The Training Spiral illustrates how the true relevance of the progression of training is in the development of certain gymnastic qualities, which come about through work in postural engagement. It is not about making the horse progress through figures and movements in a particular order and at a specific age.
In the training process, progress is often judged by the level of movements executed by the horse. Although there is a certain relevance to this dimension of training, this focus can easily lead to the misunderstanding that these movements are the 'ends' of training, and not the means.
The true relevance of the progression of training is in the development of certain gymnastic qualities, which come about as the horse's body is transformed by means of working in postural engagement. In correct training, the 'movements' are there only to feed the development of these qualities, not as goals to accomplish in themselves. Understanding this principle is how we maintain the integrity of dressage, and prevent it turning into the mere performance of mere 'circus tricks'.
The starting point of the spiral of training qualities is a state of inner calm in the horse, because this is the only state that allows the development of all of the other qualities of training - true gymnastic development cannot take place on a basis of underlying tension.
This is why the holistic approach is central to HHT philosophy, because this state of calm depends on a natural lifestyle (including freedom to move and the stimulation of a herd environment), a good state of physical health and comfort, and a relationship with humans that is based on mutual trust, not domination or conditioning.
For more about our holistic philosophy see: Holistic Horse Keeping
The pages on HHT are so wide-ranging and interrelated that we strongly recommend you look at the site plan to find other subjects that may interest you.
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How To Train A Horse Without Force
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