Exercises

Teaching and training the horses begins with that called the Basse École in which the animal learns to execute, with a perfect balance, the three core movements: walking, trotting and cantering. This initial phase also includes marching laterally, shoulders-in and isolated half-pass exercises.

In a later phase, the horse begins learning the Haute Ecole exercises as formerly performed in the Picaria Real, such as the passage, piaffe, pirouettes, tempi half-passes and as well as the “Airs above the Ground” such as the levades, pousadas, courbettes, balotades and caprioles. The “Airs above the Ground” reflect all of the splendour of Baroque Equestrianism, the very highest standard of riding in the 18th century. For teaching the “Airs above the Ground”, the Riders make recourse to the work in hand techniques. The key preparatory exercise is the piaffe and the respective transitions from walking to trotting, galloping and halting. The work in hand enables greater flexibility and the lateral mobility of the horses ensuring that they gradually gain in concentration and play with their centres of gravity.

The main ”Airs above the Ground” exercises are the levades, pousadas, courbettes, balotades and caprioles.

A circular movement which the horse executes around its hind quarters, trac...
The piaffe is the preparatory exercise for the “Airs above the Ground”,...
The passage is a trot in which the horse reduces its amplitude and gains he...
This is a type of canter at two paces on two tracks with the horse completi...
In the balotade, the horse begins preparing based on the piaffe and makes t...
In the capriole, the horse prepares by drawing its weight back and flexing ...
In the courbette, the horse completes one jump or more on its hind members ...
In the levade, the horse gracefully flexes its members and placing the maxi...
Through teaching, the horse becomes docile and acquires a slow cadence that...
In this “High Air”, the position is higher than in the former due to a ...
This exercise sees the horse undertake a lateral movement while walking or ...
This is an exercise covering two tracks in which the horse moves laterally ...
This is a transition from the canter in one hand to the other while in susp...
Each rider attempts to skewer a ring on a lance. The Court Games served to ...
Each rider attempts to skewer the “head” on his sword. The Court Games ...
Each rider throws a dart at a target, “the medusa”. The Court Games ser...
Each rider attempts to strike the quintain with his lance, seeking to send ...
Two horses simulate a joust with lances. The Court Games served to evaluate...