The Overall Aim of the Training Scale
Being “through”, or “letting the aids through”, means that the horse is prepared to accept the rider’s aids obediently and without tension. It should respond to the driving aids without hesitation, its hind legs swinging through, and actively creating pushing power. At the same time the rein aids should be “allowed through” from the mouth, via the poll, neck and back, to the hindquarters, without being blocked by tension at any point.
The horse is “through” when it remains supple during all exercises, responds to the rider’s aids, accepts half halts and transitions without any hesitation or resistance and listens to the lightest aids of the rider.
• Throughness allows the rhythm to be maintained consistently in all three paces and in all transitions.
• Only if the horse moves with suppleness can the energy from the hindquarters pass forward through the horse’s body. Also, without suppleness, the restraining aids cannot act, via the mouth, poll, neck and back on the hindquarters.
• Any problems in the contact, that is unsteadiness or stiffness in the connection between the rider’s hand and the horse’s mouth, will interfere with the horse’s ability to let the aids come through.
• A horse that works with impulsion, supple through its back, and swinging through with its hind legs, will be in a better position to allow both the driving and the restraining aids through.
• Not until the horse becomes completely straight can it accept half halts equally on both reins and go more positively into the contact in response to the rider’s driving aids, without its hind legs escaping to the side. This straightness, in its turn, is absolutely essential for collection and consequently for the correct carriage of the head and neck.
• If the horse responds correctly to the exercises in collection by stepping forward with both hind legs equally in the direction of the centre of gravity, and by taking more weight on its hindquarters, this is an indication that it has achieved a high degree of throughness (Durchlässigkeit).
All items of the training scale are components of the collective marks of standard dressage tests. Therefore, the judges must always check the elements of the training scale before giving the collective marks.

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