PDA

View Full Version : Most Dressage Horses are Under~ridden...



GimmeQs
Jan. 26, 2011, 05:19 PM
....Was the comment made by my trainer today. I believed he used a percentage, like 75% or so.
Do you all believe that? Underridden meaning that their gaits are underridden (simplified as, not big/forward enough).
And if that is true, it would pretty much mean that "most" people on this forum under ride their horses.....
So, how to you determine when your horse is forward, or forward and relaxed, or rushing, or....... How do you find the right gaits/tempo for your horse? I think that one can have a horse that is responsive to the leg, but still not using themselves fully. Furthermore, my horse can give me a bigger, more forward walk when I squeeze my legs, but this doesn't have to be his biggest, most effortfull walk ever. And how would I know what his best effort is? Especially considering how gaits can develop over time...
I have had my horse forward and responsive before, but I haven't ever had him work like he worked today (as in, we didn't work extensively or do new movements, but he sure was sweaty at the end ~ in a good way). I had a heck of a time getting him to really use himself in the walk (still don't have it down), and felt a big difference in his trot (we didn't canter). I had started to feel that something wasn't right in the gaits department ~ I'm glad I work with a trainer who can guide me!

It was a bit of a "smack myself on the head" moment that I couldn't figure out on my own ~ thought I would comment about it. :)

retrofit
Jan. 26, 2011, 05:33 PM
I dunno, I think a lot of people rush horses off their feet & create or contribute to a lot of tension in their back.

Or maybe I'm one of the 75% that your trainer is talking about.

I think the key is to do the opposite of your horse's tendency. If the horse is zippy, go slow & soft until he relaxes. If they are sluggy, push on, even a little over-tempo until his engine is revving. Make the tempo your own, ride the horse straight & through and produce a soft, swinging back.

luchiamae
Jan. 26, 2011, 05:51 PM
I ride my horses by how they feel. Both are a little zippy but in different ways.

The mare is more inclined to be spooky and rushy due to environment so relaxation is always a big part of the workout. If I have to, I will have her doing the smallest trot she can possibly do just for relaxation but if she is feeling calm on a certain day I will ride her forward and continuously ask (in small doses) for BIGGER and BETTER if I can keep her head and body chilled out.

The gelding, green as grass, bit unsure of what the leg always means. I bought him off a Show Jumper so all he knows is leg means GO! (Really go, not just a little). If I can keep his head, we steadily work on applying the leg without losing rhythm and relaxation and asking for bigger gently to grow the pace, not so much as signal a clear transition.

Ltc4h
Jan. 26, 2011, 05:54 PM
Sounds about right.
You didn't mention how you felt-Did it feel fast or rushed to you. Or did it just feel bigger.
With proper guidance, as a rider your judgement/understanding of the gaits will improve and you will be able to immediately tell the difference.
I for one hate warm-up at shows. It is disgraceful the amount of riders slowing their horses to a mere snails pace, because they can't ride.
One of the reasons I'm a firm believer that it is best to learn on an average moving horse and ask for more than to overface a rider and having them struggling to at best stay with the horse.
It's not hard to pick them out- they are the ones that look nice, but that extra +% would have made it brilliant.
Huge KUDOS to you for having such a great Trainer.

netg
Jan. 26, 2011, 05:55 PM
I don't think this was intended as just a speed comment?

My horse and I are trying to improve and grow. So he will be perpetually "underridden" as he continues to develop more and more ability. When I had a week and a half of FABULOUS but easy work from him, I knew he was being underridden, because he had caught up to what I was asking from him as far as strength went. I told my trainer I knew I needed to push him more, so we focused the next lesson on what ways I should ask him for more. Once he really gets what we're working on now, I'll have to figure out how to stop underriding him again.


One of the reviews I read of a Steffen Peters clinic mentioned that he believes in training and really riding every minute of a ride, and no wonder he can progress so quickly with a horse. I would guess most of us (myself included) aren't nearly so diligent, and I'm certain most if not all of us don't get a horse progressing as quickly, either!

BetterOffRed
Jan. 26, 2011, 06:22 PM
resulting in a lot better gaits on these horses. But how many of us amateurs can really ride these gaits. One of the comments that I've gotten from trainers when preparing for a test is "Go for Gaits" or "Make it bigger". Comments from the judges are 'needs more' But not many amateurs, including myself half the time, can really ride those bigger gaits without sacrificing balance or relaxation. The horse must be strong enough to ride those big gaits in balance and without tension. The rider needs to know how and when to make the gaits bigger without making them tensed and rushed or putting the horse out of balance.

dwblover
Jan. 26, 2011, 06:25 PM
I would agree with that comment. I see a lot of horses plodding around at all levels. But I would also say there is a huge difference between speed vs. bigger, more elastic, more expressive gaits. I think when most riders ask for more from their horse, they get flat, choppy speed instead of impulsion. There really is an art to getting those big, lofty gaits with true impulsion.

But I don't believe our horses need to go at 100% impulsion EVERY day in training. I spend some days just doing relaxed stretchy trot and canter circles and serpentines. Then the next day I'm sure to turn the engine back on, but my horse seems even better after having a "no pressure" sort of day.

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
Jan. 26, 2011, 06:43 PM
I would think that your trainer is probably correct -- given that to get the "more" out of a horse in a balanced, beautiful, through kind-of-way takes a fairly well educated, experienced and skilled rider (which again takes time, money, dedication and some luck with available/ridable horses to become) and systematic training of the horse -- so yes, I would think that the majority of riders could not (or at least not consistently) produce a horse that develops its gaits the fullest potential.

2tempe
Jan. 26, 2011, 08:01 PM
I think I have read quotes from Edward Gal saying that when he rode Toto, that he asked/pushed for the bigger gaits at the shows than he would normally ride as ongoing work. But I believe that also means that Toto has been trained to correctly respond to the bigger ask. Someone earlier posted re amateurs not being so able to do that kind of thing - IMO the poster hit the nail on the head. My trainer always emphasizes the need to ride every stride during our lessons; I have a relatively new horse and I can now see that when I relax for a moment, so does my mare. And every once in a while I have one of those "BIG" moments - for example, where the shoulder really lifts on the med. trot, and it is a happy day! I think the amateurs are less able, and perhaps less willing to really ask and get the correct answer.

GimmeQs
Jan. 26, 2011, 08:37 PM
No, not just a speed comment!

The trot didn't feel rushed; it felt bigger and more suspended and easier for me to get the suspension to stay. In the beginning it seemed he'd take the reins, so to speak, and start to do mediums, and I had to do walk transitions to make my half halts mean something. A major thing I have to work on (as told), is to find/maintain a tempo. Suggestion was to get video of my ride ~ apparently his stride will change a LOT. This sounds like a tough fix, but I accept that I'll learn it in time ~~ it sounds hard, but sounds like an "mid level" problem that I'm sorta proud to be needing to address. You know?

I agree that these bigger gaits take strength and endurance! I had to take frequent breaks during my lesson ~ embarrassing!

I wanted to add that my "so most of CotH must be under riding..." was to say, that I think ALL of CotH is meaning to not under ride, so I wonder where some of us are going wrong or fooling ourselves or how do we test/know that we aren't?? I wasn't meaning to say "I just figured this out and the majority of you are doing it wrong, so HAH!" ~ just making myself clear!

Sancudo
Jan. 26, 2011, 09:01 PM
I get what you are saying. Once upon a time, I would have clearly said, "well, I'm that 25%. My horse scores consistantly 70s, is a huge mover, I get 9s on trot and canter mediums, I can sit the trot forever . . ."

And then, I rode with a clinician from the SRS. The last day, he hopped on my horse for like, 5 minutes, did a couple of invisible things.

I got back on. And oh my goodness, did I struggle just to sit that collected trot! SO much more activity and suspension!! Humbled me!

Tucked_Away
Jan. 27, 2011, 07:55 AM
I wanted to add that my "so most of CotH must be under riding..." was to say, that I think ALL of CotH is meaning to not under ride, so I wonder where some of us are going wrong or fooling ourselves or how do we test/know that we aren't??

Well--I think it's easy to compromise, or maybe more accurately: to get distracted by everything else that's going on. In my head, I'm always thinking about riding for more, but in practice, it's very, very easy for me to notice a little tension, or a little stiffness, or a little whatever, and decide (or not decide--sometimes it just happens) that maybe I need to sacrifice the impulsion for a moment to really confirm the bend or the throughness or whatever. Which is sometimes flat-out a wrong decision on my part, I think, and sometimes a right decision that sneakily grows so that instead of keeping track of the balance of everything, I end up tunnel-visioning on bend (or whatever) alone as the impulsion dies away to nothing. (Which, of course, doesn't do much for the bend, either!)

Threads like this are actually kind of dangerous for me. *lol* I need the threads about, "Make it _all_ happen _at once._"

And riding a horse to the limit is out of the comfort zone for most of us, for all sorts of reasons, and not everyone is comfortable with being uncomfortable. It can be very seductive to go around with everything feeling nice, even if it's a little unbrilliant. This is, as above, something I grapple with on a regular basis, and some days are better than others, but I distinctly remember the first time I felt my horse _really_ going brilliantly, and my reaction was 75%, "THIS IS AWESOME!!!" hearts and flowers and 25% a little bit dismayed, because now there was no going back.

Velvet
Jan. 27, 2011, 09:38 AM
I'd guess his figures were pretty on the spot, if you look at how most people ride lateral movements. They slow them down and lose the tempo. So, in that instance, this is a true statement.

Donella
Jan. 27, 2011, 09:41 AM
I would think that your trainer is probably correct -- given that to get the "more" out of a horse in a balanced, beautiful, through kind-of-way takes a fairly well educated, experienced and skilled rider (which again takes time, money, dedication and some luck with available/ridable horses to become) and systematic training of the horse -- so yes, I would think that the majority of riders could not (or at least not consistently) produce a horse that develops its gaits the fullest potential

This. I don't see that many riders who can get their horses through and working on the hind legs to get more expression ect. It takes a strong, effective rider to do that and it's hard to become a strong , effective rider if you don't ride for a living.

Velvet
Jan. 27, 2011, 09:42 AM
resulting in a lot better gaits on these horses. But how many of us amateurs can really ride these gaits. One of the comments that I've gotten from trainers when preparing for a test is "Go for Gaits" or "Make it bigger". Comments from the judges are 'needs more' But not many amateurs, including myself half the time, can really ride those bigger gaits without sacrificing balance or relaxation. The horse must be strong enough to ride those big gaits in balance and without tension. The rider needs to know how and when to make the gaits bigger without making them tensed and rushed or putting the horse out of balance.

This is why most ammies should NOT have big moving warmbloods for their first horses! But, no, everyone wants the spectacular mover because that's what will win in the ring. Who wants to learn to sit correctly and go up the scale, buidling a great foundation for their riding? No one. That's why there are so many people looking like sacks of suet sitting on horses that have won them their Bronze and Silver medals. :no: It's just sad. No one wants to take the time to really work on things and get good at riding. They want to buy their way into an award. What good is it really if you don't EARN it (seat and award, I mean)? Isn't it hollow if you just buy your way into with little or no effort? :confused:

Eclectic Horseman
Jan. 27, 2011, 10:20 AM
I would think that your trainer is probably correct -- given that to get the "more" out of a horse in a balanced, beautiful, through kind-of-way takes a fairly well educated, experienced and skilled rider (which again takes time, money, dedication and some luck with available/ridable horses to become) and systematic training of the horse -- so yes, I would think that the majority of riders could not (or at least not consistently) produce a horse that develops its gaits the fullest potential

This. I don't see that many riders who can get their horses through and working on the hind legs to get more expression ect. It takes a strong, effective rider to do that and it's hard to become a strong , effective rider if you don't ride for a living.

Ditto. All of the above. :yes:

Perfect Pony
Jan. 27, 2011, 11:54 AM
To be honest this is something that literally drives me bonkers on a regular basis. And it's not just ammy riders, not just riders on big moving horses, it includes many trainers too sadly. There is nothing I hate worse than watching someone ride a horse front to back, creeping along, typically with the head cranked in and hind legs dragging. It makes the tears well up just a little bit, because so many times these horses are so lame. Lately it's been a source of depression for me, and I have considered quitting "dressage". Problem for me is, there really is no other place near me to board that offers the facilities and level of care, so my New Years resolution has been to try to just focus on myself and try to ignore what is going on around me.

Cheesetoast
Jan. 27, 2011, 12:13 PM
This is why most ammies should NOT have big moving warmbloods for their first horses! But, no, everyone wants the spectacular mover because that's what will win in the ring. Who wants to learn to sit correctly and go up the scale, buidling a great foundation for their riding? No one.

The problem is that in order to LEARN to ride big gaits....you have to ride them regularly. I am coming off a large pony on to a big moving warmblood......there is absolutely nothing I could have done on that pony that would have prepared me to ride those warmblood gaits! It's a matter of gaining the fitness and balance to ride the large gaits, and that only comes with practice.

GimmeQs
Jan. 27, 2011, 12:22 PM
I agree with CheeseToast. I bought my large Dutch schoolmaster last year, having previously ridden a "faux" 2nd level horse (think slow, cranked, stiff, but "looking great" to previous trainer). I bought him because he was the deal of the century, safe, and had been my best friend's horse.
Velvet's last post made me cringe ~ I am probably in part, what she described. I may be well on my way to making the horse look good, but judging from my frequent need to take breathers while on the horse, I may look like said sack of suet. But, I am doing my best to get in shape and ride well. I have spent the last ~8months of owning him riding in the not~so~good slow gaits, and now I am starting to move up. While this may destabilize my position, I think its partly more healthy for the horse (the gaits, not my position), and again like Cheese said, the only way to learn.

Wayside
Jan. 27, 2011, 02:10 PM
But not many amateurs, including myself half the time, can really ride those bigger gaits without sacrificing balance or relaxation. The horse must be strong enough to ride those big gaits in balance and without tension. The rider needs to know how and when to make the gaits bigger without making them tensed and rushed or putting the horse out of balance.

:yes: Well said.

I would definitely agree that my horse is under ridden as well. She is very forward and sensitive, but it's very easy to lose the relaxation and connection, and those qualities must be well established before I ask her for more, and I must ask lightly and correctly, or I'll lose what good I've got.

Velvet
Jan. 27, 2011, 02:51 PM
The problem is that in order to LEARN to ride big gaits....you have to ride them regularly. I am coming off a large pony on to a big moving warmblood......there is absolutely nothing I could have done on that pony that would have prepared me to ride those warmblood gaits! It's a matter of gaining the fitness and balance to ride the large gaits, and that only comes with practice.

Yes, but not your first horse. You need to start on horses with gaits that allow you to feel your way through problems. Something that doesn't try to eject you out of the saddle when you're fishing around for how to control your body.

Later, you get the big mover and learn to ride that.

Timex
Jan. 27, 2011, 02:51 PM
I see it all the time, horses that aren't being pushed forward because the bigger gaits (not faster, but with more impulsion) feel scary to a lot of riders. like the horse is going to bolt or something. and it's not just a dressage thing. i've got a 12 yr old student who leases a nervous pony from me. it took a little while for the kid to figure out how to ride the pony, but now that she's got it, and really can ride the pony FORWARD from the back end, the pony not only offers up some lovely gaits and really uses herself, but also relaxes and SLOWS DOWN. instead of trotting away as fast as her little legs can carry her. lol

as far as deliberately under riding a horse due to being green, etc, i wouldn't worry about it, as long as you know where you SHOULD be. it's one thing to have to put the pieces together before asking your horse to use itself, while still having the ideal in your head, as a goal, whole 'nother thing to just not know the difference.

netg
Jan. 27, 2011, 03:55 PM
I see it all the time, horses that aren't being pushed forward because the bigger gaits (not faster, but with more impulsion) feel scary to a lot of riders. like the horse is going to bolt or something. and it's not just a dressage thing. i've got a 12 yr old student who leases a nervous pony from me. it took a little while for the kid to figure out how to ride the pony, but now that she's got it, and really can ride the pony FORWARD from the back end, the pony not only offers up some lovely gaits and really uses herself, but also relaxes and SLOWS DOWN. instead of trotting away as fast as her little legs can carry her. lol


Sad that this pony and kid remind me of myself!

Schooling my 16.3 OTTB at an Arabian show... Big gaits were the only way to keep him from going inapporpriately upward or bolting! Of course, cantering around fully controlled in his big more-than-working canter had some of the spectators used to much smaller Arabians a bit :eek: I intentionally went in the largest, emptiest arena to avoid making any riders have that reaction... and my friends were able to find me from across show grounds, given he looked nothing like any of the competing horses!

I intentionally got a horse with an easy to sit trot. Then he got fit, and I realized his trot wasn't at all like the one he had during our trial. It's bigger than any of the warmbloods I've ever ridden, but I have never ridden a high quality dressage warmblood with huge gaits, so have no means of comparison there. If picking purely for gaits, I would have ended up with a horse with less large gaits for my first dressage horse, but given how perfect we are together in other ways, I'm just learning to sit the movement and making sure I get longed a lot. Fortunately, he's one who is great for longe lessons, and will even just stay on a circle if I ask him to and drop my reins so I "self-longe" all the time. Probably not the safest and I don't recommend it to others, but works for us.

dwblover
Jan. 27, 2011, 04:36 PM
I think another major issue is that in the saddle things feel MUCH faster and bigger then they really are. Once you finally experience the huge gaits, you find yourself going "OH! SO THAT IS IMPULSION!!!" LOL. Happened to me! Then once I got the impulsion on straight lines it took me quite a while longer to get that impulsion in lateral work. To REALLY feel the horse reaching and thrusting sideways as well as forward. That took quite a while!!!

Cheesetoast
Jan. 27, 2011, 04:47 PM
Yes, but not your first horse. You need to start on horses with gaits that allow you to feel your way through problems.

Actually, I've owned plenty of horses throughout my life...Thoroughbreds, draft crosses, arab crosses, and none of them moved much bigger than my pony, so they provided little practice for riding bigger gaits. I am pretty athletic for my age ;) so I have no doubt that all I need is practice.

MelantheLLC
Jan. 27, 2011, 06:46 PM
I think another major issue is that in the saddle things feel MUCH faster and bigger then they really are.

I thought it was charming that even Edward Gal commented on this (I think in one of his Toto interviews), how fast things seem to happen while riding in a competition, and then he'd see it on video and it looked so much slower that it felt.

Now and then, when my horses get a moment of serious puffy/snorty they will rise up under me and while going very FORWARD, they seem to be in complete slow motion, so that every stride covers about 3 times more ground than usual. It's amazing and actually not hard to ride, but yeah, very intimidating too because it feels preternaturally HUGE. It only lasts a couple of strides, because they deflate quickly and I'm not ready to push for it. But it reminds me what we're going for and that I don't actually have to be afraid of it. If they didn't volunteer it in those puffy snorty moments, I wouldn't have known it was there.

EasyStreet
Jan. 27, 2011, 08:00 PM
If I am understanding the ? correctly, I guess it could be true to some degree. I am guilty og it simply because my skill level, balanced seat and core are not well enough developed to handle the BIG movement...but I sure look forward to the day I can. It is a beautiful sight to behold!!:yes::yes:

Bats79
Jan. 28, 2011, 06:45 AM
If the horse is balanced, supple and relaxed. If the rider is learning and improving and gradually developing a feel for the horse. If the horse is ridden freely forward to stretch inbetween exercises. Does it matter if the gaits are underridden.

Every hunter is under-ridden, every trail horse ( except when the riders have a bit of a gallop). Certainly every western horse.

When did making the horse express the maximum of his gaits become the be all and end all of dressage.

75% of dressage horses out there don't seem to be showing harmony with their riders either - that is a much bigger issue to me.

meupatdoes
Jan. 28, 2011, 08:35 AM
Honestly, I think the numbers are more like 95/5 than 75/25 (and I include myself in the 95, btw).

Come on.
Do amateurs who ride one horse 4x a week who are learning 2nd really think they are getting 100% of what's possible out of their horse?
Do the pros who don't teach past 3rd level really feel that their 3rd level is absolutely stellar but 4th is just mysteriously out of reach?
Do the people who ride up the levels in the low 60's all the way automatically think it's the horse, not them, and if somebody suddenly handed them a 70+ scorer to ride they would totes be able to elicit that score?

If you are taking horses from TL to GP in four or five years and scoring in the 70's along the way, you are in the 5%.

Otherwise, there's a whole pile of us in your same situation who similarly are failing to access a small or large portion of our horses' potential.

mademoiselle
Jan. 28, 2011, 08:59 AM
I took a clinic with a European BNT/judge a couple of weeks ago and she told everybody (3rd/PSG and Grand Prix riders) to ride more forward.

I'm from Europe and I rode in eventing for years (switched to dressage 2 years ago) and so I ride very forward and don't mind dealing with the big gaits. She said that I did a good job riding the gaits.

My stallion has a huge canter. Very uphill but hugeeee. And let me tell you, this is hard to ride. Because, I want to just slow him down and shorten the canter to make it more rideable. But in reality, I need to keep riding that big canter and teach him to collect and sit more without loosing the gait. Can you say challenging. Couple of BNTs said that if I can ride and train that canter, he will be a phenomenal horse, but it is hard to deal with it on everyday basis.

I have audited a clinic and wtached a 2nd level, ammy rider riding a very big nice moving training level 5YO horse. The trainer kept telling the rider to slow the horse down and to ride smaller relaxed gaits.
I was perplexed, and ask the clinician why he wanted the horse to go in 'QH mode'
The answer was : 'there is no way that rider will ever ride this horse's gaits. He moves too big and it's too much work. So, I want the horse, to just learn to be relaxed and cruise around'.
I was floored but I guess it's pretty common.

The funny part is that I sell a lot of young horses. I have had average movers that were the easiest horse to ride and train. And let me tell you, they were the hardest to sell.
On the other hand, the more sensitive, not so amateur friendly, with huge FEI gaits ... are selling like hot cakes!!!! I must say that the trainers are also guilty, because they see an opportunity to have a nice horse to ride at somebody else's expenses.

coymackerel
Jan. 28, 2011, 09:38 AM
"sacks of suet" - love it! That should help remind me to sit up and sit back!

The first time I got a really forward canter going I was astonished at the feeling of the horse's front end going up up up like the prow of a boat (actually it was probably the back end going down, but this is what if felt like). I completely forgot to steer in my amazement and we nearly careened out of the arena.

alg0181
Jan. 28, 2011, 03:23 PM
The answer was : 'there is no way that rider will ever ride this horse's gaits. He moves troo big and it's too much work. So, I want teh horse, to just learn to be relaxed and cruise around'.
I was floored but I guess it's pretty common.

So does that mean when my trainer says, bigger, MORE ENERGY, more FORWARD! when we are already flying along, he thinks I am a good rider?

Or maybe he wants me to fall off...

:lol::yes:

BetterOffRed
Jan. 28, 2011, 03:37 PM
So does that mean when my trainer says, bigger, MORE ENERGY, more FORWARD! when we are already flying along, he thinks I am a good rider?

Or maybe he wants me to fall off...

:lol::yes:

LOL! I remember wondering the same thing when I took a lesson with Clark Montgomery. Looking at Clark like he was BSC, wondering if he was trying to kill me as he was telling me MORE, NOT ENOUGH! and just praying to god that I just stayed in the saddle! :eek::lol:

alg0181
Jan. 28, 2011, 06:34 PM
LOL! I remember wondering the same thing when I took a lesson with Clark Montgomery. Looking at Clark like he was BSC, wondering if he was trying to kill me as he was telling me MORE, NOT ENOUGH! and just praying to god that I just stayed in the saddle! :eek::lol:

Hahaha...

It's hilarious to me because I have no problem going fast, I could gallop around all day. But when I am concentrating on trying to get MORE!! IMPULSION!!! it feels like the long side of the arena is 3 strides long and the stupid corners come too fast.

Then I watch people riding these big GP horses in the same arena and they don't look too fast at all and I feel stupid. :lol:

Fillabeana
Jan. 28, 2011, 07:24 PM
Sad that this pony and kid remind me of myself!

Yeah, me too. Sack of suet here, too...but if you are an aware, improving, willing to be uncomfortable sack of suet than GOOD FOR YOU!!!

I'm dealing with control (at any gait) with my OTTB, who likes to spin/rear/buck and run for home.
Paradoxically, he needs to be very forward, in front of the leg, responsive before I get control. And it is SCARY to get him so 'up' when I feel like I'd rather have him in QH mode.

Just had a lesson (on my other horse) and had her, too, not forward enough- we were riding out to move cows, and trainer said, USE that forward energy to get her soft and responsive, don't just pull her back to a walk all the time...lots of lateral work, let her volunteer the energy and then use it!

Yes, it's scary.

On another note, watched a Clinton Anderson TV show on RFDTV and he had a BNT from Australia...western/AQHA, but NOT 'western pleasure' peanut pusher...cantering around. They described the horse as 'collected' but really he was just plinking along. Relaxed, pleasant, easy to ride but for sure not collected and nowhere near the energy/impulsion the stallion was capable of.

alg0181
Jan. 28, 2011, 07:32 PM
They described the horse as 'collected' but really he was just plinking along. Relaxed, pleasant, easy to ride but for sure not collected and nowhere near the energy/impulsion the stallion was capable of.

I think "collection" is one of those words that is widely overused and generally not understood...

Fillabeana
Jan. 29, 2011, 06:07 PM
I think "collection" is one of those words that is widely overused and generally not understood...

Absolutely!! It is so much about where the horse's face is, and not about the rest of the picture. Sad.

MysticOakRanch
Jan. 30, 2011, 09:46 AM
On another note, watched a Clinton Anderson TV show on RFDTV and he had a BNT from Australia...western/AQHA, but NOT 'western pleasure' peanut pusher...cantering around. They described the horse as 'collected' but really he was just plinking along. Relaxed, pleasant, easy to ride but for sure not collected and nowhere near the energy/impulsion the stallion was capable of.

Funny, someone sent me a link of a Hanoverian horse for sale ridden and trained (long term) by a western rider - and I had the same thought. Wow, you put a western trainer on a fancy WB for several years, and look what you get - a horse who pulls himself around on his front legs, moves downhill, and even looks "cowy". Only bigger:eek: Which got me thinking - some of those western horses might just look different if ridden differently.

Western collection is much different then dressage collection - remember, a pleasure class is all about being easy and "pleasurable" (for the rider, not sure the horse is having all that much fun:lol:), so less impulsion is easier...

MysticOakRanch
Jan. 30, 2011, 09:58 AM
Honestly, I think the numbers are more like 95/5 than 75/25 (and I include myself in the 95, btw).



Yeah, I think this is more like it. But really - most riders ARE either "weekend warriors" (who maybe ride 3 or 4 times/week on their one horse), or small time trainers - the vast majority of dressage riders never go beyond Training or First level.

There are all kinds of variations in that 95% - some may really shut down their horse's movement, others get 70% or 80% of the movement, there is a huge variation in ability in the 95% of non-maximum riders (while we're talking percentages). Heck, I bet it is really more like 99%/1% when we talk about really, really getting the best from a horse (think Steffan, Ed Gal, Dover, Traurig, in that 1%).

I know I'm in that 95% - a bit more then a weekend warrior, but not much more then that:lol:

I agree with the comments, people need to start with something smaller moving - just to get the IDEA of how to do things - there is more to it then hanging on to the mouth and full steam ahead. Also agree, eventually you need to graduate beyond that - BUT... I don't agree that everyone needs to head to the biggest moving Warmbloods - what about the medium-quality gaits? I believe a lot of people AND horses would be better off as riders if they got something "in between" - some impulsion, decent reach, but not the biggest, most flamboyent mover they can find. I think this is why we are seeing so many unhappy horses (and riders) now. MOST people can't ride the really big gaits! So they stifle their horses.

Madamoiselle is right - the biggest movers are the ones that sell, not the decent movers that are easier to ride. Yet, in the long run, most riders would look and ride MUCH better on that average moving horse. I'm not talking average moving like a Quarter Horse, but average moving Warmblood or bigger moving Thoroughbred or other breed with three decent gaits.

Fairview Horse Center
Jan. 30, 2011, 10:17 AM
Honestly, I think the numbers are more like 95/5 than 75/25

I agree.

RedHorses
Jan. 30, 2011, 12:29 PM
Dressage is so much about feel too, that if we never get those gaits we don't really know (Even if we think we do) what we're missing. I still vividly remember when my TBxQH stepped up a level in his own self carriage and impulsion. I had never gone through that development before and didn't recognize what was happening. Unfortunately for the two of us his adjusted rhythm was the same as his I'm-being-lazy-and-dragging-my-butt-around-with-my-front-end trot. I spent several weeks pushing him to carry himself more (which he was already doing) and hindering him by pushing him out of his natural rhythm. When my coach came the lightbulb went on and I haven't looked back. I recognized the carriage adjustment when it came at the canter too. But before that I didn't know what I didn't know, and even riding other horses would not have shown me what I didn't know about my own horse.

I love that self carriage and balance when he goes like that and so I do actually push him into that balance when trotting down the trail. It's been long enough that it's becoming his natural way of going and I don't have to work as hard to get it. No doubt this means I am under riding once again, though I do try to ask for more/better in everything we do. There are still moments when something is suspicious and his self carriage changes even more that show me I could get even more.

My young horse is one of those fancy moving WBs and I honestly look at him running loose and think "I'm going to have to sit THAT trot?!?!?" :p

Fairview Horse Center
Jan. 30, 2011, 12:49 PM
My young horse is one of those fancy moving WBs and I honestly look at him running loose and think "I'm going to have to sit THAT trot?!?!?" :p

Actually, since dressage is supposed to enhance what the horse can do naturally (think Totilas :D), you should be sitting more than that trot, unless you are in that 95% :lol:

columbus
Jan. 30, 2011, 05:08 PM
Absolutely.
I think that horses have hugely improved and quality gaits are available to most people. However, riding quality has dropped nearly as much and most people are afraid of the best quality gait their horse has and never let the gaits develop to the best of the horses ability. I am in that group. I now buy horses with softer gaits and less suspension. I still get nice gaits but they won't get us to the Olympics. My back is much stiffer and I have lost elasticity. I can't ride the amount I used to to keep my back loose. Many modern warmblood gaits need youthful human spines and hips to go freely forward. Then add the courage to ride them forward with all the energy they have...most riders are too chicken to let them go forward and they end up with all the energy they bought scaring them and the poor horses end up silly and spooky trying to use up the energy someone paid good money for. Know thyself. PatO

Bats79
Jan. 30, 2011, 11:00 PM
Yeah, I think this is more like it. But really - most riders ARE either "weekend warriors" (who maybe ride 3 or 4 times/week on their one horse), or small time trainers - the vast majority of dressage riders never go beyond Training or First level.

There are all kinds of variations in that 95% - some may really shut down their horse's movement, others get 70% or 80% of the movement, there is a huge variation in ability in the 95% of non-maximum riders (while we're talking percentages). Heck, I bet it is really more like 99%/1% when we talk about really, really getting the best from a horse (think Steffan, Ed Gal, Dover, Traurig, in that 1%).

I know I'm in that 95% - a bit more then a weekend warrior, but not much more then that:lol:

I agree with the comments, people need to start with something smaller moving - just to get the IDEA of how to do things - there is more to it then hanging on to the mouth and full steam ahead. Also agree, eventually you need to graduate beyond that - BUT... I don't agree that everyone needs to head to the biggest moving Warmbloods - what about the medium-quality gaits? I believe a lot of people AND horses would be better off as riders if they got something "in between" - some impulsion, decent reach, but not the biggest, most flamboyent mover they can find. I think this is why we are seeing so many unhappy horses (and riders) now. MOST people can't ride the really big gaits! So they stifle their horses.

Madamoiselle is right - the biggest movers are the ones that sell, not the decent movers that are easier to ride. Yet, in the long run, most riders would look and ride MUCH better on that average moving horse. I'm not talking average moving like a Quarter Horse, but average moving Warmblood or bigger moving Thoroughbred or other breed with three decent gaits.

It is easier to sell big gaits to amateur riders and tell them that all they have to do is be brave enough to ride forward and they will have a super dressage horse, than it is to tell the riders that it takes years to learn to ride a balanced and sensitive horse with impulsion and lightness.

Much easier for people to have the flashest horse in the warmup arena than the years and years of brain burning learning that is actually dressage.

Eclectic Horseman
Jan. 31, 2011, 11:47 AM
Absolutely.
I think that horses have hugely improved and quality gaits are available to most people. However, riding quality has dropped nearly as much and most people are afraid of the best quality gait their horse has and never let the gaits develop to the best of the horses ability. I am in that group. I now buy horses with softer gaits and less suspension. I still get nice gaits but they won't get us to the Olympics. My back is much stiffer and I have lost elasticity. I can't ride the amount I used to to keep my back loose. Many modern warmblood gaits need youthful human spines and hips to go freely forward. Then add the courage to ride them forward with all the energy they have...most riders are too chicken to let them go forward and they end up with all the energy they bought scaring them and the poor horses end up silly and spooky trying to use up the energy someone paid good money for. Know thyself. PatO

By the time people have the money to buy those gaits, they are either too busy working to get the time in the saddle they need, or they are too damn old...

But I also take exception to your statement that horses with such gaits are available to "most people." Available, yes, affordable, no.

GimmeQs
Jan. 31, 2011, 01:50 PM
How do you know when you're using the full potential of your horses gaits? The past weeks since I started this thread I have been getting much more, but we had some little spooks today that made me go - holy crap, now THAT is forward!!! I didn't ask for that impulsion/speed after in the ride, but it seems like I will really need to beat him up to get that gait. Do I just need to raise the bar, or is there something more. In addition, maybe my (mild?) sack of suet position isn't ready to go all-out and it will be a disservice to the horse to get those gaits if I can't keep myself together yet...

MelantheLLC
Jan. 31, 2011, 09:11 PM
Charles de Kunffy's article in the Feb Dressage Today is very apropos to this thread:


The horse avoids submitting to the rider with three common evasions: inversion/overflexing, misalignment and rushing...
...Rapidity (rushing out of balance) doesn't allow the haunches to support the center of gravity and forces inversion on the horse. Slowing the tempo is absolutely necessary to even begin the negotiations of a balance that permits the horse to support the rider. The evolution of strength and articulation of the joints depends on inviting the horse to carry the rider at the then, and ever, appropriate speed defined by the horse's ability and development. Over-driving to a speed that cannot yet be supported by the horse is absolutely detrimental to balancing.

He goes on to discuss the skills and knowledge of arena exercises and patterns involved, and then addresses rushing as an evasion:


"Straighten your horse and ride it forward," was advice given to an equestrian world that did not confuse "forward" with running. Instead, "forward" was understood to mean encouraging the horse to increase the articulation of his joints in the haunches, particularly to encourage his hocks to move toward the bridle: Thrusting forward and upward!...
...Speed is the enemy of impulsion because the horse uses it to evade impulsion. By responding to the driving aids by rushing, the horse can ignore, escape and and refuse producing activity in his joints: He disengages. Riders that encourage seek and demand speed from their horses sabotage the development and the evolution of their impulsion.

...Slowing the tempo enables horses to discover motion by increasing the use of their joints, and that leads to the desired results of "transportation" by carrying, rather than by pushing.

Charles de Kunffy, Teacher's Notebook-Part 2, Dressage Today, Feb 2011

Anyone who is confused or interested in the difference between "forward" as speed and "forward" as impulsion should definitely seek out this excellent article. I think Mr. de Kunffy might well agree that many or most dressage horses are 'under-ridden' but I don't think he'd suggest that they should go faster instead. ;)

I don't think big gaits get harder to ride with impulsion. They get easier to ride. But it's hard to ride them in balance while getting there.

RedHorses
Jan. 31, 2011, 10:43 PM
Actually, since dressage is supposed to enhance what the horse can do naturally (think Totilas :D), you should be sitting more than that trot, unless you are in that 95% :lol:

Yes I know! The following thought is "What the H*** am I gonna do when HE steps up his trot like my other horse did?!?!" :eek:

Molasses
Feb. 1, 2011, 07:49 AM
Hahaha...

It's hilarious to me because I have no problem going fast, I could gallop around all day. But when I am concentrating on trying to get MORE!! IMPULSION!!! it feels like the long side of the arena is 3 strides long and the stupid corners come too fast.

This sounds like me too :)
For me to get ‘that’ impulsion and ‘that’ forward the riding needs to become very black and white and not take less than 100% from my horse. However I also ride for enjoyment, for relaxation and for fun, on trails, on beaches and maybe one ride in 10 I’m asking for it. I can’t blame my horse if he flicks his tail and says haha you’ve got to be kidding LOL
I’d love to feel that power all the time….or would I? That’s the problem isn’t it ;-)