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Mike Matson
Dec. 23, 2010, 06:58 PM
I'm tired of seeing frowns, grimaces, tightened lips, and grinchful expressions when dressage people ride.

For Pete's sake, look up and forward and SMILE!

Your horse will feel it and love it! You will transform yourself into a confident rider. Your instructor will be in awe! Other riders around you will pick up your positive vibes and they will smile!

Come on folks, DO IT!

jcotton
Dec. 23, 2010, 07:33 PM
Yes, I am guilty of having too serious or concentrated/pained look on my face. But I certainly don't to have a fake smile either.
....will try to be halfway between the two in the future.

My instructor will faint if I look like I am enjoying myself!!! But then that might be a good thing!!!!

alg0181
Dec. 23, 2010, 07:35 PM
If I saw someone riding a test with a big grin on their face, I would wonder what they had been smoking. :lol: I don't think there's anything wrong with concentration-face. Do you see tennis or volleyball players or other athletes smiling throughout their performances?

I think when you're focused like that, smiling is unnatural, and will come across as such.

lazydaisyd
Dec. 23, 2010, 08:11 PM
Thanks for the reminder. My trainer is always telling me to look up and BREATHE! It is good to always remember. Jane Savoie says to sing a song if you are nervous...

spirithorse
Dec. 23, 2010, 08:18 PM
Stop with the grimmicing face and smile....whoops you just might have actual 'fun'.......stop taking the test seriously........worry not what judges think, enjoy the dance between you and your horse

Mike Matson
Dec. 23, 2010, 08:19 PM
Post above. Truth. :)

Mr.GMan
Dec. 23, 2010, 08:22 PM
I had to today--literally look up and not just smile, but laugh! My gelding was so afraid the hang gliding vulture was going to swoop in on him and carry him away:lol:. But yes, I am so guilty of this...it is amazing how much more I get accomplished when I actually look up and have fun and smile :-)

RLF
Dec. 23, 2010, 11:04 PM
If I saw someone riding a test with a big grin on their face, I would wonder what they had been smoking. :lol:

:lol::D:lol:

LOL= too true!

i am also guilty of this... I have pics of me making all sorts of faces while riding! lol Maybe the USDF will authorize the use of wearing face masks with fake smiles on them...

Mike Matson
Dec. 23, 2010, 11:06 PM
A response from the other BB which merits posting here.

The lack of apparent joy has been remarked on many times by the judges I've scribed for. In fact I would say that's the greatest commonality to intently watching the rides at a spectrum of shows.

Mike Matson
Dec. 23, 2010, 11:09 PM
My instructor always told me, "Smile! Enjoy your horse!", as I was executing whatever we were working on.

LarkspurCO
Dec. 23, 2010, 11:29 PM
Is this smiley enough for you?

http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i213/hfournier/Tanager/Tanager-Sept09show2.jpg

Also see my profile pic -- I laugh at the horsies a lot.

Oh, yeah, almost forgot. I also make kissy faces:
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i213/hfournier/Tanager/FoothillsShow1.jpg

netg
Dec. 23, 2010, 11:50 PM
I've noticed a trend in my photos. At a walk I tend to smile and laugh a lot:
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4007/4449627760_064edf1497.jpg
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4048/4595934171_8a7b83555f.jpg
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4018/4592699877_03db4e89df.jpg

At a trot I tend to grimace:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3494/4593329134_b3d6c7f196.jpg

And at a canter I tend to have kissy face permanently stuck on me. Except when he's bucking or kicking, in which case I'm usually laughing and look demented and drunk, so I'm not sharing those photos. (And yes, this includes at a show when I laughed from just before A until I had finished my 20 meter circle and had tears forming from laughing, but attempted to stifle it a bit.)

I'm also glad I just looked back at those photos so I can see my position and stomach really HAVE both improved, and it's not just people around me being nice. :)

Denali Does
Dec. 24, 2010, 12:03 AM
I think if we look up and smile more we may just free up some of our senses to start "actually" feeling our horses with our bodies rather than with our eyes.

netg
Dec. 24, 2010, 12:23 AM
Another cause/effect thing is default expression. When I'm totally relaxed and not actively creating an expression on my face I look like I have a cross between a scowl and grimace on my face. As I get older and my face starts to show my more common expressions the default is starting to look more like a smile, so I suppose by the time I'm an upper level dressage rider (if ever) I will look like I'm smiling when relaxed and not making a face?

Mike Matson
Dec. 24, 2010, 02:01 AM
I think if we look up and smile more we may just free up some of our senses to start "actually" feeling our horses with our bodies rather than with our eyes.

This is exactly what happens. :)

Mike Matson
Dec. 24, 2010, 02:03 AM
Thanks for the "smiley" photos that are being posted.

Now compare those to the grinchlike facial features often seen in the dressage arena. :eek:

quietann
Dec. 24, 2010, 02:10 AM
Another cause/effect thing is default expression. When I'm totally relaxed and not actively creating an expression on my face I look like I have a cross between a scowl and grimace on my face. As I get older and my face starts to show my more common expressions the default is starting to look more like a smile, so I suppose by the time I'm an upper level dressage rider (if ever) I will look like I'm smiling when relaxed and not making a face?

This is very much an issue with me, too. The default isn't a smile or anywhere close to one, so I look grouchy even when I am not!

My best rides are not necessarily ridden with a lot of smiles, but when I do something to keep myself breathing, whether that's singing, or talking to the maresy. Neither of those are allowed in the dressage ring, but I have heard that some people who are not natural smilers hum a little under their breath, and I really should practice that to see if it would help.

OTOH, I did have a terrible time keeping myself from laughing when maresy decided a canter depart -- right in front of the judge of course -- was the perfect time to toss her head and throw in a little crowhop. "Frisky!" is not a comment I particularly enjoy seeing on a test, but it does make me laugh.

raff
Dec. 24, 2010, 03:07 AM
I think smiling is a nice idea...but it reminds me of someone who grins all the time,though the horse is usually not going well at all.Looking like the village idiot, totally oblivious to the horse.
Your expression should match the reality of the experience :lol

alg0181
Dec. 24, 2010, 03:27 AM
I think smiling is a nice idea...but it reminds me of someone who grins all the time,though the horse is usually not going well at all.Looking like the village idiot, totally oblivious to the horse.
Your expression should match the reality of the experience :lol

Hahaha. This sounds like something my first trainer would say. If I had gone around smiling he would have been like, "WHY are you smiling? That was terrible!! Quit smiling and start TRYING!" :lol:

islgrl
Dec. 24, 2010, 06:22 AM
I wish I didn't always look so serious. I see pix of myself riding and I DO not look like I am enjoying it. I need to make more of an effort to be concious of my concentration and do as you say, take a deep breath, look up and let my true feelings show. I will say however, my whole life, no matter what I'm doing I tend to scowl when I'm concentrating even though I'm perfectly happy.

I should work on that, thanks for the reminder!

Starting NOW:D

spotted mustang
Dec. 24, 2010, 09:23 AM
then again, nothing looks dumber than a fake put-on smile.

When people concentrate very hard on a difficult task, they don't smile. Their brains are otherwise engaged. Commentators don't get this and always say this about other athletes, too, like gymnasts: "she looks so serious".

Well, she's about to risk her neck on some crazy flip-twist thingy, or she's trying to control a 1200 pound animal with a twitch of her finger and a squeeze of her thigh, and she needs all her focus and concentration on what she's doing, and putting on a stupid plastic smile is the very last thing she has on her mind.

On the other hand, no one has ever demanded that a long-jumper or discus thrower or weight-lifter "smile" in the middle of it all. Or what about a ski jumper. Do they smile while whizzing 100 feet up through the air? No? By golly, that must mean they are not enjoying their sports!

katarine
Dec. 24, 2010, 09:30 AM
As Tom McBeath (AQHA judge) put it to a Jr Rider who was trained to slap on a saccharine smile: 'Quit bull$hitting and ride your horse'

I might smile here and there in a test when something feels super great, but for the most part, I'm too busy working to worry about smiling. I don't see my scores reflecting my lack of smile as a problem for the judges. Seems to me they know I'm busy up there?

leilatigress
Dec. 24, 2010, 09:34 AM
DD tends to either be smiling through the test or if the mare/pony is giving her a bit of issue concerned. Nothing beats when she gets the gait she wants that lovely peal of laughter and the big grin afterward. I always get told to stop smiling so much, I am usually smiling from ear to ear every time I ride no matter how much the mare is misbehaving. Some of it is habit and most of it is sheer joy at being able to ride her.

lcw579
Dec. 24, 2010, 09:42 AM
A response from the other BB which merits posting here.

The lack of apparent joy has been remarked on many times by the judges I've scribed for. In fact I would say that's the greatest commonality to intently watching the rides at a spectrum of shows.


I was scribing with a judge at a recent horse trial who said something similar. The kids that rode with a smile were a joy to see. In fact, I love it when I see dressage pictures and the rider has a big smile.

ACMEeventing
Dec. 24, 2010, 10:16 AM
I thought I was smiling once but it was just gas.

alg0181
Dec. 24, 2010, 11:03 AM
I thought I was smiling once but it was just gas.

:lol::lol::lol:

Gestalt
Dec. 24, 2010, 11:04 AM
One of my friends was a competition ice skater and she is the only rider other than myself that I've seen that smiles as she enters the arena. As a 4-h kid I was taught to smile (a very small smile, not a big grin) until I had caught the judges eye. And that is my friends' training also. Smile and act like you're happy to be there, then get to work with a calm relaxed face, not a tight jaw.

alg0181
Dec. 24, 2010, 11:04 AM
As Tom McBeath (AQHA judge) put it to a Jr Rider who was trained to slap on a saccharine smile: 'Quit bull$hitting and ride your horse'

I might smile here and there in a test when something feels super great, but for the most part, I'm too busy working to worry about smiling. I don't see my scores reflecting my lack of smile as a problem for the judges. Seems to me they know I'm busy up there?

That is awesome.

Ja Da Dee
Dec. 24, 2010, 12:19 PM
then again, nothing looks dumber than a fake put-on smile.

When people concentrate very hard on a difficult task, they don't smile. Their brains are otherwise engaged. Commentators don't get this and always say this about other athletes, too, like gymnasts: "she looks so serious".

Well, she's about to risk her neck on some crazy flip-twist thingy, or she's trying to control a 1200 pound animal with a twitch of her finger and a squeeze of her thigh, and she needs all her focus and concentration on what she's doing, and putting on a stupid plastic smile is the very last thing she has on her mind.

On the other hand, no one has ever demanded that a long-jumper or discus thrower or weight-lifter "smile" in the middle of it all. Or what about a ski jumper. Do they smile while whizzing 100 feet up through the air? No? By golly, that must mean they are not enjoying their sports!

I agree with this. When I'm riding, I'm thinking. My husband is always telling me to smile more (photographer), but I've got other things to think about when I'm riding. The smile sometimes comes unintentionally when things are going well, I've even laughed during a test because my horse was being so awesome (then promptly went off course because I was so enamored with the feeling of throughness I forgot the transition to canter...oops). OTH, I knew someone who would force a smile when she was doing a test, her smile was terrifying, note to those who want to force a smile - don't show all of your teeth.

spirithorse
Dec. 24, 2010, 12:37 PM
Dancers do not think, they manifest.
Riders should not think, they should manifest.
Manifest the dance between horse and rider.

alicen
Dec. 24, 2010, 01:31 PM
They "manifest"? Nevermind. I'm going to go manifest the horse now. Of course, at 17'2, the alternative of hiding him from sight could prove hysterically funny . Why, it might even bring an idiotic grin to my face. Cheers!

SBrentnall
Dec. 24, 2010, 01:36 PM
I always smile when I'm riding. I can't help it--my eyes are incredibly light-sensitive and the glare from the arena always makes me squint, which looks like smiling. Still, several judges have remarked on it and I AM having fun. :)

Proof:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=998409&l=5cfdcc1e54&id=620893159
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=300378&l=92d2824808&id=620893159
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=300366&l=b956139932&id=620893159

alg0181
Dec. 24, 2010, 01:46 PM
Dancers do not think, they manifest.
Riders should not think, they should manifest.
Manifest the dance between horse and rider.

:eek:

CatOnLap
Dec. 24, 2010, 02:50 PM
yeah I know, quit quoting him and put him on ignore already. woowoo and all that.

I smile a lot when I ride because I truly enjoy it. I ask, the horses tries, its generally all good. When we do something well, I smile bigger. I am fortunate that during the *oh $h!t* moments, my look of concentration actually resembles a nice smile- its truly a grimace I am feeling inside as I use every muscle in my control to stay one through a series of bucks, etc. I am so lucky that my face is built that way, because I've been remarked by the judge on how calmly I ride through those things, and the marks have reflected the smile, not the event.

Some people's faces are not built to smile during tension or concentration, they have different conformation, but I see no reason not to practice in front of mirrors and while riding. A fake smile can also transform into a real one, so why not take a chance? But also, just concentrate on making the ride fun for you and the horse. That generally works for both of us.

raff
Dec. 24, 2010, 03:14 PM
I don't know, some of these smiles are looking an awful lot like thinly disguised insanity...

Megaladon
Dec. 24, 2010, 03:15 PM
I think the best time to smile is when you are done with your test and you salute the judge.

It's not like we're Vegas Showgirls or auditioning for Miss America!! :rolleyes:

I don't know, in the scheme of Dressage, it seems like such a shallow request for everyone to ride around with a perfunctory smile on their face. :dead:

Denali Does
Dec. 24, 2010, 05:53 PM
Raff :lol::lol::lol:

Smiling while riding is the first step in becoming a casual rider as opposed to a mechanical rider.

To me, there is nothing prettier to watch than a casual rider and THAT is what I strive to be.

Mike Matson
Dec. 24, 2010, 09:09 PM
Here are some photos of real people riding and smiling.

http://www.ultimatedressage.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=197774

Heaven forbid! :eek: ;)

RLF
Dec. 24, 2010, 09:55 PM
Hmmm.... I'm not sure what the point of this thread has become? Are we now insinuating that riders who don't smile are.... what? Too serious? Grumpy?

Maybe that's how I'll start measuring my success...grand prix will no longer be the goal, but keeping a genuine happy happy smile on my face while in a grand prix test... THEN I'll have made it! lol

I think there's legitimacy to the fact that if your face is tense your body may hold tension...the whole 'soft eyes' concept... but geez... As long as dressage is around, and has been around, I think people have and always will get those skewed up dressage faces!

Besides... I don't want people watching me anyway...makes me nervous! :uhoh:

NOMIOMI1
Dec. 24, 2010, 10:50 PM
I could care less if someone smiles or not.

I've had rides where concentration was NOT going to help the situation, but a laugh and a smile did in fact get me through being bounced around left to right on a green horse who would rather die than get near the scary flowers every three feet.

HOWEVER, when riding a horse that was finished and ready to do the job, I get down to business and can't STAND the ring side "smile" calls.

I don't remember anyone telling me when I was a catcher for one of the fastest soft ball pitchers in the city to "smile" while I was trying to get that fly ball. I needed focus then, and at times I need focus in a test.

Please don't tell me to smile when I'm running the equivalent of the 100 yard dash in my world... Its rude and annoying.

Mike Matson
Dec. 24, 2010, 11:30 PM
Who knew being able to ride, think, execute, and smile because you are enjoying it and doing it well is hard for some to do. Maybe it's a Myers-Briggs personality thing. ;)

Mike Matson
Dec. 24, 2010, 11:44 PM
Please don't tell me to smile when I'm running the equivalent of the 100 yard dash in my world... Its rude and annoying.


100 yard dash? If you're breathing that hard during your dressage test, I can understand why you're not smiling.

alg0181
Dec. 25, 2010, 12:04 AM
Who knew being able to ride, think, execute, and smile because you are enjoying it and doing it well is hard for some to do. Maybe it's a Myers-Briggs personality thing. ;)

Here I go, flame suit engaged:

It isn't about not being able to smile. It's the idea that we should smile for others' benefits, and while it might not be a 100 yard dash, it is still a very consuming sport, mentally and physically. Not smiling does not mean we are not enjoying it. When you are playing a puzzle game, are you grinning? Not likely. Are you enjoying the mental stimulation and challenge? Probably.

The truth is that women are told to smile by everyone, far too often. Family members, random strangers on the street. I have had a man tell me when I was trying to catch my bus that I would be so much prettier if I smiled. It isn't any of his business how I look or whether I smile or not. My face exists, surprisingly, for purposes other than decorating his landscape.

Add to that the already common ideas that riding (especially dressage) is a girl's sport, not challenging, not really a sport, all about show, etc. etc. Asking us to smile only reinforces those untrue stereotypes. Again, nobody tells tennis players or other athletes to smile. If you want dressage/riding to have legitimate respect as a challenging, demanding, consuming sport, don't make it about smiling like it's a grade school talent show.

Sorry, and this isn't meant to be personal. But the whole, "Smile, ladiezz!" is a big pet peeve of mine. Off the soapbox now. :yes:

spirithorse
Dec. 25, 2010, 12:30 AM
Here I go, flame suit engaged:
it is still a very consuming sport, mentally and physically.

My face exists, surprisingly, for purposes other than decorating his landscape.

If you want dressage/riding to have legitimate respect as a challenging, demanding, consuming sport, don't make it about smiling like it's a grade school talent show.


You are a great example of the "grumpy" impression dressage riders present.

If you believe dressage really is a mentally and physically consuming sport then please dismount the horse. It is a dance and should be full of natural fluid intertwining of horse and rider.

Merry Christmas to All

Jocko
Dec. 25, 2010, 12:40 AM
Sorry, and this isn't meant to be personal. But the whole, "Smile, ladiezz!" is a big pet peeve of mine. Off the soapbox now.


Mine, too.

Don't tell me to smile unless you want to be spitting out your teeth.

alg0181
Dec. 25, 2010, 12:52 AM
You are a great example of the "grumpy" impression dressage riders present.

If you believe dressage really is a mentally and physically consuming sport then please dismount the horse. It is a dance and should be full of natural fluid intertwining of horse and rider.

Merry Christmas to All

Dancing is consuming, too. In the good way. Consuming meaning, it fills your whole self, you are concentrating, you are in the moment. I am not grumpy when I ride, I am just focused, feeling, listening, and most definitely not worried about what you think my particular emotional experience is. :yes:

spirithorse
Dec. 25, 2010, 12:56 AM
Dancing is consuming, too. In the good way. Consuming meaning, it fills your whole self, you are concentrating, you are in the moment. I am not grumpy when I ride, I am just focused, feeling, listening, and most definitely not worried about what you think my particular emotional experience is. :yes:

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours.

I honor your position and believe you are not one of the grumpy ones. It is just that dressage is so pleasurable that I so love to see a rider actually being alive in the ride. :) Even if with a simple Cheshire cat grin...........:D

alicen
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:36 AM
It is a dance and should be full of natural fluid intertwining of horse and rider. Merry Christmas to All

Is that a spirithorse euphemism for sweat?

saje
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:50 AM
The surest way to piss me off & ruin any fun I'm having is to tell me to smile. Smiling does not equal pleasure/happiness, and a fake, frozen smile is worse IMO than a look of studied concentration.

Think of it this way. Sex is pleasurable and fun, yes? Do you smile like a beauty queen all through it? I doubt it. Like riding, much of it is a very internal, mental, sensory joy. The laughter comes afterward, when you drop the reins and give your partner a pat and a hug. :)

RLF
Dec. 25, 2010, 08:00 AM
Think of it this way. Sex is pleasurable and fun, yes? Do you smile like a beauty queen all through it? I doubt it. Like riding, much of it is a very internal, mental, sensory joy.

THIS made me laugh...


The laughter comes afterward, when you drop the reins and give your partner a pat and a hug. :)

THIS made me giggle like a school girl...out loud... lol

What a quote for a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! :eek::lol::D

Mike Matson
Dec. 25, 2010, 08:38 AM
Some of you may want to consider expanding your sexual repertoire. ;)

RLF
Dec. 25, 2010, 09:48 AM
I don't know, Mike...I personally thought the reins were a nice touch...

:winkgrin:

I think it's even funnier because I almost always used to say to my Holsteiner after a test "You're such a good boy! you really tried..."

lol

Mike Matson
Dec. 25, 2010, 10:31 AM
I've heard a whip does create a :)

CatOnLap
Dec. 25, 2010, 10:45 AM
but enough about your personal sexual repetoire, Mike!

CatOnLap
Dec. 25, 2010, 10:55 AM
But I think the grumpies have it on this thread, Mike. Your link to that other board makes me consider going back there from here. Those folks looked abosultely lovely!

On this thread, in order to defend their grumpy expressions, the grinches have called smiling riders things like grade school talent, insanity, grimacing, fake, bull$sh!t, etc.

Its as if, if you enjoy riding and can relax and show it, you possess some unique talent that these folks are jealous of! I can't think of any other reason to call down someone who looks happy.

There is not doubt that among equally good riders, if one smiles and one does not, who is looking better? It is also true that the expression you put on your face affects your entire attitude and your muscular tension throughout your body. You cannot be relaxed and sensitive to the horse's cues if you are tight and grimacing in your face.

CatOnLap
Dec. 25, 2010, 10:58 AM
PS, for those of you who hate being told what to do? THAT I understand. If someone TELLS me to smile at a moment when I find it impossible, I would probably spit back through clenched teeth at them: "I AM smiling".

saje
Dec. 25, 2010, 11:07 AM
Who said anything about grimacing? The lack of a smile has NOTHING to do with how one is feeling. For that matter, a smile can hide all sorts of ferocious thoughts and feelings, as anyone who has spent time being polite and faking happiness over a 'WTF-is-this' Xmas present from a weird in-law can tell you.

You can have a perfectly serene and pleasant expression on your face without smiling, and you can smile and grind your teeth in frustration.

If you want to go down center line with a smile pasted on your face, genuine or not, by all means do it and I won't point and laugh. But I ride for my own enjoyment, and if I get a lower score because my centerline didn't include a smile, well, so be it. I'm still enjoying my horse and my ride.

Mike Matson
Dec. 25, 2010, 11:23 AM
CatOnLap, grumpies posting during the Christmas season? Maybe they will see the ghosts of dressage rides past, present, and future and find their :) again.

saje
Dec. 25, 2010, 12:07 PM
Yeah, well, I hate Christmas too, so I have even less reason to smile.

alg0181
Dec. 25, 2010, 01:46 PM
On this thread, in order to defend their grumpy expressions, the grinches have called smiling riders things like grade school talent, insanity, grimacing, fake, bull$sh!t, etc.

Nice selective reading. Nowhere did I or anyone else say riders who have genuine smiles are not talented, or any of the other things above. My entire post was about why smiling shouldn't matter and how asking people to smile is demeaning to the athletes.

But what do I know? I'm a GRUMPY GRINCH!! :mad:


:lol:

seeuatx
Dec. 25, 2010, 02:36 PM
I think smiling helps release the tension and pressure I often put on myself. Sometimes I used to have to remind myself that I liked this sport. Seriously... not kidding in the least.

I had an epiphany in the ring about 6 years ago. My (now retired) TB gelding that I had taken from barely able to trot down the long side without a complete mental meltdown was doing his 1st show of 1st level 3 and 4 (the ones with canter lengthen and leg yield). I was beside myself that what if he freaked in the lengthen and everything went to pot... except 2 weeks before our leg yields disappeared completely. And it was too late to pull out of the show. Crap.

So I made the choice to go anyway, and swallow a bad score if I must. I was still as tense and nervous as anything. Watch my transformation in photo.

G comes down center for 1st leg yield right. Not going so well, not straight, lots of wiggles and shuffles. No straightness. Blah.
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s95/seeuatx/578C1314.jpg

Then he lets out a little fart. My inner child giggles and a peak of a smile comes out for a mere moment... suddenly he relaxes too and the leg yield starts to come through.
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s95/seeuatx/578C1320.jpg

Hmm, wait a second, This canter isn't too bad either. I'm not getting taken off with, and we're relaxed. I can live with this.
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s95/seeuatx/578C9000.jpg

Huh, this is actually kinda fun. I'm liking this.
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s95/seeuatx/578C1368.jpg

G is super proud of himself, and I am too.
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s95/seeuatx/578C1373.jpg

To this day, I am convinced it was that "inner giggle" that made it all come together. It was a huge release of all that pent up anxiety, and G felt that. Once I was able to relax, he was able to relax and listen as well.

RLF
Dec. 25, 2010, 02:40 PM
lol- I think you're onto something... I'm gonna call Albion and see if they can build a whoopie cushion into my saddle... Should make those extended trots really funny!!!! lol he hee

Megaladon
Dec. 25, 2010, 04:15 PM
[QUOTE=seeuatx;5302529]Then he lets out a little fart.[QUOTE]

:lol: :lol: That is funny!

luvmydutch
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:02 PM
Riding is a sport, not a beauty pageant. I don't need to fake a smile when I'm riding to show the whole world what I'm feeling, while distracting myself from my task at hand. I've never heard anyone say football players need to smile more. Can't remember the last time i heard a sports commentator say...ya know...that tom brady really needs to break out those brite whites next time he snaps one of those 100 yard passes to his QB ;-).

We are athletes, not 1950's housewives :cool:

spirithorse
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:23 PM
We are athletes, not 1950's housewives :cool:


Athlete : a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games "requiring" physical strength, agility, or stamina

Dressage riders are not athletes!
Dressage does not require strength, agility or stamina.
In fact, the rider should not be using strength to control the horse.
In fact, the rider should not demonstrate agility but rather suppleness.
In fact, a 6 minute dressage ride does not require any stamina.

Event riders/showjumpers are athletes!
On the otherhand, eventing and show jumping requires that a rider have stamina, agility and strength

luvmydutch
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:25 PM
Athlete : a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games "requiring" physical strength, agility, or stamina

Dressage riders are not athletes!
Dressage does not require strength, agility or stamina.
In fact, the rider should not be using strength to control the horse.
In fact, the rider should not demonstrate agility but rather suppleness.
In fact, a 6 minute dressage ride does not require any stamina.

Event riders/showjumpers are athletes!
On the otherhand, eventing and show jumping requires that a rider have stamina, agility and strength

if dressage isn't a sport, why then is it an olympic discipline?

luvmydutch
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:28 PM
Fine let's liken dressage to something more brainy...puzzles perhaps, or intricate board games, chess, cribbage, solving a rubiks cube even! My boyfriend is an avid gamer, and i can't tell you the last time i saw him sitting there with a stupid grin on his face whilst he was in the depths of intellectual activity and concentration.

I'm not going to be anybody's barbie doll, and i'm not going to give ANYONE a fake bullsh*t smile in any realm of my life. I enjoy knitting and baking too, but i don't do with a big stupid grin on my face.

Mike Matson
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:41 PM
Who knew smiling while riding meant you are one of the following: a "Barbie Doll", an enemy of NOW, a supporter of female discrimination, and a male chauvinist who should have his teeth punched out! :eek:

luvmydutch
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:45 PM
Mike matson, i challenge you to give me ONE male dominated sport that encourages smiling.

:)

luvmydutch
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:46 PM
You know what, a friend of mine is a UFC fighter. He LOVES his sport...i dare you to tell him he should smile while in the throws of his sport :)

ACMEeventing
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:48 PM
Athlete : a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games "requiring" physical strength, agility, or stamina

Dressage riders are not athletes!
Dressage does not require strength, agility or stamina.
In fact, the rider should not be using strength to control the horse.
In fact, the rider should not demonstrate agility but rather suppleness.
In fact, a 6 minute dressage ride does not require any stamina.

Event riders/showjumpers are athletes!
On the otherhand, eventing and show jumping requires that a rider have stamina, agility and strength

Ouch.

I'm an eventer and a dressage rider . . . and ouch.

luvmydutch
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:49 PM
Since when did I have to actively try to please others while also trying to control a 1200lb warmblood with a twitch of a finger and a twitch of a calf. Endanger myself and take the focus away from my horse, so that I can blow rainbows up your a*s. I can't tell you how empowered that would make me feel!

Eventer13
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:51 PM
Athlete : a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games "requiring" physical strength, agility, or stamina

Dressage riders are not athletes!
Dressage does not require strength, agility or stamina.
In fact, the rider should not be using strength to control the horse.
In fact, the rider should not demonstrate agility but rather suppleness.
In fact, a 6 minute dressage ride does not require any stamina.

Event riders/showjumpers are athletes!
On the otherhand, eventing and show jumping requires that a rider have stamina, agility and strength

I don't know, after a hard dressage lesson, I'm sure tired and my abs are killing me. Its very similar to how I feel after finishing my final gallop set for the day. And, no, a dressage test does not require stamina, but a 45 min work on a big-moving horse sure does. I guess it depends a bit on 1) what level you are doing and 2) how proficient and fit you are for that level.

I never smile in my test. Unless I royally screw up or (rarely) when I get an absolutely fantastic movement. I do smile galloping my horse for fun, when out foxhunting, etc but not when I'm on cross-country. When I'm competing, I'm focused, and I just don't smile when I'm focused.

luvmydutch
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:52 PM
Oh and spirithorse...if you really don't think dressage is a "sport"...I'd LOVE to see a video of your riding! Please please please post a video i bet you are a SPECTACULAR rider!!!

ACMEeventing
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:56 PM
Oh and spirithorse...if you really don't think dressage is a "sport"...I'd LOVE to see a video of your riding! Please please please post a video i bet you are a SPECTACULAR rider!!!

Going for popcorn . . .

spotted mustang
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:59 PM
Some of you may want to consider expanding your sexual repertoire. ;)

thanks for the offer :D, but thanks...

Mike Matson
Dec. 25, 2010, 07:59 PM
I see some folks here aren't current on sports psychology and the place smiling has in it.

Mike Matson
Dec. 25, 2010, 08:01 PM
thanks for the offer :D, but thanks...

But, but, I could make you SMILE! I promise! ;)

spotted mustang
Dec. 25, 2010, 08:05 PM
Those "smile!" people don't get it, do they? smiling has nothing to do with joy - it is a social signal directed at others. It evolved from a show of aggression (baring of teeth) to basically say "we're okay, I will be friendly toward you and not bite you". People don't smile when they are alone, no matter how much pleasure or joy they experience.

When I ride my horse, I'm in a very private, joyous state of intense absorption (yes, it's a bit like masturbation). I don't smile during either one - I am too busy enjoying myself

ACMEeventing
Dec. 25, 2010, 08:05 PM
But, but, I could make you SMILE! I promise! ;)

Are we still talking dressage?

spotted mustang
Dec. 25, 2010, 08:06 PM
But, but, I could make you SMILE! I promise! ;)

okay - you just did. ;)

ToN Farm
Dec. 25, 2010, 08:36 PM
People don't smile when they are alone, no matter how much pleasure or joy they experience. Not true. I have caught myself smiling many times when I am alone looking at something cute, endearing, etc. like photos or a video. My dog makes me smile all the time.

luvmydutch
Dec. 25, 2010, 08:38 PM
Mike you're lucky you're funny. :-P

spottedmustang i was just ruminating over this discussion in my bubble bath (oh boy this conversation has just taken an awkward turn), and your argument is EXACTLY what popped into my head! Smiling is fundamentally a social signal of SUBMISSION! Thus the reason it is not expected in male dominated sports. I couldn't have worded it more perfectly, thanks :)

luvmydutch
Dec. 25, 2010, 08:40 PM
Agreed, people do definitely smile when they are alone...i actually laugh when i'm alone sometimes too if i think of something funny or hear something funny on the radio (the radio part could count as a social response). If smiling is a natural reaction when riding dressage...don't stifle it! We're just saying don't force it to blow butterflies up Mike Matson's butt ;)

Mike Matson
Dec. 25, 2010, 08:59 PM
Mike you're lucky you're funny. :-P

spottedmustang i was just ruminating over this discussion in my bubble bath (oh boy this conversation has just taken an awkward turn), and your argument is EXACTLY what popped into my head! Smiling is fundamentally a social signal of SUBMISSION! Thus the reason it is not expected in male dominated sports. I couldn't have worded it more perfectly, thanks :)


Pick up a good sports psychology book next time you're in the bubble bath and give the section on smiling a read. If you want I can come over and read it to you while you're soaking.

RLF
Dec. 25, 2010, 09:07 PM
Dressage [B]does not require strength, agility or stamina.

OK! I know we should just ignore SH, but REALLY!!!????:mad:

I have never been so convinced that you have no idea about riding dressage! lol





In fact, the rider should not be using strength to control the horse.
Given a person should not be trying to 'strong arm' a horse in movements, nor should they hold the horse up instead of asking for true collection. If that is your point, I agree... However without adequate strength a rider is not able to control the seat/legs/back/upper body independently and therefore will FAIL in riding their horse properly. If we can not carry ourselves, how do we expect the horse to achieve self carriage?


In fact, the rider should not demonstrate agility but rather suppleness.

DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT AGILITY IS???? Well here's the definition per Merrium-Webster: Agility: the quality or state of being agile
Agile: marked by ready ability to move with quick easy grace <an agile dancer>
IMO tempis qualify for this, as do many other movements required of us as riders... without grace dressage wouldn't be what it is.


In fact, a 6 minute dressage ride does not require any stamina.
Interesting what a 6 minute ride must look like from you??? If you think any unfit, untrained body can ride a 6 minute test without stamina- you're well... Unexperienced to say the least.

OK...I'm done. Now commencing ignoring... maybe... lol

luvmydutch
Dec. 25, 2010, 09:10 PM
Did a beauty pageant coach write it? :P

katarine
Dec. 25, 2010, 10:21 PM
Cat On Lap:

Surely you too have observed an equitation princess with a pasted on saccharine smile, perched atop a pinned-eared old gelding who is sick to damn death of round round round we go at a jog, half dead on his feet...but there sits his little perchy rider, her and her BS 'smile'. It's not real, it's not joyous, it's the frozen wasteland of equitation/horsemanship classes.

If you haven't, girl, you ain't been showin' horses all that long ;)

NOMIOMI1
Dec. 25, 2010, 11:01 PM
Cat On Lap:

Surely you two have observed an equitation princess with a pasted on saccharine smile, perched atop a pinned-eared old gelding who is sick to damn death of round round round we go at a jog, half dead on his feet...but there sits his little perchy rider, her and her BS 'smile'. It's not real, it's not joyous, it's the frozen wasteland of equitation/horsemanship classes.

If you haven't, girl, you ain't been showin' horses all that long ;)

Ditto!

I seriously hated equitation when I was younger, and felt like a perching princess many an occasion. I KNOW my smile looked very Miss America does riding, and with my horses fake tail and my extra red lips blah.. Who were we kidding lol

I wore enough Austrain Crystal to blind the judges, and pony and I went round and round in perfect harmony because, well, he'd done it a million times ;).

In dressage I could leave all of that behind, and actually be tested. Tested.

Who smiles while testing for any other area of their life? The association gives us directives so that we can show them our skills not our teeth.

Dancing has a theatrical element that requires such show of emotions (smiling, sadness, ect), but I have never agreed that the dressage sport should lean heavily towards the "arts".

I think FAR too much focus (on this board) is put on Freestyle, forgetting the REST and largest part of dressage... The levels and their various tests.

spirithorse
Dec. 25, 2010, 11:42 PM
Given a person should not be trying to 'strong arm' a horse in movements, nor should they hold the horse up instead of asking for true collection. If that is your point, I agree... However without adequate strength a rider is not able to control the seat/legs/back/upper body independently and therefore will FAIL in riding their horse properly. If we can not carry ourselves, how do we expect the horse to achieve self carriage?

I am a 6ft man weighing about 220 and I sure do not depend upon strength to school and ride dressage. I instead use quiet patient aids and repetitive schooling if necessary. As for core body strength being required for me to have a proper seat...well the muscles need to be supple not developed for strength.

Interesting what a 6 minute ride must look like from you??? If you think any unfit, untrained body can ride a 6 minute test without stamina- you're well... Unexperienced to say the least.

Never said anything about being unfit or untrained!!!!
Oh and least I forget....Agility....I want the rider to be 'supple' in the muscle structure so that the rider moves in unison with the horse, not bouncing in reaction to the horse.

supple:
1 b : readily adaptable or responsive to new situations

2 b : able to perform bending or twisting movements with ease
c : easy and fluent without stiffness or awkwardness

netg
Dec. 26, 2010, 12:06 AM
Who knew smiling while riding meant you are one of the following: a "Barbie Doll", an enemy of NOW, a supporter of female discrimination, and a male chauvinist who should have his teeth punched out! :eek:

I don't think you meant it that way, but most "smile!" comments are directed at women, and have a chauvinistic "women are supposed to smile and look pretty" bent to them. I took umbrage with you stating that, not because I thought you were trying to put women down, but because of the history of men treating me and other women as if we were showpieces who should stand around smiling, rather than fellow human beings. That's an insulting attitude, and it makes you telling a mostly female group of riders to smile have a similar type of reaction even though I very highly doubt you meant it that way. As I said earlier on the thread, I have the type of expression which looks angry by relaxed default, even though I'm not. Age is helping improve that, though - I actually LOVE laugh lines!


Agreed, people do definitely smile when they are alone...i actually laugh when i'm alone sometimes too if i think of something funny or hear something funny on the radio (the radio part could count as a social response). If smiling is a natural reaction when riding dressage...don't stifle it! We're just saying don't force it to blow butterflies up Mike Matson's butt ;)

I smile when alone all the time! I smiled when I read that line with a little giggle.

When I'm riding, my face is generally relaxed if I'm not kissing, clucking, etc. Sometimes that means I will smile - a particularly enthusiastic reach on an extension, nice sit at a downward transition, overly enthusiastic little buck - all make me smile if I don't outright laugh at them. I am still generally just relaxed with my naturally not overly happy looknig expression, because I'm not worrying about my expression. I have been in the top spot and within a few of it multiple times in equitation classes while doing breed shows -for those, the smile was intentional and kept concentration to maintain. It's simply not natural for me to smile like that.

At the same time - I adore watching Ashley Holzer ride with her huge smile. It makes me smile while watching!

spotted mustang
Dec. 26, 2010, 02:43 AM
okay, I concede - people DO smile when alone. My dog makes me smile too, and I smile reading this thread and while picturing luvmyditch & Mike in that bubble bath w. only a book between them...

...still, it's not the same. Those are still social interaction-smiles, be it with my dog or while socializing on the internet. When I'm in a prolonged state of bliss (riding, skiing, bubble bath,*rhymes w. mastication*...ya know) I'm pretty sure I don't just smile stupidly to myself.

citydog
Dec. 26, 2010, 04:37 AM
There's a huge difference between a big, fakey fake, saccharin smile slapped on purely for the benefit of the judge because you think you're supposed to and a genuinely pleasant expression that arises because you took a minute (or more :) ) to appreciate that you're physically/financially/logistically able to be riding a magnificent creature in the sport of your choice in the first place.

There are people with a focused "game face" and then there are people who look and *act* like they're hating every freakin' minute they're with or on their horses. They're pretty obviously different, and tend to lead to obviously different results


It is also true that the expression you put on your face affects your entire attitude and your muscular tension throughout your body. You cannot be relaxed and sensitive to the horse's cues if you are tight and grimacing in your face.

Yep.

.

alibi_18
Dec. 26, 2010, 08:48 AM
Oh and spirithorse...if you really don't think dressage is a "sport"...I'd LOVE to see a video of your riding! Please please please post a video i bet you are a SPECTACULAR rider!!!

SH has a website that shows a picture of himself riding in a truly supple way, the one over ground pole might be a perfect exemple of how much mild strength, no agility nor stamina can help one achieve good riding position and demonstrate fair amount of riding skills.

Actually, since dressage is not a sport and riders are not athletes then we can't consider dressage horses as athlete either...worst 'sport horse'.... Because really, what is a 6 minutes dressage test?

Damn, my horse is registered Canadian sporthorse!!! And we do dressage....so where should I register then? Canadian Smiling N' Prancing Horse?

sophie
Dec. 26, 2010, 09:01 AM
Well, on all my pro Hunter Pacing photos, I have a stoopid grin plastered on my face. I'm having so much fun. Dressage, I am usually wearing a neutral, pleasant expression, with the occasional laugh or grin when my fruitloop is acting up. Years of riding taught me that when something goes wrong, (as in, horse spooking and bucking during your dressage test) better smile about it, and move on, rather than make a big fuss.

ShannonLee
Dec. 26, 2010, 11:12 AM
I think a look of concentration is very normal when putting in the focus needed to ride a good dressage test.

I really hate a pasted on fake smile, similar to those in synchronized swimming. A real joyous smile can happen when your are riding - it has to me in the middle of a test - there's pictures to prove it! And I know exactly what I was thinking at the time - "Wow - this is really fun"!

mzm farm
Dec. 26, 2010, 01:41 PM
What a great reminder thread! My instructor once asked after a test why I was trying to scare the judge with my faces. It took me a while to get it, I was so tense and "focused", when I looked back on the pictures, I got her point.:eek::winkgrin:

Sitting trot can be very worthy of a grimace, esp. in the beginning:lol:

Jane Savoie
Dec. 26, 2010, 05:15 PM
Flame suit on...

Geez...I smile (and dance) a lot when I'm alone and something strikes me as funny (like my dog being adorable or tripping over my own feet).

My husband cracks me up. One his favorite sayings is: If you're happy, notify your face.

And I'm usually happy when I ride or compete (partly because I'm so grateful that I'm still able to do it at this crusty old age!).

...And I totally agree with Mike about the sports psychology aspect. Your physiology affects your emotions. If you look grim or intense, your body gets tense. That tension is transmitted to your horse.

When the muscles of your face are relaxed or you're smiling as opposed to looking intense and miserable, it also affects your entire body and, therefore, your horse.

And then there's the aesthetic aspect of dressage. A pleasant, joyful expression is more beautiful and pleasant to watch than a scowling, miserable rider...I like to think we're creating living art when we ride.

I'm not talking about a plastered on, fake grin. I'm talking about having a demeanor that comes from loving what you do.

luvmydutch
Dec. 26, 2010, 05:17 PM
Well if Jane thinks I should smile, i'm going to have to reconsider!

luvmydutch
Dec. 26, 2010, 05:30 PM
I think if you try to remember to smile in order to aid in relaxation, that is wonderful. My fear is that dressage judges will start to look for it, and honestly i don't want to feel like a barbie doll with the saccharin smile...ya know? I'm a member of Corporate America, and have to fight tooth and nail every day to be taken seriously by the male dominated Biotechnology industry. I would hate to feel my power taken away from me in my own hobby. JMO

Mike Matson
Dec. 26, 2010, 07:35 PM
Thank you Jane for weighing in on the topic. If anyone knows sports psychology in our sport, it's you! :)

Gestalt
Dec. 26, 2010, 09:44 PM
There's a huge difference between a big, fakey fake, saccharin smile slapped on purely for the benefit of the judge because you think you're supposed to and a genuinely pleasant expression that arises because you took a minute (or more :) ) to appreciate that you're physically/financially/logistically able to be riding a magnificent creature in the sport of your choice in the first place.

There are people with a focused "game face" and then there are people who look and *act* like they're hating every freakin' minute they're with or on their horses. They're pretty obviously different, and tend to lead to obviously different results

Yep. .

Exactly, why are so many people getting the impression you have to have a big, toothy grin on your face. Just putting a very, very small smile on your lips makes your face look nicer and keeps you from clenching the jaw.

Velvet
Dec. 27, 2010, 09:32 AM
I don't think I've seen a more insipid subject out here. Seriously? Smile? If all you're doing is smiling the ENTIRE ride, then you're not working and focused. Do you smile when things are going well and when you can sit and just enjoy parts of your ride? Yes. Smiling like a moron for the whole ride is a silly thing to ask anyone to do.

Strictly Classical
Dec. 27, 2010, 09:40 AM
Thanks for posting this Mike - I have come late to this party, and have skimmed the majority of posts. How sad are the reflections of many! :(

As a lover of dressage, and a perfectionist at heart, I can be as guilty as the next dressage rider of having that fixed, focused facial expressions when I am engrossed in deep thought/reflection/trying to feel the moment. Many times I find that having that "fixed" mental mind-set results in me carrying tension throughout my body. My body can become too "still" and I am losing the opportunity to remain relaxed, flexible, and letting the horse's movements flow through my body. I am inhibiting my own feeling of the horse which is so critical. On top of that, I ride a very sensitive ARAB MARE which picks up on all my tension, no matter how small. Tension is manifest in both of our bodies.

I have actually been GREATLY BLESSED, I think, to have had two WONDERFUL trainers to ride with since beginning my dressage journey that PROMOTE laughing, that work HUMOR into their lessons when things may not progress as planned. I have also had the pleasure of riding with FEI level clinicians who preach the power of positive thought and energy. One such person, by the end of our lessons, had me so on top of the world that I was smiling from ear to ear cantering the horse from pure joy! Trust me folks, it was NOT a plastic, plastered smile I was wearing on my face! It was utter, pure joy because this person helped me to feel truly ALIVE AND AT ONE WITH MY HORSE! :D

Deep down, I have struggled with fear issues at canter for years. It is the one gait where tension creeps in to my detriment. This summer I rode with an FEI trainer reknown for being very "business-like" and serious. This trainer had me canter the horse more FORWARD that I had ever dared to do before; he really pushed me out and beyond that comfort zone. The result - was pure BLISS. Once again, I was riding astride that horse smiling from ear to ear and laughing with joy. It was amazing how much better the horse went for me. It is one of those rare moments that I will remember all my life. I have to hold on to the memory of that kind of joy. This trainer, later shared with our mutual friend who is also our vet, that he ENJOYED teaching me and my mare. So, I can't help but think that good trainers feed off their students' positive reactions and joy.

That kind of joy is what we should feel when we ride - it doesn't matter if its for pleasure, for lessons/clinics, training at home, or for competition. Lord people, this is not brain surgery. Dressage is not akin to someone having cancer! We should keep things in perspective.

I hope we all ride and work with horses because it taps something deep inside of each of us, and beings us great pleasure. If it truly makes us happy, then we should let the work know about it! :)

Ok - off soap box now! I'm going to go see my horse ( I may not ride as there is a foot of snow on the arena, at the moment), but I will love her and look forward to riding her soon WITH A GREAT BIG SMILE ON MY FACE! She brings me JOY, and I should have a GRATEFUL heart. ;)

Carol O
Dec. 27, 2010, 07:24 PM
I had a little horse crazy kid, almost 4 yo, out to ride my horse a couple of days ago. I put her on my 25yo DWB FEI schoolmaster on the longe, and even when only walking, she was lit up like a Christmas tree. There was not only a smile, but pure joy radiating from her. I then put her in the saddle with me and while we trotted to passage to collected canter, she giggled the entire time (especially in the leaping passage-cc transitions). Her joy made me smile and laugh too.

Many times when I am riding, working and really concentrating, I am told I look angry. I am not angry, but just really concentrating. I admit. a glance to the mirror reveals an expression on me that sometimes scares me. I need to be more like the small child, enveloped in the pure joy riding a wonderful horse offer.

PS. I still remember the couple I met in Lincoln Park at Foster beach in the early 60's. He had a palomino and she a chestnut. The trailered in to ride the bridle paths (when there were bridle paths there). They let me pet their horses and talked to me about them. I am sure I smiled too on that day long ago.

Denali Does
Dec. 27, 2010, 08:14 PM
Do you smile when things are going well and when you can sit and just enjoy parts of your ride? Yes. Smiling like a moron for the whole ride is a silly thing to ask anyone to do.

Yes, we all smile when it's going well but some of us smile when it's not. Not because were happy but because sometimes it's goofy things going wrong or because we are trying so hard that it's almost funny how hard we are trying and we need to keep it simple.

I don't know about the rest of you but I too tend to try way to hard and concentrate my brains out.:winkgrin: It's hard work but I think if we try to make things a little lighter in general with a genuine smile this will translate to our horses and we may start seeing happier horses in the ring. We all want that.

A forced smile is not the answer. I think what Mike was trying to relay was not "Smile Ladies" I think he was trying to say . . . Dressage is not a life or death endeavor, it's a sport and we should enjoy it and not loose sight of this.

ThreeFigs
Dec. 28, 2010, 12:37 AM
I don't know, some of these smiles are looking an awful lot like thinly disguised insanity...

I have some competition photos showing that very thing! My friends know it's not thinly disguised, though. It's real, unadulterated, undisguised insanity.

ThreeFigs
Dec. 28, 2010, 12:56 AM
Don't tell me to smile unless you want to be spitting out your teeth.

Thanks for the laugh, Jocko!

I too don't like to be TOLD to smile. I smile plenty when the mood is right. Hence the maniac grinning I do when riding an overenthusiastic medium canter down the long side.

I also agree with the point Denali makes about smiling at the goofy things that can happen during a test. Another reason I smile a lot. Goofy things are ALWAYS happening...

Oberon13
Dec. 28, 2010, 12:02 PM
I'm so glad Jane chimed in on this topic. At a convention last year for riding instructors, she mentioned something she does as she begins a test. As she rides along the outside of the arena, waiting for the judge's signal, she lets herself feel grateful for having a chance to do all that she does. Look at us! We get to "play horse" into our adult lives. We get to lay our heads on soft shoulders, peel horse hair off our dryer filters, pull on breeches and well-worn boots, dig dirt from under our finger nails...and we get to put our left foot in a stirrup and swing up on an animal that thousands of folks would just love to get close enough to to touch. We are LUCKY!! So, I'm glad Jane mentioned that it's about a demeanor much more than an outward expression that is fake and manufactured.

Entering at A, I always make sure I have a calm, sure look on my face (and that I'm breathing all the way down to the saddle). Then, I ride my test without really thinking about my face...until the final center line and halt. I always smile there because first of all, we made it! We didn't get eliminated or fall or crash! Second, I smile because I just got to share my horse with someone else....and, I smile because I truly am sincerely grateful to the judge for taking his/her time to sit and watch my test.

And, while I won't go so far as Elf ("Smiling's my favorite!"), I truly do believe that a soft, pleasant countenance goes far in changing the way I perceive the world, not the way the world perceives me.

Ja Da Dee
Dec. 28, 2010, 12:14 PM
Good Lord, every time I see my horse, let alone ride him, I'm grateful. Every minute of every ride, even when he is being naughty, I'm happy as a little clam. I just don't smile when I'm seriously thinking, I don't grimace either. Maybe it is a Myers Briggs thing, I'm an INTJ.

sadlmakr
Dec. 28, 2010, 12:21 PM
Any time I can ride it is pure joy for me.
SO if I am a grinning idiot, please bear with me!
This reminds me of Auntie Mame. One line in that film I just love. I try to keep it in mind. "Life is a banquet and most poor fools are starving to death".
Anything horse oriented is a reason for joy.
Have a great 2011!
Kind regards, sadlmakr

MLD
Dec. 28, 2010, 12:47 PM
I'm so glad Jane chimed in on this topic. At a convention last year for riding instructors, she mentioned something she does as she begins a test. As she rides along the outside of the arena, waiting for the judge's signal, she lets herself feel grateful for having a chance to do all that she does. Look at us! We get to "play horse" into our adult lives. We get to lay our heads on soft shoulders, peel horse hair off our dryer filters, pull on breeches and well-worn boots, dig dirt from under our finger nails...and we get to put our left foot in a stirrup and swing up on an animal that thousands of folks would just love to get close enough to to touch. We are LUCKY!! So, I'm glad Jane mentioned that it's about a demeanor much more than an outward expression that is fake and manufactured.

Entering at A, I always make sure I have a calm, sure look on my face (and that I'm breathing all the way down to the saddle). Then, I ride my test without really thinking about my face...until the final center line and halt. I always smile there because first of all, we made it! We didn't get eliminated or fall or crash! Second, I smile because I just got to share my horse with someone else....and, I smile because I truly am sincerely grateful to the judge for taking his/her time to sit and watch my test.

And, while I won't go so far as Elf ("Smiling's my favorite!"), I truly do believe that a soft, pleasant countenance goes far in changing the way I perceive the world, not the way the world perceives me.

Best post of 2010. This one I am keeping because everyday that I spend with my horse, I feel like the luckiest woman around even though I may not always have a smile on my face.

raff
Dec. 28, 2010, 04:30 PM
'Some' of these smiles look like used car salesmen !

purplnurpl
Dec. 28, 2010, 05:35 PM
I'm tired of seeing frowns, grimaces, tightened lips, and grinchful expressions when dressage people ride.

For Pete's sake, look up and forward and SMILE!

Your horse will feel it and love it! You will transform yourself into a confident rider. Your instructor will be in awe! Other riders around you will pick up your positive vibes and they will smile!

Come on folks, DO IT!

are you serious?
riding takes concentration.
If you have time to throw a fat grin out there then you need a more challenging mount.

I have seen people throw on the fake smile at shows and it looks ridiculous.

Bronte
Dec. 28, 2010, 06:02 PM
I have not read all of this, but find the topic interesting! I have lots of really 'ugly face' riding pix! And some softer face. I totally agree that when we are relaxed and smiling we are softer as riders, and our horses respond!

Don't know if it has been mentioned yet, but Ashley Holtzer always makes eye contact with judges, and smiles. And truly, Ashley and Poppy have harmony in spades!

So, I totally agree. Let our new year be full of letting go, and smiling!:cool:

Happy New Year to All!

Mike Matson
Dec. 28, 2010, 06:12 PM
riding takes concentration.
If you have time to throw a fat grin out there then you need a more challenging mount.


Tell that to Ashley Holtzer. :lol:

Denali Does
Dec. 28, 2010, 09:18 PM
Bronte: Thanks for mentioning the catching the judges eye. I think I'm going to try that next show. That just seems like it will remind me to look up and enjoy my ride. Thanks.!

ripper
Feb. 2, 2011, 12:32 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Matson
"I'm tired of seeing frowns, grimaces, tightened lips, and grinchful expressions when dressage people ride.

For Pete's sake, look up and forward and SMILE!

Your horse will feel it and love it! You will transform yourself into a confident rider. Your instructor will be in awe! Other riders around you will pick up your positive vibes and they will smile!"


----------------------------------------------------
That is a downright ridiculous and useless observation. I have been to a ton of top level clinics, Conrad Schumacher, Jan Brink, Robert Dover, ... and none of them gave instructions on facial expressions. Instructions included Looking up and relaxing your body and toning and flexing yes, but facial expressions - geez - another stupid comment "MEN" make to women - what a sexist. Why don't you go play football with the boys and smile pretty for them while you do to show them how much fun you are having?

Quibbler
Feb. 2, 2011, 01:01 AM
That is a downright ridiculous and useless observation. I have been to a ton of top level clinics, Conrad Schumacher, Jan Brink, Robert Dover, ... and none of them gave instructions on facial expressions. Instructions included Looking up and relaxing your body and toning and flexing yes, but facial expressions - geez - another stupid comment "MEN" make to women - what a sexist. Why don't you go play football with the boys and smile pretty for them while you do to show them how much fun you are having?

Why don't you tone down the hostility and realize that Mike has a point? It is well documented that your facial expressions correspond to your emotions, and the receptors that translate the signals to your brain will make you feel more positively (facial feedback is the psychological term, if you want to read more upon it). Smiling might help you relax and feel more positive emotions, and avoid negative tension.

ETA: I think smiling is also more important in equestrianism than other sports is because of the close bond between horse and rider. My horse feeds off my body language and so it becomes a cycle of tension that only escalates, and the only response that can diffuse the situation is my own relaxation. This direct correlation between one athlete's tension and another's cannot be rivaled by any other sport.

CarCat
Feb. 2, 2011, 04:21 AM
I usually am NOT smiling when I ride a test, purely because I'm trying not to laugh. I laugh out loud all the time when I'm riding - cross country, jumpers, dressage, trails, whatever. I always thought it was bad form to laugh in the dressage ring though? :)

And to whoever said that you don't see ski jumpers smiling when they compete - its cause you can't see their faces under the helmets! As an ex- competitive skiier, I can tell you I ran every single run with an earsplitting grin, and I still giggle to this day while i ski. Its fun! And it never interfered with my kicking the boy's arses down the hill.

Stoney447
Feb. 2, 2011, 04:44 AM
Athlete : a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games "requiring" physical strength, agility, or stamina

Dressage riders are not athletes!
Dressage does not require strength, agility or stamina.
In fact, the rider should not be using strength to control the horse.
In fact, the rider should not demonstrate agility but rather suppleness.
In fact, a 6 minute dressage ride does not require any stamina.

Event riders/showjumpers are athletes!
On the otherhand, eventing and show jumping requires that a rider have stamina, agility and strength

I know I am supposed to just ignore posts like this but WHAAAAT????
I guess I am stuck at the part where there is a total difference between a dressage rider and a showjumper. Coming from the jumping world, I quite resent the fact that you think I am so far removed from the ideals of dressage (the foundation of my sport) that I have to somehow athletically bend my horse's will to my own and muscle my way around the course. I work 5 days a week in the dressage ring to make my horse light on the forehand, supple, through the back,ect to make my courses ride like a dressage test with jumps. Dressage, like jumping, is a sport that requires stamina, agility, and strength. Apparently you are one of those people who just "sits" on thier horse and calls it riding.

Now back to smiling! Definitly pro-smiling, as long as someone isnt trying to force me to XD

Bogey2
Feb. 2, 2011, 06:54 AM
stoney, it's amazing what those who have never DONE jumpers or dressage think about things. Jumpers know about rocking their horse back and keeping the horse in the outside rein which helps when you have to get straight in to a jump.
As for being athletic, my trainer rides 8 horses a day, a lot of them upper level. She has rock solid abs and a very strong core.

As for the smiling, I worry more about breathing and feeling.:lol:

Velvet
Feb. 2, 2011, 09:20 AM
Who revised this steaming heap of a topic? :lol: Still haven't seen riders with smiles pasted on their faces based on this one. :lol:

Nvr2old
Feb. 2, 2011, 09:50 PM
I don't know how it translates for dressage judges, but, I offer the following story. 10 lbs and 10 years ago I had the wonderful experience of competing in a national level pro-am ballroom dance competition. My pro and I were thrilled to make the "short round". We placed third overall. Quite a feat, as it was my first year competing. Later that evening, in the niteclub (competition was at Luxor in Las Vegas) when we all went out to dance, I ran into one of the judges. I asked him (ok, had some "wine courage" going) howinthehell we managed to medal. His response, which I have never forgotten.... "The two of you were not technically the most perfect, or even close. You were, however, completely transported and joyful, the minute the music started, it was impossible not to be moved by your performance". I am a good rider and enjoy it a great deal. I am a wonderful and passionate dancer - if you feel wonder and passion in your ride, let it show (anyone who does not believe me hasn't seen the video of Fuego's freestyle at WEG - now there was a rider who enjoyed every minute). Yes, it's hard work, but it should always be joyful. You are blessed to have an equine partner who gives you spirit and heart in their performance. Celebrate it and let it show.

Catie79
Feb. 2, 2011, 10:05 PM
Does giggling during my test count? Because that was the only valid reply to my mare deciding for an 'exuberant' canter depart. What else was I going to do, get mad? Life's too short, and she was clearly having a good time.

And sticking my tongue out at anyone reminding me to breathe (something I am reminded of frequently). I dread the day a photographer catches that.

If no one's enjoying it, why compete? I know my horse appreciates it when I breathe, relax, and smile. Sure, it's hard work, but it's hard work we enjoy. I want everyone to know how proud I am of my horse. And if she's being a wretch? Eh, I'll smile anyway and fake it. Getting mad will just make it worse. Besides, frowning and looking down locks up my position.

Sorry to disrupt the conversation with an answer to the topic at hand.