View Full Version : Has anyone ridden with Thomas Ritter??

horse chick
Nov. 16, 2000, 01:55 PM
There is a clinic in the spring with Thomas Ritter. Anyone have any feedback? He sounds very classical.

If anyone else is interested,
contact dianabeuchert@erols.com for more info

[Note: This message has been edited by Melinda]

horse chick
Nov. 16, 2000, 01:55 PM
There is a clinic in the spring with Thomas Ritter. Anyone have any feedback? He sounds very classical.

If anyone else is interested,
contact dianabeuchert@erols.com for more info

[Note: This message has been edited by Melinda]

Nov. 16, 2000, 05:04 PM
He is very classical. I signed up for the clinic today. Diana said it was full already. Dr. Ritter also hosts a Classical Dressage Mailing List and has a website. http://www.classicaldressage.com

Nov. 17, 2000, 01:36 PM
Advertising isn't allowed on these sites. You can pose a question, but don't try to hide a blantant bit of advertising behind that guise. It insults the intelligence of those who share information out here. We aren't naive.

[This message has been edited by Velvet (edited 11-17-2000).]

Nov. 17, 2000, 03:01 PM
It wasn't my intention to advertise but merely to say the clinic was full, and in fact I was told it was full before the time stamp on horse chick's message. Sorry to have insulted your intelligence.

Nov. 18, 2000, 02:54 PM
I think it is horse chick, not you, that is being accused of advertising.

horse chick
Nov. 19, 2000, 09:49 PM
Chill out Velvet!

I want to audit this clinic. I'm not advertising as I am in no way connected to this clinic(I too read Erin's post about advertising). Just wanted some feedback from those who rode with Thomas Ritter.

It's pricey to audit & will be a 4 hour drive to get there. It would be a waste of time & money if he wasn't worth it.

sorry you were slapped on the wrist for my so-called "blatant advertising"! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif So you will be riding in the clinic? I might get to see you ride. It's great to have more classical trainers available! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Nov. 21, 2000, 10:11 AM
horse chick, yes I'll be riding on Sunday. I hope to be able to audit a bit on Saturday as well but don't know how the timing will work out. The clinic is only 20 miles from me. Feel free to drop me an e-mail.

Nov. 21, 2000, 11:52 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by horse chick:
[B]There is a clinic in the spring with Thomas Ritter. Anyone have any feedback? He sounds very classical.

Remember -- No advertising! You may email the details to individuals asking for more info.


Nov. 30, 2000, 03:14 PM
I've heard nothing but good things concerning the afore mentioned clinician /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif. Am considering auditing myself.

Dec. 1, 2000, 03:04 PM
sorry, i don't care for this clinician, though i know most people like him.

Dec. 1, 2000, 03:21 PM
slc, can you say what you didn't like? You know I'm not asking you to trainer-bash; I'd just like your perspective.

Dec. 4, 2000, 05:49 PM
on another bb we have a convention that only positive comments are posted on the bb and that seems to work out well. negative comments are kept to private email.

Dec. 5, 2000, 10:41 AM
Thanks so very much for pointing that out, slc.
1. We aren't on That Other Board, are we?
2. I didn't ask for negative comments, but merely your perspective. Does your response mean you have no input on T. Ritter except for bashing?
3. You have my e-mail address, and could have said something privately, instead of coming across as though you were imparting some special wisdom.

Dec. 5, 2000, 11:56 AM
Oh please! Have pity on your poor, exhausted moderator, who's bosses have suddenly realized that it is the last month of the year and they had better get everything shipped that they possibly can and on the books.

Let's not get into any disagreements about TOB. 'Tis the season of good cheer!

Thanks /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Dec. 5, 2000, 12:14 PM
Rescuemom--how in the world did you come to the conclusion that I was yelling at you? Guess you read something other than what I had posted.

It was horse chick that I was telling off, and as you can see by the moderators comments, they felt the same way.

Horse Chick, if you'd only posted your question and not the link, I wouldn't have gotten my undies in such a tight wad. I'm just tired of everyone come right up to the edge and pushing one toe over when it comes to breaking rules. It always seems to be that people think that axiom about it being easier to "beg for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission" is the way to live in this sad, tired world. So, I jump up and scream "foul" when I see it. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

[This message has been edited by Velvet (edited 12-05-2000).]

Dec. 6, 2000, 08:25 AM
rescuemom, i don't think i'll respond to you by private email. you sound so angry and nothing has even been said. i think you're jumping to conclusions and trying to pick a fight. i'll bow out.

Baltic Sky
Dec. 6, 2000, 11:27 PM
I would think that most people could appreciate Thomas Ritter's website about classical dressage. It is a fabulous website with an amazing amount of information. I know if I hadn't already bookmarked the site, I would have been greatful for someone mentioning it. Isn't that what this bb is also about, providing information? Gee, I thought it was.....

Dec. 7, 2000, 09:32 AM
Guess it's all probably a bit of Merry "Flaming" Christmas....

Off the topic, can someone tell me why we allow the retail world to continue dictating how and when we celebrate? I think we should all get together with our own families and celebrate on a different day, at a different time of year. Maybe we all wouldn't be so cranky. I mean, think about it. It's the darkest time of year and also usually the most dreary with all the weird weather. Why don't we celebrate it in the summer when we are all feeling great? Or in the spring when everything feels new? No one ever said that 12/25 is the real date...actually, they estimate it as being closer to July!


Dec. 7, 2000, 09:53 AM
Maybe we just need some kind of celebration during this dark and dreary time of the year, to take our minds off of how miserable it is outside.

Velvet, I certainly agree with you about the commercialization of Christmas. This year, it kind of upset me that even the Salvation Army was out with their kettles shortly after Halloween. That is rushing it way too much.

I believe, also, that I read that many of the Christian holidays are set around pagan celebrations in the same time period. The assimilation of certain of the pagan traditions into the Christian religion supposedly made it more palatable for people who had converted. I think that there was a major festival called "Saturnalia" (don't count on that spelling) which took place at this period. Wassail, yule logs, etc., all were taken from that festival.

Dec. 7, 2000, 10:07 AM

Your right, I've heard that too, along with Christmas trees having been part of the worship of nature.

I don't think it's only Christians that are probably sick of this time of year. I know that a friend who celebrates Kwanza (sp?) is also annoyed and so is a Jewish friend of mine who celebrates Hannuka. Kind of sad that it's being ruined and the reasons are ALL forgotten. I like how some European country's celebrate. Christmas is a nice quiet holiday, but New Years is when they really get into the major celebration. Seems we're on a trend that is reversing that and maybe we should go back to it. Then we can beat the retailers at their own game and buy when everything is one clearance after Christmas! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif (Now that would make me happy.)

Dec. 7, 2000, 12:50 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gwynne:
But I do not think this board is the proper place to discuss religion, faith, etc. There are places online to discuss these issues.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Okay, I'm going to ask why not? I mean, if people are crabby and it's due to the stress of holidays, that are religiously based, and we are discussing that topic, why is this the wrong place? Would it be wrong if I was discussing showing with a 7th Day Adventist and they wanted to talk about having shows start on Sundays so they didn't miss riding? Or how about not riding on holy days...whatever those might be?

I'm not flaming out on you, Gwynne, I'm just asking why some of it can't be discussed out here a bit and why it has to move to a special board. We horseback riders aren't known as the most "PC" people in the world anyway (thank goodness). As long as we aren't slamming someone or putting them down (I have friends who like to call themselves "tree huggers" and "witches" and I don't put them down) why can't we talk about these things in the context we already were?

Guess I don't see a problem with it...and I don't think the CoH does unless we do get inflammatory, derogatory or only discuss those issues and not in an relative way to a string.


Dec. 7, 2000, 01:30 PM
soooo.....let's relate it to horses.

for example, i've found my horse is VERY bothered by the commercialization of christmas.

he gets totally stressed out at the mall, and his feet slip on the tile floors there. he can't manage all the shopping bags in his teeth, he always has trouble with his visa card (GALLOPING inflation, i suppose) and runs out of money (he gets a small allowance after all) before he gets gifts for everyone he loves.

he loves everyone.

Dec. 7, 2000, 09:01 PM
You know slc, my horse feels the same way. He especially hates the way the stores have the aisles so jam packed with "stuff" that he can't squeeze himself through (one of the problems of being an "old-style warmblood maybe).

gwynne - I am very sorry if my use of the word "pagan" offended you. Please forgive me, I honestly didn't realize that it had a connotation that could bother some people.

However, thought we are a dressage forum, those of us who post here are many faceted people, and occasionally are going to discuss issues that relate only peripherally to the horse world. As long as we do it nicely,and not all the time, I don't really see a problem.

[This message has been edited by LOUISE (edited 12-07-2000).]

Dec. 7, 2000, 11:29 PM
Notice I used the word "string" and not "topic"--two distinctly different things after a large group of postings. (Such as this one.)

Whatever anyone does or does not celebrate is just fine. My horse would just like to know why he and all his bretheren are only included in the gifts, but never invited into the house to join in the "holiday cheer." Also, he is usually fearful of the fact that I might not have enough money to buy him everything on his wish list (his own stall that is at least the size of a small arena, the unlimited supply of hay and grain, being groomed when HE asks and the ability to roam wherever he chooses). /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Dec. 8, 2000, 09:36 AM
one of the big reasons pre-christian customs are found in christian traditions is that ALL groups represent influences and bits and pieces from the culture they're surrounded by; this is natural.

another reason is that christianity was actually a very, very hard sell out in the countryside in many areas of the world, even 2-300 yrs. after christ's death. people were quite content with what they believed and saw little reason to change.

what happened was many of the well-educated affluent folks who found christianity so appealed to their intellectual bent, found it helped to encourage rural folks and more disenfranchised and less educated peoples to adopt christianity if they were shown a great deal of tolerance and allowed to continue with some of their former traditions, as long as these were things that didn't represent a conflict with christian ideals they were tolerated for quite some time; frankly i'd say this is the case with most people, educated or not; they're more comfortable with some of the familiar items remaining, such as the christmas tree and older celebrations and holidays. this made it possible for a great many more people to embrace christianity and become comfortable with it.

one thing i've found in my rather embarrassingly long and extremely varied life is that people in america have an extremely wide variety of religious beliefs. our country was founded on the basis of supplying religious freedom for a specific group of christians, but has come to stand over the years for a much broader definition of religious freedom.

now a huge variety of different christian beliefs exist here, as well as representatives of most of the world's major and minor religions.

paganism, as it is called, is usually a broad, ill defined term. correctly speaking it refers to the religions common in the western world (meaning europe, usually) at the time of christian development and spread. the ikons of those religions came to have very negative connotations and represent evil and witchcraft, but originally this was nothing more than a different religion.

christians often seem to feel any other religion must be evil.

however, it seems to me after studying a great deal of religious history that nearly all religions of the world, oddly enough, change and evolve together. as people become more connected and more accessible to each other by travel and technology, it seems as if the world's religions might all merge.

[This message has been edited by slc (edited 12-08-2000).]

Dec. 8, 2000, 04:48 PM

Some one wants to talk about a clinician, someone is actually riding in the clinic, they get shot out of the water and the conversation turns to religion and shopping.

...whatever works for you...

Dec. 8, 2000, 04:50 PM

I don't think that Christians view other religions as "evil." I think that is a generalization for Christians that is as bad the the ones you say are used for people who are now typified as "pagans."

From my understanding there are many faiths that feel they are the one true way to salvation, enlightenment, etc. Christians are just one of these groups. None of these beliefs necessarily feel the people who follow a the beat of a different drummer are "evil," on the contrary it is more often that they wish they could show the others "the way." Thus, the term Christians used to used for themselves...they used to call their faith "The Way." All of these faiths have one thing in common, they all believe their way is the one way to happiness (heaven, etc.) because this is what the individuals have discovered through their own experiences and faith.

The only reason some early followers were so destructive was by the commands of humans who were politically motivated. That's what it usually comes down to...politics. BTW, should we switch gears and blame the negative attitudes on a lack of a new president? /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

[This message has been edited by Velvet (edited 12-08-2000).]

Dec. 8, 2000, 05:08 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DebS:

Some one wants to talk about a clinician, someone is actually riding in the clinic, they get shot out of the water and the conversation turns to religion and shopping.

...whatever works for you...


You can always change it to whatever you want, we aren't that biased out here...

Don't understand the angry face...unless it is tied to some of the issues we've been discussing in this string. Having holiday anger/blues? /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Dec. 9, 2000, 09:07 PM
Perhaps this icon is more like it.

Could of been an interesting discussion about a clinician...could of been even more interesting to find out why someone did not like that clinician. If this forum is about sharing information, I think honest feed back should be most welcome even if it's negative.

If one wants to promote the idea of not saying anything if you haven't got something good to say...then do just that. Not hint that there's something wrong - and something so bad that it can't be posted! (I realize one may not have liked the way he wore his hat, but there's an implication that there's more)

Someone may not like a clinician's style, humor, training techniques etc. etc. And I think all of this can be said in a non-flaming, non-libelous way.

...and to let another bb's rules dictate what's said, or not said, on this board is ridiculous.

P.S. I think the moderators should be allowed to do their job. Even with only 6 posts, Melinda seems to have the tact necessary to enforce the rules without being rude.

Dec. 9, 2000, 09:12 PM
as to shifting topics within a thread - been there done that, just a shame a potentially interesting horse-related thread didn't pan out.

Dec. 11, 2000, 09:57 AM
what i had to say was very negative, and has nothing to do with humor, style or approach, and i won't post it here.

no one has emailed me or shown any interest in the comment, so i must conclude that no one is interested, and the religion posts are just meanders.

horse chick
Dec. 16, 2000, 08:10 AM
The original question was posted so I could get some feedback about Thomas Ritter. Did I really get any useful information? NO. Instead, I have to sift through posts about how the real meaning of Christmas has been lost. I enjoy the holidays but this isn't the place to discuss them.

Perhaps this BB needs a forum for "chatty posts" so the rest of us don't have to read posts that have nothing to do with horses & training. After all this is a Dressage forum & one expects to read

Dec. 16, 2000, 06:18 PM
Get over it, horsechick. Your question was already answered and I bet the clinic is even over by now! We've moved on...so what? Conversations have a tendancy to take on a life of their own and go in new and interesting directions. Why can't you deal with it? Your posting out here yelling at us is just as bad. Do all of your conversations stay on subject once the topic has been exhausted? I think this one was doomed from the beginning since it was more advertising than a question...

Dec. 18, 2000, 08:00 AM
Wow, Gwynne, and I thought I was being a bit inflammatory! Gee, kettle, this is the pot...you're black...

Dec. 18, 2000, 09:07 AM
Guess you and I read these lines a bit differently:

"Am disappointed with the juvenile manipulative non-effective argumentation some posters have displayed in their replies to this discussion. Gives substance to the theory that those who do not know the answer/have any useful info to share will be quick to find fault and attack on the most base level."

Seems like an attack on some of the people involved in the conversation out here...and a bit high handed. Sitting on a soap box and stating your opinion is fine, but casting aspersions on others from high atop your self proclaimed throne of "wisdom" is a bit insulting, nay, inflammatory, to say the least.

Not wanting to pick a fight, but just pointing out how others read your intent.

Dec. 18, 2000, 09:55 AM
The clinic isn't until April. Given the bizarre twists and turns this thread has taken I wouldn't dream of posting a report.

Gwynne, I'm old and still passionate but my momma taught me about manners and assumptions. Can I pull up a rocking chair and join you in a cup of tea? /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Dec. 18, 2000, 10:37 AM
Okay, I'll bite on this bait again. Unless you guys are 60 years old (or more) you aren't exactly "old." And, I don't think passion has anything to do with age. I think it has to do with how you live your life.

You only go around once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

If doing it right for you means being passionate in everything you do, do it. If it means sitting back and watching the world go by, do it.

I guess I see that everyone out here has been pretty passionate in their replies, including you. It's the spice of life and a difference of opinions and argumentative statements are all part of the whole. I think it should all be taken in and reviewed. We all impact each other and leave an imprint of our feelings or our behaviors on another human being, whether it's fact-to-face or in discussions such as these. A little "jerking of the chain" is not necessarily a bad thing, nor is stating your personal opinion--no matter what board you chose.

Okay, enough said. Maybe I'm old enough to know better. Then again, maybe I'm growing older, but I chose not to grow up because I would consider that boring. The wisdom expressed here from many years on the planet, and many years working in dressage with DQs and down to earth riders is that they all need to sometimes lighten up...and if taking the conversation to an extreme (sometimes extremely uncomfortable place for others) appears as if it needs to be done to help people "get over themselves" a bit, I'll always bite.

Heck, a good argument is a living thing and definitely worth experiencing when everyone involved is articulate and doesn't bring it down to the level of simplistic insults and name calling (which I don't think any of us have done out here).

Yes, I am passionate. Thank you for noticing. And, to add insult to those who are already injured by the course this string has taken, part of it is probably driven by life and the impending season that I dread.

Don't let your own assumptions take precedence over facts, either. I don't think you see the entire picture, I think you are passionate in your defense of what you believe is right, correct, and true...and what you THINK you see behind these posts.

Dec. 18, 2000, 06:57 PM
I'm still waiting to find out more about Thomas Ritter. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif Is it worth traveling south from Connecticut to audit? Why don't you like him, slc? You can be diplomatic about it.

I won't argue religion. I figure the goddess wouldn't have made so many paths if she didn't want everyone to find their way. I bow to the divine within all of you.

Boogey on dudes

Dec. 19, 2000, 03:52 PM
I don't normally come on the Dressage threads. I have a Dressage friend who is going to audit some of his classes to see if she will put her horse in training with him.

I can let you know what she thought when I talk to her soon.

I don't understand why all the roadblocks for such a simple question.
You surely would have gotten more resonable responses over on the "Wild" H/J board if you had asked about someone who was a H/J trainer.

Don't you discuss clinics on the Dressage board? /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Dec. 20, 2000, 10:10 AM
After reading various responses on this post, I am once again reminded of why I rarely venture over here..... /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Horse chick, you might want to post your question on the h/j forum. The dressage riders that frequent that forum might actually give you some useful information about Thomas Ritter, rather than just copping a major attitude!

[This message was edited by dublin on Dec. 20, 2000 at 01:16 PM.]

[This message was edited by dublin on Dec. 20, 2000 at 01:17 PM.]

Dec. 20, 2000, 11:43 AM
I think that this topic has been picked at to death!! For pity's sake, move on. If you want to discuss something, then post a topic and see what develops. You all know the rules, it is really not that tough to stay within them.

Let me see if I can dig them up again, just to refresh everybody's minds.

Dec. 20, 2000, 12:37 PM
Gwynne and Rescuemom: I'm with you... this BB doesn't get hardly any action, and I liked your topic. When and where is the clinic? I might also come... to anyone else: I would LOVE to know what you have to say about T. Ritter (good or bad). Don't let a couple of sour grapes spoil the fun... as far as BB "rules," I'm in no position to make them, but let me make a suggestion... If you don't like the topic, don't answer! Tell us your likes AND dislikes, feel free to express your opinion, But keep the petty put-downs to yourself... Then we'll have an active BB like the H/J people who have 2000 and some messages. Just my opinion.

Dec. 20, 2000, 01:14 PM
Egads! Veiled insults, and not so veiled insults...and all because a few comments were picked up and restrung so they moved from the original post. Sheesh!

Dec. 20, 2000, 01:31 PM
If anyone has any personal experience riding with,or has had their horse in training at Dr. T. Ritter's farm my personal e-mail address is as follows. I would appreciate hearing firsthand accounts (be they positive or negative) as I am considering attending a clinic also.

Thank you and a very merry yule!

Dec. 20, 2000, 01:53 PM
Please email me. And, because you are new, you may not realize that we are having a few minor problems with the new bb format and that the title under my name should read "MODERATOR"

Jan. 22, 2001, 08:09 PM
... look at his website -- ALL horses have hocks NOT UNDER their body -- but lagging out behind. Why? Bad moment, or bad judgement in posting the photos (*consistenly bad judgement?*)....

I watched this clinician and left nearly in TEARS at what I saw done to the horses. Plus, look at the resume on the website above -- "cliniced with Charles DeKunffy" and little more... In My Humble Opinion, that just shows anyone can hang out their shingle as a "classical" trainer these days. Sorry, I audited and simply can't share the enthusiasm. I just LOVE horses -- and people -- too much.

Jan. 23, 2001, 07:29 AM
i think that's the german for what you describe.

Jan. 23, 2001, 07:41 AM

Are you saying that you think he's wonderful, and yet someone who looks like him is doing the teaching?

Just wondering. I thought a doppelganger was a double of someone. Like having an unrelated twin running around in the world.

Did I miss something?

Jan. 23, 2001, 10:08 AM
i missed my german lessons, LOL. i'm searching for a german word that covers what mona described, but i can't think of what it is. that's the word for a ghostly double.

without accusing mr ritter of training his horses incorrectly on this forum, which is not what this forum is for, i will make some general comments on correct training of dressage horses that others might consider when evaluating trainers and judging their success. the following discussion will be very general, and many important points won't be covered due to lack of space and my time. but it is a starting point from which to take off and learn.

the training of the dressage horse is aimed at producing a horse that fulfills the basic requirements of dressage, while maintaining a relaxed, rounded outline in a position of the head and neck that is in keeping with his conformation and level of training. there is much misunderstanding about what the basics are, and that causes many people great difficulty - for example, dressage isn't about riding with the reins hanging down - some contact is needed, and this is refined and developed over time. nor is it about performing movements quickly without a long underpinning of traditional exercises that slowly develop the muscles and mentality of the horse, thereby avoiding physical and mental stress to the animal. nor is it about performing movements in whatever fashion, there is a very detailed, highly formalized definition for how each movement must be done. there is much misunderstanding about this, for example, understanding the difference between engagement and tracking up, or knowing that engagement includes bringing the hind legs in toward the midline of the body, not encouraging a wider stance behind or allowing one leg to land farther outside the body.

signs of relaxation, and this is muscle relaxation, not mental relaxation (which is related but not judgeable strictly by appearance), signs are the mouth closed, the tail relatively still, the action not stilted, sewing machine like or cramped, and the hind legs swinging forward to the correct distance as stipulated by the definition of the exercise being done (more isn't always better - in actual collected movements, less forward swing of the hind leg is defined). signs that are much more difficult to judge are related to the horse allowing the aids of the rider to pass unencumbered through the body and influence the body, all parts of the body, often referred to in english as ''throughness''. look for tension and lack of letting go in specific muscles, and the inability to make contact with the bit without opening the mouth to show the aids cannot go through the body.

in particular, look at how the hind legs are lifted, if they are twisted, bent only at the hocks (at least it looks this way as the hind legs are out behind the body - it gives the appearance of the hocks being tied together, and only them flexing), or not brought forward. one of the most telling tests is the amount of forward swing you want to see the hind legs make in the medium and extended trot - if the horse is incorrectly trained, he may show extravagant action in the front legs, but the hind legs may not track into the prints of the forelegs at these movements.

you want to see the hind legs doing the same thing as the front legs in dressage. this is fundamental and hard for people to learn to detect. it doesn't mean the fore and hind legs are always perfectly parallel, as some horses, when perfectly ridden, can show a beautiful gesture with the foreleg. the key is can you tell when this is due to talent, and when it is due to the ''all the generals out in front and no soldiers bringing up the rear''. these two are hard to tell apart and can deceive the best of horsemen and horsewomen - the best clue is again to take the eye off the front of the horse and look at the back end! it is also hard to tell ''dynamic advanced placement'', when a hind foot strikes the ground in trot infinitesimally before the foreleg - something only detected in videos. it is very, very easy to mistake this for a hind leg that simply isn't coming through and is dropping to the ground early with no flexion or energy.

again, the only remedy to developing the eye for a good dressage training is time, thought and a great deal of effort and help in person from a person with a much better eye who can pass this along to you.

Jan. 23, 2001, 11:04 AM
"dynamic advanced placement"

I think SLC is referring to DAP, diagonal advance placement. Anyway, I can't remember the German words either, but one refers to the horse that is a back mover (good) and the other that refers to a leg mover (not good).

Jan. 23, 2001, 05:48 PM
You are like, WAY so politically correct! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif You make a good description. And, you are right on about diagonal legs, etc. Many horses in stallion promotional photos have the extravagant legs up high in front, and the rear is lagging by barely coming off the ground. That is WRONG because it shows front legs moving at a much faster pace than hind legs. Not good and stressful on the horse's body, to boot. Good observation.

Jan. 24, 2001, 07:36 AM
well, at least i can tell someone actually read that huge long thing, LOL!

now on the difference in movement between front and hind legs, just because you see a foreleg making more than the hind leg or not parallel the hind cannon isn't in and of itself a problem. it depends on exactly what is going on. again, look at the hind leg first to see if its motion is correct. then look at the front leg.

if the action of the hind leg is faulty, it is faulty. you don't need to compare to the front leg first - look at the back first.

usually what happens is you see a fancy lifted motion of the foreleg, and a lagging, dragging hind leg that is nowhere near it.

if you see a correct hindleg moving up with a big ''V'' between it and the other hind leg and that V doesn't close at the hocks but runs all the way up to the horse's body, you have a correct working hind leg - it also has to be straight, and not spread apart. this is harder to tell from a side photo but you can learn to see this - look at the shadow beneath the horse that might show hind feet widely separated, and look for a ''c0cked'' foot or angled cannon on the hind leg that shows the hind leg is twisting rather than reaching forward.

now usually when you see the hind cannon is angled, the hoof will look ''snatched'' or sharply bent - it shouldn't, it should hang down loosely when it is in the air. usually if you see the hind leg is c0cked, angled or snatched, you can look right up and see that the back is dropped as well, and the neck is not through.

you'll see what looks like the hind legs swinging and rocking at the hip (croup) as the horse struggles with his balance.

balance of this horse is much like you carrying a box of ferrets on your shoulders. you can start to fall over, just catch yourself, lean way back to compensate, just catch yourself, fall forward, manage to rescue yourself, and somehow stay on your feet. but what is wanted in the dressage horse is not this ''saving himself'' sort of struggle, but a smooth, overall balanced action that doesn't lose and regain balance, but keeps it all the time.

if a horse is a little ''on idle'' behind in a picture, i don't mind much if it is basically correct. first, photographers often take the worst moments of the strides, and there is a time before the hind leg comes through that can give a bad impression.

i just don't want to see it at every stride all the time. if i DO see it, i might conclude the rider is lazy, or the horse is (i might see a lazy looking hind end on a stallion and conclude his offspring will be JUST PERFECT for an old amateur like myself, to tell the truth), or it is not correctly trained.

now looking at the foreleg and shoulder. this is where the most people make the most mistakes.

''look at him flip his toes'', people will croon, watching a horse trot medium or extended, but actually this is incorrect.

this is what a horse does that is in tension in the shoulders and cannot move his shoulders.

no, most emphatically not, you do not want to see the horseshoe when you stand in front of the horse, LOL.

i am sorry to say this trait most people love is incorrect. that is all there is to it.

the foreleg shouldn't be rigid and stiff. the foot shouldn't flip up.

there should be a loose, relaxed reaching look to the foreleg and shoulder. there will still be a tiny bend in the knee, just a degree, no more, showing the leg is relaxedly reaching.

the foot should not flip up, but point to where it will land. and it should land where it points.

if the foot is thrown forward and withdrawn backwards to land at a point BEHIND where it tried to point to, the action is not correct. there is tension and perhaps an innate lack of scope in the horse as well, but surely there is tension and loss of balance and correctness.

a really good medium or extended trot is NOT AT ALL flashy or extravagant looking, the tempo is the same as the other trot (collected, medium) and there is no flying feet. it should look completely unremarkable.

only that when you see how far each stride takes the horse, you look and say, ''oh my GOD''.

you see the borsalino horse that got a 10 on extended trot at essen.

you look at the video.

take a card and cover the bottom of the picture. look at the horse and rider without the legs of the horse showing.

it looks so normal trotting.

then look only at the legs. and look how far the horse is going over the ground.

that is a correct movement. that is a 10.

[This message was edited by slc on Jan. 24, 2001 at 11:16 AM.]

Jan. 24, 2001, 08:31 AM
i realize that above might make some one think that they must see the same reach foreward in the hind legs when the horse is doing collected movements.

now keeping in mind the lower level horse will show much less difference between his medium, collected and extended work, and may do much of his training in WORKING gaits, which fufill the requirements ONLY of the working gaits, and not of any distinct medium, collected or extended work, let us say what different kinds of action there is to be seen.

first to dispell one of the commonest misconceptions. the amount of tracking up defined for collected, medium and extended gaits, meaning how far forward the hind feet reach, and how far they step toward, on or over the tracks made by the front feet, this is different for collected, medium and extended movements.

in collected it is the least, sometimes not even steppin ON the prints made by the front feet. for each type of movement, medium to extended, more tracking up is wanted. a very talented horse can even step on his own foreprints in collected walk, and that is the ideal, but many horses are not talented enough to do that even after a long time of very correct training.

what is exactly is a collected gait? think carefully. collected is NOT a general thing, ''moving well'', it is a specific thing. how much tracking up is defined, and the stride is to change. sometimes at lower level all you will see is a very, very slight change in the stride of the horse, but later, yes, you hope the horse is more mobile, lighter in front and noticeably different than in the other forms of the gaits.

but the main thing to keep in mind is this. don't look for so much reaching forward of the hind leg in the collected gaits.

it is walking a very fine line, and very hard to tell if the hind leg is just dragging, or taking that new sort of action that is a part of real collected movements. look for more bending of the hind leg joints and a higher, just slightly now, higher path taken by the hind foot.

for if you do not have a difference in the ''shape'' or arc made by each stride, you do not have collection.

don't look for a huge difference, especially not in a lower level, more green horse (2-4th level and even beyond).

so there is thrusting forward engagement and there is carrying engagement, if you want to call it that. in collection he is taking the weight on his back end, but again, especially in the lower level horse and even in many horses high up the levels, extreme sitting or creeeping forward of the hind legs is wrong as well. it is too much strain on the animal and it does become an evasion for a horse, especially in piaffe. if he has his balance his forelegs should not tip back and his hind legs creep forward.

Jan. 24, 2001, 04:29 PM
I just have to say this: FIFTEEN YEARS AGO I wrote an article that got printed in COTH basically discussing and describing (my article had illustrations) exactly what you have been, slc. And I'm a nobody who just loves/loved the sport, never took significant lessons with anyone but did a lot of reading and watching and riding.

I cannot understand why all this stuff is STILL an issue! How can we have come so far as to field consistent, competitive teams with considerable depth in the reserves and yet still haven't established what the correct foundation is!

Or maybe everybody KNOWS full well all that which you have described, slc, but chooses to ignore it. I have found that frustrating to the point that I now only ride my PSG-I1 horse for 'our' pleasure (he'd prefer to jump anyway). I have a talented baby coming along and I thought for a moment there of showing him when someone mentioned somewhere how much cheaper it is to show dressage than h-j these days...but this stuff just angers me and I don't want to get out there just to get mad at the state of it all.

What am I saying here? I guess I'm ASKING you, slc--do you think all that you wrote still needs to be said that often? I'm not razzing you about it. I'm serious. Is it STILL necessary?

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Jan. 24, 2001, 04:40 PM
What are this gentleman's qualifications other than German licensing? What has he done in this country besides go to clinics?

You know, I'm beginning to feel like every time I go to a site about "classical dressage" what is really meant is "dressage on any kind/breed of horse--with some groundwork, haute ecole and airs above the ground stuff in there, too...but not much in terms of upper level competition."

I acknowledge differences between clasical and competitive dressage, but the big problem I have with the former, unlike the latter, is that you so often see horses doing upper level movements who have not developed the physical stature (carriage and muscling, primarily) to sustain such efforts, such as in a 6+ minute test.

I went to Dr. Ritter's site and couldn't understand what all the fuss is about.

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Jan. 25, 2001, 06:05 AM
again all of this is general and has nothing personally to do with mr. ritter.

sure. there are so many new people in our sport who aren't familiar with these definitions and ideas.

i heard the other day that dressage is the fastest growing discipline, and that most people are competing at intro and training level. so we have many, many people new to it.

one learns a great deal by ''going through'' and paying one's dues, as the lady above has. making mistakes, working with bad people, figuring out who the good people are, learning their system, training your own horse, riding horses trained by excellent trainers, all these experiences, as well as reading, studying, watching and asking a LOT of stupid questions, make the points above easy to feel, hear and see after time.

but what about most folks, who haven't done all of the above for 15 years? yes, these points can be brought out over and over.

and, sadly, i've found there are a GREAT many of us older ladies and gentlemen who have been in dressage for many, many years, and don't know things HALF as well as we think we do, and DON'T have a good eye for correctness, in our own riding or in trainers we choose.

i feel just about anyone can stand to hear these things again, to tell the truth.

do we need to tell judges? no, most of them are very experienced and well educated. they must attend forums and do a great deal of work to keep their certification.

do we need to be selective about choosing trainers? yes. there are so many new people in dressage that poorly trained trainers without good foundations get many, many eager students. and it's very, very hard for those folks to look at someone and understand if it is correct or not.

many, many riders have a german bereiter. it is a brief program and many have gone. howeever, this doesn't make someone a trainer able to train horses to the top standards in grand prix competition - this certification is only a very brief start at dressage, and is not enough time for a person to be able to train a variety of horses and riders with different problems and backgrounds to do correct dressage to the top standards.

the bereiter is a great beginning, but it IS a beginning. you'll find that most of the folks with this certification have gone on to work with several excellent trainers, and have worked for them for a period of time, not just on and off, learning a cohesive system of training horses. this is indispensable. a person needs to see his OWN horses AND his trainers horses move up the levels. he needs to see how conformation and temperament influence what training is done and how it comes out at the end - this doesn't happen in a year or two, but through time, and seeing these horses progress.

there ARE indeed a few people who have just scraped their way up with occasional clinics, and this does work well for SOME folks. this is a very, very hard way to go, and MOST folks don't develop a systematic way of training horses in this environment - they get a ''bag of tricks'' that don't really fit together and don't work for all horses or riders.

often folks when they start learn very quickly how to make a horse do TRICKS - flying changes and a flashy looking extended trot that impress the novices, who wonder how they'll ever be able to do such things and are just incredibly overawed when they see a horse piaffe, passage and do flying lead changes. but is the horse relaxed, sound, calm, are his basics correct - a quiet, steady contact with the bit, straight, flexible in the hips, and rounded through the back and neck. is the trainer rough or patient and easy going? don't let ANYONE ever tell you an upper level horse needs to be treated brutally. corrected firmly, yes, made to pay attention, yes, but riding should NOT be a constant battle ground every single day. if it IS, the trainer has a personality defect and you should NOT give him or her money or support his or her behavior.

i'll tell you right now, you can count on the fingers of one hand the people in america who can school a green horse to grand prix and wind up with a sound, happy correct horse, OR transmit that knowledge to their students. that kind of ability doesn't just happen in a year or two or three.

there are MANY bad trainers out there in our relatively new, fast growth sport - that's how growth works - then you can have trouble with quality control, as all of you in businesses know. there are MANY who are not good.

and i get email from many, many students who ask me if what they are being taught is right. i have to send nearly all of these back unanswered unless the person appears to be getting endangered - but it breaks my heart. yes, there are MANY bad trainers out there.

there are quite a few people who are working very hard to improve their riding and training skills, and who can give very, very excellent instruction at the lower levels. knowledge of the basics and an ability to communicate are paramount.

these folks are the HARDEST to identify and tell apart from the ''others'', and they're the folks you're MOST likely to be evaluating as a prospective trainer for yourself - the ones with no certification or ''big names'' in their resume, but yet there are many folks like this who have a great deal of value to teach to the majority of students.

as long as you recognize their limitations, and move on to a more advanced trainer when necessary (and remember, it might NEVER be necessary, as most folks have no interest in going up the ''dressage ladder'') these folks are of incredible value and teach a great many people to be more sympathetic and in tune with their horse.

as for classical vs. competition, there is no difference and can never be any difference in legitimate riding. there is only good riding/training and bad riding/training.

Jan. 25, 2001, 05:36 PM
Hey, SLC, whatever happend to you shift key? No capitals is distracting when trying to read your posts.

Now, has anyone here ever ridden with Thoas Ritter? And if so what was your experience like?

Boogey on dudes

Jan. 25, 2001, 05:50 PM
I had not spent money, time or gone thru the usual preparations of hauling to clinic with him. After 2.5 rides, it was all over for me. I know dressage when I see it. I know borderline training when I see it. This guy was off the scale (and NOT in the positive).

Jan. 25, 2001, 06:15 PM
Off the scale in what way? What was he doing?

Boogey on dudes

Jan. 25, 2001, 06:21 PM
and it disturbs me greatly that, in the previous THREE PAGES of posts, I have been unable to discern one balanced, objective post, pro or con.


Jan. 25, 2001, 10:13 PM
I rode with Thomas Ritter - several times a week for more than a year. He is a decent teacher. I have never seen him abuse either a horse or a rider. His basis is very classical - he is a purist and he takes no shortcuts. Things are done first at a walk - then at a trot - and then at a canter. The process is slow and I can't see how anyone could jump to any kind of conclusion by watching a clinic for 2.5 rides.

He is not a competative rider and his preferred horse is a baroque horse. If you want to show - he can hlep you with the basics - but has little interest in how to move up the levels or increase scores. He rides his horses with very little rein contact and his students that stay with him learn to ride off the seat and the leg.

My criticisms would be that he is very expensive - for a rider that has no show exerience to speak of or affiliation with an orgaization like the SRS. His emphasis on collected work is so great that the extended paces can suffer. His trot work is better than his canter work.

Jan. 26, 2001, 04:54 AM
Now, if you would, please say a bit more about what you mean by his canter work? Thanks again.


Jan. 27, 2001, 07:45 AM
That explains a great deal since they are not everyone's cup of tea. An entirely different world, to a certain extent.Completely different kind of engagement and topline than the typical successful upper level horse.

Nothing "wrong" with that, of course. Just completely different--and resulting in a significantly different mindset in the trainer as well, IMO.

BTW, anyone hear recall Jean Claude Racinet?

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Jan. 27, 2001, 12:55 PM
A highly trained eye,combined with obvious abuse of horses & riders ("You stupid American. Oh, what can I expect?!" he said to one rider while throwing his hands up in the air, looking at the ceiling and rolling his eyes), can see very clearly and not much time is needed. Things liek ethics, and character (or lack of) show up in a short amount of time as expressed by extreme behaviors.

The first horse I saw I knew from a boarding situation. The horse went in w/ a visible hitch of some sort. This clinician got on and rode the horse until it was lathered, head tossing and puffing profusely, as he was -- and I QUOTE HIM HERE: "Making the stubborn horse SUBMIT to the RIGHT LEG." Well, the horse was ridden around the ring for 40 minutes solid -- getting whipped and spurred all the while -- it was a really ugly scene, the horse snorting every breath, in extreme PAIN. The horse never got ONE break during that 40 minutes. TR wasn't gonna give up until he MADE the horse "submit." There was no kindness, empathy, nor understanding towards the horse.

As far as the horse being "stubborn," that side was the horse's LAME side. The horse left the ring totally defeated -- head hanging, tongue lolling out, totally steaming and lathered... and since then the horse has developed some sort of NERVOUS tick it never had before. When the clinician dismounted, he hande the reins to the rider & lauded her for "taking on such a stubborn horse with such a bad attitude." He told her she had "MUCH COURAGE to tackle such a project." This is a horse who stands in cross ties 100% dead quiet -- literally for HOURS -- whilst the rider a "chatty Cathy" type is out and about. He self loads on a trailer. He gives 9 y.o.'s rides. He is ridden constantly in an ill fitting saddle and NEVER complains with even so much of a swish of his tail. Stubborn horse with a bad attitude? Hardly. He is one of the kindest and most giving horses I have even seen.

TRUE classical dressage, if CORRECTLY executed, runs on the premise that a horse who DOES NOT respond either: 1) Fails to understand the command; or 2) IS IN PAIN. Unfortunately, instead of taking 5 minutes to evaluate the limping stiff horse's condition, this clinician IMHO just TOTALLY LOST HIS TEMPER at this poor horse. All auditors thinned quickly. We just got tired of hearing him yell at riders, as well as fail to improve horses THROUGHNESS. IMHO all 3 horses were coached to be ridden consistently in false frames. There was a lacking of systematic approach and/ or direction, even within a lesson. All 3 sessions were the typical "Heads up, heels down, keep his nose in, try a trot at K, keep a straight line from bit to elbow" type of lesson that my non-horsey husband could easily teach.

Yes, I agree that it is important not to make any RASH judgements, unless what one sees something so extreme that there is no denying it. It simply isn't possible to defend these extremes. Please don't kill the messenger, here! :-). I, too, wish I hadn't seen what I did! I was upset for days afterwards, and after 15 years in horses, from QH's to upper level eventing, I thought I had seen it all...

[This message was edited by mona on Jan. 28, 2001 at 01:30 PM.]

Jan. 27, 2001, 03:36 PM
There are well-known clinicians and there are unknown clinicians and there is usually a reason why. I've always kinda wondered how the unknowns get asked to give clinics in the first place. A couple of flashy, eye-catching mounts, perhaps?

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Jan. 27, 2001, 07:44 PM
two actual accounts!

...just noting that lwmc and mona's stories are polar opposites. One trained with him for a year and one had audited one experience with him. I don't believe or disbelieve either one - but hearing both arguments one can better decide if they wish to audit this particular clinician.

I'd have to see him for myself. Would I drive 7 hours to audit him, no. Four hours is my max for an audit anyway. Maybe I'd drive an hour to see him.

FWIW, mona's post was negative BUT informative. It was her observation, Thanks for sharing! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Jan. 28, 2001, 03:53 PM
I wasn't there, so I can't verify what was said or done. I have seen trainers do exactly as Mona describes, so it is believable.

The horse's owner sounds as bad (if not worse) than the trainer. Why was she taking a less than sound horse to a clinic anyway? Mr. Ritter should have noticed the hike, and refused to train the pair.

Any owner that would let a horse stand on ties for an hour is disgusting. I'll bet this owner didn't even cool down the horse properly afterwards.

Jan. 29, 2001, 03:12 PM
Are you sure that we are talking about the same guy? Maybe he had a really bad day - maybe you had a really bad day - maybe the stars were lined up wrong - I have no idea - but the guy I rode with - and saw every day for a year and a half sounds like a totally different person.

Jan. 30, 2001, 02:42 PM
Well, I wasn't going to bother to get involved in this discussion until I read Mona's description of a TR clinic. And I just have to wonder if she saw his evil twin or something. Very bizarre! I saw one of his clinics and it was nothing (!) like Mona described. My only complaint would be that he was very technical and spoke at a higher level then possibly the people he was teaching understood. Otherwise he was VERY professional and polite. Also, the horses I saw worked mostly at the walk and trot, lots of breaks, and lots of good direction for the riders.
Sheesh, I certainly wouldn't go see the man that Mona described, but I just find it hard to believe that that was TR.
Oh, and to the poster who wondered how "unknowns" get asked to do clinics in the first place, I think that unknown is a relative word. To many Erik Herbermann is an "unknown" (and I think he prefers it that way), but to those that know him..wow! On the other hand, I been to some "known" name clinicians and have cringed and walked away.

Jan. 30, 2001, 06:20 PM
At last some real info! Maybe Mona saw his Dopelganger;-)

I think I agree with DebS, I might go an hour to audit, but I probably wouldn't go 7 hrs.

But thanks to those of you who know Ritter or have seen him and posted.

Boogey on dudes

Apr. 2, 2001, 09:48 AM
Here's another time we got into a discussion of classical vs competitive.