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View Full Version : Blitz & Wanless articles in Sept DT



Isabeau Z Solace
Aug. 11, 2011, 07:14 PM
So, comments? I'll pick a few sentences from the Blitz article that sum up a lot of what is discussed.

"Biomechanics is not about sitting in a pretty position but understanding the forces put on your body by your horse's movement and how to match those forces in the proper directions at the proper times. ... Really good riders who seem to expend little effort while sitting on big moving horses aren't up there simply being loose and relaxed. It's the same with an elite figure skater making her routine look easy or a ballerina seeming to defy gravity as she floats across the stage. They are all athletes working hard to look relaxed and understanding balance, strength and body awareness to an amazing level of detail."

I believe Mary has been trying to get an article into DT for some time, so I am thrilled they finally agreed !

dwblover
Aug. 11, 2011, 07:19 PM
I think Heather is an elegant and super effective rider. And I have had a light bulb moment or two reading Mary Wanless books. I'm glad to see an article by them in DT. :)

Equibrit
Aug. 11, 2011, 07:50 PM
"Biomechanics is not about sitting in a pretty position but understanding the forces put on your body by your horse's movement and how to match those forces in the proper directions at the proper times. ... Really good riders who seem to expend little effort while sitting on big moving horses aren't up there simply being loose and relaxed. It's the same with an elite figure skater making her routine look easy or a ballerina seeming to defy gravity as she floats across the stage. They are all athletes working hard to look relaxed and understanding balance, strength and body awareness to an amazing level of detail."


Now, how exactly is that helpful ? There's nothing quite like stating the glaringly obvious.

EqTrainer
Aug. 11, 2011, 11:09 PM
It is helpful because so many people are under the gross misconception that you are supposed to "go with the motion" and their ability to be super loose and all over the place is an asset. Hocks and backs pay the price.

dwblover
Aug. 11, 2011, 11:55 PM
Well said, EqTrainer! You are SO right, I see people on a DAILY basis who are flapping all over the place, contorting themselves to try to stay "with" the horse's motion. What Heather is saying about matching the horse's force so you can remain "still" is spot on. Courtney King-Dye said something in an article that has stuck with me: the rider should be exactly like the girth and saddle, going with the horse precisely but without interfering at all.

WBLover
Aug. 12, 2011, 09:37 AM
I have also had some HUGE lightbulb moments in my MW readings. I don't think I ever really could get a horse truly through and on the bit until I started implementing some of her biomechanics in my riding. It's also true what she says, talented riders/trainers don't even realize what they are doing to acheive their results, so they don't really know to impart that knowledge to their students. They focus more on applying aids (legs, hands) and working on the horse rather than teaching a student how to use their core strength and how to be properly positioned and balanced in the saddle. Once that is in place, everything else just "comes".

Isabeau Z Solace
Aug. 12, 2011, 10:55 AM
Yes, most of the above replies are addressing the ideas I would like to highlight.

So much focused is placed (in daily lessons) on the rider "relaxing" and "suppling the horse." I am so happy that Mary and Heather have gotten a 'foot in the door' on the discussion in this important (and I'm pretty sure most visible) national dressage magazine.

BaroquePony
Aug. 12, 2011, 12:33 PM
Posted by WBLover:

.... It's also true what she says, talented riders/trainers don't even realize what they are doing to acheive their results, so they don't really know to impart that knowledge to their students. They focus more on applying aids (legs, hands) and working on the horse rather than teaching a student how to use their core strength and how to be properly positioned and balanced in the saddle. Once that is in place, everything else just "comes".

This ^ statement just shows how blatantly Americans refuse to study the basics :uhoh:.

*Everything* begins with the proper *seat*. The SRS says it, Pony Club says it, and most modern (French, German, etc.) military horse programs, as well as the Classical Masters, all emphasize the seat as the first thing that must be properly developed. *Seat* includes the spine (torso and head), normally.

Lost_at_C
Aug. 12, 2011, 12:55 PM
This ^ statement just shows how blatantly Americans refuse to study the basics :uhoh:.


I don't think that's true exactly. I have met far more dedicated and studious instructors and trainers in my career than people who just want quick results for themselves and their students. Like others on this thread, I think the issue is with people not having the adequate tools to teach proper seat position. We need far more education about how to effectively lunge a rider, for example, and how to transfer knowledge of biomechanics in a way that allows students to feel, rather than encouraging them to tense up with concentration. This is where Mary Wanless and Sally Swift have been invaluable, and we should treasure their input.

Carol Ames
Aug. 12, 2011, 02:12 PM
Is the article online somewhere?

merrygoround
Aug. 12, 2011, 02:24 PM
Now, how exactly is that helpful ? There's nothing quite like stating the glaringly obvious.

Sadly to the average rider, and even to some UL riders it isn't.

Many UL riders have been doing what they are doing for so long that their body corrects imbalances, and tiny and not so tiny shifts in rhythm, cadence and bend
without them even thinking about it. This leaves us poor clods wondering why we are always consciously correcting something, forgetting how much we too accomplish automatically.

So when teaching, they sometimes neglect such basics.

Bogey2
Aug. 12, 2011, 03:12 PM
Now, how exactly is that helpful ? There's nothing quite like stating the glaringly obvious

don't you remember the thread by blue domino?? There were a few there who thought you just sat there:lol:

I had the pleasure of riding in a clinic with Mary last May. I really enjoyed it and took a lot home to work on. Effective position is not an easy thing to teach. Mary gave me some tools to also use with students.

Isabeau Z Solace
Aug. 12, 2011, 03:14 PM
Like others on this thread, I think the issue is with people not having the adequate tools to teach proper seat position. We need far more education about how to effectively lunge a rider, for example, and how to transfer knowledge of biomechanics in a way that allows students to feel, rather than encouraging them to tense up with concentration. This is where Mary Wanless and Sally Swift have been invaluable, and we should treasure their input.

I have encountered very few trainers/instructors/clinicians who are even aware of what it is their students need to learn. The skill of riding is given far too little respect in its complexity, and its "Masters" have rarely been able to breach the gap between the supremely talented few and the rest of us...

The SRS is well known for producing riders, but those riders are few and far between. Few of us would be accepted into, or make it through, the SRS program.

Outside the SRS and the FEI are thousands upon thousands of the 'unwashed masses' who's horses deserve riders who can ride better then the current paradigm allows (at least in the USA.) Only lately have we been lucky enough to have a few riding instructors really try to break the skill set down into it's component parts.

merrygoround
Aug. 12, 2011, 04:48 PM
But then we instructors find many times that for many riders they are "getting the job done" their way, and having to learn a new skill set is work. ;) :)

So that's why there are a lot of Training level riders. Because it takes a whole new skill set to get to that lateral work. :lol:

runnyjump
Aug. 12, 2011, 05:26 PM
I don't think that's true exactly. I have met far more dedicated and studious instructors and trainers in my career than people who just want quick results for themselves and their students. Like others on this thread, I think the issue is with people not having the adequate tools to teach proper seat position. We need far more education about how to effectively lunge a rider, for example, and how to transfer knowledge of biomechanics in a way that allows students to feel, rather than encouraging them to tense up with concentration. This is where Mary Wanless and Sally Swift have been invaluable, and we should treasure their input.

Then you are one of the fortunate ones. Sadly, I have met too many trainers/instructors who only work on getting a pseudo "look" of dressage and don't work much, if at all, on the basics of position and the locomotion of the horse and rider as a pair. ALL of my students go on the lunge periodically to help their position and seat improve and better influence their horses without all the leg-leg-leg - hand-hand-hand often seen in today's rides.

I have had students question me on about why they can't do something more and I tell them, when they understand what they are doing (not necessarily master it), we will move along, but never turn our backs on what we have done to this point. I had a prospective student's father tell me he didn't want his child on the lunge because she was much further along than that. This child has NO seat!!!! Ego needs to stay out of horse sports! It's always the horse that suffers.

Lost_at_C
Aug. 12, 2011, 05:59 PM
Then you are one of the fortunate ones.

Huh. Guess so. In all the years I was training and competing I found the shortcut-takers to be annoying but definitely in the minority. I retired from pro training about six years ago so perhaps some things have changed in that time. Still, I can say for certain that there are at least pockets of superbly dedicated students of dressage around the country. Clearly others' experiences have varied, and my opinion is based on working with horses and riders at Training-4th, primarily on the East Coast.

AllWeatherGal
Aug. 12, 2011, 07:23 PM
While I think it's terrific to write about the core effort required to *look* in harmony (with, still, whatever), the light bulb for me didn't come until I saw myself riding my horse last week. That's about 20 years of sorta-doing without understanding.

That's also the first time I didn't lose my balance while trying to look sideways in the mirror.

Maybe watching video clips during a lesson would help riders connect the look with the feel so they can see for themselves the difference between when they are *ahem* relaxed and when they are physically engaged. Seeing that difference may provide some incentive to work harder to achieve the better, more effective, result.

hrsmstr
Aug. 12, 2011, 08:44 PM
I recently began reading Mary Wanless's "For the Good of the Rider" on the insistence of my PSG level friend. When I first read it, it made no sense whatsoever. However, I did two things: I decided to work on little bitty steps, one at a time and on horseback. Instead of trying to remember (I'm ADHD, it seems) all of the parts of Wanless's teachings, I work on just one step, just one, until it becomes second nature..on horseback.
Only then does it make sense. For me, at least, reading it in the living room with two cats fighting for my one lap is merely an eye exercise. I have to force it into my overloaded brain. When I apply it on horseback, in the saddle, (or in my case, as I'm still looking for a saddle, bareback) THEN it makes sense.
At this point, I'm still working on 'bearing down' and breathing, and I find that it DOES work. But I can't do it all at once. And it doesn't come all at once. I'll be concentrating so hard on doing what I'm doing that my lovely, patient, probably confused as hell horse will wander at will in the arena..but he seems to appreciate my efforts. Because, sometimes...it works. Sometimes, it WORKS...you will feel something click, something in your body and your horse comes together and it feels RIGHT. You have that "I get it!" moment for a few strides...and then it goes away.
(Need I tell you that I'm a little long in the tooth, never had formal lessons, and wasn't lucky enough to be raised with horses?)
But it comes enough to encourage me to keep on.

I've read a lot of books on how to ride. Wanless's book makes sense to me. I am going to Heather's clinic in October. I hope to learn a lot more. I'm not interested in doing dressage competitively. I just want to learn to ride like they do.

merrygoround
Aug. 12, 2011, 08:51 PM
hrsmstr-Stick with it. The normal progression for transitions and half-halt learning is as you described it. Now you get it, now you can't, until finally it will become yours.

And bless your patient teacher. Your horse. :yes:

Isabeau Z Solace
Aug. 12, 2011, 08:59 PM
While I think it's terrific to write about the core effort required to *look* in harmony (with, still, whatever), the light bulb for me didn't come until I saw myself riding my horse last week. That's about 20 years of sorta-doing without understanding.

That's also the first time I didn't lose my balance while trying to look sideways in the mirror.

Maybe watching video clips during a lesson would help riders connect the look with the feel so they can see for themselves the difference between when they are *ahem* relaxed and when they are physically engaged. Seeing that difference may provide some incentive to work harder to achieve the better, more effective, result.

And Mary encourages everyone in her clinics to have a helper point a video camera at them. Your helper doesn't have to know anything about it, just point. I have a Flip camera I use, then upload the video to youtube and email the link to my students.

Video can be painful (I know it hurts me A LOT !:D:D) but it is super effective at showing you what is going on. My favorite is to video riders from behind at the halt. Have them sit where the think they are straight, then straighten them and have them describe how it feels when they are truly more straight and not sitting in their more familiar, comfortable 'home' crooked. A good way for people to recognize that what 'feels' one way is likely not accurate.

mustangtrailrider
Aug. 12, 2011, 11:13 PM
It is amazing at how little "bits" of informtation can spur a huge transformation.

Reading an article, studying a book, learning from a video, or receiving a lesson can all be useful while practicing the ART of riding.....only when the information is presented in a proper manner, at the proper time, will the student retain the knowledge. With practice and patience, the knowledge will grow to understanding. With understanding, it will become second nature.

It is a developing and growing endeavor.

Each individual learns differently. I, personally, strive for self-improvement and growth constantly. I am driven and critical, of myself and others.

These little bits of information are starting to fall into place.....it is becoming a part of me. My skill set is rising quickly, even though I am not "well-trained" and my horse is a "back-yard pony"! Together we are learning and growing. We are doing very well.

My pony is actually quite lovely. We do have work to do, lots of it. But with study and instruction, we are learning! We are discovering the subleties that we were struggling with for years....we are getting them almost instantly. The lightbulb is going off....

Thanks to a brilliant and patient teacher, we are growing. Just little bits here and there, we are becoming one....

Learning and growing...having fun and being safe....that is what is most important. Learning how your body influences the horse, how the horse is responding to your imbalances, etc, is very difficult, but until it is felt and understood....it is a struggle...the more it is forced, the farther away it goes.

Learning to relax and be a part of the horse, akin to an appendage, is very difficult, yet so simple!!!! Such sublety, strength, and instinct is amazing!!!

Isabeau Z Solace
Aug. 13, 2011, 10:28 AM
Learning to relax and be a part of the horse, akin to an appendage, is very difficult, yet so simple!!!! Such sublety, strength, and instinct is amazing!!!


I wouldn't say the articles were suggesting that 'learning to relax' is something to be strived for. Quite the opposite.

lorilu
Aug. 13, 2011, 11:25 AM
I am so fortunate to have found a trainer that focuses first on me and my position. We are slowly chipping away at long-ingrained "bad dressage riding" habits. It's a slow and somewhat discouraging process, but I see the difference.

She sometimes says - we can go the shortcut route, but if we do, you won't get past second level - what do you want? Of couse, I want the correct, albeit slow, route. What the he**, I'm only 58!

Of couse, my trainer is relatively no-name, does not have any medals or big name students, and would be dismissed by some as "nobody". But she is a student of the seat and the horse - and it shows in her teaching.

L

Natalie A
Aug. 13, 2011, 12:54 PM
My trainer recently started auditing some of the Wanless clinics nearby a few years ago and the transformation in all of our riding has been remarkable. It's helped me so much with some of the issues I have struggled with for years. I'm finally feeling like I can access some of the language Wanless uses, apply it... and notice a positive change in the horses I ride. It's changed how I approach riding I think in a really interesting way.

Carol Ames
Aug. 13, 2011, 12:56 PM
I agree!; unfortunately in attempting to describe what it is; there are many misrepresentations:mad:/ dysfunctional :no:positions:o taught








I don't think that's true exactly. I have met far more dedicated and studious instructors and trainers in my career than people who just want quick results for themselves and their students. Like others on this thread, I think the issue is with people not having the adequate tools to teach proper seat position. We need far more education about how to effectively lunge a rider, for example, and how to transfer knowledge of biomechanics in a way that allows students to feel, rather than encouraging them to tense up with concentration. This is where Mary Wanless and Sally Swift have been invaluable, and we should treasure their input.

PenelopesGrl
Aug. 13, 2011, 01:10 PM
I audited one of Mary's clinics last year and had a wonderful time. I came home completely exhausted just from sitting in my plastic chair--spent the whole day 'bearing down,' etc., along with the riders!

It was so interesting to see the images Mary came up with to help her students. One woman had to imagine herself suspended over her horse in a giant diaper, another had to imagine a glissando being played along her horse's spine, and another had to imagine her horse as a Jack Russell terrier that keeps trying to run as it's lifted up and back by the scruff of its neck. I think inventive images like these are so powerful and helpful (nutty as they might sound, out of context!), and I'm looking forward to riding with Mary myself at some point.

Looking forward to reading the DT article.

carolprudm
Aug. 13, 2011, 04:02 PM
I audited one of Mary's clinics last year and had a wonderful time. I came home completely exhausted just from sitting in my plastic chair--spent the whole day 'bearing down,' etc., along with the riders!

It was so interesting to see the images Mary came up with to help her students. One woman had to imagine herself suspended over her horse in a giant diaper, another had to imagine a glissando being played along her horse's spine, and another had to imagine her horse as a Jack Russell terrier that keeps trying to run as it's lifted up and back by the scruff of its neck. I think inventive images like these are so powerful and helpful (nutty as they might sound, out of context!), and I'm looking forward to riding with Mary myself at some point.

Looking forward to reading the DT article.

Unfortunately I spent six days with her telling me to PEEEEELLLL my seat of my mares back like it was velcro while my mare became more and more tense, hollow and resistant.

Finally she told me to go home and figure it out on my own.

Indeed I did, but why in the world didn't she just tell me to engage my hip flexors? It would have prevented a whole lot of frustration.

She is better in print than in person IMHO

Carol Ames
Aug. 13, 2011, 04:27 PM
Actually, I believe most UL riders and horses have learned to compensate:cool: for one another; afterall, it IS a team effort! Occasionally , one, usually the horse says "enough:mad:! do you really want what you are telling me:confused::lol:? If so, HANG ON!:eek:

Carol Ames
Aug. 13, 2011, 04:31 PM
Would you have known what/ where your hip flexors were?:confused:
Unfortunately I spent six days with her telling me to PEEEEELLLL my seat of my mares back like it was velcro while my mare became more and more tense, hollow and resistant.

Finally she told me to go home and figure it out on my own.

Indeed I did, but why in the world didn't she just tell me to engage my hip flexors? It would have prevented a whole lot of frustration.

She is better in print than in person IMHO

Carol Ames
Aug. 13, 2011, 04:46 PM
in general, telling someone to relax a body part is ineffective:no:;having the student feel, become aware of the" offending body:lol: part and then feeling it release;) along with the resulting change in the seat/ leg / horses' motion:cool: is more effective/ beneficial those who, feel their bodies:yes: and the horses' are ahead of the game:yes::cool:; each ride becomes:cool::cool: a lesson ; those who say "you can't teach :mad:feeling" simply don't know how:yes:

mbm
Aug. 13, 2011, 05:08 PM
i think there is more than one side to this "debate" .. i have not read the article, but based on the times i have attempted to read Mary Wanless - i will say that her stuff is complete nonsense - i cant imagine learning to ride using her methods or imagery.

and yes of course a rider must first learn to relax before they can do anything else. that is the basis of every physical thing. if you are tense you wont be able to accomplish your goal.

and please, before anyone says you cant be relaxed because then you would be a pile of goo - go read the dressage texts and use the term in its dressage context. (what is the bottom of the training scales? rhythm and relaxation for both horse and rider)

all of this has been gone over very very well via the classical texts.

in general i think people think too much and need to ride more (guilty as charged)

and if we had decent trainers is this country it might help too :)

mbm
Aug. 13, 2011, 05:09 PM
adding: telling someone to relax DOES work with someone that is body aware and knows how to well... relax :)

mustangtrailrider
Aug. 13, 2011, 06:40 PM
I wouldn't say the articles were suggesting that 'learning to relax' is something to be strived for. Quite the opposite.

I use the word relax, I guess, differently than you interpret my intentions. My apologies.

Relax in the sense of not fighting efforts, going with the energy, not against it. Using muscles that need to be worked...no more no less.

(Once again, my language isn't as effective as my thoughts; Hence, I keep my mouth shut often these days. Lost in translation.)

carolprudm
Aug. 13, 2011, 06:56 PM
Would you have known what/ where your hip flexors were?:confused:

Yup, actually I would have. I have a degree in biology and paid attention in anatomy class and no one ever mentioned velcro

mbm
Aug. 13, 2011, 07:00 PM
Yes, most of the above replies are addressing the ideas I would like to highlight.

So much focused is placed (in daily lessons) on the rider "relaxing" and "suppling the horse." I am so happy that Mary and Heather have gotten a 'foot in the door' on the discussion in this important (and I'm pretty sure most visible) national dressage magazine.

do you not think the very bottom of the training scale is looseness/relaxation?

and if not, what do you think is?

eta: a rider, as well as a horse, will be tense as they learn new things... this is just part of the process. telling them that they should not be tense is silly. they will becomes not tense once they learn how to do X and can balance and control their bodies while doing so.

sometimes i think learning to ride is made so difficult just to sell product.... altho we dont have many good trainers here but still..... learning to ride is a process... and you will get tense and lose your seat and feel out of balance etc as you go. that is just natural.

Carol Ames
Aug. 13, 2011, 07:16 PM
Unfortunately, the military origins of our equestrian activities is the "default" setting for instruction. The instructor who "commands students with "authority, and wears hem out with endless sitting trot is said to be a good instructor, regardless of what the instructor says, often it is only commands:sadsmile:, shoulder in , haunches in,:eek: etc. etc., etc. possibly a criticism or two, but, no real instruction.:no:
I have encountered very few trainers/instructors/clinicians who are even aware of what it is their students need to learn. The skill of riding is given far too little respect in its complexity, and its "Masters" have rarely been able to breach the gap between the supremely talented few and the rest of us...

The SRS is well known for producing riders, but those riders are few and far between. Few of us would be accepted into, or make it through, the SRS program.

Outside the SRS and the FEI are thousands upon thousands of the 'unwashed masses' who's horses deserve riders who can ride better then the current paradigm allows (at least in the USA.) Only lately have we been lucky enough to have a few riding instructors really try to break the skill set down into it's component parts.

Galloping Granny
Aug. 13, 2011, 08:13 PM
Mary Wanless" ideas revolutionized my riding, are still improving it daily, and have changed my teaching drastically. I was taught very early that the seat is everything and the horses confirmed it, but finding ways to teach students not just what to do but how to do it was harder to come by. My original instructor used a lot of mental images that worked well, but Mary ventures far deeper into the specifics of biomechanics and can transform we ordinary slobs into great riders if we can bring ourselves to go into unfamiliar territory that may seem very wrong at first.

My horses have confirmed that Mary is right. Recently, due to additions to my understanding, my gelding quit diving onto the forehand after his flying changes, began to carry more than push, and develop more suspension in his trot and become much more uphill in his canter. All in one day when I used my muscles differently! And it was work! I mean strength work in my thighs and my abs, but I was able to suck his back up under my seat and practically lift him off the ground. Of course it gets easier as one gets used to the feel and becomes more fit. He is thanking me, and we were doing well by most standards before. We are now breaking past what I thought were just his limitations.

The really annoying thing is that when I started finding ways to communicate these complex ideas to very young riders, I am finding that they actually get it and can do the same thing! Disgusting! ;-) They should have to suffer like I have! But they are not held back by preconcieved ideas and simply try what I ask. If only we could all start that way.

I am committed to teach and ride based on Mary's concepts simply becauses the horses, even the old school horses, are giving us all more than we ever dreamed they could. I truly hope her ideas will spread - our horses will be so greatful!

EqTrainer
Aug. 13, 2011, 08:52 PM
It is such an interesting subject. Some (randomish) thoughts on it.

Relaxation and the training scale... The training scale is about the horse. You can teach someone who is very stiff to have correct muscle tension without them ever having to hear the word relax. IMO relax is the most overused, underhelpful word in riding, next to more leg and forward.

Of course, for some people imagery does not work. Quite frankly IME they are harder to teach but if you are committed to teaching well, you figure out how to teach them, too, and sneak the biomechanical stuff in anyway LOL

For people who imagery does work, and do not already think they know how to ride (or perhaps I should say, understand how to take instruction) they can be often taught to ride effectively very, very quickly. Case in point, I taught a woman at a clinic for three days in a row. On day one she could walk, sort of trot and post, and inaccuratelysteer. By the end of day three she could walk, trot and canter on the aids, steer, and was grasping rudimentary lateral work. She was not a particularly talented rider (she had actually been riding for a year or so) but she was quite gifted at being present, open minded and doing what she was told to do without preconceived notions.

I have posted here before, about how I just mention things to LMEqT rather than teach her, and how she has never developed so many of the bad habits people - I believe - actually * get taught * by well meaning conventional instructors. It is a fascinating experiment. When she started jumping I told her three things, not all at the same time LOL 1) grab mane 2) fold down like an ironing board (I showed her this) and 3) keep riding your pony as if there was nothing there. So far, so good. She is 8 and can w/t/c over terrain, jump small fences, and keep her pony on the aids. She has NO IDEA her pony is on the aids. Shhh, its a secret :lol: I dont think she is particularly gifted, I just think she has not been told the wrong things, and what she has been told has just been careful suggestions. She is an observer, and an overachiever, so that has contributed to her quick learning no doubt. Having an incredible pony has, too... But her skills are pretty reliably transferrable, so its not all just that.

In general, the horse world is monkey see monkey do. If people see other people being taught to focus on the horse and not themselves, they believe that must be what should be done. It becomes self perpetuating. So it becomes about the horse "moving up the levels" instead of the rider becoming a better rider, who can then use the exercises to gymnasticize the horse, who can then incidentally " move up the levels" easily.

When it becomes fashionable to work on yourself and not the horse directly, it will become the norm and we will see it viewed as such. Until then, it will be considered an odd way to teach and ride.

There still needs to be a distinction made between riding and training. A good rider can get a lot done on a horse who has little training but is broke because they can be clear and direct. But the horse still needs to be trained to the rein and leg aids (the seat aids seem intuitive to most horses IME) and this is another subject separate from riding skill itself.

Now I am going to get some ice cream.

AllWeatherGal
Aug. 14, 2011, 02:33 PM
Now I am going to get some ice cream.

One of my early instructors talked of letting my legs drip down the horse's sides like ice cream, starting from the hips. I think it was after I began reading Wanless (20 years ago, or so), so I could be confusing the source.

EqTrainer
Aug. 14, 2011, 03:21 PM
Sally Swift, I think.

horsefaerie
Aug. 15, 2011, 02:52 AM
Nothing new.

And I have been teaching effective position for decades. THere are a lot of folks out there that cannot be bothered.

Waterskiing and schlumphing around on the back of a horse are much preferred to learning to use the aids and then allow the movement requested and not disturb your own balance or that of the horse.

Way too much responsibility = not as much fun.

I have been blessed, however, with enough students that really want to learn to ride better to make it all worthwhile.

Wanless has always been a tough read.

Oberon13
Aug. 15, 2011, 10:17 AM
Just a comment on Wanless...her whole point in "For the Good of the Rider" in the chapter about "the map is not the territory" (which may even be the title of the chapter, but I don't have the book near me to check, so I didn't use capital letters) is that what works for one person may not work for another. Our brains and our bodies are connected in unique and interesting ways. An image that works for me...that helps me really feel my seat bones or my hips or whatever...may mean nothing to someone else. Wanless comes from a background in science, and she is the first to say that she wasn't naturally gifted as a rider...so, she had to figure out her own "map" for the territory. Another interesting point (which is why video and mirrors are so helpful) is that our body awareness is often very skewed...even those of us who think we're aware. Years of yoga, pilates, martial arts, etc. can help you become more aware of your body, but without feedback, there's no way to know for sure. Wanless has tried to create a system of multiple images and pathways for that kind of feedback (and to help those of us who don't have regular feedback in the form of a person on the ground).

I happen to like Wanless' methods and ideas in writing (I've never worked with her in person, though my current trainer worked with Wanless EXTENSIVELY when she was first coming to the States). They seem to work for me in many ways...that said, I agree wholeheartedly with Wanless' own admission that the map is not the territory, and what works for me doesn't mean that that technique is universal.

I need to drop by TSC and purchase this edition of DT to see what it's all about after all this discussion! :D

carolprudm
Aug. 15, 2011, 12:05 PM
Yup, I have been a fan of her books and videos for years but failed miserably at her clinics, a total of six, so it would be hard to say I didn't try.

Her imagery doesn't do a darn thing for me but I can look at a picture in one of the books and see "OK she is really trying to get the rider to ...."

In particular her velcro image was counterproductive for me because I thought the answer was to apply my butt more and more firmly (IOW, really hard and stiff with an absolutely rigid back) onto the saddle when I really needed to relax and soften my butt and control the tempo with my hip flexors.

The downward force I was applying to my mare's back was understandably making her uncomfortable and causing her to rush (the problem Mary was trying to correct) and eventually buck in protest.

Maybe you had to be there but the diaper analogy someone mentioned previously is really lost on me.

Rhiannonjk
Aug. 15, 2011, 01:36 PM
I'm with Carol, as another engineer. Don't give me so much imagery, but give me something to do. And my riding buddy has learned that saying "Relax your hip flexors" frustrates me very quickly.
I regularly clinic with a Balimo certified instructor. The whole concept of Balimo is "Balance in Motion," and Eckart Meyners based his instruction on the same basis int he article - dressage isn't about a picture in time, it is about the way you move with your horse.
To me, what works best about the clinician that I work with is that she watches, gives you something to do, then says "How does that feel?"
If it isn't the feel that she was hoping for, she helps me figure out if it is because I am wrong at diagnosing what I feel, or if I need to change something to get to the right feel.

It's a process, but I feel like it is a very effective process in teaching "Feel."

(and throwing in exercises developed by a physical therapist for the purpose of improving riders doesn't hurt!)

hrsmstr
Aug. 15, 2011, 03:29 PM
Carolprudm, I second your statement. I, too, have a degree in field biology (mud, not microscopes), and have never found velcro in nature...

(well, wait.As is ALWAYS the case in biology, there's always something that's going to break the rules. Geckos have velcro feet. But they don't ride horses.!)

pony baloney
Aug. 20, 2011, 12:08 AM
I've audited a few of her clinics over the years and have devoured her books. When everything "clicks", it's as if you're working very hard, yet doing nothing. IOW, you're busy pushing/bearing down/sucking up/kneeling/pushing a pram/pushing chest against bars---doing all of this, and in the meantime, your horse balances himself underneath you without having to nag or bend with your legs or fiddle with your reins--things many trainers have told you to do. The horse is like "You've fixed yourself so I can go along perfectly".

BTW, the kneeling reference and riding with shorter stirrups has been most helpful to me. And pushing my center up the horse's neck, which prevents me from tipping forward, causing my lil' 14.2 Arab to fall on his forehand. My pony thanks you, MW!

mbm
Aug. 20, 2011, 02:07 PM
so, just to add a different twist to things..... general theory has it that once the horse is working correctly everything clicks into place - the rider has a place to sit, the connection feels perfect, the alignment is perfect etc etc. this is why riding a school master is so critical.

now, i can verify that this is true. so i guess my question is: why are not folks working more on getting the horse to work correctly rather than trying to sitwell on a horse that isn't going correctly?

seriously, it is very difficult to ride an unbalanced, unbent, un anything horse in a manner that makes it easy....

i agree that we need to have a good seat, but sometimes i think this entire subject is looked at and worked on backwards.

eta: just for added clarity - it doenst take that much for a horse to be in balance, bent etc.... my 3 yo, who is still on the lunge w/rider (me) gives me fleeting moments of pure bliss where we are literally one - where everything clicks into place.

so, i guess my point is: learn to sit well enough to get the horse to do what it needs to do to be easy to ride. to do that trained horses are the best way to go! baring that ride with someone that has felt what you are after..... ;)

Isabeau Z Solace
Aug. 20, 2011, 08:22 PM
so, just to add a different twist to things..... general theory has it that once the horse is working correctly everything clicks into place - the rider has a place to sit, the connection feels perfect, the alignment is perfect etc etc. this is why riding a school master is so critical.

now, i can verify that this is true. so i guess my question is: why are not folks working more on getting the horse to work correctly rather than trying to sitwell on a horse that isn't going correctly?

seriously, it is very difficult to ride an unbalanced, unbent, un anything horse in a manner that makes it easy....

i agree that we need to have a good seat, but sometimes i think this entire subject is looked at and worked on backwards.

eta: just for added clarity - it doenst take that much for a horse to be in balance, bent etc.... my 3 yo, who is still on the lunge w/rider (me) gives me fleeting moments of pure bliss where we are literally one - where everything clicks into place.

so, i guess my point is: learn to sit well enough to get the horse to do what it needs to do to be easy to ride. to do that trained horses are the best way to go! baring that ride with someone that has felt what you are after..... ;)

I think I can answer partly by saying I see plenty of people who ride so ineffectively they compromise the horse's body, and inhibit the horse's ability to provide the right responses. The horse can only make up for so much inefficiency on the rider's part and certainly there are only so many horses willing to try to do so at all !:D:D

And I have seen 'smaller riders' put honking holes in the backs of large horses, so it's not just a matter of a 'strong enough' horse.

I have recently been teaching a woman with a PSG school horse to ride who is the most lively, giving mare. The student is quite convinced the horse is crooked, unbalanced,etc. But the fact is the woman herself is so darned crooked and ineffective she contorts the horse. The horse is great. The woman needs to learn to hold her body so she doesn't fold the poor animal like a pretzel.

MBM my question was about the magazine article. If you think magazine articles are irrelevant and one ought just hire a trainer with a schoolmaster you can ride, then I suppose even having a magazine to discuss and explore these ideas is pointless.

alicen
Aug. 20, 2011, 11:31 PM
[quote=Isabeau Z Solace;5789849The woman needs to learn to hold her body so she doesn't fold the poor animal like a pretzel.[/quote]

Such an apt word. Rider pretzeling makes me crazy.

Rita1
Aug. 21, 2011, 12:29 PM
The person that invented velcro got the idea from thistle heads.

hrsmstr
Aug. 21, 2011, 11:45 PM
You're right, Rita1, he did. He patented velcro in ummmm 1969 or 70, I believe. And you are correct, he got the idea from the plant world, but not from thistle. It was from cockleburs, evil little things so tightly entangled in his dog's fur he had to cut them out. (you should see what happens when a hummingbird contacts a cocklebur :cry:)
And the rest is history.

netg
Aug. 22, 2011, 01:39 AM
Has everyone gotten their DT? I haven't yet, and no one in town I've asked has theirs yet, either, so I'm wondering if they show up at different times in different places.

I'll be pretty upset if I get the response "we're extending your subscription one month" response and I don't get this one, since no one I know has it yet, either.

carolprudm
Aug. 22, 2011, 08:31 AM
Velcro was patented by a Swiss electrical engineer in 1948.

I haven't gotten my August DT either

Isabeau Z Solace
Aug. 22, 2011, 12:32 PM
Velcro was patented by a Swiss electrical engineer in 1948.

I haven't gotten my August DT either

Well that's annoying. I have August and September. I am in an area with a big high level horse community. Maybe we rate special treatment:D !!

vineyridge
Aug. 25, 2011, 03:16 PM
Throwing this out for it's worth. I read somewhere years ago that natural talent can be an actual problem later in life. If an athlete has exceptional talent, he/she can DO what's asked without working hard to learn how to analyze, break down and apply the physical aspects required by the sport. Then when they age and their reflexes/instincts slow, they have to actually learn to apply what less talented people have had to do from the beginning.

If the instructor was also naturally talented before they became teachers, they might never have gone through the hard work to learn to do and teach less talented people the physical skills required by the sport.

Which might be one reason so much instruction stinks. :)

Isabeau Z Solace
Aug. 25, 2011, 05:12 PM
Throwing this out for it's worth. I read somewhere years ago that natural talent can be an actual problem later in life. If an athlete has exceptional talent, he/she can DO what's asked without working hard to learn how to analyze, break down and apply the physical aspects required by the sport. Then when they age and their reflexes/instincts slow, they have to actually learn to apply what less talented people have had to do from the beginning.

If the instructor was also naturally talented before they became teachers, they might never have gone through the hard work to learn to do and teach less talented people the physical skills required by the sport.

Which might be one reason so much instruction stinks. :)

That sounds about right....

lorilu
Aug. 25, 2011, 08:40 PM
Carolprudm, I second your statement. I, too, have a degree in field biology (mud, not microscopes), and have never found velcro in nature...

(well, wait.As is ALWAYS the case in biology, there's always something that's going to break the rules. Geckos have velcro feet. But they don't ride horses.!)

Velcro was modeled after cockelburrs! (darn things! HATE to have to get them out of manes and tails!)

OOPS, late to the game again!

atr
Sep. 3, 2011, 05:25 PM
Finally got the magazine. Haven't read the MW article yet, but have read and put into play the Heather Blitz article, because it directly addressed an issue I have been having with "Mr. I'm In Charge Here."

Interesting because I've done all of these exercises before, but without the precision that she applies to them. (That what I've noticed when I've watched her teach as well... very precise, very disciplined.) Also, the trainer concerned wasn't quite using the exercises to get the same result--the fuzzy filter of layers of trainers, I guess.

Suffice to say, by the time we finished with these exercises the other day, we were getting really nice listening, balanced, canter/walk transitions without him diving onto the forehand and running through my hands, for the first time ever. The trot balance improved exponentially also. So we will play some more and see where it takes us, once my hay guy has finally shown up today...

While I wait, I may just read the MW article instead of doing the vacuuming as I should...

carolprudm
Sep. 4, 2011, 08:53 AM
LOL, mine arrived last week also. I haven't had time to sit down and read either article.

esdressage
Sep. 5, 2011, 01:39 AM
I read both articles and put the Heather Blitz one to immediate use. Very clear and helpful! I found the Wanless one interesting, but maybe her information is better served in a larger scale than a single article? It soulnds like it will bea series, so I'm interested to read more.

suzy
Sep. 6, 2011, 11:19 AM
I read these articles and thought they were two of the best DT has ever published. For those of you who agree, you may want to pick up a copy of "The Talent Code" by Daniel Coyle. It is not specifically about riding, but so much of what he says applies to any activity that you really want to become proficient in. He debunks the theory that we are born with a particular talent or not, and replaces it with the idea that "deep practice, ignition, and master coaching" is what distinguishes elite athletes, musicians, etc., from everyone else. It's a quick, easy read that educators will also enjoy.

suzy
Sep. 6, 2011, 11:23 AM
Just a comment on Wanless...her whole point in "For the Good of the Rider" ... is that what works for one person may not work for another. Our brains and our bodies are connected in unique and interesting ways.


Oberon, I hadn't read your post before recommending "The Talent Code," but this is exactly what Coyle discovered when doing research and meeting with coaches who have coached the top athletes. One size does not fit all, and the best coaches recognize this and treat each athlete as an individual right down to the wording, tone of voice, and exercises they use for each athlete.

netg
Sep. 6, 2011, 03:16 PM
So I was already doing the exercises Heather discusses in her article before reading it. However, I was doing them AFTER getting my horse in front of my leg, which tended to involve frustration on my part as it didn't happen as quickly as I wanted each ride.

Instead, today I started with that exercise - awesome results.

atr
Sep. 6, 2011, 04:08 PM
Suzy, interesting that you should recommend that book. Joan Bolton recommended it to us all at a clinic lat year--she works with Heather B and MW.

Oberon13
Sep. 6, 2011, 05:02 PM
Oberon, I hadn't read your post before recommending "The Talent Code," but this is exactly what Coyle discovered when doing research and meeting with coaches who have coached the top athletes. One size does not fit all, and the best coaches recognize this and treat each athlete as an individual right down to the wording, tone of voice, and exercises they use for each athlete.

Exactly! Now I want to read Coyle's book! This kind of thing is fascinating to me (as an English teacher and riding instructor), and I'd love to pursue it a bit more!

Isabeau Z Solace
Sep. 6, 2011, 07:24 PM
Talent Code is really fantastic. Part of what I took away from it was that "talent hotbeds" are not freakish phenomenon. They are quantifiable situations where a certain group of people are inspired by a performance(s), and then they are themselves helped to acquire the skills to duplicate that performance.

The author breaks it down into very understandable pieces. Highly recommended book for anyone trying earnestly to do anything....

I think the DT articles embody Coyle's principles well.

suzy
Sep. 6, 2011, 08:42 PM
I should add that Coyle talks about myelin, a substance in the brain that increases the more we use our brains and become more accomplished at certain activities. We gain more and more of it up until about age 50; at that point, there is degradation.

Isabeau, somehow I'm not surprised that you read the book! :)

Velvet
Sep. 7, 2011, 11:59 AM
I have encountered very few trainers/instructors/clinicians who are even aware of what it is their students need to learn. The skill of riding is given far too little respect in its complexity, and its "Masters" have rarely been able to breach the gap between the supremely talented few and the rest of us...

The SRS is well known for producing riders, but those riders are few and far between. Few of us would be accepted into, or make it through, the SRS program.

Outside the SRS and the FEI are thousands upon thousands of the 'unwashed masses' who's horses deserve riders who can ride better then the current paradigm allows (at least in the USA.) Only lately have we been lucky enough to have a few riding instructors really try to break the skill set down into it's component parts.

Um, wow. Okay, I haven't read this entire thread, but I just had to respond to this reply. I mean, many people do know what it takes and how to teach it, but many students just don't want to work that hard and often don't have the ability to comprehend how the pieces fit into the whole so they become impatient and skip past the hard work.

So many of the instructors who have this knowledge are passed over for ones that pander to the student's egos and make everything a feel good moment and blow sunshine up their backsides. Most of them actually don't know what they're talking about, or have given up trying to teach what will really help to get a good pay check.

Look at the Parelli discussions. :lol:

Rhiannonjk
Sep. 7, 2011, 01:14 PM
Um, wow. Okay, I haven't read this entire thread, but I just had to respond to this reply. I mean, many people do know what it takes and how to teach it, but many students just don't want to work that hard and often don't have the ability to comprehend how the pieces fit into the whole so they become impatient and skip past the hard work.

So many of the instructors who have this knowledge are passed over for ones that pander to the student's egos and make everything a feel good moment and blow sunshine up their backsides. Most of them actually don't know what they're talking about, or have given up trying to teach what will really help to get a good pay check.

Look at the Parelli discussions. :lol:

So, you think that the majority of riders are lazy, stupid, and then you wonder why they prefer an instructor that doesn't think they are lazy and stupid?

(I'm trying to think of any riders I may think are flat out not doing what they should do to the point that it is keeping them from progressing, and the only ones I have really been judgemental about are those that don't take lessons)

Isabeau Z Solace
Sep. 7, 2011, 02:49 PM
Velvet have you read the articles and do you have any comments on them ?

Velvet
Sep. 7, 2011, 02:53 PM
Not a fan of DT. At this point in the discussion, I almost wish I had it in front of me so I could read them. I was just commenting on the comments and generalizations made out here.

Velvet
Sep. 7, 2011, 03:06 PM
So, you think that the majority of riders are lazy, stupid, and then you wonder why they prefer an instructor that doesn't think they are lazy and stupid?

(I'm trying to think of any riders I may think are flat out not doing what they should do to the point that it is keeping them from progressing, and the only ones I have really been judgemental about are those that don't take lessons)

Wow, you can't find anything really bad in my comment so you start putting words in my mouth? :no:

Never said students were stupid and lazy. I said many look for short cuts. Is that laziness? Sometimes. Is it impatience? Definitely. Impatience will (sadly) get you somewhere in dressage. You can go and buy a horse and get your scores and then get your medals. No need to really be able to RIDE and train. You just hop on and learn a few tricks and have your coach keep the horse going for you. Happens in other horse sports, too. It's one reason I admire eventers a bit more since when the rubber meets the road at the higher levels, you become a crimson stain by a very solid fence if you don't really know what you're doing.

I've spent many years in this sport/business. I've been to many stables. What I see is a minority that really want to get it and are willing to work hard for it. Sure, they sometimes end up with bad coaches so they don't always go where they could have with their drive, ambition and natural talent. But the marjority of people I see thinks it is supposed to be EASY. Because the people at the top make it look easy they assume it should be easy. If a coach tells them something and they find it hard, they think it's always wrong.

So they go for the ones that tell them they're wonderful when they barely put any effort into what they're doing and they perform a mockery of the real movements. The coaches are no dummies, they know which side their bread is buttered on. They'll keep the people happy and then move on to a schoolmaster that they keep going and the students can then go and get their awards/accolades. The level of competition in many places across our country allow poor riding to win. So people keep going.

I'm still a fan of the old Dutch scoring and no more Santa Claus judges. Just wish it could be made retroactive if we ever get it in place. ;)

Learning dressage is like making your own string of pearls. You have to go out and work really hard to find them, once you do, you can string it and add it to your necklace. It takes a life time to make one that's long and filled with lustrous pearls, and it's worth it. I wish the majority of dressage riders could see that. Not saying many out here don't, but I look around the barns and see passengers and weekend warriors playing at the sport. Fine, they can do that, but don't blame the instructors for their lack of desire to dive hard for pearls.

Isabeau Z Solace
Sep. 7, 2011, 03:13 PM
Not a fan of DT. At this point in the discussion, I almost wish I had it in front of me so I could read them. I was just commenting on the comments and generalizations made out here.

DT is improving. You should try to get a copy of the September isse, and the Baroque (August) issue actually has a very interesting article by Lauren Sprieser too.

Rhiannonjk
Sep. 7, 2011, 04:59 PM
Wow, you can't find anything really bad in my comment so you start putting words in my mouth? :no:

Never said students were stupid and lazy. I said many look for short cuts.

When you say the majority don't want to put forth the effort, you are saying they are lazy. And when you say they can't comprehend, you are making an assessment of their intelligence.

I agree that there is some bad teaching out there, and it's a chicken/egg situation in my mind. Your tone was that it was all the student's fault, when I think it is a two-way streetwith heavier traffic on the instructor's side.
Though, there is a third element, because there is the judging side of things, as well.

I think the majority of students that are with trainers that coddle don't realize that is what is happening. There is nothing wrong with being happy with your trainer and enjoying the experience - God knows this sport has enough frustrations. In my mind, it is the professional's responsibility to educate the student on how to do things right, and if the quality of the rider suffers, that's on the professional - either to explain to the rider "You have expressed that this is all you want, so I'm not pushing," or to push where it is necessary to push.

Nothing, at all, makes me more furious than a trainer that holds back information that would have made my situation better. I know I'm not the norm - I'm the amateur that's riding two horses, auditing clinics, scribing, reading articles, discussing theory, and working on fitness outside the ring. But if I find something that makes my life better, put it in front of my instructor, and get a response of "I thought about that, but didn't want to say anything/didn't think you could afford it/didn't want to push that hard," I am one unhappy camper.

I guess my point is, if trainers aren't being upfront with students about their training, it can't always be assumed that the students know what they are missing.

Velvet
Sep. 7, 2011, 05:11 PM
When you say the majority don't want to put forth the effort, you are saying they are lazy. And when you say they can't comprehend, you are making an assessment of their intelligence.


What I said was, "I mean, many people do know what it takes and how to teach it, but many students just don't want to work that hard and often don't have the ability to comprehend how the pieces fit into the whole so they become impatient and skip past the hard work."

You are just into trying to make this a pissing contest, rhi. You really need to work on getting that chip off your shoulder. The OP that I quoted wasn't even offended yet you seem to be.

Never called people names the way you seem so wont to do. Comprehension does NOT equal stupid. :rolleyes: It means some people just CANNOT get it. Like you're not getting what I'm saying and reinterpreting it to be something terrible. Does it mean you're stupid? You tell me. :rolleyes: Normally it's like computers. Even some very smart people suck at using them and working with fixing problems with them. Doesn't mean they're stupid, just means they're unable to work well with them. It's not their calling. It's not something that's even slightly natural or it goes against how they think.

You probably equate intelligence only with IQ, don't you? There's a whole bunch of different ways people think. Sometimes an IQ test cannot pick up all of a person's abilities. I would bet there are a lot of awesome horse people with average IQs who put those with genius IQs to shame. And vice versa.

Please stop putting YOUR words in my mouth. They're very ugly. You might want to watch what you're saying and putting out in the world. It's not reflecting very well on you right now.

netg
Sep. 7, 2011, 08:13 PM
When you say the majority don't want to put forth the effort, you are saying they are lazy.

But that's not true at all.

I know plenty of riders with plenty of non-horsey things going on in their lives which take up time. Not putting in the effort to try to become international riders doesn't mean they're lazy - it means they have multiple priorities in their lives. How about a single parent of two who is also riding? You can bet that individual will have an awfully hard time parenting AND riding as much as those of us who have no major responsibilities outside our jobs. I'd say I'm more likely to be the lazy one even if I do exercise and try to ride two hours a day. The majority of riders do NOT want to put in the effort to make it to the top, but it's about choosing how they want to spend their limited number of hours each day, not about being lazy.

I want to spend as many hours a day as I can around horses, on message boards about horses, riding, reading, watching DVDs about horses. It is my big passion. If I could get to Grand Prix in 30 minutes/day, I would still want to spend as much time as I do. Instead, I could be out learning a musical instrument. But I choose not to. It's not because I'm lazy - it's because I have different priorities.

There is NOTHING wrong with not wanting to be the absolute best rider you can possibly be and choosing not to dedicate all your time to it. And it doesn't mean someone is lazy if they make that choice.

Eclectic Horseman
Sep. 8, 2011, 07:15 AM
I agree totally netg. The majority of riders out there are not merely amateurs, they are hobby riders (or "duffers" as they would be called in golf.) And that's okay.

Rhiannonjk
Sep. 8, 2011, 09:21 AM
Velvet - I misinterpreted. Sorry. I was trying to clarify, and you interpretted it as a pissing contest. I have nothing to prove here - though I do feel very strongly on the rest of my post in regards to the responsibility of trainers to educate their students on any assumptions that may be made.

netg - I hadn't looked at it that way from the way it was worded. I agree with you.

netg
Sep. 8, 2011, 09:56 AM
Velvet - I misinterpreted. Sorry. I was trying to clarify, and you interpretted it as a pissing contest. I have nothing to prove here - though I do feel very strongly on the rest of my post in regards to the responsibility of trainers to educate their students on any assumptions that may be made.


I do agree with you on that. A trainer willfully keeping a student in the dark is never ok in my mind. A trainer being kind, tactful, and helping a student within their available riding parameters to be the best that allows them to be without explicitly stating "you will never make the upper levels" isn't a bad thing to me. However, if that student discusses wanting to make the upper levels and only rides 2 times a week, a less tactful discussion may be needed.

cyberbay
Sep. 8, 2011, 10:24 AM
Well, in response to Eclec. H'man's comment that most riders are duffers and that's OK... well, maybe it's not. The horse is an incredibly sentient creature, with instincts and intelligence. I think we have an ethical obligation to be the best rider we can be on that day in that ride. Why? b/c otherwise, the horse suffers. We don't have to be Olympic aspirants, we just need to put the horse first, and have our actions support this.

I think you're saying that not every rider needs to be impassionated (as many on this board are) about riding to enjoy it and to keep learning. But, the horse is still a horse with all its needs. And riders, regardless of their level of devotion, need to think of the horse first.

Rhiannonjk
Sep. 8, 2011, 10:45 AM
A trainer being kind, tactful, and helping a student within their available riding parameters to be the best that allows them to be without explicitly stating "you will never make the upper levels" isn't a bad thing to me.

I think this is only ok in a situation where ALL of the parameters are known by the trainer.

Hypothetically, a new client comes to a trainer's barn with a horse. She appears to have certain limitations (working long hours, family, finances, etc) and perhaps has a less-than-talented horse. Perhaps the hypothetical rider does want to eventually ride at third/fourth level, and doesn't realize that small changes, like getting to work an hour earlier once or twice a week to fit in additional rides and setting aside funds for a horse upgrade down the road, would make the difference in the long-term. What was obvious to the trainer at the onset - the rider has not positioned herself to be an upper-level competitor - is not congruent with the rider's long-term goals. This can only be realized through communication.

I think most lower-level trainers talk about immediate goals, but don't inspire riders to think big in the long term, or discuss long-term goals. I don't know if I'll ever make it to the FEI levels, but I know that fourth level seems much more attainable because I've worked with people that treated me as though I'm shooting for the FEI levels. I only ever made it to second level on my previous horse because I was working with an encouraging trainer that pushed me to the next level, supported me when I was working 60-hour weeks, and had honest conversations with me in regards to my horse's health.

Maybe that gives me a chip on my shoulder :confused: but I just wish there was a more optimistic viewpoint in regards to what people would want to do if they knew what they were capable of accomplishing.

netg
Sep. 8, 2011, 11:45 AM
I think this is only ok in a situation where ALL of the parameters are known by the trainer.

Hypothetically, a new client comes to a trainer's barn with a horse. She appears to have certain limitations (working long hours, family, finances, etc) and perhaps has a less-than-talented horse. Perhaps the hypothetical rider does want to eventually ride at third/fourth level, and doesn't realize that small changes, like getting to work an hour earlier once or twice a week to fit in additional rides and setting aside funds for a horse upgrade down the road, would make the difference in the long-term. What was obvious to the trainer at the onset - the rider has not positioned herself to be an upper-level competitor - is not congruent with the rider's long-term goals. This can only be realized through communication.

I think most lower-level trainers talk about immediate goals, but don't inspire riders to think big in the long term, or discuss long-term goals. I don't know if I'll ever make it to the FEI levels, but I know that fourth level seems much more attainable because I've worked with people that treated me as though I'm shooting for the FEI levels. I only ever made it to second level on my previous horse because I was working with an encouraging trainer that pushed me to the next level, supported me when I was working 60-hour weeks, and had honest conversations with me in regards to my horse's health.

Maybe that gives me a chip on my shoulder :confused: but I just wish there was a more optimistic viewpoint in regards to what people would want to do if they knew what they were capable of accomplishing.

I agree with all you said here. We have a clinician come in fairly regularly, and it scared the @#%$@# out of me when she asked what my long term goals were in my first ride with her. I wasn't good enough to show Training on my horse at that point, and here I was telling her I want to reach Grand Prix? Wow. That was scary to me! But she took me seriously, and my regular trainer already knew that. I don't know if I'll reach Grand Prix with my horse or not, but I do know I'm the limitation - and I make it clear to clinicians I ride with that I fully understand I know I'm the one who needs beating on to get there. :)

Eclectic Horseman
Sep. 9, 2011, 09:46 AM
Well, in response to Eclec. H'man's comment that most riders are duffers and that's OK... well, maybe it's not. The horse is an incredibly sentient creature, with instincts and intelligence. I think we have an ethical obligation to be the best rider we can be on that day in that ride. Why? b/c otherwise, the horse suffers. We don't have to be Olympic aspirants, we just need to put the horse first, and have our actions support this.

I think you're saying that not every rider needs to be impassionated (as many on this board are) about riding to enjoy it and to keep learning. But, the horse is still a horse with all its needs. And riders, regardless of their level of devotion, need to think of the horse first.

Really? Do you think that it hurts the horse that he is not being worked hard enough, not making enough progress, etc.? All those "happy hackers" that take their horses out for a weekend spin around the ring or for a walk around the field are making their horses suffer? Really??

Do you think it is more ethical to give a horse a "forever home" with a hobby rider who doesn't ask too much or with an ambitious, competitive rider who will dump the horse when he has become unsound, sour or just not good enough to move on to the next level?

Amateurs who ride as a hobby are certainly no more likely than competitive riders to make their horses suffer. :rolleyes:

Eclectic Horseman
Sep. 9, 2011, 09:53 AM
I think this is only ok in a situation where ALL of the parameters are known by the trainer.

Hypothetically, a new client comes to a trainer's barn with a horse. She appears to have certain limitations (working long hours, family, finances, etc) and perhaps has a less-than-talented horse. Perhaps the hypothetical rider does want to eventually ride at third/fourth level, and doesn't realize that small changes, like getting to work an hour earlier once or twice a week to fit in additional rides and setting aside funds for a horse upgrade down the road, would make the difference in the long-term. What was obvious to the trainer at the onset - the rider has not positioned herself to be an upper-level competitor - is not congruent with the rider's long-term goals. This can only be realized through communication.

I think most lower-level trainers talk about immediate goals, but don't inspire riders to think big in the long term, or discuss long-term goals. I don't know if I'll ever make it to the FEI levels, but I know that fourth level seems much more attainable because I've worked with people that treated me as though I'm shooting for the FEI levels. I only ever made it to second level on my previous horse because I was working with an encouraging trainer that pushed me to the next level, supported me when I was working 60-hour weeks, and had honest conversations with me in regards to my horse's health.

Maybe that gives me a chip on my shoulder :confused: but I just wish there was a more optimistic viewpoint in regards to what people would want to do if they knew what they were capable of accomplishing.

I see many trainers give their students a rosy, overly optimistic viewpoint about what they can accomplish in their riding. And they do that in order to sell them expensive horses, and get them to spend lots on lessons and training. What I don't hear many trainers say (except Europeans) is that if you want to be more competitive in your riding, you have got to lose weight and be physically fit, spend many, many more hours in the saddle and ride lots of horses. Lots of trainers do give the impression that you can BUY success if you throw enough money at it. But they are reluctant to tell students how much time and effort that they will need to spend in the saddle and out. Just my own observation.

Rhiannonjk
Sep. 9, 2011, 03:00 PM
yeah, I guess I hadn't thought of that angle.

Velvet
Sep. 9, 2011, 04:21 PM
I think you're saying that not every rider needs to be impassionated (as many on this board are) about riding to enjoy it and to keep learning.

:eek: I hope you aren't quoting someone else using that word. Um, because that's not a real word. ;)

Carol Ames
Nov. 3, 2011, 12:00 AM
The French say, the legs should" hang like wet blankets";) on the horses' sides; In Centered Riding we say" the rider should move like he horses skin does:cool: