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vineyridge
May. 20, 2012, 10:45 AM
I've been reading the 2008 book by Jennifer Bryant on the Olympics (title is Olympic Equestrian) and there are lots of still photos of dressage horses, of which several are mid piaffe.

Led me to a question that some of you experts might answer.

In a good piaffe should the front legs break at the knee parallel to the ground? And should the hock break at the same level as the knee? Does that make sense? I seem to remember having seen piaffes in person and video that seem to be more shuffling than knees and hocks the same height and parallel to the ground.

BaroquePony
May. 20, 2012, 10:58 AM
I learned that it is better to watch the hooves and the *equality of action* thoughout the sets of joints, if that makes sense.

The back hooves and the front hooves should be leaving the ground in a succinct manner and end up at a similar height before coming back down to the ground (front and back feet should reach similar heights at the top of the arch).

Then ask for the most the horse under you can give you (over time and with conditioning).

ideayoda
May. 20, 2012, 11:13 AM
I am not quite sure what you are asking. Is it about the level of carriage fore and aft? The simplest answer is 114.2 of the rule book. The foreleg is parallel to the ground, the toe of the foreleg is raised to the middle of the cannon, and the toes of the hind leg is raised to the level of the other fetlock. The foreleg should be vertical, and the quarters lowered through compression of the hind leg joints (not by merely coming forward toward the girth. Horses which are on the forehand will piaffe very high behind even if they are coming forward, hence they will 'lean over the forelegs'.

For sure it is movement in which the diagonal pairs remain pure, and the rhythm pure. The neck should be raised and arced, the horse should be light in the hand, the poll should be the highest point and the face slightly in front of the vertical

vineyridge
May. 20, 2012, 11:25 AM
The knee is attached to the foreleg :) , so apparently both should be parallel to the ground. Thanks for that.

Now to the hind end. Should the hock come up to the same height as the foreleg, which is parallel to the ground? Each hoof should come up cleanly and evenly from what's been said.

There is a stunning photo of Carol Lavall in Olympic Equestrian on page 223 and I'm wondering if that frozen moment in time catches what might be an ideal piaffe step. The raised fore arm is parallel to the ground, the other fore leg is absolutely vertical to the ground with its fetlock parallel to the ground; the raised hind toe is the same level as the front fetlock on the same (unraised) side and the hock is almost the same height as the knee. She's riding Gifted.

There is a very similar photo of Lisa Wilcox and Relevant on page 206, but his unraised front fetlock is not parallel to the ground and the hock is not quite as high. The unraised hind leg is rather far forward under the horse, not vertical to the ground, and the hock is not parallel to the farthest back point of the butt. (Due to noun recovery problems, I forget the technical name for that.) :) Is that desired or not?

Couple of photos of Anky also. One at Sydney with Bonfire must show the horse at maximum because the hind fetlock is parallel to the ground, but the fore arms are not quite. His unraised hind leg is far more vertical to a ground line than the Wilcox photo and the hock is under the farthest back point of his butt. Second one seems to be of Salinero. His unraised hind leg is also vertical to the ground and under the farthest back point of his butt, and the raised hock and bottom of the knee are on a parallel line and both are parallel to the ground. The unraised foreleg is absolutely vertical. So what I'm seeing is absolute verticals in the unraised legs and the bottom of knees and hocks parallel to each other and parallel to the ground on the raised legs.
Because of the position of the hind legs, the horses are VERY square.

How would that compare to the ideal piaffe step?

mbm
May. 20, 2012, 12:04 PM
there are many pics out there of excellent piaffe... usually what you see in the show arena is more "up" than sitting - ie the hind legs are lifted way higher than they should be (read the rules it is quite descriptive)

here are some examples of a good piaffe

http://www.classical-equitation.com/images/PhilippeKarl-Odin-piaffe.jpg

http://www.bruns-andalusier.de/images/P.R.E.%20Bailador%2090762%20Piaffe%20retouschiert% 201.JPG

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lbnfrjFBKe1qdbu1to1_500.jpg

http://69.89.31.130/~thehors5/thm/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/PortRodrigoPiaffe4web.jpg

ideayoda
May. 20, 2012, 12:50 PM
Of all those the first is the most traditionally correct.

vineyridge
May. 20, 2012, 02:23 PM
From what you say and show, Anky's horses in those photos did not piaffe correctly, since they do not bring their hind legs under them. Whereas Wilcox's horse would be more correct.

Would that be a proper conclusion? I could scan and post the book's photos, but it would probably be a copyright violation.

BaroquePony
May. 20, 2012, 02:33 PM
It is not a copyright violation if you quote the source and you aren't plagerizing.

Eventer13
May. 20, 2012, 02:46 PM
The back hooves and the front hooves should be leaving the ground in a succinct manner and end up at a similar height before coming back down to the ground (front and back feet should reach similar heights at the top of the arch).



Shouldn't the front feet end up higher, simply because the hind end is taking more weight and the front end is lightened? All the ones I've seen with the hind hooves picked up extremely high looked more like a trot/passage in place, rather than having the hind quarter lowered in what (I thought) was a more correct piaffe.

BaroquePony
May. 20, 2012, 03:30 PM
Akhal-Teke Dressage Stallion Absent performing Piaffe

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6QYTJrGwEo

mbm
May. 20, 2012, 05:35 PM
Of all those the first is the most traditionally correct.

sure, but piaffe is hard and it is difficult to be perfect ;) i do think they are all appear better than what we (generally) see in the arena nowadays....

do you not agree?

Reddfox
May. 20, 2012, 06:03 PM
From what you say and show, Anky's horses in those photos did not piaffe correctly, since they do not bring their hind legs under them. Whereas Wilcox's horse would be more correct.

Would that be a proper conclusion? I could scan and post the book's photos, but it would probably be a copyright violation.

Viney, from what I understand, the amount that the LS joint can flex to bring the hind legs under the horse is dependent on the individual ability of the horse. Not all horses have equal flexibility there.

That being said, I personally do not find Anky's piaffes to be correct. There is often a great deal of triangulation in the forelegs and the croups tend to bounce a great deal on her horses.

However, I don't view Lisa Wilcox's piaffes on Relevant to be very correct either. There is also triangulation and often an element of balancé to the piaffe.
http://www.gestuet-vorwerk.de/typo3temp/pics/53aa5ef01a.jpg and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWbLg5Gvi9k (about 1:18 for piaffe)

I do think that Relevant is not as flexible in the LS and has a bit of a long back, which would make coming under more difficult, where I think Anky's piaffes tend to be a product of the training method. (just my 2 cents.)

The most correct classically are the PK piaffe shot that was shown earlier and I think Absent's piaffe was very correct - for the amount of flexibility he has in the LS joint...he doesn't come under to the extreme of the PK horse or the Andalusian piaffe in the 2nd photo, but the balance, rhythm and regularity are there as is the lightness up front...he is not at all on the forehand. (again, my 2cents based on personal opinion.)

ideayoda
May. 20, 2012, 06:07 PM
Agreed. And here is Absent in the wind with paper wrapping about his forelegs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0_AS_YBFks Agree with red fox about the 'goat on a mountain top'/leaning over the forelegs which causes the forehand balancee.

alicen
May. 20, 2012, 06:36 PM
The GP test requires 12-15 steps of piaffe. OK, I've had a bad day. Usually I refrain from posting when I'm feeling this crabby, but I'm going to say it: I don't believe that people are comparing snapshots and horses training with what is required of a horse in competition.

vineyridge
May. 20, 2012, 06:49 PM
What do you folks mean by triangulation? What is making a triangle?

ideayoda
May. 20, 2012, 06:55 PM
Yes and no. Imho it might a badly posted moment by the author of actually when the horse is transitioning into the passage and sometimes lean over the forelegs.

IF we are talking about it strictly as piaffe, it is triangle.....then the horse is too far under behind, which causes it to fall over the forelegs (which no longer drop vertically) and onto the forehand. This makes actually getting out of the piaffe slightly problematic because the hind legs are straightened underneath. If the horse was slightly more like the dapple grey (slight more open) it would CHOOSE forward, and the hh would compress the hind leg joints more effectually. Little details indicate a lot (and this horse was schooled in a lower/closed posture with Hoyas).

dudleyc
May. 20, 2012, 07:35 PM
Now to the hind end. Should the hock come up to the same height as the foreleg, which is parallel to the ground? Each hoof should come up cleanly and evenly from what's been said.

No, the knee and the hock are VERY different joints with VERY different mobilities and different "jobs".

Think of an elite human sprinter. The arms move and the legs move. The elbows don't really move, but the knees move a lot.

So the hooves need to be even fore and even hind, but fore does not have to equal hind.

Reddfox
May. 20, 2012, 07:58 PM
What do you folks mean by triangulation? What is making a triangle?

Viney, triangulation in the piaffe means that rather than sitting behind and elevating the forehand, the horse pushes out over the grounded foreleg. This causes a piaffe that looks like this...http://www.sustainabledressage.net/rollkur/why_not/salinero_olympics.gif or this http://www.sustainabledressage.net/collection/false_collection/kittel_piaffe.gif

Love this site or hate it, here is a good read on false collection and collection and it's evasions...

In my mind, the competition piaffe is becoming more about exaggerated front leg movement (as are other gaits). But, in essence, a horse with a lot of shoulder freedom can just plant a leg and lift the other very high, without ever taking weight behind...almost a bit like spanish walk. (i think the following picture is an exemplary spanish walk.)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/martinavannelli/2697081480/

Now, it's true that the foreleg in piaffe can appear back a bit in a snapshot of a moment of time because of any forward travel of the piaffe, which is why it's important to look at the overall balance of the piaffe. There should be a clear sinking of the haunches and lifting up front, because even though the piaffe is the pinnacle of collection in competition, there are still the airs after piaffe. And the piaffe is what the airs are developed from. http://goodelie.chez.com/cheval_divers/particularites/allures/levade.jpg

ideayoda
May. 20, 2012, 08:54 PM
Agree with much of what you say, but that is NOT good spanish walk because the three beats are missing. Here is exceptionally PURE (spanish) walk....wonderful purity to the footfalls, and exceptional reaction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpCvQBALBX0

Reddfox
May. 20, 2012, 09:04 PM
^
very cool, thanks! I admittedly don't know much about Spanish walk and about what makes it good. I was looking at the reach and it seems as though the horse was a bit more gathered than others I've seen.

Shiaway
May. 20, 2012, 10:37 PM
I have a question. Should the height of the foreleg always be parallel to the ground or is allowance given (I mean in terms of correctness, not necessarily test scores) for conformation/movement? For instance, say you have a horse that doesn't have much freedom of shoulder due to conformation limitations. Should this horse still be expected to be able to lift the foreleg all the way up?

ideayoda
May. 21, 2012, 08:13 AM
The ability to do piaffe has little to do with the same issues as extensions (which do require more freedom of the shoulder in reach). And some of the naturally worst 'conformed' horses I have seen (even initially standing withers low) can do some lovely piaffe since they are pushing upward, not forward. It more has to do with the proper folding of the hind legs, it has to do with the lifting of the chest, and the ability to stay out to the hand. And horses which piaffe with backward leaning forelegs will end up with the same (retrograde)action in the extensions (tossing feet out and bringing then down or worse yet backward to land....and this is now often given an 8+ rather than a 4 as it is also then impure/not two beat). The earth must become the 'trampoline' for the horse (hence the beauty in someone like PK's work/lightness) not something from which the horse pulls its legs away from (and is heavy on the ground) no matter how high they go (which has to do with the shortened/compress/curb excessive posture).