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SquishTheBunny
Jan. 31, 2011, 09:08 AM
So Im having a BLAST with my new transition to dressage, my horse is eating it up and I cant believe the difference in our patnership already.

Saying that....I need some clairfication. I think I may have been giving horses the wrong signals for transitions for ohhh..about 15 years! How I ask for the canter on my other hunters/jumpers is : outside leg back. If they are lazy, I slide outside leg back,and squeeze with both inside leg (at girth) and outside leg (behind girth),however most of my other horses have been easy off the aids and just sliding the outside leg back was typically what I did.

What I would LOVE from you guys is some clarification on proper ques (or cues?). Including what to do with the seat/legs/hands.

Ie. cues for canter
cues for shoulder fore
cues for (sorry, cant remember what this is called, but its when your horse is facing arena wall on a 45 degree angle...and their haunches are inside the track a little)
cues for leg yield in/out on a circle
downward transitions
simple changes
flying changes
(and anything else!)

PS I do have a great trainer....but just need some written clarification.

I can somehow nagivate the hunters around 3'6 courses and get top placings in our province....but figuring out what leg to put where is much more difficult!!!! ;)

Samigator
Jan. 31, 2011, 09:45 PM
So Im having a BLAST with my new transition to dressage, my horse is eating it up and I cant believe the difference in our patnership already.

Saying that....I need some clairfication. I think I may have been giving horses the wrong signals for transitions for ohhh..about 15 years! How I ask for the canter on my other hunters/jumpers is : outside leg back. If they are lazy, I slide outside leg back,and squeeze with both inside leg (at girth) and outside leg (behind girth),however most of my other horses have been easy off the aids and just sliding the outside leg back was typically what I did.

What I would LOVE from you guys is some clarification on proper ques (or cues?). Including what to do with the seat/legs/hands.

Ie. cues for canter
cues for shoulder fore
cues for (sorry, cant remember what this is called, but its when your horse is facing arena wall on a 45 degree angle...and their haunches are inside the track a little)
cues for leg yield in/out on a circle
downward transitions
simple changes
flying changes
(and anything else!)

PS I do have a great trainer....but just need some written clarification.

I can somehow nagivate the hunters around 3'6 courses and get top placings in our province....but figuring out what leg to put where is much more difficult!!!! ;)

I'm right with ya there. . . (well except the successful jumping career part ;)), just starting some dressage lessons (I've had 4, so I'm no expert, please somebody with more experience chime in here!) with my 5 y/o self-trained horse, so it's new to both of us. But yes, the cues are somewhat different than I've been using the past many years with him and horses before.

I don't think there's necessarily one way to do it for every person and every horse. Two big struggles for me changing from other disciplines were 1.) never put the inside leg behind the outside leg. I always want to push my inside leg back to hold the haunches out for shoulder in, so I had to work some new cues to keep my legs in the proper place. 2.) always keep slightly more weight on the inside seat bone. when I found out I couldn't flip my legs, I started using one seat bone to push him away, which I guess I can't do either. :( So here I am, needing to re-learn my cues too. :confused:

not saying this is correct, but what I've started working on is using pressure with the knee/thigh to push the shoulder away, and the calf/lower leg to move the haunches away (generally speaking), and turning my seat without shifting my weight, to indicate the direction I want the horse's body to face. Then while doing all of that, keep my hips and low back moving so that we don't loose momentum. Yikes! So, for shoulder in, I'd turn my hips toward the middle, tighten my outside knee, and use my inside calf to push in the direction that I want to move. Then keep my upper body facing the direction I want to go, keep my hips/pelvis moving, use both reins as needed to prevent him from drifting into the middle of the arena, and keep a slight bend to the inside. That's a lot when you think about all of that at once.

my instructor doesn't tell me specifically how to cue him, just tells me what she's looking for, and I try to figure out what works best. My cues evolve. :)

Haunches in I think is the word you're looking for, for me, the cue is quite similar to the canter, so I'm trying to figure out how to separate them enough so my poor boy doesn't get too confused.

Hopefully somebody experienced will reply so we can both learn about the normal cues. :) Thanks for starting this topic!

Petstorejunkie
Feb. 1, 2011, 01:21 PM
Keep in mind every horse (and every trainer) will have some variation. for the most part it's the visualization that works for the rider

cues for canter- swelling HH, lower inside leg at the girth, lower outside leg sweeps behind the girth, outside shoulder back slightly
cues for shoulder fore- think circle then focus energy out on the straight line. i think of moving them with my inside groin
cues for haunches in- same as shoulder fore or shoulder in but manipulate more with outside leg behind girth. I think of a cat being spooky and picking a fight
cues for leg yield in/out on a circle- knee pushes the horse in the direction I want to go
downward transitions- spine tall, pubic bone to the pommel, outside rein, then inside rein to complete halt.
simple changes- same as downward, then shift shoulder

MeghanDACVA
Feb. 1, 2011, 02:50 PM
I too am no expert and regularly need major help, and have light bulbs come on. I event and play around at some 2nd level stuff. Notice I said PLAY!! And it is just that.

I come from a bareback, western and saddle seat background. Am 52, riding since 9 (the bareback era) and started trying to dressage about 20 yrs ago. ONE day I WILL get it!! ;-)

Here is what I have (re)learned over the years.
Canter: THINK IT! Sit up and "slide" your wt and body momentum from your shoulders down to your hips and pelvis and make the energy go forward. Even though I struggle at even training level (yes, I said I PLAY at 2nd level) if I can imagine what it would be like to ride a canter piroutte (sp) I can get lovely canter transitions. The key for me is to NOT throw my body into the canter. Let HER canter as I start her body with my hips, seat, pelvis, whatever.
Keep but don't pull on the outside rein. Easier said than done! Again, think of your momentum going that way. I imagine my pelvis (read crotch) sending its momentum toward the outside bit. But still keeping her straight, more or less.
Don't throw your hands forward but somehow don't pull back. Think HOLD and again, put that momentum of your crotch through your hands to the outside bit.
Legs...well my mare is odd, and prob so am I. I slide my outside leg back slightly (or else she bucks!!) Our old schoolmaster wanted you to slide your outside leg almost to his flank, or so it felt like.
Then, as I am doing my momentum thing I press with my calf or heel at the girth, almost in her elbow. This, unfortunately, is a carry over from my saddle seat and western days. But is the way she and I learned together when I started her.
Also think a bit of leg yeild to the outside.
As for seatbones and such...that is beyond me!
But for me the real key in getting good canters is to THINK piroutte! (can I do one? Hell no!)
The other really odd thing I have found is that walk-canter is easier for me than trot-canter. I can really "imagine" that canter piroutte thing from walk.And lots of W-T-W tansistions to get her really "on the aids". Then from the W I have her expecting another transition at any moment and imagine my piroutte thing and away we usually go.

Moving shoulders: I have had a booger of time with this over the eons since obviously I never learnd it in my formative years. FINALLY the biomechanics instructor I ride with said something that made sense, at least to me. We all talk about using thigh, etc. Use your PANTY LINE. And think of at the same time moving your outside seat bone over the center of the saddle to the other side. No, you don't actually move it or twist but again, THINK it. So almost like you are trying to displace your inside panty line to the outside and your outside seat bone or butt cheek to the inside. But actually MOVE your body or pelvis.

I learned leg yield wrong but if I do the above it works much better. Of course I am trying to coordinate everything else at the same time so it doesn't always happen!

Shoulder fore/in. I have learned 2 ways. The "classical" way is to keep the outside leg back and inside leg at the girth to encourage forwardness while keeping the haunches from swinging in. In my head this just does not compute! And again, my biomechanics instructor does it a bit differntly, which to me makes sense. I can't understand why we worry about the haunches swinging OUT when they are being "held" by the wall. And by putting the inside leg at the girth it seem to me it is telling the shoulders to not come in but rather to prevent them from doing so. So she actually has me do it the opposite of classical and it makes more sense to me and to my mare.

Changes---I am changes challenged. I can NOT get flying changes on Grand Prix horses that "automatically" do tempis across the diagonal. One day maybe, before I die? One can hope.

Down transitions are not our strong suit. My mare is big--17.2--and I am not--5'2". And in her perfect world she lives on the forehand and I hold her up. And she has trained me well. When our transitions are good, they are great. The other 90% of the time though... What seems to help at times is for me to start thinking, and almost riding, the down gait just before I even apply my pitiful half-halt.. And again, think some leg yeild. And my biggest issue is to NOT hold or pull after the down transiiton.

I hate the spiral in/spiral out exercise. And I prob fake it more than I do it. It always feels like we are just falling in and falling in on the circle. Maybe it is just my head?

So for me, alot of it is mental.
Hope something of that helps.

Petstorejunkie
Feb. 1, 2011, 03:07 PM
one thing that may help ya'll with laterals of any kind is to visualize a glass marble rolling on a glass table. any lateral when the horse is round and correctly stepping under, feels that way to me.

A lot of these things are tough to articulate because once you commit them to muscle memory you sort of forget about it. Does anyone who types really fast consciously think about where all the keys are as they type words? no. A lot of ques fall to the same muscle memory.
I had a moment where I forgot how to canter, and I've been riding 30 years... but when I sat down and thought about it, I discovered I execute 3 distinct different half halt types, and the list continues to grow.
In some ways dressage borders on mysticism :lol:

MeghanDACVA
Feb. 1, 2011, 05:35 PM
I had a moment where I forgot how to canter, and I've been riding 30 years... but when I sat down and thought about it, I discovered I execute 3 distinct different half halt types, and the list continues to grow.
In some ways dressage borders on mysticism :lol:


I know what you mean. Been there done that!

I can't for the life of me explain to somebody how I ride my mare. Of course experienced people have no problem but explaining it to a beginner, esp on her, is really difficult!

Valentina_32926
Feb. 3, 2011, 11:28 AM
...Saying that....I need some clarification....How I ask for the canter on my other hunters/jumpers is : outside leg back. If they are lazy, I slide outside leg back,and squeeze with both inside leg (at girth) and outside leg (behind girth), however most of my other horses have been easy off the aids and just sliding the outside leg back was typically what I did.

What I would LOVE from you guys is some clarification on proper ques (or cues?). Including what to do with the seat/legs/hands.

Ie. cues for canter
cues for shoulder fore
cues for (sorry, cant remember what this is called, but its when your horse is facing arena wall on a 45 degree angle...and their haunches are inside the track a little)
cues for leg yield in/out on a circle
downward transitions
simple changes
flying changes
... ;)

For me it depends on horses level of education - we start with addition/ multiplication but don't jump from there directly into calculus.

So for young/ inexperienced horses:

Canter - just learning I rock from cantle to pommel (inside seatbone) outside leg back, inside leg at girth. Depending on horse may have to squeeze with one or both legs. Once they get the transition idea I quit rocking (unless they need it again when I introduce W/C transitions), gradually have outside leg more for keeping them from throwing haunches out, and activate inside leg at the girth. If horse tends to throw haunches in (HI) then ask for canter from Shoulder Fore (SF). Reason you gravitate to using inside leg at girth to ask for canter is for Tempi changes - if you continue to ask for canter using outside leg horse can become crooked (HI) then flying changes and Tempi's become a mess (think wiggly worm).

Shoulder Fore (SF) - horses are wider in haunches then shoulders - so when traveling down the rail horse should be ridden in SF - i.e. enough to bring shoulders in front of haunches. This has the added benefit of getting the horse to step under more with their inside hind leg - thus helping develop muscles needed later for self carriage (collection).
SF is best asked for out of corner - drive horse into corner using inside leg to outside rein. Outside rein away from outside shoulder to prevent horse from "popping" shoulder... asking for a step or 2 of Leg Yield (LY) away from inside leg in corner. Then, since you have just re-established the inside leg to outside rein connection, the rider takes MORE connection on the outside rein while engaging the inside HIP (inside hip presses forward in direction of movement while outside rein is capturing outside shoulder and "bringing in" that shoulder to slightly off the rail).

Leg Yield (LY) - again depends on the level of training for horse and rider. At baby levels you have the horse look outside while moving AWAY from outside leg (and ribcage bent slightly around outside leg). I like to HH on inside rein (direction you're moving) - i.e. squeeze tighter/soften inside rein as horse steps sideways with inside front leg. Rider should be able to see a side view of the outside eye. The more highly trained the more the horse remains connected over it's back (round) while moving sideways away from outside leg and the "straighter" the horses body remains. I also "push" horse towards direction of movement with outside hip (as needed).

mbm
Feb. 3, 2011, 11:42 AM
ok, here is something that will blow your mind (or it did mine :))...

the canter aid is the same as the bending aid is the same as the HP aid, is the same for the CP aid etc.

the aid for bending is inside leg at girth, outside leg a handwidth behind girth. inside leg is the active leg for forwards.

the aid for canter is same, no sweeping, putting the outside leg back etc. on a well connected horse all you need to do is step lightly into the inside stirrup.

for HP you have the exact same leg position and take the horse with you forwards/sideways

for canter P, you also have the same leg position.

if you want some great info on aids, etc i highly recommend the book

Riding with Understanding and Feeling by Michael Putz
http://www.michael-putz.de/typo3/index.php?id=7&L=1

this might be the best practical dressage manual written today.

if you want a more in-depth study, try The gymnasium of the horse by Steinbrecht.