Christopher Bartle Eventing Dressage Masterclass Part 2


Read Part 1 here


Ruth Schneeberger riding Ponderosa Stud Lucious was the second test rider of the Christopher Bartle Masterclass at the Australian International 3 Day Event and this horse, currently training at Prix St Georges and moving to Inter I, gave Chris the chance to introduce some more advanced movements such as the canter pirouette, series changes and piaffe/passage

Ruth had previously warmed up Lucious and, although the session was to move onto more collected movements, Christopher started with a focus on the shoulder-in

“The shoulder-in is the key to all issues in the dressage. When we have a problem, nearly always the answer is to work the horse slightly in shoulder-in”

In the new CCI4* B Test, a shoulder-in on the centreline is required, which Ruth demonstrates and Christopher gives pointers for – toe pointers in fact

“When we ride the shoulder-in on the centreline, the hind quarters should be on the centreline and the shoulder away from the centreline so that, as they are coming towards the judges, the outside toe of the rider is pointing at the judge”



Once the horse is working well Christopher looks at the rider position and how a relaxed elbow and hand position help the horse to move more freely, presenting a more uphill outline to the judge. Relaxation helps a horse not only move better in the dressage arena but also perform better on the cross country course and in show jumping and, as with the first session with Cooper Oborn, Christopher encourages relaxation periods within the work, enabling the horse to ‘breathe’.

Cantering on a long rein between more intensive work is also a movement which is now incorporated into the new CCI4* test

“The same applies when we’re out on the cross country course or in the show jumping; the more relaxed the horses are the better they cope with the challenges and the better they will finish the cross country course. A lot of it is about relaxation”

They then work on improving the canter and executing single flying changes before moving into more collected work with the training pirouette. Although the walk pirouette has been removed from the actual 4* test, Christopher suggests that the use of these more collected exercises can have value

“We want our horse to be able to collect in preparation for a question on the cross country or show jumping but that collection is momentary and only for a short while”



In the final session Christopher looks at series changes and piaffe/passage in relation to the eventing horse