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canyonoak
Sep. 4, 2009, 01:36 PM
http://www.bokt.nl/forums/viewtopic.php?sid=a81b9246d30925bea72ee0dc5e0a0bed&f=11&t=1165166


<< Why are we in the Netherlands having so much success? It is a complex of factors. First it is the strength of the system of Sjef Janssen. He required top sport mentality of its people. You can overlook no small point: everything must be managed to the best possibility to gain maximum points.

The Dutch dressage riders make sure to mainatin their own physical condition.. Imke, Anky, Adelinde and Edward stay busy doing this--and many other riders as well.

You see that on this point United Kingdom follows already. There are countries which lag behind however also enough in this.

In what Sjef and Anky also run first, and where we have all learned from them is learning theory . The manner of now well-established behavior modification used to train the horse.

One question, one answer. That starts already in the basics.>>

this is a wonderful article on what and how the Dutch have achieved success--and how long it has taken, and some of the major steps in the process.

caddym
Sep. 4, 2009, 02:17 PM
I'm reading her book "riding horse with awerness and feel" and it is FANTASTIC

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
Sep. 4, 2009, 02:31 PM
I find some of those statements deeply troubling. :no:

Sjef's "mentality" is nothing I would want anyone to aspire to.

And the now "well established behavior modification" -- well, it might be "well established" but also highly controversial.

The Germans have been at the top of the sport for decades, now for a few months it's been the dutch, partly b/c the top German athletes (equine and human) were having various issues that kept them from participating, so hailing the dutch system as the most successful is in itself flawed.

caddym
Sep. 4, 2009, 02:54 PM
I find some of those statements deeply troubling. :no:

Sjef's "mentality" is nothing I would want anyone to aspire to.

And the now "well established behavior modification" -- well, it might be "well established" but also highly controversial.

.

I'd REALLY recommend checking out her book.

After reading the book, I think of the "mentality" as a reflection of how the dutch study the psychology of sport. The coaches of a variety of sport teams and scientisits work together to come up with ways to maximize thinking and concentraion.

the equestrians also work with ways to understand the horses natural reactions to his environement.

I'm not sure about any of this being controversial???

caddym
Sep. 4, 2009, 03:15 PM
[QUOTE=
The Germans have been at the top of the sport for decades, now for a few months it's been the dutch, partly b/c the top German athletes (equine and human) were having various issues that kept them from participating, so hailing the dutch system as the most successful is in itself flawed.[/QUOTE]

I do agree. (although I'm not sure who - if anyone - is hailing the dutch system as a "the most successful")

I think that it would be smart for the US to try to learn from BOTH countries.

canyonoak
Sep. 4, 2009, 03:58 PM
I quoted only one paragraph of a much longer, very well-conceived 'think piece.'

The link to the whole article is above and babelfish does a fairly good job of translation.

The mood of the piece is not egotistical or self-congratulatory, it is a description of what Tineke Bartels feels are the strengths of the current Dutch program, and why those are the priorities for now.

Andrew McLean and his research into equine behavior has had a big influence on the way the Dutch train and think about training.

The Bartels Book, "Ride Horses with Awareness and Feel" codifies a lot of those ideas and adds the personal element of real horses and situations.

Coreene
Sep. 4, 2009, 05:20 PM
Two of the largest training components of the Dutch system are rider fitness and rider mental fitness, which means they are on very strict workout programs and also work with sports psychologists to overcome things like show ring nerves. Helped Andelinde enormously. It's not just fannying about on your horse for 20 minutes a day.

I'd hardly call Dutch success something from the last few months. Their juniors have been at the top of the scoreboards for years, and those kids are moving into the adult rings, they took the European championships twice running now, etc. It's not just because Germany had lame horses that couldn't make it to Windsor last week.

Like Sjef, hate him, whatever. His system works. Adelinde starts training with him, her score goes up 15%, etc.

mbm
Sep. 4, 2009, 06:19 PM
T

Like Sjef, hate him, whatever. His system works. Adelinde starts training with him, her score goes up 15%, etc.

because it is currently what the judges want to see - not because his system is correct in the traditional manner (ie follow the rules)

the one thing i can say about the dutch - most of the rides i have seen are forced/crammed with little or no suppleness in the traditional sense and rarely any suppleness in the neck - the horses rarely reach into the contact nor do they become longer /shorter in the body during extensions/collection. .

to me it looks like they have figured out how to dominate the horse to a high degree and gain access at the same time so they endup with flamboyant and accurate rides that look like the horses are robots.

Sabine
Sep. 4, 2009, 06:34 PM
because it is currently what the judges want to see - not because his system is correct in the traditional manner (ie follow the rules)

the one thing i can say about the dutch - most of the rides i have seen are forced/crammed with little or no suppleness in the traditional sense and rarely any suppleness in the neck - the horses rarely reach into the contact nor do they become longer /shorter in the body during extensions/collection. .

to me it looks like they have figured out how to dominate the horse to a high degree and gain access at the same time so they endup with flamboyant and accurate rides that look like the horses are robots.

WOW- are you looking at the same stuff? I think you are terribly caught in your prejudice and don't really get the underlying philosophy.
There are nowadays a lot of world class riders that use parts or all of the dutch system- and do quite well. One is Carl Hester- who does believe VERY MUCH in speed control, suppleness and a horse that responds to the finest cues whilst using his back and from the neck to the tail- every inch. This IS the dutch system- if you hate Sjef that is your prerogative- but it was him essentially who thought it up...and then many excellent top riders began to assimilate it...Carl trains often in Holland- not with Sjef but folks close to that circle...and I know what that system consists of...first hand.
Thus I feel confident in saying that this IS the system for the future- Isabell is using it and many german up and coming riders are using it...
We'll all live to see it...trust my words. And if you go down the judge's angle again- complaining that today's judges see it all wrong...then I guess we are not talking about the same sport here...

slc2
Sep. 4, 2009, 06:46 PM
"speed control, suppleness and a horse that responds to the finest cues whilst using his back and from the neck to the tail"

I don't know of any upper level rider, German, Dutch, Danish, English, American, or anyone else, who doesn't do this. That is a part of all advanced dressage riding - whether the person rides the horse up all the time or in different positions.

In fact, it just has to be like that. There aren't any chances to do things over during a GP test if the horse stiffened up or didn't respond to an aid.

And it's always been like that. Reiner Klimke rode like that, so did all the greats of the past. It's assumed they didn't because they aren't associated with rollkur, and because the performances looked different from today's.

What people who don't like Sjeff, don't like, seems to be, that he is associated with rollkur. People here have also complained about his hair, his blunt manner of speaking, and the assumption that he has a death grip on the FEI and the Dutch national federation, the judges, and just about everyone else in the world. And as the husband of Anky van Grunsven, he's doubly bad, because he's making her ride in that horrible way and abuse horses, etc etc.

I think people also see him as someone who doesn't care about the horses and pressures the horses too much.

And I think they see him that way, not because they really know that he is like that or that no other competitors are like that, but that they assume he's like that because he is associated with rollkur.

The problem at the bottom of it is rollkur. In many people's minds, Sjeff is rollkur and everything that is wrong with dressage competition today.

Sabine
Sep. 4, 2009, 07:12 PM
"speed control, suppleness and a horse that responds to the finest cues whilst using his back and from the neck to the tail"

I don't know of any upper level rider, German, Dutch, Danish, English, American, or anyone else, who doesn't do this. That is a part of all advanced dressage riding - whether the person rides the horse up all the time or in different positions.

In fact, it just has to be like that. There aren't any chances to do things over during a GP test if the horse stiffened up or didn't respond to an aid.

And it's always been like that. Reiner Klimke rode like that, so did all the greats of the past. It's assumed they didn't because they aren't associated with rollkur, and because the performances looked different from today's.

What people who don't like Sjeff, don't like, seems to be, that he is associated with rollkur. People here have also complained about his hair, his blunt manner of speaking, and the assumption that he has a death grip on the FEI and the Dutch national federation, the judges, and just about everyone else in the world. And as the husband of Anky van Grunsven, he's doubly bad, because he's making her ride in that horrible way and abuse horses, etc etc.

I think people also see him as someone who doesn't care about the horses and pressures the horses too much.

And I think they see him that way, not because they really know that he is like that or that no other competitors are like that, but that they assume he's like that because he is associated with rollkur.

The problem at the bottom of it is rollkur. In many people's minds, Sjeff is rollkur and everything that is wrong with dressage competition today.

Slick- you should write for a mag- could make you some money on the side....haha!
not everyone rides with a supple back...NOOO!!
Always and only - no way! go look and examine it again.
On the other hand the stuff you wrote about Sjef is right on the mark! and this is in my mind a terribly narrowminded childish way to look at a man who has with his knowledge and reading and analysis of the sport made more changes than anyone I can recall...hate him or like him...he's incorporated elements of the Baucherist school, he has analyzed the physicality of horses, he has identified a better 'breed' so to speak...there is a ton of stuff that this guy has done already- like him or hate him..it's a fact!

slc2
Sep. 4, 2009, 07:18 PM
No not everyone rides with a supple back - and 'using the back' and a 'supple back' might not always be quite the same thing. A horse can still be very un-supple, yet be powerful, a horse can hold his back quite tight and flat, and be powerful, but not supple...this actually used to be very common.

But anyone who attempts to ride at the advanced level has to have a quick response to the aids from his horse, and the other things in the list.

There have been various 'fashions' over time - riding more upright with a flatter back, riding the horse upright and rounder, rounder back, schooling in a larger variety of positions....

The 'fashion' right now that many seem to dislike, is for an extremely energetic, somewhat 'exaggerated' looking performance. I think the 'exaggeratedness' of the performance isn't actually due to rollkur, but to a much more general approach.

I LIKE seeing an energetic performance. I LIKE seeing a horse go forward. But I think there needs to be a balance, and that that can be overdone. Where that line is people don't all agree on. But lately, I do see a slightly more tolerance for a very, very quick, energetic, even at times, exaggerated gait. I disagree when people confuse a horse's natural gait and its collected gait with 'exaggerated'...it's not so easy to see the difference.

I also don't think the 'strong', 'on the muscle' sort of performance, the strong contact, the tight necks, are due to rollkur; this is an old problem. Keeping a short neck during extended trot is not a new problem, neither are most of the things people complain about as 'new' (ie, caused by rollkur). Lateral walks as the horse stiffens up anticipating the piaffe passage tour, getting strong in the bridle, these are not new(ie, caused by rollkur). Neither is the 'big' front end and the unequal hind legs - sometimes this is true mobility of the shoulder and lightening the front, sometimes it is just dragging hind quarters and a 'fake' action. Is that new? No, that isn't new either.

Keeping a short neck in extended gaits is not new(ie, caused by rollkur). It has never changed THAT much. IT can't. I watched a clinic where a 'great' trainer had people try to do that - extended trot with a long low neck like a first level lengthening - all the horses started forging, they were so off balance. One cut its leg. This was a 'big name' very outspoken. It is not possible for it to change THAT much and that was never intended OR practiced by any of the 'old masters'. The angle of the throat and head change SLIGHTLY - this is all it can do. But yes,, actually, it should change. The outline does need to change, and sometimes it doesn't enough. But that is not new.

I also think the venues (the 'globalization' affects the type of facilities where horses compete) do not lend to relaxed horses. We expect to see horses that react to invisible aids and perform multiple tests in a few days without flagging or losing energy, yet we get surprised when a horse acts excited and tense in very closely built facility in the middle of an urban area, with all sorts of things around that aren't very horse friendly.

mbm
Sep. 4, 2009, 08:31 PM
WOW- are you looking at the same stuff? I think you are terribly caught in your prejudice and don't really get the underlying philosophy..

ummmm...... ok..... i dont really care what the underlying philophy is..... what i do care about is that what is currently winning at topsport is a big change from used to win..... yes, the horses are very accurate and expressive - but at what price? they looked held together , forced, crammed, etc.

this is what i see as being the contribution of SJ - and no, in general i dont like it.

as for him personally - i have no clue, i have never met him, nor have i ever discussed his philosophy - with him or anyone else.
it seems to me you are advocating talking the talk and not walking the walk?

i know i am in the minority. doenst change the fact that most toprides leave me cold and sad. altho i will say that there are riders that leave me very happy.... i just wish those riders would be more rewarded ...

eta: i will say that Parzival is a great example.... a few years ago there were lots of bobbles, not quite as polished, etc .. but i could see the partnership and harmony... now after a few years of working with SJ her scores are phenomenal - but look at what happened to how she rides and how her horse goes.... way more held together and forced looking, less harmony, less partnership.... but tons of accuracy and expression!


i guess it all depends on what is important to you.... clearly to SJ getting the most points possible is important - and i give him credit for that. he is an excellent strategist...

slc2
Sep. 4, 2009, 08:44 PM
You're not in the minority. A great many people complain that quality of work in upper level competition stinks. In fact I'd actually say you are in the majority.

I don't actually think the current situation is quite so irretrievable, nor do I think it's the product of rollkur per se.

I think it just takes the judges tuning their scoring a bit, to emphasize fluidity and relaxation over energy and excitement. I think the judges have to lead the way.

I do have a concern that when all the competitors reach a certain level, is the only possible next step to get into a very energetic, exaggerated style? Is competition creating an artificial criteria, because it can't do anything other than that? Usually, I don't think so, and usually I think things can continue to evolve and improve, and that we're not 'painted into a corner'.

Nor do I usually think that competitive dressage has to stay the way we are right now, or that getting to a less exaggerated performance is 'going backwards' or giving something up. I think it's possible to have impulsion, expression and activity, and still have the muscles working correctly, and have suppleness and fluidity.

Some years ago, everyone leaped up out of the saddle in 1 tempe changes. It seemed there wasn't any other way to do it. It was universal.

And then that changed. Everyone simply learned a better way. It happens. It evolved. It changed. Progress.

Many of the top performances have some really good points -- lots of energy, few mistakes, great covering of ground, fantastically difficult moments and figures in the freestyle, great cadence in the passage, much expressive movement. There is much there to be admired.

But what we are lacking in is the more fluid, easy motion...less cadence in the collected trot in some horses, shifting the balance over to just a little bit more fluidity in the judging. What I hope for is to get more of a balance in the scoring, and more of a trend toward letting some of these fantastic super horses with very expressive gaits, to come down a notch in excitement.

To have that happen, someone has to come out and ride that way, and just STUN people, and teach them it can be done. Until someone comes out and does that, the judges can't change what they expect or what they reward right now.

Can someone do that? Have we reached a limit? I don't think so, but...

No one is doing that right now. In a way, things are kind of stagnated at a current level with much the same riders and issues and questions for quite some time. I think in an odd way as much as things have changed in the last 6-10 yrs in dressage these things haven't changed...people have come along who do the same thing better, not a revolutionary change.

The judges can lead the way in how they score, but only if someone comes out and lights the light.

People I think are on the brink of doing that - Haddad and others could. I think it will happen. And they will push people and even the people who have been around a long time will change. They will change or they won't win.

At one point Sjeff told Anky vG that she had to score 30 points higher. She told him at that point that she couldn't improve that much, that she didn't know how she could at that point (this is in her autobiography). When you can't visualize something, it's pretty hard to visualize it, LOL.

Every few years we see a certain sort of trend come into judging and a certain tolerance of some faults in favor of other aspects. Judging evolves right along with horse breeding and everything else. Judges aren't perfect. They change too. But someone has to rock the boat.

siegi b.
Sep. 4, 2009, 10:07 PM
You know MBM, it's funny but I was just going to tell you to look at Adelinde's ride at Windsor as a very harmonious and supple example of how her riding has improved now that she's under Sjef's tutelage. Compare it to her prior competitions and to me there's no doubt that all the things that you think are missing are finally there now.

And the other funny thing is.. even the judges agree with me on this!

mbm
Sep. 4, 2009, 11:08 PM
seigi - actually, of the top riders i liked hers best.... but, i still think that she has lost something as she has progressed in her training... yes, for sure she is way more accurate, way more mmm.... polished i guess.... but for all that - she now looks "harder" in the saddle... she leans back, she appears to have a lot of weight in her reins at all times..... and, i think, from where i sit, the partneship isnt there....

so, yes, she is a perfect example of what i am talking about.... and maybe people dont see /feel what i do, that's ok... for me dressage is emotional as well as physical. :)

(i also think calling riders athletes is changing how we perceive riding)

eta: yes, of course the judges agree with you.... if they didnt we wouldn't be having this conversation... but even tho they are judges i can still disagree with what they reward.... and even among the judges there is differences in opinion... maybe not at that show, but in the world of judges there are differences..... and some are not happy with top sport.

mbm
Sep. 4, 2009, 11:18 PM
i think, as i think about this more.... what has really changed is the rewarding of accuracy/flamboyance over the core dressage "values" (engagement/suppleness/self carriage/reaching for the bit/throughness/a changeable "frame"including the neck)

i am not sure if i am expressing this well.... and maybe i wont be able to get this across.... but , in the race for accuracy above all else i think we lost a lot.... instead of the horse looking like it is working in self carriage without the help of the rider, it now looks like the horse couldnt hold itself up without the rider......

instead of the rider giving and letting go - it looks like they hold and cram and control every single muscle movement.

for me this inst what dressge is supposed to be. the training should be so good that the horse looks like it is doing on its own accord what is asked of it.

i give up :) :) i dont think i am getting across what i am feeling....

slc2
Sep. 4, 2009, 11:44 PM
I don't agree that this is a result of seeking more accuracy, which was always desirable and important. I think it's more basic than that. I think that the excitability, flamboyance, was developed for itself.

AiryFairy
Sep. 4, 2009, 11:50 PM
because it is currently what the judges want to see - not because his system is correct in the traditional manner (ie follow the rules)

the one thing i can say about the dutch - most of the rides i have seen are forced/crammed with little or no suppleness in the traditional sense and rarely any suppleness in the neck - the horses rarely reach into the contact nor do they become longer /shorter in the body during extensions/collection. .

to me it looks like they have figured out how to dominate the horse to a high degree and gain access at the same time so they endup with flamboyant and accurate rides that look like the horses are robots.

PRECISELY....there is little or nothing classically correct in any of this, whether it's currently fashionable or not, it's a vile way of training. I hate that it's rewarded.

Fixerupper
Sep. 5, 2009, 12:39 AM
WOW- are you looking at the same stuff? I think you are terribly caught in your prejudice and don't really get the underlying philosophy.
then I guess we are not talking about the same sport here...

No.. we are not talking about the same sport here ;).
mbm wants horses to do dressage for the love of it..!?!
the winners expect horses to do dressage because they are trained to do it (in such as way as to make both parties happy...)
I have come to realize mbm does not like upper level dressage...
It takes a lot of knowledge and talent to convince a horse (or a person) that hard work is fun.....

mbm
Sep. 5, 2009, 01:05 AM
No.. we are not talking about the same sport here ;).
mbm wants horses to do dressage for the love of it..!?!
the winners expect horses to do dressage because they are trained to do it (in such as way as to make both parties happy...)
I have come to realize mbm does not like upper level dressage...
It takes a lot of knowledge and talent to convince a horse (or a person) that hard work is fun.....

actually..... i thought the same thing.... i thought i hated dressage as so many times i would watch rides that others raved about and i could barely watch it. then i would watch the rides that *didn't* place, and i liked a lot of what i saw. .... and i watched a lot of deveopling horse stuff - and again liked what i saw.... and i watched certain riders - and liked what i saw. and i watched some FEI riders around me - and i liked what i saw...

soo.... i came to the conclusion that i dont like what is generally winning, but a good GP test still leaves me in tears and happy to be a part of dressage :)

as for thinking the horse is going to just do it cause it loves it..... not the point - the point is that it *looks* that way. ie: the horse appears to do of it's own accord what is asked of it (from the fei rules) - i absolutely understand that working FEI well takes a horse that is fit to do the job, has been well trained etc..... but the horse shouldn't have to be held together with an iron fist/core. sure shit happens, but if i had to spend an entore ride using all my strength then i would know something is horribly wrong.

when a horse is well trained it should be relatively *easy* work.

heck, i just watched (IRL) a 22 yo stallion go around and do most of the GP work, easy as pie, and he looked like he was doing it of his own accord. *that* is what i call correct riding/training! and it gave me happy chills!

Fixerupper
Sep. 5, 2009, 01:10 AM
So... why don't you like Totilas or Parzival?

Fixerupper
Sep. 5, 2009, 01:51 AM
heck, i just watched (IRL) a 22 yo stallion go around and do most of the GP work, easy as pie, and he looked like he was doing it of his own accord. *that* is what i call correct riding/training! and it gave me happy chills!


But working with stallions or other 'horses with opinions and huge talent' is different than working with school masters (stallion or otherwise) of 22yrs who do 'most of the GP work as easy as pie'.
It is not the same thing as winning the European Championships (arguably a more challenging competition than the Olympics because there is a lower limit to the number of top European competitors).
I do understand where you are coming from...but the vanguard of 'high performance horses' in the sport of dressage is not to be found looking by looking back wards!

mbm
Sep. 5, 2009, 02:16 AM
erm, where did you get that the horse i watched was a "school master"?

and to be very clear: the horse did most of the GP work during this short ride, it was light and playful and super nice to watch - when he was done he went of a trail ride on a long rein.... the horse is trained (and confirmed) to GP.


and, there were actually rides at the Euro champs that looked like it was easy as pie - but they weren't the top rides :)

Fixerupper
Sep. 5, 2009, 02:26 AM
22 yo stallion

Not a school master at 22yr...what?? a newbie?

mbm
Sep. 5, 2009, 02:30 AM
i guess i dont know what your point is.

why would it be different between a 22 yo stallion who does GP and any other horse that does GP?

Fixerupper
Sep. 5, 2009, 02:38 AM
I think I get where you are coming from....but it is not what is happening in dressage today...fine... stay there...in 1999...it was nice while it was happening...it was also nice in 1989, 1979 etc etc
You either come along or admit that you are stuck in the past...which will not happen again...
I also remember when gas cost $.75 a gallon...it was great...then

mbm
Sep. 5, 2009, 02:43 AM
huh?

it absolutely is "what is happening in dressage today" - i know many folks who ride/train in the manner i speak aka "like it was 15 years ago"....

sure, it may not be winning at this moment in top int'l comps, but it is in the top 20 for sure!

and, even more relevant for me - it surrounds me at the barn i am at, my friends and our trainers.....

Fixerupper
Sep. 5, 2009, 03:00 AM
sure, it may not be winning at this moment in top int'l comps, but it is in the top 20 for sure!
check out who are in the top 19.......everybody except like... Greece and Bolivia...;)


huh?and, even more relevant for me - it surrounds me at the barn i am at, my friends and our trainers.....

Go with that...and 'bless ya'.... because it ain't never taking y'all to the Worlds or the O's...like it or not....

slc2
Sep. 5, 2009, 04:14 AM
We seem to be putting an INCREDIBLY emotional interpretation and a 'good guys and bad guys' spin on what is really a difference in emphasis in judging.

I don't actually think the Dutch horses ALL look SO TERRIBLE. I don't think this is THAT irretrievably such a horrible mess. I don't think that the way the Dutch horses go mean those riders are 'vile', 'inhuman' and 'cruel' and 'discarding all classical principals'. I think there is room for change, and improvement....but there always is room for change. Things are NEVER perfect.

This is what I think is being missed - some sense of perspective. There WERE problems 20 years ago, and 40 and 60 and 80. There are no idyllic past days. There were judging problems in 1920 so bad that it seemed dressage would disappear from the Olympics. When 1-time changes were added to the test there was the same passionate condemnation of this team and that team that we hear today about the Dutch.

Reiner Klimke was roundly criticized - roundly - by people in the sport in his day as well as fans, and so were all of them. It is only NOW that Klimke is viewed as so perfect. During his busiest showing years he was criticized a great deal (And I am NOT saying I agree with the criticism, I am trying to make a point). I heard a blow by blow account of a clinic with him in which he was described as 'arrogant' and 'expecting people to lick his boots' and wait on him. I watched him at a clinic refuse to teach someone who wouldn't raise their stirrups. And you can BET people had a lot to say about his difficulties with Entertainer and plenty of other things.

Keep in mind...I am NOT saying I agree - I am saying the popular, fan view of him now is very, very different from many comments made during his most active years - INCLUDING comments about the horse Ahlerich. Try to imagine that today when he is viewed as the greatest trainer and the epitome of classical dressage and standard all today are held to.

Point being - nearly all competitive riders at the top face incredible criticism...it's our lack of perspective and memory that makes it seem as if the 'good old days' were so controversy free and it's only now that things have gone to hell in a bucket at the top.

I think people have a natural tendency to complain that 'the good old days' are gone. They get fond memories and that's just how people function. I recall reading a piece about how children no longer respect their elders and business is corrupt and nothing is as cheap as in the good old days...and then reading that the piece was written by someone from Aristotle's day....

I've been around dressage for many years observing not as an insider but as a lover of the art of riding. Dressage tends to bring out people's passions and it tends to bring out very polarized and emotional feelings. That's not because everything is a disaster right now, it's just because people love the sport.

I think we need to try and avoid getting carried away, and just focus on something more immediate and positive. Yes, I think that what is being rewarded has become exaggerated. But I also think this can change. And I think it WILL change. I don't think it means all the judges are insane and blind and evil, or that all the riders are 'vile'.

Like a large business or a big organization, things don't always change so fast or right when we want them to. We usually are uncomfortable with something for quite some time before it changes...and to be frank, we usually have very little power to change things that are happening far away that we are looking at from the outside. That's kinda how life is.

I think we need to stop thinking in terms of 'good guys' and 'bad guys'. The judge who doesn't follow the crowd isn't always the villain - the rider who wins isn't always the source of the problem. There are very, very few people who really know what happens behind the news that we read in the media...and I am very, very sure that those who we put up as 'heroes' and 'villains' because of what news article we read with its clever spin...well it may be a whole lot more complicated than it looks. We are only beginning to see how limited the very small and very nascent international dressage press is.

Bats79
Sep. 5, 2009, 09:26 AM
More than half of what Andrew Mclean writes is quoting Xenophon. He has NOT re-invented horse training psychology though he has worked very hard to make it understandable by the majority and part of the horse "pop" culture.

However, anyone who rides a horse deliberately in an overbent position - and the Bartells have been doing this LONG before Sjef Jensen came on the scene - is picking and chosing which bits of Mclean to practice.

The same with the current "revisiting" of Baucher. Twists on the first method I believe.

sjdressage
Sep. 5, 2009, 10:31 AM
I agree with mbm about some of the basic qualities being missing. I am happy for the Dutch but there is something missing that is really bothering me. I am a fan of the floppy eared, loose in the back qualities that the German school goes for (in general). I might be crucified by using this horse as an example but look at Weltall:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHvMIgJqsfU

That is an extension that I would like to ride! These horses cover a lot of ground.
Although I've heard Isabell also rides her horses deep at times, I look to her as an example of the horse carrying the rider and being loose in the neck. It just always looks like her coat tails are flying in the breeze behind her as the horse floats around.

Is Totilas moving in front, YES, is he matching it behind, YES, does he have energy/power, YES, YES, YES. But there may be some core qualities that are sacrificed in the process.

slc2
Sep. 5, 2009, 12:46 PM
Weltall is the ultimate Gumby Horse. Be prepared for some to lecture you that he isn't relaxed, though, LOL.

egontoast
Sep. 5, 2009, 12:53 PM
More than half of what Andrew Mclean writes is quoting Xenophon. He has NOT re-invented horse training psychology though he has worked very hard to make it understandable by the majority and part of the horse "pop" culture



Please give references to show that " more than half of what Andrew Mclean writes is quoting Xenophon"

I think that is nonsense.

fiona
Sep. 5, 2009, 02:19 PM
who does believe VERY MUCH in speed control, suppleness and a horse that responds to the finest cues whilst using his back and from the neck to the tail- every inch. This IS the dutch system

It is EVERY system - the horse Carl rode at the Europeans was German trained, without the german training it probably wouldn't have been an interesting horse for him to take on.
The intelligent option most professional riders take, in my experience, is to get a solid base, a broad education and draw on the knowledge of as many horsemen as possible.

grayarabs
Sep. 5, 2009, 04:17 PM
mbm - your post 17. I understand and agree.

Where did I read:
The more the horse progresses the easier it becomes for the rider.

(sorry badly quoted).

Dressage Art
Sep. 5, 2009, 04:34 PM
Thus I feel confident in saying that this IS the system for the future- Isabell is using it and many german up and coming riders are using it...
We'll all live to see it...trust my words.
First where can get more educated about Sjef "system"?

Second, while I started my dressage training at age 11 with a strong influence of Baucher-type trainer and still use some of it to that day = I do not agree with RK training system and it is different from Baucher and much more severe. Baucher was an amazing man, but some of his methods were too much already. So by tacking Baucher and even exaggerating it even more, to me it seems that system drifts even further away from the classical effortless and happy athlete.

Sjef will be definitely remembered in dressage history, but I truly hope that his RK invention is not training for the future.

Liz
Sep. 5, 2009, 05:34 PM
I may not be remembering correctly but wasn't it Weltall at the Olympics (not this past one but the one before) who would not walk?

slc2
Sep. 5, 2009, 05:49 PM
So he had a bad day. There were flags flapping next to the ring that got a couple of the horses very bad. Turns out he had been in a really bad trailering accident a couple months before and he was being very nervous about sounds. I've seen the horse walk very well, like a leopard slinky.

Surviving the Dramas
Sep. 6, 2009, 06:57 AM
Andrew McLean and his research into equine behavior has had a big influence on the way the Dutch train and think about training.


Wooooah! - easy tiger. Don't lump Andrew in with the Dutch training system. As a student of his I don't believe him to be a supporter of all things Dutch.
He may have influenced them in the 1 question, 1 answer methodology, but I'm not so sure the "pressure/release" methodology sunk in (this is only of course from what I have seen online - a small glimpse I'm sure)

I agree that Andrew has not reinvented the wheel entirely. He has helped to explain (using science and hands on experience/testing) WHY our horses react the way that they do, and what/where "conflict behaviour" comes from and HOW to deal with it. His teachings are used worldwide, from the training of Olympic dressage horses, racehorses, dogs etc, to the elephants in Tailand :winkgrin: (He did once say he thought he might struggle to train a snake - BUT he/his colleague has trained a CAT! Something I never thought possible).

I agree with an earlier poster that he has (for me) demystified dressage and explained it in a scientific way. I need to have things explained to me in a very logical, step by step approach, as opposed to learning by trust. ie, doing something because someone says to and getting the feel of it! He (and Manu) have done that for me.

Back to the original topic - the dutch are winning. For those who don't like the system, make yours BETTER! It's all about improving and refining systems, creating your own, and better still - BEATING the established "norm." The Dutch are doing that now. The German standard was the norm (how many times have you been quoted the Scale of Training??) and soon we see the potential for the Dutch standard to be the norm... cummon USA - stand up, create your own :lol::lol:

claire
Sep. 6, 2009, 07:54 AM
Besides the rider development, what isn't the depth of horse talent a most important contributor to the success of the Dutch program?

Not only horses bred specifically to succeed in Dressage, but also making sure these horses are available to the best Dutch riders?

I have read that Totilas is just the first of the wonder horses to come out of this particular breeder's program. That there is even more amazing talent in development.

Isn't the Dutch NF much more adept at forming relationships with the breeders and sponsors so that these talented horses are available to and stay with the Dutch team?

I have never heard of the USEF coach intervening to help buy a team rider's horse
to keep it in the "family". ;) (ie. Parzival)

slc2
Sep. 6, 2009, 07:57 AM
Andrew Mclean uses the term 'learned helplessness' and has given some lectures on it. Since learned helplessness is part of the anti rollkur discussion, ie, that it teaches horses to 'give up' and 'not fight abuse', like the experiment with the rat in the pool who stops trying to swim, it has a lot of fans.

He also used the term 'learned dullness' for horses that get dull to the aids. Most people refer to that as 'incorrect training', though actually, it normal and expected that a beginner to intermediate rider will inevitably produce a 'learned dullness' in the horse as part and parcel of his stage of riding.

The thing he said that many people seized on is the idea that the horse learns not from the pressure of the bit or the leg, but from the release of pressure.

Many people have taken that to mean they need to drop the contact on the reins to 'reward' the horse, or that they don''t ride every stride, so the amount of engagement is changing all the time, as well as the rhythm. They will give a pull on the rein, pull the horse's head around to one side with the opposite rein hanging down, or pull the rein to bring the horse's head in and down, and then drop both the reins to reward the horse.

Unfortunately such training leads to very unsteady connections with the horse having a very, very poor understanding of contact - and usually the rider as well having a very poor understanding...as well as no progress ever being made toward collection, impulsion, ie, moving up the levels. No half halts can be ridden in this type of connection, and no impulsion can be created.

The proponents who actually consciously teach this way of riding dressage produce some very, very 'emperor has no clothing' type results - unsteady, fussy horses that are not on the bit but are behind the bit - and these horses can't progress in dressage.

Horses trained this way, are the stiffest, most restricted, crooked, and unhappy looking horses I see.

To actually succeed at this idea of reward is a very much more subtle thing, and preserves the contact and connection so the hand is something steady the horse can trust, and without sacrificing contact or steadiness, is still rewarding and gentle. And it takes far, far more tact and coordination of the aids than the above.

Surviving the Dramas
Sep. 6, 2009, 07:12 PM
Unfortunately such training leads to very unsteady connections with the horse having a very, very poor understanding of contact - and usually the rider as well having a very poor understanding...as well as no progress ever being made toward collection, impulsion, ie, moving up the levels. No half halts can be ridden in this type of connection, and no impulsion can be created.

The proponents who actually consciously teach this way of riding dressage produce some very, very 'emperor has no clothing' type results - unsteady, fussy horses that are not on the bit but are behind the bit - and these horses can't progress in dressage.

Horses trained this way, are the stiffest, most restricted, crooked, and unhappy looking horses I see.


Spoken like somebody who has never ridden using the system, hasn't seen the system in action, or who has seen people who purport to use the system, but actually don't follow it properly. I'm wondering how easy it is to get lessons with Andrew, Manu or Warwick when (as far as I'm aware) they don't travel to America particularly often to teach - if at all??

Our National champ and reigning HOY GP winner is an avid follower of the McLean system. In fact, she scored the 1, 2 at the Nationals this year with her two horses. McLean trained horses are doing very well across many of our levels at dressage and eventing because we get HANDS on lessons and teaching - unlike trying to learn from a book which is far inferior.

egontoast
Sep. 6, 2009, 07:21 PM
Re Andrew mclean, learned helplessness, Anky, rollkur and the global dressage forum.

From an earlier thread:



From report by eurobreederstour who attended the 2006 GDF

Quote:
At this point with all of the extensive research that has been done, the promises of more studies to be done, and a brave attempt by Anky and Sjef to put themselves and their methods out there once again for review and debate one would think we had reached a respectful level of critical thought and discussion. But think again. The microphone was then handed to Brigit Popp who noted that Sjef had said earlier in his lecture that the hyperflexion of the neck was not his system, but rather a tool within his system that he uses progressively. She then asked him "do you also consider learned helplessness to be one of your tools?".

Of course Sjef and Anky refused to even respond to this ignorant and vindictive statement, but Richard handed the microphone to Dr. McLean who had used the term in his lectures and his response was that this in no way shape or form was "learned helplessness". The horse was clearly happy to do his work and showed no signs of negative stress, let alone having been beaten down into a state of total surrender.

http://chronicleforums.com/Forum/sho...t=helplessness (http://chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=69617&highlight=helplessness)

siegi b.
Sep. 6, 2009, 07:23 PM
Eggy - please quit confusing us with facts!!

mbm
Sep. 6, 2009, 07:24 PM
but, egon, do you really think anyone (who wants to stay popular ie: making $$) would accuse avg/sj of "beating a horse down" in such a prestigious event?

i learned a long time ago to take what is said at such events with a grain of salt. generally it is more about stroking egos, and making connections that responding truthfully.

eta: the only fact reported is that the reporter heard the Dr. say something about the horse in front of him (as it reads) perhaps this should not be extrapolated further? ?

slc2
Sep. 6, 2009, 07:30 PM
I may not understand what you mean by 'pressure', but it sounds odious.

I don't actually believe that rollkur usually involves 'beating horses down' at all. I don't believe in training that way, but I've seen people teach horses to do it and seen absolutely no beating, punishing, forceful yanking on reins or anything even approaching it. They just have the horse take a small amount of position, reward it, increase the position over time, that's all it takes. It's basically 'shaping behavior'. I'm not saying it's a great thing, I am saying creating it need not involve force at all.

Horses learn to carry their necks in all sorts of weird positions for humans. Different riding styles have always required horses to carry their heads and necks in INCREDIBLY exaggerated positions - very low, very high, or with an incredible amount of flexion in the neck behind the head. In fact, I'd hazard to say there are a rather large number of riding styles that require the horse to carry its head and neck in a far more exaggerated head and neck position than rollkur.

If you banned rollkur as cruel, you'd need to then ban all the other riding forms that require a horse to consistnetly, through its entire performance, not as a training tool, but as a required part of the riding style, carry its head and neck in even MORE of an extreme posture than that.

'Someone who's never seen the system'.

I've seen how many people apply it, which is pretty disturbing.

ALL training methods for animals involve a signal of some type to the animal, a behavior, position or the like, and a reward. I don't actually believe that a system that applies 'pressure' and then 'rewards' by dropping the pressure, really works completely in dressage. What works is the aids, which follow a logical progression, and don't involve pressure, but a coordination of the aids; only corrections involve pressure.

People seem to make the idea of pressure and reward work to some extent in dressage, if it doesn't interfere with actual use of the aids, if they don't exaggerate it to the point of dropping the connection; what I see in most of the followers is not successful. The principle of reward for responding to the aids is very sound; making the aids something that is so exaggerated they interfere with the contact and connection, is wrong.

What they don't seem to teach the horse or themselves, is that the reward for making a connection is NOT supposed to be dropping the connection. If the connection has to be dropped to reward the horse, something is very, very wrong with the connection.

I do NOT 'drop the contact to reward the horse', I think that is wrong. I've been taught that is wrong by every single person I've ever worked with, clinicked with, read, or listened to even have a conversation about dressage, including Henri Van Shaik, and you don't get more classical than him.

If you have to drop the connection, or loosen the reins so there is LESS connection to 'reward' the horse, the connection is wrong. The connection is supposed to be rewarding and comfortable for the horse all the time. If the horse needs relief from it, something is very, very wrong.

I don't turn the horse by putting 'pressure' on the inside rein and dropping the pressure to a less amount when the horse responds. I give the aids to turn, which do NOT involve increased pressure (that is very, very important, actually, it is extremely important that aids do not involve increased pressure, only corrections ever involve increased pressure).

"Hanging up the phone" doesn't help anything, and prompts shouts from the best trainers like 'Stop punishing that horse!'. It's supposed to be a continuing conversation. The hand needs to be something steady the horse can rely on; so does the connection. An inconsistent connection makes the horse more and more unsteady in the connection, and stiffer. The horse can't be through and connected if someone keeps throwing away the contact. The horse constantly gives the rider feedback about whether he's comfortable or not, the rider is supposed to maintain a steadily comfortable connection with the horse.

caddym
Sep. 6, 2009, 08:13 PM
Besides the rider development, what isn't the depth of horse talent a most important contributor to the success of the Dutch program?

Not only horses bred specifically to succeed in Dressage, but also making sure these horses are available to the best Dutch riders?

I have never heard of the USEF coach intervening to help buy a team rider's horse
to keep it in the "family". ;) (ie. Parzival)

I am not an expert and have no inside information, but I am an avid reader, rider and enthusiast. I love the oldenburgs and study the auctions and blood lines and I am very good friends with ann kitchell (breeder of statesman) who has worked as my mentor

,,,,so I really think you are on to something here. looking at the last oldenburg elite foal auction, the highest priced dressage foal went to Holland with a note that this buyer once again bought the highest priced foal.

Not to say that the dutch lines are not fantastic, but it seems that they have enough insight and lack of ego to enrich and think "outside the box"

Fixerupper
Sep. 7, 2009, 02:56 AM
'learned helplessness' ... 'give up' and 'not fight abuse', like the experiment with the rat in the pool who stops trying to swim, it has a lot of fans.

Horses are not rats....they are bigger and not so smart :lol:

My 'hobby' is rehabbing horses who have been damaged and/or spoiled by inept management/training....hence 'Fixerupper'. Because I have limited time & resources I choose to work with talented athletes.

These horse do not...in my experience...give up. They fight back. A 12-1400lb athlete is rarely helpless...though they can be dangerous!

I have worked with South American (I won't mention one country ;)) polo ponies, who have been broken and 'trained' with pretty harsh methods compared to Rolkur...and you had better not mess with those babies!

The toughest individuals I have worked with are horses who have been 'trained' by amateurs...no Rolkur involved...who are afraid to let the horse go forward. In my experience.. horses that are allowed to go forward will figure it out...horses that are 'stopped' will hurt you...no learned helplessness there!

It is the nature of the horse to go forward...if you allow/encourage that...they can and will adapt to whatever forward you employ...stop them at your peril...

indyblue
Sep. 7, 2009, 06:23 AM
but, egon, do you really think anyone (who wants to stay popular ie: making $$) would accuse avg/sj of "beating a horse down" in such a prestigious event?

i learned a long time ago to take what is said at such events with a grain of salt. generally it is more about stroking egos, and making connections that responding truthfully.

eta: the only fact reported is that the reporter heard the Dr. say something about the horse in front of him (as it reads) perhaps this should not be extrapolated further? ?

Shall I ask his wife Manu next week when I have my lessons?Seriously though I do not think that Andrew Mclean needs to stroke any egos.

slc2
Sep. 7, 2009, 07:01 AM
Actually I think the very problem with rollkur is that it doesn't take any particular brutality to create it. It's just a shaped behavior like most of the things people teach horses. I've seen people teach it to a horse in a period of minutes with no particular effort or force.

Horses learn to dive off diving boards, go around in incredibly contorted positions (crooked, head way up, head way down, neck held in, down or both in and down position by auxilliary appliances til it is an accustomed habit), etc. The bottom line is that the horse's neck is flexible and every riding style there is does something somewhat different with it - often far more of a bend that rollkur.

Horses learn, frankly, things that someone not in that style ALWAYS will despise, criticize and think has horrible effects, and they don't get physically injured, abused, learned helplessness or suffer, according to the people who have them do these things, by going in various riding styles or doing strange immitations of dressage, high school, or any of the dozens or hundreds of other things people have them do that feature exaggerated, nonclassical positions of the neck.

My experience is actually that horses fight back, not because what they are being taught does not follow a classical ideal, lacks adherence to a classical ideal, or violates certain principles held by those who follow classical dressage ideals, but because the training procedure itself is flawed - the rider lacks 'skill' in teaching whatever he is teaching. The trainer doesn't reinforce the training appropriately or carry out the method of his riding style skillfully enough, or do it often enough.

mbm
Sep. 7, 2009, 01:39 PM
Shall I ask his wife Manu next week when I have my lessons?Seriously though I do not think that Andrew Mclean needs to stroke any egos.

well, honestly. if he (or any other popular lecturer) were to say something negative about the hosts (dutch) do you think they would be asked back? and don't you think not being asked back could put a damper on the reasons for being a lecturer in the first place?

i am not saying they do it intentionally (or maybe some do) but i just dont see how it would be beneficial to insult your hosts.......

of course some lecturers *do* make a living from being negative about the dutch, but they are on the fringe so to speak.

and to summarize, i don't think there is anything wrong with this... i just feel it is prudent to keep it in mind when listening to lectures / interviews etc.

Dressage Art
Sep. 7, 2009, 02:55 PM
I'm wondering how easy it is to get lessons with Andrew, Manu or Warwick when (as far as I'm aware) they don't travel to America particularly often to teach - if at all??

...McLean trained horses are doing very well across many of our levels at dressage and eventing because we get HANDS on lessons and teaching - unlike trying to learn from a book which is far inferior.

So where/how can I learn more about the McLean and/or Dutch "system"?

caddym
Sep. 7, 2009, 05:14 PM
So where/how can I learn more about the McLean and/or Dutch "system"?

check out Tinke's book "riding with awareness and feel" I'm about 3 chapters into it and I'm finding it superb

mbm
Sep. 7, 2009, 05:40 PM
DA, if you buy the book, see if you can get it used.... that way you wont be "supporting" a system that includes rollkur.

(if you buy a book used the author sees none of the $$ from that sale, nor does it figure in any calculations on how popular a book is (publisher wise)

indyblue
Sep. 7, 2009, 06:10 PM
DA, if you buy the book, see if you can get it used.... that way you wont be "supporting" a system that includes rollkur.

(if you buy a book used the author sees none of the $$ from that sale, nor does it figure in any calculations on how popular a book is (publisher wise)

mbm.I think that is a bit of a leap....................He certainly does not use it in any of his teaching.

slc2
Sep. 7, 2009, 06:12 PM
he didn't condemn it enough during that presentation, though, so his goose is cooked.

mbm
Sep. 7, 2009, 06:31 PM
mbm.I think that is a bit of a leap....................He certainly does not use it in any of his teaching.

no, sorry, i wasn't talking about the Dr. I was talking about SJ/Tinke (ie dutch system)

Dressage Art
Sep. 7, 2009, 07:46 PM
I just need to educate myself more on the subject that several claim to be the "future of dressage". Books, magazine articles, clinics... currently, I don't know enough about that system...

mbm
Sep. 7, 2009, 09:08 PM
of course - any thinking rider would agree.... it will be interesting to hear what you think after you have read the books.

i hear the Tineke book is interesting (i cant remember if i have it or not) but that the last chapter is a mind bend....

i dont know much about Dr. McLean, but might have to find his books to read up on his ideas.....

slc2
Sep. 7, 2009, 09:09 PM
"any thinking rider would agree"

what a premise.

mbm
Sep. 7, 2009, 09:58 PM
I just need to educate myself more on the subject that several claim to be the "future of dressage". Books, magazine articles, clinics... currently, I don't know enough about that system...


of course - any thinking rider would agree.... it will be interesting to hear what you think after you have read the books.

to clarify - my comment above was in response to DA's comment - also above.

in other words, i was saying "yes, of course any thinking rider would agree that educating yourself is a good thing"

if you think that education is a bad thing, ,then i don't know what to say..... ?

wildswan
Sep. 8, 2009, 12:53 PM
I just need to educate myself more on the subject that several claim to be the "future of dressage". Books, magazine articles, clinics... currently, I don't know enough about that system...

DITTO - What exactly is this "system" everyone is referring to? Those of you who are reading the Bartels book, could you sum up in a few sentences what you have learned from it so far? What is new and different about this system?

caddym
Sep. 8, 2009, 01:29 PM
DITTO - What exactly is this "system" everyone is referring to? Those of you who are reading the Bartels book, could you sum up in a few sentences what you have learned from it so far? What is new and different about this system?

As far as the book:

chapter 1 is titled "from conscious to subconcuious" and focuses on riders feel and communication with a flight animal. Tinke's husband Joep is a psychologist and is very interested in the mental process

chapter 2 is titled "learning to understand horses"

and talks about how horses are more natural than we might think, why they spook how to recognize the horse in the flight positin vs a relaxed position horse rank order and leadership etc

chapter 3"self-knowledge and self control" focuses on the rider

focuses on the rider concious and subconcious minds, concentration, motivation, negative thinking, different learning styles and the psychology of sport

chapter 4 "body control: learning to sit"


independent seat, balance, tensions, selfcarriage, wave motion, talks about the alexander method

chapter 5 "training with the question and answer method"

talks about training with operant conditioning (stimulus /response) how to have training be fun. basiclly train 1.action (please do it) 2. pressure (do it now) 3.reaction (response) 4. reward (thank-you) and ways to minimize the pressure to get from action to response

chapter 6 "riding with feel"

goes into the structure of training young horse to advanced and the daily training structure. discusses tempermantal and lazy horses and discusses the science, politics and conditioning for riding deep and round

chapter 7 "what we have learned from other trainers"

goes year by year into the Global Dressage Forums from 2001 -2005 with excerpts from: Jurgen Koschel, Sjef Janssen, Kyra Kyrklund,, Robert Dover, Johann Himmemann, Ulla Salzgeber, Arthur Kottas, Holger Schmezer, Ulrich Kasselmann, Jan Brink, Rudolf Zeilinger, Georg Theodorescu, & Klaus Balkenhol

Dressage Art
Sep. 8, 2009, 03:14 PM
I bought both books. Thank you for heads up on them. I read a book in a day or two, so I can give my feedback about them soon, if the thread still will be alive.

But you can also see what other readers thought about them and actually read several first pages: http://www.amazon.com/Ride-Horses-Awareness-Feel-Olympians/dp/1570764069/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1252433303&sr=8-1#

http://www.amazon.com/Truth-About-Horses-Understanding-Training/dp/B000FILLB4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1252433648&sr=1-1

wildswan
Sep. 8, 2009, 06:31 PM
Dressage Art - Thanks for the links. I checked out all the online pages. Will look forward to hearing your review and comments.

EqTrainer
Sep. 8, 2009, 09:48 PM
I am so disappointed that in all this talk about Sjef, we didn't get to review his Austin Powers outfit. I loved that suit!