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A Horse of Course
Apr. 1, 2007, 10:06 PM
Upon going to audit Kay Meredith at the Hoosier Horse Fair, I had heard mixed reviews, (mostly on this board.) The one "live" opinion I got was from someone I know and respect, and she was also not so positive in her opinon based on Meredith's riding. This friend is a very positive, optimistic person, so she then said that perhaps Meredith teaches better than she rides.

So I went, excited and hopeful.....but was quickly, and I mean in less than 2 minutes, horrified, flabergasted, could not believe what I was hearing!!!!!!

Within the first minute of her speaking the words that came out of her mouth were, "You can't do anything else until you get the horse's head down first, we worked on this yesterday and while we are walking you will work on getting your horse's head down."

And HOW does one proceed to get the head down? She said and kept repeating, to keep the hands very low (so low that their arms were almost completely straight) and then hold your hand down and braced as hard as you can. No, sorry, I am not exagerating.
And what did the horses do? Uh they braced back, and fought back constantly jerking their heads. And what did Meredith say to do, "Don't let him do that hold your hands down harder!"

Arms are just about as straight as a board at this point, braced against the pommel for support and the horse flings his head more, starts marching backwards, and when stops, starts to paw in frustration and Meredith says, "Good let him fight." Anytime the horse flings his head, which alwasy results in rider's hands being jerked out of place an inch or so, was given a "Hold harder."

Well, funny enough their necks are stronger than our puny little arms will ever be, so a continuous downward bracing hold is never F*#$%&# going to work. Well, on the occasions that it does, it leads to a false frame, yay.

Let's not mention the fact that getting the flippin head down is a result of moving freely forward and engaging the hind end and the back, and a constant brace of the hands inhibits that action.
Did she mention that at all, even a teensy weensy little bit, NOOOO. Not ONE word about moving freely forward, not even a HINT. Well I should have known, as she said in the beginning "You can't do anything else until you get the head down." And since that didn't happen with any horse, obviously there was no getting to anything else!!!!

The whole lesson was on getting the heads down in this way, with NO progress. The rider, above whose horse starting backing up and pawing, was excused after about 20min or so of trying to get this horse's head down at the walk with no progress.

This was the worst FRONT to BACK teaching I have ever seen, I thought I was in the freaking Twilight Zone. After about 45min two new ridres came in, I couldn't stomach anymore so I left at that point.

I'm sure I will offend someone who is a fan, though you need your head thoroughly examined if you are, nevertheless I'll fasten my flame suit.

Carol Ames
Apr. 1, 2007, 10:26 PM
I must admit that I am disappointed :cry: but, having had students from"the manor" not surprised :no: When I saw IHP I feared this would be another Pareli tread; Was she asked any questions? What was the general response of the crowd? :mad:

A Horse of Course
Apr. 1, 2007, 10:35 PM
No one asked anything, it wasn't a big dressage crowd and it wasn't set up in a way for auditor questions. From people talking around me, there were those who were starting to dabble in dressage and so on.
The HHF his mostly western, though dressage and H/J are there, just not in as high numbers, there were around a 100 people or so watching at various times, while I was looking around in disbelief I didn't notice anything but neutral looks on people's faces.

Carol Ames
Apr. 1, 2007, 10:43 PM
:no: Sadly, /I know of at least threBNT FEI level riders in th emidArtlantic states who teach the same way, if the horse "fusses " the remedy is "leg " and if the horse still does not lower the head the rider ewho cannot sit the trot is given roweled spurs:eek: These people get big bucks#$ for their instruction instruction

snoopy
Apr. 1, 2007, 10:49 PM
Well you can't say you weren't warned either by public posts or from PM's. Sad that you had to experience this method but at least now you can make up your own mind about her.... having seen it first hand.:(

A Horse of Course
Apr. 1, 2007, 10:58 PM
Well, none of the public posts actually said anything bad, and I didn't get any PMs.
I wasn't just going to watch her sessions, there's plenty of other stuff to see and do at the HHF, and I also like to see things for myself before I decide.

Snoopy, was your experience similar? With the getting the head down stuff?

snoopy
Apr. 1, 2007, 11:09 PM
Well, lets just say that neither me nor the horse I was riding was very impressed with her particular training methods.;) Infact, I excused myself from the clinic as I felt it "counter productive". As I was the first rider that morning, I was not able to audit first....
I rode in this clinic MANY years ago and I think she was taken back somewhat that a teenager would make the decision to leave the clinic...but I knew fairly early into it that she and I were not going to be compatable so I stopped, put up my hand, and politely said "thank you for your time" and left the arena.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 1, 2007, 11:14 PM
Snoopy, if it was going the way this one went, I would have done the very same thing in quite short order.
I have since learned that I will always have to audit someone before I ride with them no matter what the opinions are, even by those I consider reputable.

snoopy
Apr. 1, 2007, 11:18 PM
I too, have adopted this stance and it has stood me in good steed since, so in that regard, I did get my money's worth. There are many roads to Rome and it was a road that I did not want to travel. Now before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, I am not bad mouthing her but merely voicing my own experience.

slc2
Apr. 1, 2007, 11:32 PM
i have known kay for 20 years and have never once seen her teach anyone in that manner.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 1, 2007, 11:45 PM
Well, I was really hoping my ears and eyes were playing tricks on me.
I know when I read accounts of clinics on here, I have to take them with a grain of salt if they are overly negative or positive.

It could be that if she had riders who already had their horses heads down consistently (ick), or hopefully working somewhat forward and engaged, that her teaching wouldn't be sooo bad, though I doubt I would see it as advancing to 'good'. But that's a pretty sorry excuse, if you don't have the basics down to teach beginner horses and riders and your only comfortable with those who seem to "have the head down" or seem to be "on the bit" then you're not going to be much help there either, IMO.

eggbutt
Apr. 2, 2007, 07:40 AM
i have known kay for 20 years and have never once seen her teach anyone in that manner.


Me neither.....I've seen her be a bit harsh and definitely demanding, but this is very unusual. I hate ya'll had a negative experience.

I totally applaud Snoopy for excusing herself. That takes courage and confidence in one's own training to realize the methods being taught are counter-productive for their horse. Good for you! :yes:

Hannahsmom
Apr. 2, 2007, 08:02 AM
I had hoped to see her, but with an advanced rider. From my experience, the HHF is not set up well for clinics, better for demos. I can't imagine trying to give a clinic in that environment.

Quartergirl
Apr. 2, 2007, 08:45 AM
I show in both dressage and hunt seat so I went to watch both Linda Allen and Kay Meredith. It was like night and day. I was quickly offended by Kay's tone and attitude towards the rider's. The dark horse had issue's in the Linda Allen clinic she rode in earlier that morning but Linda found something small to work on and then built on that a little so she at least had a successful session and ended on a good note. While that horse probably should not have been in either clinic because it didn't have the basic training needed it shows the difference between someone acting professionally and working with the situation and someone who didn't.

snoopy
Apr. 2, 2007, 09:13 AM
I think it important to remember that we have the choice to either continue with something that you know isn't going to work or to simply and POLITELY excuse yourself. We musn't lose sight of the fact that we are at a clinic to LEARN. If what is.... or how it is being presented.... is not working for you then you have every right to stop the situation before you and or your horse becomes upset. This is not to say that you may not come accross some challenging moments that you should try and work through, but if it goes against your principles then you should not be there. I prefer to voice my opinion of the instructor by politely excusing myself. They get the message and so does everyone else for that matter. If the organizer and or instructor comes to ask why you made this decision then tell them your reasons. If the instructor says something to you on the way out, say that you would happily discuss it in private. That way nobody is offended or insulted. Even though you have paid to be there you are still a paying guest and should act accordingly. Training really boils down to finding someone who shares "your brand of peanut butter".
In the end I always ask myself if my horse is worth more than the clinic fee...and I always come to the same answer!!!;)

MHJLittlefield
Apr. 2, 2007, 09:27 AM
I was there with one of my students who rode in the Linda Allen clinic, and watched bits and pieces of the Kay Meredith sessions. The venue is certainly different from most "normal" clinics, with lots of noisy distraction immediately outside the arena, especially from the "Kids Corral", complete with mooing psuedo-cows, giant rocking horses, pony rides and roping practice from an oversize horse model. The PA system also made things challenging for riders - it worked well for auditors, but was not directed into the arena so riders had a hard time hearing directions if the outside noise was up (most of the middle of the day).

I have mixed feelings about what I saw/heard. The riders I watched ranged from a knowledgeable pro to a not-so-knowledgeable pro to amateurs with fairly good basics to amateurs/kids with a serious lack of good basics (and I'm talking basic equitation, not to mention dressage).

I was dismayed to hear KM focusing on getting the "head down" (since, with the exception of the knowledgeable pro, all the riders I saw were already much too busy doing that very thing at the exclusion of all else). But I also watched her give a very good private lesson to the knowledgeable pro before the clinic started Sunday morning. I'd have to see her again in a "normal" setting before I'd feel comfortable putting her teaching in the thumbs up or thumbs down column.

horsepix76
Apr. 2, 2007, 09:31 AM
I rode in the clinic with Kay this past weekend and although yes, she was very demanding of riders, I didn't think she said anything or did anything that didn't need to be said. To be perfectly honest, I thought it was a fabulous clinic and I would ride with her again in a heartbeat. To an outside observer, I'm sure it looked harsh. Kay does not coddle riders, but she was fair to both horse AND rider. She has an unbelievable ability to watch a horse and rider for a few moments and pick apart the problems and then tell the rider exactly what needs to be done to FIX THE PROBLEM. Whether or not the rider does what she says is the issue.

Kay's 3 main things were that the horse had to have 1) regular rhythm & tempo, 2) energy and 3) roundness. She was not going to let riders go around with their horse's heads way up in the air. And frankly, I'm inclined to agree with her. You can't make progress if your horse is inverted. And to some extent, you have to stop giving the horse the reins every time they put up a fuss. A horse must learn to carry itself. The truly unfortunate part was that many of the riders obviously didn't know how to get the horse's heads down without see-sawing. And see-sawing is one thing that Kay simply would not tolerate.


And HOW does one proceed to get the head down? She said and kept repeating, to keep the hands very low (so low that their arms were almost completely straight) and then hold your hand down and braced as hard as you can. No, sorry, I am not exagerating.
And what did the horses do? Uh they braced back, and fought back constantly jerking their heads. And what did Meredith say to do, "Don't let him do that hold your hands down harder!"

Actually no, the point was to have the elbows down at the sides and the hands just above the withers to create a straight line from bit to elbow. At no point did she tell riders to put their arms straight down. Again...some riders INTERPRETED it that way, but they were corrected. Unfortunately, many of the riders didn't have the ability to move their hands and legs independently of one another and THIS is where the problems were created. In short, riders who got the most demanding feedback from Kay were those that were not able to do as she said when she said to do it.


The whole lesson was on getting the heads down in this way, with NO progress. The rider, above whose horse starting backing up and pawing, was excused after about 20min or so of trying to get this horse's head down at the walk with no progress.

What you failed to mention is that this rider has only owned this horse for about 1 month (if I'm thinking of the same person). Furthermore, the horse was so terribly stiff and upside down from their previous owner that there was very little that Kay could have done to improve the situation. Frankly, the horse/rider combo really should have used the clinic money to find themselves a good trainer. They really weren't in a situation to benefit from a clinic like this. No clinician is a miracle worker.

Did you (to the OP) or the above mentioned rider attend any of the lectures? I was there for all three and was dissapointed at the LACK of rider attendance. I was the only rider that was there for all 3 lectures and I must say, what we discussed in lecture had a significant impact on my success when riding in the clinics.

I will admit that I was nervous going into the ring, but Kay quickly put me at ease. Although she was demanding, she was very fair and rewarding as well always saying "SUPER" or EXCELLENT when the horse was moving correctly. She confirmed to me (and my trainer, who audited) that we were on the right track and had a solid foundation. I would travel a great distance to ride with her again.

dressage is for lovers
Apr. 2, 2007, 09:46 AM
Was she maybe trying to get the horses head down so that he wasn't paying attention to all the distracting stuff and instead started to listen to his rider? The only possible explanation I can think of, although even that wouldn't justify some of the stuff you described...

dressage is for lovers
Apr. 2, 2007, 09:53 AM
What horsepix said makes more sense, although they are obviously two very different interpretations of what was going on and the rest of us weren't there. Although I would expect a clinician to make some kind of progress with any horse/rider, even if it is very small.

eggbutt
Apr. 2, 2007, 10:15 AM
I agree....Horsepix has described the Kay Meredith I've known and watched on many occasions. Thanks for posting your experience.:yes:

snoopy
Apr. 2, 2007, 10:23 AM
I am totally impressed at how mature everyone has been on this topic. We all have different needs and we all read things a different way....some methods work for some whilst they don't for others...but I am glad this has been respectful and informative. This is what these boards should be about. And I am glad that someone who attended enjoyed their personal experience and was kind enough to share it with us.:D :D :D

STF
Apr. 2, 2007, 10:24 AM
although they are obviously two very different interpretations of what was going on and the rest of us weren't there

Amen -
Believe nothing of you you hear, only half of what you see in the horse world!

SandyUHC
Apr. 2, 2007, 10:37 AM
We have a trainer here that teaches "head down first at all costs". Force is what people use when they don't have anything else in their bag of tricks. Unfortunately this particular method isn't always identified as force until the damage is done (for example, tense horses with sore hocks.) Sad.

snoopy
Apr. 2, 2007, 10:43 AM
Unfortunatey some trainers still believe in and apply the old "ram and cram" school of thought. We as riders and trainers are more educated now and as I have previously stated, have the right not par-take in this method or any other method we dont agree with and not be flamed for our choice not to do so.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 2, 2007, 10:55 AM
Well, unfortunatley, horsepix, I still see it quite differently.
In the very beginning she said "roundness was getting the head down."
Nothing was mentioned about rounding the behind, which THEN and only then rounds evrything thing else, the neck included.

I saw very front to back riding here. I didn't see any correction of incorrectly braced hands, bracing the hands in a fixed position IS what Kay was asking for and that's what she got.

The rider on the dark bay was only doing what she was asked to do, and IMO that is why she did not get anywhere, I don't care if she hadn't ridden that horse until that day, the results had nothing to do with that. Bracing your hands in a fixed position creates a stiffer horse.

(And the hands were far lower than the horses heads, downward broken lines to the bit is what I saw quite clearly, when there is little bend in the elbow an elastic connection is no longer available.)

I totally agree that going in an inverted position is not wanted, just the opposite, and should be worked on right from the start.
But getting the head down FIRST and in the MANNER that was being asked for is not how you do it, and getting the head down first DOES not equate CORRECT roundness.

No clinicians aren't magicians, but if a clinician had been in this situation who had sound methods, back to front methods being a biggie, there would have been some HUGE changes for the better.

I can just imagine if the rider on the dark bay was asked to ride at walk on a 15m circle with lots of bend in her elbow, (would her hands have been higher, yup, there actually would have been a straight line to the bit, and her arms have more support with enough bend in them, her elbows deep and closed by her side, giving the ability to be soft and elastic. Too straight and forced arms don't result in anything but rigidness, fighting from the horse, their necks are always stronger than ours, and inhibiting the hindlegs from bending underneath, which is where you should be getting your roundness from.)

With her arms in the above outline, having her take up a soft, consistent, connection with the outside rein, guiding the horse around the circle with a soft inside ride at the same time that she uses her inside leg to ask the inside hind to move under. Only asking when the horse's inside hind steps forward, the timing of which the clinician would help with.
The rider has to stay loose in her legs and seat, and soft in her arms, for the stiff horse to start to loosen up and bring the inside hind under more little by little. The forwardness also has to be watched out for, if the horse starts going to slow, and sometimes moving too much laterally with the inside hind, then marching the horse forward again with her outside leg corrects both.

As the inside hind starts to curl under more, an amazing thing happens, the back starts to become softer and looser, AND the neck rounds accordingly, falling softly and submissively into your hands, it also bends to the inside accordingly.
The results are amazing on the stiffest horse.

Several of our local FEI instructors would have done SOOO much better giving the clinic.

horsepix76
Apr. 2, 2007, 11:02 AM
I wouldn't call what Kay taught as "ram and cram" at all. In the lecture part of the clinic (which was also open to the public) she handed out copies of a chart that was from Col. Bengt Ljundquist's book Practical Dressage Manual regarding the development of dressage horses. She wanted us to understand this development of the outline of the horse.

As I understood it, she simply wanted the rider to hold their hands steady so as NOT to punish the horse in the mouth. Most of the riders had bouncy hands. Because of they were using their hands/reins for balance (instead of their seat and core muscles) they were asked to hold on to either the pommel or the front of the saddle pad to steady the hands so that the horse WOULD come down and into the bridle. If the horse is constantly being banged in the mouth, of course their head is going to go up and they're going to be hollow in the back.

Even the local FEI rider who did participate had glaringly obvious holes in his training -- his position being one of them. Kay didn't pussy-foot around it. She put him on a 20m circle and worked on him getting his leg underneath him so that instead of riding around in a chair seat on his tail bone, he was actually on his sitting bones and had correct heal/hip/shoulder/ear alignment. She had him do many of the exercises that the rest of us worked on too and it really made an impression on me as to how VERY important it is to have the correct basics before moving up the levels.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 2, 2007, 11:09 AM
Yes, many many FEI level riders don't have sound basics.

I said several, not all, of our FEI level riders, I have three in my head to be exact.

snoopy
Apr. 2, 2007, 11:24 AM
Horsepix...I did not mention one person in particular....I believe I said "some". So please do not read into it that is was referring to Kay "on this particular day"....as someone pointed out, some where not there to whitness the clinic. This again boils down to some getting something different from the experience then others. As I've said, I am glad you had such a positive experience at the clinic, that is what it should be about:) !

A Horse of Course
Apr. 2, 2007, 11:35 AM
Hmm, I never heard, any mention of seat and core muscles, while I was watching.
I totally agree to use your seat and core muscles, but I didn't see that happening.
I saw hands too low and arms too straight, causing a lack of ability to use support from the core and seat, your horse can unseat you quite easily from that position, they also had a constant backwards pressure against the mouth in an attempt to get that head down, which was what was being asked to do.
When you bring your forearms up to sufficiently bend your arms, with elbows almost parallel to your side, than your seat can actually support your arms, and as said above you have the ability to create an elastic connection, not a fixed rigid one inhibiting forward movement of the hindlegs.

MHJLittlefield
Apr. 2, 2007, 12:06 PM
Hmm, I never heard, any mention of seat and core muscles, while I was watching.
I totally agree to use your seat and core muscles, but I didn't see that happening.
I saw hands too low and arms too straight, causing a lack of ability to use support from the core and seat, your horse can unseat you quite easily from that position, they also had a constant backwards pressure against the mouth in an attempt to get that head down, which was what was being asked to do.
When you bring your forearms up to sufficiently bend your arms, with elbows almost parallel to your side, than your seat can actually support your arms, and as said above you have the ability to create an elastic connection, not a fixed rigid one inhibiting forward movement of the hindlegs.

As I said earlier, I only watched bits and pieces, but I certainly did hear KM talk about the necessity of using the core and seat correctly with riders at all stages.

Some just couldn't get past focusing on the head and neck and hands and arms. ;)

horsepix76
Apr. 2, 2007, 12:13 PM
Hmm, I never heard, any mention of seat and core muscles, while I was watching.
I totally agree to use your seat and core muscles, but I didn't see that happening.
I saw hands too low and arms too straight, causing a lack of ability to use support from the core and seat, your horse can unseat you quite easily from that position, they also had a constant backwards pressure against the mouth in an attempt to get that head down, which was what was being asked to do.
When you bring your forearms up to sufficiently bend your arms, with elbows almost parallel to your side, than your seat can actually support your arms, and as said above you have the ability to create an elastic connection, not a fixed rigid one inhibiting forward movement of the hindlegs.

I don't know how many times I heard her say with every rider to "Use your middle body" which she explained in the lecture as being between the knees and your upper abdomen. Use your middle body for transitions, to slow the horse, to move the horse over. Always to use the middle body. And the hands were down to steady them. No horse will come down (as is obvious by the underneck muscles of most of the horses that were in the clinic) into hands that are constantly banging on their mouth.

In addition, it wasn't that she didn't want an elastic connection, its that she didn't want bouncing hands. It is much kinder to the horse to have a steady, yet shorter rein, than a longer rein attached to a bouncing hand.

The accompanying lecture series really helped me to understand where Kay was coming from and what she was trying to accomplish. We discussed general concepts and issues that individual clinic riders were facing. I'm really sorry that all the riders and auditors didn't attend the lectures because I think it would have been very beneficial for all.

horsepix76
Apr. 2, 2007, 12:21 PM
And one of the points that I really loved was that she wanted the horses SLOWED DOWN. She didn't want to see horses racing around with their heads in the air trying to be pushed into the bridle. Instead, she wanted the horse slowed down so that neither the horse or rider rush through the exercise. This thought too was applied at every level from basic to the FEI rider. More energy DOES NOT equal faster. You must be able to keep the horse at a slow steady tempo WITHOUT sacrificing THRUST from the rear end. :) When riders were able to achieve those moments, breakthroughs occurred. :)

lstevenson
Apr. 2, 2007, 01:46 PM
Upon going to audit Kay Meredith at the Hoosier Horse Fair, I had heard mixed reviews, (mostly on this board.) The one "live" opinion I got was from someone I know and respect, and she was also not so positive in her opinon based on Meredith's riding. This friend is a very positive, optimistic person, so she then said that perhaps Meredith teaches better than she rides.

So I went, excited and hopeful.....but was quickly, and I mean in less than 2 minutes, horrified, flabergasted, could not believe what I was hearing!!!!!!

Within the first minute of her speaking the words that came out of her mouth were, "You can't do anything else until you get the horse's head down first, we worked on this yesterday and while we are walking you will work on getting your horse's head down."

And HOW does one proceed to get the head down? She said and kept repeating, to keep the hands very low (so low that their arms were almost completely straight) and then hold your hand down and braced as hard as you can. No, sorry, I am not exagerating.
And what did the horses do? Uh they braced back, and fought back constantly jerking their heads. And what did Meredith say to do, "Don't let him do that hold your hands down harder!"

Arms are just about as straight as a board at this point, braced against the pommel for support and the horse flings his head more, starts marching backwards, and when stops, starts to paw in frustration and Meredith says, "Good let him fight." Anytime the horse flings his head, which alwasy results in rider's hands being jerked out of place an inch or so, was given a "Hold harder."

Well, funny enough their necks are stronger than our puny little arms will ever be, so a continuous downward bracing hold is never F*#$%&# going to work. Well, on the occasions that it does, it leads to a false frame, yay.

Let's not mention the fact that getting the flippin head down is a result of moving freely forward and engaging the hind end and the back, and a constant brace of the hands inhibits that action.
Did she mention that at all, even a teensy weensy little bit, NOOOO. Not ONE word about moving freely forward, not even a HINT. Well I should have known, as she said in the beginning "You can't do anything else until you get the head down." And since that didn't happen with any horse, obviously there was no getting to anything else!!!!

The whole lesson was on getting the heads down in this way, with NO progress. The rider, above whose horse starting backing up and pawing, was excused after about 20min or so of trying to get this horse's head down at the walk with no progress.

This was the worst FRONT to BACK teaching I have ever seen, I thought I was in the freaking Twilight Zone. After about 45min two new ridres came in, I couldn't stomach anymore so I left at that point.

I'm sure I will offend someone who is a fan, though you need your head thoroughly examined if you are, nevertheless I'll fasten my flame suit.



So sad. But that, unfortunately is what the majority of dressage instruction is about in this country. I know some people will argue with me that the word majority is not correct, but if you really watch instructors all over the country teach, you will see front to back riding everwhere. And it's a real shame. Poor horses.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 2, 2007, 02:37 PM
As I said earlier, I only watched bits and pieces, but I certainly did hear KM talk about the necessity of using the core and seat correctly with riders at all stages.

Some just couldn't get past focusing on the head and neck and hands and arms. ;)

Well, I only watched the first 40min or so of the afternoon clinic, and I didn't see it move past incorrect arms and incorrectly asking the head to come down.

As I was walking around I saw the horse that was left, a saddlebred mare I believe, running around very tense, quick short strides, at the trot, with her back and hind end disconnected. Hands were still held in a rigid position, neck was up and tense, w/some tight flexion in the poll.

I disagree that anyone's hands became less harsh. There are various ways to have harsh hands, still and rigid, jerking, seesawing...I saw still and rigid.

horsepix76
Apr. 2, 2007, 02:52 PM
So sad. But that, unfortunately is what the majority of dressage instruction is about in this country. I know some people will argue with me that the word majority is not correct, but if you really watch instructors all over the country teach, you will see front to back riding everwhere. And it's a real shame. Poor horses.

I didn't see horses suffering -- I saw horses improving. Sometimes the changes were small, but they were there. And over the course of the weekend, the changes were really amazing. I saw horses that were upside down come round and find impulsion. I saw riders learn to use their seats and core muscles INSTEAD of their hands. I saw a FEI rider striving to get to GP get closer than he ever had been in both tempis and piaffe (and also learn where the holes in his training are).

What I find to be sad is that the OP gave horribly negative clinic report on a hugely public forum after sitting through only 20 minutes of a 3-day clinic. While Kay's strong personality may not mesh with some, her "bag of tricks" was based squarely on classical training and having a consistent steady connection with the horse's mouth WITHOUT losing the energy (or THRUST in her terms) from behind.

I've audited many clinics with other BNTs including multiple ones with WAZ and Lisa Wilcox. Although Kay's no-nonsense personality comes through moreso than the soft spoken nature of these other clinicians, her desire to see the horse and rider work in harmony -- and her ability to help the horse and rider get there -- is just as apparent as in the other two I mentioned. I would recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to at least audit her clinics and lectures do so if possible. You may be suprised at what you learn.

Carol Ames
Apr. 2, 2007, 02:59 PM
She could so easily have raised the horses' back, :yes: and commented on "the circle of muscles"also have done a "pelvic tilt " to show how what engagement if the haunches is; unfortunately the people who saw came away with a very wrong idea of what dressage is, :eek: and why we do it.and the horses aret he ones who will suffer from it.

Carol Ames
Apr. 2, 2007, 03:04 PM
Wouldn't it be interesting to put together a "why dressage clinic?"om atleast video?

lstevenson
Apr. 2, 2007, 03:07 PM
I didn't see horses suffering -- I saw horses improving. I saw horses that were upside down come round and find impulsion. I saw riders learn to use their seats and core muscles INSTEAD of their hands. I saw a FEI rider striving to get to GP get closer than he ever had been in both tempis and piaffe (and also learn where the holes in his training are).

What I find to be sad is that the OP gave horribly negative clinic report on a hugely public forum after sitting through only 20 minutes of a 3-day clinic. While Kay's strong personality may not mesh with some, her "bag of tricks" was based squarely on classical training and having a consistent steady connection with the horse's mouth WITHOUT losing the energy (or THRUST in her terms) from behind.

I've audited many clinics with other BNTs including multiple ones with WAZ and Lisa Wilcox. Although Kay's no-nonsense personality comes through moreso than the soft spoken nature of these other clinicians, her desire to see the horse and rider work in harmony -- and her ability to help the horse and rider get there -- is just as apparent as in the other two I mentioned. I would recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to at least audit her clinics and lectures do so if possible. You may be suprised at what you learn.


While I hope you are correct, I do think that it's pretty hard to believe that the OP imagined some of the things she saw. Especially when I see SO MUCH of this all over. Front to back riding is an absolute epidemic. And it's so easy to be fooled into thinking that that's not what they are actually doing if you don't know what to look for.

How do you explain some of the qoutes? Such as, "Don't let him do that hold your hands down harder!" ???

A Horse of Course
Apr. 2, 2007, 03:09 PM
Actually more like 30min-40min or so, but you're right I didn't stay for much, I couldn't tke it.

And I saw COMPLETELY different teachings, actions, and results that took place than you did. So we will have to agree to disagree.

I did not see an ounce of improvement of the horses I saw, the opposite actually.

I spoke nothing of her tone or personality, that's not what made me do a 180, I have seen much more demanding and impatient trainers.

Sorry but when the first words that come out of your mouth are, "You can't do anything until you get the horse's head down." She also said that, "Dressage, besides making a nice pleasure horse (no problem with saying that) that it is to create a round horse (great)....by getting the head down.(not great, very bad)" Not cool and it's one of the biggest faults in defining what round and on the bit is.

Again that was in the first 2min, nonethless I stayed for another 30min or so hoping I would hear a recovery, but I didn't.

horsepix76
Apr. 2, 2007, 03:22 PM
While I hope you are correct, I do think that it's pretty hard to believe that the OP imagined some of the things she saw. Especially when I see SO MUCH of this all over. Front to back riding is an absolute epidemic. And it's so easy to be fooled into thinking that that's not what they are actually doing if you don't know what to look for.

How do you explain some of the qoutes? Such as, "Don't let him do that hold your hands down harder!" ???

Let me clarify that I'm not saying that the OP imagined hearing the clinician tell the rider to put her hands down. I was told the same thing during my ride. But the intent was not to pull the horses head down, it was to keep steady contact so that the horse could trust the rider's hands enough to bring his/her head down on their own.

There were a few horses that had horribly incorrect muscle development due to the way their riders had been riding at home for YEARS. This can hardly be fixed in a 45 minute session. While these were nice horses and nice people, they simply weren't riding the horse correctly into the bridle. Horses and riders were pulling against each other and the rider's innate responses were to widen the hands, raise the hands, see-saw the hands etc. Kay wanted the hands QUIET and DOWN at the wither (with the bend at the elbow). No pulling. No see-sawing. No widening of the hands (ala hunter style). Keep the hands together and steady so that the horse had consistency and could be comfortable bringing the head down. This was a puzzle for the horse to figure out -- because up until that point, the rider had been letting the horse put its head wherever it choose (including pulling the rider forward out of the saddle, pulling on the reins, etc.).

Please keep in mind that for the most part, these were not properly trained horses coming into the clinic. While the owners had the best intentions and were very nice people, they simply had training issues that they weren't apparently able to deal with on their own at home. Most of the horse/rider combos that had such issues were pre-training level/training level and did not have a correct foundation where the horse was taught to carry itself.

Also keep in mind that if Kay really wanted the riders to pull the horse's heads down, she would have encouraged a see saw or some other horribly cruel method to do so. Instead, she wanted steady contact so that the horse could trust the rider enough to relax.

horsepix76
Apr. 2, 2007, 03:24 PM
Sorry but when the first words that come out of your mouth are, "You can't do anything until you get the horse's head down." She also said that, "Dressage, besides making a nice pleasure horse (no problem with saying that) that it is to create a round horse (great)....by getting the head down.(not great, very bad)" Not cool and it's one of the biggest faults in defining what round and on the bit is.


Again, I think if you'd have attended the lectures, you'd have a better understanding of what she meant by that comment. And according to Kay, being round and on the bit were definitely two different things.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 2, 2007, 08:43 PM
But according to her, being round was getting the neck down...which is wrong.

I just spoke to a friend who went on Friday and watched, this friend used to ride with George Williams, and she saw the FEI rider I believe you were speaking of, and said the same thing as you, that she gave some well needed comments for him.

However, when she saw her teach the very low level riders/horses, she was very dissapointed in what was being taught to do and also saw it as very front to back, incorrect and ineffective.

Which confirms my thinking earlier, that while teaching horse/rider who already move somewhat round and on the bit, falsey or not, she wouldn't seem so bad.
But give a horse to start from scratch and out comes the...fix your hands obscenely low and brace against the mouth, by god that'll get em "round".

She can lecture all she wants, but I saw what she taught and that spoke for itself.
And the comment of, "You can't do anything else until you get the head down", um I don't see how she can talk her way out of that one.

Reminds me of an Arabian trainer I used to know, trains for the breed shows, who uses the same dressage terms, with some of the same definitions, yet trains and rides completely differently than what she SAYS she is actually doing. But this person still thinks that what they are doing is collection, bending, forward...as it would be for dressage.
So again, one can talk a good talk, (though in the clinic she didn't even do that) but walking the walk can be a tad different to say the least.

mishmash
Apr. 2, 2007, 10:06 PM
I was there on Friday and watched the first 3 riders. The first two were showing 1st and 2nd level, I believe. Kay emphasized keeping the hands down and quiet, so that a steady connection was maintained. I distinctly remember her saying that you should not try and use your hands to put the horse on the bit! Both horses very distracted, and both riders were either distracted or could not hear her, because they had a hard time following what I thought were pretty basic instructions. (Leg yield to X, 10 meter circle , leg yield back across the diagonal.) Her other points were to be accurate, use the corners, and don't rush! Both horses showed improvement in contact, tempo, and relaxation WHEN the riders were capable of following Kays directions.
I come from a barn where I feel like I get very good, very correct instruction-something that is reaffirmed to me whenever I attend a clinic where I see AA struggling with the same issues I have and being given the same instruction, by BNT's. I felt Kay did a good job, based on what these riders were capable of accomplishing in that short time frame. Not to criticize the riders, but I expected to see people who were a little stronger in their basics.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 2, 2007, 10:19 PM
Well, like I said, you can "say" something and then "do" something else, thinking that both the saying and the doing are the same.

In this case, you said that Kay said not to use the hands to try and put the horse on the bit, YET that is what I saw being asked to do and that is what was done.

So again, agree to disagree, I saw it all very differently.

mjhco
Apr. 2, 2007, 10:34 PM
Well, like I said, you can "say" something and then "do" something else, thinking that both the saying and the doing are the same.

In this case, you said that Kay said not to use the hands to try and put the horse on the bit, YET that is what I saw being asked to do and that is what was done.

So again, agree to disagree, I saw it all very differently.


So, did you raise your hand and suggest what she SHOULD be doing. To her face, rather than starting this thread on a public forum?

If you are so very knowledgeable and can do this so well, I am SURE she would have appreciated the insight and wisdom you can offer.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 2, 2007, 10:47 PM
I wish I had, and I would have asked what she considered front to back riding?
It didn't seem like an auditor asking set up, at least not during the clinic, I wasn't there at the end, maybe then there was a question asking time?
But no, I doubt she would have appreciated anyone's "wisdom" other than her own, she didn't seem like the type.:)

And to your other comment that you wished you had seen riders with better basics attend the clinic.
That's a bad excuse for why there weren't better results. This was an educational clinic, that is what Kay Meredith was there for, to teach them better basics at whatever level they were at.

RumoursFollow
Apr. 2, 2007, 11:06 PM
Well, I know nothing more about dressage people than your average hunter/jumper person, and I've ridden with some mean trainers in my time ;) but I found that woman's methods deplorable. I was surprised that she yelled as much as she did. I had a horse there for the Linda Allen clinic, and I spent quite a bit of time either sitting at the ring or listening to her screaming from my horse's stall (20ft from the ring) and my only thought was that I couldn't believe how much she was yelling and belittling people considering the venue and wide audience. When I mentioned this to several people, they told me that she has calmed down considerably over the years! Yikes! I swear someone said something to her, because by the last day, she was no longer screaming.

To each his own I suppose, and keeping in mind that I have certainly seen my share of screamers and I am not afraid of them, I would not be appreciative of it in that type of venue. I was very glad Linda Allen managed to be nice and still teach quite a few people quite a few things.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 2, 2007, 11:28 PM
Well, IMO, often the screamers are one's that can't teach very well and decide to take it out on the student instead.

Though I can't say I cared for her delivery, mike was really loud though, without the mike I'm not sure I would see it as screaming, though she did have an annoying frustrated tone from the beginning.
I was far more preoccupied with what she was asking the riders to do, the rude delivery of the wrong message was icing on the cake.

Whitfield Farm Hanoverians
Apr. 2, 2007, 11:40 PM
As an old Meredith Manor student I have to say that the negative aspects that were mentioned doesn't sound like anything Ms. M has us doing 27 years ago. I rode with her when she had Denny & Ann Callin teaching the dressage riders also. I remember her being a stickler for classical riding. She did make us stretch alot but I'm glad as I've always known that if you can't lengthen the horse's neck at any time you're not correct. She was tough back then also but I liked her alot. She was also always trying to get us to understand how to ride back to front. One of her favorite exercises was having us ride without the inside rein whenever we could to test the self carriage, especially in lateral work. Anyway, so sorry you had a negative lesson with her. I really enjoyed her in the past & still use lots of things from my time with her & Denny.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 2, 2007, 11:58 PM
It's strange how we can all have such different accounts of one person and her teaching.
I was just PMed by someone who has known her for longer, and they had even more negative things to say then what I saw.

Well, interesting, my opinion remains, as I'm sure everyone else's opinion does.

Dressage-ryder
Apr. 3, 2007, 12:31 AM
To the OP....I think its important to post your review...thanks for doing so.
Everyone will have different opinions but I think its great that you saw something you found to be very wrong and you pointed it out.
I like when I can find these things out before going, in my opinion, 1 person this unhappy is enough to convince me to pass!
I guess its just agree to disagree with some!

A Horse of Course
Apr. 3, 2007, 12:41 AM
Thank you Dressage-ryder and you're welcome. Though I actually feel a little weird, as I'm not usually such a drama queen when I post!

I think I've calmed down now, but that really put my knickers in a twist.

STF
Apr. 3, 2007, 08:52 AM
I hope everyone can keep an open mind and realize it takes more than a day, a weekend or even a month to understand a trainer. You cant judge someone over a few hours. :(

STF
Apr. 3, 2007, 08:54 AM
It's strange how we can all have such different accounts of one person and her teaching.
I was just PMed by someone who has known her for longer, and they had even more negative things to say then what I saw.

Well, interesting, my opinion remains, as I'm sure everyone else's opinion does.


I respect your opinion, but Im also old enough to know to keep an open mind with this stuff, as I said in my last post, you can judge someone over a weekend, based on horses they dont train.

I can tell you, there is negative stuff about EVERY trainer. Look at what poor Anky, Lisa, Hilda, etc go though.

Personally, I loved your feedback and respect it but I would also want to see and work with her before I would make a final decision.

That, I think is fair.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 3, 2007, 10:06 AM
STF, I agree with you. If I was reading this posted by someone else I wouldn't make a complete judgement either.
And I agree that normally you can't judge someone off of a small amount of time, what *I* heard and saw being asked was, to me, so blatantly wrong for dressage that in this instance I have no problem making a judgment, for myself.

Unfortunately I keep getting PMed by others w/info that goes far beyond what I saw.

I leave the word abuse for actions much much worse towards horses. So I hope no one thought that's what I was saying.
However, if it was done to my horse I probably would have. And I wouldn't say the horses were comfortable either.

However, the PMs I have received from different posters, have far worse things to say, with specifics, in different locations, and they don't contradict eachother. They also speak of other trainers Kay was in business with, and not well. Among others, one was said to have, been banned from competing in a state, of which was named, but I don't want to give any specifics, I will try to look this up though and see if there is any file on it.

Unfortunately, based on the little I saw and how bad the PMs were, I have made up my mind.

SandyUHC
Apr. 3, 2007, 10:18 AM
And one of the points that I really loved was that she wanted the horses SLOWED DOWN. She didn't want to see horses racing around with their heads in the air trying to be pushed into the bridle. Instead, she wanted the horse slowed down so that neither the horse or rider rush through the exercise. This thought too was applied at every level from basic to the FEI rider. More energy DOES NOT equal faster. You must be able to keep the horse at a slow steady tempo WITHOUT sacrificing THRUST from the rear end. :) When riders were able to achieve those moments, breakthroughs occurred. :)

So, did she have the rider slow the horses with their seats (through slower posting) or with their reins? (Hint: The correct answer is not reins.)

A Horse of Course
Apr. 3, 2007, 11:22 AM
Sandy, her supporters are going to say she said seat.
She easily could have, but what she was saying versus what she was actually having them do, was quite different in my opinion.

For example, the thinking that she was creating kinder hands, by having them in a very low fixed position and strongly braced back and down against the mouth, was IMO definitely not kind and was making some pretty uncomfortable and unhappy horses.
Like the one who started to back up and paw the ground, I thought he might try to flip over, and unfortunately he would have had a reason to, for the rider I'm very glad he didn't, she didn't no better.

mishmash
Apr. 3, 2007, 01:38 PM
She specifically said "Slow your posting" several times. The very first thing she did when the riders entered the ring was correct their leg position.

Horse of Course, think you have a right to your opinion. But I saw several hours of the clinic, and different riders-you saw only 20 minutes with one rider. I stand by what I said. Though she is not the most tactful clinician I have seen, I saw or heard nothing to make me feel uncomfortable with what she did. I feel she did the best she could, with some riders and horses that had gaps in their training-she went back and worked on correcting those gaps. Also working with riders that seemed at times to ignore her.

I have never been tempted to ride in a clinic because I feel we are still working on basics-w-t-c on bit and forward, and with controlled on the bit transitions. If I ever conquer those things, would not hesitate to ride with her. As long as I am still working on the "basics", feel my money and time on the horse is better spent with my own trainer. Some of the riders I saw, would have been better off spending the $$ with a local trainer and a few more lessons.

horsepix76
Apr. 3, 2007, 02:07 PM
So, did she have the rider slow the horses with their seats (through slower posting) or with their reins? (Hint: The correct answer is not reins.)

Absolutely with the seat (or in her terms, with the middle body). She NEVER advocated using the reins to slow the horse.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 3, 2007, 02:47 PM
I saw longer than 20min and with more than one rider.
I also kept hearing her as I walked around, couldn't help it.

I didn't see what you are saying you saw, nor that the basics were being taught correctly.

Oh well. I don't assume I can convince anyone otherwise, that's fine.

egontoast
Apr. 3, 2007, 03:07 PM
I don't know the person but these kinds of threads just give rise to so much bile. You know, usually, it's enough to say that you recommend that people audit before signing up. wink. It's usually not necessary to go on and on page after page repeating over and over what you don't like about someone, thereby affecting their professional reputation.

It's like you could not wait to get to your computer to file your righteously indignant expose. So it wasn't your cup of tea.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 3, 2007, 03:15 PM
It's like you could not wait to get to your computer to file your righteously indignant expose. So it wasn't your cup of tea.

I have to say you are right about that. I was pissed and couldn't wait to share it! Bad I know.

Oh well. I still wouldn't tell anyone not to audit.
You learn just as much from figuring out what not to do as what should be done.

I feel I have said enough though.

horsepix76
Apr. 3, 2007, 03:30 PM
Both horses very distracted, and both riders were either distracted or could not hear her, because they had a hard time following what I thought were pretty basic instructions. (Leg yield to X, 10 meter circle , leg yield back across the diagonal.)

As a rider, I can say that between the noise from the Kiddie Corral and the dead spots in the riding ring, it was actually very difficult to hear her. The sound system was set up for those in the bleachers, not those riding. It would have been nice to have a head set or something.

eggbutt
Apr. 3, 2007, 03:40 PM
I'm not sure what more can be said back and forth and I should just ignore this thread rather than jump in again...Can we let this go now? For heaven's sake, I think we all get the point that Kay was not a good clinician for you or several others. It would be amusing if Kay is at home telling friends how appalled she was at the beginners registered for this clinic and how they didn't listen, didn't come to the lecture series, etc, etc, etc. :yes: Kay is tough, tough, tough and that certainly was mentioned on this forum well before the clinic. I'm not sure what more is wanted by the OP.

rileyt
Apr. 3, 2007, 03:47 PM
I just have to comment... through all of this back and forth, I have found nothing venemous about HorseofCourse's posts.

I recognize that KM is a fairly well known clinician, and one of my old instructors used to work with her frequently, and thought she was great.

But none of that makes HorseofCourse's points less valid. She saw what she saw, and heard what she heard.

I, for one, am glad she posted here. I think these reviews are helpful to all of us... much more helpful than a bland "I didn't care for her, wink".

This is a national clinician who is providing a service for a fee -- not a private individual -- if these types of comments are fair game, then what is?

Especially when, in my view, the poster with the gripe has presented it about as tactfully as I've ever seen on this board.

Let's agree to disagree. But let's keep on disagreeing openly (and tactfully) because there is a lot of good information on this board.

Now everyone, follow me... kum ba yaaaaa my lord, kum ba yaaa

egontoast
Apr. 3, 2007, 03:59 PM
But none of that makes HorseofCourse's points less valid. She saw what she saw, and heard what she heard

Sure that's fine, but going to 4 pages and the OP posting 20 times saying pretty much the same thing over and over seems a little like overkill. JMO and I can have one too.;)

eggbutt
Apr. 3, 2007, 04:04 PM
Sure that's fine, but going to 4 pages and the OP posting 20 times saying pretty much the same thing over and over seems a little like overkill. JMO and I can have one too.;)

Exactly what I was trying to say...enough already OP.

I completely agree that the original post was wonderful and meaningful and I totally appreciate reviews of all kinds.

snoopy
Apr. 3, 2007, 05:44 PM
I just have to comment... through all of this back and forth, I have found nothing venemous about HorseofCourse's posts.

I recognize that KM is a fairly well known clinician, and one of my old instructors used to work with her frequently, and thought she was great.

But none of that makes HorseofCourse's points less valid. She saw what she saw, and heard what she heard.

I, for one, am glad she posted here. I think these reviews are helpful to all of us... much more helpful than a bland "I didn't care for her, wink".

This is a national clinician who is providing a service for a fee -- not a private individual -- if these types of comments are fair game, then what is?

Especially when, in my view, the poster with the gripe has presented it about as tactfully as I've ever seen on this board.

Let's agree to disagree. But let's keep on disagreeing openly (and tactfully) because there is a lot of good information on this board.

Now everyone, follow me... kum ba yaaaaa my lord, kum ba yaaa


Couldn't agree more. The OP has been nothing but tactful and respectful with regards to her experience....perhaps the reason she has had to repeat her posts is that there are those who disagree with what she herself experienced from "THIS" clinic. Alot of the banter is from those who have worked with her in the past or know Kay personally etc. She has merely done nothing but answer her critics....and in a very polite manner.

Carol Ames
Apr. 3, 2007, 11:20 PM
o and it really made an impression on me as to how VERY important it is to have the correct basics before moving up the levels.but, how does one do this?It sounds to me as if correct basics were not addressed ; :mad: only headsetting at the walk:no: a , only "headsetting " athewalk
************

snoopy
Apr. 4, 2007, 08:33 AM
Yes carol it sounds strange to me that the clinic would have been more successful had people had the basics down BEFORE attending. There was no mention of what level Kay would have prefered the horses to be at should someone wish to attend. Even so, she could have worked with those who were working on that very thing:eek: :D I was not there so cannot comment on what was asked of those who were working on the very basics.

horsepix76
Apr. 4, 2007, 08:45 AM
Yes carol it sounds strange to me that the clinic would have been more successful had people had the basics down BEFORE attending.

As a rider in this particular clinic, I can safely say that there really were no requirements for being accepted as a rider. I had to complete a registration form, write down both my experience and my horse's experience on a separate piece of paper and include a check. No videos were required, etc. I can only assume that the clinic organizer did her best and gave everyone the benefit of the doubt (regarding the truth about their own experience) in regards to how riders were selected.

Unfortunately at this type of event/venue (horse fair), I think its difficult to get people to apply for dressage clinics. Its a hassle to get your horse there (not like a clinic at a private farm). I wouldn't have hauled my horse all the way there if we were only doing the clinic (and I only live about 35 minutes from the location of the horse fair). I applied because I was already going to be there for the breed demos. My point is that because this fair is held so early in the spring, if you required video tapes of riders, the organizers would probably have an even harder time getter riders to apply.

But having said that, if you're not going to require riders to use a video application, then you have to take what you can get in regards to the skill levels. Looking back over the list of horses that were there and what level they were supposed to be training/showing at (according to their application), all but two of the horse/rider combos had listed themselves above their true abilities.

snoopy
Apr. 4, 2007, 08:59 AM
The truth ALWAYS comes out in the end dosen't it;) ....as horses do not lie.
I could never understand why people would inflate their experience level. Nothing good ever comes of that.:D

horsepix76
Apr. 4, 2007, 09:53 AM
So true. I heard Kay say the same thing. ;)

ise@ssl
Apr. 4, 2007, 10:31 AM
Well honestly - if your horse goes around with his head in the air when you take contact on the reins - why spend the money on a clinic? Obviously this horse needs much more time being lunged with side reins to educate him that contact means nose down. It also teaches them to come over the back and use the topline muscles and not the under part of their neck to brace against the reins.

Some young or untrained horses take time to understand this part of the training and we just wouldn't take a horse to an under saddle clinic if they weren't accepting the rein contact and moving FORWARD off the leg.

Maria
Apr. 4, 2007, 10:47 AM
Anyone want another beer?

How 'bout some popcorn?

horsepix76
Apr. 4, 2007, 10:54 AM
Well honestly - if your horse goes around with his head in the air when you take contact on the reins - why spend the money on a clinic?

I think the issue is that those riders honestly thought their horses were more advanced. Just because one shows at a given level does not mean they SHOULD be showing at that level.

snoopy
Apr. 4, 2007, 11:18 AM
[QUOTE=ise@ssl;2340277]Well honestly - if your horse goes around with his head in the air when you take contact on the reins - why spend the money on a clinic?



Because a clinic by its very defination IS a lesson. And if you have a green horse what better way to start the basics correctly than with someone who is experienced at all levels. Where is it written that you need only apply to anyone's clinic unless you are schooling above a certain level? Unless of course this is stated as a requirement of participation in said clinic.:D I would rather spend a bit more for a clinic, gets some good information then spend more in the long run fixing proplems as a result of a poor start.:D

ise@ssl
Apr. 4, 2007, 11:42 AM
Look - if you have a completely untrained green horse - it would seem obvious that going to a clinic at a place with a tremendous amount of distractions isn't going to provide you with a learning environment. JMHO.

And there are plenty of clinics being offered regarding the GROUND WORK that needs to be done before you start putting a horse into undersaddle work. Miracles aren't going to happen at a location with tremendous noise and distraction issues.

GOING TO AUDIT such a clinic would be extremely beneficial and then speaking with the clinician with respect to the specific problems you might have and how to work through them.

This isn't even close to being about moving up the levels - it's about putting a foundation on a horse on the grounds, then some basics under saddle before venturing out to another venue in a group and expecting to have a trainer work miracles.

And I stand behind my earlier comment - a horse that constantly has it's nose in the air with any rein contact or goes backwards with leg contact isn't ready for any under saddle clinic. This horse needs much more ground work and in-hand work.

snoopy
Apr. 4, 2007, 12:02 PM
[QUOTE=ise@ssl;2340453]
then some basics under saddle before venturing out to another venue in a group and expecting to have a trainer work miracles.

And I stand behind my earlier comment - a horse that constantly has it's nose in the air with any rein contact or goes backwards with leg contact isn't ready for any under saddle clinic. QUOTE]



I do not believe I ever used the word MIRACLES...perhaps some of the riders were there to work on just such a thing...basics under saddle. Looking to lay the correct foundations...which in my mind are basics.
Not all clinics are held in a very busy environment.
Just went to a scott hassler clinic where he was working on basics with a just broken four year old. (He also worked with different horses up to PSG) Perhaps this is why he was put in charge of young horse development...to get the basics right from the beginning. Not once did he say get the head down or was he "above" working with this horse and rider...who by the way showed tremendous improvement as a result of this clinic. This rider will now have the knowledge and confidence to go home and "work on the basics" and give the horse a proper start.
I am of the understanding that Kay did not require everyone who participated to be working at a certain level. I could be wrong in this assumption as I did not attend. I can only go on what has been written here.

eggbutt
Apr. 4, 2007, 12:13 PM
Anyone want another beer?

How 'bout some popcorn?

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

ise@ssl
Apr. 4, 2007, 12:32 PM
Oh Please snoopy - Scott uses the same German Pyramid system that most of us use with our young horses. I've been breeding horses for 20+ years and we start them under saddle AFTER they have a strong foundation with ground work. I think this hread wasn't about anything but bashing the person dong the clinic. And even if a just started 4 yo was at one of Scott's clinics - that doesn't mean the person didn't work with this horse on the ground and establish training in hand before getting on the horse.

Even with Natural Horsemanship the concept that the horse should have it's head down relates to the concept of "flight" or focus. We spend a great deal of time with our foals from birth leading them and teaching them to keep their noses DOWN and their focus on US. Transferring this basic to their groundwork, in hand work and then under saddle work depnds on them accepting this basic premise. It also assures that their vision is focused where we want it and not somewhere else.

But CLEARLY - some of you on here have all the knowledge - so I'm not sure why you even pay to go somewhere to learn something. I honestly feel sorry for Kay Meredith - and I hope the OP sends HER and the person putting on the clinic this post. Perhaps if it was so horrid - you should have dismounted, asked for a refund and LEFT.

MHJLittlefield
Apr. 4, 2007, 12:34 PM
Saying someone *should* know better than to enter a clinic without proper basics installed is unrealistic. There are plenty of people who ride and own horses who don't have any idea what "proper basics" are, in all disciplines and all areas of the country. Unfortunately, there are also many who ride with "trainers" who don't have much more of a clue.

Sometimes, riding in a clinic such as the one at HHF is the only way to get any type of truly professional instruction. For those people, it's not a waste of money if they manage to hang onto even one or two small tips that help them move forward.

As for taking a totally green combination into a noisy, busy atmosphere... it might not be the ideal but, really, so what? Horses get used to almost anything quickly and if you're paying attention to the lesson, you won't be distracted by the environment, either. Training doesn't need to happen in a vacuum.

slc2
Apr. 4, 2007, 12:36 PM
the situation was absurd, and i don't agree with how the OP saw it - that's like saying 'oh dear, the trainer told the rider to pull on poor horsey's reins, how cruel and unclassical' when the horse is bolting off into the sunset toward a major highway...critiques need to at least have some degree of commonsense behind them. And...guess what, a horse DOES have to put its head down! There is a point beyond which no control is possible. It isn't about dressage at all, it's about having a modicum of control over the animal!

snoopy
Apr. 4, 2007, 12:40 PM
[QUOTE=ise@ssl;2340598

you should have dismounted, asked for a refund and LEFT.[/QUOTE]



ISE@ssl: Consider this your refund....

ise@ssl
Apr. 4, 2007, 12:41 PM
Well if you believe in Baptism by Fire - fine. We feel there's a building block system - German Pyramid System. And taking young horses into different venues to expose them is fine - but overloading them is a waste of time. Their attention span - FYI - is about 20 minutes. So with some warm up and cool down that's all you get. Trying to drop them in the deep end of pool might result in some flotation but it's not the way we believe horses should be taught to swim!

Even walking your horse in hand - if their nose is up above your head - you really don't have control of that horse.

ise@ssl
Apr. 4, 2007, 12:43 PM
Hey snoopy - I've taken horses to clinics and realized it wasn't what we expected or not right for the horse and scratched. What's the point of a bad experience being prolonged if the person owning the horse feels it's all wrong? And maybe I'm mis-reading your posts - but you went back to clinic with someone that you rode with in the past and didn't like then?

snoopy
Apr. 4, 2007, 12:50 PM
FYI: Post number seven should answer your question....;)

Coreene
Apr. 4, 2007, 12:51 PM
Still bitching about this? :sleepy:

snoopy
Apr. 4, 2007, 12:52 PM
Still interested enough to check it out?:eek:

A Horse of Course
Apr. 4, 2007, 02:32 PM
I was hoping this thread was on its way out yesterday, thought everyone was done.

I'm not sure how this got onto blaming the riders for being at lower levels. I didn't see young green horses either. They were adult horses, green in the sense that they were lacking basic dressage training, but not green in that they were overly nervous or hadn't been taken places before, or weren't used to being under saddle, for years.
There was no bolting or running, they had no problem walking on a loose rein, with their heads held in a normal position, level or slightly above the withers, same when the girl lead horse horse out of the ring.

My critique was not to bash the person, I have never met or seen her before, but it was to bash her teaching. That is insulting too, but that wasn't my reasoning for doing it.

I don't think the horses would have had a problem with normal contact on the reins, don't know for sure though as I didn't get to see normal following contact at walk or trot.

The reason one of the horses started to back up and throw his head in the air was not because she was taking normal contact, it was because she was told to hold her hands down, (at this pont Kay was standing right next her and the horse was at a halt) had her hands down against the pommel for support, using all her strength to the hold her arms there. She already had contact with his mouth when her hands were a few inches above the pommel, so you tell me how much completely braced, straight and down backwards weight went against that horse's mouth when her arms were then brought several inches down and back. One heck of a lot. What was he supposed to do?
I guess there are those who disagree but IMO that is not the kind of pressure horses *usually* give in to. And IMO nor should they. I'll never be stronger than the horse, so the pressure I use has to be different than holding brute strength until they give in.

ise@ssl
Apr. 4, 2007, 04:03 PM
What's so ridiculous about this is that the OP takes a MOMENT out of a training session and we are supposed to accept that what was done was so horrible. We've had some horses that can be a bit difficult sometimes and I'm certainly not embarassed to say that I've held my hands on the whithers and let that horse decide whether it was more comfortable to keep "rooting" his nose up to avoid the contact or relax and come down and join the party. How many horses have some of you trained up through the levels - can you honestly say that you don't occasionally have to make a point to some horses?

There are also riders who just will not make it clear to their horses - HEY - we are working here....focus.

From what it sounds here the horse was not responding as most horses do to rein contact. And what exactly is "following contact" supposed to mean?

I sincerely hope this woman doesn't even consider doing another clinic at this location. And from what's been written there aren't many clinics already so maybe this monday morning quarterbacking is the reason.

egontoast
Apr. 4, 2007, 04:17 PM
I just wonder how some of these people would feel if they opened up a thread on a public bulletin board and read several pages about what a crappy lawyer, accountant, hairdresser, shoe salesman they were just because one person didn't like the service. It's fine to give your opinion but when it becomes a several page thread with no new information,you have to wonder. Not all instructors / clinicians are for everyone.

Again, I don't know the clinician at all but I do have some empathy for the situation because I know ( not personally- I don't teach-, but good friend, good tough but fair coach) how much damage one person can do to a person's professional reputation .

Look it's fine to post your opinion but when you then post 20 + times on the thread, it's more than expressing an opinion.

horsepix76
Apr. 4, 2007, 04:42 PM
I think this thread just goes to show how much quicker the bad things travels around the internet than the good. Its so unfortunate. By the way, I know for a fact that BNTs DO read this board and they ARE affected by what people say here.

snoopy
Apr. 4, 2007, 05:00 PM
I think this thread just goes to show how much quicker the bad things travels around the internet than the good. Its so unfortunate. By the way, I know for a fact that BNTs DO read this board and they ARE affected by what people say here.


They say word of mouth is the best advertising...."have a bad experience and the average person tells ten people...have a good experience and they tell three".


Its called accountability...

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Apr. 4, 2007, 06:01 PM
I had the time to go through all 5 pages of this thread (tapping foot, waiting on an experiment).

And I just don't get the issue. Maybe I'm particularly zonal lately?

I'm grateful the OP posted her opinion - bold is mine. When I was considering a clinic a year and a half ago - it was a nice sum of money and I had to feel that I wasn't blowing it away - I asked for peoples' opinions. Some were overwhelmingly positive. Some were overwhelmingly negative. All of it was useful information. I decided to go, and felt I did benefit from the clinic. But I could also see how it might not work for everyone. And how it might have worked better for me. But I wouldn't have gone at all if I had gotten no feedback - too much of an unknown.

I think everyone should have the right to respectfully disagree. (Unless it's about Natural Horsemanship...:D)

And snoopy - wow. I am in awe. To be that young and be able to do what you thought was the right thing by your horse, under that situation...that is really something.

ise@ssl
Apr. 4, 2007, 06:27 PM
Well accountability is also identifying yourself on the internet. YES! Not some cutesy made up name - if you are going to make a statement then why not sign your name. After all........aren't people accountable for what they say about someone else on here?

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Apr. 4, 2007, 06:37 PM
I think the issue is that this is solely someone's opinion. On a public forum. And the OP may be a phenomenally well trained, experienced horseperson with an amazing eye, or they may be someone who has never been near a horse but likes to pretend they have. Nothing should be taken as gospel.

snoopy
Apr. 4, 2007, 06:41 PM
My accountablility here is that I posted my one experience with the intructor mentioned on this board....I was not mean nor dis-respectful. You however have made it a mission to discredit this topic by implying that the OP had no business posting her personal experience and baiting people into arguments simply because you disagree with what has been said. That said, I owe you NOTHING.

ise@ssl
Apr. 4, 2007, 07:08 PM
Well I see this as problematic. We know who the instructor was - we don't know who the person is who tells us they left a clinic given by this person whey they were a teenager. 1/2 of the equation is missing.

snoopy
Apr. 4, 2007, 07:17 PM
I am flattered by your interest in me but unfortunately I am taken...but thanks anyway.

This post is not about me so lets keep to the topic hard as this may be for you...perhaps you are running out of anything relevant to say with regards to it. I would be happy to discuss further if you have anything useful ABOUT THE TOPIC.

No pictures please....:cool:

A Horse of Course
Apr. 4, 2007, 09:10 PM
Actually this is the first critique of a clinic I have given.

For the scarcity of clinics, we are in Indiana, not Florida or the east coast, anything horse related just isn't abundant here, especially dressage.

A rough estimate, on the minimum side, I have attended (either riding or auditing) at least 15 clinics over the past 8-10yrs, in the area of Indiana.

Out of those 15, only 2 did I consider to be at my definition of *bad*, one of those is the one we are talking about, the other one was a french guy, he's umm...entertaining, putting it very mildly.
No others reached the level of my definition of *bad*, some were just mediocre, not really seeming to help much, but certainly were not harmful either.

Others were very good, IMO, helping a great deal. Putting the same horses/riders (the ones that I saw) from this clinic in the *good* clinics, there would have been far different results. And yes, the results would have included dropping of the head and neck, in quite short order too, but because the rest of their body would have also yielded.
I am not one of those, horses are always good little angels, don't discipline them and bother to instill some damn good manners or you (the horse) will have as many "come to jesus" episodes as you like.
Most people do not hold their horses to high enough standards, giving too much wiggle room in the saddle and on the ground, it's a pet peeve of mine.

Teaching babies from day one to backing them under saddle, will show you any holes in that. Either they will turn into well mannered angels, horrific nightmares, or anywhere inbetween.

Discipline is not what I have a problem with, the method/technique for what was going on at the clinic is what I had a problem with.

And I'll be fine, if she doesn't clinic here again.

George Williams will be here in May.:)
(That's a good thing in case I need to spell it out for anyone.)

egontoast
Apr. 4, 2007, 09:27 PM
They say word of mouth is the best advertising...."have a bad experience and the average person tells ten people...have a good experience and they tell three".
Its called accountability...

Huh? Sounds like distorted 'accountability" when you put it that way.
8 people go to a clinic .

6 have a wonderful experience and each tell 3 people(18) .
2 are unhappy and tell 10 each (20). The two unhappy people influence more people than the 6 happy people. How is that accountability? Must everyone be happy for anyone to be any good?

AllWeatherGal
Apr. 4, 2007, 09:42 PM
My takeaway ... try to get in the clinic, or at least stay focused on everything that goes on, and no matter what, be sure to attend lectures for the best experience.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 4, 2007, 09:43 PM
I think horrible experiences are rare, same for outstanding experiences.

Mediocre to good experiences, is probably more common.

And I can understand how a horrible experience initiates a reaction to tell people just like the outstanding experience. The mediocre you don't rave about either way.

AllWeatherGal, I am very confused as to how attending the lectures would have changed what I actually saw and heard in action. And unfortunately I was not there in time for the lecture, otherwise I would have had no problem attending the lecture.

egontoast
Apr. 4, 2007, 09:48 PM
Still nailing it down?

snoopy
Apr. 4, 2007, 09:50 PM
Huh? Sounds like distorted 'accountability" when you put it that way.
8 people go to a clinic .

6 have a wonderful experience and each tell 3 people(18) .
2 are unhappy and tell 10 each (20). The two unhappy people influence more people than the 6 happy people. How is that accountability? Must everyone be happy for anyone to be any good?


One CHOOSES to be influenced...what you do with advice is purely up to you...you accept it or disregard it. So to answer your question, it is not a matter of numbers...but rather personal perception. Unfortunately it seems that a bad experience is more likely talked about then a good...because of the emotion it creates. After all this is really what this long winded post is about. One person viewed the clinic favourably and another didn't. She chooses not to clinic with this instructor by virtue of her experience, which she voiced here, and another will be the first in line to sign up...so what?
Why all the hostility? Is this topic a personal affront to you? :confused: There is an ignore function if this topic bothers you so much...
If you are really concerned about the effect this whole thing will have on Kay's career, then write her a cheque before the need arrises for deliveries from the red cross.

egontoast
Apr. 4, 2007, 10:03 PM
hey, they weren't my numbers. I just applied them

Why all the hostility, yourself?

eggbutt
Apr. 5, 2007, 08:43 AM
George Williams will be here in May.:)
(That's a good thing in case I need to spell it out for anyone.)

Why is this a good thing? I don't recall seeing any posts asking if anyone has participated or audited a Williams clinic. What if George does/says exactly the same thing Kay did/said (I am NOT defending Kay as I was not there)? Will you post feedback under an alter for George?

I was complimentary of this thread when it began because I felt everything was very respectful....now it seems to have become a trainwreck.

I AM on the east coast and have been to many, many clinics with all sorts of trainers....I guarantee you if I tax my memory long enough I could come up with examples of inappropriate behavior on most of them as well as questions regarding the experience of most of the participants. But who cares? My experience is exactly that...MY EXPERIENCE. Share it once and move on for heaven's sake.

Now, I WILL defend Kay...she's an icon of the sport. She started USDF. She obviously knew what she was doing at one time. Could I criticize snippits of her current teaching? You bet. Could I criticize her teaching style on occasion? Absolutely. But I suspect I could also find quite a few positive things to say as well. I'd love to hear her side of this clinic but I suspect she's too much of a lady to publicly bash the participants and their level of experience here.

horsepix76
Apr. 5, 2007, 10:18 AM
Here are a couple pictures that one of my friend's got of me riding in the clinic. These aren't the greatest moments, but we were working on keeping the hands down (which created a straight line from bit to elbow) and sitting upright (although I'm still a bit hunched).

This was my experience as a rider. I'm working at first level. I'm not showing these to have a critique, but merely to show you what "hands down" was supposed to look like.

http://www.sporthorsecreative.com/images/040107_02.jpg

http://www.sporthorsecreative.com/images/040107_07.jpg

A Horse of Course
Apr. 5, 2007, 10:25 AM
horsepix, you look VERY good, you have bend in your arms and they are not braced. I also see more relaxation in this horse than the others. I doubt Kay had to have you work on getting the horse's head down.

Sorry, that this is seen as a train wreck.

Maria
Apr. 5, 2007, 10:26 AM
quote by eggbutt:

"I guarantee you if I tax my memory long enough "


If you tax yours I'll tax mine.

Those pictures are not that bad. I don't see straight elbows.

horsepix76
Apr. 5, 2007, 10:34 AM
horsepix, you look VERY good, you have bend in your arms and they are not braced. I also see more relaxation in this horse than the others. I doubt Kay had to have you work on getting the horse's head down.

Sorry, that this is seen as a train wreck.

Thanks for your compliment. You are right, we didn't have a "head down" issue at this clinic. Very few of the other riders had horses that went willingly into the bridle like mine (its something we've worked on for a long time). It was those riders that took the brunt of the attention from Kay.

eggbutt
Apr. 5, 2007, 10:55 AM
quote by eggbutt:

"I guarantee you if I tax my memory long enough "


If you tax yours I'll tax mine.



:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Tom King
Apr. 5, 2007, 11:08 AM
My daughter is a top violinist for her age. I've sat through right many Master Classes that she has attended from some of the top violinists in the world. A Master Class for violin is much like a riding clinic in that the instructor will give individual instruction to a number of different attendees as they perform. Some of these are fabulous with all levels of students, Itzhak Perlman comes to mind. Others just plain can't do lower level players. They try their best but it just comes out wrong. I have a lot of respect for Kay and do understand her.

But my advice is: If you are still working on Sally Swift, don't ride under Kay.

eggbutt
Apr. 5, 2007, 11:11 AM
But my advice is: If you are still working on Sally Swift, don't ride under Kay.

So, so, so true! Your post is perfect Tom!

A Horse of Course
Apr. 5, 2007, 11:15 AM
Very few of the other riders had horses that went willingly into the bridle like mine (its something we've worked on for a long time).

I think I understand now, why you agree with what Kay was having the other riders do.
I see getting the head down and going willingly into the bridle as very different concepts.
To me, going willingly into the bridle will also have the head down...but having the head down does not always include moving willingly to the bridle, (i.e., false frames.)

slc2
Apr. 5, 2007, 12:14 PM
I think if you get a little more experience in dressage you will be fine.

michcheypen
Apr. 5, 2007, 02:18 PM
Within the first minute of her speaking the words that came out of her mouth were, "You can't do anything else until you get the horse's head down first, we worked on this yesterday and while we are walking you will work on getting your horse's head down."

[/QUOTE]And HOW does one proceed to get the head down? She said and kept repeating, to keep the hands very low (so low that their arms were almost completely straight) and then hold your hand down and braced as hard as you can. No, sorry, I am not exagerating.
the pommel for support and the horse flings his head more, starts marching backwards, and when stops, starts to paw in frustration and Meredith says, "Good let him fight." Anytime the horse flings his head, which alwasy results in rider's hands being jerked out of place an inch or so, was given a "Hold harder."

Well, funny enough their necks are stronger than our puny little arms will ever be, so a continuous downward bracing hold is never F*#$%&# going to work. Well, on the occasions that it does, it leads to a false frame, yay.

[QUOTE]Let's not mention the fact that getting the flippin head down is a result of moving freely forward and engaging the hind end and the back, and a constant brace of the hands inhibits that action.

I find it very hard to believe that Kay Meredith the founder of UDSF does not know how to get a horse to move back to front.I have heard she can be intense but what are you there to be babies or to learn correctly?And your common disregard for her knowledge is awful.What is the purpose of getting the head down-maybe to not be inverted strung out on the forehand-you have to start somewhere.Yes relaxation and rhythm are the 1st on the training scale possible she is trying to teach this rider the horse can be more relaxed & start to work on rhythm.Possibly the rider has awful hands and is constantly banging the horse in the mouth!Did you actually watch the whole thing from the day before?It is harder to teach beginners but if your in a clinic setting you are there to learn and not be coddled.If you have questions you should ask.If the rider was confused then she should ask also.Sometimes your not going to get a correct response from the rider right away.People are different types of learners.Some have to see it done,some have to hear it,etc.
Some riders are not very good riders and they ride with the horses head in the air and bounce on the horses back and they apparantly have no elbows-but it takes someone to point this out so they can work on it.As a massage therapist and instructor I can see why she had her working on this you can't get contact without first having relaxation and rhythm.and it does take time sometimes-especially if your in a strange setting with all those strange noises around.And hand down does work but you have to be supple in elbow and it is commonly used in dressage as a training tool to teach the horse to lower it's head.

Carol Ames
Apr. 5, 2007, 03:21 PM
Isn/t it the job of the clinician/trainer to take r each horse and rider where they are and move them , or at least their understanding, further? rather than "getting the horses' head down " why not investigate why it is up?

snoopy
Apr. 5, 2007, 03:42 PM
I find it very hard to believe that Kay Meredith the founder of UDSF does not know how to get a horse to move back to front.


We should then applaud her "administrative skills"....I know alot of paper pushers that would be great dressage instructors if this is what it takes.:confused:

eggbutt
Apr. 5, 2007, 04:03 PM
Now that's just plain rude.:no:

snoopy
Apr. 5, 2007, 04:16 PM
I what I am trying to point out here is:


Never ever let us take away, question, be-little etc what Kay did for all of us when she started the USDF....without question!!!

But the response came from the fact that by starting an organization does not mean that what the OP heard...on the day....first hand... did not happen. I doubt she would lie about this, post it on this board for all to have a go at her, and risk being called a liar by those who were there. Her experience was backed up by someone who was also there and basically heard the same thing. Again....just because you do not like what was posted doesn't give anyone the right to slam the OP.

If you are, infact, mad because of what was said, perhaps take it up with Kay...because it "appears" that she indeed made these remarks.

eggbutt
Apr. 5, 2007, 04:25 PM
I'm not "mad" at anyone and I don't believe I've slammed the OP. I'm just not too sure what the point has been of this thread going on several days now. (Yep, include me in the "keeping it alive" group.) Perhaps it's best if those of us who were not there keep our keyboards quiet on this thread and those who were there should PM each other at this point. I sincerely believe the OP has made their point repeatedly and we all have heard and understood. Others have posted about the experience of the participants and the lack of classroom session attendance. I wasn't there but I certainly am offended at Kay Meredith being compared to a "paper pusher" regardless of your intent.

Secrest out.

snoopy
Apr. 5, 2007, 04:36 PM
I'm not "mad" at anyone and I don't believe I've slammed the OP. I'm just not too sure what the point has been of this thread going on several days now. (Yep, include me in the "keeping it alive" group.) Perhaps it's best if those of us who were not there keep our keyboards quiet on this thread and those who were there should PM each other at this point. I sincerely believe the OP has made their point repeatedly and we all have heard and understood. Others have posted about the experience of the participants and the lack of classroom session attendance. I wasn't there but I certainly am offended at Kay Meredith being compared to a "paper pusher" regardless of your intent.

Secrest out.


Here I will AGREE with you on all accounts but one:

You should not take offence from something that wasn't aimed at you or anyone in particular for that matter. I can certainly say, right hand to the lord above, that I owe KM at great deal of debt for starting the USDF...we all do, but this post, from the beginning, was not about her starting the USDF but rather what was said to the riders/rider on the day. You are right...I was NOT there so I can not comment on that, but can comment never the less on a training practice, backed up by more then one person, that seemed, from what I have read here, on this topic, to go against the scales of training.
But I will take a page out of your book and leave it to rest.:)

ideayoda
Apr. 5, 2007, 04:43 PM
My goodness, do you think USDF was paper pushing at the beginning? Or even why it was invented (might suprise ya), Or know who she rode with, or for how long, and what she has trained? Yes, I remember her when she came to PHC in stretch pants for the beginning dressage lessons, and I have seen her grow, and train. I have also judged in Indiana, and its not the heartland of dressage (ducking the flames from those who are more learned). From every situation try see what is good, learn from that, and leave the rest. And imho watch an entire presentation (theory and actuality all the way through) and then make a more informed review. Everyone has something they say, that when quoted out of context, sounds wierd. Hopefully I can invite KM to make comments on what she really said/meant, but then again, does it really matter?

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Apr. 5, 2007, 06:58 PM
Maybe OT - but Tom, could you please elaborate on your comment - if you are still doing Sally Swift, then don't do Kay?

Is it a difference in philosophies? or rather, that Swift's books, for example, are geared to a much lower level rider?

I'd like to know.

I've never cliniced with either. But I'm pretty sure no matter who I cliniced with, they might smile at me but as soon as I passed, they'd probably gag.

Carol Ames
Apr. 5, 2007, 11:34 PM
My understanding of the /Ops 'criticism and mine , too, is in using the phrase get the head down", rather than" accept the contact," flex at the ye poll/jaw, as well as the way in whicht his was to be accomplished.I recall Podhajsky writing that on the first trip to the US he was asked how long the Lipppizans were stood in bitting rigs each day to get the "head set:eek: " they had;:lol: using hands like sidereins, with out leg or movement forward is essentially" headsetting",:yes: a word which should be as distasteful as "frame " or rolkur:eek: :winkgrin:

Carol Ames
Apr. 5, 2007, 11:50 PM
Ideayoda did you know her Arabian stallion Gydamus? I used hi m for a lesson horse inthe late 1980ies, easrly 90ies, I swear he understood English, and knew a dressage test was being ridden, :yes: What a great first horse :yes: was she taking lessons fromBH? es, I remember her when she came to PHC in stretch pants for the beginning dressage lessons, and I have seen her grow, and train

ise@ssl
Apr. 6, 2007, 10:30 AM
Well perhaps the issue is what people perceive is correct for any level of work. The requirements for first level work that in addition to all Training Level work the horse has developed thrust (pushing power) and achieved a degree of balance and throughness. That would mean an active hind leg and a push that's is starting to show the horse coming over the back and stepping underneath the body.

horsepix76
Apr. 6, 2007, 12:11 PM
Well perhaps the issue is what people perceive is correct for any level of work. The requirements for first level work that in addition to all Training Level work the horse has developed thrust (pushing power) and achieved a degree of balance and throughness. That would mean an active hind leg and a push that's is starting to show the horse coming over the back and stepping underneath the body.

While this is very true, one should be working at first level in order to work on thrust. The horse in question (the one viewed by the OP) was doubtedly even capable of riding an Intro level test (again, this is assuming I'm thinking of the correct horse). The horse could only canter on one lead regardless of which direction it was going, so training level was out of the question.

ise@ssl
Apr. 6, 2007, 01:23 PM
Well I was using the photos presented here on this thread. Perhaps the OP's evaluation of what a horse should be doing at even training level isn't correct.

horsepix76
Apr. 6, 2007, 02:26 PM
Well I was using the photos presented here on this thread. Perhaps the OP's evaluation of what a horse should be doing at even training level isn't correct.

Those are photos of me and my horse -- definitely NOT the horse/rider combo observered by the OP. Developing thrust is one of the primary things we're working on. :)

Lambie Boat
Apr. 6, 2007, 02:40 PM
I like clinic reports. I love to both ride and audit clinics. I have very limited money to spend so I'd like to thank the original poster for her observations.
It's very helpful to all of us to have these topics, whether one agrees or disagrees with what has been reported. Kay Meredith has been in the dressage scene for a very long time. I knew her from riding at Meredith Manor when I was a kid, so I have my own long long long time opinions. Things change in 35 years :eek: Plus 10 horsepeople can see the same thing and "see" 10 different things. Anyone see the movie Rashomon?

About bad vs good clinic reports:

The best clinics? The riders are afraid to talk about since the riding slots are like gold. If they gush too much, they might lose their ride in the clinic. They might lose the clinic dates too. This is why Karl Mikolka (aka the REAL KM) students don't talk. And threads like this is why most of his clinics are closed to auditors, by the way.

michcheypen
Apr. 12, 2007, 08:08 PM
Every rider as well as every auditor will get different aspects of a clinic. It's alot of information coming at you all at once when your riding if you need to fix alot as it seems was the case with this rider.As a Meredith Manor graduate I went in needing alot of fixin'. It was alot coming at me but made a difference.I don't know how that would have gone over on me at a clinic back then. Now I'm a better rider and understand quite a bit so I could get alot out of one of her clinics. I don't think slamming a person after seeing her teach is productive.It would have been better if the OP had asked questions as to why or what could have been done better.I have seen many upper level instructors teach here on the east coast and I'm always asking questions-even though I am an instructor now I have still so much to learn. And beleive me there are times that I don't agree but still ask why did they have them do it that way.To bad Kay herself doesn't get involved in this discussion.

fish
Apr. 13, 2007, 09:31 AM
I am very grateful for "threads like this," and would hope that clinicians are, too. I know I am always grateful for feedback on my performances, which can sometimes be hard to get-- especially ones containing useful specifics. While negative feedback can be hard to take, as Franz Mairinger writes, 'we should be grateful for mistakes because it is only through them that we learn.' It is, therefore, most helpful to hear from people who point out where we have gone wrong, even though going elsewhere without ever saying a word is generally (and IMO, unfortunately) considered more polite.

I came to the Raleigh, NC, area over 20 years ago from a background in h/j and racehorses. Kay Meredith was the first person I ever saw ride a Grand Prix test live, and I must say that my reaction was "why would anyone want to do that to a horse?" It was an extremely tense ride, with the horse horribly crammed together, verititably hopping across the diagonal during what were supposed to have been tempe changes, etc. It must be kept in mind, however, that back in those days, Kay was one of very few riders attempting GP dressage at all. Since then, I've seen many more of her rides, and met, watched and ridden with many of her students. I have found many of Kay's rides too painful to watch to completion, while a couple have been quite good. I've liked and learned from quite few of her students, which have really run the gamut as each of them has taken what s/he wished from Kay, and thrown the rest away in search of their own ideals. I've only talked to Kay a couple times, and liked her very much personally. My hope is that she, like (I hope) all of us, is trying to find better ways and would accept constructive criticism with gratitude rather than anger.

I am also aware of the student of hers who was banned in another state due to abusive horse handling. This student is, nonetheless, extremely successful and always booked solid for lessons. Some people have said that the abuse was fall out from difficulties in personal life, others say that it continues (though in milder forms) and remains an integral part of this person's approach and personality. I have not seen enough to come to conclusions of my own, but I imagine I would be especially protective of my horse in the unlikely event that I ever rode in a clinic with this person. In the meantime, I have the impression that this person attracts so many highly successful students that it's easy to believe that the abuses no longer matter. People cast their most meaningful votes their pocketbooks, and these have defintely been been running in this person's favor.

In the meantime, I repeat that I am grateful for threads like this-- particularly posts that are specific about what they have and have not liked about a particular clinician.

STF
Apr. 13, 2007, 10:07 AM
Jeeeze, are yall STILL slamming Kay after three+ weeks?!
Ughghgh!

fish
Apr. 13, 2007, 12:25 PM
Jeeeze, are yall STILL slamming Kay after three+ weeks?!
Ughghgh!
Excuse me, but I didn't think I was "slamming" anyone-- and I didn't even see this thread until last night :(

What I was hoping to do was point out that all of us-- especially people like Kay who were true trailblazers-- make mistakes along our way, have rides, clinics etc., which made us feel like crawling into a hole (Lord knows I've had plenty!!!)-- and CAN and SHOULD benefit from criticism and other consequences which facilitate learning from them. IOW, I was simply trying to point out that there are drawbacks to labeling criticism as "rude"-- and that people, including Kay and some of her students-- have been perfectly capable of making and being penalized for mistakes and yet going on more successfully in many respects than I could even aspire to.

As I said, I happen to like Kay from my few encounters with her, and am always happy to see her have a good ride. I am likewise saddened whenever I see her fall back on what I see as old bad habits- which I daresay many of us are prone to do when things start falling apart--- another thing, certainly, to which I plead guilty and appreciate being called on when it happens. I figure that candid criticism can save me a lot of time-- and I'm not getting any younger!

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Apr. 13, 2007, 01:51 PM
I didn't see anything "slamming" in fish's post - and, might I add, I don't know who fish is, and very likely have never clinic'd with them as I have not done very many clinics.

But she/he is SPOT ON.

I am exposed to something similar, in my line of work - we call it "peer review." The idea is that your research (whether a paper or a grant) will be reviewed by those with expertise. Now, that doesn't mean that everyone has the explicit expertise for every experimental approach, or they even have worked with your model system. And of course, no one reviews, writes, rides, clinics or teaches in a vacuum.

I have gotten some review comments where I roll my eyes and go, "What crack were you smoking?"

But many have been so constructive - either enabling me to write an even better paper, or a far superior grant. And That's. The. Point. Everyone wants to be wonderful and superlative 100% of the time. And even I, with my Naturally Talented Butt, do not reach this level of expectation.

But, as dressage types are so fond of saying, "It's the journey." We all need feedback, positive and negative, so you know which direction to take. Just like you do when learning to ride, or when training your horse.

STF
Apr. 13, 2007, 02:53 PM
I was not talking to fish directly!!! Its the overall thread!

rileyt
Apr. 13, 2007, 02:55 PM
I know there are many people here who see this thread as nothing but a slam fest, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Here's what I believe:

1) I believe that the OP saw what she saw, and heard what she heard.
2) I believe that at least the lower level riders being given these instructions were probably not improving their horses... either because of their own lack of ability to physically get the job done, or their understanding (or misunderstanding) of Kay's instructions.
3) I believe that KM is a well regarded instructor who DOES KNOW how to ride a horse correctly.

All of that said, I'm disappointed by what is being relayed here as Kay's choice of words in articulating her instructions. I have no reason to doubt that the OP heard correctly. I have no reason to doubt that Kay really did say "get his head down" or "lower your hands and brace" or whatever. I think that is poor teaching. At a minimum, it shows an insensitivity to how other people auditing the clinic may misinterpret correct riding. Kay is not a goddess. She may have started USDF but it doesn't mean anyone (even low level riders) should put her on a pedestal and not EVALUATE what is being taught.

Having said that, I sense a strong parallel to Kay's directions, and what my current instructor says.

My current teacher emphasizes that the riders hands (and body/legs for that matter) must always maintain the correct position. She emphasizes stability of contact at all points. You don't mess with the horse's head,... you find the appropriate contact, and then you keep it there and don't move your hands. Riding the horse in all other regards comes from your seat and legs. Similarly, when a horse is being unsteady with his head (or fighting the rein), first, you look to what you're doing with your leg and seat that may be causing that,.. but secondarily (and this may be Kay's point) you don't move your hands. If the horse throws his head against your absolutely steady hands, and bangs himself in the mouth... well... he did it to himself. But YOU don't move your hands. It takes a lot of strength and stability to hold your position despite the horse's antics.

So, where does all of this get us? I suspect I know what Kay was TRYING to convey when she gave these directions to the clinic participants. Nothing I have read here makes me think she isn't still the knowledgeable horsewoman I think she is. BUT... based on the report here, I would think long and hard before recommending any beginning riders go clinic with her. Until you've been around the block a few times, its too easy to misinterpret directions like that (that were seemingly given so carelessly). As a teacher, I DO fault her for that. It doesn't matter if you have all the knowledge in the world... if people go to your clinic and return home performing more incorrectly than when they went, you haven't done a very good job.

STF
Apr. 13, 2007, 03:02 PM
Yeah, but ones person's wrong lead is another persons counter canter.....

horsepix76
Apr. 13, 2007, 03:15 PM
Riding the horse in all other regards comes from your seat and legs. Similarly, when a horse is being unsteady with his head (or fighting the rein), first, you look to what you're doing with your leg and seat that may be causing that,.. but secondarily (and this may be Kay's point) you don't move your hands. If the horse throws his head against your absolutely steady hands, and bangs himself in the mouth... well... he did it to himself. But YOU don't move your hands. It takes a lot of strength and stability to hold your position despite the horse's antics.

As a clinic participant and someone who watched almost all of the sessions, I would agree that the above interpretation is what Kay was trying to get across. Honestly, I think she was trying to dumb it down because from where I sat, it really didn't seem like some of the riders "got it." And while she could have used different language and a little more tact, I'm not going to crucify her for being herself. ;)

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Apr. 13, 2007, 03:33 PM
I was not talking to fish directly!!! Its the overall thread!

gotcha!

Dalfan
Apr. 13, 2007, 04:05 PM
But YOU don't move your hands.

This is an impossibility. Your hands MUST move/breethe with the horse. You have to be able to open and close the reins when necessary, to "play" your wrist for the subtlest of aids. Your fingers move, your wrists should move, when they need to.

Just like in walk/canter your hands have to follow the horse.

If they don't move they become like bricks, heavy and unyielding.

What you don't want is movement in the hands/arms from a lack of balance and seat.

Watch some of the top riders like Schmidt and Werth in slo-mo.

rileyt
Apr. 13, 2007, 04:13 PM
Having still hands doesn't make them like bricks. And we're talking about hypothetically correct riding -- not what people do in a pinch.

And I'll choose to disagree with you on "playing" with your wrists. You really don't (or shouldn't) need your hands to send aids to the horse... all of that should be done from the seat and leg.

Dalfan
Apr. 13, 2007, 04:21 PM
And I'll choose to disagree with you on "playing" with your wrists. You really don't (or shouldn't) need your hands to send aids to the horse... all of that should be done from the seat and leg.

:eek: :eek: I like to see you get a half-pass or haunches-in with no "play" from the wrist. There is a constant communication with the horse through the riders hands. Fingers, wrists, etc. Sometimes it's loud, other times it's soft.

Do you honestly believe that the hands just sit there, fixed at a height or position and do nothing?

What, you never use an opening rein or close the outside rein on a horse? Your hands move then as well.

Watch this vid again, unfortunately, not in slo-mo; And it's also not obvious the subtle aids from the hands. But that is what it is really all about.

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

rileyt
Apr. 13, 2007, 04:28 PM
I don't think we're really disagreeing that much Dalfan... sure my hands move some... especially on younger horses that need are still learning to understand the aids. And yes, I've used opening reins before (on said young horses) and even occasionally on older ones. But, for your information, I can ride a halfpass or haunches in just fine without dickering around with my wrists. Truthfully, there is little (if any) movement there. If you can't well... that's a shame, but maybe you'll figure it out one day.

Oh and... as for communication... well, I disagree with you that you are constantly using your hands to communicate (loud or soft). I use my hands to keep the connection... a connection that should be quiet and steady... that way the horse can listen to my seat and legs. THAT is what I use to speak to the horse... or, at least I should say,... that is what I TRY to use to speak to the horse... it is always a work in progress.

I used to do a lot more flexing of the fingers/wrists... but my current instructor is trying to beat those bad habits out of me.

Dalfan
Apr. 13, 2007, 04:36 PM
Well. Just have to disagree. Maybe when you get to that level you will understand that gross hand movement is no longer necessary. It's all done through seat, legs, and the slightest, subtlest aids from the hands.

And I'm not talking about a constant fiddling with the head.

So, how do you get the bend in the HP/HI without your hands/fingers,wrists moving at all?

Oh, and especially with the double bridle. Talking slight, slight movements/squeeze of a finger.

Dalfan
Apr. 13, 2007, 04:46 PM
I used to do a lot more flexing of the fingers/wrists... but my current instructor is trying to beat those bad habits out of me.

Sounds like we are talking about two different things. If you are fiddling/pulling I can understand her wanting to break you of that habit.

rileyt
Apr. 13, 2007, 05:03 PM
"Maybe when you get to that level you will understand that gross hand movement is no longer necessary."

Oh? You mean when I get to the level you're at? Now that's funny.

Dalfan
Apr. 13, 2007, 05:13 PM
The level where just an angle of wrist or a squeeze of a finger is necessary. Of course, the horse would have to be highly trained as well.

So tell me. How do you get a HP/HI with correct bend with the hands unmoving, just stuck in a position?

rileyt
Apr. 13, 2007, 05:15 PM
good bye dear Dalfan... I am going to ride my horse with my brick hands.

class
Apr. 13, 2007, 05:18 PM
So tell me. How do you get a HP/HI with correct bend with the hands unmoving, just stuck in a position?

hi dalfan, you may want to try asking your horse to bend around your inside leg and then asking him to move off of your outside leg. hope that helps. ;)

Dalfan
Apr. 13, 2007, 05:27 PM
hi dalfan, you may want to try asking your horse to bend around your inside leg and then asking him to move off of your outside leg. hope that helps.

Ah ha!. So that's all there is to it. No turning of the shoulders, no weighting of the "inside" seatbone. Gotcha!:lol:

Well, one really doesn't need the hands at all then. What a revelation! I was always taught, - seat, legs, hands, you know, the circle of aids. Might as well just chuck the reins.

class
Apr. 13, 2007, 06:34 PM
Ah ha!. So that's all there is to it. No turning of the shoulders, no weighting of the "inside" seatbone. Gotcha!:lol:


oh, well there you go. see? you know more than you think. nobody said you couldn't weight your seatbone or turn your shoulders. they said no wrist or finger flexing was necessary. so what exactly are you arguing for?

Dalfan
Apr. 13, 2007, 06:40 PM
So the hands/wrists/fingers play no part? They stay in the same fixed position as if you were riding down the long side? Not argueing. I happen to disagree that the hands "NEVER MOVE".

class
Apr. 13, 2007, 06:47 PM
i think you are taking a small part of the quote out of context and running amok with it.

i hope this helps clarify some things for you:


Similarly, when a horse is being unsteady with his head (or fighting the rein), first, you look to what you're doing with your leg and seat that may be causing that,.. but secondarily (and this may be Kay's point) you don't move your hands. If the horse throws his head against your absolutely steady hands, and bangs himself in the mouth... well... he did it to himself. But YOU don't move your hands.

Dalfan
Apr. 13, 2007, 06:56 PM
This quote, moreover the one you posted. As well as her subsequent posts regarding the hands. If you would have gone up a little bit, you would have found it.


you find the appropriate contact, and then you keep it there and don't move your hands.

But, to each his own.

lstevenson
Apr. 13, 2007, 07:30 PM
I agree with rileyt and class here.

Sorry Dalfan, but "playing with your fingers and wrists" is not correct. To be correct the hand is still but also soft and breathing. But NOT playing or being active, which is very different from the necessary FOLLOWING of the horse at the walk and canter. What you are talking about is just a more politically correct way of front to back riding.

Your hands should just RECEIVE and direct what your legs and seat create. You want your horse to move into the contact, not drop back from it, which is what happens when you "play" your hands.

snoopy
Apr. 13, 2007, 08:41 PM
[QUOTE=lstevenson;2363343]I agree with rileyt and class here.
What you are talking about is just a more politically correct way of front to back riding.



YES YES YES...I totally agree:yes:

Dalfan
Apr. 13, 2007, 08:45 PM
Sorry, but I'm not talking about playing the fiddle or a piano. What I am talking about a squeeze of the ring finger here or there, a SLIGHT angling of the wrist here. The kind of communication that upper level riders (not me) impart to the horse through the seatbones and the hands. Just as you can't see them aiding through the seatbone, one also can't see the very fine, subtle aids communicated through the hands/fingers.

When you watch a video of say, Matine, what exactly are you seeing. Nothing is really perceptable. They are at a level of invisible aids. A novice can watch that and wonder, "how is he making the horse do that"? Balance, weight, seatbones, and the hands are communicating constantly to the horse.
Each of these subtle aids means something to the horse. The hands/wrists/arms are a part of the circle of aids.

So tell me, how do you get a HP/HI when the hands are fixed and never move?

sidepasser
Apr. 13, 2007, 08:46 PM
Huh? Sounds like distorted 'accountability" when you put it that way.
8 people go to a clinic .

6 have a wonderful experience and each tell 3 people(18) .
2 are unhappy and tell 10 each (20). The two unhappy people influence more people than the 6 happy people. How is that accountability? Must everyone be happy for anyone to be any good?


Coming from a marketing background, we used to refer to it as "the rule of ten"..for every bad experience, the person will tell ten others, who will tell ten others, and extrapolate from there..

for every good experience, the person will tell one other, who will tell one other...extrapolate from there.

In other words, if your product is deemed good, the person using/trying/buying may tell one other person "hey this is a great thing, you should try it!!!"

but if the product is deemed bad - the person will tell ten x ten x ten - in other words..everyone and anyone that person can find who will listen, and those people in turn will tell ten others who will tell ten others..

people are naturally going to b@tch when they do not like something, rather than when they do. It is the way human beings are made for some reason..
shout if from the rooftops..I HATE this product..lol..but if it is good, we hardly ever say a word.

How many of YOU write a company and tell them XYZ was a GREAT product and that you Loffed it? on the other hand, just by the number of threads on this board, you can tell when people do not like something...lol..

None of what I am saying is against Kay M..I do not know her, have never done a clinic with her and have no idea whether she is great, middling, fair, or awful..just want the record clear on this.

now back to the regularly scheduled session...

fish
Apr. 13, 2007, 09:00 PM
*The Complete Training of Horse and Rider,* Podhajsky, re: rein aids (p. 60)--

"The above-mentioned aids [of the reins] consist of taking and giving, the latter being of the greater importance. The actions of the reins will consist of repeated short actions in order to allow them to pass through the body and not to be held up, as it were, by the horse stiffening because the taking aids are too prolonged. With young horses the whole arm of the rider must be employed to give the aids, but the ideal action of the reins with a fully trained horse will be brought about BY THE RIDER SIMPLY TURNING HIS HANDS, WITHOUT MOVING HIS ARMS, ELBOWS OR SHOULDERS. TO BE ABLE TO GIVE THE AIDS BY SIMPLY TURNING THE HANDS IS THE ULTIMATE AIM OF TRAINING AND CAN BE ACHIEVED ONLY BY LONG AND SYSTEMATIC WORK. A WELL-TRAINED HORSE WILL IMMEDIATELY RESPOND TO A RIDER JUST CLOSING HIS HAND AS IF SQUEEZING WATER OUT OUT OF A SPONGE." [caps mine]

I believe I've read the sponge comparison in countless works of equestrian literature-- this just turned out to be the easiest to find. Togther with the "turning [of] the hands, it certainly sounds like active fingers and hands to me.

I recall George Morris saying something to the effect that there are 3 kinds of hands: bad hands, no hands, and good hands. "No hands" is a great deal better than "bad hands," and often the best route toward the acquisition of "good hands," which are the ideal and, in fact, mobile.

It is, BTW, not true that horses will drop back from contact if you "play" your hands. Properly done, playing the bit with your fingers encourages the horses to seek the contact so a lively conversation ensues through the reins as the horse's softly chewing mouth and the rider's softly conversant hands hold the bit in partnership.

As others have said, stiff, unyielding hands tend to produce stiff, unyielding horses.

lstevenson
Apr. 13, 2007, 09:03 PM
So tell me, how do you get a HP/HI when the hands are fixed and never move?


Your hands can move , they just can't be active. There is a big difference. Your hands naturally move into the correct position for hp/hi when you position your body correctly. Then they should be still but following.

Hp/hi are just like everything else, done through your seat and legs into a receiving hand. If you want bend you bend the horse from your leg, not by tweaking the rein.

Dalfan
Apr. 13, 2007, 09:03 PM
Well, you certainly said it better than I, fish.

And thanks for pulling that quote out. Have the book stashed somewhere.

Dalfan
Apr. 13, 2007, 09:11 PM
Your hands can move , they just can't be active.

So you are saying they can move forth and back (as in following the walk and canter) or in and out, but you can't move (and when I say move, I mean a squeeze or slight pressure) your fingers or can't move the wrist from the slight forty-five degree angle it is at when thumbs are up?

I"m sorry, this makes no sense to me. When I watch the top riders, their hands are moving, following, breathing, wrists are angling back and forth. Now, this "movement" is barely perceptable. It is there and it is why the hands are ALWAYS included in the circle of aids.

And btw, I'am talking about the elite riders of the sport that have this kind of feel, that takes years to acquire.

snoopy
Apr. 13, 2007, 09:19 PM
Coming from a marketing background, we used to refer to it as "the rule of ten"..for every bad experience, the person will tell ten others, who will tell ten others, and extrapolate from there..

for every good experience, the person will tell one other, who will tell one other...extrapolate from there.

In other words, if your product is deemed good, the person using/trying/buying may tell one other person "hey this is a great thing, you should try it!!!"

but if the product is deemed bad - the person will tell ten x ten x ten - in other words..everyone and anyone that person can find who will listen, and those people in turn will tell ten others who will tell ten others..

people are naturally going to b@tch when they do not like something, rather than when they do. It is the way human beings are made for some reason..
shout if from the rooftops..I HATE this product..lol..but if it is good, we hardly ever say a word.

How many of YOU write a company and tell them XYZ was a GREAT product and that you Loffed it? on the other hand, just by the number of threads on this board, you can tell when people do not like something...lol..

None of what I am saying is against Kay M..I do not know her, have never done a clinic with her and have no idea whether she is great, middling, fair, or awful..just want the record clear on this.

now back to the regularly scheduled session...


Thank you for clarifing what I was trying to say when I made reference to this in an earlier post. I KNEW I heard something to the effect somewhere.:yes:

lstevenson
Apr. 13, 2007, 09:23 PM
*The Complete Training of Horse and Rider,* Podhajsky, re: rein aids (p. 60)--

"The above-mentioned aids [of the reins] consist of taking and giving, the latter being of the greater importance. The actions of the reins will consist of repeated short actions in order to allow them to pass through the body and not to be held up, as it were, by the horse stiffening because the taking aids are too prolonged. With young horses the whole arm of the rider must be employed to give the aids, but the ideal action of the reins with a fully trained horse will be brought about BY THE RIDER SIMPLY TURNING HIS HANDS, WITHOUT MOVING HIS ARMS, ELBOWS OR SHOULDERS. TO BE ABLE TO GIVE THE AIDS BY SIMPLY TURNING THE HANDS IS THE ULTIMATE AIM OF TRAINING AND CAN BE ACHIEVED ONLY BY LONG AND SYSTEMATIC WORK. A WELL-TRAINED HORSE WILL IMMEDIATELY RESPOND TO A RIDER JUST CLOSING HIS HAND AS IF SQUEEZING WATER OUT OUT OF A SPONGE." [caps mine]

I believe I've read the sponge comparison in countless works of equestrian literature-- this just turned out to be the easiest to find. Togther with the "turning [of] the hands, it certainly sounds like active fingers and hands to me.

I recall George Morris saying something to the effect that there are 3 kinds of hands: bad hands, no hands, and good hands. "No hands" is a great deal better than "bad hands," and often the best route toward the acquisition of "good hands," which are the ideal and, in fact, mobile.

It is, BTW, not true that horses will drop back from contact if you "play" your hands. Properly done, playing the bit with your fingers encourages the horses to seek the contact so a lively conversation ensues through the reins as the horse's softly chewing mouth and the rider's softly conversant hands hold the bit in partnership.

As others have said, stiff, unyielding hands tend to produce stiff, unyielding horses.


Squeezing the sponge is different than playing with the fingers or wrists. One is busy while the other is making slight variations in the weight of the rein. My dressage training IS Spanish Riding School based (as Podhajsky) and they do not advocate busy hands. Watch them ride. Hands always incredibly still, yet soft and following.

And quoting GM for dressage?? I know he does do dressage, but I would hardly call that his domain. He is serious about flatwork for jumping, that would be more accurate.

And yes, playing with the hands makes a horse "give" to the hand. And while I don't want a horse to be against the hand, I don't want him to give to it either. That means he drops or lightens the contact, by definition. I want my horses to lighten the contact because of the way they are moving behind, not because I do it with my hands.

egontoast
Apr. 13, 2007, 09:23 PM
Coming from a marketing background, we used to refer to it as "the rule of ten"..for every bad experience, the person will tell ten others, who will tell ten others, and extrapolate from there..

Yes, I understand the concept . I was just taking issue with the comment about 'accountability'. 'Accountability' to people beyond those involved in the clinic isn't really relevant in these circumstances.

.

fish
Apr. 13, 2007, 11:12 PM
Squeezing the sponge is different than playing with the fingers or wrists. One is busy while the other is making slight variations in the weight of the rein. My dressage training IS Spanish Riding School based (as Podhajsky) and they do not advocate busy hands. Watch them ride. Hands always incredibly still, yet soft and following.

And quoting GM for dressage?? I know he does do dressage, but I would hardly call that his domain. He is serious about flatwork for jumping, that would be more accurate.

And yes, playing with the hands makes a horse "give" to the hand. And while I don't want a horse to be against the hand, I don't want him to give to it either. That means he drops or lightens the contact, by definition. I want my horses to lighten the contact because of the way they are moving behind, not because I do it with my hands.

(1) GM spent a year studying with Watjen and has worked closely with several GP dressage riders in the training of his Eq students. IMO, GM's dressage was for many years more correct than that of most Americans specializing in it. More to the point, however, the distinction is, I think, useful and valid regardless of origins-- and I think it quite likely that GM learned it from one of his many teachers.
(2) I don't think anyone here has advocated "busy" hands. One can "play" with the hands without being "busy" with them, and, as others have pointed out, still have them appear quite still. This is very "Spanish Riding School." My own instructor was for several years assistant to Kottas (who I've also had the pleasure of watching and learning from at several clinics), and is very insistent upon keeping flexible fingers and wrists, and soft, conversational hands to which the horses are, indeed, taught to "give. Indeed, just about every reputable judge and instructor I've ever known, from Leslie Webb, Max Gawyler, Kottas, etc., to GM and Bill Dorrance believes in teaching horses to give to pressure from the hand. That's just good basics-- whether you're talking dressage, h/j or Western. It also doesn't mean, however, that the horse is being ridden front to back-- just that s/he understands that however there comes to be pressure up front, s/he is to yield to it. Unless the horse learns this lesson, it's all to easy to drive from behind and into the hand only to end up with a mount leaning on the bit pulling the arms out of one's sockets. This is, indeed, a large part of what Podhajsky is talking about in the passage I quoted-- and why "giving" is more important than "taking" when it comes to rein aids.
(3) Also, please re-read the passage from Podhajsky noting the section in which he describes the "ideal" of applying the rein aids by "simply turning the hands." How would one do this without moving one's wrists?
(4) It is integral to classical dressage that lightness, etc., are accomplished not by addressing the hind end of the horse alone, but through the combined effect of both the driving and the restraining aids, none of which are really "still," but rather constantly making adjustments during the ride.

Another thing about SRS training: it takes many, many years-- so many that Podhajsky himself said he was still "learning to how to ride" in his 80's. I wouldn't expect to understand thoroughly how those riders use their hands by merely watching a few performances.

I can tell you that I've watched Arthur Kottas (head trainer of the SRS for 40+ years) ride up close in clinics I've attended several times, and his fingers and hands were very visibly (and beautifully) active.

lstevenson
Apr. 13, 2007, 11:30 PM
It is integral to classical dressage that lightness, etc., are accomplished not by addressing the hind end of the horse alone, but through the combined effect of both the driving and the restraining aids, none of which are really "still," but rather constantly making adjustments during the ride.


The restraining aids are the reins through the seat. And all of the adjustments and aids should be given in that manner. Not in the hands.

Again, I am saying that the hands should be alive and breathing, but any actual aid that is from the hand contracting blocks the horse from coming through behind, and destroys the elastic connection from the rider's back to the horse's mouth.




I can tell you that I've watched Arthur Kottas (head trainer of the SRS for 40+ years) ride up close in clinics I've attended several times, and his fingers and hands were very visibly (and beautifully) active.


And I have watched him and others from the SRS, and have a very different opinion. ;) I think their hands are VERY stable and (beautifully) quiet.

As they say, the sign of a good dressage rider is that you don't SEE them do anything.

fish
Apr. 13, 2007, 11:51 PM
The restraining aids are the reins through the seat. And all of the adjustments and aids should be given in that manner. Not in the hands.

Again, I am saying that the hands should be alive and breathing, but any actual aid that is from the hand contracting blocks the horse from coming through behind, and destroys the elastic connection from the rider's back to the horse's mouth.






And I have watched him and others from the SRS, and have a very different opinion. ;) I think their hands are VERY stable and quiet.

As they say, the sign of a good dressage rider is that you don't SEE them do anything.

Hands can be "stable" "quiet" not "busy" and also still mobile.
If you've watched Kottas and the others ride and haven't SEEN them do anything you haven't been watching closely enough and/or you've only watched performances as opposed to watching them school.

Besides, in order to "SEE," you need to know what to look for. The movements of the fingers and wrists in SRS riders are definitely a case in point-- as are those "still seats" which actually bounce quite a bit, but don't look like it because they're so with the bounce of the horse. One of the best pieces of instruction I received from my Kottas protege instructor was to "stop trying to sit so still and learn to love the bounce." Once I learned to do that, my seat started looking and feeling a whole lot more still! Similar things happen with hands: they actually look more still when allowed to move.

Also, look again at that passage: "contracting" the hand (aka "taking') does not stop the horse from coming from behind unless it is "prolonged." What's needed is "taking and giving"-- which is, after all, a great part of what elasticity is all about.

I am beginning to think that this discussion is degenerating into semantic nit-picking. If you want to quarrel, do it with Podhasky, who clearly advocates "actual aids coming from the hand contracting"-- parse it as you will, there's no other way to squeeze a sponge.

lstevenson
Apr. 14, 2007, 12:12 AM
Besides, in order to "SEE," you need to know what to look for.

Oh, you're so sweet! I actually DO know what to look for (since I've been in this business and have trained with some of the best for 25 years), but thank you for your concern.:winkgrin:


Also, look again at that passage: "contracting" the hand (aka "taking') does not stop the horse from coming from behind unless it is "prolonged."

Isn't that somewhere around the passage "the action of one rein will have a checking effect on the hind leg of the same side."?

Don't forget that interpretation of words written by someone who is translating someone else's words can vary from person to person.

lstevenson
Apr. 14, 2007, 12:34 AM
I am beginning to think that this discussion is degenerating into semantic nit-picking.

parse it as you will, there's no other way to squeeze a sponge.


Well, I for one think that semantics are very important. Otherwise people can take things the wrong way.

For instance, of course your hand is contracted to squeeze a sponge, and of course it is necessary to contract the hand just to hold the rein without dropping it. From that point, the degree of contraction of the hand can vary without visibly moving , along with changes in the degree of holding in the rider's seat and back, to change the degree of the restraining aids.

But to move and contract the hand is pulling and blocking. I see a distinct and important difference between the two. IMO if you can see it, it is wrong. If a rider actually had a small sponge in each hand, you would not see them making small adjustments in the amount of squeeze.

To the OP, sorry this has gotten so off topic! We probably should have started a new thread about this.

Rusty Stirrup
Apr. 14, 2007, 07:30 AM
We can debate the use of hands forever. Even the statements quoted by the ODG's and Masters are only someone else's opinion. I don't care who they are. A lot depends on the training level of the horse, the rider and the actual time and space of the ride. We all know no two rides are the same. Sometimes aids must be modified to fit the circumstances. The goal, as I see it, is to use as much aid as needed and as little as possible.

I don't know KM and am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she said what she did out of frustration (yeah, I know, we are not allowed to be frustrated in dressage but being mere humans, it happens...) with the response she was getting from the students? Being somewhat older I can relate to a little less patience. With humans, that is.......

MHJLittlefield
Apr. 14, 2007, 08:18 AM
Well, I for one think that semantics are very important. Otherwise people can take things the wrong way.
To the OP, sorry this has gotten so off topic! We probably should have started a new thread about this.

Semantics is what got this whole thing started in the first place. If KM had said what (I think) she meant, everyone would have been :) instead of :confused: .

lstevenson: you nailed it right on the head... and George Morris would agree completely. Sticking to a defined vocabulary is very important for consistency in teaching. We have so many people using so many phrases to describe the same work, one needs a degree in linguistics to sort it all out.
:no:

fish
Apr. 14, 2007, 08:49 AM
I agree on the importance of semantics (have a grad. degree in language and literature). I should have chosen my words more carefully. What I was actually objecting to was certain people's failure to read posts accurately, even though Dalfan, for example was quite clear. I recall no one advocating "busy" hands-- merely arguing against "fixed and rigid" ones.

To get back to the OP, the question seems to be whether or not KM was advocating or otherwise encouraging fixed and rigid hands, which, I propose, no one thinks a good thing, just as we all can agree that "busy" hands are undesireable. If I am correct here, it would seem that the argument has become one over semantics-- perhaps as MHJLittlefield suggests.

As for what can be seen: if you watch closely, you can see "turning of the hands" and often squeezes with the fingers, too, especially if you are close enough to the rider. I must say, too, that I have often seen Kottas quite visibly open and close his fingers on the reins, "playing them" when he first gets on and initially brings the horse onto the bit-- indeed, I have that on a video from one of his clinics. As for "blocking," there are times when a momentary "blocking" of one or another shoulder is essential to maintaining balance and straightness-- that's what half halts on the outside shoulder are all about and how collection is attained. These "actions of the reins" only block/discourage the activity of the hind leg if (as Podhajsky said) they are "prolonged."

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Apr. 14, 2007, 11:10 AM
I for one enjoyed fish's posts on hands - this is something I have been trying to master and when you do get that response from something so subtle...well...makes it all worth it.

Of course, for me, that's usually one try out of 20!

fish
Apr. 14, 2007, 02:52 PM
I for one enjoyed fish's posts on hands - this is something I have been trying to master and when you do get that response from something so subtle...well...makes it all worth it.

Of course, for me, that's usually one try out of 20!

Thank you (blush).

Thinking of hands, another book has occurred to me: Suzanne von Dietz' *Balance in Movement,* in which she explains that people simply cannot control their extremities (hands and feet) until they have first obtained control of their pelvis and torso. [Von Dietz is a physical therapist as well as a bereiter, and hence speaks with some authority on what human bodies can do.] Hence, I think it a mistake to try to teach riders to do things with their hands in an effort to position the horses' heads if the riders do not have strong enough seats/torsos/cores to support and control their hands. Thus far from the posts here, I'm guessing that this may have been the root of the problems with KM's clinic in Indiana.

According to AP's books, the SRS follows quite strictly the above principle von Dietz explains so well. Not only are riders new to the SRS kept on the lunge "six months to a year in most cases," but they are not even taught the correct arm position until "the rider can control his seat in all movements without ever holding the saddle."

What, IMO, makes the acquisition of good hands so difficult for so many (including myself), is the relative inaccessibility of good lunge lessons. As Podhajsky says,, "Experience has taught that it is much easier to teach the correct seat to a rider who has never ridden than to one who has been accustomed to ride with an incorrect seat." How many of us were trained from the beginning to have good seats, without which good hands are impossible?-- and what is a clinician to do with an arena full of riders with poor seats?

Tom King
Apr. 14, 2007, 04:35 PM
hands fixed or active?;)

http://www.veoh.com/videos/v354959bs6HYeBk

Dalfan
Apr. 14, 2007, 04:41 PM
Certainly not fixed. Active, but not in a bad way. Moving, following the horse. And I bet if you could see a close up of his fingers (well, the ring,little finger), you'd see them moving/squeezing/sponging as well. Really all that is required of the hands at this level.

lstevenson
Apr. 15, 2007, 12:45 PM
hands fixed or active?;)

http://www.veoh.com/videos/v354959bs6HYeBk



His hands are definitely still and quiet. Fixed is the wrong word. They are not active at all, even though they are following.

It is clear to see that the aids are given through the seat, as it should be.

fish
Apr. 15, 2007, 12:56 PM
His hands are definitely still and quiet. Fixed is the wrong word. They are not active at all, even though they are following.

It is clear to see that the aids are given through the seat, as it should be.

Unfortunately, I'm stuck with dial-up, so cannot watch videos.

When I read your posts, however, I cannot help but wonder whether such time honored distinctions as "active" rein vs. "passive" or "supporting" one have any meaning for you??

Of course rein aids are given "through the seat"-- everything's supposed to go "through," and, indeed, as Sally O'Conner says, "the primary avenue of communication with a horse is through the his back." This does not mean, however, that the hands/rein aids are restricted to doing nothing any more than the legs or feet are. As others have said, the hands are very much part of a cycle of aids in which each component can and should be allowed to make its contributions to the whole.

lstevenson
Apr. 15, 2007, 01:11 PM
When I read your posts, however, I cannot help but wonder whether such time honored distinctions as "active" rein vs. "passive" or "supporting" one have any meaning for you??

I know exactly what they mean, thank you. :winkgrin:




Of course rein aids are given "through the seat"-- everything's supposed to go "through," and, indeed, as Sally O'Conner says, "the primary avenue of communication with a horse is through the his back." This does not mean, however, that the hands/rein aids are restricted to doing nothing any more than the legs or feet are.


What it means, actually, is that the actions of the hands/reins should be felt through the seat. Therefore you don't "tweak" with your hands, while keeping all of your other aids quiet. That is hand riding, like it or not.

fish
Apr. 15, 2007, 02:17 PM
I know exactly what they mean, thank you. :winkgrin:


What it means, actually, is that the actions of the hands/reins should be felt through the seat. Therefore you don't "tweak" with your hands, while keeping all of your other aids quiet. That is hand riding, like it or not.

Re: "active" vs. "passive" rein aids: So you will explain, please, because my understanding is that while the supporting/passive rein limits the degree of bend, the "active rein" does do a bit of "tweaking" in order to, for example, request a bit of flexion in the throat/poll area so the horse faces in the direction of the half pass-- or even to flex one way or the other in the halt-- as many classical riders do when they first get on, or even on the ground to test the horse's submission to the bit (see, for example, "gymnastic exercise 3: soften your

Re: Feeling "actions of the hands/reins... through the seat"-- what "actions" are you talking about here if the hands are not allowed to be active???

Certainly when mounted, the hands are almost always used in conjuction with the other aids-- which is quite different from not using them at all-- and, again, I don't think anyone here has been advocating riding with rein aids alone. Also, it is quite easy to "tweak" with one's hands and feel it through one's seat. "Tweaking" and riding with one's seat are far from mutually exclusive.

At the same time, however, it IS often advantageous to break the aids up into simpler component to help the horse's understanding-- which is what Leslie Webb's (and many other's) "jaw softening" exercises are all about. Yes, when riding or lungeing it is essential to drive the horse to the bit from behind and ideal to control as much of the contact as possible with weight and seat aids when riding. It is, however, extremely useful-- and IMO a very good safety measure-- to teach a horse flexion in isolation from the driving aids so s/he understands that s/he is to soften to bit pressure-- no matter how or from where it is generated-- rather than leaning, bracing or (worst case scenario) rearing against what a young animal could (and often do) interpret as conflicting aids.

In the meantime, I don't think an occasional "tweak"-- to bring a distracted horse back to attention, for example-- makes for "handriding." Certainly the uses of the rein aids described by Podhajsky, exemplified by Kottas, etc., do not.

snoopy
Apr. 15, 2007, 02:28 PM
perhaps this very informative and useful discussion would be best suited to another thread as it seems to have "moved' beyond what the OP was about. I am sure there would be more debate/participation if it were not linked to the OP.:D

Dalfan
Apr. 15, 2007, 05:08 PM
Therefore you don't "tweak" with your hands, while keeping all of your other aids quiet. That is hand riding, like it or not.

The hands work in concert with the seat. Just as the legs work in concert. Are you really saying that the hands are just there to hold the reins - about 2 inches above the withers and 6-10 inches or so apart?? No sponging, no squeezing, no pressure from a finger here or there, no slight angle of the wrist, no opening/closing of the rein?? To me that would be the ultimate in fixed, dead hands.

lstevenson
Apr. 15, 2007, 11:58 PM
This is my last post on this thread, because I'm betting that the OP winces every time this topic is bumped up to the top.

But I do want to say, Dalfan, you seem to be asking the same questions I have already answered, so I will not repeat. But I will add once again that just because a hand is still and quiet does NOT make it fixed or dead. A hand can be still and rigid, or still and soft and supple. There is a huge difference.

A Horse of Course
Apr. 16, 2007, 01:39 AM
Ding Ding Ding. We have a winner. That would be Istevenson.

If anyone would like to start a thread to continue with "the role of the hands" topic, you all know the way......

snoopy
Apr. 16, 2007, 08:52 AM
[QUOTE=lstevenson;2367018]This is my last post on this thread, because I'm betting that the OP winces every time this topic is bumped up to the top.

exactly the point of my last post!!!!:D

kwpnWB
Apr. 17, 2007, 03:19 PM
I like to add my opinion, it was AWFUL. Though she may be going on giving some lectures, she certainly can not teach!

eggbutt
Apr. 17, 2007, 03:34 PM
This is my last post on this thread, because I'm betting that the OP winces every time this topic is bumped up to the top.




Heck, I even wince at the life of this post!!:eek: :eek: Gosh, enough already!