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Karosel
Oct. 17, 2011, 10:02 PM
There's a Mary Wanless clinic coming up soon not too far from me.

I won't be riding in it, but I was thinking of auditing. Has anyone audited one of her clinics before? It's $30 per day including lunch and auditors get to participate in an umounted workshop. Since I'm on a limited budget right now I was wondering if this clinic is a "must do" as an auditor.

I recently got one of her books, and I'm reading through it right now. I think it would be worthwhile to go to the clinic, but I just wanted to check in with other people experiences.

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 18, 2011, 03:46 AM
Do as much as you can, and you will not regret it!

I attended a couple of clinics and unmounted workshops with MW before I rode with her. I got a lot out of it--perhaps even more when auditing than I did riding.

Bogey2
Oct. 18, 2011, 06:34 AM
do it! I have audited and ridden in her clinics. I unfortunately had to drop out of the one in late October but will try to audit 1-2 half days.
You will get more than your money's worth!

paulaedwina
Oct. 18, 2011, 07:46 AM
Do you mean the "Ride with your Mind" in Damascus, MD. I'm hoping to audit myself. I'm also really tight this semester (one of my classes was canceled) so I understand your pain. Everything I've heard says it's money well spent! She was also recommended to my by a few people.

Paula

ThreeFigs
Oct. 18, 2011, 09:24 AM
I'd audit, but will not ride with her again. She might be more dioplomatic in front of an audience, but she was insulting during my private lesson with her.

paulaedwina
Oct. 18, 2011, 10:12 AM
Wow! Really? Would you care to elaborate?

Paula

johnnysauntie
Oct. 18, 2011, 10:27 AM
I just dropped $200 to audit a Robert Dover clinic. :eek: Yes, it was pricey. But it was totally worth it. I came home with about 10 pages of notes and hours of video. Yes the price was steep but wow, just wow, I learned a lot, and I am nowhere near the upper levels and my horse and I are not even remotely in the same universe as the riders and horses I saw this weekend. (To that point the eye candy alone was almost worth the money, because I don't generally get to see that quality of horse and rider at local shows.) My trainer was there too, and I had the best ride I've ever had on my horse last night in my lesson, as we applied some things we learned.

To get the most out of a clinic take a notebook, and if you can, a small camera to capture video of the clinician teaching. Long and short, I think auditing clinics regularly is a great way to increase your learning.

carolprudm
Oct. 18, 2011, 10:58 AM
I'd audit, but will not ride with her again. She might be more dioplomatic in front of an audience, but she was insulting during my private lesson with her.
I had the same experiencce.

Countrywood
Oct. 18, 2011, 11:07 AM
Robert Dover proved himself with Olympic medals and years of fabulous training, riding etc.

Has MW ever produced a trained horse that did well, or ridden one in a test for decent scores? I mean, what credentials does she have, besides her own books and claims to have helped people? I know there is one top rider who worked with her, but to date there is just that one, and no doubt that rider would be where she is with or without MW, and who knows if it is a paid endorsement or what the deal is.

I ordered a few of her books years ago, and while she has a few good suggestions and analogies, in the end, they did not help my riding all that much and the same information is avail elswhere. She doesn't have any degrees far as I know in bodywork or anatomy nor a certified pilates or any other kind of certifcation such as alexander technique cert..if she has helped some people that is wonderful, but certainly she does not have the credentials to be rude if that is what she was in a clinic.

PS, the best help I got recently for canter seat was a Nancy Later online video at dressagetrainingonline, cleared a blockage up I had for years if anyone else can be helped by it.

alibi_18
Oct. 18, 2011, 12:25 PM
Just went thru the website. Looks like a 'dressage' version of the P's...

carolprudm
Oct. 18, 2011, 01:11 PM
I just dropped $200 to audit a Robert Dover clinic. :eek: Yes, it was pricey. But it was totally worth it. I came home with about 10 pages of notes and hours of video. Yes the price was steep but wow, just wow, I learned a lot, and I am nowhere near the upper levels and my horse and I are not even remotely in the same universe as the riders and horses I saw this weekend. (To that point the eye candy alone was almost worth the money, because I don't generally get to see that quality of horse and rider at local shows.) My trainer was there too, and I had the best ride I've ever had on my horse last night in my lesson, as we applied some things we learned.

To get the most out of a clinic take a notebook, and if you can, a small camera to capture video of the clinician teaching. Long and short, I think auditing clinics regularly is a great way to increase your learning.
FWIW MW had quite the hissy fit when she caught someone who was not with me taping my ride, even though I said I didn't mind.

It's been 6 years so maybe she has changed, but don't count on it.

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 18, 2011, 01:50 PM
Has MW ever produced a trained horse that did well, or ridden one in a test for decent scores? I mean, what credentials does she have, besides her own books and claims to have helped people? I know there is one top rider who worked with her, but to date there is just that one, and no doubt that rider would be where she is with or without MW, and who knows if it is a paid endorsement or what the deal is.

First of all, MW is an instructor, not a horse trainer. How many trainers, particularly non-USA based, do you know who have helped scores of riders at the lower levels? Say Intro-4th? It seems to that that is her schtick, and you don't become a household name doing that. She has only become well known because of her writing and videos which are mostly about rider education theory.

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 18, 2011, 01:59 PM
Just went thru the website. Looks like a 'dressage' version of the P's...

The analogy is completely inapt. P & L Parrelli have invented their own equestrian discipline. It is mostly done in hand "ground work games." MW comes from the Pony Club and British Horse system and her students compete in that system.

She is open to any approach that works and has studied how the top riders ride and how to teach that.

Countrywood
Oct. 18, 2011, 02:03 PM
I am aware that she is an instructor, not a trainer, therefore I asked, since she has not produced trained horses, what other credentials or proof is out there of competence besides hew own books claiming she has helped people? I asked for either a few even lower level test ride scores (which most dressage instructors could produce), or if not that, then a certifcation in body work such as Alexander Technique or Pilates...that is not there either. It is just my personal thing, I put less faith in taking advice from someone who isn't either certified in body work ( yets talks endlessly in her books about body work and Alexander Technique and this and that system, etc), or who runs a riding school where students get at least consistent results in lower level shows. I don't think that is too much to ask for, and she has been around for decades, one would think in all this time she could have at least become certified in some kind of bodywork?

I have friends who are certified massage therapists and chiropractors that I can sit down and have a conversation with about body work and I know they studied for years and have licenses etc.

Like I said, if she helps people that is great. Her books were okay, but it is kind of like one book that she then rewrote with different titles, a combo of bodywork all kinds and rider analogies and anectdotes etc...there is some worthy advice within them and no doubt in her clinics. I just find her whole system/presence a bit of a mystery but maybe I am missing something...

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 18, 2011, 02:24 PM
Like I said, if she helps people that is great. Her books were okay, but it is kind of like one book that she then rewrote with different titles, a combo of bodywork all kinds and rider analogies and anectdotes etc...there is some worthy advice within them and no doubt in her clinics. I just find her whole system/presence a bit of a mystery but maybe I am missing something...

I guess that you just don't get out much. Aside from Heather Blitz, Jane Hannigan (Maksmilyan) also rode with her. Do a search on this forum and you will see that scores of people have stated that she helped them. Isabel Solace on this board is student and an admirer.

You could just look at her site. I think she has a physics background (biomechanics). She brings a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching riding, and has integrated techniques from various bodywork systems into her own BSHI certication and physics degree.

Is she the second coming for riders? I don't think so, and she certainly doesn't claim to be. Her teachings have been around for well over 30 years now, so for younger people, it must seem like common knowledge. I assure you it was not so common when i clinicked with her back in the eighties....

AggieDQ
Oct. 18, 2011, 02:31 PM
Just went thru the website. Looks like a 'dressage' version of the P's...

Agree 100%. Audited her clinic a few years ago & did get this vibe.

Countrywood
Oct. 18, 2011, 02:36 PM
I am aware of Heather Blitz ( mentioned her as top rider in my prior posts). That is only one endorsement, but a strong one...I acknowledge she has helped some people ( and not others, per mixed reviews). I just think her books, having niavely bought a few at one time, are very wordy and have at essence only a few real principles to impart and the books are all somehow variations of each other with different titles. A mix imo of some good advice with a lot of filler...perhaps her clinics are of value to watch re how other riders learn and adapt live and in motion.

INoMrEd
Oct. 18, 2011, 02:37 PM
I just find her whole system/presence a bit of a mystery but maybe I am missing something...

My good friend read her books and described MW's system as ethereal/hocus pocus. She told me not to bother with them as my friend felt that I am too grounded and practical to "get it".

carolprudm
Oct. 18, 2011, 03:21 PM
My good friend read her books and described MW's system as ethereal/hocus pocus. She told me not to bother with them as my friend felt that I am too grounded and practical to "get it".
Ummm, yup. Left brained "engineers" do not do well attempting to peel their butt off the saddle like velcro.

Bogey2
Oct. 18, 2011, 03:28 PM
She is definately NOT like the "P's". She works on you and how your position affects the horse...any horse. The clinic I rode in had multiple levels of riders/horses yet she focused on the riders effectiveness, she did not care what level you were at.
If you can go all three days it's worth it. BTW, I have been riding with Jane Hannigan for years and she does practice a lot of the methods without actually referring to them as "Wanless".
MW does not sell you any carrot sticks and makes you work your butt off!!!

Isabeau Z Solace
Oct. 18, 2011, 03:51 PM
Just went thru the website. Looks like a 'dressage' version of the P's...


I am aware that she is an instructor, not a trainer, therefore I asked, since she has not produced trained horses, what other credentials or proof is out there of competence besides hew own books claiming she has helped people? I asked for either a few even lower level test ride scores (which most dressage instructors could produce), or if not that, then a certifcation in body work such as Alexander Technique or Pilates...that is not there either. It is just my personal thing, I put less faith in taking advice from someone who isn't either certified in body work ( yets talks endlessly in her books about body work and Alexander Technique and this and that system, etc), or who runs a riding school where students get at least consistent results in lower level shows. I don't think that is too much to ask for, and she has been around for decades, one would think in all this time she could have at least become certified in some kind of bodywork?

I have friends who are certified massage therapists and chiropractors that I can sit down and have a conversation with about body work and I know they studied for years and have licenses etc.

Like I said, if she helps people that is great. Her books were okay, but it is kind of like one book that she then rewrote with different titles, a combo of bodywork all kinds and rider analogies and anectdotes etc...there is some worthy advice within them and no doubt in her clinics. I just find her whole system/presence a bit of a mystery but maybe I am missing something...


Agree 100%. Audited her clinic a few years ago & did get this vibe.


My good friend read her books and described MW's system as ethereal/hocus pocus. She told me not to bother with them as my friend felt that I am too grounded and practical to "get it".

Here is some information from the websites of Joanie Bolton, Jennifer Truett, and Sandy Howard.

http://www.joanboltondressage.com/about.php

http://www.dancinghorsefarmoh.com/index.cfm?fa=ourstory

A quote from the website above.


"The turning point in Jennifer’s riding and teaching was when she was introduced to rider biomechanics through a clinic she hosted at DHF with Sandy Howard, USEF “S” judge and USDF “L” Faculty Member. Sandy worked with Mary Wanless for 17+ years at that point and had just successfully integrated her biomechanics theory, coupled with research results obtained by Dr. Hilary Clayton at the University of Michigan’s McPhail Institute, into the USDF L program’s certification training regimen. DHF clients were fortunate to have Sandy present the entire seminar she gave at the 2007 USEF Judge’s Forum to them that very cold, but life-changing, November weekend.

After that clinic, Jennifer’s eyes were opened wide to a whole new world of learning, teaching, and biomechanical pattern changing. Jennifer was invited and attended “Teacher Training” at Sandy’s farm with Mary Wanless in February 2008 and 2009 and began bringing in Mary-trained “Ride With Your Mind” clinicians like Sandy, Joanie Bolton (USDF Gold Medalist, short-listed for the Pan American Games and 2000 Olympics), international US Grand Prix rider, Heather Blitz, and Mary Wanless herself. Jennifer also gets coaching locally from George Williams, international US competitor and USDF President and Sue Madden-Mandas, USEF "S" judge."

http://www.in-balance.com/US.HTM

I have to run right now, but it is only lack of information that would conclude anyone to equate MW with PP. Please research further.

netg
Oct. 18, 2011, 04:04 PM
Ummm, yup. Left brained "engineers" do not do well attempting to peel their butt off the saddle like velcro.

I would have said it's more people who don't try to analyze things! As an engineer, I like that visualization so I can know precisely what I'm aiming for.

Then again, I also research to figure out which muscle groups I am working on, and have my massage therapist explain the purpose and function of each muscle group I have tightness or pain in, to figure out what I'm working and compare to the biomechanical explanation of how to ride properly.


Not so ethereal.


"Suck on a lozenge" is an example she gives which teaches to proper tightening of abdominal muscles to use the seat. I don't think it's ethereal, but rather a description of how to work certain muscles.

Countrywood
Oct. 18, 2011, 05:29 PM
Seems people either love her or hate her. I just think it is much ado about nothing. Suck on a lozenge to me is a ridiculous example but if some people make use of it,....people learn differently.

It is hard to tell how much direct input she has had with Heather Blitz. Was this ongoing training/coaching? Or a once a year visit or occasional clinic, are they personal friends and is this endorsement more of a favor? The reason I question the depth of involvement is that MW is not a coach at shows and does not travel with Heather, so hard to tell , but okay accept that at face value...PP also has/had famous riders associated with them, Karen and David O'Conner for a time and more recently Walter Zettel.

Surely, yes, MW has helped people. I did get a few useful suggestions from her books. On the other hand, some of the claims on her website are ...how to put it...hard to prove? I read it today for first time in ages...and see now she is claiming to have "ridden with" Nuno Olivera and Egon Von Niendorf! Both of whom are dead and can't be reached for verification. She never used to claim to have ridden with them years ago...and what does "ridden with them" mean? Ridden once in a clinic? On an ongoing basis? Ditto for the "physics degreee"...from what university? This was never claimed either in her earlier bio. Maybe I am too critical but my prof training makes me that way...an appraiser...kind of like being a detective....well anyway hope those who go get value from the clinic and would love to hear reviews from anyone who attends.

Bogey2
Oct. 18, 2011, 06:52 PM
well anyway hope those who go get value from the clinic and would love to hear reviews from anyone who attends.


I did ride with her countrywood...and she and Heather Blitz have done clinics together. So...your prof training has made you a bit of a snob 'eh?:lol:

netg
Oct. 18, 2011, 06:53 PM
Seems people either love her or hate her. I just think it is much ado about nothing. Suck on a lozenge to me is a ridiculous example but if some people make use of it,....people learn differently.

Someone doesn't know how to use their core properly. You tell them to think of sucking on a lozenge and they do, and find themselves using the muscles they need to use.

How is teaching someone awareness to use the correct muscles ridiculous?

Karosel
Oct. 18, 2011, 07:07 PM
Geez guys! You were supposed to help me decide whether or not to go. Now I'm more undecided :lol:

I'm definitely a left brained thinker. Sally Swifts book didn't do much for me. (I could never remember if my hands were supposed to be dripping ice cream or my legs, or I could never figure out how to put a piano in my pelvis and play rolling cords (in which key?!?:confused: ) :lol: . Mary's book seems have less of that but some descriptions still leave me going :confused: .

Countrywood
Oct. 18, 2011, 07:12 PM
If you are undecided, go, you have to learn at least something and some people as you see her like her a lot, you will never know till you go.

I do believe she has done some clinics with Heather Blitz...I have stated my views, more people seem to like her than not perhaps, so if I were undecided I would go at least once then you can give us feedback too! :)

carolprudm
Oct. 18, 2011, 07:23 PM
Someone doesn't know how to use their core properly. You tell them to think of sucking on a lozenge and they do, and find themselves using the muscles they need to use.

How is teaching someone awareness to use the correct muscles ridiculous?
I stole one of Sophie's mints and sucked on it and it did about as much as imagining my butt was velcro. Not everyone thnks the same way.

GreyDes
Oct. 18, 2011, 07:36 PM
I've ridden in two clinics with her, and audited one. Personally, I got a lot out of them. I'm a very left brain thinker, who needs to know WHY I'm doing something. She did a nice job explaining what muscles were being activated, and what the impact was on my horse.

I would not in any way call her a touchy-feely instructor. Most of us who rode in the clinics were clearly and loudly told what we were doing wrong. Anyone who is not comfortable with that style is probably not going to get a lot out of her instruction.

One thing I liked is that after she explained the exercise, and we worked through it, she would ask each of us to create our own way of remembering it. For some people, it was a visual image, for others, it was a certain feel, or a quick checklist.

I struggled with her books, and thought she explained things much better in person. As someone who is not a "natural" rider, it was a big help to understand both what I needed to do, and why I needed to do it.

The big thing for me is that there was a tremendous difference in my horse by the end of day two. I couldn't keep it all on my own at home, but the results did motivate me to find a local instructor with a solid background in biomechanics.

Bogie
Oct. 18, 2011, 08:03 PM
I have read her books and audited a clinic. I think it helps to have read the books first, but watching her work with riders really illustrates her concepts.

I find much of what she says to be helpful -- it is very important to understand how your balance affects your horse.

I think her teaching style is, well, British :D. She's brusk and to the point.

Personally, I can't afford to ride in her clinics but for $30 I got a lot of value.

FWIW, I had a good friend, riding at Prix St. Georges, who cliniced with Robert Dover and hated the experience . . . so, to each his or her own.

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 18, 2011, 08:56 PM
[QUOTE=Countrywood;5903641]Seems people either love her or hate her. I just think it is much ado about nothing. Suck on a lozenge to me is a ridiculous example but if some people make use of it,....people learn differently.

It is hard to tell how much direct input she has had with Heather Blitz. Was this ongoing training/coaching? Or a once a year visit or occasional clinic, are they personal friends and is this endorsement more of a favor? The reason I question the depth of involvement is that MW is not a coach at shows and does not travel with Heather, so hard to tell , but okay accept that at face value...PP also has/had famous riders associated with them, Karen and David O'Conner for a time and more recently Walter Zettel.

Surely, yes, MW has helped people. I did get a few useful suggestions from her books. On the other hand, some of the claims on her website are ...how to put it...hard to prove? I read it today for first time in ages...and see now she is claiming to have "ridden with" Nuno Olivera and Egon Von Niendorf! Both of whom are dead and can't be reached for verification. She never used to claim to have ridden with them years ago...and what does "ridden with them" mean? Ridden once in a clinic? On an ongoing basis? Ditto for the "physics degreee"...from what university? This was never claimed either in her earlier bio. Maybe I am too critical but my prof training makes me that way...an appraiser...kind of like being a detective....well anyway hope those who go get value from the clinic and would love to hear reviews from anyone who a]



I got the same basic resume at the first clinic that she presented in the USA back in the 80s. Obviously things have been added since that time, and she has expanded her multi-disciplinary approach, and refined her teaching techniques. If this is the first you've heard of MW. Where have you been?

ThreeFigs
Oct. 18, 2011, 11:36 PM
I have her books and refer to them from time to time because she has a different way of explaining things, uses different examples, etc.

This helps me as an instructor. What makes sense to one student does not always connect with the next one. I like to have different ways to express the same concept. People like Wanless, Swift and Murdoch offer unique ways of communication.

What irritated me at my private session with her was, her first words to me were, "I suppose you have a barn full of these THINGS."

This in reference to my beloved Arab gelding. All I could think to say at the moment (I was gobsmacked!) was, "No, he's the only one I have."

I should have asked for my money back at that moment. I did not, learned some useful things, but have not forgiven her for the insult. It was gratuitous.

I've taken lessons with British instructors before. I'm familiar with the brusqueness of the Brits and the downright crudeness of some of the old military guys I lessoned with, too. I've got a thick skin, if you're directing the insult at ME.

Her remark was unsolicited and unnecessary. She uttered it BEFORE she even asked my name or introduced herself. She has much to offer, but she won't get more of my money.

I would agree some of the stuff in her books is difficult to comprehend -- we even had a brief discussion about the apparent contradictions from one text to the next. I believe, to her credit, she finds better ways to express ideas as she goes along. No, she's not one of the great modern masters, but some of her stuff can help the "less than natural" rider.

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 19, 2011, 12:19 AM
I have her books and refer to them from time to time because she has a different way of explaining things, uses different examples, etc.

This helps me as an instructor. What makes sense to one student does not always connect with the next one. I like to have different ways to express the same concept. People like Wanless, Swift and Murdoch offer unique ways of communication.

What irritated me at my private session with her was, her first words to me were, "I suppose you have a barn full of these THINGS."

This in reference to my beloved Arab gelding. All I could think to say at the moment (I was gobsmacked!) was, "No, he's the only one I have."

I should have asked for my money back at that moment. I did not, learned some useful things, but have not forgiven her for the insult. It was gratuitous.

I've taken lessons with British instructors before. I'm familiar with the brusqueness of the Brits and the downright crudeness of some of the old military guys I lessoned with, too. I've got a thick skin, if you're directing the insult at ME.

Her remark was unsolicited and unnecessary. She uttered it BEFORE she even asked my name or introduced herself. She has much to offer, but she won't get more of my money.

I would agree some of the stuff in her books is difficult to comprehend -- we even had a brief discussion about the apparent contradictions from one text to the next. I believe, to her credit, she finds better ways to express ideas as she goes along. No, she's not one of the great modern masters, but some of her stuff can help the "less than natural" rider.

I would bet a large sum that she was kidding. It was probably supposed to be an "ice breaker." Clearly, her comment didn't strike you that way, but I can assure you that she is very funny. "British humour." That's probably one reason that her clinics are full of auditors. She can be quite entertaining! :winkgrin:

Hillary Clayton, the McPhail Dressage Chair with whom she did a symposium on biomechanics a while back, rides an FEI Arab. I believe Dr. Clayton"s horse was used to demonstrate in their symposium.

graustarkian
Oct. 19, 2011, 04:29 AM
Having read her first book and bought the entire first video series, I think she has gotten enough of my money! LOL Oddly enough, Buck Brannaman did more for me than any DQ ever did.

Bogey2
Oct. 19, 2011, 06:22 AM
Buck Brannaman did more for me than any DQ ever did.

I assure you MW is NOT a DQ.
Beasmom, I would bet she was kidding as well, she is more focused on rider...she never gave any indication she liked or disliked any of the horses at the clinics I attended and there were some warmbloods, Morgans, Draft crosses...not once did I hear her say anything about the type of horse...she was more in to the response or lack there of from the horse.

Kelly in NJ
Oct. 19, 2011, 06:51 AM
I'd audit, but will not ride with her again. She might be more dioplomatic in front of an audience, but she was insulting during my private lesson with her.

Same here. She rode my horse in a private lesson, and proclaimed "I could no sooner ride movements on this horse than fly!" Apparently meaning that he was impossible to ride. (Since she couldn't get him round.) I had just bought him and he was scoring 65%+ at I1 in Wellington. At 18.1h, 87 + blanket, old style Dutch WB, trained and ridden from birth to 15 yo by a big strong German man, he is no lightweight for sure. But, I worked with my trainer and my tiny self was able to compete him through PSG (I'm an AA) up until he was 25. Now he's retired and we play around...his favorite exercises are the tempis. This horse was the best horse I ever bought, but a true schoolmaster; not an auto-pilot horse. And Mary's "bear down" all the time, "pick up the pony", and "use more strength, better riders use a lot of strength, they just don't "smell it" anymore"....Well, that was not going to work with a horse this big and this heavy. He needed to hold himself, carry himself, and support himself, not be held into place.

IMHO, she tries to teach a static position to riders who are having trouble establishing a good basic position. Which is fine, and helps a lot, I'm sure, but a static position doesn't really work in the long run. (ie. all the time - bear down, pick up the pony, the meat hook, line up the tennis balls, etc....I don't know, it's just too many fixed things to maintain mentally).

Just in case you are wondering about the horse, a few months later, Lendon Gray told me he was "a treasure" and she would be "proud to have him in her barn"....and those of you that know Lendon, know she is not afraid to tell it like it is.

PS. I get British humor. My husband is from England, so no, it wasn't that.

TemJeito
Oct. 19, 2011, 07:57 AM
Someone said you love her or you hate her. I think it's more that her style works for you or it doesn't. I think she's the real thing and has something to offer - I know excellent riders who swear by her - but it's not for me. I find her voice to be annoyingly distracting. I want to be able to listen to my horse without the trainer going blah-blah-blah. Most of her images don't work for me. It has nothing to do with her being British. I'd ride with Carl Hester in a heartbeat and regularly watch the training videos on Horse Hero :D

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 19, 2011, 08:19 AM
"I could no sooner ride movements on this horse than fly!" Apparently meaning that he was impossible to ride. (Since she couldn't get him round.)

Why don't you think that she meant exactly what she said? :lol: I.e., That SHE couldn't ride that horse.

I agree that a defensive person might have said, "This horse sucks." She didn't. The horse was not a good match for her, and probably would not be a good match for many small women This is not rare. Not all riders/horses are good matches for each other for many reasons.

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 19, 2011, 08:25 AM
Someone said you love her or you hate her. I think it's more that her style works for you or it doesn't. I think she's the real thing and has something to offer - I know excellent riders who swear by her - but it's not for me. I find her voice to be annoyingly distracting. I want to be able to listen to my horse without the trainer going blah-blah-blah. Most of her images don't work for me. It has nothing to do with her being British. I'd ride with Carl Hester in a heartbeat and regularly watch the training videos on Horse Hero :D

Right. There are two kinds of people in this world; those who think that there are two kinds of people in this world, and those who do not.:rolleyes:


What I don't understand is why people cannot appreciate picking up a few things from an instructor. Why do people expect a personal messiah and then get disappointed when someone turns out to be just a human who has some knowledge that she can pass on. :confused:

carolprudm
Oct. 19, 2011, 08:58 AM
One nice thing Mary said to me : we were discussing off horse fitness routned and one very slender woman detailed her exercise classes....and I was quite obese at the time...and Mary said "but Carol has Power"

And the bad, when she didn't seem to notice or care that I was using my "power" in approprietly "You need to go home and figure this out on your own. There is no point in bringng this mare back because if you can't even do this we'll be doing this again"

This was after 6 days of "Peeeeelllll your butt off the saddle" and few if any other instructions certainly none about which muscles to engaage.

Well I DID go home and figure it out. It involved a different set of muscles than I had been using and a whole lot less "Power". So why would I ever go back?

If the check had been made out to Mary instead of the clinic organizer I would have stopped payment on it.

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 19, 2011, 09:39 AM
One nice thing Mary said to me : we were discussing off horse fitness routned and one very slender woman detailed her exercise classes....and I was quite obese at the time...and Mary said "but Carol has Power"

And the bad, when she didn't seem to notice or care that I was using my "power" in approprietly "You need to go home and figure this out on your own. There is no point in bringng this mare back because if you can't even do this we'll be doing this again"

This was after 6 days of "Peeeeelllll your butt off the saddle" and few if any other instructions certainly none about which muscles to engaage.

Well I DID go home and figure it out. It involved a different set of muscles than I had been using and a whole lot less "Power". So why would I ever go back?

If the check had been made out to Mary instead of the clinic organizer I would have stopped payment on it.

Yes, but you have to admit that is refreshing when someone admits that they cannot be of help to you, and that you don't have to come back and pay them more money. :lol::lol: For me it always is, anyway. I have heard the opposite so often that it is hard for me to trust instructors anymore. :cry:

Maryw
Oct. 19, 2011, 10:05 AM
Part of this thread seems to be the question 'Who does she think she is?' So this is who I think I am:
A small, lightweight British woman, now nearly 60, who gave up riding in despair in my late 20s, and on starting again made a discovery that fundamentally changed my skill level. Most of my competitive riding was prior to this, and included international student competitions, and eventing to a decent level. In effect, after giving up I discovered how to access core strength - a requirement as 'kick and pull' cannot be made to work when you are as small as I am. This discovery began a 30 year quest to answer the question 'What are talented riders doing that they don't know they're doing and therefore can't tell us in words?' My credentials are degrees in Physics and Applied Sports coaching as well as the BHSI. I trained as a massage therapist in the early 80s and practised a little. My anatomy is mostly self taught, but pretty good (better than most of my bodyworker friends!). I have dabbled in other non-professional bodywork trainings, and have extensive experience as a client in many systems.
You could say that my books are all the same - the laws of Physics and biomechanics have not changed since I started writing in 1980, and indeed have not changed since Zenaphon. My work is not fluffy or etherial, it is precise - as precise as the way horses read our bodies, and as the laws of Physics. It has developed into a model that works for riders at the lower levels and also at the top of the sport - as evidenced by Heather Blitz. A good working model should encompass all of these levels, making the 'how' of riding explicit to each rider, and giving her 'next step fixes'. I am proud that mine does.
Heather would be the first to tell you that her biomechanics before we started working together were not good - she was making the same mistakes as everyone who tried to 'grow up tall' 'stick your chest out' 'stretch your legs down' and 'push your heels down'. She is now a very body aware rider, with fabulous biomechanics and her first gold medal. But I am equally proud of the riders who could not get the horse on the bit, not sit the trot etc. , and who were not being helped by conventional instruction - but who now have answers.
Dismiss this if you will. If nothing I or my pupils do is good enough for you, then so be it.
If you want to understand my work from another perspective, read 'The Talent Code' by Daniel Coyle.

netg
Oct. 19, 2011, 10:26 AM
Thanks for posting, Mary! That summed up exactly why I'm taking lessons w/ the biomechanics instructor who comes around here when I can - because I'm small and not so strong, so have to learn to use everything correctly.


I stole one of Sophie's mints and sucked on it and it did about as much as imagining my butt was velcro. Not everyone thnks the same way.

And since you seem to know everything, you did it the way Mary describes it? Put it at the top of your mouth and sucked against it, feeling the engagement of your core that causes, to help you identify correct muscles to use? Somehow, I would guess not.


One nice thing Mary said to me : we were discussing off horse fitness routned and one very slender woman detailed her exercise classes....and I was quite obese at the time...and Mary said "but Carol has Power"

And the bad, when she didn't seem to notice or care that I was using my "power" in approprietly "You need to go home and figure this out on your own. There is no point in bringng this mare back because if you can't even do this we'll be doing this again"

This was after 6 days of "Peeeeelllll your butt off the saddle" and few if any other instructions certainly none about which muscles to engaage.

Well I DID go home and figure it out. It involved a different set of muscles than I had been using and a whole lot less "Power". So why would I ever go back?

If the check had been made out to Mary instead of the clinic organizer I would have stopped payment on it.

Clearly, she is not the correct instructor for you. However, I would guess it was more related to your lack of interest in listening and learning how to use the correct muscles, based upon your attitude in this thread.


Having never met Mary personally, I have no way to respond to the comments which were taken negatively mentioned on this thread, or have any idea if there was humor intended or not. I am sorry some of you had your feelings hurt, regardless of what intention was involved there.

I would audit a clinic in a heartbeat based upon written reviews I've read of them. Given the chance, I'd ride with Mary, too.

Oberon13
Oct. 19, 2011, 10:33 AM
Mary,

Thank you for posting here! The instructor I work with worked extensively with you and Sandy in California several years ago. I've learned an immense amount from Debra, more than I have from any other instructor. I think this is because she learned from you that not every rider is naturally talented (I'm not), and that a good instructor must continually change the words she uses in order to try to trigger whatever it is the student's mind/body needs.

Will every instructor work for every student? Nope. It's foolishness to think that EVERYONE will love one instructor (unless you're Pat Parelli, I guess ;) ). So, I'm not sure where all the negativity is coming from from...really. Just move on if it doesn't work for you. No need to spew acid about it.

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 19, 2011, 10:50 AM
WELCOME TO THE BOARD, MARY! I hope you do pop in now and again. I'd love to hear what you think about some of the issues of the day!

carolprudm
Oct. 19, 2011, 11:04 AM
And since you seem to know everything, you did it the way Mary describes it? Put it at the top of your mouth and sucked against it, feeling the engagement of your core that causes, to help you identify correct muscles to use? Somehow, I would guess not.

Obviously not. Just as I was interpreting her velcro analogy incorrectly.

Clearly, she is not the correct instructor for you. However, I would guess it was more related to your lack of interest in listening and learning how to use the correct muscles, based upon your attitude in this thread.



Actually no, I really wanted to learn from her. Do you think I hauled my mare several hours to the clinics because I was bored? Or had nothing else to do that weekend? And I have learned from her books.

I probably spent well over $3,000 on the 6 clinics, counting board for Miss Virginia (whom she persisted in calling Victoria)and my hotel bills. Do you really think I spent that on something I was not interested in?

My biggest mistake (other than not cutting my losses and going home early) was not saying "I'm not gettng this. Please explain it in a different way"

jo m-f
Oct. 19, 2011, 11:07 AM
I would say definitely go to a Mary clinic, in fact go to as many as you can.

I've had the pleasure of going to Overdale where Mary is based twice this year and three times the year before. I've ridden for over 30 years and have never felt so inspired about my riding as I do when I've had lessons with Mary.

For me riding is not about competing but wanting to get the best from your horse and ride to the best of your abilities, and to get the best results in an ethical way - no gadgets or gizmos. I can safely say all the people I've met at Mary clinics would say the same things......and a nicer bunch of people you couldn't hope to meet....non judgmental, encouraging and empathetic.

I can honestly say if it wasn't for Mary and her fantastic instructors that she inspires and encourages (in particular Ali Wakelin) then I would have given up horses 2 years ago, and would have missed many fantastic moments both on horse and off.

Thank you Mary!

canyonoak
Oct. 19, 2011, 11:32 AM
Mary Wanless can be a life-changer if one has a passion for horses, for communicating with the horse, for riding in such a way as to stay in balance and harmony.

Although many people seem to want to believe that she is basically fort 'lower-level' or novice riders, I think her greatest contributions have been used by top sport riders such as Kyra Kyrklund and Richard White.

Before Mary Wanless, there was of course, Sally Swift,etc. BUT no one, to my knowledge, had codified the biomechanics and principle in the way she has.

EVERYone acknowledges 'core strength' as the foundation of good riding.

But I never heard that term before Mary and I have been around since,oh, Xenophon was a baby.

Mary may not be for everyone--as pointed out, no one is.

She changed my position, but more importantly,. she changed HOW I teach, HOW I ride, HOW I think about it and HOW I feel and react.

thank you, Mary.

alibi_18
Oct. 19, 2011, 11:34 AM
How many newbies will appear on this thread?

As for me, too much thinking and not enough riding.

People want to know what and how they should be feeling NOW, before even trying. They ask millions of questions and want diagrams, metaphores, stories, drawings and buy zillions of books and DVDs.

By the time you are done reading and talking about all the different philosophies, you haven't ride and take the time it takes in the saddle to understand what is going on.

Biomechanic is so not a new concept and I find it's been abusively used in the past 5 yrs or so. Like Mary W, lets just refer to Xenophon...

17Rider
Oct. 19, 2011, 12:14 PM
IMO, Mary was ahead of her time in the 80's.

I'm glad people are more ready for it now..and think its common place. It's sure NOT with the older BNT I have cliniced with.

I have had 3 left brain engineers for students. The detail, mind chatter and paralysis of analysis is what they bring to the table.

Mary's books <and teacher trainings > discuss at length the way we learn and use language to describe it... that helps me keep some sanity.

I also did ride with Mary - on a borrowed horse. I did not "like" the change I had to make. I was very attached to my 30yrs riding pattern that figured it was ''right".

dangerbunny
Oct. 19, 2011, 12:31 PM
To answer the OP, I think it would be a good experience to go and watch. Everyone has their own learning style and I think you can get something valuable from watching most clinics, even if it a resounding "No this doesn't work for me because of x, y and z"

I actually just got one of Mary Wanless's books at the library book sale and I am finding it interesting.

littlemanor
Oct. 19, 2011, 12:56 PM
Some of MW's earlier books can be difficult to read and digest, and the later ones--to my mind--may go a bit too far in simplifying for the sake of clarity; some of the concepts are difficult to grasp. And one of DH's students who rode with MW several times (we've never been able to ride with her unfortunately; we planned to do so when in England once and then were not able to, which I've always regretted) apparently frustrated her, and she was a little tart about that.

BUT--I, personally, have never spent time reading one of MW's books, or watched a video of her teaching, without going out afterwards and having a much better ride and feeling much more effective as a result. I find her image of functioning as the carousel pole, and of the top, not the bottom, of the horse lengthening, in particular, very useful, especially since I spend most of my time riding young horses, and these ideas really help me help them to balance.

To compare MW to Parellis is just plain ludicrous.

paulaedwina
Oct. 19, 2011, 01:41 PM
If I have the money I'm going to attend at least one day. I teach on Saturday so I'm hoping to be their at least Friday or Sunday, or both if I can swing it.

Paula

Karosel
Oct. 19, 2011, 01:58 PM
oh wow. I didn't think my post would open such a can of worms, and have Mary posting herself.

FWIW I've decided to go.

I'll see ya in a few weeks Mary!

ThreeFigs
Oct. 19, 2011, 02:10 PM
I am very glad that Ms. Wanless posted here. It clarifies her credentials and background for those who did not know.

Not every instructor works for everyone. I understand that well! I did in fact learn useful things during my private lesson with her -- after I determined to set aside her remark about my horse. I appreciate every day more and more the emphasis on core strength that many of us now employ -- or try to!

EH, I understand "British humour" -- her remark wasn't intended as funny. It was sarcastic and unnecessary. I rode for years with a BHSI instructor (British lady), rode in clinics with Mary Gordon-Watson -- they never made disparaging remarks about my horse. My riding, yes, my horse, never. I can change my riding, but the horse is the horse. He yam what he yam and that's all that he yam...

BTW, this clinic session was in the 80's, in the "early days". Hopefully she's learned some diplomacy since then.

Isabeau Z Solace
Oct. 19, 2011, 02:11 PM
How many newbies will appear on this thread?


Yes Maryw is a newbie on this board, as it has taken some time to convince her to post here. Why you would think that is a bad thing is beyond me.

As for some other 'newbies,' I put out a www call for 'help' on the RWYM networks, for some other students to please come here and speak up about their experiences. So you may be able to 'blame' their contributions on me. I asked them to come.

That does not mean they necessarily have the time or interest to be here often. But please know that there are lots of people who have worked with, respect, and appreciate Mary.

I would hope that anyone new to her work would not be discouraged from attending a clinic and learning what it is about.

I attend plenty of other clinics as well. Just spent 4 days auditing Buck Brannaman (and I have been sharing detailed notes for anyone interested in the Off Course forum.http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=321722&highlight=brannaman) Also I spent 2 days watching Greg Eliel. I see an FEI judge teach, train, and ride almost every day, and know plenty of BNTs in my very well USET endowed area of NJ. I visit their farms, attend their barbeques, ship their clients, and lunch with their staffs.

So it is not that I have tunnel vision when it comes to instruction, talent, theory, or competition. But there are only so many hours in the day, and Mary is a person who has made
a tremendous difference in my life as a rider and professional.

I hope others avail themselves of the opportunity to see what she has to offer.

bornfreenowexpensive
Oct. 19, 2011, 02:37 PM
I know nothing about MW. But I do think it can be beneficial to go to clinics and audit.

$30..plus lunch...is a pretty good price. You can drop that easily in a night out to dinner.

I'd go, and see if I learned something.

I find I learn more from auditing clinics than riding. I like to see if what the instructor is saying makes a difference in the rider/horse. See if my eye is catching the same things they are.

Personally...I find that the really good instructors all make the same points, focus on the same issues...but perhaps articulate the point differently. Some will have slightly different exercises to work on issues.

You can learn from everyone. Including outside your own disciplines...actually sometimes more from out side your area. It might cause you to think about something in a different way.

dragonharte8
Oct. 19, 2011, 02:56 PM
You can learn from everyone. Including outside your own disciplines...actually sometimes more from out side your area. It might cause you to think about something in a different way.

Best post on this thread outside of Mary's. BRAVO :D

quietann
Oct. 19, 2011, 03:14 PM
I audited a MW clinic last year at Larkspur (Jane Hannigan's home base), and found it interesting if not ZOMG earth-changing. I can see how some people would not "get" her language and to some degree I am one of those myself. I'd thought of riding in a later clinic with her, but now I am not so sure as I am just your typical LL slightly fat middle-aged rerider ammy smurf on an off-breed horse.

Karosel
Oct. 19, 2011, 04:03 PM
$30..plus lunch...is a pretty good price. You can drop that easily in a night out to dinner.



You're right. But as a grad student who has not much more than $30 per week for groceries, it's not an amount I spend lightly especially since I have a horse to pay for as well. (I know, ridiculous to have a horse in grad school)

stolensilver
Oct. 19, 2011, 04:17 PM
I will preface this with a short sentence to say I'm not on any MW messaging groups and I post here regularly. :)

I have been riding since I was 13. I could stick on any horse, was brave enough to get on the nutters and would jump almost anything. And I knew I couldn't really ride. Lessons were episodes of pure frustration because instructors told me what they wanted but they never said how I was supposed to achieve it.

Then I found a copy of Mary Wanless' first book Ride With Your Mind and it was as if someone switched a light bulb on. There, for the first time ever, was someone who explained in great detail how to engage your core, to use opposing muscle groups to gain stability, to plug in to the horse's back.

I spent the next year riding with that book propped open on the wall of the school so I could refer to it over and over till I got it right. It took that long to understand all that it said and to teach my body how to do what it said. That book taught me how to ride. I've posted a few times on various boards that I learned how to ride from a book and have been met with universal disbelief. Whatever the doubters may say it is possible. I did it. I'm still grateful 10 years later to Mary for writing her books.

The problem most people have with the Mary Wanless books is they read them. They don't sit on a hard floor and find their seatbones. They don't lie on their backs and prod at the tops of their thighs till they find their abductor tendons. They don't do what the books say. If they did their riding would improve. It has to because they do explain the nuts and bolts of riding. Without those there can be no progress, no finesse.

The skills I learned from Mary's books plus, afterwards, a "normal" instructor (I used to translate what she said to me into Mary-speak for years afterwards!) allowed me to train and compete my ex-foxhunting horse to PSG and train them most of the way to Grand Prix. I would never have got so far without MWs books because so much of what she has discovered are things I'd never have dreamed of trying yet without them you cannot sit deep into the horse's back.

So thankyou Mary for applying science to the art of riding. I am forever grateful and hope to train my current horse not just to Grand Prix but to compete at that level too.

dressagerose
Oct. 19, 2011, 04:17 PM
I have always enjoyed riding with Mary, but my usual comment is that there are Sally Swift people and Mary Wanless people. Sally Swift imagery does nothing for me or usually actually gets me to do the wrong thing. Mary's more analytical approach works for me. I often thing people do not understand what her schtick is (which was nicely articulated earlier). I also think that many of the people who don't understand what she is doing are blessed with bodies who do what they are supposed to. They don't realize that there are plenty of us whose bodies laugh when we want them to do something. I have done many different things through the years (a very long list), but finally the breakthrough for me was body work that specifically let me finally access my lower back. No matter how hard I worked, I couldn't do it. Mary had helped me get closer and once the body worker got through to it I am now able to implement all those things everyone had been telling me for years and I never could do. If your body does what it is supposed to and you can just go out and ride and be successful, then I am thrilled for you. Just remember that not everyone is so fortunate.

Go audit and have fun!

bornfreenowexpensive
Oct. 19, 2011, 04:30 PM
You're right. But as a grad student who has not much more than $30 per week for groceries, it's not an amount I spend lightly especially since I have a horse to pay for as well. (I know, ridiculous to have a horse in grad school)


hey...I had horses in law school and competed. Waiting tables to pay for it all...so I do understand.

But as far as your riding education...it is pretty cheap. You could also consider contacting the organizer, explain your situation...and see if there is a way for you to work off the auditor expense or get a price break by helping at the clinic (or set up/clean up).

Also, most local dressage/CT associations have grants. It is a bit late in the game, but you can see if you can get one if you write about the clinic.

There are ways to make it work...but $30 is a pretty cheap lesson so one that I might jump at.

ETA: For me, now that I earn good money...the issue is usually time (that and sound horses). So it really doesn't get much better when you are out of school. Sorry!

netg
Oct. 19, 2011, 05:16 PM
...
As for me, too much thinking and not enough riding.

People want to know what and how they should be feeling NOW, before even trying. They ask millions of questions and want diagrams, metaphores, stories, drawings and buy zillions of books and DVDs.
...


The whole point is to apply what Mary says to riding. Just reading, or just talking, doesn't do jack for you.


...
The problem most people have with the Mary Wanless books is they read them. They don't sit on a hard floor and find their seatbones. They don't lie on their backs and prod at the tops of their thighs till they find their abductor tendons. They don't do what the books say. If they did their riding would improve. It has to because they do explain the nuts and bolts of riding. Without those there can be no progress, no finesse.

The skills I learned from Mary's books plus, afterwards, a "normal" instructor (I used to translate what she said to me into Mary-speak for years afterwards!) allowed me to train and compete my ex-foxhunting horse to PSG and train them most of the way to Grand Prix. I would never have got so far without MWs books because so much of what she has discovered are things I'd never have dreamed of trying yet without them you cannot sit deep into the horse's back.

So thankyou Mary for applying science to the art of riding. I am forever grateful and hope to train my current horse not just to Grand Prix but to compete at that level too.

What I was trying to say... said better. Listening to an explanation and tossing it away as ridiculous without trying and identifying the feel is useless. That doesn't just apply to Mary, but any instruction intended to help you learn to use your body properly. I have intellectually known how to use my core, but been incapable of it because of a frozen lower back like dressagerose, and it took a biomechanics instructor's explanation for me to figure out how to properly use my core muscles. The explanation from my instructor just didn't make it click for me, no matter how many ways she tried to word it.

Mr.GMan
Oct. 19, 2011, 05:18 PM
I also think that many of the people who don't understand what she is doing are blessed with bodies who do what they are supposed to. They don't realize that there are plenty of us whose bodies laugh when we want them to do something.


:lol::lol::lol::lol: This is so my body! And then when I do get it, I am surprised I did it, give a woohoo, and there it went! So, my body got the last laugh! I am finally gaining on all this wonderful biomechanics of riding, my muscle memory is getting better at what needs to be done and it is starting to not feel so wonky anymore (riding correctly that is:))

carolprudm
Oct. 19, 2011, 06:22 PM
Thanks for posting, Mary! That summed up exactly why I'm taking lessons w/ the biomechanics instructor who comes around here when I can - because I'm small and not so strong, so have to learn to use everything correctly.



And since you seem to know everything, you did it the way Mary describes it? Put it at the top of your mouth and sucked against it, feeling the engagement of your core that causes, to help you identify correct muscles to use? Somehow, I would guess not.



Clearly, she is not the correct instructor for you. However, I would guess it was more related to your lack of interest in listening and learning how to use the correct muscles, based upon your attitude in this thread.


Having never met Mary personally, I have no way to respond to the comments which were taken negatively mentioned on this thread, or have any idea if there was humor intended or not. I am sorry some of you had your feelings hurt, regardless of what intention was involved there.

I would audit a clinic in a heartbeat based upon written reviews I've read of them. Given the chance, I'd ride with Mary, too.

If I said I spent $2500 (I think that's the current price to audit) Linda Parelli's "Game of Contact" clinic and it didn't do much for me you would probably agree and call LP all kinds of an idiot. But because I say Mary Wanless, a person you admit you have never met, didn't do much for me you say it's because of my lack of interest in learning.

I think you, a person whom I have never met, hasn't got a clue

netg
Oct. 19, 2011, 06:29 PM
If I said I spent $2500 (I think that's the current price to audit) Linda Parelli's "Game of Contact" clinic and it didn't do much for me you would probably agree and call LP all kinds of an idiot. But because I say Mary Wanless, a person you admit you have never met, didn't do much for me you say it's because of my lack of interest in learning.

I think you, a person whom I have never met, hasn't got a clue

If you claim that specific exercises which cause physical reactions if you do them do zero for you, then yes, I think you aren't trying and not truly invested in attempting to learn from them.

I think there is nothing wrong with MW not being the correct instructor for you - but that you can't claim "ethereal nonsense" if you don't actually do the exercise to feel the muscular response from it. I have several friends who I would never, ever, recommend her to based upon their style of learning. And that means nothing wrong with them. But they also wouldn't attempt to claim that something targeted specifically toward identifying specific muscle groups was useless and didn't work if they didn't actually try it.

Countrywood
Oct. 19, 2011, 07:33 PM
As for some other 'newbies,' I put out a www call for 'help' on the RWYM networks, for some other students to please come here and speak up about their experiences. So you may be able to 'blame' their contributions on me. I asked them to come.

Ah I thought so...the language of all the posts are similar and sound like testimonials ...

For $30, to audit, I'd go, and she does have something to offer.

But like I said, I found that something to be limited and repetitive, and I did buy several of her books a few years ago only to find they were basically the same book rewritten with different titles..I gave two away and kept one. I was also foolish enough to have bought a DVD and it was terrible... it was like she wanted to make money by selling them seperately and it only addressed one gait ( the trot), to see canter work you had to buy another one! The DVD was similar to the books...the same one or two pointers about bearing down and plugging in (which frankly, I don't know if bearing down is the best advice for a dressage rider in some repects) , anyway, the same thing basically repeated ten different ways with a very mediocre rider demonstrating. So now we have different views and I guess I am the official wet blanket (myself and some others who have posted ).

One thing in her book she wrote that I find biomechanically impossible...she talks about high level riders having such strong thighs they suck a horse's back up ! Now I find that hard to believe. A horses's back goes up from training and engagement and folding the joints and lowering HQ...how the heck does a dressage rider suck a back up with their thighs? Maybe Arnold Schwarzenagger could? It was analogies like this that made me question the legitmately good points and for me the whole reading and watching experience was a confused muddle with several good pointers mixed in with inane ones (inane to me at least ). I imagine now there will be another flood of defenders which is fine, for one person to achieve that kind of loyalty or even to stir up controversy is an acheivement itself.

carolprudm
Oct. 19, 2011, 07:57 PM
If you claim that specific exercises which cause physical reactions if you do them do zero for you, then yes, I think you aren't trying and not truly invested in attempting to learn from them.

I think there is nothing wrong with MW not being the correct instructor for you - but that you can't claim "ethereal nonsense" if you don't actually do the exercise to feel the muscular response from it. I have several friends who I would never, ever, recommend her to based upon their style of learning. And that means nothing wrong with them. But they also wouldn't attempt to claim that something targeted specifically toward identifying specific muscle groups was useless and didn't work if they didn't actually try it.
First, I was not the person who called her teaching "ethereal nonsense" I simply said it didn't work for me. Not the velcro concept, not sucking on Sophie's mints. You're going to have to dump on some one else for that.

I have naturally high muscle tone....just ask my massage therapist...which is probably the reason why sucking on a mint didn't do much of anything for me. However, not knowing me from a person on the street you would much rather believe I didn't give it a try.

You don't have a clue. You have never met her, I've been to six of her clinics but you go right along making your [assumptions].

NCRider
Oct. 19, 2011, 08:02 PM
Countrywood, I really don't get you. You're essentially acusing her of being a charlatan which is completely out of left field. To accuse her of overstating her role in Heather Blitz's development is just bizarre. While the other posts on this thread from people who have not enjoyed her training are typical differences of opinion that you get for any trainer (no trainer works for everyone), your posts just don't make any sense.

I don't find her controversial and I certainly don't get any sort of parelli-like vibe from people who find her approach helpful. No more than the students of any successful riding instructor.
As an aside, I've never met her and have only read one of her books. I found it helpful.

Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones whose bodies move naturally and who are able to execute things easily by being told to do them, but for a lot of people instructors like Mary Wanless (and Sally Swift) can often offer a different way of thinking about something that triggers an "ah ha" moment that helps us get past serious roadblocks to progress.

I'm sure Mary Wanless isn't for everyone, but her approach has helped a lot of people and she has made a significant contribution to the way many people approach learning and teaching dressage.

MW, if you're still reading this thread-I for one would like to say thank you for your efforts.

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 19, 2011, 08:31 PM
As for some other 'newbies,' I put out a www call for 'help' on the RWYM networks, for some other students to please come here and speak up about their experiences. So you may be able to 'blame' their contributions on me. I asked them to come.

Ah I thought so...the language of all the posts are similar and sound like testimonials ...

For $30, to audit, I'd go, and she does have something to offer.

But like I said, I found that something to be limited and repetitive, and I did buy several of her books a few years ago only to find they were basically the same book rewritten with different titles..I gave two away and kept one. I was also foolish enough to have bought a DVD and it was terrible... it was like she wanted to make money by selling them seperately and it only addressed one gait ( the trot), to see canter work you had to buy another one! The DVD was similar to the books...the same one or two pointers about bearing down and plugging in (which frankly, I don't know if bearing down is the best advice for a dressage rider in some repects) , anyway, the same thing basically repeated ten different ways with a very mediocre rider demonstrating. So now we have different views and I guess I am the official wet blanket (myself and some others who have posted ).

One thing in her book she wrote that I find biomechanically impossible...she talks about high level riders having such strong thighs they suck a horse's back up ! Now I find that hard to believe. A horses's back goes up from training and engagement and folding the joints and lowering HQ...how the heck does a dressage rider suck a back up with their thighs? Maybe Arnold Schwarzenagger could? It was analogies like this that made me question the legitmately good points and for me the whole reading and watching experience was a confused muddle with several good pointers mixed in with inane ones (inane to me at least ). I imagine now there will be another flood of defenders which is fine, for one person to achieve that kind of loyalty or even to stir up controversy is an acheivement itself.


Dear lord, CW, why on earth did keep buying them? :no: I would have figured at some point that I was beyond what she had to teach me--or not ready for what she had to teach me or that it was just not a good match-- and stopped wasting time and money.


A dressage rider who can get on a green horse and get him on the aids so to the spectator it looks like he has sucked the horse's back up with his thighs? CESAR PARRA. And honestly, I don't know him and wouldn't want to know him. But I have seen him do that almost instantly in a clinic, and I'm not going to lie about it.

Countrywood
Oct. 19, 2011, 08:39 PM
RE, I just would have liked more specific information about the role with developing Heather Blitz as a rider..is it ongoing, or did she consult with her when she was starting out and they clinic a few times a year...the depth of involvement is never addressed but it doesn't bother anyone else so maybe I am the odd one!:no:

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 19, 2011, 09:21 PM
CW, Google is your friend.


http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/heather-blitz-isnt-afraid-take-chance?page=3

http://www.equisearch.com/horses_riding_training/english/dressage/rider_biomechanics_081809/

http://www.zinio.com/browse/issues/index.jsp;jsessionid=95A4E8FBBDF638525C66CDA3BB511 394.prd-main-news4?skuId=416184895&pss=1 (This Sept., 2011 article was discussed at length on this board last month http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=315864&highlight=dt+blitz+wanless+article)

I don't understand what your, er, "interest" is here, and why you don't know how to use a search engine. I smell a rat.

Countrywood
Oct. 19, 2011, 10:02 PM
Thanks for the links, Eclectic Horseman!

I know how to use a search engine, but don't have time to endlessly search on a post...thanks for the links and they do add a lot of depth to what to me at least was vague references...I am not a "rat", just don't like being misled and I guess the frustration for me strated when I spent a lot of $ to buy several books that were more or less the same book repackaged under different titles...but clearly she has knowledge to offer and your links helped clear up the teacher student experience and added more solid credential details.

Carol Ames
Oct. 19, 2011, 11:33 PM
I've heard both opinions; I know I would have a problem with her voice/ manner of speaking:o:mad:

BaroquePony
Oct. 20, 2011, 12:00 AM
One thing in her book she wrote that I find biomechanically impossible...she talks about high level riders having such strong thighs they suck a horse's back up ! Now I find that hard to believe. A horses's back goes up from training and engagement and folding the joints and lowering HQ...how the heck does a dressage rider suck a back up with their thighs?

I don't care for her descriptions very much, which I have heard from riders that swear by her. To each their own.

But, yes, it is true that you can lift the back of the horse with your seat. It helps the horse who is already working correctly. It makes sense since you are lifting on the upswing, so technically you are helping the horse lift without any weight impairment at all.

You also will begin to breath in unison with your horse.

dragonharte8
Oct. 20, 2011, 12:31 AM
But, yes, it is true that you can lift the back of the horse with your seat. It helps the horse who is already working correctly. It makes sense since you are lifting on the upswing, so technically you are helping the horse lift without any weight impairment at all.

Please explain how the seat, which is pressing into the saddle will raise the back. The back is raise by the horse correctly using the muscles that make up the torso.

pony baloney
Oct. 20, 2011, 01:09 AM
As I understand it, the seat is not 'pressing into the saddle', but the space left by lifting the seat allows the horse's back to fill that space. You're not off of the saddle, but your seat and legs act like a claw, as she describes it, which picks up the horse. Someone else can explain it much better than I can. All I can say is that it works.

I've audited many MW clinics but have never ridden in one; have also read all of her books. You'll come away with something useful. Your eyes may not see the subtle changes from the riders, (which aren't so subtle to them) but you will see changes in the horse's way of going. Be openminded to new things and give them a try--your horse will let you know if you're on the right track.

Those who are saying she's not a trainer or hasn't competed herself or trained others to high levels, so what? She has something important and useful to share. Many top riders can't logically explain what they're doing. Ethereal? Not really. Centered riding never worked for me; I can't imagine my legs being melting ice cream, but I can imagine a steel rod attached to my knees, and I can clear my throat to tighten my core.

Watching Heather Blitz ride is seeing all these techniques come together effectively.

TemJeito
Oct. 20, 2011, 05:42 AM
Eclectic Horseman - What does this icon - :rolleyes: - mean? Isn't it possible to disagree with someone without mocking them? I tried to give a balanced opinion and will stick with what I wrote: Mary Wanless' "system" or "style" works for many riders, but not for me. Sure, I could learn something from her, but it's not how I want to spent my money. I think it would be a sad little world if only one trainer or clinician worked for everyone ;) Sure, Heather Blitz is a fabulous rider but there are other equally fabulous riders who don't work with Mary Wanless.

alicen
Oct. 20, 2011, 06:12 AM
Oh my! Velcroed butts, iron horse sucking thighs, clawed seats and legs, steel rods attached to knees - verging on sado-masochistic imagery here.

Countrywood
Oct. 20, 2011, 07:06 AM
I bought the books all at once... over enthusiastic of me....

On a more positive note, since many who click on a MW thread are looking to improve their balance/riding, what really worked for me in the end was getting super fit off the horse. A lot of hard work and you can't just stick an analogy in your mind and get fit or correct posture faults. But putting in the time is worth it. One thing all top riders have is that they are very fit.

For me what worked the best is yoga...you can do it without special equipement and just as easily from a DVD or book or class...whatever you find best. I mix yoga in with work on the balance ball and other moves from various sources. I expected to find off horse body work excersize and guidance in the MW books and there was very little. But there are of course tons of great yoga, pilates, stretching and strength and balance books out there. So there is hope for those of us working on our riding...and if some are motivated/inspired by MW, diff strokes for diff folks as they say.

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 20, 2011, 07:42 AM
Eclectic Horseman - What does this icon - :rolleyes: - mean? Isn't it possible to disagree with someone without mocking them? I tried to give a balanced opinion and will stick with what I wrote: Mary Wanless' "system" or "style" works for many riders, but not for me. Sure, I could learn something from her, but it's not how I want to spent my money. I think it would be a sad little world if only one trainer or clinician worked for everyone ;) Sure, Heather Blitz is a fabulous rider but there are other equally fabulous riders who don't work with Mary Wanless.

:rolleyes: mocking? I think not.

:p Now that's mocking.

Galloping Granny
Oct. 20, 2011, 07:54 AM
Just to add a bit to the discussion:

I discovered Mary's books in the late 80's when I had a 17.2 had norse come to me to retrain who had issues that I realized I didn't have the skills to fix even though I'd ridden for many years. I started studying - not just reading - her first book, Ride With Your Mind. I had been told by a BNT to put this horse down. I'd study at night, then go out and ride the next day - over and over. The horse eventually became very successful and sold for $70,000. I continued to sstudy and learn, and my horses all got better and better, and my teaching was changed. I have now had the opportunity to work in person with a student of Mary's, and it has all gone to a new level. After that help, my most advanced horse has in two rides stopped falling to the forehand after the flying changes, his extensions hae improved massively, and he is sitting and coming up in front in a way he never has - all because I am advancing in my understanding of how to use my muscles. Wen I teach, I can see instant differences in the horse when my students figure out the feel. I have tiny 8 year olds who have learned to canter on very large horses and have their butts easily stuck in the saddle by the third canter lesson. The images work for them too when I phrase them in kid language!

My students normally aren't the people who choose to study every night the way I do, so I do it for them. Most people aren't as obsessive as I am, but that's OK. They are becoming better and better riders and we all have Mary's teaching to thank.

I only know the results I've had, and they speak for themselves. I am open minded enough to rethink everything I've been taught, some of which was good and some of which missed the mark. If you want to take it to a new level, give this a chance

Gloria
Oct. 20, 2011, 08:59 AM
One thing in her book she wrote that I find biomechanically impossible...she talks about high level riders having such strong thighs they suck a horse's back up ! Now I find that hard to believe. A horses's back goes up from training and engagement and folding the joints and lowering HQ...how the heck does a dressage rider suck a back up with their thighs? Maybe Arnold Schwarzenagger could? It was analogies like this that made me question the legitmately good points and for me the whole reading and watching experience was a confused muddle with several good pointers mixed in with inane ones (inane to me at least ). I imagine now there will be another flood of defenders which is fine, for one person to achieve that kind of loyalty or even to stir up controversy is an acheivement itself.

Countrywood, I don't ride with Mary Wanless (I don't even own any of her books - I found them a bit hard to read) and I'm far from a high level rider, but specifically to this point you mention, "suck a horse's back up", I wiill tell you that when I was put on a FEI horse a few months ago, that was exactly what I felt, my thigh suck the horse' back up (actually my core lifted my torso up, and my thigh sucked the horse' back up), when I asked for more and more collection. It was very strange, because there was literally some kind of "suction" feeling if you get what I mean. Now was it really my thigh sucked him up? I have got no clue, but that was the sensation I was getting, and the more I did it (I guess I just somehow instinctively did it), the more the horse's back came up, and the more he collected. That was the first time I realized why people so love to ride Piaffe - it was heavenly.

Will I get the same feeling on my training/1st level horse? I doubt it...

Just offering a perspective.

carolprudm
Oct. 20, 2011, 09:14 AM
Countrywood, I don't ride with Mary Wanless (I don't even own any of her books - I found them a bit hard to read) and I'm far from a high level rider, but specifically to this point you mention, "suck a horse's back up", I wiill tell you that when I was put on a FEI horse a few months ago, that was exactly what I felt, my thigh suck the horse' back up (actually my core lifted my torso up, and my thigh sucked the horse' back up), when I asked for more and more collection. It was very strange, because there was literally some kind of "suction" feeling if you get what I mean. Now was it really my thigh sucked him up? I have got no clue, but that was the sensation what I was getting, and the more I did it (I guess I just somehow instinctively did it), the more the horse's back came up, and the more he collected. That was the first time I realized why people so love to ride Piaffe - it was heavenly.

Will I get the same feeling on my training/1st level horse? I doubt it...

Just offering a perspective.

Or anyone who tends to think literally.

A rider can ask a horse to raise and round his back, she can make it easier for him by the way she sits, on the ground she can make him raise his back by running her thumb along his midline but mounted, no she can not suck his back up, unless she had a very strong fixed point to hold on to and was very very strong herself.

No matter what it feels like.

The horse raises his back by contracting his abdominal muscles and flexing his hind legs in response to the rider.

Countrywood
Oct. 20, 2011, 09:14 AM
Gloria, I agree piaffe is as pretty close to heaven as we can get..I was lucky to have owned a PRE stallion years ago that was trained in piaffe and it does feel like thier back is part of you...

But I honestly don't believe a rider's thighs can literally "suck a back up". I mean esp with a woman rider, (or even an average man , even with strong legs), how can a pair of thighs are down around the barrell of a horse, how can they lift the back of an aminal up who weighs 1000 plus pounds?

What you felt sounds more like a trained horse in high collection responding to thigh and seat aids, and the corresponding lowering of the haunches lifted his back...

Now I can relate if MW had described it as a feeling of sucking the back up, or that some riders appear to do it visually (like the example someone gave of Cesar Parra), or that the horse folds its joints and lowers its croup and lifts the back when the rider has good balance and aids etc...but she literally said (repeated, actually, for pages and pages), that advanced riders LIFT, as in physically lift ,the horses back up with their thighs.

This wasn't an analogy, or describing the way it feels, she literally stated this. I find this incredible and not even phyiscally possible...if anything a rider attempting to do that would lift the saddle away from the horse, and if anything, if a rider could lift a horses back with their thighs it could be observed with a rider bareback and videotaped or measured at the stand still...which has never been done.. oh well, it's frustrating ...it is wonderful that her teachings have helped people, this point is so unproven and inane I had to post on it.

carolprudm
Oct. 20, 2011, 09:18 AM
LOL, Cottonwood, we posted just about the same thing. Are you an engineer by chance?

I have a degree n biology and an MCSE

Gloria
Oct. 20, 2011, 09:32 AM
LOL. And here I thought I was a, quote on quote, left brained "engineerer". I got a degree in Information Engineering, and when I took my GMAT test for my MBA, I got 99% from the Math part, completed in about 2/3 of the time, and that remaining 1% was because I couldn't read to save my life:lol:. I have been told by Eddo Hoekstra, "stop analyze everything, just DO it".

Countrywood
Oct. 20, 2011, 09:43 AM
Cottonwood is nice...(Countrywood)

I think engineers are smarter than I am ! I am not great at math, I admire you all..I am an appraiser though, (MFA in fine art) but now appraise mostly real estaete...to become a state certified appraiser requiresa 2 year apprenticeship and state exams and we are trained to document and be able to prove what we claim...it just frustrates me to see unproven and probably unprovable statements written as gospel truth.

carolprudm
Oct. 20, 2011, 10:37 AM
LOL. And here I thought I was a, quote on quote, left brained "engineerer". I got a degree in Information Engineering, and when I took my GMAT test for my MBA, I got 99% from the Math part, completed in about 2/3 of the time, and that remaining 1% was because I couldn't read to save my life:lol:. I have been told by Eddo Hoekstra, "stop analyze everything, just DO it".
The PIP joint on my middle finger on my left hadn is fused and sometimes it doesn't work the way it should and I don't catch it

Lost_at_C
Oct. 20, 2011, 10:42 AM
Perhaps some posters simply need to familiarize themselves with the full idiomatic range of "suck". We use that word all the time in ways that are less than literal... seems a weird point to focus on IMO.

Gloria
Oct. 20, 2011, 11:56 AM
You know, dressage (or many of other similiar sports) is such an interesting sport. It is technical, which appeals to my overdeveloped analytical brain, and yet, it requires feel, which challenges my, well, very underdeveloped, the other side.

You need to fuse these two to ride well I think. The analytical side absorbs the knowledge, processes it in a deeper level, and then allows it to become feel. To think about it, it is very similiar to practicing piano. The best rides I have had always occur when my brain knows what I'm supposed to do, and I take a deep breath, empty my brain to clear, or literally get rid of whatever I knew, and just allows my body to do it. Quite strange huh?

But it took me four years of Yoga and Pilates to get a sense of what my body is doing and where it is, just to be able to even make that possible.

Isabeau Z Solace
Oct. 20, 2011, 01:52 PM
Now I can relate if MW had described it as a feeling of sucking the back up, or that some riders appear to do it visually (like the example someone gave of Cesar Parra), or that the horse folds its joints and lowers its croup and lifts the back when the rider has good balance and aids etc...but she literally said (repeated, actually, for pages and pages), that advanced riders LIFT, as in physically lift ,the horses back up with their thighs.

This wasn't an analogy, or describing the way it feels, she literally stated this. I find this incredible and not even phyiscally possible...if anything a rider attempting to do that would lift the saddle away from the horse, and if anything, if a rider could lift a horses back with their thighs it could be observed with a rider bareback and videotaped or measured at the stand still...which has never been done.. oh well, it's frustrating ...it is wonderful that her teachings have helped people, this point is so unproven and inane I had to post on it.

Now that people have come out and stated that they agree with the "suck up the back analogy," you are still trying to claim it is incorrect.

Honestly, you seem to be just attacking these concepts for sheer spite. There are people who will just attack others for the sake of it, I suppose...

carolprudm
Oct. 20, 2011, 03:21 PM
Now that people have come out and stated that they agree with the "suck up the back analogy," you are still trying to claim it is incorrect.

Honestly, you seem to be just attacking these concepts for sheer spite. There are people who will just attack others for the sake of it, I suppose...
It's an analogy, but it's physically impossible. It might feel like that is happenng but the horse has to raise the back by stepping under himself and contracting his abs.

Try this:

Sit on a cushion on a hard chair like a kitchen chair and run a towel under the cushion front to back. Keep your feet off the floor. Use one hand in front of you and one hand behind you and grab the towel. Lift as hard as you want to but you can't lift that cushion up without something to pull against.

Same thing, what would happen if you tack up your horse with a rope running under the saddle gullet? No matter how hard you pull that rope the saddle isn't going to go up.

Now if you ran the rope side to side under the horse's belly and pull up he MIGHT lift his back....before launching you into orbit.

Analogies work better for some people than they do for others.

Take my experience with Mary. My mare was rushing so Marry wanted me to slow my posting. She told me to imagine my butt was velcro and just peeeellll it off the saddle. I could not grasp ths idea and all the contortions I tried only made my mare more and more anxious and rushing ever faster and faster and bucking. It got really ugly.

When I did go home and figure it out I realized that firstly I was causing the rushing with my tension and frustration and that I was seriously overusing the wrong set of muscles, namely my back all the way from my shoulders down to my knees trying to jam my seat into the saddle as hard as I could.

All I really needed to do was engage my hip flexors.

But that's how some people think. Some people over think and need to be told what to DO.

FWIW Sally Swift didn't do much for me either

Countrywood
Oct. 20, 2011, 03:30 PM
I wouldn't care if it were an analogy, and I hate to sound spiteful, but the only reason I am posting about it is that it was not used as an analogy, such as that a rider should feel as if they are sucking the horse's back up with their thighs....she wrote about it as literal fact, that advanced riders actually accomplish this feat.

Anway, I don't like being seen as some kind of creep, but to agree that this can happen just to be popular doesn't feel right either....

dragonharte8
Oct. 20, 2011, 04:01 PM
but the horse has to raise the back by stepping under himself and contracting his abs.

Stepping under will not raise the back. The horse must use the muscle structure of the torso to raise the back. This can be accomplished by the rider simply allowing the rider's calves to slightly and softly raise up on either side of the torso in rhythm. This encourages the horse to raise the back which will cause flexing in the spine. The rider will feel the rising and flexing.

Gloria
Oct. 20, 2011, 04:45 PM
I was mulling over how exactly this "sucking up a horse' back" work, and then I stare at this wrinkled paper towel in front of my keyboard, and started to play with it, and then lightbulb hits; amazingly, it can work, literally. Not an analogy or feeling or anything mythical.

Try this: ball up a piece of paper towl and leave it on your desk, and then fork your thumb and index fingers so they represent your legs and the balled-up paper towel represents your horse's barrel. Can you pick it up with your fingers? Depending on how you use the pressure from your fingers, you might find you are pushing it down, doing nothing, or, well, picking it up.

Once you place your fingers around the paper towl, if you squeeze your fingers every slightly so you close them as you lift your fingers upward, you might just find you pick up your paper towel, or your horse:D

Now imagine what the horse must feel if you utilize your legs in such a way that they are "picking it up"? It must have felt some sort of suction, right? What does the rider feel? - suction!!!

tidy rabbit
Oct. 20, 2011, 05:08 PM
I ride with one of Mary's certified instructors and I can tell you the principles have made a tremendous difference in my horses and my own understanding of how my body influences my horse.

I have not yet had the opportunity to ride with Mary, but may give it a try next year if I can manage it. I am not a "dressage" rider by any means but find the analytical side of riding fascinating and the imagery has really helped both me and my own students.

Keep up the good work! -from Jen's Jumper Rider Heidi

Countrywood
Oct. 20, 2011, 05:28 PM
Gloria, big difference between a paper towel and a thousand pound horse! This post is making me feel crazy, probably I should stop...thanks for entertianment value and enjoy riding clinics etc.

BaroquePony
Oct. 20, 2011, 05:35 PM
About the *sucking up* (:rolleyes:) part with the seat ...

The way it works for me is that I am using the [a/k/a] very-high-up-on-the-upper-leg-on-your-backside muscle(s/?), [a/k/a] the back of the upper leg where it ends up joining the bottom of your "seat bones" - you are sitting on these, [a/k/a] the upper portion of the muscles of the back of the thigh, ................ those muscles working in combination with the lower portion of the butt-checks. Butt muscles do most of the wrapping around the saddle part.

This won't work unless the rider *opens up the pelvis* so to speak. This is NOT something you want to do on an "untrustworthy" horse. If a horse decides to buck, and they are catlike athletic types, they can crunch various portions of your spine :yes:.

It works because the horse in motion is DYNAMIC (not a chair) and there is an upward thrust that the rider can take advantage of.

Gloria
Oct. 20, 2011, 05:36 PM
Geeze, use a bit imagination, will ya? Paper towel is simply easier for people to see the effect, but the law of physics applies to both.

You all see how high school teachers use apples and oranges and whatnot to illustrate how the movements of sun, earth, and moon create eclipse, or the wan and wax of moon. Surely you can't say oranges are sun/earth/moon...

Sam Jones
Oct. 20, 2011, 05:44 PM
If you have a chance to go to a RWYM clinic, it is worth your time and money. Even better if you can ride in the clinic, you will learn a lot. You must trust Mary's teaching and be open to it, as she is going to tell you a lot of opposites to what you believe you have been taught to do, in the past with you riding, it will be hard, you will want to argue, it may feel wrong, I promise it will not be wrong and your horse will show you. The best way is to have a friend take a picture/video of you before and during your lesson, you will be in shock, with the results. It is well worth it to save the next 10 yrs of tears.

It is well worth reading; ride with your mind essentials, it is quite an eye opener, then go on the clinic or audit the clinic, you may understand what she is trying to do/say.

I would not allow anyone but a RWYM coach to teach my daughters to ride.

OneGrayPony
Oct. 20, 2011, 05:48 PM
**disclaimer ahead**

I'm not a dressage rider do not follow Mary Wanless nor an expert in equine biomechanics nor an expert in pretty much anything nor am I a normal poster on this board. Although I do feel I have something of relative value to say, and so am going to take a deep breath and dive in.

**end disclaimer**

I do think there's something to the lifting of the thighs related to the horse stepping under themselves due to the fact that on a green horse that is often how I engage forward. I don't squeeze with my calves, instead I "suck" them up into my crotch with my upper thighs and lo and behold almost without fail every single one of them will step off into trot.

I suspect, though I'm not sure of the biomechanics involved (remember the disclaimer above), that it has something to do with both freeing up the back by lightening your seat (if you use that analogy there's a definite change) but also communicates a change in motion to the horse which *may or may not* have anything to do with the lifted back and moving forward.

Try it sometime - unless you have a complete deadhead, if you lift with your thighs with a forward thinking motion, your horse will, more than likely, begin to trot.

Okay, that being said - as with any instructor, trainer or teacher, there are good things and bad things, things that resonate and things that don't. I love analogies and they really work for me. I don't need them to be accurate, nor do I necessarily find the value in analyzing them to death for their "proof". If they *work* for me I use them, and if they don't, I don't. I think there's something of value to be learned from everyone - even *gasp* the Parellis (again, see the disclaimer above, plus adding the disclaimer of I do not follow Parelli nor do I own a carrot stick).

Once I got really looking at the scientific method and medicine I started to understand that proof was really relative and not as proofy as I had hoped. Opened whole new worlds for me.

*taking a deep breath and posting*

tidy rabbit
Oct. 20, 2011, 06:03 PM
I have a carrot stick in my barn. Sadly, it's progress string is short and sort of gnawed off on the end. Please don't hold it against me. :lol:

BaroquePony
Oct. 20, 2011, 07:00 PM
If the horse's back is really swinging freely under your seat, it is more (physics wise) like the arch of a ball bouncing up in the air, and as it reaches the highest point in the air, just before gravity overcomes the weight and speed of the upward moving ball, there is a MOMENT of suspension (weightlessness), and then it begins its downward stage of the trajectory.

Now, if the rider is also bouncing up into the air while being on top of the ball ....

The ability of the rider to use the *sucking up* motion starts from the base of the *pushing off of with the hind leg (of the horse)* motion. Said a bit differently, when the hind leg is pushing off of the ground, the rider's hip can use that firm basis of the ground to start the upward bounce and carry it a bit further as the horse's spine reaches the highest point of the upward arch, .... and then the rider can use the seat to bring the horse's back up a bit further and create a longer moment of suspension .... a longer moment of weightlessness ...

ThreeFigs
Oct. 20, 2011, 08:16 PM
Well stated, BP!

My coach occasionally uses the phrase "sucky muscles", as in "use your sucky muscles to help him lift his back!"

This obviously made sense to her and some of her other students, but it did little or nothing for me. Your last couple of posts are excellent explanations of this elusive concept.

carolprudm
Oct. 20, 2011, 08:19 PM
I was mulling over how exactly this "sucking up a horse' back" work, and then I stare at this wrinkled paper towel in front of my keyboard, and started to play with it, and then lightbulb hits; amazingly, it can work, literally. Not an analogy or feeling or anything mythical.

Try this: ball up a piece of paper towl and leave it on your desk, and then fork your thumb and index fingers so they represent your legs and the balled-up paper towel represents your horse's barrel. Can you pick it up with your fingers? Depending on how you use the pressure from your fingers, you might find you are pushing it down, doing nothing, or, well, picking it up.

Once you place your fingers around the paper towl, if you squeeze your fingers every slightly so you close them as you lift your fingers upward, you might just find you pick up your paper towel, or your horse:D


Indeed this will work. It works because you are not stting on the ball of papertowel but you are supporting your weight on the floor. You cannot lift something that is supporting your entire weight.

Countrywood
Oct. 20, 2011, 08:43 PM
I guess I had to come back to torture myself some more lol...this is such nonsense that somebody can "lift" a horse's back up with their seat (or thighs). If that were true, wouldn't jump riders be using this techniqe to get more clearance over a jump? Nobody else in the horse world has found that out in all this time? The Europeans, who are on the forefront of dressage, how come this discovery managed to evade them? Because it is impossible.

A horse is not a bouncing beach ball. A horse is anchored by it's legs on the ground (expcect when jumping or air borne). When a horse has a moment of suspension, it's legs are literally off the ground due to footfall and implusion from feet pushing off, not because a rider lifted its back.

Aachh!! Tearing hair out!

EqTrainer
Oct. 20, 2011, 09:00 PM
Sorry about your hair but yes, you can indeed lift a horses back up under your seat. My eight year old daughter can do it. I do it every time I ride.

On the ground, pop your horses back up. Cat/cow. You want to ride a cat, not a cow. Saves your hair.

BaroquePony
Oct. 20, 2011, 09:05 PM
A horse is not a bouncing beach ball.


I'm riding a Cob, which is probaly the closest thing to a bouncing beach ball that you can find in the horse, er pony, world.



A horse is anchored by it's legs on the ground

Now you're talking about my neighbor's donkey.

Countrywood
Oct. 20, 2011, 09:09 PM
Can any of you people lifting a horse's back up with your seat kindly supply a video! I mean, maybe it FEELS like you are lifting their back, because their back moves up and down beneath us and can be so close in rhthym that it feels that way...but the horse is lifting it's back either through legs pushing the back up at certain moments of the stride (whatever the gait), and or by the abodmen lifting with comes also from the movement , I mean seriously, if people could lift a back with their seat, wouldn't jump riders do that? I mean they could approach a fence and just suck up with their thighs and lift the horse right over!!

EqTrainer
Oct. 20, 2011, 09:16 PM
Uh, its their BACK. Not their entire body. You are funny!

Do you sit on a cat back or a cow back? You might always be sitting in a pit and that is why this all sounds nutso to you.

Countrywood
Oct. 20, 2011, 09:26 PM
Their back is connected to their body!! Thus, a person can not sit on a horse and lift the back as a separate anatomical section.

Good riding can of course encourage the horse to lift and swing it's back, by being in harmony, using well timed aids, and having an adhesive seat etc. But a horse's spine can't separate from it's pelvic girdle and "lift" because a rider sucks as hard as she can with her thighs! It is physically impossible.

EqTrainer
Oct. 20, 2011, 09:30 PM
I dont use my thighs to do it.

Have you ever popped a horses back up from the ground? Its a reflex. You can activate it undersaddle.. But they can do it without taking a step. The opposite would be saddleseat, head up back down.

BaroquePony
Oct. 20, 2011, 09:47 PM
Can any of you people lifting a horse's back up with your seat kindly supply a video! I mean, maybe it FEELS like you are lifting their back, because their back moves up and down beneath us and can be so close in rhthym that it feels that way...but the horse is lifting it's back either through legs pushing the back up at certain moments of the stride (whatever the gait), and or by the abodmen lifting with comes also from the movement , I mean seriously, if people could lift a back with their seat, wouldn't jump riders do that? I mean they could approach a fence and just suck up with their thighs and lift the horse right over!!

It always executed while sitting.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFMmr0KjrXQ&feature=related


ETA: the video is not well done so it makes it more difficult to see, and I am sure there are better examples, but this guy *has a seat*.

dragonharte8
Oct. 20, 2011, 09:50 PM
Thus, a person can not sit on a horse and lift the back as a separate anatomical section..

You can if you use your lower leg. While a horse is standing place your fingers in the middle of the underside and push inward and watch the back RAISE.
And it can be done in rising trot.

BaroquePony
Oct. 20, 2011, 09:54 PM
Well stated, BP!

My coach occasionally uses the phrase "sucky muscles", as in "use your sucky muscles to help him lift his back!"

This obviously made sense to her and some of her other students, but it did little or nothing for me. Your last couple of posts are excellent explanations of this elusive concept.

Thanks Beasmom. I'm glad you got it.

carolprudm
Oct. 20, 2011, 10:07 PM
Sigh no you can not lift just the horse's back without removing it from his body. You can ask him to flex it while sitting on him but the rider cannot lift it for him.

Get a scale and a5 pound bag of flour. Put the flour on the counter and stand on the scale in front of the counter.

Note your weight.

Now lift the flour and see that your weight has increased. You have transfered the weight of the flour from the counter to you. But when you are sitting on the horse there is no place to transfer the weight to.
That is the reason that you cannot lift the horse's back. The rider can ask, the rider can give the horse no chance but to comply however it's the horse who uses his muscles to lift his back

carolprudm
Oct. 20, 2011, 10:10 PM
You can if you use your lower leg. While a horse is standing place your fingers in the middle of the underside and push inward and watch the back RAISE.
And it can be done in rising trot.
The underside also raises. The horses contracts his abdominal muscles to flex the back

BaroquePony
Oct. 20, 2011, 10:36 PM
Better example ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0444o2YBEIk

dragonharte8
Oct. 20, 2011, 10:37 PM
The underside also raises. The horses contracts his abdominal muscles to flex the back

BRAVO, exactly right.

mishmash
Oct. 20, 2011, 10:39 PM
A few years ago there was a Mary Wanless clinic in our area. I was seriously considering riding until health issues interfered. I did post online in a couple of forums, asking for feedback from those who had ridden with/audited her. I received many PM's, most were negative. The consensus seemed to be that:
1. She preferred a certain type of horse, and would be snide about some of the non-traditional dressage breeds-Arabians were one mentioned.
2. She heavily favored those who rode in her clinics routinely-and if I had the misfortune to share a lesson with one of those riders, I would spend most of my time on a 20 meter circle, being ignored.
I do have two of her books, and they are an interesting read, and worth the time. But after the PM's I got I would never ride with her.

Countrywood
Oct. 21, 2011, 06:43 AM
I watched the videos...cute pony, I love Hans and the way he rides (saw him in person once in Wellington), imo he is very fluid with the horse and lets the movement flow though him and his thighs are very close to the saddle but he is not lifting the back with his seat or thighs and neither is the other guy...they are just riding very well and engaging the horses through their seat, legs and aids.

BaroquePony
Oct. 21, 2011, 08:17 AM
Countrywide, I'll bet you're going to tell me he doesn't use half-halts either. I had never seen a video of him until last night. I just got my Time-Warner high speed cable hooked up about two weeks ago, so am now catching up on everything I've missed over the past few years :yes:.

Mr. Whoever-he-is is an outstanding rider and he appears to be using all of the influences of the seat in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4PokvoR61Y&feature=relatedhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4PokvoR61Y&feature=related

Countrywood
Oct. 21, 2011, 08:31 AM
Why would I say he doesn't use half halts? When did that become part of the discussion? I agree with you, he is an outstanding rider and is using all the influences of his seat. (and aids, and leg aids).

That is different than literally "lifting" a horses back with his thighs, or "sucking" a horse's back up with the thighs.

I am lucky enough to live near Wellington, FL, and be able to attend the shows with intl riders and watch them up close, in the warm up ring. These are the best in the world and I have never seen any of them lift a horse's back with their thighs or seat.

Their wonderful riding and skill of course, engages the horse with all the nuances that such riding entails, and of course we see that the end result ,after years of training, the horse becomes strong and supple enough to lift its back esp in high collection.

Only engagement of the haunches and joints folding can "lift" a horses back, because his back is attached to his legs, if a rider could lift a hores's back with their seat or thigh, the horse's legs would come off the ground. As we know, no rider is strong enough to do that (maybe Arnold Shwarzenegger sitting on a pony could)

BaroquePony
Oct. 21, 2011, 09:12 AM
I thought this sub-discussion was about the influences of the seat.

And it isn't as much about the thighs as it is about the butt-cheeks of the rider working with the upper back thigh muscles. Focusing only on the influence of the seat in *lifting the horse's back*.

Has absolutely nothing to do with who is riding or watching in Wellington or bringing all of the rest of the aids into the discussion to *muddy the waters*, I am only talking about the specific seat aid used to *lift* the horse's back.

He does do it in the Painted Black tape, for those of you that actually are following the discussion and are sophisticated enough to see the tiny influences, and some of you are :yes:.

It takes time to develop the eye, but you really have to have the brain for it also. Many, many people can see things that they aren't able to ride due to all kinds of reasons (don't ride at all but are a sophisticated audience, if they do ride then might not be fit enough, educated properly, had a horse that could at least do the work even if they weren't going to beat Totalis, etc..).

Many people can recognize a the virtuousa violin player, but they themselves do not play any instrument ...

BaroquePony
Oct. 21, 2011, 09:19 AM
On the Painted Black tape, ...

:52 - :59

1:35 - 1: 46

2:54 (most likely earlier than that by a few seconds, but by the time I get the menu to pop up and then try to write it down ...)

3:26 (ditto on the seconds)

3:39 (ditto)

4:28 - 4:36

4:48 (ditto on the seconds, again)

.... and so on.



Watch the tiny inflections, of his hip movements and influences, his inner thighs, his butt-cheeks influences ..... also think about where the bones of his seat are and look for the *weight*/weighted areas ...

EqTrainer
Oct. 21, 2011, 09:36 AM
Sigh. I agree BP, if you havent experienced it or cant conceive of it... Well, why would you think it could be possible?...

The horses back legs do not make their back go up. They can do it standing, no movement at all. Another myth buster LOL

littlemanor
Oct. 21, 2011, 10:00 AM
I have to weigh in on the "sucking the horse's back up" thing. I don't think it has anything whatsoever to do with strength. I am very light (5'8" and less than 110) and not terrifically strong. I remember well the first time I felt this. I was riding a fairly well schooled lesson horse I had ridden before and done fairly well on as far as accurate exercises, but never really got her working through. This time I was just walking her along before the lesson on a completely slack rein, and did something with my upper legs and seat, and it absolutely did feel as if I magically sucked her back up under me; she rounded and began to walk quite differently, with longer, slinkier-feeling strides. We were just walking around--it had nothing to do with exercises or riding from behind into contact (since I had none). It felt like voodoo. I don't even know what exactly I did, but I had been reading and trying to understand Mary Wanless and doing the off-horse experiments/exercises in the interval.

I think talented riders end up doing something like this naturally without thinking about it, so MW may be beside the point to them, and they can go on to using gymasticizing exercises and get the most out of them. But if you don't have this ability to influence the horse's back with your seat, you can do these exercises all day long and still have a hollow and stiff horse. I've seen this too many times to believe that riding figures in and of themselves will magically get the horse working through. Those who are sure it does almost certainly have enough (perhaps unconscious) knowledge of how to influence the back with their seat so that the exercises can build on this foundation. This is, I believe, what MW's books try to teach; it's incredibly hard to learn when you haven't "got it," and that's why the books can be hard to read and understand.

I think those who scoff at MW (other than those who have not actual knowledge of her work and haven't even tried to read it) fall into two categories: those who intuitively already know the things she tries to explain without needing to think exactly what their bodies do instinctively; and those for whom this use of the body feels so alien and is so difficult that they've never yet managed to really achieve the use of the body she's trying to explain. The first class doesn't have any need to read her (unless they want to teach the second category more effectively), but I think the second category might change their minds if they really, really tried some of her body-awareness exercises, and tried to put aside their resistance and criticism for a while.

(I am not connected to MW in any way and have never even seen her teach in real life, by the way.)

EqTrainer
Oct. 21, 2011, 10:09 AM
^ three cheers for littlemanor!!!!

Gloria
Oct. 21, 2011, 10:14 AM
Indeed this will work. It works because you are not stting on the ball of papertowel but you are supporting your weight on the floor. You cannot lift something that is supporting your entire weight.

OK. Fair enough. How about try it on an exercise ball? I can create certain suction and lift the top portion of the ball up without my feet touching the ground (granted you will need certain core stability and balance to try it, and strong enough core to accomplish it).

And really it isn't so much as to lift the whole thing up (we aren't lifting the whole horse, we are lifting certain region of the horse). It is impossible as you stated. What is possible is to exert some kind of upward pressure specifically to certain region of the ball so the top of the ball (or the horse' back) receive the effect, and in response it follows it upward as well. In the case of an exercise ball, it responds to however much force you utilizes; in the case of a horse, he might just follow it and use his own core to buoy you upward even further.

BaroquePony
Oct. 21, 2011, 10:16 AM
; in the case of a horse, he might just follow it and use his own core to buoy you upward even further.

:yes:

MyssMyst
Oct. 21, 2011, 10:51 AM
The basic feeling I'm getting from this thread is: Either it works for you or it doesn't. So why do we need a gazillion pages on sucking up a back and whether it is/isn't possible? It's a set of imagery that works for some people, and not for others. If it works for you, great. If it doesn't work for you, great. Why knock what works for someone else?

Isabeau Z Solace
Oct. 21, 2011, 11:53 AM
^ three cheers for littlemanor!!!!

Seconded !

Countrywood
Oct. 21, 2011, 12:05 PM
I agree that subtle influences of a seat can influence a horses's back, the way they use their back and the way they travel. In that aspect, yes I agree! But what I think people feel is their seat or thighs etc finally in harmony and maybe in perfect rhtyhm...you can suck up an air filled beach ball or excersize ball, but not a horse's back..esp with a saddle on...if you sucked your butt cheeks up the horse would feel that as a tightening and perhaps even brace against it. Maybe some people perceive or feel that bracing of the back as the back coming up under the saddle?

ThreeFigs
Oct. 21, 2011, 02:21 PM
I don't think there's anything a rider can do to "literally suck the horse's back up", but certainly the aids, particularly with the seat, can give the rider the SENSATION that she has sucked the horse's back up somehow.

I've felt it, cannot always replicate it unless other factors are in play, hope to replicate it more often as my fitness and my horse's fitness improve. Perhaps it is like "lightening" the seat and inviting the horse to lift its back. Perhaps it is a lifting sensation in the rider's torso, perhaps a combination of things. But the lifting is a figurative, relative thing, not a literal thing.

I hope this helps the discussion.

bornfreenowexpensive
Oct. 21, 2011, 02:30 PM
The basic feeling I'm getting from this thread is: Either it works for you or it doesn't. So why do we need a gazillion pages on sucking up a back and whether it is/isn't possible? It's a set of imagery that works for some people, and not for others. If it works for you, great. If it doesn't work for you, great. Why knock what works for someone else?


I agree.....it is almost funny to read how much people are arguing.

It is just imagery. Sometimes it works for some people...other times it may get you doing the wrong thing.

I can remember jumping with my trainer (a top trainer). I came through a line and just boom....I had fixed a problem in my riding that had been going on for a while. I understood the issue, it was just that point where my core strength and timing all came together and I could fix the issue. First thing he told me was to keep up with what I was doing...because I had clearly fixed an issue. Next thing was to ask me what I did/think to fix the issue. He asked this question as a trainer.....to make himself an even better trainer....and to understand how MY mind was working and processing things. This helps him teach me...and possibly others since what ever worked for me MIGHT, just might....work for someone else. But of course it might not work for everyone.

It doesn't make it right or wrong. Just another tool in the tool box.

Countrywood
Oct. 21, 2011, 03:35 PM
I don't think there's anything a rider can do to "literally suck the horse's back up", but certainly the aids, particularly with the seat, can give the rider the SENSATION that she has sucked the horse's back up somehow.

I've felt it, cannot always replicate it unless other factors are in play, hope to replicate it more often as my fitness and my horse's fitness improve. Perhaps it is like "lightening" the seat and inviting the horse to lift its back. Perhaps it is a lifting sensation in the rider's torso, erhaps a combination of things. But the lifting is a figurative, relative thing, not a literal thing.

I agree with the above and well put. It is about being in balance and lightness of seat (suppleness perhaps) , use of nunace with horse's back and torso responding etc.

But the problem I had with the MW book is she LITERALLY said that upper level riders suck their horse's back up with their thighs ( with pages of vacuum cleaner and other analogies to illustrate).

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 21, 2011, 04:03 PM
Well, unless and until there is some hard quantitative science done by somebody (Dr. Clayton, are you listening?), both sides are just in some sort of a pissing match here, aren't they? :sigh:

Carry on.

BaroquePony
Oct. 21, 2011, 05:03 PM
I think you/us/anyone would need a multi-dimensional animation program to do it properly.

Some US Sailing Team members did a lot of computerized animation studies (in conjunction with real life experiments) about keels in the water and how to best use them. They adjusted their hull and keel designs accordingly, and then they went on to win some pretty classy awards if I remember correctly.

In mutli-dimension calculus the *saddle point* is a VERY commonly used mathemstical model for a reason.

Countrywood
Oct. 21, 2011, 07:57 PM
Well, unless and until there is some hard quantitative science done by somebody (Dr. Clayton, are you listening?), both sides are just in some sort of a pissing match here, aren't they?

As Madonna said, "Everybody is entitled to my opinion." :eek:

canyonoak
Oct. 22, 2011, 11:02 AM
First--no one ever really changes anyone else's mind, here or elsewhere.:)

No--the rider does not use their thighs or seat to 'suck up' the horse's back, any more than the rider uses their core like a toilet bowl plunger to bear down.

Any more than being told to 'lower your hands' means to put your hands straight down.
Any more than being told to 'sit up' means to arch your back and come away from the saddle.

Any more than having the horse 'bend' around your inside leg when there is very little bend possible in the spine --but we all talk about proper bend etc.

Riding is subjective and imagery has its place for some riders. Most riders use short-cut images for themselves--which Wanless encourages.

Mary Wanless is one of the first people to codify HOW really good riders use biomechanics to accomplish an athletic feat--riding the horse in balance and harmony.

She has added to our knowledge of HOW to teach as well as WHAT to teach riders to ride well.

BaroquePony
Oct. 22, 2011, 12:36 PM
Not actually trying to convince anyone that is not interested, just stating something that A) I was taught and B) that I think I managed to accomplish on several horses that I (not someone else) trained :no:.

Maybe it is all in my imagination, and the phrase, *lift the back of the horse with your seat*, is a worthless phrase misleading hapless riders, taught to me by both an "I" judge and an SRS bereiter. I say I have actually done it.

This is one that I won't change my mind about without some truly hard science.

canyonoaks, just because you *compare* it to other actions of the rider as if it were a bad habit or an incorrectly done use of the aids does not mean you are correct either. A *witch* maybe, but I run into a lot of misinformation put forth in the angry witch format :(.

Adamantane
Oct. 22, 2011, 03:16 PM
I read the first part of this thread the other day and finished the rest just now.

My knowledge of Mary Wanless is limited to owning two of her books, one of which I read through hurriedly on a long plane trip, and found intriguing enough to justify buying another (which I haven't yet actually looked at since). So I haven't actually studied either one. I'd heard mixed opinions from others who ride much better than I, but that's untroubling. Be amazing to encounter anyone writing about riding or teaching clinics, about whom opinions were uniform, this being the horse community. :)

Apart from some matters of personality and personal style, it appears to me as if much of the 'controversy' on this thread is like so many controversies: a matter of semantics and definitions rather than of fact.

Define terms or describe concepts in a certain way not shared by or understood in the same way by others, and it is inevitable that confusion and disagreements will follow. This is particularly true when terms are analogies rather than literal. This doesn't mean that everybody is right or wrong, but does mean the important points get lost in a lot of noise.

There are different learning styles and communication approaches that work for individuals. I'm talking here about the model of visual/auditory/kinesthetic axes, for example, that each of us possesses in different proportions, and applies based on our ability and personal experiences (as opposed to "MBTI types").

The universe of riders isn't uniform, so it would be pretty miraculous if the same approaches worked equally well for everyone, even when any underlying theory is sound.

To use Sally Swift as an example, some of her visual imagery/analogies like melting ice cream translate well for some people some of the time, and for some are baffling and don't translate to anything you can tie to riding at all.

Of course when you're not in direct contact with the ground or anything else you can pull on or push off, you can't pick up a large object upon which you are seated. Physically impossible. But that isn't to say there you can't experience or bring about the feeling or illusion that you can, or that something useful can't come from doing whatever brings that feeling about. It's basically an analogy. Useful in some ways and absurd in others.

Going back and forth about whether the analogy is literally true just wastes time and energy.

That example is one of many possible learning tools that some people find very helpful in their particular learning style constellation in the context of their particular riding experience, but others just plain don't. (No shame to those who don't. Lord knows I don't relate to a lot of stuff and I'm not alone. I just keep trying until something clicks.)

To me the main question here is whether one approach or another such as Mary's is relevant to a particular individual and also, perhaps, if there's a way for individuals to tell that in advance of signing up for a clinic. A secondary question is whether the underlying bio-mechanical theory is sound or not. Those things can be more helpful to discuss.

I am motivated to examine Mary's books more closely after having read this thread.

BaroquePony
Oct. 22, 2011, 04:07 PM
Of course when you're not in direct contact with the ground or anything else you can pull on or push off, you can't pick up a large object upon which you are seated. Physically impossible. But that isn't to say there you can't experience or bring about the feeling or illusion that you can, or that something useful can't come from doing whatever brings that feeling about. It's basically an analogy. Useful in some ways and absurd in others.


If the hind leg of the horse is pushing off the ground, then the rider is also going to be pushing off of the ground using the same hip, and if their seat is truly sucked into the saddle the way it should be, then, at the point of the highest arching of the horse's back (for the horse whose back is rounding up correctly) the rider with the *suction like seat* can indeed help the horse achieve a longer moment of suspension through their back.

kinnip
Oct. 22, 2011, 04:35 PM
It may be too late for this, since we've already hit the obligatory semantics discussion, but.... I audited an MW clinic a couple of years ago. I watched MW climb onto a participant's horse. What I saw did not inspire confidence. I watched the owner and her horse warm-up first. There was nothing special about them, but nothing awful either. The rider was kind, the horse was on the bit, and neither one seemed to have an issue with moving in a forward tack. In less than a minute in the saddle, MW had the horse inverted, against the hand and completely behind the leg. She walked less than one 20m circle on it before dismounting and declaring the horse unsuitable for dressage. She went ahead and finished teaching the owner on the horse. It took a minute for the woman to get back what she had before MW, but she did it. If I'm going to hand someone a wad of my hard earned cash for training, they had better be able to ride my horse better than me. I need a good author for bathroom breaks and late nights. I need a good horseman for the arena.

mbm
Oct. 22, 2011, 06:17 PM
i think that what people are describing as "sucking the horse up with their thighs is really a rider just becoming supple enough and relaxed enough for the back to lift ..... if a rider using too much seat pressure,, etc the back will drop.... (which is why i dont like the terminology of bearing down - people generally push down into the saddle which will only get a horse to drop its back)

you can ask a horse to lift its back using your legs.... but what is the point of that? correct riding is what is needed to work the whole horse in a manner that also involves, as part of correct riding, the back swinging.

BaroquePony
Oct. 22, 2011, 06:21 PM
Posted by mbm:

i think that what people are describing as "sucking teh horse up with their thigns is really a rider just becoming supple enough and relaxed enough for the back to lift ..... if a rider using too much seat pressure,, etc the back will drop....

you can ask a horse to lift its back using your legs.... but what is the point of that? correct riding is what is needed to work the whole horse in a manner that also involves, as part of correct riding, the back swinging.

I'm not speaking for anyone else, but that is not what I have been trying to describe. What you are describing above is only about the rider learning to sit (eta: the rider is learning for their seat and spine to follow the spine of the horse, just like the hands should learn to follow the mouth) the horse. That is stage one.

mbm
Oct. 22, 2011, 06:26 PM
correct riding using the circles of the aids is part I?

really?

i get that it *feels* like you are sucking the horses back up under you - but that is not what is happening... what is happening is that the horse, from correct riding raises its back. the rider feels it as if they are sucking teh back up.

i know because i know why you are using the analogy. but it is just an anology and not really what is happening. unless you have some kind of quantum lifting going on there isn't anyway to lift something from below that is supporting you.

BaroquePony
Oct. 22, 2011, 06:47 PM
i know because i know why you are using the analogy. but it is just an anology and not really what is happening. unless you have some kind of quantum lifting going on there isn't anyway to lift something from below that is supporting you.

You are missing that the power comes from the ground when the hind leg is on the ground and the rider's hip is working in unison with that hind leg. That is where the propelling force is originating from, not in mid-air. Secondly, you have to have your butt-cheeks wrapped around the twist of your saddle.

ETA: and you have to be riding with an open pelvis in order to do this.

ETA II: the rider weighs anywhere from maybe 125 pounds to 180 or more ... if you don't think that extra weight can be used to help the upward motion and uplifting motion of the horse when applied at the right time in the right manner, then you will be wasting energy that you have worked so hard to generate. This is a martial art, or at least it is supposed to be.

mbm
Oct. 22, 2011, 07:10 PM
i am not missing any of that at all. :)

you cant lift the horses back via your thighs, altho is does feel like that.

i dont delve into the intricacies of all this anymore - i ride and feel and experiment. spending too much time in the minutiae ruins my feel :)

BaroquePony
Oct. 22, 2011, 07:15 PM
It isn't about the thighs as much as it is about the butt-cheeks, so at least get that part right even if you think it cannot be done. So, yes, you are missing the point entirely.

hrsmstr
Oct. 22, 2011, 08:55 PM
I'm coming to this discussion late. I've been reading MW's "For the good of the rider'. When I read it while in my living room, or at least skimmed it, it made no sense to me whatsoever. However, as Shakespeare said, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." Once I got aboard my horse, and broke down her analogies into eeny teeny bits (I think I'm ADD), it made sense.
Perhaps I'm a bit on the slow side, but I can only learn one thing at at a time. If I try to do everything at once, I merely make a muddle of it. But once I get it, it stays got. So that's what I did. Instead of working on bearing down AND boards AND hands and sucking up and all that, I took it one step at a time. I found her analogies spot on in some cases, and totally unusable in others. The point is, the analogies work because few of us mastered A&P (Anatomy and Physiology) in college. Even fewer of us can tell what muscles we are using at any one time. We aren't wired for that. It's unnecessary for us to think, ah, I have to relax the extensor muscles in my forearm. We just do it to reach forward.
It helps to be able to visualize one's seat bones to be pegs or flashlights or whatever. I like her analogies, but as in every thing else, riding is an individual act. I'm not far enough along in her book to be able to say that she's right about everything. I take something from everyone. Is it always right? Perhaps not, but when things work for me, it's probably due to a distillation of many inputs, not just one.
Go to the clinic with an open mind, listen, talk to people, read other instructors, and basically, play around with it until it works. You will know it when it works, by the way. It will be an "aha!" moment.
Good luck!

canyonoak
Oct. 22, 2011, 10:13 PM
BaroquePony << just because you *compare* it to other actions of the rider as if it were a bad habit or an incorrectly done use of the aids does not mean you are correct either. A *witch* maybe, but I run into a lot of misinformation put forth in the angry witch format>>

I do not understand any part of the meaning of these sentences.
Asking only because you addressed the above to me...

FWIW-- I absolutely believe Mary Wanless when she says the rider can ride in such a way that the horse focuses on very light aids and that the rider can use the seat aids to influence how the horse moves and that the result of this can be the horse swinging hind end under the body, carrying and pushing into the next stride, and lifting pelvis in such a way that the horse 'lifts' its back to meet the rider's seat. I am only putting 'lifts' in quote marks because that is a small part of what the horse is actually doing. But yes sure, I have felt it, the horse moving my seat's back edges, and it does require high muscle tone in the thighs to be able to follow the entire stride with hips and not block the horse and not fall back and down onto the horse's back...

I agree that this thread has started to lose its value and is getting bogged down, but wanted to make sure I go on record as saying what a significant effect Mary Wanless has had on my riding and teaching , and that she has certainly played an enormous part in codifying what it is good riders do--whether the good riders are able to verbalize/analyze/explain or not.

I think there are very few people in horse sport whose names will last past their own generation--but I feel quite sure that Wanless is one of those few.

Carol Ames
Oct. 22, 2011, 10:39 PM
actually, the horse lifts his back;) in response to stimulation and activation of the serratus muscles by th:cool:e riders' legs

Sam Jones
Oct. 23, 2011, 06:07 PM
Hi; Mary Wanless or RWYM videos can be found on utube, take a look for yourself. See the difference it makes to to rider being taught, there are also a some videos of Mary with Heather Blitz. Mary also has a website http://www.mary-wanless.com/.

I picked up Mary's book "For the good of the rider" some 8 years ago, but found it hard to understand. My friend a few years later asked me to teach her to ride, when I went to see her ride, I could see the whole picture did not look right, but no matter what I told her, using my BHS training it did not make much difference. My friend wanted to ride like I did and was frustrated that I could not teach her, so she asked me to come to a Mary W clinic and I found the whole afternoon amazing, I wanted to know more, so I brought the video set, I watched it over and over again and then read all of her books, I started to see the problems my friend was having, but could not correct them with confidence.

This year I went on a riding (now my children are older), then a teacher training course. I gave my friend a lesson, I was amazed at how confident I felt teaching her and I got the results she wanted. I will have to keep on reminding her, but we will get there and I have not seen someone smile so much, needless to say she is going on a riding course next year with Mary.

Mary has spent the last 30 yrs dedicating her life to finding out how to teach riding in a way that everyday riders can understand so that your everyday novices could with a lot of correct riding practise ride up to Grand Prix level. She also teaches coaches to see the faults of their client, then explain in words, feel or using visual references so that they understand what corrections to make to ride the horse in the correct way. Mary encourages the use of feel so that a prompting word can help remind your client of the feel you need.

I have never had an instructor breakdown a movement into feelings so I could follow it, I was just lucky I worked it out for myself, but I do not want to have my clients hopefully work out a movement (a lot of them will not manage it), I want to be able to break it down into smaller chunks they can understand and follow, then they can start there 10000.00 reps to perfection.

I have seen Mary ride, she would put most of us to shame, even at nearly 60 years old. If you are open to her ideas and go to learn, you will find her advise invaluable, but she may say things about your riding you will not like and may never have known where wrong with your riding, just bare with her the results will make it all worth while.

dragonharte8
Oct. 23, 2011, 06:15 PM
actually, the horse lifts his back;) in response to stimulation and activation of the serratus muscles by th:cool:e riders' legs

BRAVO - BRAVO - BRAVO

alicen
Oct. 23, 2011, 07:03 PM
Wanless and Bliss as referenced by Sam Jones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PuAQKwWOSA&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL4ABA68252B12EC92

Gloria
Oct. 23, 2011, 07:12 PM
Honestly the lack of proper physics education in the country is horrifying, which is so evident in this thread. I can clearly in my mind see how one force interacts the other (I'm even drawing picture in my head with all the arrows going this way and that way), and how a rider's seat can "literally" pick up a horse' back, or cause the horse to stop its feet (assuming the horse is a willing partner and does not resist the force). I'm not talking about feel, or analogy, or anything like that. I am talking about it as it is. The rider "feel" it because it is there. It is hard for humans to accomplish it, but entirely possible. It is all in Special Relativity, ladies.

EqTrainer
Oct. 23, 2011, 08:19 PM
Me too, and that is why I stopped posting.

Carol Ames
Oct. 23, 2011, 10:24 PM
I agree, the riders' seat must be open;) enough, the saddle wide enough to allow the back to come uup and "fill :yes::cool:the riders' seat. a pinching seat or saddle will not:no::mad: allow this!=mbm;5910946]i think that what people are describing as "sucking the horse up with their thighs is really a rider just becoming supple enough and relaxed enough for the back to lift ..... if a rider using too much seat pressure,, etc the back will drop.... (which is why i dont like the terminology of bearing down - people generally push down into the saddle which will only get a horse to drop its back)

you can ask a horse to lift its back using your legs.... but what is the point of that? correct riding is what is needed to work the whole horse in a manner that also involves, as part of correct riding, the back swinging.[/quote]

Countrywood
Oct. 24, 2011, 06:33 AM
Good post CA, Influencing a horse with seat and leg aids has been around since Xenephon. RE what MW talks about bearing down I agree one would think that would cause a horse to drop its back, or perhaps stiffen it against the pressure....but I did find MW's comments about positive tension vs relaxation of body to have merit. Thank you for video link of her teaching H Blitz...I thought it would be a video of MW riding...is there one?

I attended a Betsy Steiner clinic and she rode a horse in it that had never done dressage (there was a hunter rider in there looking to fix a problem horse) Prior to Betsy getting on the horse went around stiff with nose in air and kicking out against rider's leg aids. Within 10 minutes of riding the horse Betsy had it softening, reaching for the bit and it looked like a different horse. To me, that was the most impressive part of the clinic. She has a book and DVD on seat and off horse stretching and strengthening I plan to get in near future. Gotta keep working on it in a positive way!

carolprudm
Oct. 24, 2011, 08:16 AM
I've been busy all weekend and ths thread has certianly grown. I agree wth Carol A that to much bearing down can be a problem. I believe the excessive force I was applying with my back in my clinics with Mary sent my mostly TB mare into open revolt.

I love Betsy Steiner's book. It made an unplanned and extensive layover in Cleveland airport worthwhile

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 24, 2011, 08:25 AM
Yes, one of the things about Mary W's imagery, especially when learned from books is that it can be so easily misinterpreted! "Bearing down" has nothing to do with pushing down!

The image of "bearing down" is used when discussing engaging the core muscles with people who have no idea how to do that. I believe that Mary used it in place of talking about the engagement that you get in the stomach when you are defecating. Not a pretty picture! :lol:

When Wanless imagery is misinterpreted and overdone, the consequences can be very bad. That's why I am glad that she has taught some trainers who are able to guide people who are using her imagery and to make sure that it is being interpreted correctly. As much as MW has apparently tried, you still can't learn to ride from a book! ;)

carolprudm
Oct. 24, 2011, 08:33 AM
Yes, one of the things about Mary W's imagery, especially when learned from books is that it can be so easily misinterpreted! "Bearing down" has nothing to do with pushing down!


FWIW my experience was NOT just from a book, rather 6 clinics, quite possibly more than any other poster on this thread.

I don't throw in the towel easily

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 24, 2011, 08:39 AM
FWIW my experience was NOT just from a book, rather 6 clinics, quite possibly more than any other poster on this thread.

I don't throw in the towel easily

Then I don't know how after all of that you could possibly misinterpret basic MW terminology?? :confused:

EqTrainer
Oct. 24, 2011, 08:43 AM
Bearing down engages the core.

Sigh.

Worked great yesterday.

BaroquePony
Oct. 24, 2011, 08:49 AM
Personally I prefer the description of some of the German instructors that I have worked with.

You should be using the same muscles you would be using when you are actively in bed with your SO missionary style.

BaroquePony
Oct. 24, 2011, 08:50 AM
Practice, practice, practice ... :lol:

BaroquePony
Oct. 24, 2011, 08:52 AM
Who knew dressage could be so much fun :winkgrin:.

BaroquePony
Oct. 24, 2011, 08:56 AM
Just to clarify, that is only for learning to sit the horse properly and use your seat, that is not in reference to learning to use your butt cheeks to *suck up* the back of the horse. Two different sets of muscles for two completely different goals.

carolprudm
Oct. 24, 2011, 08:59 AM
Then I don't know how after all of that you could possibly misinterpret basic MW terminology?? :confused:
As have explained as nauseam she was telling me to peeeeellllll my butt off the saddle lke velcro.

What I was actually doing, and she didn't seem to observe, was to engage just about every muscle in my body in a misguided effort to stick my butt to the saddle. The one thing that she did observe was that I am very strong. Unfortunately I was using that strength incorrectly.

Honestly, I think she was as frustrated as my mare and I were and just wanted me outta there. For the last series of lessons she simply repeated over and over "Peeeellll your butt of the saddle"

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 24, 2011, 09:52 AM
As have explained as nauseam she was telling me to peeeeellllll my butt off the saddle lke velcro.

What I was actually doing, and she didn't seem to observe, was to engage just about every muscle in my body in a misguided effort to stick my butt to the saddle. The one thing that she did observe was that I am very strong. Unfortunately I was using that strength incorrectly.

Honestly, I think she was as frustrated as my mare and I were and just wanted me outta there. For the last series of lessons she simply repeated over and over "Peeeellll your butt of the saddle"


Funny that the person who really developed the idea to use imagery in riding instruction, should run out of imagery to use with a particular student and become frustrated like a normal trainer! :lol:

You must really have a learning disability when it comes to this sort of instruction!

It sounds to me like you must have been sitting in chair seat and she was trying to get you to vertically stack your veretbra? Otherwise, I don't know what you could have been doing that would require the instruction to peel your butt off the saddle. :no:

Countrywood
Oct. 24, 2011, 10:02 AM
Eclectic, you are as rude as your idol, MW. You attack every poster that is not behind MW 100%. I've been restrained on this post but now you are really rude. MW did not develop the idea of imagrey, Sally Swift and countless others did. Regardless, MW apprantly can't ride to save her life, there is not one video in existence that shows her riding, and the reports from (real people who posted here, and elsewhere), the few times she did get on a horse at a clinic she was ineffective and declared the horse "unfit" for dressage (as contrasted with Betsy Steiner, who got on an offbreed, non dressage trained problem horse in a clinic and made it soft like butter in 10 minutes)

I don't care that MW chooses not to be a competitive rider and put herself out there in competition. But if someone is going to hold themselves out as an expert in biomechanical riding, and they are fit and healthy and not ancient, they should be at least able to get on a horse and show that their own system works. There isn't even any pictures of her demonstrating in her books if I recall ( maybe a few pictures of her when younger in pony club)

Working with Heather Blitz is her claim to fame and good for that partnership. But that is only one rider, and HB trains her horses without MW and from what I can gather, clinics with her several times a year on a long term basis and works the rest of the time on her own, or perhaps with other coaches, as most top riders do.

In any event, the feedback from MW clinics among regular riders is mixed, with her supporters very strident and flooding this board with letters ( a number of which sound remarkably similar in story, and containing the same odd grammar and spelling mistakes, major gramatical and spelling errors throughout the letters as if written by the same person) I've refrained from commenting on this till now.

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 24, 2011, 10:27 AM
What is your problem, CW?

I'm sorry if I was rude to anyone. I certainly wasn't rude to you, so your personal attack on me is unwarranted.

You seem to be out of anything else to say, so perhaps that is why you are now resorting to ad hominem argument.

MW is not my idol. I rode with her in the mid-eighties in a clinic and did not get much out of the encounter. ( I got more out of auditing and got even more out of MW in my role as an instructor of riders beginning in dressage, since she vastly expanded my toolbox as an instructor.)

I can relate an experience at the clinic in which I rode. There was another rider who brought an Appaloosa that was blind in one eye. The horse went lovely soft and round on contact in one direction. In the other direction, on the blind side, the horse was stiff, hollow backed, inverted and above the bit. The owner said that she had just accepted the horse's problem in that direction because of her blindness. Of course, Mary could see that the horse was just not straight in both directions, but the rider was not educated enough to understand dressage "straightness" yet. Mary got on the horse, straightened it and rode it forward, and in 10 minutes, the horse was as round and soft and on the bit on the blind side as it was on the other side.

Personally, I think that there are some horses that a clinician should not get on in a clinic situation where the audience may misinterpret the horse's resistance to doing something (like accepting contact) that it may have never done in its entire life. This is particularly true with horses with conformation not suited to dressage that is going to make it really hard for them. This type of horse is probably going to resist. Re-training takes time. So in my view, Mary just sets herself up when getting on a horse like this. Most clinicians pick and choose, and do not attempt to do anything with a horse unless they are sure that it will be easy.

But MW is a risk taker. She has been ahead of the curve on figuring out how good riding works biomechanically , and how to teach that to others. Her intellectual curiousity and confidence in experimentation unquestionally can have bad results on her own PR.

OneGrayPony
Oct. 24, 2011, 10:27 AM
Here are a few others, just a 2 minutes google search found...they aren't famous that I can tell, but again, I don't ride dressage.

http://www.encorestablesinc.com/contact.html
Scroll down to Diana Muravez
http://www.steppingstonesporthorses.com/our-team/

Again, no dog in this fight...just was curious when you posted as to whether I could find anything. I did not spend hours trying to do so.

Countrywood
Oct. 24, 2011, 10:34 AM
EH, you were rude to me early in these posts but I let it slide, but it upset me more when you attacked Carol P in last post...the tone of your posts and the strident tone of the MW letters perhaps is the best clue as to who would be drawn to MW as an instructor, I am spending way too much time on this thread now.

alibi_18
Oct. 24, 2011, 10:35 AM
And now, it looks like a Parelli thread!

The books, the DvDs, the 'riding aids', the clothing, the 'fitness aid', the blog, the demos/clinics, the MW certification program, membership network, and so on.

And the idolatry...

OP, go watch for the experience but really, find yourself a trainer you will understand and everything will be fine!

draftxfan
Oct. 24, 2011, 10:49 AM
And now, it looks like a Parelli thread!

And there it is, the COTH version of Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies, the resort to a Parelli reference!

Eclectic Horseman
Oct. 24, 2011, 10:56 AM
EH, you were rude to me early in these posts but I let it slide, but it upset me more when you attacked Carol P in last post...the tone of your posts and the strident tone of the MW letters perhaps is the best clue as to who would be drawn to MW as an instructor, I am spending way too much time on this thread now.

When people make a good counterpoint in a debate with you, they are rude? I didn't know that was the definition of rude now, sorry. I am not sure how you can hear the "tone" of our posts. My keyboard probably sounds just like yours, but the noise your brain makes when your eyes read my posts must be
just awful. :lol:

Yes, you are spending way too much time on this thread now. There is something upon which we can AGREE! :lol:

Countrywood
Oct. 24, 2011, 11:01 AM
You must really have a learning disability when it comes to this sort of instruction!

To me, this is rude, you made similar barbed comments to me in my early posts on this thread but I don't have time to find them and paste.

We do agree I am spending too much time here on this thread.

carolprudm
Oct. 24, 2011, 02:04 PM
Funny that the person who really developed the idea to use imagery in riding instruction, should run out of imagery to use with a particular student and become frustrated like a normal trainer! :lol:

You must really have a learning disability when it comes to this sort of instruction!

It sounds to me like you must have been sitting in chair seat and she was trying to get you to vertically stack your veretbra? Otherwise, I don't know what you could have been doing that would require the instruction to peel your butt off the saddle. :no:

Well bless your heart, it seems that you aren't getting it either.

I wasn't sitting in a chair seat. She was trying to get me to post slower because my mare was trotting to fast.

Unfortunately as I got more and more tense and frustrated my mostly TB mare got even faster and more resistant, and given the amount of pressure I was applying to her back I can't really blame her.

Adagio
Oct. 24, 2011, 02:22 PM
jeez

draftxfan
Oct. 24, 2011, 02:23 PM
I don't care that MW chooses not to be a competitive rider and put herself out there in competition. But if someone is going to hold themselves out as an expert in biomechanical riding, and they are fit and healthy and not ancient, they should be at least able to get on a horse and show that their own system works. There isn't even any pictures of her demonstrating in her books if I recall ( maybe a few pictures of her when younger in pony club)

The cover photos for two of MW's books show her riding. I've seen her get on a number of horses over the past two decades, and while I'll allow that she may not be the most conventionally pretty rider on the planet (a criticism I know she'd happily accept), I can say that she's a very, very effective one.

Like Eclectic Horseman [waves to EH from the other side of the Great Swamp, er, Marsh], I've clinicked with her on several occasions and benefited significantly from the experience. (FWIW, I was always aboard my lovely but slightly neurotic "off-breed" -- i.e., draft-cross -- gelding, whom she liked a great deal and still asks after when she sees me.) I'm not much of a follower in any area of life, and am hardly a Wanless acolyte. For example, I wish she would focus a bit more, once the rider is finally in the right place, on the horse's way of going. In a sense that's pure selfishness on my part: by now I basically understand, and have managed decently to assimilate, her theories on rider biomechanics, and I'd love to get her take on, and insight into, the biomechanics of the horse. But she herself sees it as her role to teach riders rather than to train horses.

And one last piece of advice, Countrywood, from a professional editor / grammarian: it might be best not to throw stones from inside that glass house of yours. I've put in bold below some of the more glaring of the syntactical and spelling errors in just that one post by you:


Eclectic, you are as rude as your idol, MW. You attack every poster that is not behind MW 100%. I've been restrained on this post ["thread"?], but now you are [being] really rude. MW did not develop the idea of imagrey, Sally Swift and countless others did. Regardless, MW apprantly can't ride to save her life, there is not one video in existence that shows her riding, and [according to] reports from (real people who posted here, and elsewhere), the few times she did get on a horse at a clinic she was ineffective and declared the horse "unfit" for dressage (as contrasted with Betsy Steiner, who got on an offbreed, non-dressage-trained problem horse in a clinic and made it soft like butter in 10 minutes).

I don't care that MW chooses not to be a competitive rider and put herself out there in competition. But if someone is going to hold themselves out as an expert in biomechanical riding, and they are fit and healthy and not ancient, they should be at least able to get on a horse and show that their own system works. There isn't even any pictures of her demonstrating in her books if I recall ( maybe a few pictures of her when younger in pony club).

Working with Heather Blitz is her claim to fame, and good for that partnership. But that is only one rider, and HB trains her horses without MW and, from what I can gather, clinics with her several times a year on a long-term basis and works the rest of the time on her own, or perhaps with other coaches, as most top riders do.

In any event, the feedback from MW clinics among regular riders is mixed, with her supporters very strident and flooding this board with letters ( a number of which sound remarkably similar in story, and containing the same odd grammar and spelling mistakes, major gramatical and spelling errors throughout the letters [this whole clause redundant], as if [they were] written by the same person). I've refrained from commenting on this till now.

Adamantane
Oct. 24, 2011, 03:06 PM
And there it is, the COTH version of Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies, the resort to a Parelli reference!

:lol::lol::lol:

Sam Jones
Oct. 24, 2011, 05:25 PM
Well bless your heart, it seems that you aren't getting it either.

I wasn't sitting in a chair seat. She was trying to get me to post slower because my mare was trotting to fast.

Unfortunately as I got more and more tense and frustrated my mostly TB mare got even faster and more resistant, and given the amount of pressure I was applying to her back I can't really blame her.


Hi;
You are not meant to apply heavy pressure to the horses back when you post, when you go into the rise your weight should be supported by your thighs, light weight into your foot, the peel Mary meant was to ask you to pause as if peeling your breeches of the saddle as you rose, it is an effective way to control the speed of a horses legs.

I do not want to get into a fight with anyone, I have seen what Mary can accomplish and it breaks my heart to see so much bad feeling towards a women who has set out to help people ride. Either use her or not, but do not slam her work because you do no understand it.

Mary has worked and continues to work damn hard, she does not run around in a expensive car or earn tonnes of money, she does not live in a mansion she spends her time helping horses by helping their riders. Her courses are not expensive, clinic prices I presume are set by the people who run them not Mary herself, they certainly are not here in the windy UK. DVDs and Books, they are not expensive compared to other great names.

Mary does not claim to have discovered all the work in her books herself, like all good coaches she has learned then added her own work. :)

Sam Jones
Oct. 24, 2011, 05:50 PM
I don't care that MW chooses not to be a competitive rider and put herself out there in competition. But if someone is going to hold themselves out as an expert in biomechanical riding, and they are fit and healthy and not ancient, they should be at least able to get on a horse and show that their own system works. There isn't even any pictures of her demonstrating in her books if I recall

Working with Heather Blitz is her claim to fame and good for that partnership. But that is only one rider, and HB trains her horses without MW and from what I can gather, clinics with her several times a year on a long term basis and works the rest of the time on her own, or perhaps with other coaches, as most top riders do.

In any event, the feedback from MW clinics among regular riders is mixed, with her supporters very strident and flooding this board with letters ( a number of which sound remarkably similar in story, and containing the same odd grammar and spelling mistakes, major gramatical and spelling errors throughout the letters as if written by the same person) I've refrained from commenting on this till now.

The people flooding your forum are us British MW supporters, which may be why our grammar stinks and I believe our spelling is somewhat different to your spelling in your lovely country.

I watched Mary Wanless ride 1 month ago and the horse worked correctly, supple and off his forehand, she became one with the horse in their own bubble, pretty good for most riders even better when you know she is nearly 60 years old. Her picture is on the front of her books.

Just remember that she does this work to help people and their horses and she has done this work for a long time and most people who get to know her will agree with me, I am sorry her stile does not suit you.

:)

Adamantane
Oct. 24, 2011, 06:13 PM
...You are not meant to apply heavy pressure to the horses back when you post, when you go into the rise your weight should be supported by your thighs, light weight into your foot, the peel Mary meant was to ask you to pause as if peeling your breeches of the saddle as you rose, it is an effective way to control the speed of a horses legs.

Sam, I really appreciate your paraphrased description. For various reasons this has become more pertinent to me lately and the particular image/suggestion you chose as an illustrative example, for me occurs at just the right time and place. Synchronicity. :)

Countrywood
Oct. 24, 2011, 07:05 PM
That was a lovely and genuine letter of support, Sam! I did not know British spelling was so different! I would fit right in, I am not a strong speller myself.

carolprudm
Oct. 24, 2011, 07:22 PM
Hi;
You are not meant to apply heavy pressure to the horses back when you post, when you go into the rise your weight should be supported by your thighs, light weight into your foot, the peel Mary meant was to ask you to pause as if peeling your breeches of the saddle as you rose, it is an effective way to control the speed of a horses legs.

Yes, if that image means something to a person. It didn't mean a darn thing to to me unfortunately. Yup, I should have asked for a different analogy instead of just trying harder and harder. Now, if she had said "engage your hip flexors to slow the rise" things would have been very different. Of course I do think that she should have seen that I was not doing as she intended but honestly I think she was just wanted to be rid of me.

Oh and BTW I did ask her to ride my mare. She refused, saying that she was afraid she would hurt her. Considering I probably outweighed her by at least 50 lbs I doubt that's really likely.

ETA:I'm 62 so the age card doesn't work with me

Sam Jones
Oct. 25, 2011, 03:56 AM
Yes, if that image means something to a person. It didn't mean a darn thing to to me unfortunately. Yup, I should have asked for a different analogy instead of just trying harder and harder. Now, if she had said "engage your hip flexors to slow the rise" things would have been very different. Of course I do think that she should have seen that I was not doing as she intended but honestly I think she was just wanted to be rid of me.

Oh and BTW I did ask her to ride my mare. She refused, saying that she was afraid she would hurt her. Considering I probably outweighed her by at least 50 lbs I doubt that's really likely.

ETA:I'm 62 so the age card doesn't work with me

It is not quite what I meant, but fair enough Mary is not the riding coach for you, I just wanted to try and explain what she meant.

I hope I am still riding at 62, well done. As for Mary riding unknown horses to her, on a clinic only she can say why she does not do it. I am not using the age card, just letting people know she is not a young person as many would not know her. In fact she puts my personal fitness to shame.

Personally, if I had a number of clinics to do, to get on an unknown horse and take the chance that some thing may go wrong and I could get hurt, would not be a sensible thing to do.

Everyone's opinion of Mary is valid as their experience, to answer Karolsel's question. I just wanted people to know first hand what she is about, not what they have heard from other people. She really is out trying to help people ride their horses.

carolprudm
Oct. 25, 2011, 06:25 AM
It is not quite what I meant, but fair enough Mary is not the riding coach for you, I just wanted to try and explain what she meant.

I hope I am still riding at 62, well done. As for Mary riding unknown horses to her, on a clinic only she can say why she does not do it. I am not using the age card, just letting people know she is not a young person as many would not know her. In fact she puts my personal fitness to shame.

Personally, if I had a number of clinics to do, to get on an unknown horse and take the chance that some thing may go wrong and I could get hurt, would not be a sensible thing to do.

Everyone's opinion of Mary is valid as their experience, to answer Karolsel's question. I just wanted people to know first hand what she is about, not what they have heard from other people. She really is out trying to help people ride their horses.Reading my post I see was not clear. Marry was afraid she (Mary) would hurt her (my horse)

Sam Jones
Oct. 25, 2011, 07:33 AM
Reading my post I see was not clear. Marry was afraid she (Mary) would hurt her (my horse)

No it was clear, to me. :)

It has been great visiting your forum, you are all so passionate it is wonderful. I live on the West Coast of Wales, so not many passionate mad horsey people here. Hope to get involved again in one your threads xxxxxx. I will keep reading them. ;-)

happyhorsegirl
Oct. 25, 2011, 07:37 AM
I have taken 2 MW clinics and soon will attend a third.

For me it was lifechanging.

Difficult, frustrating, disheartening at times...yes. I had to change just about everything about my riding.

Before I rode with her, I knew there was something wrong with my seat. I looked pretty on a horse and had the appearance of sitting right (and had people tell me I had a 'nice seat'), but it was not functional.

I now have a seat!

I went into the clinics willing to try anything...the weird, the uncomfortable, the ugly. And I got along with her fantastically.

OneGrayPony
Oct. 25, 2011, 09:14 AM
I did not know British spelling was so different! I would fit right in, I am not a strong speller myself.

It's decidedly different. I went to high school in the UK for several years and coming back to the US to finish SUCKED because I had to unlearn and relearn it one way (when I first got the UK) then unlearn and relearn it back the other way (when I came back to the US).

I'm still confused and sometimes have a British "accent" when I write. I have since given up.

Jennifer Derksen
Nov. 12, 2011, 09:09 AM
Every penny spent watching Mary's work is worth a hundred fold of the standard riding instructor. If it weren't for finding her work, I would have quite riding. Tired of hearing "sit still", "heels down" - no one could tell me how to "sit still" and God knows I wanted to!! Thankfully I stumbled upon her book "Ride with your Mind" and it changed my life - literally. I have just returned from a riding clinic with her in Toronto and can honestly say that three days of riding with Mary is like getting a whole years worth of lessons with someone who doesn't understand the biomechanics of riding. I worked with Mary as a working student for 2 months in England at her farm and have taken too many clinics with her here in Canada to mention. I have NEVER heard her treat anyone with disrespect. If you want to pay someone to tell you that you look lovely on your horse then she's not the right instructor for you. I've seen her take Grand Prix riders back to the walk to get them using their body correctly and the resulting change in both rider and horse is nothing short of amazing. Just look at Heather Blitz, Mary's student who just won the Pan Am Silver. Give it a try. You won't be disappointed. Do take a notebook and video camera.

dragonharte8
Nov. 12, 2011, 12:31 PM
But she herself sees it as her role to teach riders rather than to train horses.

If an individual is going to educate a rider then the education should be comprised of both the biomechanics of the rider and the biomechanics of the horse.
An individual should be able to explain to the rider why certain body movements or lack of body movements is affecting the horse.
The individual should be able to 'instantly' ask the rider if they felt the change in the horse when a positive change was affected by the rider, thus giving the rider the instance the change occured so that the rider can reflect upon it.

ThreeFigs
Nov. 13, 2011, 05:02 PM
I currently work with one instructor and at least two clinicians who have an excellent grasp of biomechanics -- horse and human.

All three are more respectful of their students than exemplified by my experience with Ms. Wanless. I've probably exasperated my teachers from time to time ALMOST to the point of verbal abuse, but none of them ever descended to that point.

She was the first and only clinician to go out of her way to disparage the horse I rode in on!

Yes, she has much to offer and I still use much of her imagery in my own teaching -- but I will never ride in front of her again.

BaroquePony
Nov. 13, 2011, 05:40 PM
to disparage the horse I rode in on!

Well. I've had people disparage the horse I rode in on, but it usually had nothing to do with horses :lol:.

ThreeFigs
Nov. 13, 2011, 05:51 PM
:lol:

Stacie
Nov. 14, 2011, 02:13 AM
There is a clinic coming up next weekend and I'd like to audit and wonder if it's worth going more than one day? The few clinics that I've audited with other clinicians seemed to have had the most impact the first day with subsequent days not really having anything nee in them

Bogey2
Nov. 14, 2011, 06:23 AM
I would go all three days if you can, even just to stay through the mid-day part where she gathers the auditors together and does the unmounted work.

carolprudm
Nov. 14, 2011, 08:42 AM
I currently work with one instructor and at least two clinicians who have an excellent grasp of biomechanics -- horse and human.

All three are more respectful of their students than exemplified by my experience with Ms. Wanless. I've probably exasperated my teachers from time to time ALMOST to the point of verbal abuse, but none of them ever descended to that point.

She was the first and only clinician to go out of her way to disparage the horse I rode in on!

Yes, she has much to offer and I still use much of her imagery in my own teaching -- but I will never ride in front of her again.
That was my experience also. Before I rode with her I found her books invaluable and still refer to them.

However

The digs: "Everybody do ....except Carol. She's just a kindergarden rider" to "Your horse is compromised" (despite the fact that I put her on bute then went home and had my regular vet, plus a chiro who happened to be mentioned in one of her books and a saddle fitter check her and pronounce her fine) to the final "If you can't even do this" which was spoken to me privatly.

I could have dealt with that if she had actually helped me. However she did not realize that
1) my mare was rushng because I was tense
and 2) I was totally misinterpreting her instruction and actually making the problem worse. And worse.

Last summer I spent less than HALF (more like 1/3)of the money I spent with MW and boarded my new RIDSH mare at a local trainer's barn for 6 weeks or so. She helped me far more than MW ever did. And rather than saying "Well your mare is compromised" she was heard to say "Well she IS 1/4 Trakhener" and "She's a good horse for you"

Guess where I'll be going back

tidy rabbit
Nov. 14, 2011, 12:29 PM
I had the opportunity to ride with her this past Friday - Sunday. I have never done a dressage clinic before and found it to be quite helpful.

There are a couple short videos of me and my horse from yesterday on my youtube channel... http://www.youtube.com/tidyrabbit

I thought she did a great job paying close attention to the amount of time she spent between each horse and rider. I found her to be very patient and understanding of my, how shall I say, inexperience with the dressage clinic format.

The only thing I found really difficult, and I always find this difficult, is to have to talk while riding. I just.can't.do.it. I concentrate so hard on my task that I can't get the words out of my mouth. LOL.

The workshop time was interesting and I think that ties a lot of it together.

Bogey2
Nov. 14, 2011, 08:13 PM
I would like to point out that Karl Mikolka used to insult riders/horses all of the time... If you wanted to learn from him you just had to suck it up!
Really, stiff upper lip and all that:lol:

carolprudm
Nov. 15, 2011, 08:01 AM
I would like to point out that Karl Mikolka used to insult riders/horses all of the time... If you wanted to learn from him you just had to suck it up!
Really, stiff upper lip and all that:lol:

LOL, I don't think MW is in the same league as KM or GM who is probably pretty handy with the derogatory comments as well.

However I did do 6 3 day clinics with MW, gratuitous insults and all before I decided that it just wasn't worth it.

If an instructor told you to go home and figure it out, and you did, how inclined would you be to go back to that instructor? One who couldn't even remember your horse's name? Who said repeatedly "Everybody do this but Carol?"

Keep in mind that the clinics were several hours away so it was also a matter of having my farm covered while I was gone, motel for me and board for my horse. If I added it all up, well over $3K. I don't know about anyone else but for me that's a significant commitment of my time and money. It wasn't just a $35 to audit day trip.

Frankly, I think she was just glad to be rid of me.

BaroquePony
Nov. 15, 2011, 09:30 AM
Karl Mikolka fell off the wagon a couple of times :lol: which may have had some effect on his personality :yes:.

Not that that is an excuse or anything :D.

paulaedwina
Nov. 15, 2011, 09:45 AM
Carol,

I'm sorry for your horrible experience. I am sure it took you some time to recover; financially, and emotionally.

Paula

TSWJB
Nov. 15, 2011, 01:03 PM
I just dropped $200 to audit a Robert Dover clinic. :eek: Yes, it was pricey. But it was totally worth it. .
wow what makes a trainer worth 200 bucks to just watch. people complain all the time in articles how we cant compete with the europeans. this is why our sport is going downhill. because its just too pricey to get an education!
i know i will be flamed but i just cant get over the prices people charge!

Bogey2
Nov. 15, 2011, 07:16 PM
Karl Mikolka fell off the wagon a couple of times which may have had some effect on his personality

this was when he was not anywhere near the wagon:lol:

hrsmstr
Nov. 24, 2011, 07:16 PM
I don't believe I could afford a Mary Wanless clinic. I attended Heather Blitz's clinic near Houston, and even though all I did was audit, I came back with a huge amount of knowledge.

I can tell you, though, that I've been working my way, slowly, through MW's book "For the Good of the Rider". I tried reading her "The Natural Rider" and it made no sense to me whatsoever, so I was happy to find "Good" DID make sense.
I've been applying what I've learned in her book to my riding and it paid off, big time, last week.
I've been back into horses for a year this December. I try to ride bareback as much as possible, because I live in Washington, the Car Wash state, and I don't like my Albion saddle getting wet!
Last week I was riding in a covered arena, bareback. The rain was coming down hard and a huge gust of wind from the unwalled side of the arena suddenly blew right under my horse's tail. (to be honest, he is always looking for a reason to spook at least once a day). My horse spooked and bucked at the same time. For a split second, while he had his hind end off the ground, I levitated off his back and thought, "well, I'm coming off."
But I didn't. Becuase I'd been working so hard on my seat for a year, applying MW's teachings, I stayed on that horse and managed to bring him back to sensibility. The next wind gust I was ready for him and when he tried to buck again, I put a stop to that RIGHT NOW.
It wasn't until later that I thought, wow, I stayed on!

Maybe a clinic isn't for you. Maybe you're like me, who prefers working alone because I can only do one thing at a time. IT doesn't hurt to audit, though, and MW's books...when written as well as "For the Good of the Rider" will teach you.
Good luck!