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horse2rider
Oct. 1, 2010, 07:42 AM
Greatest inspiration. What´s your opinion?

http://www.horse2rider.eu/Webnodes/en/Web/CMS/Nyheder/Har+du+tr%E6net+idag

TemJeito
Oct. 1, 2010, 08:45 AM
WOW! This is worth watching :yes: For me the hallmark of a truly extraordinary athlete is that s/he makes it look so effortless that (for a nano second) you can delude yourself into thinking "even I could do this" (ha-ha). Nobody makes it look effortless better than Totilas and Edward Gal :cool: And then they go into the ring and take my breath away.

cuatx55
Oct. 1, 2010, 09:00 AM
Too closed in the throatlach but better work then I've seen in the past. His back looks much looser and doesn't seem so uneven behind.

cute_lil_fancy_pants_pony
Oct. 1, 2010, 11:45 AM
Too closed in the throatlach but better work then I've seen in the past. His back looks much looser and doesn't seem so uneven behind.

Can we watch a video of you warm-up?:D

esdressage
Oct. 1, 2010, 11:56 AM
They are a phenomenal pair. They DO make it look easy, and that's what's so wonderful about it!!! Lovely, lovely, lovely…

NOMIOMI1
Oct. 1, 2010, 11:57 AM
Can we watch a video of you warm-up?:D

Yes, I agree. I wonder if a "closed throat latch" will be the ONLY note to make...

naturalequus
Oct. 1, 2010, 12:31 PM
Can we watch a video of you warm-up?:D

What's cuatx55's eye or expertise got to do with a warm-up video of their riding??

SueL
Oct. 1, 2010, 12:32 PM
Some of you are unbelievable. Personally, I would cheerfully pillage and burn to have Gal's seat and incredible tact on a horse. To me this video was less about "the perfect dressage horse" (as if there is one, lol) and more about a very nice training ride and a great partnership outside of the competition arena.

What sets Toto apart, IMHO, is not his gaits. Or even his pretty face though a little equine eye candy never hurts <grin> It's his incredible temperament, high trainability and a personality (horseanality) that seems to thrive on the spotlight. He has, again JMO, an incredible mind and boundless generosity.

And you know what folks? That's a combination that's easy to mess up? Gal's light, still seat, quiet legs and soft arms makes it easy for Toto to give it his all. Which he does. Even in his corrections, Gal's practically invisible. And his expression never changes - happy, relaxed, sympathetic. Never seen any footage or stills of him look anything else but the above.

Sure you can criticize Toto. The perfect horse has never been foaled. Is he a bit tight in the throatlatch? Sure. He's a young horse and IMO some of this is a factor of his conformation. Ditto the trackup behind. He's built to sit down; extension is harder for him. So be it. Never thought dressage said "Well if you do it right you can correct every shortcoming a horse has." It can't.

Really tired of the nitpicking. Why not just enjoy this partnership? It's among the all time greats and I'd bet some of the ODGs would agree. They may not agree with every aspect of the training, but I'm pretty sure there'd be some jostling of elbows to have a "sit" on Toto.

Sue

suzy
Oct. 1, 2010, 12:36 PM
Wonderful post, Sue. Thanks for focusing on what really matters and seeing the glass half full. Gal is the closest I've yet seen to someone who rides with invisible aids. The partnership between the two is nothing short of amazing! Totilas is a horse that is joyfully working to please his rider. How much more could anyone ask for!

Also love Laura Bechtolsheimer and Hojris--another lovely combination.

mbm
Oct. 1, 2010, 12:44 PM
i agree that their warmups are super..... but i cant get that nagging idea out of my head that he uses rollkur on this very fab horse.

hopefully he stopped doing that ..... if not? i cant support him in any way : (

NOMIOMI1
Oct. 1, 2010, 12:50 PM
i agree that their warmups are super..... but i cant get that nagging idea out of my head that he uses rollkur on this very fab horse.

hopefully he stopped doing that ..... if not? i cant support him in any way : (

When I saw that you posted... I just knew it would be something brilliant :rolleyes:

NOMIOMI1
Oct. 1, 2010, 12:51 PM
Wonderful post, Sue. Thanks for focusing on what really matters and seeing the glass half full. Gal is the closest I've yet seen to someone who rides with invisible aids. The partnership between the two is nothing short of amazing! Totilas is a horse that is joyfully working to please his rider. How much more could anyone ask for!

Also love Laura Bechtolsheimer and Hojris--another lovely combination.

Agreed.

Lots to love about the top competitors at the WEG this year!

SueL
Oct. 1, 2010, 12:51 PM
Wonderful post, Sue. Thanks for focusing on what really matters and seeing the glass half full. Gal is the closest I've yet seen to someone who rides with invisible aids. The partnership between the two is nothing short of amazing! Totilas is a horse that is joyfully working to please his rider. How much more could anyone ask for!

Also love Laura Bechtolsheimer and Hojris--another lovely combination.

Oh yeah. Laura and Hojris are lovely to watch. She's another one with a killer seat and lovely aids. This pair is right on Gal's and Toto's heels and rightly so.

Also love Peters and Ravel. Ravel is a super mover, but IMO does not quite have the "wowser" <grin> mind of Toto. He seems to be a bit more difficult and explosive IMO. Do love the way Peters rides and the joy he evinces at the end of each ride.

Guess I am into watching people enjoy horses.

Sue

SueL
Oct. 1, 2010, 12:59 PM
i agree that their warmups are super..... but i cant get that nagging idea out of my head that he uses rollkur on this very fab horse.

hopefully he stopped doing that ..... if not? i cant support him in any way : (

If you mean rollkur in the sense of being forced into a head to chest position for eons of time - nope, don't think he does so at least with this horse. He probably uses deep riding and I'm really not against some deep riding because I think it has some gymnastic benefit to the horse if used in moderation.

Look at the horse - his neck is soft and moving, his head moves, his jaw is relaxed and mouth is mobile. When Gal gives him the reins he extends his neck and reaches for the bit. Horses who are continually "jammed" tend to have immobile, stiff necks and hold themselves with tension.

I have to judge on what I see in front of me - I see a happy, relaxed horse who is a bit of a ham, (LOL, but love this about the horse) who trusts his rider and is happy doing the work. I don't associate that with forceful riding - but I could be wrong.

Sue

mbm
Oct. 1, 2010, 01:07 PM
there were vids from a clinic last year maybe? where he rode Totilas in rollkur. maybe not as forceful as anky and AC, but rollkur none the less.

:(

BetterOffRed
Oct. 1, 2010, 01:20 PM
At first I was going to write, "mbm, you need to get a life." But I don't think that you realize that you sound like a broken record and that you add nothing to the conversation. But then I remembered the oh so handy ignore button. Problem solved!

naturalequus
Oct. 1, 2010, 01:58 PM
I am curious about those clinic videos of Gal riding Totilas in Rollkur as well, since I just watched one of Gal doing so, on Totilas, in a 2010 clinic. Honestly, can anyone explain?? It was not simply a few seconds granted it was not for 40min straight either and did not seem as forceful as I have seen. However it was Rollkur nonetheless and it makes me wonder, particularly since Gal practises Anky's methods from what I understand, what at goes on behind the scenes. That said, I have to admit Totilas does seem soft and relaxed - I love how he sits back for the most part. There are certain flaws I do not like to see in a WEG horse however and that could possibly indicate to me fundamental 'flaws' in his overall training though. So I am asking honestly, since thus far mbm seems to be personally attacked rather than have their points addressed.

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 1, 2010, 02:23 PM
I think the point was addressed by SueL -- a horse continuously in Rollkur would not be loose and relaxed, they would hold, have tension, and when given the reins, generally not telescope their neck out toward the bit as Totilas does at any break.

I also agree with SueL that some deep work does supple the horse. Ever done yoga? That is not in a person's normal range of motion, but the stretching of muscles, tendons, etc loosens and strengthens if done correctly. If done incorrectly it can lead to injury. IMHO, the same goes for deep work in the FEI dressage horse.

naturalequus
Oct. 1, 2010, 02:38 PM
I would lean towards that direction as well fizzy, but there is also probably equal evidence that it is possible he is Rollkured.

I think that perhaps riding a horse deep - if done softly (as Gal seems to be doing in the clinics on youtube I have seen thus far) and not forcefully could be beneficial for sure...if done for say 15s at a time and only with a couple of repeats. Same as in yoga (let's not forget either that yoga is not done in motion (ie. hyperextension while walking, jogging, or running), with weight on your back, and for an extended period of time). The youtube clinic videos I have seen thus far of Totilas and Gal indicate such a (correct) use of deep however Gal being under Anky's tutelage does make me wonder about behind the scenes. Do any of us really know how these horses are trained behind the scenes??

ridgeback
Oct. 1, 2010, 02:42 PM
i agree that their warmups are super..... but i cant get that nagging idea out of my head that he uses rollkur on this very fab horse.

hopefully he stopped doing that ..... if not? i cant support him in any way : (

And maybe he is so fab BECAUSE of that method..have you ever thought of that:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

SueL
Oct. 1, 2010, 02:46 PM
I am curious about those clinic videos of Gal riding Totilas in Rollkur as well, since I just watched one of Gal doing so, on Totilas, in a 2010 clinic. Honestly, can anyone explain?? It was not simply a few seconds granted it was not for 40min straight either and did not seem as forceful as I have seen. However it was Rollkur nonetheless and it makes me wonder, particularly since Gal practises Anky's methods from what I understand, what at goes on behind the scenes. That said, I have to admit Totilas does seem soft and relaxed - I love how he sits back for the most part. There are certain flaws I do not like to see in a WEG horse however and that could possibly indicate to me fundamental 'flaws' in his overall training though. So I am asking honestly, since thus far mbm seems to be personally attacked rather than have their points addressed.

I think I addressed mbm's points honestly and fairly with no personal attacks. I gave my perspective on her posts without deprecating her position. Not everyone sees things the same way and if we disagree on some points, hey that's fair. No harm, no foul.

Not sure I said "seconds" I said there were moments of LDR perhaps rollkur but that the horse was rewarded promptly and allowed to come up and forward. And Gal rewarded him for that with usually a "good" or a pat.

Let me address Toto's flaws. No horse is perfect. His neck conformation leads him to be slightly closed in collection. There is a somewhat acute angle between jaw and throatlatch. He works well with what god gave him, showing softness through the poll and jaw. It is not perfect, but it is functional.

The track-up issue. Totilas has a hind end assembly that does not invite a lot of "reach" under the body. His conformation allows him to sit back on his hocks and lower his haunches. This is part of the value of Kostolany "blood", they do have the ability to sit and carry. I think the breeders probably used a jumper line mare to Gribaldi to improve the push and power from behind. I don't know if a different training method would have resulted in something different; none of us do to be honest about it. And none of us know what Totilas wil look like next year. He's just getting into his prime as a GP horse.

But really, at the risk of seeming dismissive (which I am not, it is easy to get caught up in minutia and not see the big picture) this horse has a lot going for him. He is cheerful, expressive, willing and responsive. If he was tortured, abused and made a slave, we would never see this. We have a jumper who will turn himself inside out to please the rider. If we "forced" him he would shut down. Don't think the dressage pferde are any different.

I love this horse, he's consistent, always happy to do his job and loves the crowd. Yes, I know horses are adaptive. I can tell the difference between one who works with joy and verve and one who was cowed into submission. I don't see how you would get this result from coercive training methods. Sorry to offend but that's how I see it.

Sue

Auburn
Oct. 1, 2010, 02:46 PM
Unfortunately, the video froze up about half way through.

Was this video taken of several different sessions?

Did Gal ever do any trot work? He did a couple of extensions coming toward the camera, but no other trot work.

Since most of what I saw was canter, why do you think that gait was primarily his focus?

These questions are asked, because you folks are much more familiar with them, than I.

opel
Oct. 1, 2010, 03:03 PM
I, for one, am sick of people jumping on the "bandwagon" to criticize Totilas/Gal in any way they can possibly think of--which is hard because this is a great partnership. We can only judge what we see. I see a happy, relaxed horse who is doing the highest level work willingly. IF Gal is using rollkur, it doesn't seem to be causing Totilas undue stress or interfering with his inner calm. The proof is in the pudding. Show me any other horse at the WEG, trained by any method, who is more equitable. Personally, I think that most training methods can be used constructively or abusively--depending on the horse, the trainer and if it's taken to excess. I don't know if Gal uses rollkur with Totilas--but let's say he does. In this case, perhaps he's using it in such a way that he achieves the gymnastic benefits without going into the region of excess/abuse. The world is not black and white. There is room for gray. I am tired of the black and white thinkers of the horse world who are convinced that their way is the only way---that if it isn't done their way, it's abuse. I bet some of the other people who are "personally attacking" feel the same way.

naturalequus
Oct. 1, 2010, 03:04 PM
And if that is why he is so fab, it rubs me the wrong way too. The end does not justify the means. Just sayin.

SueL
Oct. 1, 2010, 03:14 PM
And if that is why he is so fab, it rubs me the wrong way too. The end does not justify the means. Just sayin.

He's fab because he is a wonderful athlete, bred for the sport and has the most fantastic temperament and try. And a trainer who loves him and lets him express himself. None of us know how he was trained, but by gawd, I can see when a horse has been trained under tension. And this horse has not.

Geeze... I'd give my eyeteeth to just pat Toto.

Sue

naturalequus
Oct. 1, 2010, 03:16 PM
I think I addressed mbm's points honestly and fairly with no personal attacks. I gave my perspective on her posts without deprecating her position. Not everyone sees things the same way and if we disagree on some points, hey that's fair. No harm, no foul.

Not sure I said "seconds" I said there were moments of LDR perhaps rollkur but that the horse was rewarded promptly and allowed to come up and forward. And Gal rewarded him for that with usually a "good" or a pat.

Let me address Toto's flaws. No horse is perfect. His neck conformation leads him to be slightly closed in collection. There is a somewhat acute angle between jaw and throatlatch. He works well with what god gave him, showing softness through the poll and jaw. It is not perfect, but it is functional.

The track-up issue. Totilas has a hind end assembly that does not invite a lot of "reach" under the body. His conformation allows him to sit back on his hocks and lower his haunches. This is part of the value of Kostolany "blood", they do have the ability to sit and carry. I think the breeders probably used a jumper line mare to Gribaldi to improve the push and power from behind. I don't know if a different training method would have resulted in something different; none of us do to be honest about it. And none of us know what Totilas wil look like next year. He's just getting into his prime as a GP horse.

But really, at the risk of seeming dismissive (which I am not, it is easy to get caught up in minutia and not see the big picture) this horse has a lot going for him. He is cheerful, expressive, willing and responsive. If he was tortured, abused and made a slave, we would never see this. We have a jumper who will turn himself inside out to please the rider. If we "forced" him he would shut down. Don't think the dressage pferde are any different.

I love this horse, he's consistent, always happy to do his job and loves the crowd. Yes, I know horses are adaptive. I can tell the difference between one who works with joy and verve and one who was cowed into submission. I don't see how you would get this result from coercive training methods. Sorry to offend but that's how I see it.

Sue

I was not addressing you personally in regards to the personal attacks Sue. In fact, your posts have been the most logical and reasonable :)

I am focused more on the question of whether or not Rollkur was used to train Totillas. That does mar it for me. Otherwise though I dislike a few of Totilas' flaws (those front legs are extremely distracting to me), I absolutely have loved the little I have seen of him. He impresses me by far.

As for Totilas' flaws, I am more concerned with his being btv, appearing flat as opposed to uphill at times, and having a relatively poor extended trot (for an FEI horse). In my mind he should have a better extended trot with more forward than vertical extension in those forelegs, particularly since he is able to sit back on those haunches so well most of the time. I am not expecting him to be perfect by far, however I just question how he is being asked to move (ie. btv)...I am interested to hear some expert opinion.

Not every horse shuts completely down when forced - there are a great many top horses (not to mention horses at all levels) who are performing incorrectly (croup-high, on the forehand, btv, incorrect gaits) and who are being forced to work, yet are doing so willingly or because they are shut down and simply doing as they are told.

mickeydoodle
Oct. 1, 2010, 03:21 PM
thanks for posting the warm up, super that such a quiet work can end up with such spectacular results in the show ring! I would kill and maim to even sit on Toto. I bought the book about him at WEG, and Gal signed it.

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 1, 2010, 03:22 PM
Again, I agree with SueL! :)

I, for one, am in no position to be critical of Edward Gal. If Totilas seemed to be distressed in any way, maybe. But I've never seen a horse so happy in his work, so easily taken from full collection to free walk. And if my experiences mean anything, you don't FORCE a large WB stallion to do anything. You ask, maybe have a small conversation, but a stallion will only take so much before he blows his stack.

Plus, having read the thread on those who attended Edward Gal's clinic in the US, his philosophy is not "the end justifies the means". I think I read some of the riders did NO high level movements as he felt their basics were not solid enough.

And just because you take lessons from someone, doesn't mean you employ all their methods exactly the way they teach them. I took lessons from a natural horsemanship (NOT parelli) guy, doesn't mean I do everything he ever said every step I take with my horse. I take everything I learn from all my teachers and use what works for my horse and myself.

JMHO

naturalequus
Oct. 1, 2010, 03:23 PM
We can only judge what we see. I see a happy, relaxed horse who is doing the highest level work willingly. IF Gal is using rollkur, it doesn't seem to be causing Totilas undue stress or interfering with his inner calm. The proof is in the pudding.

I don't know if Gal uses rollkur with Totilas--but let's say he does. In this case, perhaps he's using it in such a way that he achieves the gymnastic benefits without going into the region of excess/abuse.

The world is not black and white. There is room for gray. I am tired of the black and white thinkers of the horse world who are convinced that their way is the only way---that if it isn't done their way, it's abuse. I bet some of the other people who are "personally attacking" feel the same way.

You are right - I do see a relaxed and happy horse as well. Just sometimes things are not always as they appear and it irks me that the results we see could be the result of force. I hope not though!

I am not someone who subscribes either that there is only one way (my way), but when one way is clearly wrong, then it is no longer a case of 'my way' versus 'their way' but rather 'their way' versus 'better ways'. Evaluating the biomechanics of the horse and research done thus far, it is clear forcing a horse into a position that is then held for sustained periods of time without release is harmful to the horse, nevermind the emotional impact of forcing a horse.

opel
Oct. 1, 2010, 03:25 PM
Nat Equus--Apparently, black and white thinking works for you. I prefer to ask the horse how things are going. Where is the criticism for all the poor dressage horses of the world who have less talented riders who hang on the reins and drive, drive, drive? should we ground all these riders? Should we ground all the people who can't sit the trot? Because what they're doing is much worse to see than soft rollkur. In fact, does soft rollkur really look that bad from the horse's reaction? I don't see any signs of distress there--with hard rollkur, yes. There is a difference that should be recognized. And no--I don't do rollkur myself. I don't know how to do it correctly and I'm probably not a good enough rider.

SueL
Oct. 1, 2010, 03:35 PM
I was not addressing you personally in regards to the personal attacks Sue. In fact, your posts have been the most logical and reasonable :)

Thanks, none of us has the perfect answer.


I am focused more on the question of whether or not Rollkur was used to train Totillas. That does mar it for me. Otherwise though I dislike a few of Totilas' flaws (those front legs are extremely distracting to me), I absolutely have loved the little I have seen of him. He impresses me by far.

Honestly, Gal has probably employed some flavor of rollkur or deep riding. I think he is a tactful rider who can use it without harm. Just my opinion.

I don't love the front legs but they have improved markedly. My guess is that as a young horse doing Grand Prix, given his temperament, yes that was some tension coming out. "More dad? Do you want more? I'm kind of worried, do you want more?" As a jumper person, I'll take those free shoulders any day. <joke>

<QUOTE>As for Totilas' flaws, I am more concerned with his being btv</QUOTE>

Not seeing a lot of BTV, he could be maybe more open. My biggest criticism of Gal (hope this is fair) is that sometimes he will ride a bit soft and not "push" for bigger stuff. He's actually an ideal rider for young horses; could take more chances but it works for him.

<QUOTE> appearing flat as opposed to uphill at times, and having a relatively poor extended trot (for an FEI horse). In my mind he should have a better extended trot with more forward than vertical extension in those forelegs, particularly since he is able to sit back on those haunches so well most of the time. I am not expecting him to be perfect by far, however I just question how he is being asked to move (ie. btv)...I am interested to hear some expert opinion.</QUOTE>

I do think this is more a matter of biomechanics. Mistral Horjas and Ravel have much better conformation to really reach up and extend and thus more buoyancy to the gaits. Toto has more suspension and ability to sit (not surprising considering his sireline. I knew great grandsire Falke personally and he had an off the wall canter like Toto but a trot that could be somewhat flat. And he never was rollkured (too damn old for that, LOL))

<QUOTE>Not every horse shuts completely down when forced - there are a great many top horses (not to mention horses at all levels) who are performing incorrectly (croup-high, on the forehand, btv, incorrect gaits) and who are being forced to work, yet are doing so willingly or because they are shut down and simply doing as they are told.[/QUOTE]

OK, at the risk of sounding snotty, I can absolutely tell the difference between a horse who has been forced and one who does it from joy and cooperation. That goes for all levels and believe me, I've seen plenty of "forced" among the classical crew. If you doubt me, have a ride on our jumper. He'll blow your mind.

Sue

naturalequus
Oct. 1, 2010, 03:36 PM
He's fab because he is a wonderful athlete, bred for the sport and has the most fantastic temperament and try. And a trainer who loves him and lets him express himself. None of us know how he was trained, but by gawd, I can see when a horse has been trained under tension. And this horse has not.

Geeze... I'd give my eyeteeth to just pat Toto.

Sue

Sue I was simply responding to Ridgeback's comment on page 1, sorry should have made use of the quote function :winkgrin:

My point was just that if Rollkur is the reason Toto is so great, if he would not be great if it were not for Rollkur, as Ridgeback suggests, then I want no part in it.

However that said, I agree that he is obviously so great because he is Toto and I do honestly believe that Rollkur is not the reason he is so great (honestly, I do not believe Rollkur is the reason any horse is great - Rollkur used extensively seems to produce horses who do not move correctly anyways, the sole reason for their greatness seems to reside on that horse's pure ability and athleticism despite some of the training methods being used).

Obviously if he is being Rollkured at all it is not in a fashion that creates lasting tension or that is as excessive as we see in many other horses. I just wonder is all, given some of the clinic clips I have seen and his rider being taught by Anky, and really it would ruin it for me a bit. Perhaps the techniques being used to take him as far as he currently sits are techniques that exhibit no outward characteristics to our eye yet could have detrimental long-term effects (such as straining particular ligaments and muscles that then later lead to the necessity of joint injections, shortened career, and even a shortened comfortable life span). That is my concern. Probably just sounds crazy though :winkgrin:

naturalequus
Oct. 1, 2010, 03:44 PM
Plus, having read the thread on those who attended Edward Gal's clinic in the US, his philosophy is not "the end justifies the means". I think I read some of the riders did NO high level movements as he felt their basics were not solid enough.


I did not read that thread, but that is some of what I was looking for; very glad to hear it.

SueL
Oct. 1, 2010, 03:47 PM
Unfortunately, the video froze up about half way through.

Was this video taken of several different sessions?

Did Gal ever do any trot work? He did a couple of extensions coming toward the camera, but no other trot work.

Since most of what I saw was canter, why do you think that gait was primarily his focus?

These questions are asked, because you folks are much more familiar with them, than I.

Trot for show, canter for dough? :-D

Seriously. In a horse who can get "flat" at the trot, a canter warmup works very well to invite roundness and tracking up.

Warmup at the canter invites a host of good things. It's a great tool and horses usually enjoy it more than doing endless trot sets. They are natural gallopers.

Sue

naturalequus
Oct. 1, 2010, 03:48 PM
Nat Equus--Apparently, black and white thinking works for you. I prefer to ask the horse how things are going. Where is the criticism for all the poor dressage horses of the world who have less talented riders who hang on the reins and drive, drive, drive? should we ground all these riders? Should we ground all the people who can't sit the trot? Because what they're doing is much worse to see than soft rollkur. In fact, does soft rollkur really look that bad from the horse's reaction? I don't see any signs of distress there--with hard rollkur, yes. There is a difference that should be recognized. And no--I don't do rollkur myself. I don't know how to do it correctly and I'm probably not a good enough rider.

Nope, black and white does not work for me whatsoever. I have mentioned before it is not Rollkur I stand against, it is how it is used - when it is used for sustained periods of time and is done forcefully ('hard' Rollkur?). The little of Rollkur I have seen Gal do with Totilas was not done forcefully however I did feel perhaps it was held for a little too long?? I just wonder is all.

Come hang around me a little and you'll hear plenty of criticism of poor techniques and poor riding of any discipline. I often have to ride alongside WP riders who are all about force via attitude, severe bits, spurs, hard hands, etc and harmful frames. But that is not what this is about. Clearly.

naturalequus
Oct. 1, 2010, 03:55 PM
Sue I could not agree with you more and thank-you for your opinion, I really respect it.

As for the force, I do think you are right. I guess my concern is that, like I said, maybe Rollkur is being used enough (on this particular horse) not to exhibit visible tension in Toto but to have long-term effects on him physically. However I suppose only time will tell and I realise I am being a bit nit-picky here.

*sigh* I guess I am just overly leery and cynical of a lot of the top riders because of what I have seen. I know too what a tense horse versus a relaxed horse looks like though sometimes I miss minute red flags. Honestly, Toto looks to me to be soft and relaxed and both him and Gal have been a joy to watch from what I have seen (Gal seem so soft and quiet). There's just always that little tinkling nag at the back of my head that I hope he is being brought along how he appears to be.

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 1, 2010, 04:01 PM
Naturalequus -- here is the clinic thread!

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=273569&highlight=edward

ETA: This is an article written by my trainer for our local GMO. No holds barred and very insightful of last World Cup in Las Vegas.

http://www.orangecountydressageassociation.com/art1.html

SueL
Oct. 1, 2010, 04:08 PM
Sue I could not agree with you more and thank-you for your opinion, I really respect it.

As for the force, I do think you are right. I guess my concern is that, like I said, maybe Rollkur is being used enough (on this particular horse) not to exhibit visible tension in Toto but to have long-term effects on him physically. However I suppose only time will tell and I realise I am being a bit nit-picky here.

*sigh* I guess I am just overly leery and cynical of a lot of the top riders because of what I have seen. I know too what a tense horse versus a relaxed horse looks like though sometimes I miss minute red flags. Honestly, Toto looks to me to be soft and relaxed and both him and Gal have been a joy to watch from what I have seen (Gal seem so soft and quiet). There's just always that little tinkling nag at the back of my head that I hope he is being brought along how he appears to be.

It's okay to be nit-picky. There's lot of bad stuff that goes into riding and training. I've seen it and it makes me very sad. I don't think Totilas and Gal are part of the problem. I don't think LDR is, only when it is taken to excess. Sadly, I'm not sure we can even define excess until it smacks us in the face.

The defining point for me is this: If you can watch a horse and say "This horse is happy." then the training is okay. It does not have to be perfect in the classical sense. Gawd knows, as a dressage horse, our jumper would flunk. Except for the happy, willing and confident sections. Maybe they are the relevant ones. I think so. :-)

Thanks for the meaningful dialogue.
Sue
svleopold@earthlink.net

mjrtango93
Oct. 1, 2010, 04:13 PM
All I want to know is.....how freakishly tall is his groom? When she is sponging down and scraping Toto he looks really short. I know he isn't, so she must be tall!

alicen
Oct. 1, 2010, 04:29 PM
Toto's groom is not freakishly tall for the Nederlands. The Dutch are the tallest people in the world.

naturalequus
Oct. 1, 2010, 04:35 PM
Naturalequus -- here is the clinic thread!

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=273569&highlight=edward

ETA: This is an article written by my trainer for our local GMO. No holds barred and very insightful of last World Cup in Las Vegas.

http://www.orangecountydressageassociation.com/art1.html

Thank-you fizzy! I would love to see Gal live and check out some of his clinics, he sounded lovely in the thread you provided. As far as the article, you are very lucky to have such a trainer! Wonderful insight and I came away with a number of names to watch in the future :)

TrakHack
Oct. 1, 2010, 04:35 PM
What sets Toto apart, IMHO, is not his gaits. Or even his pretty face though a little equine eye candy never hurts <grin> It's his incredible temperament, high trainability and a personality (horseanality) that seems to thrive on the spotlight. He has, again JMO, an incredible mind and boundless generosity.


I agree with this. I remember the first time I saw a video of Totilas in competition, the test ended and I swear he walked out of that arena on a long rein like he's a quiet baby-sitter.

Gal makes it look so easy. Seeing this gives me my first twinge of regret at not even considering going to WEG.

naturalequus
Oct. 1, 2010, 04:36 PM
It's okay to be nit-picky. There's lot of bad stuff that goes into riding and training. I've seen it and it makes me very sad. I don't think Totilas and Gal are part of the problem. I don't think LDR is, only when it is taken to excess. Sadly, I'm not sure we can even define excess until it smacks us in the face.

The defining point for me is this: If you can watch a horse and say "This horse is happy." then the training is okay. It does not have to be perfect in the classical sense. Gawd knows, as a dressage horse, our jumper would flunk. Except for the happy, willing and confident sections. Maybe they are the relevant ones. I think so. :-)

Thanks for the meaningful dialogue.
Sue
svleopold@earthlink.net

You are right, and that last was a point well made. Thank-you!!

NOMIOMI1
Oct. 1, 2010, 05:05 PM
I DO argue that the nit-pick is for nothing since most people can only guess beyond what they see on the videos and few pics we get.


I'd listen a great deal to the people who have trained with these people... Oh wait I have! LOL My trainer did work with Anky for YEARS, and she's a lovely lady who says the same of the former so...

SueL
Oct. 1, 2010, 05:16 PM
I DO argue that the nit-pick is for nothing since most people can only guess beyond what they see on the videos and few pics we get.


I'd listen a great deal to the people who have trained with these people... Oh wait I have! LOL My trainer did work with Anky for YEARS, and she's a lovely lady who says the same of the former so...

No, being discerning and careful is okay as long as you are willing to pull the cotton balls out of your ears and listen. Asking questions is one of the ways we learn.

I have no issue with you NOMIOM! except our your screen-name. Mine is so much easier to type! <joke> Pax. These threads are very hard.One thing we all seem to agree on is that Toto is happy in his work. That is validation enough for me, but I make poor horsey jump over the big sticks. So maybe I am suspect.

Sue

NOMIOMI1
Oct. 1, 2010, 05:29 PM
I owned a jumper up until last year :)

She ended up with a trainer due to her feelings about running away with her riders lol.

He laughed at me when I said how bad she could be, until she jumped a line, and ran him out of the arena and all of the way back to the barn where she reared three times since he obviously was not planning on being scared or getting off.

He simple turned her around and used a crop until she was running back towards the arena like a kentucky derby racer and finished his course.

She NEVER did it again, and though I was HORRIFIED, it opened my eyes to the fact that some training methods are not orthodoxed but effective :)

She was a wonderful horse, just extremely confused about who decided when the ride was done.

(Note: I bought her already knowing she was bolting, its not that I rode her and this began. I just thought I could fix it, but couldn't)

dalpal
Oct. 1, 2010, 05:40 PM
Some of you are unbelievable. Personally, I would cheerfully pillage and burn to have Gal's seat and incredible tact on a horse. To me this video was less about "the perfect dressage horse" (as if there is one, lol) and more about a very nice training ride and a great partnership outside of the competition arena.

What sets Toto apart, IMHO, is not his gaits. Or even his pretty face though a little equine eye candy never hurts <grin> It's his incredible temperament, high trainability and a personality (horseanality) that seems to thrive on the spotlight. He has, again JMO, an incredible mind and boundless generosity.

And you know what folks? That's a combination that's easy to mess up? Gal's light, still seat, quiet legs and soft arms makes it easy for Toto to give it his all. Which he does. Even in his corrections, Gal's practically invisible. And his expression never changes - happy, relaxed, sympathetic. Never seen any footage or stills of him look anything else but the above.

Sure you can criticize Toto. The perfect horse has never been foaled. Is he a bit tight in the throatlatch? Sure. He's a young horse and IMO some of this is a factor of his conformation. Ditto the trackup behind. He's built to sit down; extension is harder for him. So be it. Never thought dressage said "Well if you do it right you can correct every shortcoming a horse has." It can't.

Really tired of the nitpicking. Why not just enjoy this partnership? It's among the all time greats and I'd bet some of the ODGs would agree. They may not agree with every aspect of the training, but I'm pretty sure there'd be some jostling of elbows to have a "sit" on Toto.

Sue


Amen......I love watching Gal ride...it's just effortless.

atr
Oct. 1, 2010, 06:01 PM
Watching this warm-up makes me want to run out of the office and go ride my horse... it looks so easy (har, har...)

TGIF.

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 1, 2010, 06:19 PM
Thank-you fizzy! I would love to see Gal live and check out some of his clinics, he sounded lovely in the thread you provided. As far as the article, you are very lucky to have such a trainer! Wonderful insight and I came away with a number of names to watch in the future :)

After reading the clinic thread, I was so sad that I wasn't able to attend!

And I count myself VERY lucky to work with my trainer, in addition to counting her as a friend and mentor. She's the BEST!

Liz
Oct. 1, 2010, 06:51 PM
What a pleasure to watch. Thank you for posting.

horse2rider
Oct. 1, 2010, 07:27 PM
thanks for posting the warm up, super that such a quiet work can end up with such spectacular results in the show ring! I would kill and maim to even sit on Toto. I bought the book about him at WEG, and Gal signed it.

Please let us know your opinion of the book..

Charlotte
www.horse2rider.eu

Big_Grey_hunter
Oct. 1, 2010, 07:31 PM
I owned a jumper up until last year :)

She ended up with a trainer due to her feelings about running away with her riders lol.

He laughed at me when I said how bad she could be, until she jumped a line, and ran him out of the arena and all of the way back to the barn where she reared three times since he obviously was not planning on being scared or getting off.

He simple turned her around and used a crop until she was running back towards the arena like a kentucky derby racer and finished his course.

She NEVER did it again, and though I was HORRIFIED, it opened my eyes to the fact that some training methods are not orthodoxed but effective :)

She was a wonderful horse, just extremely confused about who decided when the ride was done.

(Note: I bought her already knowing she was bolting, its not that I rode her and this began. I just thought I could fix it, but couldn't)

This made me laugh out loud. I love trainers like this!

NOMIOMI1
Oct. 1, 2010, 08:40 PM
This made me laugh out loud. I love trainers like this!


He was NO joke and is now the trainer for Hugo Chavez ( I think it is correct name... President of Venezuela).

His way of starting colts was to get on them and ride... Period. lol

esdressage
Oct. 1, 2010, 09:19 PM
Watching this warm-up makes me want to run out of the office and go ride my horse... it looks so easy (har, har...)

Oh, me too! But I'm 7.5 months pregnant and out of the saddle until after delivery… at least I can watch the video and dream that when I get back on my horse, she and I can channel that lovely picture… a girl can dream, right? :lol:

alicen
Oct. 2, 2010, 09:36 AM
I love that Gal doesn't use the extreme behind the vertical driving position.

NOMIOMI1
Oct. 2, 2010, 04:16 PM
Oh, me too! But I'm 7.5 months pregnant and out of the saddle until after delivery… at least I can watch the video and dream that when I get back on my horse, she and I can channel that lovely picture… a girl can dream, right? :lol:

I'm only three months but they put me off of riding after some complications :(

These videos are all i have right now! lol

RedHorses
Oct. 2, 2010, 05:09 PM
Unfortunately, the video froze up about half way through.

Was this video taken of several different sessions?

Did Gal ever do any trot work? He did a couple of extensions coming toward the camera, but no other trot work.

Since most of what I saw was canter, why do you think that gait was primarily his focus?

These questions are asked, because you folks are much more familiar with them, than I.

I got about three quarters of the video before it froze and he was doing more trot in the third quarter.

That's the kind of harmony I'd like to have with my horses. :yes:

EasyStreet
Oct. 2, 2010, 11:37 PM
Thanks, I really enjoyed the video of this talanted pair...it was TOTally worth every minute or the 2hrs it took to buffer on my computer!!!

grayarabs
Oct. 3, 2010, 12:57 AM
What I love most about Toto is his charisma.

I watched much of the warm-up video. About every 15 seconds the screen would freeze and I would be staring at a still shot - various strides of the canter.
95% of the "stills" showed the horse BTV. So I have been wondering about that. I admit ignorance in this regard - had for some reason always thought in canter the horse was not supposed to be BTV. Or not by much.

I love Toto, but also cannot get past the thought that he has been trained (and is what he is today) in/due to RK. There is so much to love about him, but I cannot help feel that some of what is not loved or is controversial about him is due to RK. I very much wish that we could know what his outline and gaits would be like if he had been classically trained. Could he have been even better than he is? Arthur Kottas just came to mind.

spirithorse
Oct. 3, 2010, 01:06 AM
Grayarabs:
BTV is against the descriptions of all the movements and therefore Gal is forcing Totilas into an incorrect frame.
The judges are awarding this incorrect dressage with high scores and thus the sport is being diluted so that the WEG is a great representation of the demise of dressage.

alicen
Oct. 3, 2010, 08:48 AM
Grayarabs:
BTV is against the descriptions of all the movements and therefore Gal is forcing Totilas into an incorrect frame.

As opposed to spirithorse's hollow backed, running, tense, stiff-necked-above-the-bitless notion of collection.

candico
Oct. 3, 2010, 02:19 PM
It infuriates me when people suggest Toto would have done better with someone else... It is not like he even won the Bundeschampionate or stallion performance testing. He was not the highest priced horse at the auction. Nor was he an ammy friendly relaxed easy to ride horse for sale that has turned into a fire breathing dragon.
Maybe someone could find the article about how even before Gal "ruined" him he naturally tended to go with a flamboyant front end, and when the assistant got on to try him out he took off and nobody could figure out how to stop him. He did have a female rider during the young horse days, but he certainly didn't look like a walk in the park for her. There was not a long line of trainers dying to work with this horse.
Kottas, Balkenhol, Klimke etc. have all had access to horses that were born with all the right ingredients - gaits, mind, and enormous price tags but have yet to produce a horse that inspires judges to hand out as many tens as this horse does. Not saying they aren't elite trainers who have had phenomenal results with more than a few horses - but don't take what Gal has produced with Toto away from him.
None of the Dutch horses that are winning were cream of the crop youngsters that everyone was dying to have and that is what is amazing about what they have accomplished. I think there are many barns that these guys would have ended up as pasture ornaments or worse.

spirithorse
Oct. 3, 2010, 03:32 PM
As opposed to spirithorse's hollow backed, running, tense, stiff-necked-above-the-bitless notion of collection.

Alicen:
Boo hoo...
You need to remove your rose colored glasses.....for sure you do not know how to apply the descriptions you use.

Go to AZ Native's website www.owlcanyonhoofrehab.com (http://www.owlcanyonhoofrehab.com) and you will see an image of above the bit in free horses.......oh my gosh these horses do not know what they are doing..they cannot collect/they hollow their backs/they stiffen their necks/and they are running tense...lol

Great website AZ Native!!!!

grayarabs
Oct. 3, 2010, 04:06 PM
Pardon, I did not mean that Gal should not be Toto's rider. How much Gal has dabbled in RK I don't know. If he has trained past years with Anky/Sjef one has to wonder. I personally wish that Gal and Toto had been with someone like Kottas instead.

naturalequus
Oct. 3, 2010, 04:48 PM
you will see an image of above the bit in free horses.......oh my gosh these horses do not know what they are doing..they cannot collect/they hollow their backs/they stiffen their necks/and they are running tense...lol

But that is the point - the horses are at liberty. You would not want a horse carrying a rider's weight like that (hollow, stiff, tense), which is why we work hard to teach a horse to round and track up. By no means through force of course, but it is important, IMO.

That said, I do not understand why this had to devolve into - once again - personal attacks. This is not about spirithorse's horses, this is about Totilas and Gal.

I find it interesting to note that it seems, for some individuals, there may be absolutely no criticism of Totilas and Gal. Like we can never question a top rider. Yet at the same time others are chastised for following methods (etc) blindly without question (even if they are not). When I initially opened a video clip to watch Totilas and Gal, I was prepared to be disappointed and critical, yet I was instead wowed. That does not mean certain questions did not pop up for me, particularly given my own cynicism and critical eye :winkgrin: but that does not detract from Totilas and Gal whatsoever. I just am not going to follow blindly.

I felt it was a good point (by grayarabs) and as I have already expressed, I do wonder if Totilas would be that much better if he were trained in an even more classical sense? Maybe he would not be btv and maybe he could be more elevated??? Maybe. That is not to take away from what he or Gal are now, either, just it is something that resides at the back of my head and I always wonder where RK came into play in his training. Sue made some excellent points though that it could simply be a result of his confo and his being a young horse yet, which I expect could very likely be correct (we should see and learn more in time, to an extent). All I see is a very relaxed and loose horse who does indeed look happy, as well as a rider who is soft and respectful - combining to create a picture of harmony and pure loveliness ;) Obviously, particularly considering Toto's past, Gal has otherwise done a lovely job on him and I would not have wanted to see that partnership not exist (ie. Toto be ridden by somewhere else). What if the team had been under someone else's tutelage (someone other than Anky, who trained in a more classical sense)?? Just an interesting thought :)

enjoytheride
Oct. 3, 2010, 04:51 PM
I watched most of the warmup video and I don't see any moments of deliberate rollkur. I do see some moments of weakness where his conformation makes it easy for him to drop BTV to avoid work and I see his rider softely correcting him.

naturalequus
Oct. 3, 2010, 05:34 PM
No no, there is no RK in the warm-up video for sure!! Nothing but a soft and lovely ride from the bits and pieces I watched. Your point re: his confo is one previously pointed out too and is a very good one.

enjoytheride
Oct. 3, 2010, 05:38 PM
How are those horses running randomly in a field doing any sort of collection? They're just snorting around being horses. I've seen horses in pastures doing collected type movements and they have their heads down and their backs up.

opel
Oct. 3, 2010, 05:44 PM
When all this rollkur/Anky stuff started--years ago--I started to really notice and look. As a horse person. I was horrified by some of the videos of horses being held in rollkur and then SPURRED forward over and over again with no break from that tight position. Not a pretty sight. Nothing I would ever do to my own horse for any reason. As the years have gone by, I've continued to notice. What I've seen is that many horses are trained with some degree of rollkur. Jumpers are a big one. I've seen it in the western world too. The startling thing is that horses trained with some degree of rollkur do seem to be looser/stronger over the back and do often end up in the winner's circle--not just in dressage. So, the question becomes, do we look at the ugly examples and just assume that the abusive picture is what "forces" winners--or could we step back for a minute and assess if maybe rollkur itself does have some gymnastic benefit? Could it be that rollkur can applied in a kinder, softer way as a strengthening tool? Does it have to be applied abusively or can it be applied to help a horse stretch/strengthen and work with increased fitness? Realistically, all training methods can be held up as abusive. Classical dressage?-pity the horse whipped between the pillars. Bitless riding?-pity the horse with his face in a vice. Natural horsemanship?-pity the horse chased in a circle for hours. The abuse is in excess.
So, would Totilas be better if he had been trained differently than he is? I sincerely doubt it. Is he abused? I sincerely doubt it. Does the fact that he might have been ridden deep take away from his accomplishments? Perhaps the jury is still out--but why would we jump to criticize such a trusting partnership?

naturalequus
Oct. 3, 2010, 05:58 PM
When all this rollkur/Anky stuff started--years ago--I started to really notice and look. As a horse person. I was horrified by some of the videos of horses being held in rollkur and then SPURRED forward over and over again with no break from that tight position. Not a pretty sight. Nothing I would ever do to my own horse for any reason. As the years have gone by, I've continued to notice. What I've seen is that many horses are trained with some degree of rollkur. Jumpers are a big one. I've seen it in the western world too. The startling thing is that horses trained with some degree of rollkur do seem to be looser/stronger over the back and do often end up in the winner's circle--not just in dressage. So, the question becomes, do we look at the ugly examples and just assume that the abusive picture is what "forces" winners--or could we step back for a minute and assess if maybe rollkur itself does have some gymnastic benefit? Could it be that rollkur can applied in a kinder, softer way as a strengthening tool? Does it have to be applied abusively or can it be applied to help a horse stretch/strengthen and work with increased fitness? Realistically, all training methods can be held up as abusive. Classical dressage?-pity the horse whipped between the pillars. Bitless riding?-pity the horse with his face in a vice. Natural horsemanship?-pity the horse chased in a circle for hours. The abuse is in excess.
So, would Totilas be better if he had been trained differently than he is? I sincerely doubt it. Is he abused? I sincerely doubt it. Does the fact that he might have been ridden deep take away from his accomplishments? Perhaps the jury is still out--but why would we jump to criticize such a trusting partnership?

Well said. I agree that, used judiciously, it may have some gymnastic benefit (whether or not it creates further looseness over the back that cannot be achieved elsewise, the jury is still out for me). I think though one's definition of judicious use may differ from another's though, and that is when we run into our differences (all of us participating in these discussions). In my mind, Gal's (public) use of RK seems judicious. Sjef's or Anky's (or others of like) is not and I cannot stand by their use of the method whatsoever. The difference is tension, softness, relaxation, force, and the amount of time the horse is held in such a position. Just I always wonder, and am anxious to follow Totilas in the future, because I anticipate he will only improve :winkgrin:

Personally, I am not jumping to criticise such a trusting partnership and I do not believe everyone offering critical pointers is, either. However it does not hurt to question. Granted sometimes I am a bit too cynical and critical, however I feel that is better than being too blind. It does not mean I do not enjoy watching the pair, just that I have minor reservations I keep in mind and that I like to discuss so as to obtain further input from other angles (etc). Sue's points, for example, regarding Totilas' conformation and age are ones I had not really admittedly considered, so I am glad I did bring up my reservations here so that I could learn from them :)

whbar158
Oct. 3, 2010, 09:37 PM
I think where I would draw the line between a training tool and rolkur is how long and hard it is done. I think stretching the horse behind the vertical may help stretch their neck and back, but I would not ask them to hold that and work like that for an extended period of time. I mentioned on another thread that many top horses in many different areas have had some "questionable" training. I think where it becomes abuse is the overuse, but where is that line? I know horses that are top that are ridden forcefully in draw reins and yanked on and to me abused in a way, go in the show ring and look totally relaxed and perfect. I think someone else mentioned in another thread that the horses that can't handle that trainers program get tossed.

I have no problem with discipline like the story of the horse bolting, but I have seen trainers act like that when it really didn't seem like the horse was being that bad, ie the punishment didn't fit the crime. Then again sometimes it can be tough to tell what is going on, my horse for one use to pull and lean (only in the show ring, he was a hunter) so from the ground it really did not look like he was being that bad, he looked a little strong, but when riding him it was like he didn't even care you were up there and locked his jaw and did what he wanted, again only did this in the show ring, so very hard to fix. There were times where my trainer jerked on his face and did horrible looking things to him. Well now he is a solid citizen and is totally relaxed and carts kids around courses. So what can look like abuse (esp thinking along the lines, well if they do it here what must they do at home???) is sometimes just a moment in training that is needed. How do you decide what is abuse and what is training?

enjoytheride
Oct. 4, 2010, 07:26 AM
Can someone show me the time stamp in this video where Totilas is put in rollkur? I don't see it.

Calamber
Oct. 4, 2010, 08:47 PM
He was NO joke and is now the trainer for Hugo Chavez ( I think it is correct name... President of Venezuela).

His way of starting colts was to get on them and ride... Period. lol

I am not trying to pick a fight but do you know anything about Hugo Chavez who (you are correct) is the President of Venezuela? This man is a criminal who could probably use a good stint in jail instead of dressage lessons. Just sayin, nothing to brag about.