Teardrop Turn – demi-volte to long side
The history of dressage is vast and fascinating, full of intriguing words and quotes from the ‘masters’ that you may or may not be able to make sense of. The Volte was traditionally ridden over 12 strides in circumference (using the inside hind leg as the counter). However, this was later decreased to 6-8 strides in circumference (6 meters) and is therefore, only used when a horse has developed the ability to collect. Of all the circles, the volte requires the most balance, engagement and power.
However, changing direction through a 10m half-volte is something you need to master for the preliminary test and is a quite significant movement, which should not be overlooked or thought of in any way as simple; there’s more to the tear-drop turn than meets the eye.
In the teardrop turn you would ride the long side of the arena, perform a half-volte toward the inside of the arena and make your way back to the wall of the long side. To ride it correctly you have to ensure your horse is straight on the long side; is supple and flexible enough to execute a half 10m circle with forwardness and rhythm and master the change of bend as you return to the track. All of this requires you to support your horse in an upright position thus ensuring there is no leaning in on the turns.
Use it to help you with the following:
- Get increased engagement of the hind legs
- Introduce counter-canter
- To move the horse through changes of bend
- Work on rhythm and relaxation
- To help secure your connection from inside leg to outside rein
- To ensure forwardness through the corners
- To establish bend before asking for half-pass back to wall
- Incorporate Travers in the return to the track to begin work towards pirouettes.
In the return to the track, your horse has a short distance to cover, and will be naturally drawn to the wall so it is a relatively easy exercise to master early on in your training. As you progress you will use it in a more collected manner. Get a basics right in walk, trot and canter and it will be another item in your toolbox.
As always, have fun!
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster
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