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How to Teach a Horse to Do a Piaffe and Terre a Ciel?

how to teach a horse to do a piaffe and terre a ciel


Piaffe and terre-a ciel are two of most beautiful and complex equine movements. Teaching a horse how to do them can be rewarding, but difficult. Piaffe can be described as a trotting movement that is performed in place. Terre a ciel, on the other hand, is a more difficult elevated trot. This article will cover the basics of teaching a horse how to do a piaffe or terre a ciel. We’ll also discuss the training and building necessary for advanced movements.

Understanding the basics

Understanding the movements is the first step in teaching horses to do a piaffe or terre a ciel. Piaffe is an in-place trotting movement, while terre a ciel involves an elevated trot. Both movements require that the horse maintains balance and coordination. Throughout the movement, the horse must keep his hooves in the same place relative to one another. It is essential to be able to explain to horses how these movements are done and break them down into smaller parts.

Piaffe Training

Piaffe is a complicated movement, so it is important to learn the basics. Begin by teaching your horse how to trot in a straight line without moving forward. You can do this by asking your horse to trot in circles using a lunge line. You can ask the horse to move in a more precise manner as he gets better at trotting in a straight line. Ask your horse to raise its feet and move in smaller circles. You want the horse to stay in one place and not move forward. Once your horse is comfortable with this, you can move onto the next step.

Training for the Terre A Ciel

The terre a ciel, or elevated trot, is more complicated than the piaffe. Begin by showing the horse how to trot at a slight elevation using a small jump. Begin by asking the horse to walk over the jump. As the horse gets more comfortable, you can increase the jump’s height. You can ask for more precise movements once the horse is comfortable walking with some elevation. Ask your horse to move in a circular motion, raising its feet higher and trotting at a higher elevation. You want the horse to be able to move at a higher elevation and stay in control of the movement.

Advanced Training

After the horse is comfortable with the basics of the piaffe, terre a ciel and other movements, you can ask the horse for more advanced moves. Ask your horse to move higher and in more complicated patterns. The horse can be asked to do transitions between the terre a ciel and the piaffe, as well as perform different movements. You can make the transitions more difficult and faster as the horse improves.


It can be rewarding, but difficult, to teach a horse how to perform a piaffe or terre a ciel. It is important to begin with the basics, and then break down the movements into smaller pieces. After the horse is comfortable with the basics, it’s possible to ask for more difficult movements or to teach them advanced moves. You can teach your horse complex, beautiful movements with patience and dedication.


What is a piaffe, you ask?

Piaffes are trot movements that are performed in one place. This requires balance and coordination from the horse, so the hooves must remain in the same place relative to one another throughout the movement.

What is a Terre and a Ciel?

Terra a ciel refers to a trot that is elevated and has greater difficulty. This requires horses to balance and coordinate while trotting at a higher elevation.