How do you do a really good walk pirouette?

Hey Dressage Superstars! Today’s question is, “How do you do a really good walk pirouette?”

So, the aides for the pirouette are obviously you want the shoulders to turn. So how do you get the shoulders to turn? You use your outside rein to move the shoulders around.

If you don’t have your outside leg back, the outside hind leg is you move the shoulders to the left, the hind legs are going to sweep to the right. So your right leg needs to be back, your outside leg has to be back as well.


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Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

​​Hey dressage superstars, welcome to Dressage Mastery TV. Today I’m going to answer the question: how do you do a really good walk pirouette?

Okay. So you want to collect the walk. Good boy. So he’s stepping under his hind legs. And now you’re going to think about move the shoulders around the hind legs, but keep everything stepping, keep everything stepping, keep everything stepping. I lost a little bit of control on that third stride. He did a little bit of a spin, so I just needed a bit more outside rein. Turn, wait, turn, wait, turn, wait, turn, wait. Good boy. So it’s a real balance of keeping it active but not spinning, and controlling it, but not grounding it and stopping it. That was better control. Good boy. Good boy.

We’ll get back to the training in a second. I just wanted to remind you if you’re loving this video, make sure to subscribe, and leave me a comment on how this video has helped, and your biggest learning so far.

And turn, turn, turn, turn, turn. Okay. So, the aides for the pirouette are obviously you want the shoulders to turn. So how do you get the shoulders to turn? You use your outside rein to move the shoulders around. And your outside leg goes slightly back because a mistake that people make in the piros, if you watch some of my other videos, is they’ll walk. Okay, I don’t really want to do a bad one, but I’ll do a horrendously bad one. They think the piro might be a circle. And so if I just pull his head to the inside, what happens? His hind leg, I’m really making it bad. I’m just going to make his hind legs do that. If I turn him too much, sometimes the hind legs would just spin out the back, and it won’t be a piro. Remember the hind legs have to stay in the same spot, but keep marching and the shoulders have to pivot around the hind legs.

If you don’t have your outside leg back, the outside hind leg is you move the shoulders to the left, the hind legs are going to sweep to the right. So your right leg needs to be back, your outside leg has to be back as well. And then it’s literally you just ride the walk. So if you’re riding the walk, you’ve got to keep it round. She’s going to be playing with your little fingers. You’re going to keep the rhythm, you’re not going to let him go faster or slower, faster or slower, faster or slower. You want to keep everything connected and tight and ready.

Sometimes you have to do your piros on the wall. So I’m doing another one here. So now it’s left rein, left leg, left rein, left leg, right leg, right rein, right leg, left rein, left leg. I can’t do the piro slow enough for my words to come out quick enough, if that makes sense. There’s a lot, if I feel that he puts too much weight to the inside, then I’m going to use my inside leg and my inside rein to push him off. If I suddenly can’t turn, I’m going to use more outside rein. If I’m turning too quick, I’m going to lessen the turn and lessen that rein, and save it more with that side of my body.

So I always think when I’m doing a walk piro, I’m riding both sides of the horse, because the horse is either blocking here and not turning enough, or he’s falling to the inside and I have to catch that and prop him back up. In the walk piro you want to keep propping the horse up so he stays upright rather than leaning this way or leaning this way. If that makes any sense at all.

So let’s use the line. And I’m walking it out myself because I didn’t want to show you all the mistakes on a horse because I don’t want to teach the horse to make those mistakes. So when you come along your RS line, and let’s say you’ve got to do a walk pirouette to the left. Yep, that’s the left. There’s a couple of things that can go wrong. So the first thing is is you go turn. So the horse turns its shoulders and goes like that with his hind legs. That’s called stepping out, and that is bad, and you will score a four. Your job as the rider is to control the hind legs as you turn the shoulders.

The point of a walk pirouette or a turn on the haunches is that the shoulders walk around the hind legs. So the first thing is, if that doesn’t happen, is you go to turn and you’ve used too much hands and too much shoulder to turn and you’re just focused on turning the horse. The horse will do this and step out and then be in the right position.

The next thing the horse does is if you’re not asking the horse to step, the horse goes, but you’re keeping your outside leg back to make sure the horse doesn’t step out. The horse will do this, and he won’t pick up his feet. He’ll just pivot them in the sand as his shoulders go around, and then start walking again. That’s called grounding, and again, you will get a four. Your horse has to, as your shoulders move around, your horse has to take nice high active steps as your shoulders go around. So it’s got to stay in the same walk rhythm, it’s got to stay in the same … yeah, it can’t stop. It has to walk. But it obviously can’t walk forward. It just needs to walk up, which is why these are good exercises for starting and all other collected movements.

Okay, so we don’t want to step out. We don’t want to ground, we just want, and then I’ve told you what we’re looking for, shoulders over the hind legs. Then we come over here. And I guess the next thing people do is sometimes they over pivot. So they kind of end up here, and then they go back to find the center line. And now the problem is they kind of go, “Oh okay,” they’re on the S line and they go, “Walk pirouette,” and the horse kind of goes like this with his hind legs, and then he does walk pirouette. But now he’s off the line. So you’ve got to make sure that you start and end your pirouette on the line. Again, the movement is there to test the control that you have of the horse, the control over the front legs, behind legs, the activity, everything. If you have control of every single bit of your horse, walk pirouettes are not a problem. Says me.

Then you’ve got this one, and then again. So you want the shoulders to step, step, step in a half pirouette. You’ve got between three and four, yes, because in a full pirouette you’ve got between six and eight steps. Yeah, so in a half pirouette you’ve got one, two, three, four, or maybe just three, and then over again you go. The main thing is like I said, don’t let the horse step out. To stop the horse step out, your outside leg is going to be slightly back. Not too far back otherwise your horse is going to go into traverse and it’s going to start the pirouette wrong. You ask your horse to pirouette it with your outside shoulder, outside rein, picks up the shoulder, puts it down, picks up the shoulder, puts it down, picks up the shoulder, puts it down.

The inside leg, make sure you keep bend and activity, and the outside leg also make sure that you keep activity. So that way the hind legs keep stepping, keep stepping, keep stepping. Sometimes depending on the horse, you need to use a lot more inside leg to sit them up on the outside shoulder so they stay upright, don’t fall in, and therefore kind of do this in their walk pirouette. If you need more help looking at that there’s heaps more videos on YouTube on how to do a turn on the haunches and how to control the horse’s shoulder with your outside rein, and they’re probably the ones who want to look at first.

So trust that helps. Remember if you guys need any help with steps, procedures, strategies, recipes, how do you do A? How do you do B? How do you do C? I’ve got a free training class that tells you all about creating a dressage system that works for you. Go check it out on the link below.

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