Don‘t forget to train for speed when you’re riding dressage
Training speed when you’re riding dressage? That might not be the first thing you would think about. Maybe you focus more on control and smoothness.
So why would you train speed?
A member of Morgan Lashley’s online training asked the same question during a live Q&A and Morgan gave the following answer.
When you look at the different disciplines in the equestrian sports, every discipline has his own factors that play an important role in their training. This varies between strength, coordination, smoothness and speed.
But speed withing dressage is of course a little bit of a strange topic.
Because why would you need speed?
You can find speed in dressage mainly within the middle and extended gaits. The horse has to get to a certain speed to be able to perform these gaits.
Of course the horse isn’t supposed to speed up during these exercises.
He is supposed to extend his gaits.
The horse extends during the extended gaits, but the speed also goes up
But if you compare it to a jumping competition, where a horse with a big canter is competing with a horse that has a small canter.
It might just be that the horse with the bigger canter is also faster.
Because speed isn’t necessarily about the fact that the horse does or doesn’t extend, but more about the length of his steps.
Yes, the length of his steps also has to extend during the middle and extented gaits. But the steps also have to follow each other faster.
So you speed up during the middle and extended gaits.
That’s why it’s important that you also train on speed in your dressage training. Because your horse has to last the entire exercise.
The last thing you want when you’re riding your exercise, is the feeling that your horse is running out of energy.
A good way to train speed, is by using a heart rate monitor.
With a heart rate monitor you can see exactly what your horse’s heart rate is during an extended gait.
When you’re then training cardio, you can also train your horse’s speed.
You do this by training for a couple of minutes in the heart rate that your horse has during an extended gait.
It isn’t of much use to train your horse in a really high heart rate. Because your horse will start using another energy system that doesn’t really apply to dressage.
But speed is definitely an important factor that you shouldn’t forget in your dressage training and it deserves a spot in your training schedule.