On 15/16 november 2009 I went to the clinic with Bent Branderup in Germany, with Romanesque.
There we made a start with the levade under saddle.
The exercise to prepare for the levade, is the piaffe.
In piaffe, you stay more and more on the place, sometimes you even take one step backwards. Then the horse is asked to take more weight on his hind legs, resulting in the lift of one frontleg, and, if he is secure and in balance, also the other frontleg. That is how the levade results from piaffe.
Very first try
This picture shows the ‘very first try ever’ by Romanesque under saddle:
In levade, the horse carries 100% of his weight on the hind quarters, and he bends both hindlegs at the same time. The back makes an angle of about 35 degrees, and the whithers stay at the same height as in standing, with a maximum of one hand higher or lower. The horses folds his front legs under his body, and stays in that position for 2 to 3 seconds. The hind legs are not supposed to stand wide, and most certainly not uneven.
In this picture, the levade is still a bit ”mezair” – like, where the front legs are being carried more in front:
Here, Romanesque keeps his front legs still a bit uneven:
Looking more like it:
We have a lot of homework to do