This should be done with as little use of the rider’s hand as possible:
- The inside leg of the rider asks the inside hind leg forward, the outside leg asks the outside hind leg forward. This makes both hind legs step towards the point of weight.
- The base of the tail can be touched with the whip to ask the horse to lower its pelvis.
- The rider opens his seat and upper legs to give the back space to come up. The rider should sit quietly.
- The rider tilts his pelvis to transfer weight to the hind legs.
- Half halts re-balance the horse onto the hindquarter.
- When the hind legs actually do step forward towards the point of weight, the rider will feel increasing lightness in his hands.
- In the Academic Art of Riding, the piaffe is often done with a bending to the inside. The piaffe is right bended on the right lead, and left bended when going to the left. The straight piaffe is done on the center line.
- Shoulder-in and hindquarter-in in piaffe improve the bending in both hind legs separately.
- Transitions in tempo are valuable gymnastics.
- Transitions to- and from walk, trot and canter in piaffe improve all gaits. The piaffe makes the horse more bended in its hindquarter and provides more carrying in the gaits. And the gaits improve the piaffe:
- Walks brings calmness into the piaffe.
- Trot improves the correct placement of the diagonal legs into the piaffe.
- Canter brings more uphill into the piaffe.
- The piaffe-pirouette is an exercise the horse can start to do when it can produce a long series of equal steps in piaffe.
- Work between pillars is another alternative in the Academic Art of Riding to develop the piaffe.
Piaffe is the preparation exercise for the passage and the key to the high school work.