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YepItsAnAlter
Sep. 2, 2009, 12:43 AM
I recently took a lesson from a pretty BNT. They train to/at GP and have won countless awards in the ring, they are very competitive nationally. I was really excited to ride with them, I had heard great things -- and to their credit they were very friendly and acted professionally to me. But I went early to watch, and I was really disappointed... the head trainer was on a student's horse and was YANKING on the reins. Not little subtle corrections, stuff, quick, hard jerks to the reins if the horse didn't respond in the way the trainer wanted him to.

I could not see a reason for doing this. I can understand if a horse is bolting or bucking, then it's self-preservation! I saw this type of riding going on with everyone in the ring, including the other trainer and 4 students/boarders. I know at least one of them was at the PSG level because they were practicing their test. The riding I saw was the definition of crank and spank -- swat w/the whip, grab the mouth. Over and over.

The thing is, the horses were very much on their hind end. They didn't seem particularly relaxed and were BTV about 50% of the time, but they were definitely balanced and on their butts.

Personally what I saw made me really upset, and I'm not going back. However, I've never been at/around a facility that trained to that level. Does the training get... harsher and more demanding? Like, if the horse doesn't respond quickly to a rein aid you give a harsher aid? This does not seem like the correct way to train, but I'm a first level rider on a good day, so what do I know?

I remember someone saying that if you're not used to a very high level of training, it can look almost abusive (long time cantering was the example). What I saw seemed to cross the line though.

I'm never going back to that facility, I just cannot in good conscience ride there. However, I'd like to know what methods are accepted, and if I'm being too sensitive?

Fantastic
Sep. 2, 2009, 01:00 AM
That sounds sickening! You are not being too sensitive at all. This is wrong, wrong, wrong! It does not take yanking the reins to move up the levels. You teach horses to use their hind ends by half halting (which is not yanking), using your core, strengthening the gaits, teaching the horse to be elastic (forward and back) within gaits, and having great timing as a rider. I feel very bad for those horses - they do not sound like happy campers!

Those people are missing the point of dressage. Where is the finesse, beauty, and unity with the horse? Where is the tact? The higher level the horse is trained, the more subtle the aids are supposed to be. Additionally, if you start out teaching and riding the young horse with the same subtle aids when he is a baby horse, he only gets more and more fine tuned.

No, training does not get more harsh as you move up the levels. It does in a sense get more demanding physically and mentally, but that is something that the horse and rider build up to through conditioning and strengthening.


I remember someone saying that if you're not used to a very high level of training, it can look almost abusive (long time cantering was the example).

Whoever told you that is a moron! They have got it completely backwards. Any good rider does not canter (drill) their horse incessantly. Conditioning is something completely different and not abusive.

You say that you went there for a lesson. Did you actually ride in the lesson, or did you back out?

YepItsAnAlter
Sep. 2, 2009, 01:18 AM
I did ride there. I learned a couple valuable things about my riding that will help me with my horse, but I can't justify going back. Plus, my biceps hurt after riding! My barely training level horse has a much lighter connection. It's my goal to refine and lighten that connection even further, which is what I thought I would be getting with a higher trained horse.

In regards to the cantering comment, from what I remember the poster meant if you are used to cantering for 4 or 5 minutes on an older school horse, cantering for 10 minutes to seriously school a well-trained, fit horse might appear to be abuse. Not endlessly drilling or anything, just working harder and asking a bit more!

Fantastic
Sep. 2, 2009, 01:30 AM
By chance was this in So Cal?

angel
Sep. 2, 2009, 06:37 AM
From what I have seen in dressage riding today, I would say that the one biggest element missing in most rider's training is the correct balance AND use of that balance to lift the horse UP into contact. At the beginning of the training...yes, more hand work needs to be used than is ideal. However, this rein work needs to be accompanied by the rider's correct use of the weight aids. Over time, as the horse more understands and can be influenced by the weight aids, there should be much less of this hand stuff. (or all this riding the horse on the curb bit either.) But, I think you will be very hard-pressed to find an instructor to teach you this.

slc2
Sep. 2, 2009, 07:50 AM
"By chance was this in so cal?"

LOL.

It could be anywhere.

Without seeing it, I am not going to jump to conclusions. It might be that the trainer was overly harsh. But it may also be that the horse was running through the aids and refusing to carry himself in a way you can't really see. If you are used to seeing lower level horses noodle along, shuffle along with their nose in the dirt, you may not be able to see yet what's going on at a higher level, and how a horse can push through the aids and need to be corrected.

I really hate discussions like this, because the assumption is ALWAYS that the trainer is wrong if someone doesn't like what they saw and the trainer is NEVER there to defend him or herself, there is never any video so the other posters can judge for themselves, and the emotional words ('jerking', 'crank and spank', 'cruel', 'won't go back') mean EVERYONE is going to play 'pile on the trainer'. In other words, it is a totally one sided discussion and anyone who doesn't agree the trainer is a brute is 'inhumane' and 'ignorant'.

It's quite true - the trainer may be dead wrong and really a brute; I've seen enough of that, and the inability to do anything about it except leave is indeed frustrating. There is a very well established group of trainers out there who teach and ride what looks like dressage, but is just jerking the reins til the horse stays behind the bit and does sort of a parody of dressage movements, without the basics in place.

However...it's also quite possible that you aren't really picking up on everything that's going on. First of all, the trainer usually gets the ride on the big, spoiled, badly behaved horses and watching them get the bad habits out of these horses is not always pretty.

Your arms are sore? Perhaps your horse has spent years on the forehand and is now stiff and resistant when he's asked to be more supple and carry himself. Maybe getting him to be correct is a huge laborious task now. Maybe after a long time in a lower level posture your horse is in the habit of going on the forehand.

Many horses fight back when asked to carry themselves, and often riders can create impulsion, but can't channel it or supple it (the so-called 'First to Second Level Dilemma').

Many people go away from a dressage lesson with a good trainer with every bone, tendon and muscle in their body sore. Maybe you're out of shape.

Maybe the dressage trainer wasn't really telling you - 'come on, brace your arms harder! harder! that's good!' Maybe he was trying to get you to do something else. Maybe you weren't able to do what the trainer was saying. Maybe his version of what happened in the lesson is very different from yours.

Maybe you can be 'soft' with the reins when they're on the buckle, but have a much harder time staying loose when you shorten your reins and ask your horse to work. Maybe a stiff closed hip makes it very hard for you to ride with your reins a little shorter and ask your horse to carry himself.

Maybe not every uncomfortable lesson we have in our riding lives is because the trainer is a louse....

A rider needs to be able to supple his horse, bend him this way, bend him that way...Otherwise he has a horse that has his head up and is doing upper level work, but is stiff as a board or a horse that is trucking along on the forehand leaning on the bit when he tries to ride with a shorter rein.

A rider needs to learn to be just as loose and soft and supple with a shorter rein and the horse carrying himself...and if he can't do that right now, maybe he will be able to later by opening his hip and deepening his seat.

When this 'crosses a line' from 'necessary corrections in training' to 'just being a brute' is often a matter of opinion. Without the other party getting a chance to defend themselves....

EqTrainer
Sep. 2, 2009, 08:33 AM
Was it by chance, Cathy Morelli or someone using her "method"?

Carol O
Sep. 2, 2009, 09:28 AM
After I purchased my schoolmaster I worked with his long time trainer for a while. She rode like that. Then I worked with another very BNT, who also worked like that. The rides would begin violently; if the horse did not listen to the small aid, the aid got big (read jerk, pull, kick). I thought that was how it was done, because both were FEI, and they both rode similarly. Then I had the opportunity to work with another, who taught completely differently.... She was able to show me how one could get the movements, with much more beauty and suppleness, without ever being rude or violent. I almost didn't ride with the last one, because having ridden with the first two, I thought she would be the same.

The last trainer changed everything for me. There are good ones out there for you too. Keep looking.

slc2, this is a discussion forum. The OP is discussing things she saw that made her uncomfortable. It is okay to discuss these things.

twofatponies
Sep. 2, 2009, 10:01 AM
But I think slc makes a very good point. I read the OPs post and I had two thoughts:

a) yup, I've seen that too

and

b) how can I know for sure that the OP wasn't misunderstanding something she saw?

I'm not convinced that training of any animal or human goes in a lovely smooth line where each new thing is introduced with subtlety so small no one sees, and the horse says "oh, yes, I can do that" and voila we have a half pass or whatever.

Often people bring horses to clinics because the horse has loads of bad habits and issues they can't fix, and they want the trainer to work through it in two days and show them how to correct the issue. I've even seen clinics where the clinician didn't jerk or smack but the horse was so pissed off being asked to simply go forward that it looked like a rodeo. With the clinician sitting quietly, giving the subtlest aids. I've seen the same guy give a horse a huge crack on the a$$ when it ignored the leg.

So yes, I've seen some clinicians I think go too far with spur, whip or sharp hands. I've seen some use the spur or rein sharply when I thought it was absolutely appropriate. And I've seen clinicians not do anything with spur or whip, and still have a horse making just terrible protestations at having to work.

But OP - there are lots of styles of training and teaching, and I'd follow your gut as to whether this trainer was good, or right for you and your horse. We weren't there, and can't really make an informed opinion, you know?

webmistress32
Sep. 2, 2009, 11:47 AM
even in natural horsemanship, eventually you have to go to "level 4" if the horse ignored level 1 - 3 cues.

that said, I don't believe punishing the mouth / face is ever appropriate.

caddym
Sep. 2, 2009, 11:49 AM
the head trainer was on a student's horse and was YANKING on the reins. Not little subtle corrections, stuff, quick, hard jerks to the reins if the horse didn't respond in the way the trainer wanted him to.

ITS REALLY HARD TO TELL WITHOUT HAVING BEEN THERE - OBVIOUSLY.

I BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE MOMENTS IN THE TRAINING OF EVERY HORSE THAT THINGS WILL GET A BIT UGLY.

WE'VE ALL SEEN THE PHOTOS OF ANKY AND NICHOLE UPHOFF ON REMBRANDT WHEN THE HORSE IS IN EXTREME ROLLKUR AND WE CAN BE SANCTIMONIOUSLY HORRIFIED. YET THERE IS A TON OF BRILLIANT FOOTAGE OF THESE HORSES LOOKING BEUTIFUL. I HAVE AN AQUANTANCE WHO WAS WATCHING SP WARM UP RAVEL AT ACHEN AND COMMENTED IN A SNITTY VOICE THAT HE HAD HIM IN ROLLKUR - CLEARLY RAVEL WENT BRILLIANTLY IN THE RING AT ACHEN.

I'VE RIDEN WITH A LOT OF BNT. IF WHAT YOU SAW IS AS DESCRIBED - QUICK HARD JERKS ON THE REINS - I WOULDN'T PRESCRIBE TO THAT METHOD EITHER

However, I've never been at/around a facility that trained to that level.

I WOULD MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO CHECK OUT TRAINING AT THIS LEVEL AT ANY FACILITY OR SHOW RING THAT YOU CAN GET TO

Does the training get... harsher and more demanding? Like, if the horse doesn't respond quickly to a rein aid you give a harsher aid? This does not seem like the correct way to train,

YES AND NO. I LIKE TO THINK OF THIS AS LEG AIDS. IF THE HORSE DOES NOT RESPONG TO SOFT POLITE PRESSURE WITH THE CALF THAN YES A QUICK HARSHER AID THEN BACK TO THE ORIGINAL SOFT ONE (REPEAT AS NECESSARY) THE IDEA IS TO GET THE HORSE TUNED IN TO RESPONDING TO THE LIGHTEST AIDS.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO THINK ABOUT HARSH REIN AIDS THOUGH. I DON'T THINK OF REIN AIDS AS HARSH (SO MAYBE I WOULD DISAGREE WITH WHAT YOU SAW - AGAIN CHECK OUT AS MANY UPPER LEVEL RIDERS AS YOU CAN).

I KNOW THERE ARE TIMES, FOR EXAMPLE IN THE SHOULDER-IN, WHERE I WILL EXAGERATE THE INSIDE BENDING - BUT THE REIN AIDS TO DO THIS ARE NOT JERKY AND MY MUSCLES ARE NOT STRESSED.

THERE ARE TIMES WHEN MY MARE GETS POLL LOW IN THE CANTER THAT I MIGHT GIVE A QUICK UPWARD HALF-HALT . THIS WOULD BE VISABLE TO THE SKILLED EYE

I remember someone saying that if you're not used to a very high level of training, it can look almost abusive (long time cantering was the example). What I saw seemed to cross the line though.

MAYBE, IN THE SAME WAY THAT THOSE PHOTO MOMENTS OF ANKY SEEM ABUSIVE - BUT I DO NOT BELIEVE HER TRAINING RIDE WOULD APPEAR AT ALL ABUSIVE.

PERSONALLY, I DON'T LIKE REALLY LONG STRETCHES OF WORK - AS A GENERAL RULE. I DON'T WANT TO FATIGUE THE MUSCLES TO THE POINT THAT THEY GET ANAEROBIC. WHEN I'M DOING REALLY STRENUOUS STUFF (SAY CANTER PIROUETTE) I MIGHT TAKE REALLY QUICK WALK BREAK (LIKE JUST ONE QUICK CIRCLE) THEN RIGHT BACK TO WORK WHEN I GET A LITTLE IMPROVEMENT REALLY QUICK WALK BREAK THEN RIGHT BACK TO WORK

I'm never going back to that facility, I just cannot in good conscience ride there. However, I'd like to know what methods are accepted, and if I'm being too sensitive?

YOU MIGHT WANT TO GO BACK AND OBSERVE

Dressage Art
Sep. 2, 2009, 12:53 PM
OP, unfortunately, there are many riders/trainers who do think that's this is how it's done and it's justified when dealing with an animal 10 times heavier than you are. They do not know how to get results otherwise, but do get results with harsh riding and even win. The only thing is that their horses are not willing participants in that journey. Every ride starts with a fight and demands that their animal must submit to their will. There are many of them even on COTH who will tell you that it's OK and if you don't do it, you are a wimp and not an Alpha to your spoiled heard horse.

However, there are riders/trainers who can train UP with gentle methods. In my riding with Arthur Kottas, I already found out that it's possible to teach flying tempi changes to my horse with out any resistance and horse thinks that it's fun and tries her heart out. But you have to be able to prep that horse for about 30 minutes with the smart exercisers (this is where most lack the knowledge of how to prep them) and only when the horse is ready and can do the little patricians of that new exercise, you ask for the new exercise as a whole and do it only for 5 minutes and then put your horse away as a reward. Compare to harsh riding trainers, that method of teaching looked just like magic and auditors were not even able to recognize that my mare never did tempis before: we just turned down to the diagonal and off we went skipping along with Arthur yelling at me to sit deeper :lol: I can tell you that Arthur gets very mad when he sees any rein yanks, as mad as he doesn’t want to continue to teach that rider. After this kind of lessons, I watch on yank and spank and wonder why do they do that, if there is an easier and less combative ways to train?

It doesn’t mean that they are not knowledgeable and can’t teach you anything. It just means that this is the only way how they can teach. (and I'm not sure that you can change them) Harsh, crank and spank trainers who get blue ribbons can be found in any state. As an AA you have a choice how you want to spend your riding time: everyday fighting with your horse or taking a journey together.

And most of crank and spank trainers will tell you the seamless theory about the "response for lighter aids and stern correction if horse doesn’t respond" That general thinking is correct, but they tend to forget that their "stern corrections" turned in to painful nagging already, since they "correct" their horses so often. If you see a trainer correcting with stern whip once/twice per lesson - that's OK, but if it's continues "correction" every other minute until the horse will give in- that is already the way of their riding, not the way of correcting their horse.

YepItsAnAlter
Sep. 2, 2009, 01:26 PM
Thank you for all the discussion. I wanted to start this thread because I don't have experience at that level and wanted to know (ideally I suppose) how the training is accomplished.

Dressage Art, you hit the nail on the head. "And most of crank and spank trainers will tell you the seamless theory about the 'response for lighter aids and stern correction if horse doesn’t respond' That general thinking is correct, but they tend to forget that their 'stern corrections' turned in to painful nagging already, since they 'correct' their horses so often. If you see a trainer correcting with stern whip once/twice per lesson - that's OK, but if it's continues 'correction' every other minute until the horse will give in- that is already the way of their riding, not the way of correcting their horse."

That is *exactly* the feeling I got when I had my lesson. I was riding a somewhat lazy horse, so I had to squeeze hard and actually kick once to get forward movement. Using the legs this way once in a while as a correction doesn't bother me, but the constant yanking on the reins does (I wasn't yanking, and they didn't tell me to thank goodness). I can understand correction and the need for it, and to be fair, maybe the horses were being really disobedient? But all 5 horses for their entire ride? It just didn't add up for me.

Slc, I think it was your comment that I read about training looking abusive if you're not used to it, which sparked me to start this thread. I don't have the knowledge, so I'm asking those who do.

Btw, my arms were sore after riding their horse, not mine. She was up off her forehand, but I had sooo much head in my hands! How much weight (ideally) are you supposed to carry when your horse is traveling correctly? I assumed it was a super light connection, maybe not with all well-trained horses?

I do realize that in everyday training, eq can't be perfect and there may be quite a few corrections going on... I was just concerned that every rider seemed to be doing the same thing the whole time they rode -- not just correct and move on, it was very frequent and seemed overly-harsh.

Ok so the feeling I'm getting is that a horse without any rank behaviors should be able to be trained with minimal harsh rein corrections.

mickeydoodle
Sep. 2, 2009, 03:45 PM
Hope this is not just a trainwreck, I forgot the popcorn today.

I would say it is hard to know from your description of the clinic and your description of your experience which end of the spectrum "awful trainer"-----------"newbie lightness is everything, riding with no contact"

Contact is absolutely necessary to recycle forward aids. The amount you had in your hands when you rode their horse may very well be absolutely correct. The contact "weight" varies during the ride on an advanced horse. Some moments if the horse struggles a bit with the collection, you might have #### in your hands, and need to use quick, sometimes sharp little half halts to restor self carriage. It should never feel like "nothingness" as one of my instructors calls it. You strive for a supple, elastic contact that you can push the hind legs into.

pintopiaffe
Sep. 2, 2009, 03:55 PM
I've worked with very, very polar opposite styles of trainers. The type you are describing, and then I met and rode with Walter Zettl and realized it didn't have to be that way just to get to GP.

While I couldn't ride with Walter regularly, I did ride with him a couple times a year for three or four years and it was a paradigm shift in my riding and my quest for dressage.

I now ride in the French/Portuguese school. I had the privelege of a mere ONE clinic with Jean-Claude Racinet, but was an avid devotee of his articles in D&CT and then his books... I now ride at a Portuguese school.

You can still get there without excessive weight in the reins. Will there be corrections at times? Of course. But I knew it was worth travelling 5 hrs one way to ride with my teacher the first time I watched him working an upper level schoolmaster. The stallion was not being entirely obedient, (exhuberance) and was rather stiff to one side, so I wasn't just watching exhibition riding. What I still saw was dancing and playing. I then saw a young horse just learning movements, and again, it was in a spirit of *playing*... and felt much more like art than anything else. As a musician, I am well aware art does not come without *discipline*, correct technique, and hours and hours of building muscle memory and refining the quickest of responses... but, we PLAY an instrument, we do not WORK it. ;)

Bogey2
Sep. 2, 2009, 04:05 PM
Btw, my arms were sore after riding their horse, not mine. She was up off her forehand, but I had sooo much head in my hands! How much weight (ideally) are you supposed to carry when your horse is traveling correctly? I assumed it was a super light connection, maybe not with all well-trained horses?

the more trained a horse, the harder they are to ride if YOU have not ridden up the levels. I know from experience. They will often get heavy before they get light. My Schoolmaster is a good example...one I learned how to engage him better, he became "light". I have tried to explain this to people but they don't get it until they actually ride it...and I mean from the start, not after a trainer warmed it up for half an hour.

Equibrit
Sep. 2, 2009, 04:24 PM
In order for a horse to be disobedient, he first has to understand what it is that you are asking of him. It is your OBLIGATION to make sure that you have taught him well in the first place.

Twiliath
Sep. 2, 2009, 05:11 PM
Art ends where violence begins.

doccer
Sep. 2, 2009, 05:44 PM
i can understand the original poster, i'm an amateur by all means. highest i've showed is first and schooled some 2nd, very casually.

I like light contact - i like to think that is what the high level horses are on. I'm sure i'm sadly and ignorantly mistaken. maybe one lb IF that much is what i want when i ride. When i had a few lessons schooling 2nd, i had alot of contact... more than i liked.

I prefer first level.

i think this is turning into a discussion on how much weight to have in ur hands.

Carol O
Sep. 2, 2009, 06:15 PM
As a musician, I am well aware art does not come without *discipline*, correct technique, and hours and hours of building muscle memory and refining the quickest of responses... but, we PLAY an instrument, we do not WORK it. ;)

Very well said!

Dressage Art
Sep. 2, 2009, 07:16 PM
I would say it is hard to know from your description of the clinic and your description of your experience which end of the spectrum "awful trainer"-----------"newbie lightness is everything, riding with no contact"

OP said that her hands were in pain after the lesson - I know that feeling and that doesn't involve "riding with no contact".

I had a very bad fall and ended up with a medically diagnosed permanent injury in my hands and was in very strong pain after each of my lessons, I honestly though that it might be the end of the dressage road for me. I just wasn't able to take as much weight in my hands as my trainer did (who was 6+ feet tall) to "collect" the horse. I heard it all... but that was exactly the reason why I started to search for more gentle ways of training: to be pain free myself and that required lightness of aids. OP I can tell you that I ride with a light but very steady, steady, steady (did I say steady? I can’t stand flapping reins.) contact now and we are collecting quite well + my hands are pain free after lessons with my current clinicians. The contact doesn’t matter, it’s the exercisers and how you execute them that matters. You can teach your horse to take heavy, or medium or light contact. Mt horse was described to have a very heavy contact, but now her mouth is quite light. That was done with proper exercisers that Arthur Kottas taught me to do. And when we started to ride with him, we were at 2nd level and last time I rode 4th level for him – so we didn’t just stay at the same level with that light contact, we trained UP.

But again, as it was already pointed out, some riders honestly don't know that collection can be achieved with harmony and lightness from the very get go. They honestly believe that training is not expected to be "pretty", that it's only the result that is expected to look effortless.


Slc, I think it was your comment that I read about training looking abusive if you're not used to it, which sparked me to start this thread. Yes, I noticed that tendency with SLC as well. Yes, somebody can be quite knowledgeable and yet subscribe to the "abusive looking" methods of training. And unfortunately, it’s so common, you can find it at many shows barns and it’s considered to be the norm, just like Slc pointed out.

I still wouldn't dismiss all those trainers; some of them have lots of knowledge, but lack patience and thus tend to be harsher with horses. If you just taking a lesson and can make VERY clear to that clinician that you prefer to be more gentle with your horses and you are fine if that will slow your progress = some clinicians would allow you to be more gentle and still teach you lots of good stuff. Some can tone it down 1/2 way, but some can not = run away from those fast!!!

Lusoluv
Sep. 2, 2009, 07:27 PM
To the OP or anyone else who has concerns or doubts about the way a horse is being ridden...trust your gut! Would you allow your child, dog or horse to be treated in a manner that makes you cringe? I hope not. I don't care if the trainer is a big name or a no name - leave.

Most of us understand disciplining animals and children. There are times for reprimands, but we all know when hitting a child or animal goes beyond getting their attention for an extreme behavior and when it is causing pain or fear that is not productive. Empathy and understanding along with consistent discipline and praise, is the best foundation of training. If it looks "bad" it probably is bad. If it looks beautiful, well....:yes:

Trevelyan96
Sep. 2, 2009, 07:43 PM
To the OP or anyone else who has concerns or doubts about the way a horse is being ridden...trust your gut! Would you allow your child, dog or horse to be treated in a manner that makes you cringe? I hope not. I don't care if the trainer is a big name or a no name - leave.

Most of us understand disciplining animals and children. There are times for reprimands, but we all know when hitting a child or animal goes beyond getting their attention for an extreme behavior and when it is causing pain or fear that is not productive. Empathy and understanding along with consistent discipline and praise, is the best foundation of training. If it looks "bad" it probably is bad. If it looks beautiful, well....:yes:

Well said. All too often, just because a rider isn't at GP, trainers get away with convincing them that they 'don't know enough to have an opinion.'. Its just not true. One doesn't have to be able to ride one tempis or pirouettes to be able to recognize the difference between a fair correction and crank and spank. Riding at GP level isn't a pre-requisite to developing an educated eye.

slc2
Sep. 2, 2009, 07:57 PM
OP, when you get on someone else's horse, and you ride that horse, and afterwards your arms are sore, you assume it's the trainer's fault. That's where I disagree with you.

It is not necessarily so. You need to get out and ride more horses and get around some. This is a grotesquely unfair judgement you've made. Everything is not always someone else's fault.

What we feel very often is very deceptive, we are wiser to say 'I feel' than to say 'It's his fault'. Try having an open mind for a little while at least. I've had the experience many times of getting on a higher level horse and have them feel 'strong' and 'my arms tired', and it was NOT because the horse was incorrectly trained. It was because of how I rode the horse. And before my dear little stalkers seize upon this, it is not my experience alone, it is a common experience.

Jenn2674
Sep. 2, 2009, 08:36 PM
slc makes some good points. I am positive that if I got on "name your favorite trainers" best trained horse, that I would n'tbe able to get that horse light. I would bet that horse would feel very heavy to me because my seat and my core just isn't strong enough to ride that horse correctly. (edited because that was supposed to say that I wouldn't be able to get those horses light being I am a lowly 2nd level rider on my best days).

going back to the OP though. Yanking is yanking and it sounds like the OP knows the difference between a series of strong halfhalts and a yank. Yanking, unless you are in danger, is never ok.

I do agree with others that have said that at the upper levels it may seem harsher, not so much in the physical training but in that they have to work those horses and they have to work them pretty darn hard, at least to most of our standards. They have to be very fit and strong to do upper level work. I do think there are times where it aint gonna be pretty. All horses probably protest at some point or another because not one trainer nor one horse is perfect. Resistance doesn't look pretty.

Sabine
Sep. 2, 2009, 08:49 PM
A lot of interesting opinions...first off I don't believe riding properly should ever make you sore in your arms- EVER.
If you have to hold the horse's head and neck- then something is seriously wrong with your riding and the training of the horse.
Typically in my experience, and I have seen plenty of those types of riding styles that you describe- the horses are MASSIVELY behind the leg, some are already afraid going in for the yank and spank that will soon follow.

secondly any severe hand correction will result in giving the horse a 'backwards' message and thus will increase the problem. Most people think that because it's FEI it must be hard physically. It shouldn't be. It should be light but precise.

If the horse doesn't understand that first off- there will be a small establishment of Alpha by the rider- which usually consists of testing the level of forward that the horse offers, and establishing a correct amount of responsiveness, after which the ride should consist of 80% seat and small leg aids and 20% of connection, halfhalts etc...

Everything else IMO is not what I consider good dressage. I would not want to ride like that, nor abuse the horse like that, nor do I consider it anything respectable or worthwhile.

BUT- you will have a harder time finding a trainer that rides consistently differently...but go and try and find that trainer- because you will love and enjoy your riding experience.

Gry2Yng
Sep. 2, 2009, 08:51 PM
"By chance was this in so cal?"

LOL.

It could be anywhere.

Without seeing it, I am not going to jump to conclusions. It might be that the trainer was overly harsh. But it may also be that the horse was running through the aids and refusing to carry himself in a way you can't really see. If you are used to seeing lower level horses noodle along, shuffle along with their nose in the dirt, you may not be able to see yet what's going on at a higher level, and how a horse can push through the aids and need to be corrected.

I really hate discussions like this, because the assumption is ALWAYS that the trainer is wrong if someone doesn't like what they saw and the trainer is NEVER there to defend him or herself, there is never any video so the other posters can judge for themselves, and the emotional words ('jerking', 'crank and spank', 'cruel', 'won't go back') mean EVERYONE is going to play 'pile on the trainer'. In other words, it is a totally one sided discussion and anyone who doesn't agree the trainer is a brute is 'inhumane' and 'ignorant'.

It's quite true - the trainer may be dead wrong and really a brute; I've seen enough of that, and the inability to do anything about it except leave is indeed frustrating. There is a very well established group of trainers out there who teach and ride what looks like dressage, but is just jerking the reins til the horse stays behind the bit and does sort of a parody of dressage movements, without the basics in place.

However...it's also quite possible that you aren't really picking up on everything that's going on. First of all, the trainer usually gets the ride on the big, spoiled, badly behaved horses and watching them get the bad habits out of these horses is not always pretty.

Your arms are sore? Perhaps your horse has spent years on the forehand and is now stiff and resistant when he's asked to be more supple and carry himself. Maybe getting him to be correct is a huge laborious task now. Maybe after a long time in a lower level posture your horse is in the habit of going on the forehand.

Many horses fight back when asked to carry themselves, and often riders can create impulsion, but can't channel it or supple it (the so-called 'First to Second Level Dilemma').

Many people go away from a dressage lesson with a good trainer with every bone, tendon and muscle in their body sore. Maybe you're out of shape.

Maybe the dressage trainer wasn't really telling you - 'come on, brace your arms harder! harder! that's good!' Maybe he was trying to get you to do something else. Maybe you weren't able to do what the trainer was saying. Maybe his version of what happened in the lesson is very different from yours.

Maybe you can be 'soft' with the reins when they're on the buckle, but have a much harder time staying loose when you shorten your reins and ask your horse to work. Maybe a stiff closed hip makes it very hard for you to ride with your reins a little shorter and ask your horse to carry himself.

Maybe not every uncomfortable lesson we have in our riding lives is because the trainer is a louse....

A rider needs to be able to supple his horse, bend him this way, bend him that way...Otherwise he has a horse that has his head up and is doing upper level work, but is stiff as a board or a horse that is trucking along on the forehand leaning on the bit when he tries to ride with a shorter rein.

A rider needs to learn to be just as loose and soft and supple with a shorter rein and the horse carrying himself...and if he can't do that right now, maybe he will be able to later by opening his hip and deepening his seat.

When this 'crosses a line' from 'necessary corrections in training' to 'just being a brute' is often a matter of opinion. Without the other party getting a chance to defend themselves....

I thought this was a fabulous post.

YepItsAnAlter
Sep. 2, 2009, 09:41 PM
Very interesting comments!

One of my problems I'm working on is my core isn't as strong as it could be, so I'm sure that contributed to the problem. Slc, I'm not trying to take the easy way out by placing blame only on the trainer or the barn. I went there for a reason, and it was to learn. I did learn two useful things about my position that will help me in the future.

It's interesting, I commented to the trainer during the lesson and said I feel like I have a lot of weight in my hands. They said that was normal. There was no correction saying, "well if you ride with your core more the horse will respond better". At the end of my lesson, they said I had a pretty decent seat though. Now I know that I have to make vast improvements to my seat/riding in order to correctly ride a horse at GP, so this isn't the issue! I feel like this was the norm in daily riding at the barn, at least for that horse.

The reason I'm posting all this is because my number one philosophy in riding is if something's going wrong, look to the rider; it's almost never the horse's fault.

I really don't want this to turn into a train wreak either, I am genuinely interested in this and don't wish to bash anyone. I want to learn. I want to be a better rider.

Thank you :)

slc2
Sep. 2, 2009, 10:22 PM
What you have to try and understand is that there is supposed to be a certain amount of contact. The more forward the horse is the more contact there is. It is, in fact, just as she said 'normal', and it's VERY 'normal' that upper level horses push a lot of energy to the bridle, and that lower level horses starting to develop strength push a lot of energy to the bridle, and if you aren't used to it, it's going to feel weird. And there isn't always time in a lesson to say more than 'it's normal'.

Incidentally, it isn't really true that if you 'use your core' every horse will be instantly and suddenly light as a feather every moment and you will never move a muscle, use a leg, use a rein, etc. That's utter bb mythology.

Sabine
Sep. 3, 2009, 12:44 AM
What you have to try and understand is that there is supposed to be a certain amount of contact. The more forward the horse is the more contact there is. It is, in fact, just as she said 'normal', and it's VERY 'normal' that upper level horses push a lot of energy to the bridle, and that lower level horses starting to develop strength push a lot of energy to the bridle, and if you aren't used to it, it's going to feel weird. And there isn't always time in a lesson to say more than 'it's normal'.

Incidentally, it isn't really true that if you 'use your core' every horse will be instantly and suddenly light as a feather every moment and you will never move a muscle, use a leg, use a rein, etc. That's utter bb mythology.

Very right...I guess the amount of contact is always in relationship to the amount of
1. upper body strength of the rider
2. core strenght of the rider

But I don't agree that horses that are more forward are automatically heavier on the contact.
The sad truth is that a well trained horse is like a fine instrument- it will react to the finest aids and it will be always in front of the leg- giving an energized (sometimes scary) feeling to the rider- that the rider should never oppose. The rider also always needs to have the core strength to ride with basically no reins- balancing and holding his core on his own- without support of the hands. Then the contact becomes a 'talking' relationship between the rider and the horse- which at times has to be correcting and at times can be caressing.... but it should not be harsh ripping of the reins...at least that is my opinion.

It is also correct that the core alone will not do the job- but the core of the rider has to be strong enough to hold the rider in a correct position on its own- even if the horse canters, shies,gallopps or extends the gait. This alone is a proposition that many riders don't fulfill.

Thus back to lunge lessons....haha!!

Back to the topic: I think promoting the type of style that the OP describes is a common occurrence. But it is NOT the style that I would recommend to someone eager to truly learn dressage at any level.

egontoast
Sep. 3, 2009, 06:54 AM
the head trainer was on a student's horse and was YANKING on the reins. Not little subtle corrections, stuff, quick, hard jerks to the reins if the horse didn't respond in the way the trainer wanted him to.


This is not about degrees of contact, though, it's about yanking on the mouth. I saw something similar once and have to say it turned me off that particular trainer but I don't think it follows that all FEI training is harsh which seems to be what the thread is about.

Some trainers are harsh and some aren't, whatever the level.

slc2
Sep. 3, 2009, 07:55 AM
So what you object to is the trainer was jerking on the reins on a student's horse.

And your arms were sore after you rode. The sore arms after riding can be because you aren't used to holding your arms in the correct position. I watched a woman's lesson about two weeks ago who was asked to hold her hands in front of her instead of down in front of her and she said her muscles were killing her AND that the weight of the reins felt different (more). Not only could she not get the horse forward and supple with her arms in the new position, she was having a heck of a time doing it in the OLD position, so the horse had a bad habit and a problem. Not only was she trying to correct herself, she was now trying to correct a problem her riding created in the horse.

Ever had a sore tooth? It feels like it's as big as Mt. Everest. A TINY difference can feel extremely strange and awkward to a rider. That's GOOD - that means you have feel - but that has to be tempered with other things too. Not every uneven stride means lameness, not every awkward moment is a disaster, not every less than ideal moment is a sign of a bad trainer.

Learning dressage is a process in which you ruin each horse you ride just a little bit less over a period of many years even if you do have a lot of very good help! Learning a technical sport is NEVER pretty and it rarely follows the ideals set forth in those pretty books.

They can be because you don't yet know how to get your horse forward and balance and control his impulsion. ESPECIALLY with a well schooled forward horse you can expect to get on and feel a LOT of energy in the reins, if you can't control it, it doesn't mean the trainer is bad, it means you don't know how to ride with more impulsion.

Keep in mind too - you're pretty unlikely to be given a horse to ride that is in perfect tuning. VERY few trainers will put you on their perfectly trained, finished GP horse. The horse you rode may not be that schooled up and he may have gotten sloppy after months of different students on him. He may be a 'power horse' that's NEVER well balanced and always pulls somewhat(so is limited in competition and winds up being a school horse a lot), which takes a near-genius to ride lightly and look well. THAT may be part of it too.

Back to 'jerking on the reins' of the student's horse.

You....you know what trainers are for, right? They get on the horse when the student has a problem he can't solve, right? When the student can't do something. And the trainer has to get up there and try to fix what's going wrong. So the trainer winds up looking like an ass. And YES, it's quite possible the horse toodles around as happy as a clam for the owner, and the trainer gets on and horsey pitches a fit. And that can look pretty bad.

You came here wanting everyone to agree with you that this trainer stinks and is a louse. You said you'd never go back. Please be honest at least with yourself, you came here to get a concensus and worded that post in a 'so do you still beat your wife' way that GUARANTEES people agree with you - 'do you feel yanking on the reins is good?' - someone CAN'T disagree with you and look decent! You worded your post to make SURE people would play pile on the trainer here.

Well there is another side to this business, and no matter HOW snotty people get to me, I'm not going to condemn a trainer sight unseen. I've seen exactly what you're saying too many times to do that.

YES there are crappy trainers out there. And 'crappy' isn't always as obvious as everyone thinks. And I've ridden with enough crappy ones and enough good ones to be very, very sure that there are zillians of very, very happy customers of very, very crappy trainers.

But not every trainer that has to get up there and fix something is a crappy trainer. MOST students don't go to a trainer because everything is going perfectly and they just want to be a little better. They go because they are having PROBLEMS and they need help. And that doesn't always look so pretty getting fixed, and what's wrong isn't always that obvious and what needs to be done isn't always that pretty.

People spend 30 and 40 years riding incorrectly around their back yard in circles, never get out of training level, because they won't go to anyone and 'all the trainers stink' because they decided that they see a trainer daring to lift a pinkie finger and do something with the reins when the horse is running away with them(AND 'running away' is not always at a dead gallop through a 4 board fence), and they decide that's 'mean' and 'harsh' and 'not classical'.

Dressage riding is not always about sitting up there giving invisible aids and looking like a Renaissance prince. Things go wrong.

The only way you can effectively convince yourself otherwise is by not riding dressage horses and instead reading books about dressage.

Students get inappropriate horses, ride poorly for months, then give the reins to the trainer.

The results are not always pretty. Just because you didn't think it looked perfect, just because it felt strange to you, doesn't necessarily mean there was a problem. Give people a chance. Don't condemn so quickly.

egontoast
Sep. 3, 2009, 09:47 AM
You came here wanting everyone to agree with you that this trainer stinks and is a louse.



Sounds like the OP has touched a nerve with you, slc? Why is that?

I went back and re read the OP to see where that vitriolic smackdown came from and it's no where to be seen.

The person used an alter, the person named no one and provided no details that would identify anyone and asked if she was being too sensitive in her observations.

Some people pointed out that training can sometimes look harsh if the observer does not understand what is going on. Others felt from the description that it may have been too harsh. It was also mentioned that just because one trainer is (possibly) harsh , it does not mean all are harsh.

Personally, I hate to see people yanking on the bit and many excellent trainers seem to be able to train horse without yanking on the bit. We weren't there, though. and we didn't see it.

YOU don't know if these were lovely trainers or not either so no need to be the thought police..

Rival
Sep. 3, 2009, 11:52 AM
I agree with SLC.

It is not about knowing what this particular trainer did but about informing people who live in the dark about certain things and not being too quick to judge a trainer when you don't know what the situation is.

In my area the top dressage trainers have probably fixed more "headed for the slaughter house" horses than any of the local cowboys. There are a lot of people out there that buy horses that are too much for them and they turn them into monsters because someone on a BB has told them never to touch the horses mouth.

I applaud those that don't hide behind blanket PC statements.

Flame away!

mbm
Sep. 3, 2009, 12:16 PM
wel, fwiw, my experience has been very similar to DAs.... I have worked with varous trainers who were all about crank n' spank..... and i have worked with trainer who do preach lightness and self carriage. i prefer the 2nd and in my experience so do the horses.

and, even when i had my FEI horse, it always worked better when i was being trained to give and not hold rather than pull/kick/yank...

and i guess i am very lucky in that my horses have all tended to be big mouths who rebelled under harsh treatment.

i will say tho that there are times, hopefully rarely, when a horse might need a strong correction.

as for aching arms..... it could be that the rider just doesn't know how to give....

while i am not the queen of FEI, my experience (and the ODGs) tells me that it should get easier and lighter as it goes.... and a well trained FEI horse would be a pleasure to ride by anyone - isnt that what "well trained" means?

Dressage Art
Sep. 3, 2009, 12:25 PM
I disagree with SLC.

I can condemn a rider sight unseen if that rider "was YANKING on the reins. Not little subtle corrections stuff, quick, hard jerks to the reins if the horse didn't respond in the way the trainer wanted him to."

My own horse's mouth was ripped open with blood after a rider YANKED on her mouth repeatedly. The rider's response was that "the horse should off developed calluses on her mouth already, if she bleeds so easily, that means her mouth is just too soft for the bit" and the rider kept on YANKING... That lost trust took years (YEARS) to repair.

YANKING on the reins is NEVER, NEVER useful. It's actually counter-productive and teaching a horse NOT to trust rider's hands more and more with EVERY YANK. There is never a reason to YANK on horse's mouth in dressage training. You can achieve a better result if you will take time (3 lessons rather than 1 lesson) to patiently explain to your horse how to follow an inviting hand. Horse that is being YANKED in the mouth will not develop a stretchy circles with honest following of the bit downwards = since he will be afraid of the bit and will keep himself in the false frame or go BTV.

You can not pull the horse off it's forehand with heavy contact in your reins = that is just front end riding and it's not correct.

And it's hogwash about riders who never YANK on horse's mouth = they never progress and stay at Training Level forever.

It's also hogwash that if you have too much heavy contact in your hands and your hands are in pain after the riding = you don't have enough of a strong core. I'm 5.3 and 130 pounds = no chance that I will be as strong in my hands as a 6+ feet rider or male rider, no matter how strong my core is.

And Egy, it was SLC who:

Some people pointed out that training can sometimes look harsh if the observer does not understand what is going on.

After reading many, many SLC posts she seems to train with harsher methods than I do, since we tend to disagree every time when the question of how harsh is OK and how harsh is not OK. She tends to justify the harsh methods of training in her posts.

Auventera Two
Sep. 3, 2009, 01:04 PM
I've worked with very, very polar opposite styles of trainers. The type you are describing, and then I met and rode with Walter Zettl and realized it didn't have to be that way just to get to GP.

While I couldn't ride with Walter regularly, I did ride with him a couple times a year for three or four years and it was a paradigm shift in my riding and my quest for dressage.

I now ride in the French/Portuguese school. I had the privelege of a mere ONE clinic with Jean-Claude Racinet, but was an avid devotee of his articles in D&CT and then his books... I now ride at a Portuguese school.

You can still get there without excessive weight in the reins. Will there be corrections at times? Of course. But I knew it was worth travelling 5 hrs one way to ride with my teacher the first time I watched him working an upper level schoolmaster. The stallion was not being entirely obedient, (exhuberance) and was rather stiff to one side, so I wasn't just watching exhibition riding. What I still saw was dancing and playing. I then saw a young horse just learning movements, and again, it was in a spirit of *playing*... and felt much more like art than anything else. As a musician, I am well aware art does not come without *discipline*, correct technique, and hours and hours of building muscle memory and refining the quickest of responses... but, we PLAY an instrument, we do not WORK it. ;)

One of the best posts I've ever read on the dressage board.

If a trainer is always disciplining a horse by yanking and whacking it, then where's the joy, and what is the point? Get a 4 wheeler if that's how you want to treat your vehicle. That way you can just stomp on it whenever the urge hits, and when it breaks down, all you have to do is order up some new parts. If you want a partnership with an animal, yanking it in the mouth is not the way to accomplish it. The OP would do well to stay away from that place. Trust your gutt.

A timely and well placed discipline is essential for all living mammals, horses are no different. But discipline is meant to be administered firmly and quickly, then you move on as if nothing happened. A whole ring full of horses being continually disciplined tells me there's a whole lot of reactive riding going on, and not a lot of training.

I used to lease a mare who aborted her foal when a dressage trainer cranked and spanked her for an hour. She was used in a clinic, put into draw reins, and worked until she was lathered. Yanking on the reins, whacking her with a whip. She was early in the pregnancy, and within 3 days after the clinic, she was at the vet's office, one very sick mare. She was colicky and ended up having a D&C.

If this is what dressage is, then I don't want any part of it.

grayarabpony
Sep. 3, 2009, 01:14 PM
For the most part cranking and spanking isn't going to get your anywhere. You're just going to end up with a hollow horse, regardless of headset.

What part of self-carriage don't you people understand? It means the horse carries itself. It doesn't mean that you hold up the front end or hold the horse together. You half halt, then you release. If the horse falls on its face you kick. This is basic stuff.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 3, 2009, 01:41 PM
I've been reading the posts and am just confused. If you end up with sore arms after a ride, something is fundamentally wrong. Maybe it's you, maybe it's the horse, but resistance meets with resistance and it will be both in the end.

And it is about self carriage. I am not an FEI level rider. But last night, in a lesson - and this is something we've been working on for a while - I was able to truly use my seat and core to have my horse contact the bit and my hands. My shoulders to elbow were part of my lower core, my elbows to hands were light and mobile.

If I can do this on my 17 year old OTTB, and I'm working around First/Second level, then it is obviously possible for just about everyone, because we're reversing years of traveling around on our forehands.

I want my work sessions to be happy, physically rewarding for horse and rider, even exuberant. I want my horse to be better than when I started.

I wouldn't go back there either.

twofatponies
Sep. 3, 2009, 02:09 PM
I want my horse to be better than when I started.


I think this is a useful and insightful point. In any discipline, if the horse is understanding the lesson, then he should get more relaxed, more confident, and more correct during the session. If he's getting more anxious, tense, or worked up, then he isn't understanding or able to do the thing being asked, and it would be better to take a step back to the underlying problem that is causing the misunderstanding (i.e. maybe the horse doesn't fundamentally understand a certain aid, or maybe he isn't strong enough in some part of his body to sustain the movement being asked, etc.)

I do think there is often a sort of pressure at clinics to get students horses "fixed" and show big results in one or two sessions, where the horse might benefit from several weeks or months of slow work on the problem. I've been to clinics where the clinician made "advanced" students work on fundamentals (ie. student unable to ride horse on bit when double bridle is taken away...), and some of the students griped and complained that they had a big show this weekend, and they needed to fix the flying changes, not be worrying about their seat or hands and wouldn't waste their time with that clinician again. <rolleyes> Some clinicians will say, well, to f-in bad, I'm not going beyond what you really need. Others will try to satisfy the students by trying to offer "quick fixes".

Bogey2
Sep. 3, 2009, 02:21 PM
used to lease a mare who aborted her foal when a dressage trainer cranked and spanked her for an hour. She was used in a clinic, put into draw reins, and worked until she was lathered. Yanking on the reins, whacking her with a whip. She was early in the pregnancy, and within 3 days after the clinic, she was at the vet's office, one very sick mare. She was colicky and ended up having a D&C.

what an awful story, poor mare!

slc2
Sep. 3, 2009, 06:20 PM
as usual all da and egon have is personal insults. That doesn't change that there are two sides to this issue, and only one is being presented.

There ARE rough trainers out there, there ARE bad trainers and there ARE reasons to leave when things look harsh, and contrary to what is implied/stated, I have NEVER condoned harsh training methods. In fact I have packed up and gone down the road more than once to avoid such things. There is a huge difference between riding effectively and making corrections, and just yanking and banging the snot out of the horse.

Carol O
Sep. 3, 2009, 07:35 PM
There are these crank and spank trainers out there because there is a demand from the riders for quick results.

slc2
Sep. 3, 2009, 07:38 PM
I don't agree. I think MOST of those 'crank and spank' trainers are not supported by people who want quick results at all. I think they are supported by people who don't understand that it is bad training. They just don't know any better.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 3, 2009, 07:48 PM
The OP posted her own personal experiences, and invited discussion. Since there is no libel, no slander, no one was named (although I did think "AMWRIDER!!!!" when I saw "BNT"), we can put ourselves in the situation she describes - as she describes - and decide what we might do, and then freely exchange our ideas.

Like I said, I am not an upper level rider. But if I saw 5 horses in a row ridden as described by the OP, and then if I rode one of their schoolmasters and my arms hurt that badly afterwards, I also would not go back.

One horse, sure. You never quite know what the situation could be. But even at my level, it drives MY trainer nuts if the first thing I do is grab for the reins. And she has very patiently explained to me (my head understands, my body is often in denial) that if I am crooked, if I am riding with my shoulders, if I block his movement, then I prevent my horse from being engaged and using his back and seeking contact. Without these basics, I cannot successful ask him to do lateral work in a way that will help him engage and strengthen, and then I cannot ask for collection.

That is my contribution to this discussion. Do I still go for the reins? Sure, years of bad riding. My horse pulls, I pull.

But you can see this in their necks, in their topline, in their musculature, when the horse is working at a given level, if they have been trained appropriately. The goal (sadly, not always the outcome!) is to be a physical therapist for your horse, to make them better, and to do so in a way that is calm and relaxed and willing. I honestly prefer to do things this way.

And obviously, there are trainers that have a different philosophy. I know of a dressage show stables where this is so. It's why I don't train there. The difference is, at 17 (KNOCK ON WOOD) my horse is sound and willing and HAPPY. And hopefully, we have more years left.

egontoast
Sep. 3, 2009, 07:49 PM
as usual all da and egon have is personal insults. That doesn't change that there are two sides to this issue, and only one is being presented.


Hmm, what personal insults from me? :confused: I took issue with your insulting remarks about the OP as they weren't supported by her post. Different viewpoints were set out by different posters so it is not true that only one side is presented.. Wow, you get awfully cranky if anyone dares to express a different view!:confused:

Pely
Sep. 4, 2009, 09:50 AM
I know exactly what the OP is talking about, and wouldn't be surprised if we are speaking about the same people.

Anytime the horse even slightly leans on the hand, along with a strong core correction, the rider gives hard quick yanks to the horses mouth, usually this puts the horse way above the bit for a split second, then it comes down. Then the horse is aggressively sent forward and if it doesn't stay enough on the haunches, the above is quickly repeated. If the horse doesn't move quickly enough off the riders legs, it is sent flying sideways from the whip and hard spur. If the horse dares to move a foot while being mounted, it is yanked repeatedly in the mouth. I honestly do not know why the horses do not flip over backward. Most do rear. The only time that they are not getting the crap beat out of them is when they are in the show ring. Because they have very nice horses to ride, and are very successful, multiple regional championships at all levels, multiple HOY awards at all levels, and because they can talk the talk all day long, very good talk of theory, they are well thought of and have many clients. I think they have hosted Cathy Morelli for clinics.

The methodology, which produces horses that do very well in the show ring, has very little resemblance to the principles of classical dressage. IMO, if you are going to talk the talk, you should be walking the walk, not doing the opposite behind closed doors.
The judges can only judge what they see, and nice horses that do not make mistakes, that show great expression will be rewarded.

IMO, the end doesn't justivy the means.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 4, 2009, 10:49 AM
Pely - your post got me to thinking - if my horse responded in this fashion every time I leaned on the reins - I'd be bucked off about 25 times a session.
So it's good we both practice tolerance, no?

Auventera Two
Sep. 4, 2009, 11:44 AM
I want my horse to be better than when I started.



I'm not a "natural horsemanship" kind of person, but I do like a lot of John Lyons' stuff. He has 3 basic rules that everyone should live by:

1. You cannot get hurt.
2. Horse cannot get hurt.
3. Horse has to be calmer and more relaxed at the end of the lesson than at the beginning of it.

He recently put out an article on reactive riding, versus effectively training the horse. If you find yourself constantly giving out discipline (whacks, kicks, yells, corrections), then you aren't training the horse, and you aren't being a good horseman. You are riding reactively, with anger and total lack of compassion and insight because you don't know what else to do. You encounter a problem, and you have no established aids or training to guide you through the problem, so you turn to anger to try to fix the problem.

Do you take your kid to walmart and slap them on the top of the head for talking too loud, or do you train them how to talk with a quiet/inside voice?

We have to think of horses as "kids", and we're the teachers. They are just big, dumb, innocent, herd animals that have basic instincts. Everything they do or don't do beyond their basic eat, poop, sleep, and mate, is up to us.

Yeah, I'm "just a trail rider" but I think I know enough about basic horsemanship and training to know that yanking a horse in the mouth, then kicking them with spurs is tactless and ignorant. If you had a fat trail rider on a nappy quarter horse with the saddle bags loaded up with Miller Light, doing this, you dressage riders would be all up in arms at the stupid hillbilly abusing his horse. But when its done on a warmblood in a 3,000 dollar saddle, then it's okay? Unreal.

If an upper level dressage horse is lugging down on their forehand and running through the aids, then maybe the trainer needs to back up a half a dozen levels and review the training up to that point.

This reminds me so much of the western pleasure classes I've watched where discipline goes on when the judge's back is turned. You have 25 horses in the ring, and Suzie waits until Dobbin gets around behind the judge, and then goes to jerking on his mouth and spurring him to get that nose down to the ground even further. Then she puts the smile back on, drops her hands, sits up straight, and jogs on down the rail when the judge is looking. Some rail riders seem to make a science out of it.

Showing a horse - or moving up the levels - is supposed to be an expression of partnership with the horse. An evolution, or metamorphosis (sp?) of a big dumb herd animal into a willing and beautiful partner who is athletic, polished, and professional. Jerking, snatching, kicking, and spurring don't fit into that except OCASSIONALLY when the horse does need a firm/swift discipline for deliberately disobeying a distinct aid that he knows quite well.

dainty do
Sep. 4, 2009, 01:01 PM
I really appreciated the response Robert Dover posted on the Q&A section of his website when asked about a particular training method.

"Anything which produces pain and bewilderment to a horse through its use in “training”, I am totally and categorically against."

What a great statement!

FancyFree
Sep. 4, 2009, 01:06 PM
Auventera Two wrote:


Yeah, I'm "just a trail rider" but I think I know enough about basic horsemanship and training to know that yanking a horse in the mouth, then kicking them with spurs is tactless and ignorant. If you had a fat trail rider on a nappy quarter horse with the saddle bags loaded up with Miller Light, doing this, you dressage riders would be all up in arms at the stupid hillbilly abusing his horse. But when its done on a warmblood in a 3,000 dollar saddle, then it's okay? Unreal.

Where the heck do you get that from? I haven't seen anyone condone bad riding, whether it be on a trail horse or a dressage horse. Can you point that out to me? I'm interested to see where you got that from.

I've actually only ever seen the "yanking a horse in the mouth" done by beginner riders and very bad trainers. I've never seen a good, well respected dressage trainer do anything of the sort.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 4, 2009, 01:07 PM
Aventura Two - great post, and very reminiscent of my trainer's philosophy.

I think in some ways it's analagous to training - horse starts out downhill, you work towards level, then youw ork towards developing greater strength in the hind end and back so they can be light and mobile in front. Rider starts out reactive, then neutral, then proactive. I now even think about my actions from the minute we leave the pasture - how am I moving? Am I in self carriage? Am I consistently and appropriately asking the same from my horse?

mbm
Sep. 4, 2009, 01:15 PM
I really appreciated the response Robert Dover posted on the Q&A section of his website when asked about a particular training method.

"Anything which produces pain and bewilderment to a horse through its use in “training”, I am totally and categorically against."

What a great statement!

maybe i am a cynic.... but with progressive training, even rollkur can fit in the above model of correct training.

better to say "anything that goes against the nature of the horse i am categorically and totally against"

as for abuse, i think it is a bit dangerous to say that a rider giving quick "loud" half halts then giving is bad. like all things it is about the context. while i dont think yanking and pulling are good riding, i do know that at times you do need to do a "loud" HH and oput the horse on its haunch. the important thing is what happens after. does the rider GIVE? or do they continue to pull and yank?

also, asking the horse to move off your leg is not wrong, again it is context. are they continuing to ask after the horse has responded?

EiRide
Sep. 4, 2009, 02:00 PM
OP, when you get on someone else's horse, and you ride that horse, and afterwards your arms are sore, you assume it's the trainer's fault. That's where I disagree with you.

It is not necessarily so. You need to get out and ride more horses and get around some. This is a grotesquely unfair judgement you've made. Everything is not always someone else's fault.

I have an Appendix QH mare who is fussy, easy to move laterally, light light light in the hand and off the leg. She's a track bred QH with a massive engine and a sensitive personality, easily stressed and easily pressured. I think she's a blast to ride, but she's not for everyone. Years ago, I was traveling and had a farm sitter who was semi-experienced. I decided that I was more comfortable taking my two riding horses down to my coach's for the two weeks, so the farm sitter only had a retiree and a youngster to deal with, just streamlining things. My coach was to use the horses in her lesson program a bit to keep them in work for me and knock some of the boarding cost off.

When I returned, a woman walked up and announced to me, "I know EXACTLY how you ride! You ride on a tight, tight rein with a very strong leg because otherwise Moonlight goes crooked." I blinked at her in astonishment and said in no way did I ride her like that, I rode her almost entirely off my seat because then she did not get fussed. The woman shook her head at me, wagged a finger in my face, and boomed, "NO, you have to ride that horse really tight all the time!" I asked my coach WTF and she said that she'd allowed the woman to ride her in a lesson, and never could get her to be light enough in her aids to keep the mare from going crooked--the lady would pick up a rein and clamp her leg, and poor Moonlight would say "ok, go sideways, I can do that" and the lady would grab harder on the other side and send her off the other way; Lite was more confused than upset, so my coach kept trying to work through it with the woman, without any success at all. I might add that this rider is not one I think of as a grabbing, holding rider--I would not have been upset if my coach told me beforehand that she planned to let her ride my horse--but because her cues were not subtle enough, she kept sending the mare around the ring like a drunk. She was not kicking, yanking, etc., just way too holding and pushing for Lite.

So . . . sometimes it is just getting to know a different horse. I bet she got off that mare thinking I rode like Bagba the Butcher.

mp
Sep. 4, 2009, 02:12 PM
Yeah, I'm "just a trail rider" but I think I know enough about basic horsemanship and training to know that yanking a horse in the mouth, then kicking them with spurs is tactless and ignorant. If you had a fat trail rider on a nappy quarter horse with the saddle bags loaded up with Miller Light, doing this, you dressage riders would be all up in arms at the stupid hillbilly abusing his horse. But when its done on a warmblood in a 3,000 dollar saddle, then it's okay? Unreal.

Where did you get the impression that "us dressage riders" think that's OK? The same place you learned that dressage training is nothing but riding endless circles and never going out of the arena?

EiRide
Sep. 4, 2009, 02:16 PM
This has been an interesting read.

I have had a hard time finding dressage instructors in my area(s) that I want to work with over the years that I have been practicing dressage training. I like to go watch them ride, see some lessons, and then maybe try out a lesson. Since I am a dyed in the wool mare person, primarily do eventing and have horses bred with that in mind or simply suited to it, I need a trainer who understands a little different type of horse than the most popular dressage mounts. And I want someone who knows there stuff, too, and can walk the talk! Seems like a tall order.

Given the description of the training methods, I probably would have walked after auditing some lessons. In clinics and some basic 'lets try this one out' lessons I've often been critiqued for riding too lightly; we are not on a loose rein, and typically I have done well in straight dressage competition and the dressage phase of eventing. I'm not knocking everyone on their asses with my groovy 70% + rides, but I am reliably in the 60's with various horses. I don't think my scores reflect doodling around incorrectly, and I've never yanked and spanked to try to achieve something soft and round with my mares.

Sometimes training does look ugly, or get ugly, no matter how nice you are trying to keep it. Not being afraid to allow a little ugliness on the way to goodness is something I struggle with, but at the end of the day if we don't both end relaxed and steady, I think the session is a failure.

Margaret
Sep. 4, 2009, 03:50 PM
Auventera Two wrote:



Where the heck do you get that from? I haven't seen anyone condone bad riding, whether it be on a trail horse or a dressage horse. Can you point that out to me? I'm interested to see where you got that from.



I think she is referring to the original post and thus to the students and boarders at this barn who are apparently happy (and successful) with this style of training and riding....

"I recently took a lesson from a pretty BNT. They train to/at GP and have won countless awards in the ring, they are very competitive nationally. I was really excited to ride with them, I had heard great things ... the head trainer was on a student's horse and was YANKING on the reins. Not little subtle corrections, stuff, quick, hard jerks to the reins if the horse didn't respond in the way the trainer wanted him to....I saw this type of riding going on with everyone in the ring, including the other trainer and 4 students/boarders."

grayarabpony
Sep. 4, 2009, 05:37 PM
Thank you Margaret.

grayarabs
Sep. 4, 2009, 05:42 PM
Sometimes I think people forget about school figures. They are not things just to be performed in a test. Horse is heavy/leaning on bit: do circles, spirals, lateral work,
change gaits, changes within gaits, etc etc etc. Jerking on the bit will surely take away horse's trust in the bit and rider.
I have probably done everything wrong that could be done wrong in dressage.
I had to stop riding dressage (my health) but somehow because of that I have had more time to think. I can reflect on all I did incorrectly. Perhaps I can better see now the differences in training and what is better and what is worse for the horse.
Sometimes it takes stepping away from dressage for awhile to see it.

grayarabs
Sep. 4, 2009, 05:56 PM
Further, IMHO, some of the most harsh methods/training/riding I have seen have been by actively competing BNT's.

FancyFree
Sep. 4, 2009, 06:04 PM
Thank you Margaret.

You need to thank her for that? :lol:

When A Two writes "you dressage riders" in the dressage forum, it sounds like she's addressing the ones in this thread. Apparently I'm not the only one who thought that.

I've seen a few BNT in my time. I've never seen one behave in the way the OP describes. In San Diego, they wouldn't be a BNT for long if they were that abusive. YMMV.

cyberbay
Sep. 4, 2009, 07:23 PM
Posted way back at the beginning, but was concerned to hear that the OP said her biceps were sore post-lesson. Biceps (front of arm) don't get used too much, it's the muscles at the back of the upper arm (name of muscle I don't know). Which makes me think that the temptation to use the biceps in that lesson came from the horse not being properly connected through its back to its poll, which, if the connection were accurate, would then give the rider something to 'contain,' and that is readily achieved by passively holding the arms by one's sides (using those name-free muscles).

If the OP is still asking, that feeling of the power of the horse when its hind end is pushing through to the poll is a distinct feeling, since the rest of the body has dropped into place to allow that push to come all the way through, and everything seems 'right.' (That's probably not very helpful.) It's a full, strong presence, not in any way dead feeling. I wouldn't call it soft, but the horse is definitely listening. And it will make the rider's seat come on-line and suddenly, naturally have a job to do (anchoring that push of the hq, via that passively stabilized arm). That would be the answer, maybe, to the OP's question of 'how strong should a horse feel?' When the horse is through -- a good thing -- the horse gives you something to hold on to, in a way. It's a very powerful feeling, and throughness I think is often missed in the name of 'softness.' Get throughness, b/c without it the rider will never capture the power of the hq, and eventually, if you're moving into advanced dressage movements, the deficit will come to haunt you.

When the horse is just strong and bearing into the bridle (for all sorts of reasons), and the rider feels like it's all stiffness and muscle exertion, then it's just a dropped back and a contracted neck. From what the OP described, that sounds like how these horses of the BNT travel.

Honestly, how anyone day in and day out can put up with such a untrue feeling under saddle, and disregard the lack of biomechanical integrity, is beyond me.

slc2
Sep. 4, 2009, 07:54 PM
That's what I was thinking - about the energy going to the bridle, not a dead, hard stiff feeling of a ton of bricks. You really described that well.

But even a dead hard stiff feeling isn't necessarily because the teacher is teaching wrong, it can be the person just isn't far along enough to 'handle' that amnt of energy. One trainer said to me once, don't create more with your leg than you can receive, but you have to develop over time to create more and more and receive more and more. And if a horse is well schooled, he should automatically send a lot of energy to the bridle. If the rider can't receive and recycle and supple all that, he may come away from riding an upper level horse feeling quite sore and exhausted. Later he won't...but he can't instantly just do that. It takes time.

And yes...I know there are plenty of bad trainers out there. Unfortunately I know - like most amateurs. I don't like to see someone yanking and yanking on the reins...but if a student's horse has gotten stiff because the student hasn't yet been able to make all of the above happen, the trainer is not going to always look elegant fixing it.

egontoast
Sep. 4, 2009, 09:13 PM
I don't like to see someone yanking and yanking on the reins...but if a student's horse has gotten stiff because the student hasn't yet been able to make all of the above happen, the trainer is not going to always look elegant fixing it

So what are you dancing around there? Yanking the reins is OK to you or not? :confused: Are you saying yanking the reins may be necessary to fix the stiffness created by the rider?

Clearly you must find a way to disagree with people who have said they don't like to see that but it's difficult isn't it because you don't want to say it's OK either. what to do. What to do.

slc2
Sep. 4, 2009, 09:24 PM
Sounds like an effort to create a discrepancy where there isn't one. No one likes jerking on the reins, not me, not anyone else. But not every unpleasant looking thing a trainer has to do can be avoided,. not every ache and pain can be avoided. You want me to criticize a trainer I haven't seen teach or ride. I'm unwilling to do so. Others are willing based on the description given. They are welcome to. I am also welcome to see it my way, and you need not agree with me.

accolade
Sep. 4, 2009, 09:26 PM
If Relaxation is one of the basic tenents of dressage, where does that fit in to the yanking and jerking on the reins?

No, upper level training doesn't have to be really harsh...but it certainly seems that way a lot of the time, doesn't it?

Acco

Carol O
Sep. 4, 2009, 09:29 PM
I don't like to see someone yanking and yanking on the reins...but if a student's horse has gotten stiff because the student hasn't yet been able to make all of the above happen, the trainer is not going to always look elegant fixing it.

If this is the situation, it is the rider, the student who needs "fixing", not the horse.

slc2
Sep. 4, 2009, 09:55 PM
That's exactly my point. I don't like to ever suggest a potential student should 'tolerate' rough, unfair treatment, but there is this other side of it.

egontoast
Sep. 4, 2009, 10:05 PM
You want me to criticize a trainer I haven't seen teach or ride. I'm unwilling to do so. Others are willing based on the description given. They are welcome to. I am also welcome to see it my way, and you need not agree with me

Not at all. I don't WANT you to do anything. :lol: You just can't seem to express what it is you think about it (yanking on the reins) so it's impossible to say whether one agrees with you or not.

You don't have to trash any unknown trainer in order to express an opinion on that. You could say,for example, "If the trainer was in fact yanking the reins (and I do not know that) then...blahblah deeblah. But instead it's maybe it's Ok if the horse is stiff? Can't tell if that's your view or not. If you have no opinion, fine, but you claim to have one.




That's exactly my point. I don't like to ever suggest a potential student should 'tolerate' rough, unfair treatment, but there is this other side of it.


I think you missed the point, actually, which I beleiev was that you do not fix the rider's problem by yanking on the horse's mouth. At least, that's what I think Carol O meant. Could be I have it wrong.

Carol O
Sep. 4, 2009, 10:21 PM
That's exactly my point. I don't like to ever suggest a potential student should 'tolerate' rough, unfair treatment, but there is this other side of it.

So the "other side" is that the horse suffers, because the trainer will not tell the paying client that it is they, as the rider, not the horse, are the real problem. This is what I was suggesting, when I said these trainers are out there to provide the quick fix. You disagreed with me then.

I see that side, but I will not agree with it.

slc2
Sep. 4, 2009, 10:46 PM
I didn't disagree with you, or anyone else, just brought out that there are other possibilities. I appreciated the points you made. And I think how you described it is often true. My point is that sight unseen, I don't assume that is ALWAYS what's going on. And actually, I do think that's a reasonable reaction.

And...from my experience, trainers usually tell students exactly what they are doing wrong. I have never worked with a trainer who didn't tell people what was wrong. Some trainers don't have the knowledge to do that, of course.

But I wouldn't say all riding issues (jerking and pulling on the reins, say, bumping in the saddle, floppy legs) go away when the trainer simply tells the student it's happening. It takes many months and sometimes years to fix those problems. Some of them are just a part of the student's progress.

What about a trainer telling a student who is deliberately yanking on the reins forcefully and capable of not doing so? I haven't ever seen a decent dressasge trainer not tell a person to stop doing that.

I've never seen a decent trainer say to yank and yank harder unless a horse was bolting, then this would be a pulley or alternate rein. I've never seen a trainer forcefully try to supple a horse unless it was running through the aids big time and bracing with all its might in the bridle. I've never gotten off an upper level horse with sore arms unless I was riding improperly.

The OP says the trainer told her to jerk the reins and ride with a great deal of weight against the reins, and that the trainer jerked the reins, forcefully, repetitively on a student's horse. And if that's how it was, there isn't much need to ask what to do.

BC5098
Sep. 4, 2009, 11:11 PM
I am an FEI rider and I think the original poster was right on the money. IF it looks wrong ( like abuse) to you - it probably is, and run, do not walk the other way. Discipline is one thing - repeated over and over again, it becomes abuse. No horse ever learned anything about dressage from being jerked in the mouth - it only learned that people are cruel.

The crank and spank school of riding - has a couple of problems, that have yet to be mentioned. One, eventually these so called trainers run into a horse that will not tolerate this, and they get dumped a bunch of times - and/or they reject horses as being unrideable, untrainable or unsuitable, when in fact the horse is fine, it just has a more defined sense of self preservation than many. These trainers have a very narrow range of horses that they can ride. A truly skilled rider can ride any horse.

A second thing to watch for is unsoundness. The beating and jerking creates tension -which shows in the back. It makes the horse stiff - and it is transmitted into the hocks, which makes the horse sore and eventually lame. Crank and spank trainers also toss a lot of horses for being unsound. I have seen one that blew hocks on 4 out of 5 at second level. I was continually amazed at the idiots that took their lame horse home -( or dumped it) and then went shopping for a new one with the same trainer that just ruined the last one.

I have ridden with/around severeal of the Crank and Spankers. That they do well in the horse shows is one of those things that is fundamentally wrong, but what can you do? My goal was always to ride the FEI movments with very light contact - and the people I eventually ended up riding with the most - understood that. My horse is 18, and retired sound. She is 5 months pregnant and I rode her today for the first time in a month - we did a line of perfect two tempis just for fun - and she did not pull, and I did not jerk. She was in a snaffle and I was wearing sweat pants. She is both light and foreward - and through her back - and NONE of that happens when you train a horse by jerking on their mouth.

ToN Farm
Sep. 4, 2009, 11:47 PM
My horse is 18, and retired sound. She is 5 months pregnant and I rode her today for the first time in a month - we did a line of perfect two tempis just for fun - Good judgement?

ThreeFigs
Sep. 5, 2009, 12:04 AM
Good question!

Koniucha
Sep. 5, 2009, 12:17 AM
How come when SLC posts on a thread we don't get what she is saying?

slc2
Sep. 5, 2009, 05:02 AM
Tradition. :)

"My horse is 18, and retired sound. She is 5 months pregnant and I rode her today for the first time in a month - we did a line of perfect two tempis just for fun"

"Good judgement?"

Got to go with Ton Farm on that one.

I expect that many would say that it was a 'joyful moment' that 'did not harm the horse' and it's like 'riding a bicycle' and 'the horse remembers' and 'what a wonderful partnership'. I am not comfortable with it. I don't think it's a good idea to do things like that. I recognize that other people don't see a problem with this and will explain why I do see a problem.

What protects a horse and what allows him to do upper level work without harm is fitness; that fitness is developed over nearly a decade, slowly, in progressive steps thru a very consistent program. Once the fitness fades and the horse isn't being ridden in a routine, I think it's best to avoid doing tempe changes, piaffe, passage, pirouette and other strenuous work. Horses may retain basic fitness for some time, but not the specific muscle development for that sort of work.

A person can usually understand that if a sprinter were to not run or practice for six months, and were just moseying between his car and his easy chair for that time, and then go to the track and try to run a series of sprints, 'for fun', that he would be likely to get injured. And in fact, most people DO get injured when they try to do things like that.

Most people don't feel riding a horse is the same as that. And many people don't see how performing tempe changes 'for fun' on a retired horse is like that.

It is a hard concept to sell especially here, partly because most people have never reached that level, and wish to, and don't want to believe that it requires a very consistent program over years to do that work safely. And because they realize that's something that would be very hard for them to create, riding infrequently with long winter breaks, hiatuses for lameness, family needs, etc.

I think also, there is a general tendency amongst most types of riding, not to condition horses by gradually building up systematically, to riding 4, 5, 6 times a week for 45 minutes of trotting and cantering vigorously, practicing collection, extension and balancing and carrying work that allows a horse to do, say, tempe changes. Horses are usually not ridden and conditioned in that fashion for hunt seat, western riding, and other riding divisions. People tell me the horse needs variety, and that means not working the horse 4, 5, 6 times a week for months before a show. I routinely see people showing a very long weekend (2, 3, 4 classes or more a day for 2 days or more) on horses that are at best ridden twice a week for 15 minutes each ride, and may be shown in spring and summer after a holiday from riding of six or nine months or more. Given that, I think it's very difficult for people to agree that such extensive conditioning is needed for enjoying upper level work on a dressage horse.

Bats79
Sep. 5, 2009, 09:15 AM
But even a dead hard stiff feeling isn't necessarily because the teacher is teaching wrong, it can be the person just isn't far along enough to 'handle' that amnt of energy. One trainer said to me once, don't create more with your leg than you can receive, but you have to develop over time to create more and more and receive more and more. And if a horse is well schooled, he should automatically send a lot of energy to the bridle. If the rider can't receive and recycle and supple all that, he may come away from riding an upper level horse feeling quite sore and exhausted. Later he won't...but he can't instantly just do that. It takes time.


But that still makes it the trainers fault in my eyes.

The horse should only "send as much energy to the bridle" as the rider asks for.
If the riders is creating too much energy then the trainer should pick that up and correct it.
If the rider is allowing the horse to go on the forehand the trainer should pick that up.
If the rider says "I'm finding it hard to contain this amount of weight in my hand" the trainer should be able to give the rider a logical reason for the situation such as "you're pushing the horse forward but allowing him to drop on the forehand, you need to do more half halts and lateral bends to encourage him to carry himself. Unfortunately your core strength isn't there yet so his is pushing through your hand" or something of the nature.

The fact that the OP came away both unsatisfied with the ride, and without answers as to why it was so, IS the fault of the trainer. It's NOT the fault of the horse or the rider and perhaps not the TRAINING but certainly the coach on the ground wasn't good enough during the lesson.

While it is fine for a trainer to leave a pupil disagreeing with them, they should never leave someone confused as to how or why something was being attempted.

grayarabpony
Sep. 5, 2009, 10:20 AM
You need to thank her for that? :lol:

When A Two writes "you dressage riders" in the dressage forum, it sounds like she's addressing the ones in this thread. Apparently I'm not the only one who thought that.

I've seen a few BNT in my time. I've never seen one behave in the way the OP describes. In San Diego, they wouldn't be a BNT for long if they were that abusive. YMMV.

Yes, I'm thanking her for her ability to read, which seems to be a rare quality in this forum. :)

slc2
Sep. 5, 2009, 10:22 AM
That's one way of looking at it. It's also possible that it takes students a long time to fix things, and that students remain confused about things and grapple with things and struggle to do what the instructor tells them needs to be done, even when they are explained to very well.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 5, 2009, 11:23 AM
slc2, I think you missed the point. It is not explained very well if the student comes away confused. Struggling to physically achieve something because it requires a suppleness, flexibility, strength - but you understand the goal - well, that takes time. This is how you prepare a horse for more difficult movements. Ditto the rider.


As someone who teaches, not riding, but still something at a very high intellectual level that still requires an enormous amount of manual dexterity, I know my students won't "get it" the first go round. Or the second. Or the third. I explain until they understand and grasp the concept, then that is clarified and refined.

If they walk away confused and struggling, I have failed as a teacher.

slc2
Sep. 5, 2009, 12:20 PM
the point I got is that with a skilled instructor, the student isn't confused. Further, the PROOF that the instructor is good IS that the student isn't confused. He always understands everything, knows what to do, and, presumably, even can do it, physically.

I just don't agree with it. I think there is a certain amount of, and a certain kind of, struggle, with learning dressage. The person's body doesn't do what he wants, he can't tell where his arms and legs are, he can't tell that he's leaning off to one side or using one leg more strongly, he simply doesn't understand what the instructor means, or he physically can't do it, the lightbulb doesn't come on, the horse doesn't react as either the student nor the instructor would hope, and the instructor will be telling him over and over, for a very long time, to try to do ABC. There's a reason trainers say it takes 2-3 times longer to teach a student than to teach a horse.

if it were easy to understand and do, if it were like learning a scientific formula or concept, people wouldn't spend 20 years at training level. They'd all be riding Grand Prix after three years of riding lessons, which is a very generous amount of time if it were all about correctly presenting the information. I think anyone learning a technical sport takes a certain amount of time and has a certain amount of struggle on his plate. You don't. That's fine. We're both entitled to see it in our different ways.

You're saying that if a student is confused he was taught badly. That may be very true in your scientific field, and in some areas I think it's true in dressage(ie, if a student overall isn't struggling along at an expected rate given the number of lessons and rides, something's wrong, but if they take 2 yrs to learn the sitting trot with daily riding and a fair amount of confusion and difficulty, that's normal), but I don't agree that it works that way with everything, or even the majority of progress, in dressage.

Why? Because it's more difficult than understanding information.

It's more about developing feel, proprioception, balance, coordination, an immediate unthought-through response that becomes automatic over thousands of repetitions, developing confidence, and a gradual refinement and improvement of basics that have to be honed to an incredible level just to move up one level, and it simply requires a gradual evolution, like the Glass Bead Game, a gradual and developing marriage of art and science, or if you will, feel and technique.

egontoast
Sep. 5, 2009, 12:46 PM
:confused:

Lots more lovely words same as before but still dancing around the question:

Very simply- Yanking or jerking on the bit no matter why the horse is stiff-

Is it an OK training method or not? it's not a complicated question, really.

Based on all the words you have written , it appears YOUR answer is that it is OK sometimes.

Look, everyone is entitled to an opinion but you seem unable to express yours in a clear and concise manner. Perhaps you just can't decide?

HSS
Sep. 5, 2009, 01:02 PM
the head trainer was on a student's horse and was YANKING on the reins. Not little subtle corrections, stuff, quick, hard jerks to the reins if the horse didn't respond in the way the trainer wanted him to

I've been riding/training dressage since the 70's. I've attended many clinics with really BNT's- Stuckleberger, Klimpke, Kurkland, Boldt, Balkenhov; and many whose names I"ve forgotten in the years.

I train/ride young horses and FEI GP myself.

I knew Dover when he was a kid, riding horses that he doesn't like to even mention anymore :lol:

I've seen it all. The good, the sublime, and the very very ugly.

I've been thinking in my mind about a clinic I attended a few weeks ago. This was with a very good show ring rider, and a very positive teacher/trainer/coach. He rode 2 horses in the clnic, and both of them needed some big changes in thier engagement behind. He repeatedly insisted from both of these horses that they could not yank/pull on him, but had to sit on their haunches and go with a light contact. These were big, pretty strong corrections. I am searching my mind to try and put myself in a beginner's shoes, and to try and see whether waht he was dong might appear to be repeatedly "yanking" on the rein.

I cannot. It was done so classically, so properly, the release was so immediate, that neither horse got upset at all, they completely understood what was being asked, and quickly tried to perform as requested. Once the horse did sit behind and come into a lovely light contact, there was absolutely no further discussion between rider and horse on the matter, and the work went on.

The clinician actually apologized to the owner of one of the horses for being so tough on her horse, and emphasized to her that he was doing this "in a clinic just to give you a demonstration" and that he did not want her to ever be so quickly demanding with the horse when she was riding him herself.

I might add that this particular pair have been together forever, she bought this horse when he was a youngster, and they have had many show ring successes. I particularly wanted to see their lesson because the harmony and sympathy between this horse and rider is really a beautiful picture, and this horse has overcome many a conformational shortcoming to move up to the FEI levels, where he continues his winning ways.

I brought along with me a complete beginner dresssage rider, who had never been to a clinic before in her life, and she also did not find anything she was watching to be harsh or unjust, and she is one of the most empathetic and loving people I have ever known.

So, in short, my point is: if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

I can assure you of two things: that the horse's mouth is the most sensitve part of it's body, and no horseman I know would EVER condone yanking on the reins for any corrective purpase what so ever. Dripping blood? I'd whip anyone I saw abusing a horse like that, and I mean exactly what I say. NO excuse NONE. It's torture to do that to a horse, pure and simple. Nothing to do with training of any kind.

And, a light even contact is something which can be achieved with any horse at any level, and the more trained a horse is, the more even and supple the contact. I have arthitic hands, and believe me, I can't possibly "hold" up a horse's head!

Most lower level and beginning riders have much trouble learning what a light and consistent contact is- and often, the horse takes a very heavy contact because the rider is unskilled. As the rider becomes more skillled, the contact also becomes more supple and lighter. It would not be a huge warning light to me if a rider finds a well trained horse heavy when they are learning to ride at Tr level- an experienced trainer will be able to demonstrate/explain to the rider that when her seat/balance/coordination improves, so will the contract, and even during the lesson she should be able to experience moments of this. One of the biggest issues that has to be learned by the LL rider in thier education is that contact is contact, and too light a contact (which is the default of most sensitive riders) is not helping them or their horse achieve their goals, and that a more consistent and "heavier" contact is actually more kind to the horse and will not hurt them. But we are not discussing pulling on the reins, we are discussing developing elastic schooled hands.

One of my teachers said to me that "a horse will tolerate any other fault in your riding if you have good hands, and that if you develp good hands you will be able to ride any horse." She was absolutely correct, and in the 40 years that have passed, I think that was the most important and useful piece of advice I have ever been given.

Sorry to be so long winded here, but this is a very good and very interesting discussion!

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 5, 2009, 01:07 PM
if it were easy to understand and do, if it were like learning a scientific formula or concept, people wouldn't spend 20 years at training level. They'd all be riding Grand Prix after three years of riding lessons, which is a very generous amount of time if it were all about correctly presenting the information. I think anyone learning a technical sport takes a certain amount of time and has a certain amount of struggle on his plate. You don't. That's fine. We're both entitled to see it in our different ways.

You're saying that if a student is confused he was taught badly. That may be very true in your scientific field, and in some areas I think it's true in dressage(ie, if a student overall isn't struggling along at an expected rate given the number of lessons and rides, something's wrong, but if they take 2 yrs to learn the sitting trot with daily riding and a fair amount of confusion and difficulty, that's normal), but I don't agree that it works that way with everything, or even the majority of progress, in dressage.

Why? Because it's more difficult than understanding information.

It's more about developing feel, proprioception, balance, coordination, an immediate unthought-through response that becomes automatic over thousands of repetitions, developing confidence, and a gradual refinement and improvement of basics that have to be honed to an incredible level just to move up one level, and it simply requires a gradual evolution, like the Glass Bead Game, a gradual and developing marriage of art and science, or if you will, feel and technique.

Then you also don't understand what it is I teach. I am not talking about didactic lectures to medical students. I am talking about training and mentoring students in lab to do experiments - which requires not only a strong contextual background for the question at hand, but an enormous amount of experimental manipulation requiring an incredible manual dexterity and skill. It is EXACTLY the same. In fact, I have often told my trainer that riding keeps me humble - because I want to learn, I want to do things correctly, and this takes time to master - so that when I teach and train my students, since in this case, I am the master - I can easily recall the feeling of that struggle.

If you don't realize that experimental science requires "developing feel, proprioception, balance, coordination, an immediate unthought-through response that becomes automatic over thousands of repetitions, developing confidence, and a gradual refinement and improvement of basics that have to be honed to an incredible level just to move up one level," then you simply don't understand the frame of reference.

If I don't understand the concept, I ask my trainer. There is a difference between not getting the concept and appreciating I need the practice to master the skill. If the OP walked away confused, she received neither during her instruction - and I repeat, that is not where I would spend my money to get trained, and I agree with the OP.

You really can make the analogy. You can "make" things look nice. But the truth always outs you, just like the horse's behavior and development will out the training.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 5, 2009, 01:09 PM
Also, HSS - fabulous post!!

slc2
Sep. 5, 2009, 01:17 PM
I understand what you're saying Wendy, but I don't think there is the same situation between teaching people to do labwork and teaching riding. You do, I don't. I understand that it takes skill and finesse and has its challenges to teach, I understand that it is fascinating and difficult, and I understand there are hazards, and different styles (i loved to listen to the people in my sister's lab argue about this) but people do not have the same types of anxiety or coordination or coping with motion to deal with - to me, learning to ride dressage correctly IS different from learning to do lab experiments. To me, very, very different. I realize you're very proud of what you do professionally, but I just do not think the two are that similar. ALL learning has certain things in common, but I think it's a very big stretch, what you're suggesting - that these two things have more than some basic educational principles and movement learning in common. The biggest difference is the rider has to cope with a moving horse that he cannot always communicate with and he has to cope with all of his body coping with that motion. Foir me, working in a laboratory simply is not the same kind of athletic endeavor riding is.

FancyFree
Sep. 5, 2009, 01:36 PM
Yes, I'm thanking her for her ability to read, which seems to be a rare quality in this forum. :)

You are so charming! :)




So, in short, my point is: if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

I can assure you of two things: that the horse's mouth is the most sensitve part of it's body, and no horseman I know would EVER condone yanking on the reins for any corrective purpase what so ever.


Exactly. There no reason whatsoever to "yank" on the reins. A rank begginer may do that but not an experience horseperson. There are other ways to get results without inflicting pain and causing a huge fight session with the horse.

I'm surprised at all the debate over yanking of the reins. I can't see where there would ever be cause for it.

Great post HSS.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 5, 2009, 01:41 PM
Slc2, I appreciate your comments. Maybe the analogy doesn't work for you. In any case, my position remains unchanged:

(1) If the student remains confused, the teacher needs to find a better way to describe/demonstrate. We all have different frames of reference. Otherwise it is simply not teaching.

(2) Training under conditions that increase resistance (yanking, pulling) impedes the flow of education and improvement.

Dressage Art
Sep. 5, 2009, 03:22 PM
I can assure you of two things: that the horse's mouth is the most sensitve part of it's body, and no horseman I know would EVER condone yanking on the reins for any corrective purpase what so ever.
ditto again.

SLC, as many posters said already to you - it is NOT OK EVER to YANK on the horse's mouth. NEVER can it be justified. You are still trying to justify that there are training situations that call for that - and I still disagree with you about that and will disagree with anybody who thinks that it's OK to yank on horse's mouth for training purposes some times - and it's really nothing personal - yanking is just plain wrong no matter who is doing it: a beginner or the Big Name Trainer - and I hope I will be able to keep on speaking up against that.

Koniucha
Sep. 5, 2009, 04:28 PM
My question to you, SLC, is earlier in the thread you stated that to some riders (beginners maybe?) some upper level training methods may look harsh. What are these methods exactly?

I am in the same boat as the people that are saying it is never okay to yank on a horses mouth, unless maybe the horse is being dangerous or running away with you. If that is the case, maybe the rider needs to take a few steps back and try a different approach.

grayarabs
Sep. 5, 2009, 05:47 PM
Does anyone have a copy handy of George Morris' "Hunt Seat Equitation"?
I think that was the first horse book I ever bought - many many years ago - don't know where my copy is - but I think I remember a reference to punishing the horse in the mouth.
I hope I am wrong.

slc2
Sep. 5, 2009, 05:54 PM
No, I never said some people's overall methods look harsh(and deserve to be tolerated for being harsh). I said a necessary correction may look harsh sometimes, that is not a method. It is not how the person rides all the time. It's how they respond to a momentary problem - horse runs away with them, etc.

Some people are not used to riding with ANY contact. They think ANY contact is too much. They may watch someone ride and not understand what's going on. Horses put a lot of energy to the bridle when well schooled, I think HHS said as well. It might look weird or feel weird to someone who's not used to it.

Look, I fully realize yanking and jerking on the reins is WRONG, and that some people ride like butchers and look awful up there and teach their students to be awful up there. I've spent an awful lot of money to go to better people who don't do that.

wendy
Sep. 5, 2009, 06:31 PM
Why? Because it's more difficult than understanding information.

It's more about developing feel, proprioception, balance, coordination, an immediate unthought-through response that becomes automatic over thousands of repetitions, developing confidence, and a gradual refinement and improvement of basics that have to be honed to an incredible level just to move up one level, and it simply requires a gradual evolution, like the Glass Bead Game, a gradual and developing marriage of art and science, or if you will, feel and technique.
yeah and so? it's never appropriate to cause an animal pain or confusion. You aren't going to develop "feel" by beating and yanking on your poor horse.

grayarabpony
Sep. 5, 2009, 07:20 PM
If you're pulling hard or hanging the horse isn't going to learn anything. Period. And yeah, I've made that mistake on hot horses too, recently as a matter of fact. It happens when frustration takes over, and nothing good ever comes of it.

Dressage is supposed to be training the horse to respond to legs and seat. Ultimately the reins and bit are only something the horse stretches onto as he telescopes his neck. When the horse is truly on the bit the contact is light and flexible, and the horse is so attuned to the rider he will go where the rider is looking.

I've told the story before of my mare and Peter Kjellerup. She was an OTTB who was just beginning her dressage training. And she didn't have a dependable right lead. If I got her perfectly straight, she'd pick it up 50% of the time. If she switched to the right lead she had no trouble holding it.

He offered to get on her, crossed the stirrups over her withers since he didn't want to bother adjusting them, and hopped aboard with his clogs on. The first thing he started working with was getting her haunches way over so she'd *have* to take the right lead. He began with a dressage length rein, and she got very upset, repeatly blowing and ripping the reins out of his hands. He just sat there like a rock. So fine, he gives her a Western length rein and keeps working with her.

In 13 minutes he had taught her that she could indeed take the right lead, and she never forgot it. Getting the right lead was never a problem after that.

The point of the story is that if he had stayed in her mouth, she wouldn't have learned a thing. All she would have remembered was the argument. He wanted to teach her to get her leg under her and push off with that leg first, and she learned that lesson. It was a great piece of riding.

HSS
Sep. 5, 2009, 08:15 PM
Well, I admit it's not easy to stay perfectly in control when your horse bolts away, or bucks so uncontrollably that it might be the rodeo. Like last winter, when I had to walk my youngster under saddle for 6 months because on an injury. Ace doesn't really take the edge off when it's 2 degree out all the time.:winkgrin:

I still didn't yank on her mouth- I didn't let her get her head down to really bronc with me, and tried to keep her on the ground (mostly successfully) by doing the tiny circle thingie. And I jumped off more than once and walked her back to the barn so she wouldn't dump me, run off, and injure herself yet again. Very terrifying stuff really. Ask anyone who has been there- everyone who doesn't admit they were scared to death is not being truthful. Horses can be very frightening when they are acting like screwballs and think that you'll just stay on or something, who knows what or if they are thinking at that point?

I can perfectly understand a rider being taken by surprise and reacting by yanking on the reins- maybe just to stay on! No critism from me on that- you gotta do what you gotta do, and you might not even have time to think what that might be at that moment. Things can go from wonderful to gawdawful in the blink of an eye.....

But that isn't what this person saw- she saw people schooling horses like they were the riders worse enemies or something. Sickeningly enough, this "strategy" of teaching the horse not to move a muscle in the wrong way is often being rewarded by judges worldwide. Without naming names, I don't enjoy watching most international dressage anymore- for this very reason. Way too much serious abuse which somehow has become acceptable. Seems as though if you can't prove that the animal is in pain- like "soring" a walking horse- it's OK to ride your horse into a contortionist's pretzel and it's fine by the judges. Since it's not fine by me, I boycott it.

Pely
Sep. 5, 2009, 08:38 PM
Most of you are still not getting what the OP saw, and what I have seen repeatedly.

The horses get yanked in the mouth the split second they start to take the contact, or start to come above the bit. When they go from 1/4 ounce of connection, to 1 ounce, they get a sharp, hard yank, hard enough for someone standing nearby to hear the bit hit the horse's teeth. Yes, really. They call this a half halt. Yes, really. The final product is a horse so afraid to contact the bit, that it never ever falls on the forehand, never even thinks of leaning on the hand. At the same time, the horse is whipped and spurred into tucking it's hind end under, and develops an exagerated hock action. They are also whipped repeated in the hocks if they even dream of leaving the hind legs behind. It is not a normal half halt.

This is their methodology, and they call it dressage training, and if the OP and I are talking about the same people, or the same methodology, they are very succesful trainers, and quite admired even on this BB. They are also very capable of riding "by the rules" if circumstances require, so much of the public is un-aware of the methods used to create such a harmonious final.. Those who can see below the surface will see the tension, but showiness has become more important than relaxation in the ring these days, and you cannot argue with success. slc, you do not want to be defending this method.

it is all very sad.

Blue Bunny
Sep. 5, 2009, 08:50 PM
I recently took a lesson from a pretty BNT. They train to/at GP and have won countless awards in the ring, they are very competitive nationally. I was really excited to ride with them, I had heard great things -- and to their credit they were very friendly and acted professionally to me. But I went early to watch, and I was really disappointed... the head trainer was on a student's horse and was YANKING on the reins. Not little subtle corrections, stuff, quick, hard jerks to the reins if the horse didn't respond in the way the trainer wanted him to.

I could not see a reason for doing this. I can understand if a horse is bolting or bucking, then it's self-preservation! I saw this type of riding going on with everyone in the ring, including the other trainer and 4 students/boarders. I know at least one of them was at the PSG level because they were practicing their test. The riding I saw was the definition of crank and spank -- swat w/the whip, grab the mouth. Over and over.



You don't need to be an expert to realize abuse, when you see it.
Yanking and whipping, what kind of training is that?:mad:

sid
Sep. 5, 2009, 10:06 PM
HSS and Dressage Geek...

These are two of the most articulate and accurate posts I've seen on this forum in a very long time. Excellent.

Thank you. Especially good for those who are new to this sport or don't really know what they are seeing...dressage "trainers" modalities vary.

One may see the art of suppling..another can see something completely different, if one isn't used to seen a GP horse who is "tuned" and in work.

When a neophyte might get on, they do not know how to give the horse the aids/support that they are used to. The horse may take advantage. They're smart buggers. Upper level horses don't get there acting like a school pony. They are finely tuned in more expert hands. So it can be alarming for one not used to a horse that needs a decision-maker on it's back, when they choose to test YOUR ability. And that is why they are the BEST teachers. They tell you what you do not know and teach you the finesse that is required to go up the levels and get the best out of you and the horse, both physically and mentally.

That said, no need at all for abusing the mouth. None at all. If one is told to ying or yang, or yank by a trainer, I would hope they'd ask "why". A good trainer will get that person on a horse that fits with the rider's perception of riding, until the rider understands all the nuance (and leadership/judiciousness) of what contact really means. If it resorts to yinging/yanging/yanking as a FIRST step in riding the horse...well, that's crappy for both horse and rider.

When the rider finds contact fearful and the horse is seeking it...well, that's a problem for both. Often I see that IS the problem.

When I was completely a neophyte, I watched Michael Poulin at several big shows warm up a 2nd level and then 4th level horse -- AFTER buying Boleem who he and Sharon brought to GP, and Olympic qualifiers.

I thought, OMG, that horse is working so hard, being flexed from side to side, getting supple and around the leg. Nevertheless, as I studied that sort of gymnastic workout, I never saw a yank (jerking). Those horse were FIT. When they resisted, the hand, elbow and seat was soft and seeking. Amazing to watch. In lesser experience hands, I'm sure the rider would have been totally intimidated. When a horse gets to GP it is an athelete...then, they teach us to be that as well.

Having been blessed with owning a horse which went throught these rigors, all I can say is that tio this day (at age 26) he loves to work. Loves to please.

I would suggest to the OP, to get a glimpse of the horses that BNT has trained, and where they are now..their soundness and their willingness.

That will tell you alot.

Dressage Art
Sep. 5, 2009, 11:11 PM
But that isn't what this person saw- she saw people schooling horses like they were the riders worse enemies or something. Sickeningly enough, this "strategy" of teaching the horse not to move a muscle in the wrong way is often being rewarded by judges worldwide. Without naming names, I don't enjoy watching most international dressage anymore- for this very reason. Way too much serious abuse which somehow has become acceptable. Seems as though if you can't prove that the animal is in pain- like "soring" a walking horse- it's OK to ride your horse into a contortionist's pretzel and it's fine by the judges. Since it's not fine by me, I boycott it.

I'm also enjoying your posts and hope to read more from you.

goeslikestink
Sep. 6, 2009, 05:44 AM
Auventera Two wrote:
Yeah, I'm "just a trail rider" but I think I know enough about basic horsemanship and training to know that yanking a horse in the mouth, then kicking them with spurs is tactless and ignorant. If you had a fat trail rider on a nappy quarter horse with the saddle bags loaded up with Miller Light, doing this, you dressage riders would be all up in arms at the stupid hillbilly abusing his horse. But when its done on a warmblood in a 3,000 dollar saddle, then it's okay? Unreal.



Where the heck do you get that from? I haven't seen anyone condone bad riding, whether it be on a trail horse or a dressage horse. Can you point that out to me? I'm interested to see where you got that from.

I've actually only ever seen the "yanking a horse in the mouth" done by beginner riders and very bad trainers. I've never seen a good, well respected dressage trainer do anything of the sort.


seconded---



if one has to yank on a horses mouth in a lesson -- then thats down to bad training of both the horse and the rider

for exsample -- sometimes horses are more knowledgable than there riders
which is being overhorsed over horsed doesnt just mean the size of the horse but the knowledge the horse knows

if perhaps the trianer say brought the horse for the student to ride but didnt actually buy it with the students level of riding skills but there own now thinking that the perticular trianer thinks that they are at a higher skill than they are - then the student would be over horsed
and if perhaps they rode that horse all the time then the horse would get stronger and stronger as a- they dont know how to correct it and b-if the trianer was lack of knowledge then that will also tell in there riding skills

hence why neddy is being yanked in the mouth sounds like none know anymore than the op that saw them
to right op walk away theres better out there





n

Bats79
Sep. 6, 2009, 06:43 AM
Well I have seen top name riders give horse a very strong "vibration upward". Nuno Oliveira refused to get on my 17hh stallion because his (Nuno's) back was sore at the time and he could not give the stallion the half halt that was required. Nuno clearly told me what to do, and explained to me how I had allowed the situation to develop and how I could correct it.

Several years later Harry Boldt did the same thing on a different 17hh stallion of mine. Once again it was clearly explained to me "why" the situation had developed, how it should be corrected and how I should ride to prevent it happening again.

In each case the horse had a couple of corrections in a row, he could clearly understand what he was being corrected for and the third time he corrected himself before he did it. Following the correct Harry Boldt was extremely quiet in his position.

The response of views at the HB clinic was "ouch" but the calmness of the hand following the correction was obvious.

But so was the instruction and direction to the rider.

YepItsAnAlter
Sep. 7, 2009, 11:25 AM
This has turned out to be a very interesting discussion! Thank you all for your input, and for keeping it civil. I've learned a lot here!

sjdressage
Sep. 7, 2009, 12:52 PM
I worked with an instructor for years on gaining an independant seat and not pulling on the reins. I didn't think I was pulling and had to use a lot of leg to keep the horse forward. Over time I realized that anything but riding your horse forward to the hand was pulling. So basically by taking up the reins and drawing my hands back till I felt the horses mouth was pulling! Making this differentiation and releasing the death grip I had with my thighs changed my riding big time.

So, this same trainer that told me for years not to pull on my horse and to have respect for him (my horse follows this guy around) had to get on a student's horse at a clinic. This lady basically created a monster in this horse and he would bolt and buck her off. He had "nice horsey syndrome". So he gets on, drives the horse forward and supples the horse with his hand right and left. You couldn't see how much leg he was using so you couldn't see how little effort it took to supple the horse (if they are in front of your leg you can supple the horse with very little effort with your hand).

A few days later I heard through the grapevine that one of the local shingle hanger dressage trainers (never showed but was a trainer) was saying he was rough with his hands and she would never ride with him. Total misinterpretation. This was the same guy that would whip me before the horse and if he did have to get on my horse to get him forward again and use the whip he would yell at ME and say it was my fault he had to do it.

I am not condoning what the original poster saw though. Jerking a horse in the mouth would be counterproductive unless you were getting run off with. Unfortunately, I too have seen this at big barns. There is good and bad in every sport.