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View Full Version : Introducing Freestyle music, having trouble adjusting, please help!



ArabDiva
Jul. 12, 2011, 10:04 AM
I am in the beginning stages of producing my first freestyle (first level) with my horse. I was a musician (majored in violin in college) long before I was an equestrian, so the chance to combine my two passions is pretty fun.

Before choosing music, I painstakingly measured the BPM of my mare's gaits, over the course of several workouts on a couple of different footings. Then I chose music which I feel matches her attitude, her movement, and it fits the speed of her gaits. I am going with somewhat of a spanish/tango/flamenco theme because she has a very Baroque build and movement. I have one song for trot and another for walk/canter (it starts bold, then quiets down, then gets bold again, which I thought would be perfect for some walk/free walk and back to canter). I spliced the two songs together at appropriate points using GarageBand, then last night we took it out for a test run for the first time.

We warmed up first without it, did some transition exercises and practiced shoulder-in, and she was having a good day. Then I turned the music on and things seemed to go downhill. She was much quicker and tighter, very rushy and pretty tense. Our tempo was all off and not at all with the music. It was a bit disappointing, to say the least. After the first couple of minutes I gave up trying to think about the music and just worked on getting her/us to relax and concentrate while the music was going. We rode for about 20-30 minutes with our song just looping, and by the end we were not entirely put together but doing better.

I guess what I'm wondering is, is this normal and we just need to spend more time getting used to it? I don't generally ride with music that has a strong/obvious tempo to it because I don't want to interfere with our natural rhythm, but maybe that's a bad thing and we both need to be desensitized to music. Is her reaction a bad sign and I need to choose different music? Mare wasn't aggravated/annoyed by the music, but it definitely changed her demeanor. Or maybe I was the one introducing the tension? Has anyone else experienced this? Please share advice and experience!

Reiter
Jul. 12, 2011, 11:23 AM
I sometimes ride to Musik and I always feel the horses move better and are having more fun, but maybe I'm just having more fun and they feel it? ;)
Either way, the result is positive. If your horse just isn't used to the extra noise, I would ride with the music on but maybe quieter (in the background) for a while until your mare gets used to it. Don't use your Freestyle music though. You'll be practicing that often enough that by the end you'll both be tired of it! ;) Good luck!!!!

katarine
Jul. 12, 2011, 11:28 AM
If you were already thinking about the music, you were unconciously trying to match her to it. You likely got tense and voila, she was tense.

I think some freestyles would be vastly improved if the music just complemented the horse, rather than trying to really click the two together- she's not a ballroom dancer, she won't adjust herself to the beat, and you as the rider will find yourself trying to make it happen. When I saw Haddad's freestyle with Pink's song, I didn't like it at all- the horse has learned to anticipate changes/piaffes/passages exactly right NOW and he bobbles as a result- ugh. Just not pretty.

Just a thought. So many freestyles aren't as pretty as they might be...and as a designer building room into the music so you might reach K at this, that, or this other beat/moment in the song...might be more freeing and easier on all involved.

Boomer
Jul. 12, 2011, 04:18 PM
One of the best clinics I went to this year was a freestyle clinic from Equichord.

It was extremely interesting to watch how different horses reacted to different music.

One horse/rider pair were trying tango-type pieces and altho it looked good the horse found it a bit "sharp" - he just looked more tense during it. They tried music from Cavalia and he loved it. His expression was much more relaxed.

I looked at different music for my horse for the clinic - one of which was ZZ Top. Clinicians were a little skeptical that we would "step up" to that style - but my horse loved it! When we're at a show and they sound check and he hears it in the warm-up, he perks right up. He knows it's our music. :)

Our freestyle is 2nd Level and it is soooo fun! Can't wait to do one at 3rd Level one day!

ArabDiva
Jul. 12, 2011, 06:17 PM
When I saw Haddad's freestyle with Pink's song, I didn't like it at all- the horse has learned to anticipate changes/piaffes/passages exactly right NOW and he bobbles as a result- ugh. Just not pretty.

I looked up the freestyle you mentioned. I agree with you--I am NOT a fan of that one. What I don't like about it is how bi-polar the music is and how sudden the changes are--it's disjointed. Musically, it's nonsensical to go from a flowing piano tune (for her walk music) back into P!NK's "doo doo doo" electric guitar for the trot.

My goal is to develop a freestyle where the transitions between music (and gaits) are a lot more subtle. For example, in my walk/canter music, I could choose wherever I wanted to transition between the gaits. I want the mood to be consistent throughout, rather than just piecing together bits of music that don't belong on the same playlist.

Trot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0glAVaF-gw (starting at :30 )

Canter/walk, if you scroll to about 2:00 of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=km4fqXsAqmU

We will just keep working at it. I may play some different music for horsey during our ride tonight and see how things shake out.

Mike Matson
Jul. 12, 2011, 08:00 PM
Your mistake is you picked the music for your horse - a common one in freestyles. The key is letting your horse pick the music!

Just because your horse is a Baroque breed doesn't mean latin music is going to be the music that works. Your horse may be a rock 'n' roll horse, a big band mover, or into lounge music.

I had one little Arab that grew into a MONSTER mover when we put on the powerful "Miserlou" from the soundtrack for the movie "Pulp Fiction." The trainer said she had never seen the horse move like that! The rider said she didn't know what happened! And everyone had their jaws drop when they saw how well that Arab moved with the music - he was saying I OWN this music!

In my "Ride to Music" clinics I have over 1300 pieces of music timed by bpm available for the horse. Some riders will tell me what music they like or what they think will work for their horse. 99% of the time they are wrong. You need a variety of music at a particular gait bpm to determine what works for THE HORSE. The horse is "dancing", not the rider. With the right music for the horse, the rider "disappears". Just about every clinic I do, there are riders that tell me "I never would have thought that would be the music that worked for my horse!" And I do involve the auditors and rider in the music selection. The auditors see it, the rider feels it.

And I've had plenty of horses with irregular tempos. But as soon as I find the music that "fits" that horse, BANG, the rider feels the music as does the horse and they both come into sync with it. And if for some reason the horse starts rushing of slowing down, I can see the rider feel it and slow down or push up the horse until they are in sync again.

So, step back and take a look at more musical genres to try with your horse. Visit my free web site www.equimusic.com and see what's available. It is a journey but well worth it when the music and horse come together!

ArabDiva
Jul. 12, 2011, 09:09 PM
Your mistake is you picked the music for your horse - a common one in freestyles. The key is letting your horse pick the music!

Just because your horse is a Baroque breed doesn't mean latin music is going to be the music that works. Your horse may be a rock 'n' roll horse, a big band mover, or into lounge music.

I had one little Arab that grew into a MONSTER mover when we put on the powerful "Miserlou" from the soundtrack for the movie "Pulp Fiction." The trainer said she had never seen the horse move like that! The rider said she didn't know what happened! And everyone had their jaws drop when they saw how well that Arab moved with the music - he was saying I OWN this music!

In my "Ride to Music" clinics I have over 1300 pieces of music timed by bpm available for the horse. Some riders will tell me what music they like or what they think will work for their horse. 99% of the time they are wrong. You need a variety of music at a particular gait bpm to determine what works for THE HORSE. The horse is "dancing", not the rider. With the right music for the horse, the rider "disappears". Just about every clinic I do, there are riders that tell me "I never would have thought that would be the music that worked for my horse!" And I do involve the auditors and rider in the music selection. The auditors see it, the rider feels it.

And I've had plenty of horses with irregular tempos. But as soon as I find the music that "fits" that horse, BANG, the rider feels the music as does the horse and they are both come into sync with it. And if for some reason the horse starts rushing of slowing down, I can see the rider feel it and slow down or push up the horse until they are in sync again.

So, step back and take a look at more musical genres to try with your horse. Visit my free web site www.equimusic.com and see what's available. It is a journey but well worth it when the music and horse come together!

Thanks, Mike. Any chance you're having a clinic near Michigan anytime soon? :)

Mike Matson
Jul. 12, 2011, 09:53 PM
My clinics are pretty much within a 2-4 hour driving distance of Columbia, MD as I have to tote my high end stereo system I use with my MacBook Pro.

However, I do accept videos of the rider and horse working a few minutes at each gait and use that to find the music. It's not quite as good as "live" because I don't get immediate feedback from the rider or auditors. And I don't get that live "feel" for the horse's way of going. But I've had some good feedback after rider's test "live" the music CD I send them.

If you want to try it, PM me for details. The cost will not break your bank account as I believe horse owners have enough expenses and I do have a regular source of income. :)