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Video: Cesar Parra on the Stages of the Training Pyramid

Watch top FEI rider Cesar Parra demonstrate how to use the Training Pyramid in your daily work.

© SusanJStickle.com
Cesar Parra and Olympia
© SusanJStickle.com

In the January 2010 issue of Dressage Today magazine, Dr. Cesar Parra explains how to use the Training Pyramid in daily work. This abbreviated session with the horse shows progression toward collection.

As you watch this video, observe the following:

  • Phase 1 involves stretching through the topline in walk, trot and canter.
  • Phase 2 builds impulsion, working on transitions both between the gaits and within the gaits. Remember that this type of work is a progression. Much like when a person starts going to the gym, the horse has to build strength in order to do the exercise well and collect well. While the rider is always trying to work toward the ideal, mistakes can and will happen. In this video, you can see that with greater collection sometimes there is a mistake of the neck of the horse getting too short. This is not an uncommon mistake and as the horse gets stronger behind, this will happen less and less. Dr. Parra always has an eye on the ground so that any mistakes are noticed and fixed quickly. We should not avoid the work because the horse is not strong and makes an occasional mistake. On the contrary, the mistake is a sign that we must take more time with the horse to make him stronger. With a few more months of this work Grandioso will become more of an athlete and find the work easier and easier.
  • This session ends with the horse stretching into the contact, swinging forward into the hand and showing relaxation.

Cesar Parra, DDS, MScD competed for his native Colombia at the 2004 Olympic Games, the 2002 and 2006 World Equestrian Games and the 2005 FEI World Cup Final. In 2003, he placed fourth individually at the Pan American Games and, in 1999, he won a Pan American team silver medal. He became a U.S. citizen in 2008. A popular clinician based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., and Jupiter, Fla,, he and his family operate Piaffe Performance Farm.

To read the article "3 Stages of the Training Pyramid" see the January 2010 issue of Dressage Today. To order copies of articles, call 301-977-3900.

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