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Amerex
Mar. 6, 2011, 11:36 AM
I know this might open a big can of worms, but curiosity has gotten the better of me. I was watching a video of Totilas this morning and while admiring his snappy leg movements I began to wonder something. Will Totilas' freakish movement lead to a trend of using chains and maybe other training methods usually geared toward high stepping gaited breeds? Something about the way he snaps his feet off the ground just got me thinking about the movement of showing Saddlebreds and TWH's. If that movement is now considered largely desirable it follows that people will be trying to recreate it through whatever means necessary. If this has already been discussed I apologize. I did a search and nothing came up.

princessfluffybritches
Mar. 6, 2011, 12:02 PM
You never know what people will do for that little blue ribbon

Lost_at_C
Mar. 6, 2011, 12:13 PM
A) it's been discussed - extensively. B) any half-educated eye looks beyond simple leg action and sees the foundational training beneath - which is nothing like saddleseat. C) You'll find that the use of chains on feet is actually the methodology of certain "trainers" on this board who decry Toto as the Armageddon of proper dressage ;)

TouchstoneAcres
Mar. 6, 2011, 12:27 PM
A) it's been discussed - extensively. B) any half-educated eye looks beyond simple leg action and sees the foundational training beneath - which is nothing like saddleseat. C) You'll find that the use of chains on feet is actually the methodology of certain "trainers" on this board who decry Toto as the Armageddon of proper dressage ;)

Biggest nonsequitor of the day, totally (pun intended) off base. To the point though, I doubt it. I don't think it would work, not that someone wouldn't try.

butlerfamilyzoo
Mar. 6, 2011, 12:53 PM
Having used surgical tubing, ankle chains, and heavier shoes in the arab world (NOT gaited)... It's just NOT going to give you the same movement. It will give you a lot of up and down, sewing machine type front end. You lose a lot of the FORWARD. You will also end up losing a lot of the topline as the horse starts flinging feet out, hind end trailing, and creating more of the "banana" muscling, not the round "beach ball" with strength over the back.

Maybe used sparingly? I could see possibly weighted bell boots or ankle chains giving a little more flair to a trot... And i sure dont see those as inhumane, more as something to make the horse think about that body part a little more. Sort of like the Jumpers that wrap an elastic bandage in a figure 8 around their horses to get them to think about their body and what it's doing. I often do that when i'm working out, use a belt around my waist so i focus on working my abs correctly, if i dont have a reminder, i stop using my core correctly... Just as an example.

I hated using surgical tubing "bungies" for the front legs, it tends to give a very mechanical looking movement and typically one leg will strike out stronger than the other too. You can usually peg which horses live in bungies and which dont. Weighted shoes will again give you sewing machine movement, no forward/round movement.

Try it if you want, it's not going to create a Totillas for you... My 2 cents. ;)

JackieBlue
Mar. 6, 2011, 01:15 PM
But why wouldn't it work? Chains, soring, etc. are used to encourage a horse to tap the ground with their front feet and then snap them up in an exaggerated way.
I agree that heavy shoes wouldn't do the trick b/c people aren't looking for knee action in these horses, but there sure is a lot of hype about Toto's "snappiness" for lack of a better word. While weighted feet create more lift/higher knee action, irritants are geared toward getting the feet to snap off the ground.
I guess what one sees as humane or not is a rather personal thing. I, for one, would not enjoy having heavy chains on my ankles that move around as I work. I KNOW they would hurt and would leave soreness and bruising even after their removal. Nor would appreciate having my feet weighted. Chains and heavy shoes/weighted bell boots absolutely cause damage to a horse over the long term and increase the chance of injury in the short term. In my book they're a major no-no.
I'd like to think that dressage competitors would never go this route, but who could ever have imagined the current state of the big lick TWH's would've come to be?

ETA: claiming that putting something like chains on a horse to make it "think about that part of its body more" is often a bullshit excuse to justify inhumane treatment. A horse with chains on its legs isn't thinking, "Okay, right leg, left leg, right leg, left leg, pick em up, step up high, right leg, left leg..." The dramatic movement is created as the horse struggles to deal with the annoying, very likely painful, heavy thing now on its legs. It is not "thinking" about how you want it to use that body part. If it is thinking anything about that "training implement" or its legs the though is more than likely, "Ow, my legs! Yikes, it's hard to lift them. This is hard work! And..ow...why is this jerk on my....ow....back....ow....doing this to me?"

katie+tru
Mar. 6, 2011, 01:25 PM
Hate to say this, but I've been under the impression that people have been using such methods on dressage horses for years.

ThreeFigs
Mar. 6, 2011, 01:27 PM
JB, re-read Butlerfamilyzoo's post. I think she describes the why not very well.

One of my students has an old Arab who was a Park Horse in his past life. What she says about the banana muscles is true. This horse was old when student got him and there was a mountain of trouble to overcome. He can now stretch his neck forward and down and move freely forward, but, alas, time and past abuse have given him irreversible "furniture disease".

His chest has fallen into his drawers...

JackieBlue
Mar. 6, 2011, 01:34 PM
JB, re-read Butlerfamilyzoo's post. I think she describes the why not very well.

One of my students has an old Arab who was a Park Horse in his past life. What she says about the banana muscles is true. This horse was old when student got him and there was a mountain of trouble to overcome. He can now stretch his neck forward and down and move freely forward, but, alas, time and past abuse have given him irreversible "furniture disease".

His chest has fallen into his drawers...

If you reread my post you'll see that I, and I believe the OP as well, am talking about exaggerating the snap, not the lift or knee action. High stepping can certainly lead to a hollowed topline, but IF a horse is encouraged to snap it's feet up off the ground WHILE being worked in rounded dressage fashion, I do not believe that is what you'd get.

Remember, we're not talking about turning dressage horses into park or gaited horses. We're talking about borrowing a select few "training methods" from another discipline while maintaining the essence of this one.
NOT that I would do any of this, but I'm interested in whether there are people doing this already.

CFFarm
Mar. 6, 2011, 02:20 PM
http://www.equestriancollections.com/product.asp?groupcode=DA00023

Step # one (no pun intended). This is NOT a speciality catalog.

butlerfamilyzoo
Mar. 6, 2011, 02:22 PM
Inhumane ankle chains? what are you picturing? The 1" thick chain hooked to a pit bull out in some alley? The only ankle chains i've ever used were a narrow SOFT leather strap with small VERY LIGHT metal dangly S hook type things, or sheepskin lined. Why on earth would you put something on an animated show horses ankles (a place people tend to focus on since it's the "cool" part if you call that cool) that would scar or damage them?

Weighted bell boots have been used for years on dressage horses that i've known, usually on their hinds to get them to lift a bit better. Is this inhumane? How weighted do you think they are? No more than a pound i assure you, and i'm not sure if they even go that heavy!

If you think it's inhumane to put something on the horse to "remind" it how it's body is moving, then get your own rear off it and leave it out in the pasture... What do you think a rider is doing by constantly giving cues?

Now, if you want to talk about the inhumane treatment of the big lick TWHs, that's a whole other bag of worms... I'm not from that world, i can only speak from my non-gaited arabian experience and what we did to get action into the country/english pleasure horses. Note, i have not even owned an arab in over 10yrs... Maybe it's better/worse today, but i doubt it's changed looking at my tack catalogs i still get.

This is what you would use to attach bungies to:
http://www.sstack.com/action-aids/billy-royal-sheepskin-ankle-hobbles-/
or i used to attach a little bell to (like those for bird toys), i found the horses used to get into time with their jingles like they do to music.

These would be ankle chains:
http://www.sstack.com/action-aids/single-link-action-chain/
i never used them, but my trainer had some, they were very light and would never leave bruising or sores.

This is similar to the ones i used to use, though they did not dangle this long:
http://www.4showhorsetack.com/images/42-505ankletts.jpg

I've also seen these:
http://www.4showhorsetack.com/images/42-037aluminumrattlers.jpg
These are made of aluminum, VERY light, but they make a light rattle noise.

Bungies will make them "snap" off the ground, this is true, but this is where you will tend to get one leg snapping and the other following, it gives a very uneven look. Overlooked in the breed ring, it would probably be called lame in the dressage ring and excused from the ring. If used excessively, you WILL get knee action with just bungies, not just the snap off the ground. Horses with a longer stride will realize it's easier to lift the knee than keep the sweeping stride while wearing bungies. This will give you more movement "in front" of the horse, causing the back end to get strung out and your "banana" body frame. I just dont think it's going to give you the Totillas movement with the same body frame he carries himself in, no matter how much people here think it will.

ETA: I didnt mean that to come off rude or talking down to anyone. I just think it's kinda funny that people jump on the inhumane bandwagon when it comes to something like this equipment, i often find it's just a lack of knowledge as to what said equipment looks and feels like. I dont think the horse finds it anymore irritating or inhumane than lugging around the human on their back or having a piece of metal in its mouth.

CFFarm
Mar. 6, 2011, 02:30 PM
Agreed BFZ, most of these devices are not harmful, just annoying to the horse, and I too used them in my Saddlebred days. But.....that's why I used to love dressage, no gadgets needed.

butlerfamilyzoo
Mar. 6, 2011, 02:39 PM
Here is a video of one that's had a lot of bungie work that i can tell. I had to search a while for a video of one with a rider not hanging off the horse's face, i wish i could find a video a bit clearer, but i dont have all day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgZ5otRWjCQ&feature=related

This is NOT a gaited horse. This is just a strong trot in the English Pleasure ring. Can you see how the front end is uneven? Where one leg snaps a little harder and the toe flicks out stronger but the other doesnt? How the front legs move quicker in the stride than the back legs?

I just dont know that you would get a good dressage horse out of using bungies on a regular basis. I'm not sure if you did it minimally if it would make much of a difference as it takes quite a bit of time in the bungies to create this "muscle memory."

JackieBlue
Mar. 6, 2011, 02:42 PM
Why on earth would you put something on an animated show horses ankles (a place people tend to focus on since it's the "cool" part if you call that cool) that would scar or damage them?



Um, I really don't know. But people do it all the time. I'm pretty sure I don't need to tell you that. ;)

CHT
Mar. 6, 2011, 03:44 PM
His flashy gaits may put him at the top of the top, but I would hope most people can see that it is his training and the correctness and precision in which he does the other stuff that got him in that league in the first place. I don't think a snappy mover with so so training is going to get as far as a well trained horse with precise and correct movements.

Will people try it? Who cares...the training will still matter, and this is why (in my opinion) dressage is very much different than a rail class where those types of tactics are used. Now if people do it to an extreme, and we start seeing horses with blistered/sore legs, I would expect the associations to step in, but I really doubt it will go there, as you still need the training to get there, and I can't see someone put that much time/effort/money into training to risk their horses legs in that manner.

Exagerated action is not of much benefit at the low levels.

Amerex
Mar. 6, 2011, 03:54 PM
Will people try it? Who cares...the training will still matter, and this is why (in my opinion) dressage is very much different than a rail class where those types of tactics are used. Now if people do it to an extreme, and we start seeing horses with blistered/sore legs, I would expect the associations to step in, but I really doubt it will go there, as you still need the training to get there, and I can't see someone put that much time/effort/money into training to risk their horses legs in that manner.

Exagerated action is not of much benefit at the low levels.

But, maybe this is the exact discussion that TWH people were having ages ago before they ended up where they are now. I'm not a gaited or park horse person at all, but I'd be willing to bet there's a good bit of training involved there as well and that the top horses aren't JUST flashy movers either.

Kementari
Mar. 6, 2011, 04:53 PM
Chains, etc are also used without soring agents, people. You don't blister/sore trotting horses. It would make their trot uneven (AKA lame). Only breeds with lateral gaits are sored, because their gait is already "uneven" in that way, so it doesn't make them appear lame.

While I've never used them on a horse myself (and never intend to), the basic action chains like BFZ posted are not by any stretch of the imagination painful when used properly.

I do think it's reasonable to wonder whether weighted boots or other action products will start to become more en vogue: folks at the lower levels who are not as talented as Gal and don't have a horse as talented as Toto will still try to make themselves look like that (why is beyond me - but I might be the only person on the planet who finds Toto's leg flinging highly unattractive in the dressage ring). Why else do people use, say, draw reins on dressage horses, if not to try to achieve a poor imitation of what proper training and talent can provide?

The fact that it isn't "classical" and isn't supposed to be rewarded in the show ring doesn't stop all manner of poor training techniques and gadgets as it is, so why would this be any different?

Nojacketrequired
Mar. 6, 2011, 06:25 PM
Before we sink to using chains,etc, perhaps we should step back and look at the important part.

What the hind end and back are doing? I can't stand it that so many people love the horses that are "A General in front and no Army behind."

Snap those front legs all you like, but until the horse is actually over-tracking (or even tracking up), in most of the work, it's just a Red Herring.

NJR
(and yes, I was at WEG and yes, I saw the horse in question go and I still stand by what I say above.)

Bogey2
Mar. 6, 2011, 08:52 PM
He is just a freak of nature...a beautiful freak mind you!

ArabDiva
Mar. 6, 2011, 10:20 PM
the weighted bell boots in the link above only have 5oz of weight in them...I've worn bangle bracelets that weigh more than 5oz, and my wrists are a lot weaker than my horse's fetlocks!

katie+tru
Mar. 6, 2011, 10:33 PM
I agree with Nojacket. Who cares about flashy need action if the horse is strung out? Tracking up and collection are the base of dressage, not knee action.

Renae
Mar. 6, 2011, 11:06 PM
Another thing that dressage people often have no clue that there are differences within saddleseat styles overlook is that the full pointing hyper-extension of the foreleg at the trot as you see in dressage horses is only acceptable in Arab and Half-Arab saddleseat horses (and even there some don't consider it desirable). A Saddlebred or Morgan saddleseat horse that hyper extends its foreleg, pointing it like a dressage horse, is not desirable at all.

And to repeat again you can not sore a trotting horse. It does not work, the horse will not trot square, in fact it is unlikely you could get a sored horse to trot at all.

Just to train the eye of those who don't know:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwVLfpYNeug
(A note to this video, when you see the horse standing un-saddled it has been "stripped" for conformation judging after the class was worked. When you see the victory pass footage that is after the horse was resaddled after stripping. A second workout can aslo be called for after the stripping.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjIZHnh1H2E
(And a note on this video, keep in mind this is an adult amateur owner, showing her own homebred stallion, and winning in the best of company. Something I think a lot of people would aspire to.)

It does irritate me when people compare a dressage horse to a saddleseat one in a negative light, especially when it it is so clear that the person making the comments has likely never even seen a saddleseat horse in real life let alone ridden one, trained one, or even just spent a day with an open mind at a top horse show where you will be seeing the what good horses look like when it comes to saddleseat. Any saddleseat trainer who does well will freely admit that they adapt a lot of techniques used by dressage trainers to what works for their horses and the goals they are trying to achieve. If saddleseat is not your cup of tea, so be it, but to paint all that you don't do or have knowledge of as bad or wrong is pretty ignorant.

netg
Mar. 6, 2011, 11:21 PM
The fact that it isn't "classical" and isn't supposed to be rewarded in the show ring doesn't stop all manner of poor training techniques and gadgets as it is, so why would this be any different?

I agree with this.

What I love about Totilas has to do with his training. The most perfect transitions and his seeming unending willingness to please. What judges love about Totilas is more than I'm qualified to even see.

And there will be many less skilled/less honest trainers out there trying all kinds of methods to "recreate" Totilas who don't get what makes a top dressage horse. I think there are already plenty of incorrect/ineffective things going on out there, and there will be a trend of things "guaranteed to make your horse go like Totilas!" - but of course they won't work.

Renae
Mar. 6, 2011, 11:27 PM
Also, one more comment on the speration between Saddle Horse/Saddle Seat and Dressage, or what was known back in the day as "High School". There were High School classes at American horse shows at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, before modern dressage competitions came into vogue. Horses that had been "high schooled" were not to be cross entered into Saddle Horse classes. Saddle Horse classes were about judging a horse's quality, High School classes were about judging the trainer's ability to train. American trainers of the day may have excelled at both types of classes, but not with the same horse. If you have interest on learning about some of this history find a copy of The Saddle Horse: His Care, Training and Riding by William George Langworthy Taylor.

And even in this day the best trainer in the world can not make a horse be a saddle seat horse that does not have any natural talent for it. It is something the horse must have, even for the lowest level of competition.

JackieBlue
Mar. 6, 2011, 11:30 PM
Another thing that dressage people often have no clue that there are differences within saddleseat styles overlook is that the full pointing hyper-extension of the foreleg at the trot as you see in dressage horses is only acceptable in Arab and Half-Arab saddleseat horses (and even there some don't consider it desirable). A Saddlebred or Morgan saddleseat horse that hyper extends its foreleg, pointing it like a dressage horse, is not desirable at all.

And to repeat again you can not sore a trotting horse. It does not work, the horse will not trot square, in fact it is unlikely you could get a sored horse to trot at all.

Just to train the eye of those who don't know:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwVLfpYNeug
(A note to this video, when you see the horse standing un-saddled it has been "stripped" for conformation judging after the class was worked. When you see the victory pass footage that is after the horse was resaddled after stripping. A second workout can aslo be called for after the stripping.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjIZHnh1H2E
(And a note on this video, keep in mind this is an adult amateur owner, showing her own homebred stallion, and winning in the best of company. Something I think a lot of people would aspire to.)

It does irritate me when people compare a dressage horse to a saddleseat one in a negative light, especially when it it is so clear that the person making the comments has likely never even seen a saddleseat horse in real life let alone ridden one, trained one, or even just spent a day with an open mind at a top horse show where you will be seeing the what good horses look like when it comes to saddleseat. Any saddleseat trainer who does well will freely admit that they adapt a lot of techniques used by dressage trainers to what works for their horses and the goals they are trying to achieve. If saddleseat is not your cup of tea, so be it, but to paint all that you don't do or have knowledge of as bad or wrong is pretty ignorant.

I didn't see any saddle seat bashing going on, but I'll apologize just in case it was something I said that caused you to feel upset.

Renae
Mar. 6, 2011, 11:44 PM
JackieBlue, no need to apologize, I am a fan of dressage and watch when I have time, and see stuff on top class dressage horses that would get you the out gate and no ribbon at all in a saddle seat class. For some reason people want to try to apply the rules for apples to organes when it comes to saddle seat and dressage and it don't quite work that way :winkgrin:

ThreeFigs
Mar. 7, 2011, 12:29 AM
Standing ovation for netg!

And I agree with Renae -- SS and Dressage are not the same thing. The "rules" for one certainly do not apply for the other!

Donella
Mar. 7, 2011, 10:53 AM
Anyone who can look at Toto and see a saddleseat horse clearly has no clue about either disciplines. If all you see is knee action when you watch Toto, I feel guenuinly sorry for you.

The whole thing is ridiculous on so many levels it's almost not worth responding to.:rolleyes:

Bogey2
Mar. 7, 2011, 04:16 PM
well said Donella!

hessy35
Mar. 7, 2011, 05:41 PM
Edward is now riding the stallion VOICE. Look up hhis video on youtube. This stallion's movement isn't that far from becoming mind blowing as well. A lot of what's going on with these stallions like Toto is Edward! = training.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAMF6NMpZ4o

JackieBlue
Mar. 7, 2011, 06:05 PM
I don't think anyone is accusing Edward Gal of doing anything unconventional and I don't think anyone has said that dressage and saddle seat are one and the same. What I saw being asked was, if dramatic movement such as Totilas' is seen as desirable, will people attempt to recreate it possibly using some of the same training methods used on horses requiring dramatic movement at present, i.e. saddle seat mounts, etc... I think it's a valid question.

butlerfamilyzoo
Mar. 7, 2011, 06:24 PM
I agree, no comparison between dressage and saddleseat horses (gaited or not), but i do see it as a valid question as well and hopefully with the answers given show a little more into the differences, the how/whys, and hopefully steer people away from adding more gadgets into their dressage training bags and focus on the real training needed to engage the hind end. The front can build muscle and improve with time. Though just as with the saddle seat horses, i dont think you can MAKE a horse to move in these ways, they have to be born with a heck of a lot of natural ability first, then it can be enhanced with training/muscling and a lot of time.

While i'm not in that world at all anymore, i encourage everyone to ride a saddle seat horse at some point in time in their life just for the experience. A - it will show you how COMPLETELY different it is from dressage, and B - you'll be grinning from ear to ear... :) I do miss that.

fooler
Mar. 7, 2011, 07:14 PM
I agree with that OP's question is valid.
Extravagant movement a few in the Gaited classes caused trainers/riders to try to replicate with less than ideal tools.
By comparison trainers/riders work to make their Western Pleasure horses move so very slow and with an unnatural head set.
These are only 2 examples of how judges can effect a competition.

Look at early youtube videos of Totillas and you will see his natural movement is unlike 99.9% of other horses. Compare most male ballet dancers to Nureyev and Baryshnikov - they were unique.
There may be owners who wish to have their horse create the same audience excitement and receive the same high scores as Totillas. Since most horses do not have Totillas's movement there is the opening for someone to use 'other aids'.

ThreeFigs
Mar. 7, 2011, 09:36 PM
I believe anyone who tries to replicate Toto's movement through the use of artificial devices ("training aids") is heading for a trainwreck.

It takes skill and talent, not gadgets.

mand_asbfan
Mar. 7, 2011, 09:39 PM
If you had a horse that had some degree of lift and extension you could enhance that motion with shoeing - for example, a lot of saddleseat Arabs have rolled toe shoes because the rolled toes enhance the extension. Added weight will increase lift. It has to be a perfect combination - physical condition/strength, shoeing, training - you can't create motion, only enhance it. As stated earlier, stretchies would get more of a mechanical motion than what you would like in dressage. Chains might work on some horses.

ASB Stars
Mar. 7, 2011, 10:33 PM
Frankly, it would depend on how much you used the stretchies, and a combination of other things.

Stretchies do not work on a horse who doesn't already want to lift their feet- you aren't going to create motion with them. But, if you want more suspension, from a horse with the natural predispostion to showing that lift, you can enhance that movement. You can absolutely gain greater loft, with more suspension.

It doesn't work with every horse. But then, nothing does.:lol: