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Stretchy Trot with John MacPherson

If there’s one flaw most riders learning dressage share, it’s an obsession with the horse’s “frame.” We stare down at the head and neck, wanting to achieve that perfect poll-high, gracefully-arched outline that we associate with being “on the bit.” FEI competitor, EC Level 3 dressage coach and senior status judge John MacPherson of Collingwood, ON, has one simple word of advice: Relax. MacPherson suggests that instead of worrying about the correct frame, riders should focus on whether the horse is stretching over its back and moving from behind into the contact. Don’t think of the stretchy trot as a movement you need to work on simply because it’s in your dressage test. It’s in the test because it’s a cornerstone of fundamental dressage training and a key element to master correctly if you plan to move up the levels. “You must develop the engagement and activity working from back…

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