental process through which the horse gains the strength, the confidence and the understanding to work in harmony with the rider and to perform with ease and lightness, thus avoiding excess wear and tear on his limbs.

The rider who takes on the responsibility of training a horse MUST have clear ownership of their position in order not to be altered by the horses initial changing balance or his potential instinctive desire to economise.

Riders must have a clear and consistent system of aids and a clear understanding of the progression of exercises used in developing the horse through his training.

Missing out any stage in the scale of training will usually result in a limited level of performance as the horse develops, as without this clear structure the horse will learn to compromise his natural movement in order to fulfil what is asked of him.

The scale of training, taken from the German Military Manual is shown as:

RHYTHM - SUPPLENESS - CONTACT -These are the preparation for work
- STRAIGHTNESS - COLLECTION These are the work

Ingestre Training Philsophy based on the scales of training.

We believe that the Scale of Training is a system that works for the training of many different types, breeds and temperaments of horses. We acknowledge that there are other "systems" utilised by many renown trainers around the world, but we find that most other systems are mainly effective with specific types of horses. Over 30 years experience has led us to the conclusion that the "Scale of Training" is a system that is more encompassing across many types of equines than any other.


We strongly believe that in order to use "The Scale of Training" there is a need for the rider to have clear understanding, and well developed "OWNERSHIP" of their position and the signals that they use.

We further believe that before the rider can truly start to develop their work plan, that the horse must learn to "ACCEPT" both the riders position and the aids that they give. In their initial training, through weakness, instinctive reaction, and lack of clear understanding, most horses and ponies will compromise the riders position if allowed, and for the same reasons will quickly learn to negotiate the aids, again if allowed.


We believe that time spent at the beginning of the horses career, or at the beginning of a retraining period, with a rider who has "OWNERSHIP" will enable the horse to develop the strength, the understanding and the confidence to progress more easily through the "Scales of Training". Without "ACCEPTANCE" it is much more difficult to establish RHYTHM, SUPPLENESS OR CONTACT, which are the preparation for work stages.


The Preparation Stages:
 (Initial training and daily working in)

The horse learns to accept the riders position and the aids enabling him to support the weight of the rider, and to stop, start and turn when told.

The horse learns to move with even regular footfalls, has rhythm in his whole body and allows the rider to “join in”

The horse learns to work with a supple relaxed back and is prepared to stretch forwards and downwards.

The horse learns to accept an equal contact consistently in both reins.

The work Stages:
 (Should only be employed when the preparation stages are clearly established)

Produced through transitions and lateral work, the horse begins to take more weight on the hind legs.

The horse learns to go straight on two tracks, and to bend equally left and right.

The horse learns to carry the forehand, taking the weight on the hind legs, leaving the forehand light and manoeuvrable.