|The pirouette, or dancing in circles.|
|Capriole on the lines.|
Once upon a time, before tanks, mounted cavalry units were the single most intimidating force on the battlefield. A well trained steed could scatter infantry with a kick, and was a force to be reckoned with -- wielding hooves, teeth, and its greater weight against adversaries at its rider's behest.
|Capriole under saddle in action.|
For those who aren't familiar with classical dressage, describing a horse's movements with terms more complex than jog or gallop may prove challenging. So when portraying a capriole, for instance, how exactly does one proceed? It is a rear, a leap, a kick, but to witness them performed in flawless transition is to realize the power and force behind the act, and realize that it is so much more.
There is precious little media circulating on the internet that I can share that is actually the Spanish Riding School pupils. If you go looking, be wary of any shots that have the horses performing in show rings, or names that flaunt "Lipizzans" without mentioning the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria. Look for the brown coats, the sideways hats, and the beige and white wall of the arena in Vienna.
|Pesade under saddle in action.|
|Levade under saddle.|
|The levade from the piaffe.|
- Pesade & Levade:
"The pesade and levade are the first airs taught to the High School horse, and it is from these that all other airs are taught. In the pesade, the horse raises its forehand off the ground and tucks the forelegs evenly, carrying all weight on the hindquarters, to form a 45 degree angle with the ground.
"The levade was first taught at the beginning of the 20th century, asking the horse to hold a position approximately 30-35 degrees from the ground. Unlike the pesade, which is more of a test of balance, the decreased angle makes the levade an extremely strenuous position to hold, and requires a greater effort from the horse."
|the courbette and the croupade|
- Croupade & Courbette:
In the croupade, the horse jumps from a raised position of the forehand (levade) straight up into the air, keeps the hind legs tucked tightly under, and remains parallel to the ground. This movement is a prerequisite to more difficult movements, the first step.
"In the courbette, the horse raises its forehand off the ground, tucks up forelegs evenly, and then jumps forward, never allowing the forelegs to touch down, in a series of "hops"."
**There is actually an error in PIAFFE, on pg 133 line 5 of the paperback or the bottom of page 62 in the PDF version, where "ballatode" should read "courbette" instead.**
"In the capriole (meaning leap of a goat), the horse jumps from a raised position of the forehand (levade) straight up into the air, kicks out with the hind legs, and lands more or less on all four legs at the same time. It requires an enormously powerful horse to perform correctly, and is considered the most difficult of all the airs above the ground."