The Original Source of the Training Scale

german cavalry manual training scale dressage jumping

HDV12 German Cavalry Manual

© Stefanie Reinhold 2014-2018

“Lasting success can only be achieved if the hearts and souls of all instructors and riders are filled with the joy of riding and the love for the horse.” (HDV 12, 1937 edition)

Otto Lörke


HDV12 – What it is & why you care

HDV12 – this abbreviation that sounds like a new strand of bird flu stands for “Heeres Dienst Vorschrift Nr. 12”, which translates into “Army Regulation No. 12”, and is the German Cavalry Manual on the Training Horse & Rider.

Many German authors, from Dr. Heuschmann, Walter Zettl, Ingrid and Reiner Klimke, Eckart Meyners and just about every author on the USDF Reading List (including the cumbersome but essential read “Riding Logic” by HDV 12 contemporary W. Müseler) refer to it as THE “Reitlehre”, the essential “Riding Theory” or—as in the English translation of Müseler’s book—“Riding Logic”.

How is the HDV 12 relevant today?

The HDV 12 comprises the essence of German cavalry experience and training methodology, based largely of the teachings conveyed in Steinbrecht’s famous “The Gymnasium of the Horse”.

It’s original version of 1912 was updated twice, once in 1926 and once in 1937. The last update includes the concepts that have become known as “The Training Scale”, which is internationally used to teach and train according to a system that strengthens the horse and takes its biomechanics into consideration. So the HDV 12/1937 is the original, pure source of today’s Training Scale.

It is also the basis for today’s “Principles of Riding”— issued and published by the German Equestrian Federation (FN)—which is the authoritative guideline for international equestrian sports, be it dressage, jumping or eventing.

In a nutshell:

  • HDV12 Army Regulation for Training Horse and Rider, first published in 1912, last updated edition 1937.
  • Evolved from Steinbrecht’s classic “Gymnasium of the Horse”
  • Foundation for today’s “Principles of Riding” (German Equestrian Federation)
  • Original source of the renowned “Training Scale”





german cavalry trot HDV12

An original illustration

This little book contains the entire German Riding Theory & Philosophy, complete with practical instructions, illustrations, and a 2-year training plan for horses and riders.

The cavalry had a strong interest in treating horses with kindness and that the utmost goal was to create an able, willing, and reliable partner for cavalry service. Precondition for this goal is a mentally and physically sound horse! The whole system is targeted towards creating an equine athlete, who will stand up to the challenging physical and mental demands of service for years to come.

This compilation of cavalry knowledge and experience is now–for the first time–available as an English translation to meet the demand of the English speaking riders to have this unaltered, pure version of this pivotal work available for reading and riding enjoyment.

“ In this book, [riders] can learn sensible experiences that document that one must see the horse more from the viewpoint of the horse in order to do the horse’s nature justice, instead of understanding riding primarily as a mechanical process.” Eckart Meyners, author, clinician, FN Physical Education Trainer

After reading this article, I am convinced that you now agree with me: You care!

I wish you much enjoyment with your personal copy of the HDV 12.

Enjoy your horse!


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