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NOMIOMI1
Mar. 18, 2010, 11:38 AM
Ok, so I read a piece about self carriage being just that, and how riding off of the seat can mean completely dropping the reins (both) and the horse stays in a frame.

SO, my question is how do you have a horse that truly stretches into contact IF you can drop the reins and still have a frame?

I have read and seen this in clinics often enough, that I feel there must be a dividing line, and/or there is a point in the training where this can happen.

And I am not talking about short periods, I am talking about riding transitions and such, not just a few moments...

scribbles
Mar. 18, 2010, 11:47 AM
I had it explained to me as being different in when you ask them to hold the frame off of your seat and then asking them to strech off your seat. IDK if that helps you, i didnt understand it haha, but since i had asked the question before and gotten an answer i figured i would share :D

meupatdoes
Mar. 18, 2010, 12:32 PM
I think a lot of people think of riding as pursuing "one picture".

So, they don't want to do dressage with their hunter, because won't practicing the dressage contact ruin the hunter frame?

Or, they don't want to do hunters with their young dressage horse, because won't that prevent the horse from ever accepting the contact?

Similarly, people often spend EITHER all their time getting the horse to stretch to the contact OR all their time developing self carriage. They EITHER ride their young horse with the poll at the highest point OR they ride long down and out.


Riding is dynamic. It is not "one picture". Every picture should be available promptly for the asking.
The point is to be able to ride your horse in any frame, at whim. It should not require three weeks of reschooling to get a horse to go from a second level frame to a hunter frame: it should require a change in the contact and seat, and voila. It should not require three weeks of reschooling to get a horse to go from pirouette canter on a looped rein to a stretchy frame up the diagonal: it should be a change in seat and voila, horse stretches. If you are approaching the turn and want to ride the short side in your stretchy frame still, do that. If you want the pirouette canter again and self-carriage, well ask for that then. Either frame should be there for the asking, no matter what gait, and no matter whether you are riding a straight line or a circle. (And a lot of people never even CONSIDER the idea of the "stretchy straight line". What? Isn't that just for circles? And so on.)

There isn't one answer; there isn't one frame.
You train the horse so that everything is available to you, promptly and easily, and then you select from the menu what you need for that moment and that schooling objective.
It could be different again in three minutes or even in three steps.

If you want to do a stretchy circle and I'm going to feed you a loop and you fill it up and stretch into the contact, it should be there for the asking. If you change your mind and decide actually let's do self carriage, I'm going to feed you a loop and you stay the same, well, that should be there for the asking too.
And if you decide you want to split the difference and do one of each on respective halves of a 20m circle, well, THAT should be there too.

As for when in the training can they do this?
Today.
It doesn't matter if it is training level or GP. Maybe you can't expect a stretch all the way down to his ankles or a self-maintaining pirouette canter, but the basic concept the horse can do it today.

joiedevie99
Mar. 18, 2010, 01:11 PM
There are plenty of questions we ask there horse where one or more of our aids overlap. If I want canter, I bring the outside leg back- same thing if I want haunches in. Its the other aids (or the nuances of that one aid) that let the horse know which it is that you want.

It's no different with this question. The hands do the same thing when asking for stretchy chewy circle at 1st level, or when doing the release both reins at canter in 3rd level. Its the weight and seat aids that tell the horse which the correct answer is. I bring my shoulders (and thus my weight) a degree forward when I want stretch, and I stay loose and swingy and following through my hips and back. When I want to check self carriage, I rebalance back with half halts, keep my shoulders and weight back, and maintain some positive tension or holding in my back and hips.

There are also nuances in how I give the reins- if I want self carriage, I will push my hands straight towards the horses mouth, slightly up and forward. If I want stretching, I will drop my hands down to the sides of the withers as I reach forward.

As far as when you can teach the difference, I'd say as soon as the horse is comfortably taking increased weight on the hinds legs- so a little bit into collected work- somewhere between training and 2nd level. I'd start with developing a really nice balanced trot and then giving the inside rein for a stride.

It also comes from discipline in your riding every day. Not holding the horse in the position you want, but putting him there and letting him maintain it until you say otherwise, and correcting him when he changes the plan without being asked.

blackhorse6
Mar. 18, 2010, 02:16 PM
I think a lot of people think of riding as pursuing "one picture".

So, they don't want to do dressage with their hunter, because won't practicing the dressage contact ruin the hunter frame?

Or, they don't want to do hunters with their young dressage horse, because won't that prevent the horse from ever accepting the contact?

Similarly, people often spend EITHER all their time getting the horse to stretch to the contact OR all their time developing self carriage. They EITHER ride their young horse with the poll at the highest point OR they ride long down and out.


Riding is dynamic. It is not "one picture". Every picture should be available promptly for the asking.
The point is to be able to ride your horse in any frame, at whim. It should not require three weeks of reschooling to get a horse to go from a second level frame to a hunter frame: it should require a change in the contact and seat, and voila. It should not require three weeks of reschooling to get a horse to go from pirouette canter on a looped rein to a stretchy frame up the diagonal: it should be a change in seat and voila, horse stretches. If you are approaching the turn and want to ride the short side in your stretchy frame still, do that. If you want the pirouette canter again and self-carriage, well ask for that then. Either frame should be there for the asking, no matter what gait, and no matter whether you are riding a straight line or a circle. (And a lot of people never even CONSIDER the idea of the "stretchy straight line". What? Isn't that just for circles? And so on.)

There isn't one answer; there isn't one frame.
You train the horse so that everything is available to you, promptly and easily, and then you select from the menu what you need for that moment and that schooling objective.
It could be different again in three minutes or even in three steps.

If you want to do a stretchy circle and I'm going to feed you a loop and you fill it up and stretch into the contact, it should be there for the asking. If you change your mind and decide actually let's do self carriage, I'm going to feed you a loop and you stay the same, well, that should be there for the asking too.
And if you decide you want to split the difference and do one of each on respective halves of a 20m circle, well, THAT should be there too.

As for when in the training can they do this?
Today.
It doesn't matter if it is training level or GP. Maybe you can't expect a stretch all the way down to his ankles or a self-maintaining pirouette canter, but the basic concept the horse can do it today.

Well said and thank you!!! Many of the top riders start their horses out in a LDR frame so they can stretch over their backs, necks and move forward...As the lesson proceeds and the horse developes a swinging carriage the head and neck are brought up through the use of the leg and seat.. The head and neck "should" go where ever the rider wants it to....no questions.. and always with contact. I never ride in one "frame" or one "picture".. What I think is most important is that the energy is always coming from behind..back to front.. Just my thoughts;)

NOMIOMI1
Mar. 18, 2010, 02:34 PM
The frame is not what I was asking about :) Of course the neck should go where you want it.

Rather, I was asking if a horse should "stay" in a frame without that outside rein?

The seat idea is interesting, that your seat goes forward to stretch.

I actually sit as tall stretching as I do for collection, SO my horse would be confused if I sat taller to "hold" a position since my seat is often the same.


Hmmm

rabicon
Mar. 18, 2010, 02:58 PM
Because when you do a freewalk or stretchy trot you shouldn't throw your reins away. The horse reaches for the contact because the horse wants the contact. You push into the contact. So if you ride with your seat into a dressage frame you wouldn't hold contact for them to follow. Usually results in them staying with the contact they had and staying in self carriage,You also have to use your seat to help the horse determine. So if I throw away my reins I will sit back and push as if I am riding just the same. If I want them to stretch into contact I will go forward the slightest, just a smidge and hold the contact while feeding it. See the misconception about freewalk and stretchy trot is that many people just throw away the reins and the horse drops the head like a western horse or looks around because they are not truely at the level of self carriage yet ,you want to feed the reins thru your hands and have the horse follow the contact down and hold that contact so they are still using and carring themselves. Alot of horses are not truely in self carriage and this will tell you alot if you try it with your horse. Hope this makes since.

ETA: Your asking should a horse stay in a "frame" if you let go of the reins, in true self carriage the horse will stay, it will be light in the forehand and the horse will carry itself the way it was carring itself before you let go.

pintopiaffe
Mar. 18, 2010, 03:55 PM
I guess I have always thought of it differently... Self-carriage equates to collection, in my mind/book.

Yes, a hunter can be in self-carriage, when left at liberty, and will maintain the same length of neck & stride that he had...

But for me, the goal of self carriage is in collection. The more collected the horse gets, the more he sits and comes up in front, the less there is to do anything with the reins.

It's developed day-by-day, transition by transition.

Until you have that piaffe with the reins looped.

A very different idea, for me. Perhaps not correct, I've been disabused of many notions over the years, but this is what I get from Jean-Claude Racinet, and from my teacher. And what I have experienced in bringing a horse up. The more collected he gets, the lighter and lighter and lighter.

smithywess
Mar. 18, 2010, 04:17 PM
Your question is very subtle. It boils down to the way in which a horse carries himself either as a result of 'permeability'to the aids OR as a result of actually carrying himself by himself. Durschlassigheit is the equivalent of permeability and when a horse is 'permeable' to the aids he will, even in the very best of circumstances, to some very small extent rely upon the contact by leaning on the hand a trifle. In such a horse half-halts will be forever required, to a greater or lesser extent, in order to minimise this leaning. Such is Austro-Hungarian self carriage. A horse trained in the Latin schools, in lightness from the very beginning, will be capable, ultimately, if impulsed and straight, of carrying his frame in balance such that the tempo,cadence and frame become the horse's resonsibility and not the rider's. The 'descent de main' that la Gueriniere wrote about is such an example where after rebalancing a horse, if necessary with a half-halt, the hand is lowered and the contact all but released as a result of this action such that the horse is now 'on parole' until such time as the rider wishes to intervene. This type of self carriage does not rely simply on permeabilty to the aids,but of course does depend upon utter obedience in submission to the aids, on each side, which is half the definition of lightness.
To get to this stage and for it to last any appreciable time takes a very long time and a great deal of patience and understanding,neither of which commodities are very common these days.
I do not talk here, at all, of the balance seen in some Western horses who move simply on their forehands on a slack rein.

adobeguadalupe
Mar. 18, 2010, 04:25 PM
Ok, so I read a piece about self carriage being just that, and how riding off of the seat can mean completely dropping the reins (both) and the horse stays in a frame.

SO, my question is how do you have a horse that truly stretches into contact IF you can drop the reins and still have a frame?

I have read and seen this in clinics often enough, that I feel there must be a dividing line, and/or there is a point in the training where this can happen.

And I am not talking about short periods, I am talking about riding transitions and such, not just a few moments...

Yor transitions must have a degree of connection. No throwing away of reins. It comes from the connection of the leg .

adobeguadalupe
Mar. 18, 2010, 04:27 PM
Self carriage comes from the horse being off the leg! Not just throwing the reins at him. The reins are released for short periods of time !!! Otherwise the horse is stretching to find the connections, which is also correct.

flyingleadchange
Mar. 18, 2010, 05:16 PM
When riding or watching a horse work, how does one tell the difference between a horse who is truly in self-carriage (or well on their way to developing it) and a horse who simply braces the neck and goes around in a false frame? I usually study the hind end to help me determine, but have found that even some horses are able to track up nicely and appear engaged (certain breeds ore than others) and STILL be braced in the neck. Discuss.

rabicon
Mar. 18, 2010, 05:20 PM
Hindend engagment is not what I would consider self carriage. My TWH has plenty of hindend engagment and tracks up better than my dressage horse :lol: but thats in his breed and how he should go but he has no idea of self carriage in dressage terms. He goes around head bobbing just like a walking horse should. I have seen many of other horses that track up nicely out in the pasture but they are not self carriage they just reach when they go. Thats my thoughts. :cool: Correct me if I'm wrong.

dwblover
Mar. 18, 2010, 05:27 PM
I think the answer is both are correct. I can ride and ask my horse to stretch into the outside rein, he'll follow it down to the ground if I ask. Then I'll ask for a collected movement and I can give the reins away and he'll stay right where I left him. To me, nothing beats doing the collected movements completely off the seat with no contact at all. To me that is the ultimate in dressage, but you can't get there without first teaching the horse to stretch into the contact. They go hand in hand really.

meupatdoes
Mar. 18, 2010, 07:44 PM
T
Rather, I was asking if a horse should "stay" in a frame without that outside rein?


Yes. He should stay in his frame without the outside rein.

And no. If you change what you are asking for, no, he should NOT stay the same without that outside rein; instead he should change his frame to reach down and stretch.

Elegante E
Mar. 18, 2010, 09:42 PM
I think that the idea of the horse putting its neck where the rider wants it is being misunderstood/abused. The horse can only put it's neck where it can balance itself. The neck position is related to strength, or amounts of collection.

To say the horse should put it where I want ignores this.

rabicon
Mar. 18, 2010, 11:30 PM
I agree with elegant E, my horse goes in a training/1st level frame. He is not ready for more collection that 2nd level ask for and isn't ready for a higher contact. Just to hard for him right now. I can force it but forcing it does not make it correct.

meupatdoes
Mar. 18, 2010, 11:43 PM
I agree with elegant E, my horse goes in a training/1st level frame. He is not ready for more collection that 2nd level ask for and isn't ready for a higher contact. Just to hard for him right now. I can force it but forcing it does not make it correct.

Yes, but he should be able to either do a stretchy circle upon request or hold his training/1st frame without rein support depending upon what you are asking.

It is not like we ride around carrying the horse's front end around until all of a sudden at 3rd we let go both reins in the canter.

rabicon
Mar. 19, 2010, 12:24 AM
He will stay where I put him, but I can't put him where he is not ready to be. I was just answering to the idea that your horses neck should be where you put it, I can put it where I want but it doesn't make it correct ;)

meupatdoes
Mar. 19, 2010, 08:58 AM
He will stay where I put him, but I can't put him where he is not ready to be. I was just answering to the idea that your horses neck should be where you put it, I can put it where I want but it doesn't make it correct ;)

Do you really think that what is being advocated here is:
"Your horse should put his neck where you want it. If you want a GP level frame from your 4yo just carry him around by the back teeth and hang on tight."?

Really?

ideayoda
Mar. 19, 2010, 10:10 AM
Training is progressive, self carriage is developed as collectibility develops. Training level horses are not expected to be 'on the bit', they merely have to accept a steady connection, stay up and open and connected. Then comes the ability to be 'on the bit', offer light flexion, take hh, gradually compress the hindlegs. And if the horse is properly connected, softed chewing/mobile in the jaw they can be asked to go forward/down/out/seek the hand still sustaining a arch/bow out to the hand. Once they will steadily/lightly seek the hand, the job of progressive collection (developing amplitude/thrust) within the gaits advances (through smaller figures/lateral work/etc). Once the horse will then work into the outside rein/sustain even bending/become straighter/etc. Then the rider can do ubersteichen (given the inside rein) to 'test' this self carriage for a few strides; the horse remains between the inside leg and outside rein. There is no other action (ie such as mobilization of the jaw and then allowing with the outside rein for the fdo elongates the horse). Eventually the rider can give both reins and the horse will maintain its 'composure' and bearing because the rider takes no other action. And the crowning point is when a horse in piaffe may be 'held by the (stability/erectness) seat alone', the result of progressive training and a horse which will optimally flex all the joints of the hindlegs (an even higher point is levade).

rabicon
Mar. 19, 2010, 12:39 PM
Ok, well you tell me what your saying then. I understand putting the neck where the rider wants it is just that. Me putting my horses neck where I want it. Be it correct or not I put it there. For example this is where my horse is at right now (excuse the leaning on my part)
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?v=photos&ref=profile&id=1010260134#!/photo.php?pid=95953&op=1&o=global&view=global&subj=1010260134&id=100000477608554
and this is what happens if I try to pull his head up when he is not ready for it
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?v=photos&ref=profile&id=1010260134#!/photo.php?pid=95962&op=1&o=global&view=global&subj=1010260134&id=100000477608554&fbid=103635356329051 He looks pissed and uncomfortable and hollows out. so this is my understanding of putting their neck where you want it, so explain to me what you mean.

NOMIOMI1
Mar. 19, 2010, 12:58 PM
That is off topic.

I was only responding to the posters that kept bringing it up (the neck), it had/has nothing to do with my question.

I understand in "some" movements we need to be able to have total self carriage, but my question was about transitions and collected work in the walk, trot, canter.

I wanted to know the thoughts about if you horse should hold "that" frame without the outside rein.

Ive seen a clinic or two that said they should for short periods, but then Ive also seen it ridden and it was not short periods so wanted to discuss.

stryder
Mar. 19, 2010, 01:26 PM
Ive seen a clinic or two that said they should for short periods, but then Ive also seen it ridden and it was not short periods so wanted to discuss.

I expect my mare to carry herself. To not lean on me, and in return, I am not to lean on her. We're both to be in self-carriage. Sometimes, in more collected work, we get only a few steps before her head droops, and I need to ask her again to raise it. I am not to hold it up there.

As she gets stronger, the few steps become several, and then more. Until collected, self-carriage is just her way of going. Given her conformation, it's hard for her, but we keep working at it.

ideayoda
Mar. 19, 2010, 02:23 PM
It has nothing to do with 'holding a frame', but rather maintaining uphill balance. A horse in self carriage can still (re)use its neck (w/o falling onto the forehand/etc). It is what the hindquarters are doing which allows for complete self carriage (levade is a case in point, it cannot be held by the hand, it is held by the compression of the hindleg joints). (The links didnt work for me to the pix).

stryder
Mar. 19, 2010, 02:31 PM
It has nothing to do with 'holding a frame', but rather maintaining uphill balance.

Thanks for this. It's why we can do a loopy rein piaffe, but may start to fall apart after a few steps of canter.

meupatdoes
Mar. 19, 2010, 08:15 PM
Ok, well you tell me what your saying then. I understand putting the neck where the rider wants it is just that. Me putting my horses neck where I want it. Be it correct or not I put it there. For example this is where my horse is at right now (excuse the leaning on my part)
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?v=photos&ref=profile&id=1010260134#!/photo.php?pid=95953&op=1&o=global&view=global&subj=1010260134&id=100000477608554
and this is what happens if I try to pull his head up when he is not ready for it
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?v=photos&ref=profile&id=1010260134#!/photo.php?pid=95962&op=1&o=global&view=global&subj=1010260134&id=100000477608554&fbid=103635356329051 He looks pissed and uncomfortable and hollows out. so this is my understanding of putting their neck where you want it, so explain to me what you mean.

The OP basically asked a question about contact.
Should the horse be stretching toward the outside rein or should he be carrying himself without assistance from the rein, and how do both those concepts work together?

My opinion (which others may disagree with) is that they work together from Day One, with each concept coming into play depending on what you need to work on in each moment. The horse should be able to change from a "stretching tendency" in the contact to a "self carrying tendency" in the contact. This does not mean that a 5yo is carrying himself around in a pirouette canter.
It means that if the 5yo gets a little past the seat and too pull-y in the hand, he does a few canter-trot transitions from seat without hand assistance. If a few minutes later he gets a little vertuzt and tense over his back in a legyield attempt, he may get sent forward into a stretchy circle.

Ultimately, "putting the neck where you want it" comes from changing the tendency in the contact. If you put a "stretchy tendency" into the contact, the neck will lengthen and stretch. If you ask for a "carry yourself" tendency in the contact, he'll hold himself up more in the next transition. In the beginning, changing the tendency in the contact/"putting the neck where you want it" may only change the neck 6 inches up or down. This doesn't mean you're not putting the neck where you want it. You ARE, to the extent the horse is able, but what you are really practicing is being able to control his tendency in the contact. Eventually, you get your pirouette canter, but the concept has been there all along.

Does this make sense or am I hopelessly up the creek with no paddle?

lstevenson
Mar. 19, 2010, 08:26 PM
Rather, I was asking if a horse should "stay" in a frame without that outside rein?


The horse doesn't have to have loose reins to be in self carriage. He just can't be leaning on them. And they can't be used to hold the horse in a frame. He can still be connected to the outside rein.

A test for self carriage is to give away one or both reins for a few strides, and you will see if the horse was truely in balance. If he was, balance, rhythm, bend, frame, ect, will all remain the same.

But if I see a horse "in a frame" for a long period of time w/ no contact, I know that horse is probably in a false frame.

J-Lu
Mar. 19, 2010, 08:40 PM
Ok, so I read a piece about self carriage being just that, and how riding off of the seat can mean completely dropping the reins (both) and the horse stays in a frame.

SO, my question is how do you have a horse that truly stretches into contact IF you can drop the reins and still have a frame?

I have read and seen this in clinics often enough, that I feel there must be a dividing line, and/or there is a point in the training where this can happen.

And I am not talking about short periods, I am talking about riding transitions and such, not just a few moments...

In my opinion...... (my opinion), the lower level horse always stretches into the frame. SO if you give the reins, the horse follows the reins down and low and stretches the topline. That is the appropriate response for a beginning dressage horse.

As the horse moves up the levels, he learns to listen more to ever-subtle cues, especially the seat. This is why there is the stretchy circle at training level, the one-handed inside rein releases at second or third level, and the two handed releases at fourth level. By fourth level, your horse should understand your *whole compliment* of seat, leg and rein aids and understand when you want a stretchy circle or when you want a collected circle with no rein contact. This comes from years of a solid education, and is why "zooming" up the levels before ones time doesn't work. THere is no way a horse can do a canter pirouette correctly unless he has learned to listen to the rider's seat aids. And you should still be able to do a stretch circle with a Grand Prix horse, who should be the most educated of all.

Make any sense?
J.

pluvinel
Mar. 21, 2010, 09:23 PM
The horse doesn't have to have loose reins to be in self carriage. He just can't be leaning on them. And they can't be used to hold the horse in a frame. He can still be connected to the outside rein.

A test for self carriage is to give away one or both reins for a few strides, and you will see if the horse was truely in balance. If he was, balance, rhythm, bend, frame, ect, will all remain the same.

But if I see a horse "in a frame" for a long period of time w/ no contact, I know that horse is probably in a false frame.

Why?

"What do you mean by False frame?" I thought the objective of dressage was to present the horse as if he were doing the movements of its own accord.

blackhorse6
Mar. 22, 2010, 07:29 AM
A horse with no contact is not accepting the bit... A horse behind the verticle with no contact is evading. A horse can be behind the verticle and still have contact.. A horse who has no contact with the bit usually has a hollow back and not engaging his hindend...mho;)

rabicon
Mar. 22, 2010, 10:02 AM
meupatdoes: I understand what your saying and maybe I took the put it where you want it wrong in this context. I've been around to many people that say that and mean pretty much forcing the horse to a place with his neck with draw reins etc.... thats its not correct and this is the way I took it. But I do understand what your saying ;)

lstevenson
Mar. 22, 2010, 01:30 PM
Why?

"What do you mean by False frame?" I thought the objective of dressage was to present the horse as if he were doing the movements of its own accord.


What do I mean by false frame? That the horse has been taught to hold it's head in a position, and to 'stay there' regardless of what is going on behind the withers. Whereas the head and neck position should be a barometer of what is truely going on behind the withers. Back relaxed and swinging and hind quarters active = proper carriage of head and neck. Back tight or hollow and hindquarters inactive = head and neck either up and against the hand or behind the bit. The false frame would show the same head and neck carriage regardless.

And yes the horse should look as if he were doing the movements of its own accord, but that doesn't mean he should be on loose reins! Connection is important part of the circle of energy.