How to… Teach Your Horse to Piaffe

DQs make the piaffe out to be this holy grail of dressage training, attainable by only a select few. Whatever! Teach your horse to piaffe today using our simple, step-by-step guide.

STEP 1: First things first, you need a whip. Tap your horse’s legs with the whip, one at a time, until he is so annoyed at you and your stupid whip that he starts picking up his legs “on cue.”

STEP 2: Many horses, when you aggravate the crap out of them, will try to run away from you. That’s why some people like to start their piaffe work in “the pillars,” which is a fancy word for cross-ties.

STEP THREE: Repeat steps 1/2, but with a rider on the horse’s back. See how, in this video, the horse is so fed up with getting his legs swatted at that he starts kicking out and prancing and it kind of looks like piaffe? That means you’re on the right track!

STEP FOUR: So far, so good. You’re horse is piaffing under saddle… but only when there’s a person standing three feet away menacingly holding a whip. How do you make the transition from a whip on the ground to a whip in the saddle? Easy! Tie a string and a carrot to it. When he goes to try to eat it, close the reins and apply leg.

STEP 5: By now, your horse has gotten the idea of what it is that you want–a perfect piaffe–and is ready to “piaffe it” like a champ!

See? It’s so easy!

Stay tuned for more episodes of “It’s Easy! How to…” coming soon! Check out episode 1, “How to… Train Your Horse to Jump Through Fire,” here.

Good luck with your piaffe training, and Go Riding!

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