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Velvet
Sep. 20, 2010, 07:42 PM
If you take a look at 99% of the horses in the ring (especially at the higher levels) have their polls too low, based on the rules. Officially, the poll is to be the highest point.

What do you think should be done? Rewrite the rules to match the horses that are winning in the ring who are either broken at the third or otherwise are ridden with their poll not in the "correct" position? Or should they all just be penalized -2 per movement every time the poll stays too low?

(This is NOT a hyperflexion, rollkur, LDR, etc., discussion. This is simply about judging a head position that does not fit the rules.)

I'm afraid that if we keep allowing this stuff, our rules will no longer match what is in the ring. Like some breed hunter classes that have the rules that fit something that would look more like an open hunter show, but the horses all look like WP horses in english tack. Shouldn't there be penalties? And penalties for judges who allow it?

alicen
Sep. 20, 2010, 08:10 PM
velvet wrote: Shouldn't there be penalties?

There are penalties. Competitors aren't getting 100% scores.

Pony Fixer
Sep. 20, 2010, 08:19 PM
This is simply about judging a head position ...


I think that's your answer. Head position is just one of about a million things being judged. Are lots of horses poll low or "broken" at 3rd vertebrae? Sure. Do some of them have other attributes that could still warrant them a 6, 7, or 8 (uphill balance, harmonious, active hind leg, relaxed jaw, yadda yadda)? I'm guessing yes.

princessfluffybritches
Sep. 21, 2010, 12:07 AM
I think correct poll position is needed for proper carriage and collection. It's too bad that the few at the top set the example for the rest of us. But now days you see alot of shortcuts leading to riding that isn't beautiful anymore. I don't think that low poll looks like one's really riding back to front.

Velvet
Sep. 21, 2010, 12:13 AM
It's not true that people are being penalized, not when they're getting scores in the 80s. That's not ignoring the problem, not hitting them in the score--where it counts.

Thus the reason I started this topic.

mbm
Sep. 21, 2010, 01:07 AM
well.... i think the biggest problem is education - and of course TPTB that want to make dressage "popular" ..... riding a horse from behind into a giving hand so that it can work correctly poll high is hard - and not many people here can teach it.

so i guess if TPTB want to have a sport that is believable and if they continue to want to make $$$$ then they will need to change the directives of the sport significantly.

then i think you will see a dividing of the sport into two different things... just like eventing. i kinda look forward to that day!

and i agree with PFB - 100%

oh and when what wins today gets such larger scores than even 10 or 15 years ago?? you know it is all about selling tickets and making stars of th e top riders/horses. (ie money!)

alicen
Sep. 21, 2010, 07:42 AM
What's needed is a new official, actually many officials - I'd say at least 5 for each long side and 3 for the short sides - all equipped with stop watches who could time the duration of less than optimum poll positions. Totals could be included in the collective mark section. Ooh, ooh, I know what -an instrument that could be attached to the crown piece and especially calibrated for each horse which would keep a running tally of the angle of the poll in relation to the ground. We could get Rayers from the eventing forum to work on it.

Liz Steacie
Sep. 21, 2010, 08:23 AM
Can someone show me the RULE that says what is the exact poll position?

suzy
Sep. 21, 2010, 09:29 AM
I think correct poll position is needed for proper carriage and collection. It's too bad that the few at the top set the example for the rest of us. But now days you see alot of shortcuts leading to riding that isn't beautiful anymore. I don't think that low poll looks like one's really riding back to front.

Fluffy, Many people obsess over the poll position without giving any thought to the horse’s shoulders. For a horse to move correctly, his shoulders have to be up so that he can swing his hindlegs under. A well-ridden, well-schooled horse can have his shoulders up with his poll low and be swinging nicely through his back. Conversely, a horse can have his poll as the highest point, yet be dropped in the shoulders with a hollow back and hindlegs that are not stepping underneath correctly. This hyper focusing on the poll position is a disservice to the horse. The whole body has to be kept in mind and particularly the position of the horse’s shoulders.

Fixerupper
Sep. 21, 2010, 09:32 AM
Can someone show me the RULE that says what is the exact poll position?

:yes:

Moreover....the poll as the 'highest part of the neck' worked much better when dressage horses were being bred largely from carriage horse lines......which was when the 'rule' was made!!!

edited to add - so because of the conformation of modern dressage horses the 'rule' is obsolete....but how would you word a new rule? = can of worms!!!

alibi_18
Sep. 21, 2010, 09:50 AM
Can someone show me the RULE that says what is the exact poll position?

FEI rule 401, .5
Same applied to Canada Hippique, Article E 1.2.6

Liz Steacie
Sep. 21, 2010, 10:18 AM
1.3 FEI ARTICLE 401 OBJECT AND GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF DRESSAGE

EC 1.2.6: In all the work, even at the halt, the horse must be "on the bit". A horse is said to be "on the bit" when the neck is more or less raised and arched according to the stage of training and the extension or collection of the pace, accepting the bridle with a light and soft contact and submissiveness throughout. The head should remain in a steady position, as a rule slightly in front of the vertical, with a supple poll as the highest point of the neck, and no resistance should be offered to the rider.

This is not a "rule", it is, as the title says, a general principle. And, even if it was a "rule" that could be enforced, the only "must" in here is "on the bit", which is defined in the following sentences, using a whole lot of "should"s not "must"s.

Rules would have to be much more clear cut and definitive and include the penalties for not following the rules.

If a lateral walk does not disqualify one, neither should a lowered poll.

If you want to take on the general principles as rules, maybe we could start with "accepting the bridle with a light and soft contact", as I would far rather see a horse that is slightly low in the poll to one that has it's mouth twisted open and is against the hand. Too much of this, in my opinion.

The principles are meant, I believe, to guide one in one's training (and presumably, one's judging, although I don't see a lot of that!), rather than offer a rigid and inflexible set of rules that must be followed. The principles are guidelines, not rules.

Maybe there does need to be some more rules, with specific point deductions for infractions, but the way this is written, I for one would not call it a rule, and, based on my observations, neither do the judges. If you started to make rules out of the general principles, there would be MUCH lower scores!

I do believe one should read and re-read these general principles, whether you are a judge, a rider, a trainer or an interested observer, to keep uppermost in your mind these guidelines. Because they represent the "ideal". And that is what we are after :-), right?

But rules? No, I wouldn't call this a rule. Neither does the FEI or Equine Canada. The next chapter is where we get into rules.

This is an example of a rule:

3.3 VOICE
The use of the voice in any way whatsoever or clicking the tongue once or repeatedly is a serious fault and must be penalized by the deduction of at least two marks from the movement in which it occurs. The use of the voice will incur deduction of marks each time it is used but does not constitute elimination, nor should it be scored as an error of test or error of course. For example, a judge awarding eight (8) to a movement must deduct two (2) or more points from the given mark (e.g. 8 becomes 6, comment: voice).

If you believe that a lowered poll should form the basis for a rule, then you can write the rule (in a manner similar to the above) and submit it for consideration. It is a straightforward process, and you never know - lots of other people may also believe that it should be a rule, not just a guideline/principle.

Regards

alicen
Sep. 21, 2010, 11:26 AM
Moreover....the poll as the 'highest part of the neck' worked much better when dressage horses were being bred largely from carriage horse lines......which was when the 'rule' was made!!!

Good Point!

TouchstoneAcres
Sep. 21, 2010, 11:39 AM
Good Point!

It worked fine for Lipizzans well before the carriage horses who became today's WBs. It still works.

mbm
Sep. 21, 2010, 01:08 PM
the entire document is called "Rules for Dressage Competition"

to say that article 401 is not "part of the rules" is well..... interesting.

it gives you the entire overview of how the horse should be going - with enough flexibility to cover all levels of training.

i think you are splitting hairs.

mbm
Sep. 21, 2010, 01:11 PM
btw: a horse can be poll high anytime the poll is the highest point... which can happen anytime the neck is above the withers.

and the reasons, as everyone knows - is because when the horse is working correctly he will be poll high with nose slightly in front of the vertical etc etc. it is the result of correct riding and why it matters.

suzy
Sep. 21, 2010, 02:09 PM
the entire document is called "Rules for Dressage Competition"

to say that article 401 is not "part of the rules" is well..... interesting.

it gives you the entire overview of how the horse should be going - with enough flexibility to cover all levels of training.

i think you are splitting hairs.

With all due respect, “Rules for Dressage Competition” is the name of the entire document, but Liz is referring to this particular section which is titled:

1.3 FEI ARTICLE 401 OBJECT AND GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF DRESSAGE

I would emphasize the "Object and General Principles" and do not think Liz is splitting hairs. If people take this to heart, there will be a lot less angst. Of course, we all want to ride our horses in a way that is best for them and adheres to agreed upon training practices, but I think there are aspects of riding that should not have hard and fast rules. I'm totally okay with the rule about using one's voice and others like it. However, insisting that a horse's poll is always the highest point is bound to lead to problems both in the training and competing as people desperately (especially the less skilled/less educated) endeavor to do this.

I'm sure you are familiar with repetitive stress injuries. Keeping a horse in one posture all the time will lead to this type of injury. Horses are athletes in the same way as humans and need to stretch and contract their muscles in different ways throughout the training session to strengthen, elasticize, gymnasticize, and avoid injury.

ginger708
Sep. 21, 2010, 02:46 PM
It worked fine for Lipizzans well before the carriage horses who became today's WBs. It still works.

The Lipizzan mares are used as carriage horses. Technically Lipizzans are carriage horses.

Alpha Mare
Sep. 21, 2010, 02:46 PM
My understanding and observation at lower level shows/rides is that the poll is to be the highest point and a score of '5' or below is given for any movement where the poll is too low - I've seen it on friend's tests (for one movement usually, not the whole test). Perhaps of interest, several times I have seen it called out at 2nd level in the halt/reinback.

So I am agreeing a low poll should be marked down, although it is often associated with behind the vertical (BTV) nose - which I have seen both criticized and praised by different judges. So I would REALLY like to have a RULE that would define it out more clearly.

Otherwise, why bother with the guidance? (or perhaps that is the point of this topic).

suzy
Sep. 21, 2010, 03:07 PM
Alpha Mare,

I think it might be a matter of degrees when it comes to scoring horses for being behind the vertical.

If the horse performs large segments of the test behind the vertical then, yes, it should be heavily penalized. There are obviously fundamental problems with the horse's basic training or the rider's style of riding...or both.

But, some judges IMO go overboard. If the horse momentarily goes BTV here and there, it's appropriate to comment, but I don't think a score of 5 or lower is fair if the work is otherwise extremely good. A well-trained, experienced judge will know whether there is something inherently wrong in the horse's training, bad riding, or just a momentary bobble. To create a rule in which a horse must automatically be given a score of 5 or lower for any BTV moments completely ignores other aspects of the ride that may be stellar and deserving of good scores. And, this is why I think Liz is on the right track in pointing out the section "object and general principle." By all means, the judge should be clear on the object and general principles but have the good training to score the horse appropriately.

ginger708
Sep. 21, 2010, 03:08 PM
My understanding and observation at lower level shows/rides is that the poll is to be the highest point and a score of '5' or below is given for any movement where the poll is too low - I've seen it on friend's tests (for one movement usually, not the whole test). Perhaps of interest, several times I have seen it called out at 2nd level in the halt/reinback.

So I am agreeing a low poll should be marked down, although it is often associated with behind the vertical (BTV) nose - which I have seen both criticized and praised by different judges. So I would REALLY like to have a RULE that would define it out more clearly.

Otherwise, why bother with the guidance? (or perhaps that is the point of this topic).

I think what can make it difficult for judge and riders also is that horses are not all the same. So a horses poll may be lower than it should be but if the horse is balanced, working from behind and correct the judge may not mark down the horse with it's poll lower.

Alpha Mare
Sep. 21, 2010, 03:19 PM
Agreed and understood that a 'moment' is different than the 'whole movement' or 'whole test'.

However, to the original point, I have seen entire tests ridden BTV that had acceptable scores (>62%). Or, later at same show, same competitor marked way down (<55%) by a different judge for BTV, with comments as to BTV.

IMO BTV is relatively easy to see, as is poll position. The only exceptions I've read of for the 'poll being the highest point' guidance is in the case of a very cresty stallion, where the crest is unusually high over the rest of the neck. NOT meaning broken at 3rd vertebrae.

And if we agree that poll is to be the highest point, there are variations of 'how bad' it is from 5 down to 0 to account for quality of the work.

I am not as concerned with the actual score (whether it is 5 or 6 or whatever) as the agreement of the correct way of going on the bit.

suzy
Sep. 21, 2010, 03:28 PM
BTV is easy to spot. But a lot of people do not seem able to distinguish between a horse that is up through his shoulders, engaged from behind, and BTV as compared to a horse that isn't working properly over his back and is BTV. These BB discussions are proof of that.

mbm
Sep. 21, 2010, 05:03 PM
i am not convinced a horse can be "working properly over the back" and be BTV at the same time.

for the back to work properly the topline must be unconstrained, etc , the bottom line must be working properly etc..... and those things cant hapeen once the nose comes btv. this is why BTV is such a problem.

of course moments of imbalance, tension etc will happen. no ride is perfect and a horse going as stipulated in the rules of dressage takes time to build the horse physically to be able to carry the rider etc.

i agree that many dont know a correct horse when they see it.

and before Beasmom jumps in to defend btv riding.... i am talking about showing - which of course means the horse should be well prepared for the level shown - ie capable of performing as the rules stipulate.

JCS
Sep. 21, 2010, 05:37 PM
I would love to see some pictures posted of horses at various levels with the poll as the highest point. It seems to be such a rare occurrence these days that I'm not even sure I know what it would look like.

Fixerupper
Sep. 21, 2010, 08:35 PM
I'm with you on that JCS...

as I posted earlier...the conformation of the 'modern' dressage horse does not lend itself well to the 'poll highest' concept

I would love to see photos of current dressage horses that are actually performing well - as in competitively - (and yes spirithorse, this means you are exempt :) ) in 'poll highest' mode.

Medicine Wheel (Ogilvie)
Sep. 21, 2010, 09:10 PM
I have a calendar with Anky riding Keltec Salinero at the WEG-Germany. Trotting, and his poll is the highest point, and he is not behind the vertical. :)

Fixerupper
Sep. 21, 2010, 09:59 PM
Last edited Reason: to spell calendar... always was a tough one ... is it right now?


:yes:


I have a calendar with Anky riding Keltec Salinero at the WEG-Germany. Trotting, and his poll is the highest point, and he is not behind the vertical.

:eek:


:lol:

betonbill
Sep. 21, 2010, 10:21 PM
Horses of today versus horses of yesteryear: Some time last year somebody posted a video of one of the U.S. Olympic (?) selection trials of--what, 20 years ago? There was a huge difference in the horses and riders compared to today's, and the old timers didn't come out too well in comparison. Anyone know what/where that video is? I think, though, that the horses were poll high in that video...

Velvet
Sep. 22, 2010, 12:05 AM
Here's a mix. Some show what suzy is talking about, others are showing broken at the third.

http://www.eurodressage.com/equestrian/2010/09/20/2010-cdi-donauschingen-walk-park-augustin-old

Honestly, I think that if something is no longer necessary as a rule (directive, etc.) then it needs to be changed. If this is no longer to be used as an active part of judging a horse, it goes away. If it is, then it needs to be used as a part of the judging and judges can no longer ignore it--especially since it has been pointed out very specifically in the rules as something that is desired and acceptable. Anything other than it, is therefore unacceptable. Quid pro quo, suzy. :D

Petstorejunkie
Sep. 22, 2010, 12:39 AM
No, I do not think the rule should be changed, I think that judges should be audited to make sure they are judging to the rule book. I don't know if that is in place now, but if it is, it's not working, and if it isn't, well it needs to be.
I don't care if it's a mule that plays polo with a ewe neck and a goose rump. if it's moving correctly it's poll high, croup lowered. heck, even my dog does that when he gets showy and trots around the backyard!

BaroquePony
Sep. 22, 2010, 04:49 AM
Although 'dressage' horses have been bred to be more refined than in the old days ... meaning they seem to have a lot more thoroughbred being bred into the WBs :yes: ... the basic skeleton of the horse has not changed.

suzy
Sep. 22, 2010, 08:52 AM
i am not convinced a horse can be "working properly over the back" and be BTV at the same time.

for the back to work properly the topline must be unconstrained, etc , the bottom line must be working properly etc..... and those things cant hapeen once the nose comes btv. this is why BTV is such a problem.



MBM, I think this is why you think we are saying two different things when, in fact, I don't think we are. "Unconstrained" is the key word. If the horse is BTV because he is constrained (being held there forcibly), then I agree with you that he isn't through and coming over his back properly. However, if he is unconstrained, it's entirely possible for him to be through and be BTV. See the other thread on poll height for a video clip that I posted that is a good example of the latter.

pinecone
Sep. 22, 2010, 09:50 AM
BTV is easy to spot. But a lot of people do not seem able to distinguish between a horse that is up through his shoulders, engaged from behind, and BTV as compared to a horse that isn't working properly over his back and is BTV. These BB discussions are proof of that.

Precisely. This is the heart of the issue with both BTV and the poll. Luckily most judges can make this distinction. (Most of them.)


My understanding and observation at lower level shows/rides is that the poll is to be the highest point and a score of '5' or below is given for any movement where the poll is too low

The premise of this is not true, although this is a BB, and I suppose you could come back with the argument that you meant "a score of 5 or below is given for any movement where the poll is too low to merit a 6 or higher" and then you would be technically correct. However, the truth is there is no automatic 5 or below. Typically BTV or poll too low will merit a 1-2 point deduction in and of themselves. If the balance is also poor, it will merit another deduction. If the horse is curled up behind the bit, even bigger deduction. Broken in the neck and not using the back, another deduction. A BTV poll low horse with all of these issues can see the score rapidly drop to 5 or below, but BTV or poll low in and of themselves do not merit an automatic 5 or less.


if it's moving correctly it's poll high, croup lowered. heck, even my dog does that when he gets showy and trots around the backyard!

Well then, there you have it. Why have I spent a lifetime studying dressage and biomechanics, when I could have figured it all out watching someone's dog.

spirithorse
Sep. 22, 2010, 11:33 AM
NO the rules should not be changed!!!
Col. Podhajsky addressed this issue in this manner:

1. The face must never come behind the vertical, as in this case the horse would be over bent and not go sufficiently forward.
2. The poll, however, must be the highest point of the horse’s head regardless of his conformation.
3. This points to the necessity of sufficient freedom for the head in the extended paces.
4. It must be emphasized that the correct position of the head cannot be obtained by strong action of the reins, which would only shorten the neck.
5. The position of the head is the means, the paces the object, of dressage. The correct position of the head will be the result of contact and balance, both developed by riding briskly forward, and will make it easier for the horse to follow the commands of the rider given through the reins.

Petstorejunkie
Sep. 22, 2010, 12:26 PM
But there's more to it than just what you've quoted by Podhajsky, because if you were to follow ONLY those words http://www.michiganhorsesports.com/images/polo/Polo%20pony_clip_image001.jpg could be a result.

suzy
Sep. 22, 2010, 12:29 PM
Precisely. There's more to a horse than his head and neck. The horse's "engine" is in the back, not the front. Watch was is happening there.

AnotherRound
Sep. 22, 2010, 01:28 PM
I would love to see some pictures posted of horses at various levels with the poll as the highest point. It seems to be such a rare occurrence these days that I'm not even sure I know what it would look like.

How does this compare? I think this was about training level.

http://s973.photobucket.com/albums/ae218/999clhiggins/Jackson%20Baby%20Pics/?action=view&current=jackson2006.jpg

bort84
Sep. 22, 2010, 02:04 PM
i am not convinced a horse can be "working properly over the back" and be BTV at the same time.

I disagree.

I absolutely feel that we should maintain the goal of the poll being the highest point and the nose not going BTV.

However, there are many exercises to encourage/develop working properly over the back where the horse may go behind the vertical from time to time. I don't think you should make it your goal to show that way, but in everyday work, BTV does happen, and it's not always the cardinal sin it's sometimes made out to be - for some horses, it can be useful. For others, it's just a mistake that happens during the learning process.

As an example from this board, there was a video posted of Ravel and SP warming up and Ravel was nicely stretched yet slightly BTV in the warm up. He looked relaxed, forward, balanced, and was certainly working nicely over his back - yet some threw a fit about him being ever so slightly BTV. Horse training has so many shades of grey, absolutes just don't work because each horse is an individual.

On the other hand, look at some of the very good saddle seat horses with their polls high and their noses slightly in front of the vertical - yet many of them are NOT working properly over their backs. Obviously that's an extreme, but it's useful to remember that poll high and IFV does not necessarily equal a back working the way we want it for dressage - there are a LOT of other factors.

I do agree we are seeing more BTV and horses that are not poll high at the upper levels, which I dislike. I forgive these things from ammies and younger horses, but I think the majority of finished GP horses competing at the international levels should be IFV and poll high (and many are). As others have noted, many of these horses are so spectacular in other areas that they can get by with some BTV. I would like to see more emphasis placed on the ideal though.

Perhaps we need a firmer restatement of the guidelines for judging purposes, but I don't know that we need an automatic point deduction whenever a horse goes BTV or with his poll not at the highest point - this is where good judging comes in to make that judgment call.

Trends come and go, and people like to think the world is ending and the next generation is lazy and disrespectful = ) Just imagine what we'll be worried about in 20 years - thinking back to the "good old days" when Anky was queen, haha.

Fixerupper
Sep. 22, 2010, 07:31 PM
... the basic skeleton of the horse has not changed.

but that is saying that due to the 'basic skeleton' the conformation of a thoroughbred = a standardbred = a percheron = shetland pony!

it is also saying that due to the 'basic skeleton' of a human..... I could be as good a basketball player as Michael Jordan....so not!

Fixerupper
Sep. 22, 2010, 07:43 PM
How does this compare? I think this was about training level.

http://s973.photobucket.com/albums/ae218/999clhiggins/Jackson%20Baby%20Pics/?action=view&current=jackson2006.jpg


I think that it would be hard to argue that that is not a lovely balance (I hate the word 'frame' as it is a static concept)

However if one was to get a ruler out ;)
I would say that the highest point on that neck is over C1 or C2....?
....any takers?

lthorse
Sep. 22, 2010, 07:55 PM
What do you think should be done?



While I think penalties are a great idea, I just don't understand why the scores do not already reflect that the work is fundamentally incorrect. If you watch a ride where the horse is behind the vertical the whole time and then the rider scores in the mid to high 60's, even without seeing the tests and individual scores it is obvious that there were quite a few 7's in there. How does a judge score a 7 on this type of work.

alicen
Sep. 22, 2010, 10:27 PM
However if one was to get a ruler out ;)
I would say that the highest point on that neck is over C1 or C2....?
....any takers?

No argument from me.

mbm
Sep. 22, 2010, 10:34 PM
I disagree.

I absolutely feel that we should maintain the goal of the poll being the highest point and the nose not going BTV.

However, there are many exercises to encourage/develop working properly over the back where the horse may go behind the vertical from time to time. I don't think you should make it your goal to show that way, but in everyday work, BTV does happen, and it's not always the cardinal sin it's sometimes made out to be - for some horses, it can be useful. For others, it's just a mistake that happens during the learning process.
.

i just want to say that i did say "working properly over the back" which assumes the horse is working correctly - not in training or building its back or during the loosening phase.

like i already said, horses will go btv because they are weak, lose balance etc. those are all just part of training and give the rider info.....

again, my POV is that of Klimke and Podhasjky.... they said it far better than i ever could ! :)

alicen
Sep. 22, 2010, 10:46 PM
While I think penalties are a great idea, I just don't understand why the scores do not already reflect that the work is fundamentally incorrect. If you watch a ride where the horse is behind the vertical the whole time and then the rider scores in the mid to high 60's, even without seeing the tests and individual scores it is obvious that there were quite a few 7's in there. How does a judge score a 7 on this type of work.

Compared to a score of 92.3%? How often do you see this horse behind the vertical?

lthorse
Sep. 24, 2010, 08:56 AM
Can someone show me the RULE that says what is the exact poll position?

DR101 USEF Rule Book

In all his work, even at the halt the horse must be on the bit. A horse is said to be on the bit when the neck is more or less raised and arched according to the stage of training and the extension or collection of the gaits and he accepts the bridle with a light and soft contact and submissiveness throughout. The head should remain in a steady position as a rule slightly in front of the vertical with a supple poll as the highest point of the neck and no resistance should be offered to the rider.

I did a post about it on my blog (http://www.lighthorsefarm.com/LHFBlog/2010/08/), I would love to get feed back from folks.

lthorse
Sep. 24, 2010, 09:20 AM
Fluffy, Many people obsess over the poll position without giving any thought to the horse’s shoulders. For a horse to move correctly, his shoulders have to be up so that he can swing his hindlegs under. A well-ridden, well-schooled horse can have his shoulders up with his poll low and be swinging nicely through his back. Conversely, a horse can have his poll as the highest point, yet be dropped in the shoulders with a hollow back and hindlegs that are not stepping underneath correctly. This hyper focusing on the poll position is a disservice to the horse. The whole body has to be kept in mind and particularly the position of the horse’s shoulders.

The rule (DR 101 USEF Rule Book) states:
In all his work, even at the halt the horse must be on the bit. A horse is said to be on the bit when the neck is more or less raised and arched according to the stage of training and the extension or collection of the gaits and he accepts the bridle with a light and soft contact and submissiveness throughout. The head should remain in a steady position as a rule slightly in front of the vertical with a supple poll as the highest point of the neck and no resistance should be offered to the rider.

A horse with a dropped back does not arch his neck but carry it upside down. And remember that it is "poll as the highest point of the neck" meaning the skeleton. A horse can have a low neck (lower level horses should) and the poll still be the highest point. It is why behind the vertical is such an issue. A horse BTV will never have the PHP. A horse BTV is not truly on the bit. Even a horse working (correctly) forward and down will maintain the poll the highest point of the neck. For a great example of this get Erik Herbermann's Dressage Formula (http://amzn.to/96lpy9DrFor), and see pages 72 and 89. :)

lthorse
Sep. 24, 2010, 09:24 AM
:yes:

Moreover....the poll as the 'highest part of the neck' worked much better when dressage horses were being bred largely from carriage horse lines......which was when the 'rule' was made!!!

edited to add - so because of the conformation of modern dressage horses the 'rule' is obsolete....but how would you word a new rule? = can of worms!!!

The rule is such because the object of dressage is to give the horse back, under the rider, what he has already in nature. Have you ever seen a horse trot across his pasture behind the vertical? :)

lthorse
Sep. 24, 2010, 09:36 AM
IMHO, to ignore (or not give significant weight) to the general principles and object of dressage is absurd. Why lay down those principles if they are not meant to be a guide. And if they are a guide, why should competitors not be held to those standards. When these guidelines were laid down, those who did it agreed that these were the things that exemplified a properly trained horse (dressage or otherwise). If we are going to allow accuracy to trump correct training, maybe it is time to start a new sport and call it something other than dressage. :cry:

Don Raphaelo Rollkurista
Sep. 24, 2010, 12:32 PM
This argument is like saying a human sprinter should not do hamstring stretches before he runs because they are not used in the race and cant do them while running. Its stretching and conditioning that makes the poll high work better. It is warmup.

mbm
Sep. 24, 2010, 12:48 PM
humans rarely stretch for longer than 30 seconds without releasing.

-but in any case the OP is talking about competition not warm-up.

mbm
Sep. 24, 2010, 12:52 PM
http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/flexibility/a/aa022102a.htm

Don Raphaelo Rollkurista
Sep. 24, 2010, 12:57 PM
I have played competitive baseball, basketball, tennis, and football.We stretch for 15 minutes minimum. There are many diferent groups to stretch. It takes times and done correctly seriously reduces the risk of cramps and injurys of a variety of natures. I currently work out 5 days a week in the gym and continue to play tennis in what is refered to as the 3.5 range. what sports do you play hard at and only stretch 30 seconds?

mbm
Sep. 24, 2010, 01:03 PM
i didn't say you only stretch for 30 seconds, i said 30 seconds without release. ie: hold for 30 seconds, release hold, release etc.

if you read the literature you will see that in general a 30 second hold is what is recommended. i work out at cross-fit and we stretch every day. but not more than 30 seconds without release.

if you read the link i provided it lays it out pretty clearly.

anyway a different topic than what the OP is discussing.

Bluey
Sep. 24, 2010, 01:04 PM
The rule is such because the object of dressage is to give the horse back, under the rider, what he has already in nature. Have you ever seen a horse trot across his pasture behind the vertical? :)

All the time, with their neck arched, chin to the chest, shaking their heads, throwing their front legs around, rearing, walking on their hind legs swinging front legs like a boxer, playing, many times every day.

Horses out to pasture do all kinds of things, regularly.
They don't read the rules.:lol:

Fixerupper
Sep. 24, 2010, 01:11 PM
.....the object of dressage is to give the horse back, under the rider, what he has already in nature. Have you ever seen a horse trot across his pasture behind the vertical? :)

nor have I seen one doing half pass, piaffe or walk pirouettes out in the pasture....

I don't read where anyone is promoting behind vertical in competition...if you can find that.. please put that in quotes for us

and my point, by the way, is not about behind vertical....it is about the use of the words 'poll highest' to describe correct dressage.....and yes I am nit-picking but it seems to be what this discussion is about!

Bluey
Sep. 24, 2010, 01:13 PM
nor have I seen one doing half pass, piaffe or walk pirouettes out in the pasture....

I don't read where anyone is promoting behind vertical in competition...if you can find that.. please put that in quotes for us

and my point, by the way, is not about behind vertical....it is about the use of the words 'poll highest' to describe correct dressage.....and yes I am nit-picking but it seems to be what this discussion is about!

Now, how many horses have "y'all" been watching out in pastures?
One wonders, the things some write...:confused:

suzy
Sep. 24, 2010, 01:35 PM
The rule (DR 101 USEF Rule Book) states:
In all his work, even at the halt the horse must be on the bit. A horse is said to be on the bit when the neck is more or less raised and arched according to the stage of training and the extension or collection of the gaits and he accepts the bridle with a light and soft contact and submissiveness throughout. The head should remain in a steady position as a rule slightly in front of the vertical with a supple poll as the highest point of the neck and no resistance should be offered to the rider.

A horse with a dropped back does not arch his neck but carry it upside down. And remember that it is "poll as the highest point of the neck" meaning the skeleton. A horse can have a low neck (lower level horses should) and the poll still be the highest point. It is why behind the vertical is such an issue. A horse BTV will never have the PHP. A horse BTV is not truly on the bit. Even a horse working (correctly) forward and down will maintain the poll the highest point of the neck. For a great example of this get Erik Herbermann's Dressage Formula (http://amzn.to/96lpy9DrFor), and see pages 72 and 89. :)


Lt horse, these are COMPETITION rules you are quoting, not guidelines for the EVERYDAY SCHOOLING of the horse. Yes, in the competition ring, the horse should be ridden up. However, on a daily basis, when warming up, stretching the horse between collected work, and cooling down, it is far better for the horse to be stretched forward and down over his topline.

I don’t understand your comment about the horse’s poll being the highest point when his neck is stretched down. This defies the horse’s anatomical structure. Or perhaps you meant something else?

Don Raphaelo Rollkurista
Sep. 24, 2010, 02:02 PM
MBM. I have no need to see that link. I have been a competitive athlete for 40 years and work out as hard today as ever before. I know these things by living them.

Don Raphaelo Rollkurista
Sep. 24, 2010, 02:03 PM
I have to go stretch and ride 6 more horses.

Fixerupper
Sep. 24, 2010, 02:08 PM
Now, how many horses have "y'all" been watching out in pastures?
One wonders, the things some write...:confused:


you're right about the behind the vertical comment....but yours really do walk pirouettes etc in the paddock? :)

mbm
Sep. 24, 2010, 03:24 PM
MBM. I have no need to see that link. I have been a competitive athlete for 40 years and work out as hard today as ever before. I know these things by living them.

if you are stretching for more than 30 +/- seconds without release then you are working against what the science says works best - which isnt surprising since the science changes over time....

you might also be interested to know the studies say stretching before working out does NOT help keep injuries etc at bay. a proper warm-up does that.

but whatever..... we obviously have very very different ideas of what is good for the body - both human and equine....
however i am surprised you are so closed minded that you wont read a link provided that outlines what i said.

suzy
Sep. 24, 2010, 03:46 PM
MBM, We can agree that stretching too much for too long is not advisable and can be injurious. But, I would add that judicious stretching is an important part of the warm up. By "judicious," I mean no extreme stretching and not for extremely long periods. I'm not entirely sure that the 30-second thing is 100% applicable to horses, though, but I'll read your link when I have a minute.

I always think it's important to consider degree (the extent and duration) to which any type of exercise is used. The degree of stretching or collecting I'm going to ask for in the first 15 minutes of my ride will be less than what I ask for in the second 15 minute section of my ride when the horse is thoroughly warmed up.

To others regarding what horses will do at liberty--I see horses BTV on a regular basis when playing in the paddock. I also see them go completely hollow. :lol: I've had horses piaffe at the gate when anxious to be brought in and do walk and canter pirouettes when trying to get out of the way of another horse. Can't say that I've seen half pass, S-I or H-I, but I have an imaginative horse, so I never rule anything out.

Don Raphaelo Rollkurista
Sep. 24, 2010, 04:40 PM
MBM. watch a track meet. Or better a Lakers game and see what the trainers are doing in terms of hamstring stretches for example. But i'm sure you know better than the rubes the Lakers have hired to keep Kobe bryant sound. Furthermore. As Suzy said, we are not talking about that degree of stretching in a dressage horses warmup. Are we?

mbm
Sep. 24, 2010, 05:06 PM
MBM, We can agree that stretching too much for too long is not advisable and can be injurious. But, I would add that judicious stretching is an important part of the warm up. By "judicious," I mean no extreme stretching and not for extremely long periods. I'm not entirely sure that the 30-second thing is 100% applicable to horses, though, but I'll read your link when I have a minute.

I always think it's important to consider degree (the extent and duration) to which any type of exercise is used. The degree of stretching or collecting I'm going to ask for in the first 15 minutes of my ride will be less than what I ask for in the second 15 minute section of my ride when the horse is thoroughly warmed up.

To others regarding what horses will do at liberty--I see horses BTV on a regular basis when playing in the paddock. I also see them go completely hollow. :lol: I've had horses piaffe at the gate when anxious to be brought in and do walk and canter pirouettes when trying to get out of the way of another horse. Can't say that I've seen half pass, S-I or H-I, but I have an imaginative horse, so I never rule anything out.

yep i pretty much agree with everything said... the only thin i will add is that the entire point of dressage is to build the horse so he can easily carry the rider and return his ability to what he had before the human got on.... and if that can be bettered fine.

so all the work should point in that direction - make is easier on the horse to carry a rider. (which of course is why inverted, hollow, etc is bad it doesn't help the horse carry the ride and to stay sound healthy and happy for years to come)

mbm
Sep. 24, 2010, 05:10 PM
MBM. watch a track meet. Or better a Lakers game and see what the trainers are doing in terms of hamstring stretches for example. But i'm sure you know better than the rubes the Lakers have hired to keep Kobe bryant sound. Furthermore. As Suzy said, we are not talking about that degree of stretching in a dressage horses warmup. Are we?

dude. chill out. i am not saying "i" know better than anyone. i am telling you what i have read in the literature and also what my sports trainer, and doctors tells me.

if you want to stretch longer than 30 +/- seconds without release - fine. you at least have free will.... what about your horse?

EqTrainer
Sep. 24, 2010, 05:55 PM
I don't really think you can "time" stretching on a horse in the same way you might a human. They are a suspension bridge with four pillars, not an upright human being.

Just watching a horse in a lesson I taught yesterday is a good example... He came out of the field very stiff in his top line (probably too much fun the night before!) and we spent at least thirty minutes getting him to stretch over his top line and release the tension in it. There were walk breaks but that was all there really was to do because, well, without access to his back there was nothing else we could do.

Bluey
Sep. 24, 2010, 07:58 PM
you're right about the behind the vertical comment....but yours really do walk pirouettes etc in the paddock? :)

Yes, they are interesting to watch when they move around, come in running, cut each other at the pass, play on the sand pile, spinning like a reining horse, piaffing and then passaging off to spin again, amazing.

I think there are enough videos on youtube today that we could find horses doing most anything at liberty.

I don't know if I have seen a correct "walk pirouette", I assume a kind of turn on the hindend, exactly, would have to see what that is and watch them again to be sure about that.:lol:

Edited to correct from a turn on the forehand to hind end.:rolleyes:

lthorse
Sep. 25, 2010, 05:54 PM
I don’t understand your comment about the horse’s poll being the highest point when his neck is stretched down. This defies the horse’s anatomical structure. Or perhaps you meant something else?

Hi Suzy:

When the horse is not breaking at the 3rd vertebrae, the poll is the highest skeletal point of the neck even as the neck goes lower, as opposed to the crest.

mbm
Sep. 25, 2010, 06:01 PM
I don't really think you can "time" stretching on a horse in the same way you might a human. They are a suspension bridge with four pillars, not an upright human being.

Just watching a horse in a lesson I taught yesterday is a good example... He came out of the field very stiff in his top line (probably too much fun the night before!) and we spent at least thirty minutes getting him to stretch over his top line and release the tension in it. There were walk breaks but that was all there really was to do because, well, without access to his back there was nothing else we could do.

i dont think number if legs has anything to do with muscle physiology.... the reason you stretch for 30 seconds then release is that longer doenst help and can damage.

i am sure there must be studies out there for horses too about length of time to stretch a muscle before it needs to be released.

as for relaxing over the back - yes of course. i wasn't talking about length of time in total stretching , but length of time before you release.
some info

http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=523

ThreeFigs
Sep. 26, 2010, 01:19 AM
Hi Suzy:

When the horse is not breaking at the 3rd vertebrae, the poll is the highest skeletal point of the neck even as the neck goes lower, as opposed to the crest.

Oh, I get it. Well, it may be the highest SKELETAL point, but when a horse stretches down (as in to graze or a VERY deep stretch under saddle...) the poll is not in a high position relative to the rest of the animal.

And there lies my earlier confusion in the "poll the highest point" thread....