Classical Riding and Voltes:
Passage and Piaffe in lateral work and on voltes
Much of the value of the classical exercises lies in
requirements for relaxed focus on the part of horse and rider,
incremental improvements in tempo, balance, coordination and relative elevation.
combinations of balance and coordination that develop the gymnastic capacity to maintain cadenced tempo.
In addition to the lateral and straight work on voltes, transitions help develop throughness. The movies at the bottom of the page are examples of work on square voltes combining walk and passage. The horse in the images is the Morgan gelding Raynyday Maximillian.
Piaffe, given rein held in one hand. Right fore could be more vertical.
LEFT: Piaffe as passage in place, a transitional form between piaffe and passage. RIGHT: Passage, slightly open position.
Because the gait is cadenced (marked, deliberate tempo at about 52 strides per minute), the transition to walk can be made while the horse is balanced on a diagonal pair. This makes the transition prompt, balanced and fluent because the horse has the strength to hold itself steady right/left/front/back while the legs in swing (airborne) reposition themselves for the next gait. The brief effort to do this and other transitions helps incremental increases in gymnastic competence for the horse. For the rider, there is a sense of how much assistance or indication from the aids is useful to the horse.