Tuesday, May 12, 2009

That darned training scale -- need a mneumonic!

http://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/multimedia/images/full/363605.jpgAt a recent dressage clinic I attended, the clinician asked one of the riders to recite the dressage training scale. The rider drew a blank, and my heart went out to her. On a good day I might be able to cough up the basics, but not, I fear, in the right order. I'm trying to think of a clever mneumonic for the training scale...

  1. Rhythm
  2. Relaxation and Suppleness
  3. Contact
  4. Impulsion
  5. Straightness
  6. Collection
Here are the ones I came up with -- totally lame...

  • Recently Ravel Came In and Smoked the Competition
  • Roguish Riders Can Ingest Southern Comfort!
  • Respectable Retailers Contain the Impulse to Strangle Customers
  • Rhinestones are Rarely Classy In Show Clothing

But so many of the terms start with the same letter, this isn't that useful. Can anyone do better or tell me a different tactic for remember this scale?


  1. it's okay if it's lame, as long as it's memorable, right? most of the well known ones are lame.. (like for the planets, and moh's hardness scale for minerals - the gypsy came from the orange quarter to cut diamond: talc, gypsum, calcite, flourite, orthoclase, quartz, topaz, corundum, diamond) lame, but they work! :D
    I just came across your comment on my "dreaming in the garden cuff" blog post that you left a couple days ago. Thanks for the kind words on it! The cuff is actually for sale here: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=24303922
    and I'm always happy to take custom orders for similar pieces. :D

  2. Here goes:
    relaxed rider sits comfortably in saddle collected. This gives you the final one. Or you could try Rhythm rider sits comfortably in straight saddle collected, this give you the first one and the last two within the sentence. Just a thought.

  3. Ha, the same thing happened to me yesterday!

    I was watching a clinician who mentioned the training scale about four times before I realized that I couldn't recall it myself. Searching my memory, I pretty much had it right except that I totally forgot "contact." How could I forget "contact," when I ride with too much of it anyway?

  4. Hi Stacey!
    I'm a big fan of your blog - great work! Very helpful!
    However, something looks wrong with your scale - and after looking around a bit, I've come to the conclusion that most references to the training scale only have 6 'steps'. I took wikipedia for being the most authoritative (don't really know where to look)... 1.Rhythm,
    2.Relaxation (or supplenss depending on the translation of losgelassenheit),

    Sorry If I'm totally wrong! Am a beginner! What is your reference?

    For fun: Rhythmically Relax your breathing and quickly Contact (in an Impulsive fashion) the Collections agency!

  5. Ha I like the Southern Comfort one! They're all good though. I also like Anonymous' idea about including 2 of the actual steps...

  6. Hey again,
    so please disregard my comment as I of course realized, shortly after having sent it, that you had just split up losgelassenheit into two pieces - relaxation and suppleness. Yeah, got it now:)

  7. This is wonderful! The training scale will never be the same! I think I"ll be able to remember it now.

  8. Plottinghorse, I'm not a fan of wikipedia but I think you're right, there are only six elements, I think relaxation and suppleness/looseness are generally considered together depending on how much description there is. But there are discrepencies from reference to reference! I had been referring to Dressage Today which I don't have in my office. I quickly combined them in the scale, but now the mneumonics are wrong. I'll check when I get home. Thanks for pointing this out early in the game.

  9. Well...when you're Riding RacehorSes, you Can't Ignore Scary Cougars! (/insert any thing that starts with a C which a OTTB may be afraid of...)

  10. FUNNY!
    Love the "Respectable Retailers Contain the Impulse to Strangle Customers"
    R = Remember
    R = Remember
    C = Clinician
    I = Invoked
    S = Scale
    C = Crap!
    This is my brain on free association...

  11. I tend to follow Walter Zettl's training scale, which goes:


    My personal theory is that the ones we can't remember are the things we need to work on. :)

    I most often forget contact, which is definitely where I'm at with my own riding.

  12. HA ha, that's good, I always go blank on this when asked!

    Here is mine:

    (R)iding (S)ome (C)amels (I)n (S)addles would be (C)omfortable

  13. Not a mnemonic but might help..

    Rhythm relaxes contact, impulsion straightens collection.

    Who knows perhaps it is even true!


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