"When you are training around an oval track it’s a bit limited with the options. You have trackwork, swimming pools, treadmills, aqua walkers ... but outside that, you can’t do much else.
“Dressage gets the horses to switch off, have a change of scenery and it, in turn, makes them a little bit more supple and a bit looser.
“We find it also helps their core muscles. They are having to hold their heads down and collect themselves, and surprisingly that’s good for their back.
“They are using different muscles, and you are slowing the horse down. It is quite a piece of work for them, where they are having to use different muscles and concentrate on what they are doing.
“We don’t do a lot of it. But it’s one of the things that you can use to change the environment for them. After a few days, they gradually get used to it and they love it.”
Flemington trainer Mike Moroney, like Waller a former New Zealander, is another trainer who doesn’t mind thinking outside the square.
He regularly sends horses to the Mornington farm of Mariah Kaminski, the partner of jockey Jake Noonan, where they also experience some dressage training.
“It just helps them find their feet a wee bit. It’s something different, a new discipline for them. They come back so much more relaxed,” said Moroney.
“It’s something different for them, not just going round and round a track. It freshens them up mentally and gets them to hold themselves a bit differently, too.
“They use different techniques to learn to carry themselves better and use their bodies.
“I find that a lot of them come back and use all their body ... it teaches them to drive off their back end and build up muscle there. Some horses get a bit lazy on the track and go through the motions. If you get them to use their whole body it definitely builds muscle.”