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SpotznStripes
Jan. 24, 2011, 03:37 AM
And perhaps I am confused about the point of dressage...I love the challenge of riding anxious, uptight horses and getting them to relax and carry themselves with as little tension as possible. I was taught the forward seat and still find it to be the best seat for working with an uptight horse although I'll admit it may just be because I have 20 years experience riding hunt seat and only 2 years attempting to develop a balanced seat.

In classical dressage you use a balanced seat to ideally get the horse to thrust his hindquarters under him and elevate the forehand. But if the horse's head is raised, how can he raise his back/ribcage? And how does digging your seatbones into his back and putting the bulk of your weight towards the center of his back which has less weight-bearing support from his front/hindquarters going to help? I can attest that the rider is most secure in this position but is this really best for the horse? Horses are not designed to carry our weight either way, but wouldn't it better to shift it slightly forward to the shoulder which is designed to carry weight? And what's wrong with riding with a shorter stirrup and closing your hip angle which essentially helps absorb the shock of your weight (through your knees) and keeps it off the horse's back- wouldnt this be best for getting a horse to raise it's back and stretch through its topline?

I guess my bigger question is, in upper level dressage you are asking for movements that require an extreme amount of tension on the part of the horse (a horse at play is tense...so is a spooked horse doing a passage of his own free will). But if I don't want my horse to be tense, shouldnt I be riding with a seat that encourages the horse to stretch its head down (RELAXED) and raise its back up? And wouldn't this be the lightest seat possible?

alicen
Jan. 24, 2011, 05:34 AM
...I love the challenge of riding anxious, uptight horses and getting them to relax and carry themselves with as little tension as possible.

Then here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTIyzybTYP0

Petstorejunkie
Jan. 24, 2011, 07:22 AM
in short (because I don't have alot of time ATM to answer all those questions) you haven't gone down the rabbit hole yet, you haven't taken the red or blue pill yet. :cool:
you may never really go down that dressage tunnel, but when you do, all your answers will be revealed, and you will have been awakened.

carolprudm
Jan. 24, 2011, 08:37 AM
<SNIP> And how does digging your seatbones into his back and putting the bulk of your weight towards the center of his back which has less weight-bearing support from his front/hindquarters going to help?

DON'T DO THAT You should be sitting balanced on your seatbones but NOT trying to drive them into your horse's belly button Your weight should be distributed on your seat knees and thighs

<SNIP>

And what's wrong with riding with a shorter stirrup and closing your hip angle which essentially helps absorb the shock of your weight (through your knees) and keeps it off the horse's back- wouldnt this be best for getting a horse to raise it's back and stretch through its topline?

Many people think that if they lenghten their stirrups as long as possible and stretch their legs down as far as they can go (usually hollowing their back and often tipping onto their crotch) they are "riding dressage" Google some of the tup riders and you can see they have shorter stirrup leather than you might think. Here's one to start with
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgYsghdSARc (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgYsghdSARc)

Even though I had an absolutely HORRIBLE experience in MAry Wanless clinics I have found her books are good. Try Ride with your Mind Essentials


I guess my bigger question is, in upper level dressage you are asking for movements that require an extreme amount of tension on the part of the horse (a horse at play is tense...so is a spooked horse doing a passage of his own free will). But if I don't want my horse to be tense, shouldnt I be riding with a seat that encourages the horse to stretch its head down (RELAXED) and raise its back up? And wouldn't this be the lightest seat possible?

Ideally in a working gait the long axis of the horse's body is more or less parallel to the ground. In piaffe, passage and canter pirouettes (which I have never ridden, mind you, just observed) the horse flexes the joints of his hind legs more which tilts the axis of the horse's body so the head is raised. The back should be up, certainly not hollow, but it is the lowering of the rear that brings the front up
I think you are equating nervous tension with athletic tension which is probably better described as tone or resilliance. A totally relaxed muscle or body can't move.

dwblover
Jan. 24, 2011, 08:42 AM
If you have never truly devoted yourself to the art of dressage then you will have trouble understanding. There is not enough time in the world to explain all the nuances of dressage to you, plus they really have to be felt anyway. But did want to say, we are certainly not digging our seatbones into the horses back. And we are not lifting their heads. The dressage seat is a following seat that helps to direct the energy from the hind legs.

You say you like riding in a half seat, but where does the energy from your leg go? In a half seat you must resort to your hands to direct the energy. I can use my back, stomach, and buttock muscles to direct my horse without ever even closing a fist. My horse has muscular tension when we do harder movements, but certainly not mental tension. Yes, some top horses do get tense in a test, but the venues these horses are being ridden in are truly electric. I doubt you have ridden in anything like that so it is pretty tough to judge them.

And also, the horse's head comes up BECAUSE the croup lowers, the hind legs flex, and the back rounds. You have to look at the horse behind the saddle, not just obsess about headset. I could go on forever but unless you feel these things they won't make much sense to you. But if you do feel them (correctly) then you might just swallow that pill pestorejunkie was talking about, LOL!

LarkspurCO
Jan. 24, 2011, 10:36 AM
Horses are not designed to carry our weight either way, but wouldn't it better to shift it slightly forward to the shoulder which is designed to carry weight?

Actually, the goal is to teach the horse to carry more of its weight on the hindquarters and lighten the forehand -- ultimately.

Leaning onto the horse's shoulders doesn't help with this endeavor.

Sunsets
Jan. 24, 2011, 01:08 PM
I think a short answer to that is what my instructor constantly tells me:

"She can't learn to carry herself until you learn to carry yourself."

And that means that I have to learn to do everything through my core. And the dressage seat is, ideally, balanced over the center of the horse. If you're both in balance, then it's going to be easier to get the back up and the muscles working. But it takes lots and lots of time to develop that.

So, yeah, a horse with a weaker back and hind end is going to prefer a posting trot at first, but as horse and rider gain strength, it's easier to communicate by sitting everything.

EasyStreet
Jan. 24, 2011, 01:27 PM
Seems to me you may have been looking at the wrong example of what a dressage horse should look like while being influenced by the riders seat and aids in general. Hopefully the few examples of Steffan Peters provided by the previous posters will enlighten you. If not watch a few of the late Dr. Reiner Klemke"s videos and you will be inspired! Unfortunately, as in any discipline, there are good examples and bad examples. Your own journey will determine which one you will become If you adhere to the training scale and you and your horse have the talent you will see just how one principle builds on the other and that if you DON'T proceed on BEFORE your horse has confirmed ALL the requirements of the previous level, the soft, supple and relaxed horse that masters like Dr. Klemke and S Peters are obtainable! It's is a journey not too appealing to the hasty!

CZF
Jan. 24, 2011, 01:28 PM
You seem to not be understanding the mechanics of how a dressage horse and rider move together. It's an amazing feeling and not forced or heavy as it seems to appear to you.

I hope that you will continue your dressage journey with an open mind. I think if/when you are so fortunate to feel everything click together between you and the horse, you will understand what everyone has posted here. I hope you have to opportunity to ride a well trained forgiving mount at least once so you can start to get an idea of what everyone is talking about.

I started out as a hunter rider, and I will never go back. I remember that first "AHA!" moment - I was doing shoulder-in and suddenly the horse started to move so effortlessly, like a ship's sail that caught a strong breeze. I was hooked. The amazing feeling you get when everything comes together is almost impossible to put into words, it just suddenly feels so easy and natural and suddenly you're dancing together.

suzier444
Jan. 24, 2011, 02:09 PM
I'm not an expert but theoretically, you should have a strong core and very flexible hips that allow your pelvis to MOVE with the motion of the horse, so the pressure you apply to the back is more like a light massage than a jackhammer into the back. And if you have a good seat, you can use that light massage as an additional way to communicate with your horse. If it works properly, from what I can tell in the few milliseconds where I don't screw it up, then you feel like you and the horse are melted into one, moving entirely in sync and responding to each other in harmony. It really does feel amazing.

I think the stirrup length preference is related to hip mobility as well. We don't want or need to absorb all of it through the knees if our hips are working properly with the horse.

I'm a former hunter and spent a lot of time on the lunge learning the balanced seat. It really does work for the kind of motion you're trying to get in dressage and for the collection you're attempting to achieve over time.

That said, in my experience, it is WAY harder to acheve a correct balanced seat with open and fluid hips that move correctly with the horse than it is to achieve a correct forward seat. Although that may be in part when I learned the forward seat (in my youth) or due to my body type.

eta: and this is a process that takes time to get to...starting with posting at training level/on young horses, etc.

Velvet
Jan. 24, 2011, 02:17 PM
... you haven't gone down the rabbit hole yet, you haven't taken the red or blue pill yet. :cool:
you may never really go down that dressage tunnel, but when you do, all your answers will be revealed, and you will have been awakened.

This is so true! :lol:

Here are some short answers that still will be confusingn to the OP until they decide which pill to swallow. ;)


In classical dressage you use a balanced seat to ideally get the horse to thrust his hindquarters under him and elevate the forehand. But if the horse's head is raised, how can he raise his back/ribcage?

The horse has been taught at this point to not thrust his hindquarters under him to elevate the forehand, but to carry more weight on his hindlegs. Think about how a horse looks coming to a fence. He doesn't stay on his forehand and hurle himself at the jump. Instead, he comes to the fence and lifts his forehand, sending the weight back on his haunches. This automatically elevates the front end of the horse, including his head and neck. Same thing, different scale and different approach to teaching it (meaning there are no jumps involved and you shift a lot less weight to the back end than for a jump).


And how does digging your seatbones into his back and putting the bulk of your weight towards the center of his back which has less weight-bearing support from his front/hindquarters going to help?

Oh, honey, you need a real dressage instructor if you think that part of dressage is digging your seat bones into a horses back. You do not sit hard on your seat bones. In fact, part of all the discussions on activating your core out here are to help people have a following seat. In the H/J world you do not follow, you ride up over everything. In dressage, you sit on the horse with a soft, following seat that allows for the back muscles to come up, and also uses slight weight changes to complete a more subtle chain of communication between horse and rider.

Horses are not designed to carry our weight either way, but wouldn't it better to shift it slightly forward to the shoulder which is designed to carry weight?

As for sitting hard and leaning back, etc., you are not doing this. Once again, think about jumping. What happens if you get out ahead of your horse at the base of a fence? You've thrown your weight over it's forehand. True, you have a more forward upper body postion, but your weight remains over your seat, which also remained centered over the horses's center of gravity. Since we have shifted the horse's center of gravity back in that more "crouched" feeling position, we need to stay upright and back over that center to help maintain the horse's balance.


And what's wrong with riding with a shorter stirrup and closing your hip angle which essentially helps absorb the shock of your weight (through your knees) and keeps it off the horse's back- wouldnt this be best for getting a horse to raise it's back and stretch through its topline?

[i] Once again, this is where a following seat comes into play. You have a seat that is currently perched over the horse. While you are not interferring, you are not helping, nor do you have the subtle communication that can be accomplished with a soft, following seat that is in perfect balance over the horse's center of gravity.

Hurry up...swallow the pill. ;)

SpotznStripes
Jan. 24, 2011, 09:16 PM
You say you like riding in a half seat, but where does the energy from your leg go? In a half seat you must resort to your hands to direct the energy. I can use my back, stomach, and buttock muscles to direct my horse without ever even closing a fist. .

I absolutely agree, its tough to do lateral work with a forward seat. I think what I am getting out of all of this is that your seat should depend on what you are trying to accomplish. I still find that green horses go better for me with a forward seat (it may just be because that is what I am better at so I ride better this way). But then again, I'm just focusing on the basics with a green horse, and prefer a light seat where I am above the horse and interfering with them as little as possible. However, I wonder if novice riders should ride with a forward seat too...I saw a clinic at the md horse expo where a very bouncy balanced seat rider was asked to demonstrate the forward seat to show how badly it would affect the horse, not surprisingly when she got off the horse's back, he moved much better, even the clinician admitted to it. But I guess everyone has to learn.


And also, the horse's head comes up BECAUSE the croup lowers, the hind legs flex, and the back rounds....

Only thing I don't get: But when a horse jumps (and rounds his back) his head is lowered?

Velvet
Jan. 24, 2011, 09:27 PM
I think we're feeding a jumper troll....

:eek:

alibi_18
Jan. 24, 2011, 09:44 PM
I think we're feeding a jumper troll....

:eek:

Ditto this!

Hunter rules, I do dressage and hunter with the same horse, but for someone who claim having more than 20yrs of riding behind the belt, I don't believe you don't understand nothing about dressage...Even while training for the hunter ring, my BN hunter trainer have me sit in my cc saddle, collect my horse, go thru its back...

Are you trying to say that from the beginning of the dressages ages, riders have been wrong? And all the old and now modern
masters are wrong?

Or I don't understand what you are looking for as an answer...

mjhco
Jan. 24, 2011, 10:03 PM
Don't feed the troll

dwblover
Jan. 24, 2011, 10:06 PM
To the OP, yes, in a correct bascule over a fence a horse does indeed lower and stretch his head and neck. He lifts it at the base of the fence, but watch a great jumper in the air. They do indeed round the back and the head and neck should stretch forward, down, and out as long as the rider is not restricting the head with the hand.

Young or green horses can sometimes prefer a half seat to sitting because they have not been TAUGHT how to relax their back muscles and freely stretch forward, down, and out. Yes, they must be taught how to do this. Once they have relaxed their back muscles they will be ready for a rider with a GOOD SEAT. This means totally following, educated in weight distribution, and NOT bouncing. Yes, some dressage riders bounce, and no, they are not riding dressage correctly. They do not yet have the pelvic, spine, and hip flexibility to sit correctly. They are also lacking in core stability. Only hours and hours of lunge line lessons with a gifted teacher can give them the gift of a following seat. Once that gift is attained, the art of dressage is opened to us.

*I don't think the OP is rude enough to be a troll, LOL!!!*

SpotznStripes
Jan. 24, 2011, 10:13 PM
Haha, no, I have a tendency to play devil's advocate, believe it or not I've been thinking of taking up dressage for years as even tho I haven't taken many lessons with dressage trainers, I've been riding long enough that I keep getting a sense that that "uphill feel" where the horse is lightly in your hand but engaged beneath you is possible. I think I'm just obsessed with how to be both light in your hand and your seat and what makes your horse happiest (again, I like the challenge of working with the anxious ones...TB lover here). I'm just going to have to figure this out the old fashioned way and delve into the overwhelming number of books on the topic so I understand the dynamics! Thanks for the suggestions that have been made thus far!

alg0181
Jan. 24, 2011, 10:16 PM
*I don't think the OP is rude enough to be a troll, LOL!!!*

Well, she could be a really good troll. ;)

If not:

OP, keep an open mind. I ride hunters currently and have never ever had real dressage training, but...I still use a lot of the principles on the hunters. I don't ride around in half seat all the time and neither should you. I do lots of bending, collection/extension, etc. Driving energy through the bridle. Sometimes I even drop my stirrups (gasp) and sit deep and rhythmically drive with the inside leg. You would be surprised how much lighter and more balanced even the hunters get ;)

dwblover
Jan. 24, 2011, 10:17 PM
It is a true "brain sport". I love that aspect about it. Out of every part of my body, my mind works the hardest when I ride dressage. I think you have potential to get hooked, LOL! And I am a fellow TB lover, I'm taking my OTTB out to his first recognized show at first level next month. So don't worry, even the TBs can learn to absolutely love a sitting, following seat.

Equine Obsession
Jan. 24, 2011, 10:19 PM
For a visual of the balanced seat and its purpose, these links on the biomechanics of dressage helped me out.
Aids/on the bit (http://nicholnl.wcp.muohio.edu/DingosBreakfastClub/BioMech/BioMechonthebit.html)

Balanced seat (http://nicholnl.wcp.muohio.edu/DingosBreakfastClub/BioMech/SpiralSeat2.html)

You can click on the pictures in the links for a closer look. Others have summarized the whys and wherefores pretty succinctly.

Petstorejunkie
Jan. 25, 2011, 07:21 AM
.
Only thing I don't get: But when a horse jumps (and rounds his back) his head is lowered?
:eek: and you jump? go open ANY video of anyone jumping any real height, watch the final 3 strides to the jump and tell me that horse's head lowers. Even if they aren't trained to jump, they will do that because of how their eyeballs are situated in their skull and how their vision and depth perception works.

alibi_18
Jan. 25, 2011, 07:54 AM
:eek: and you jump? go open ANY video of anyone jumping any real height, watch the final 3 strides to the jump and tell me that horse's head lowers. Even if they aren't trained to jump, they will do that because of how their eyeballs are situated in their skull and how their vision and depth perception works.

I think she means the horse lower its head during the flying phase of the jump...but still, she is a troll...

SpotznStripes
Jan. 25, 2011, 09:37 AM
Correct Alibi, but if you are going to call me a troll do you at least have a response? When a horse rounds its back to an extreme - another example would be bucking, their heads go down not up. But see, I am understanding now that the goal in upper level dressage is to control tension in many respects...control the movement that a horse at play exhibits -that explosive energy - which is not relaxed! At the begining stages, you of course start by asking the green horse for more relaxation and allow the horse to carry its head lower...all I was initially interested in was determining what seat encourages the horse to round its back and relax the most, and I was thinking if you stay up off their backs it would encourage them to round their backs and lower their head more...but then you lose that close connection that you'll need to develop for the upper level stuff. Sorry if my questions are pathetically obvious, but better to ask dumb questions when you can still say you are new to something then later down the line!

Velvet
Jan. 25, 2011, 09:46 AM
The Devil's Advocate is well educated in the topic they are discussing and can have a discourse that is non-combative. Trolling accusations happen when you are deliberately provoking and attacking. You might want to reread your initial post. It was a direct attack on dressage and stating that it was incorrect--without any solid understanding of the topic at hand and the mechanics for both horse and rider.

Just a thought you might want to consider...

alibi_18
Jan. 25, 2011, 09:49 AM
Because what you are talking about just doesn't make any sense...and so no, your questions aren't obvious...
How can you compare a bucking horse, a jumping horse and a dressage horse?!? A horse can be 'round', relax and thru its back no matter how the rider is sitting...no matter its 'frame' or head carriage...
And I mean from good riding here! No hollow back, inverted neck and bouncing rider!

carolprudm
Jan. 25, 2011, 10:34 AM
Correct Alibi, but if you are going to call me a troll do you at least have a response? When a horse rounds its back to an extreme - another example would be bucking, their heads go down not up.

As excplained earlier the front end goes UP because the hind end goes DOWN There is a huge difference between a horse raising his head because his back is hollow and tense and a horse who is flexinf the juints of his hind end

But see, I am understanding now that the goal in upper level dressage is to control tension in many respects...control the movement that a horse at play exhibits -that explosive energy - which is not relaxed!
A totally relaxed horse would be lying on the ground limp and unable to move!
Muscles need to contract or tense in order for a body to move.
At the begining stages, you of course start by asking the green horse for more relaxation and allow the horse to carry its head lower...all I was initially interested in was determining what seat encourages the horse to round its back and relax the most, and I was thinking if you stay up off their backs it would encourage them to round their backs and lower their head more...but then you lose that close connection that you'll need to develop for the upper level stuff. Sorry if my questions are pathetically obvious, but better to ask dumb questions when you can still say you are new to something then later down the line!

While it is true that you should not try to sit on a stiff horse just staying up off a horse's back alone will not encourage him to give his back and start to relax and swing. Why should it if he can just keep on keeping on the same old way? That is the reason we do things like circles and transitions and hills and caveletti and even (gasp) lunge with APPROPRIATE length side reins.

And FWIW most of us try to make things as comfortable as possible for the horse with proper care, THEIR prefered bit, saddle fit, etc. because depending on the horse if one thing doesn't meet THEIR specs things can go sour in a hurry

(Owner of the world's pickiest gelding who required his saddle to be refit every 3 months)

ETA:You are confusing (perhaps deliberetly?) mental tension with athletic effort. We are asking our horses for athletic effort, which does require them to use (appropriatly tense)their muscles but to remain mentally calm and focused

SpotznStripes
Jan. 25, 2011, 10:50 AM
yes, I know I am ignorant, thats why I'm here. I am obsessed with determining what is most comfortable for the horse, and I think my problem is that I'm always working with green horses that I'm not convinced are aided with a deep seat, I guess what frustrates me is that dressage trainers are constantly putting the concept of the "forward seat" down, implying that it is always incorrect when there are positive applications...specifically in relation to the anatomy of a horse (which again is not designed to carry our weight). OK, this is what I was getting at:

http://www.schleese.com/documents/FUNCTIONAL%20ANATOMY%20OF%20THE%20HORSE.pdf

"When using a light seat, the rider additionally sits as far forward as possible, with a forward upper body, in order to
keep the load force as small as possible. The light seat is always a big topic in my seminars. I believe that it’s not used enough in modern dressage training. Commonly, horses are started as 3-year-olds, and when there’s a focus on dressage,
these poor dressage babies are ridden in sitting trot and worked like mature horses. Also, most dressage riders ride with stirrups that are too long and don’t even know what “light seat” means. In the early 1930s, the cavalry times, riders used the socalled “Remontesitz” (Remonte is a German word meaning young horse), a seat specifically designed for young horses ridden at the trot and similar to the light seat used at the canter. When using this seat, the rider shortens his stirrups a bit, takes his seat slightly off the saddle, easing up his horse’s back and letting his weight elastically spring down, through the ankles, into the stirrup bar. This kind of seat is a
wonderful way to bring young horses into a relaxed balance characterized through Losgelassenheit."

carolprudm
Jan. 25, 2011, 11:09 AM
I strongly suspect most 3 YO's are not worked extensively in sitting trot since sitting trot is not required till second level (IIRC, new rule). The FEI 4 YO test requires sitting trot briefly, approprietly in preparation for the canter transition
http://www.equestrian.org.au/site/equestrian/national/downloads/2005/dressage/rules_tests/Young%20Horse/2009_FEI_YH4.pdf

alibi_18
Jan. 25, 2011, 11:11 AM
Ahhh Cher Dr.Heuschmann! Have you missed his latest clinics? There were good pictures of him riding showing his thesis. But this is not the subject, right? Because that would be another point for us to call you a troll... Rollkür trainwreck?!?

But yes, with babies you don't start them with big sitting trot and high head carriage... until they are physically able to carry properly themself and their rider and has the proper muscles! If you look at the training scale and at dressage tests, you might understand that there is a progression from a young horse frame to a GP collected one. And with babies, you do rising trot. In Intro, training and now most of First level.

I don't think you are ignorant. I feel you are looking for trouble! LoL :)

CZF
Jan. 25, 2011, 11:12 AM
I'm also always working with green horses, and I sit with a normal dressage seat on them. The only thing I do differently with them is I always go rising trot until the back muscles are stronger. They don't seem to be any worse for wear and are happy, healthy athletes.

You clearly believe the hunt seat is the better way to ride, so why don't you just stick to hunter if you're more comfortable riding that way? There's nothing wrong with it, it's just a different style.

SpotznStripes
Jan. 25, 2011, 11:27 AM
Yes, I need to study the training pyramid, I have a lot to learn. Honestly, my training philosophy seems to be developing: start them western (as they seem to have the concept of how to get horses going from the ground down pat), start them as hunters, and finish them in dressage/eventing...I would assume no one in this forum would have a problem with that! I do actually get bored doing the hunters with more broke horses and naturally find myself moving to a more balanced seat. But I guess I started this thread because there are times I sense that horses prefer a forward seat (usually the anxious/green ones) and I'm trying to figure out why...and my suspicion is that its anatomical.

Velvet
Jan. 25, 2011, 12:15 PM
But I guess I started this thread because there are times I sense that horses prefer a forward seat (usually the anxious/green ones) and I'm trying to figure out why...and my suspicion is that its anatomical.

Young horses prefer it because it helps them balance under the rider better in the VERY beginning (just backed, greenies). Many of us still are slightly forward in our warm up with the horse in a long and low frame to allow them to stretch, but not too forward as this would put weight on the forehand and we want them long and low but still active from behind. If you have your weight on their forehand, then they will no longer be carrying and pushing from behind and in balance, but will come over the back and fall on their face.

Sounds like you're just used to horses being on their forehand and need to learn to find the feeling of a horse that is coming over the back AND is working from behind.

BTW, it's easier for a horse to have a well balanced rider with a soft seat sitting over the middle of them no matter what position the rider's seat might be in. A forward seat does NOT guarantee a feeling nor balanced rider. Neither does a more upright position.

netg
Jan. 25, 2011, 12:28 PM
There are many differing opinions (who has the signature line to the effect of "two horse people, three opinions"?), but I think quite a few people feel a more forward seat is appropriate on a green horse. I don't sit as deeply on any horse who is less balanced, including cantering on my mom's horse who doesn't have a stellar canter naturally, and hadn't been worked in a year when we got her.

Ultimately, you want the horse rounded over its topline - when younger and greener, that's with the head lower. As the back end starts to drop, the head starts to go up correspondingly, and sitting up, not forward, becomes more comfortable and balanced for the horse and rider both.

WILLOW&CAL
Jan. 25, 2011, 12:42 PM
My advice would be to find yourself a good dressage barn and see how they bring on youngsters and then ask to sit on a dressage schoolmaster who is used to working over his back. Unless you learn to sit deep, your seat will have no influence.

spirithorse
Jan. 25, 2011, 03:08 PM
[quote=dwblover;5378598]
And also, the horse's head comes up BECAUSE the croup lowers, the hind legs flex, and the back rounds. quote]

Please explain how this is possible?
How can the spine of the horse go round? How does the hindquarter affect the head and neck?

CZF
Jan. 25, 2011, 03:27 PM
As the dressage horse progresses in its training, it takes more and more weight onto it's hind end.

Do you see in the photo of the black horse how its sitting more on its hind legs? That's what we mean by lowering the croup.

http://www.writingofriding.com/the-art-of/the-piaffe/

This photo (if the link works) is what we mean by rounding the back (vs. a hollow back)

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQt7ov5W74cEVrK9JfprjJ_bznBdx_JU wi8Az_tkpeuZFnA3M6FMw&t=1

hntrjmprpro45
Jan. 25, 2011, 03:51 PM
I am a dressage newbie but consider myself well versed in flatwork and starting youngsters and here is my take on the matter... You start 'long and low' teaching the horse to move forward off of the leg. *Please note that long and low does not mean heavy on the forehand* Long and low is the easiest frame for a young horse to learn to engage its hind end, learn to accept pressure from the bit and round its back. In this stage a light, passive seat often works best. Once the horse learns to relax, accepts the bit, and moves off the leg, you can start to work on shortening the frame (collection). This requires an active seat rather than a passive one because of the energy needed from the hind end.

Try not to think about dressage and hunt seat as two separate entities. A good hunter rider should be able to not only ride in a forward seat but also a deeper seat (which is why George Morris always tells riders to lengthen their stirrups for flat work, especially as you become more advanced as a rider).

dwblover
Jan. 25, 2011, 04:04 PM
Spirithorse, tuck your own butt under and you will see how the spine rounds. Happens the same way in a horse. Simple biomechanics. The head comes up higher because the horse is balancing off the hind legs more and so this lightens the shoulders which brings them up. With the shoulders comes the head and neck.

Spotznstripes, you have to also consider that your horses may go better FOR YOU in a half seat because you may not be sitting the trot well. As I stated before, it takes hours and hours of lunge line lessons to develop a following and quiet seat that does not interfere with the horse's movement. They might go better in sitting trot for someone with a more educated seat.

alibi_18
Jan. 25, 2011, 04:09 PM
[quote=dwblover;5378598]
And also, the horse's head comes up BECAUSE the croup lowers, the hind legs flex, and the back rounds. quote]

Please explain how this is possible?
How can the spine of the horse go round? How does the hindquarter affect the head and neck?

We know that you prefer your horses with hollow back and high inverted neck carriage but there is no need for the horse to be rolled like a porcupine to have its back 'round'...If ever you would consider taking good dressage lessons maybe you would understand better.

I've found a good picture you might even enjoy!!! And we can clearly see that the hind as lowered, and the 'round' back!!! Pole at the highest point, on the bit but with rather loose rein!!!

http://www.linternaute.com/sortir/sorties/spectacle/cadre-noir-saumur/diaporama/images/10.-verdi1.jpg

SpotznStripes
Jan. 25, 2011, 05:05 PM
Like a seesaw, when one side goes down, the other must come up! Very obvious, thanks!

kdow
Jan. 25, 2011, 08:15 PM
Spirithorse, tuck your own butt under and you will see how the spine rounds. Happens the same way in a horse. Simple biomechanics. The head comes up higher because the horse is balancing off the hind legs more and so this lightens the shoulders which brings them up. With the shoulders comes the head and neck.

Spotznstripes, you have to also consider that your horses may go better FOR YOU in a half seat because you may not be sitting the trot well. As I stated before, it takes hours and hours of lunge line lessons to develop a following and quiet seat that does not interfere with the horse's movement. They might go better in sitting trot for someone with a more educated seat.

Love the content or hate it (re: the whole R-word debate) the book Tug of War does have some very well done drawings and images in it to illustrate what's going on with the horse's body and skeletal structure.

spirithorse
Jan. 25, 2011, 11:49 PM
http://www.linternaute.com/sortir/sorties/spectacle/cadre-noir-saumur/diaporama/images/10.-verdi1.jpg

Never have I observed an unridden horse moving forward in this position naturally. And these unridden horses I have observed over the years always have their backs are up and their hindquarters are engaged.

The spinous process of the horse will not allow for the 'rounding' of the back. If the back of the horse is up it requires the horse to use the muscles that are attached to the spine and rib cage as well as other torso muscles. Bringing the hind legs under the horse does not rise the back.

Now addressing your statement regarding me riding hollow backed horses. I have ridden in front of several riders/trainers/clinicians who have agreed that my riding does rise the horse's back. :cool:

alibi_18
Jan. 26, 2011, 05:01 AM
http://www.linternaute.com/sortir/sorties/spectacle/cadre-noir-saumur/diaporama/images/10.-verdi1.jpg

Never have I observed an unridden horse moving forward in this position naturally. And these unridden horses I have observed over the years always have their backs are up and their hindquarters are engaged.

The spinous process of the horse will not allow for the 'rounding' of the back. If the back of the horse is up it requires the horse to use the muscles that are attached to the spine and rib cage as well as other torso muscles. Bringing the hind legs under the horse does not rise the back.

Now addressing your statement regarding me riding hollow backed horses. I have ridden in front of several riders/trainers/clinicians who have agreed that my riding does
rise the horse's back. :cool:

Really?

You think we forgot about your gray mare yet? Sorry...

You should go teach at SRS! (the picture was a link from their website).

Now addressing your statement: Actually, I won't bother...

Petstorejunkie
Jan. 26, 2011, 07:23 AM
http://www.linternaute.com/sortir/sorties/spectacle/cadre-noir-saumur/diaporama/images/10.-verdi1.jpg

Never have I observed an unridden horse moving forward in this position naturally. And these unridden horses I have observed over the years always have their backs are up and their hindquarters are engaged.

The spinous process of the horse will not allow for the 'rounding' of the back. If the back of the horse is up it requires the horse to use the muscles that are attached to the spine and rib cage as well as other torso muscles. Bringing the hind legs under the horse does not rise the back.

Now addressing your statement regarding me riding hollow backed horses. I have ridden in front of several riders/trainers/clinicians who have agreed that my riding does rise the horse's back. :cool:

ROFL :lol::lol::lol::lol:

alg0181
Jan. 26, 2011, 07:47 AM
Never have I observed an unridden horse moving forward in this position naturally. And these unridden horses I have observed over the years always have their backs are up and their hindquarters are engaged.


Maybe cause that horse is piaffing. ;)

I really wanted to respond to the rest but I have learned better...I am losing my COTH newbness every day...

dwblover
Jan. 26, 2011, 08:30 AM
Sorry spirithorse, I won't give you the satisfaction of arguing with you. You believe you know everything, and your mind is closed. Really kind of sad as a closed mind cannot learn anything at all.

carolprudm
Jan. 26, 2011, 09:40 AM
The spinous process of the horse will not allow for the 'rounding' of the back. If the back of the horse is up it requires the horse to use the muscles that are attached to the spine and rib cage as well as other torso muscles. Bringing the hind legs under the horse does not rise the back.

:cool:
Actually the horse can round its back by contracting its abdominal muscles. Try running your thumb anlon its midline.
Or not

netg
Jan. 26, 2011, 12:52 PM
Maybe cause that horse is piaffing. ;)

I really wanted to respond to the rest but I have learned better...I am losing my COTH newbness every day...

:lol:

So hard not to respond....

I do have to say, most horses I know hollow their back on their own. Then again, I think training is to improve natural gaits, not recreate them. For example, I adore my horse, but... hollow back!
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4108/5072672351_37929c6cea.jpg

spirithorse
Jan. 26, 2011, 01:05 PM
:lol:

So hard not to respond....

I do have to say, most horses I know hollow their back on their own. Then again, I think training is to improve natural gaits, not recreate them. For example, I adore my horse, but... hollow back!
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4108/5072672351_37929c6cea.jpg

Egad;:eek:
This is a prime example of the total illogical misconceptions of 'hollow' back. This horse does not present a hollow back in this image. The spinous process is correct from the croup to the withers.
Also, a hollow backed horse cannot have the angles of the front and rear cannon bones be the same. Notice that the shoulders are forward giving a lengthening of the forehand, while the hindquarter is engaged demonstrated by the hind limb cannon bone being at the same angle as the foreleg.
Horses do not hollow their backs willfully unless they are stretching. The hollowing that occurs in the ridden horse's back that remains in place is caused by the rider :yes: not asking the horse to use its torso muscle structure correctly.

netg
Jan. 26, 2011, 01:18 PM
Nope.

This (http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4133/5073272134_cabeaa1444.jpg) is what he looks like with his back less hollow in turnout.

Certainly not a show-worthy carriage, but his back is significantly flatter looking, his entire neck is reaching out as a response to the lifting he's doing at his withers, and his haunches have lowered.

spirithorse
Jan. 26, 2011, 01:27 PM
I like what I see in your horse, that is why I said that your picture represents how people see a hollow back where none exists.

In fact, this image shows how the horse should appear at extended trot...although the nose is definitely out there which of course is not show placement.


He is definitely quite handsome and a back mover.....congratulations.

millerra
Jan. 26, 2011, 01:33 PM
anybody who says a horse can't round his back (muscles) up has never sat on a horse that is withholding the almighty buck...
:eek:

ThreeFigs
Jan. 26, 2011, 03:45 PM
Netg, very good illustrations of "hollow back" vs. "less hollow back".

Some people can't see it, no matter what.

Cool horse, BTW. Bet he's spectacular when he's "round"!

netg
Jan. 26, 2011, 05:48 PM
Netg, very good illustrations of "hollow back" vs. "less hollow back".

Some people can't see it, no matter what.

Cool horse, BTW. Bet he's spectacular when he's "round"!

Thanks. :)

He's getting there... He was never asked to carry himself properly until I got him (raced 2 years, then evented w/out *really* ever teaching him not to curl or to go long and low), so he's still in the building correct muscle process. He'll get good reach, and forget to also reach forward with his neck/quickly lose his body (which explains the hands here).
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5004/5252153661_b5a5e085a1.jpg
But he's starting to get it! (Not me riding in that pic, btw.) I adore him, and he's a much nicer horse than I expected as my first dressage horse! He's starting to learn to push up, not just forward, too. And this pic is more her hands - she was horrified to see herself riding and how much the right hand tends to drop. Funny, I have the same habit!
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5126/5252774536_b8393dc0cb.jpg

We're trying first level this year, and will see how it goes... I'm not positive if lengthenings will happen in public yet!

Equibrit
Jan. 26, 2011, 09:28 PM
But I guess I started this thread because there are times I sense that horses prefer a forward seat (usually the anxious/green ones) and I'm trying to figure out why...and my suspicion is that its anatomical.

Damned right. NO MUSCLE !
There really is no advantage in displaying your abject ignorance here, as it seems that you don't understand the simplest and most basic principles.

ThreeFigs
Jan. 26, 2011, 10:01 PM
Wow, ow!

I don't think SpotzNStripes' questions were so out of line. Here's a gal who rides mostly OTTB's. They're USED to a VERY forward seat. Darn few of them trot to the starting gate with a raised back, necks stretching softly forward, in a swingy dressage-like way. Developing that takes time. It doesn't hurt to ride those horses in a soft half-seat while developing strength and relaxation.

It's not unusual for OTTB's to have some body soreness. You wouldn't sit down on your body-sore dressage horse, would you? You'd find out why he's sore, take appropriate action and put him back to work once he was fit to do so, right?

I can see why some here think S'n'S is a troll -- at first it sounded as if she believed we cram our three-year-olds into GP frames. Maybe some do. I wouldn't recommend it. Some of these misunderstandings can be cleared up with patient explanations. Many folks look at photos of high-level dressage horses and can't discern when a horse is truly round and "up" over the back and when it's been "crammed" into a frame. It takes a while to learn to see it. It also helps to ride a correct schoolmaster and "feel' the back when it's up. That experience teaches more than a thousand photos.

S'n'S has background in a different discipline. I may be wrong, but I think she's here to try to learn, not to be a pain in the neck.

WILLOW&CAL
Jan. 27, 2011, 07:44 AM
http://www.writingofriding.com/the-art-of/the-orphanage-of-on-the-bit/
Check out the illustrations

kdow
Jan. 27, 2011, 09:06 AM
Nope.

This (http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4133/5073272134_cabeaa1444.jpg) is what he looks like with his back less hollow in turnout.

Certainly not a show-worthy carriage, but his back is significantly flatter looking, his entire neck is reaching out as a response to the lifting he's doing at his withers, and his haunches have lowered.

Wow, lovely photos to show what you're talking about. Gorgeous horse, too. :)

(My instinctive response to the "hollow back" photo is "that doesn't look like a happy/comfortable horse" - interesting. I'm not sure why my brain makes that leap, but it did.)

netg
Jan. 27, 2011, 10:28 AM
(My instinctive response to the "hollow back" photo is "that doesn't look like a happy/comfortable horse" - interesting. I'm not sure why my brain makes that leap, but it did.)

If a horse were travelling like that with a rider I would be sure it was uncomfortable and unhappy!

That's what his natural carriage in turnout was before I got him. As he's developed muscles, he carries himself more and more like the second photo or more rounded - both were taken the same day.

kdow
Jan. 27, 2011, 10:59 AM
If a horse were travelling like that with a rider I would be sure it was uncomfortable and unhappy!

That's what his natural carriage in turnout was before I got him. As he's developed muscles, he carries himself more and more like the second photo or more rounded - both were taken the same day.

I think what it is is that it just looks awkward and sort of stressed. Like the muscles can't possibly be working in the best possible way to distribute all of the weight of the internal organs over the skeletal structure. I wouldn't be surprised if a horse that went around like that all the time had back pain issues.

(Even a horse who was just retired to turn out - unless there were specific things preventing it like an injury, I think I'd want to try to do something to encourage the horse to be more physically fit. Maybe a pasture with some decent hills or something. Not that you'd expect it to be riding fit, but at least better able to carry itself around. Does that make any sense?) (And I really wouldn't take a horse with a natural carriage like that and expect huge amounts of ridden work right away. Again, that way lies back pain. You'd want to sort of gradually introduce more strenuous exercises and probably also do a lot of fairly gentle work - assuming trails with hills were available, again I'd probably do some limited 'higher intensity' arena work on some days, and on other days just do trail riding with a focus on being relaxed but not plodding along.)

(I am not a horse trainer, though, that's just the sort of approach my gut would suggest.)

netg
Jan. 27, 2011, 12:10 PM
I think you'll find many horses off the track have a natural carriage much more like that than you'd ideally see for a dressage horse - though it's probably not actually natural, but more learned from how they used to run, as they only ran under saddle, with speed as the key.

He doesn't ONLY do that, but that is his "going forward as fast as I can!" carriage vs. the "enjoying moving because it's fun" carriage. He now does lovely round lateral work for fun in turnout - leg yield to h/i to s/i, and medium trot to more collected trot back to medium transitions as well as the head up act like there are zombies attacking stuff.

His canter out on his own has always looked like this (http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5296/5393512510_11a8f1e2dc.jpg) - a large part of why I wanted him, besides his personality. It naturally feels as uphill or better even during long and low work. (Sorry it's blurry.)

His gallop on his own, though? UGLY! Low the the ground, hollow, churning legs - it's easy to see he remembers racing days, and that he wasn't so good at it.