Dualactivation makes classic dressage exercises more concrete and visible for horses and riders, especially with a horse breed like Fjords who seem to see the sense in turning "right at that point" and not four steps further. It is a great way for horses to learn the rider's aids by providing visual reinforcement. Most of the exercises used in Dualactivation have been used for hundreds of years in horse training and are still successful today.
All of the exercises involve quick changes of directions, curves and straight lines. With that combination the horse learns to carry more of its weight on the inside hind leg. The outside hind leg needs to bring the forward impulsion. In this way, the horse learns to make itself "straight in a curve", instead of falling over its shoulder. Furthermore, the horse learns to coordinate the front and hind legs better and can physically react better to the rider's aids, because it can now more effectively balance both itself and the rider. With this improved and more highly developed balance, the horse saves a lot of energy. This also helps the horse by providing more muscular stability and therefore less stress on its joints, something that can lead to both a better quality of life for the horse and a longer period of usefulness as an equine partner.
Self-learning has become more and more popular in today’s schools, kindergartens and activity groups. Children develop the skills and mindset for self-learning through the process of solving problems. With the guidance of their teacher, they successfully solve problems and, as they say, “success breeds success”! This builds a bond of trust and respect between the child and teacher and encourages and motivates them for further learning!
It is the same with the horse. It doesn’t mean that we are not feeding it and the horse needs to solve the problem of getting breakfast/dinner on its own. It means that we are guiding the horse – in this case to an obstacle – and allowing the horse the freedom to find its own solution. We are not leaving the horse by itself, but rather, we are guiding it – not dictating!
Everyone remembers the feeling of accomplishment we got from doing something on our own when we were little and how proud we were of ourselves to not need help; how we felt when our parents told us to “just try it out” and it worked.
This sort of experience is just as encouraging for the horse, as it was for us. From such experiences, the horse not only builds self-confidence and self-discipline, but it also builds trust and respect in the relationship to the rider. In this way, we as the rider begin trusting the horse to solve problems and they are encouraged to try their best so that we are proud and happy with them (just like kids!)