How to Passade

The Passade

We’ve discussed the use of quarter turns on a square to educate a saddle horse on listening to our seat-bones and our legs. We’ve seen how this helps him in shifting his weight to his hindquarters. He learned to cross over with his forelegs, and reach out toward the side of the turn. Then we tightened the angle of turn a bit more by making a triangular figure. The next movement in this series is the passade, which involves a 180° turn. All these are to be done in sequence during training sessions. To accomplish the passade, first do the Square, then the triangle and on each straight side ride toward a target in a straight line. When you’ve completed those maneuvers, and are arriving at a targeted spot, twist your torso so as to be looking over your shoulder back toward the starting point. This will cause the inside seat bone to bear more weight. The outside rein will maintain contact and along with the outside leg, will urge the horse to make a tight turn. When the horse begins the turn, you release all the aids. He will have made somewhat less than a 180° turn, so you then use seat, legs and reins lightly to finish the turn as the horse walks back to the point of origin. This figure at first makes more of a boat shape than a straight line, but as the horse’s understanding and balance develop, he will be making a straight line, with 180° turns at both ends. This figure, the passade of the classical school, is then done at the trot, and finally at the gallop with a line of about thirty feet in length. At the gallop the turn is called the demi volt, or in Spanish, the media vuelta, and is a purty durn fancy turnaround!

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