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  1. #21
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    Am I living in another universe or something? Dressage is constantly being hounded, there is talk of whips flailing, spurs bashing, flashes squeezing, and cranks cutting off circulation. Where are you guys seeing this happen? I go to a lot of clinics, I've gone to watch two big rated shows within the past year, and my trainer (when she comes up this way) is the head trainer at a huge and very competetive breeding farm.

    And guess what? All the riders at the clinics have been delightful. The riders at the rated shows were also very good and patient. In fact I only saw 1 person at that big show who I thought was being ugly toward her horse. Another trainer reported it to the TD and the TD jumped on it immediately!

    My trainer never suggests for anyone to be abusive with their whips, never asks us to tighten the flash up a hole, and she prefers us to wear the plastic spurs with the roller balls. Am I in the only place in the country where people are kind to their horses? I just don't get where all the "horrors of dressage" are going on. And I'll tell you right now that everyone who rides at trainer's farm follows the same principles, they are kind and patient, and gasp.........winning!



  2. #22
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    I think the operative words whether you ride with a bit or bitless is releasing pressure. I think that it's a stretch to say that EVERY horse with a bit in it's mouth MUST be uncomfortable and that EVERY horse that goes bitless must be more comfortable simply because of the absence of a bit.

    I have seen very many sympathetic riders with forgiving hands having open communication and I have seen many riders riding backwards with restrictive hands bitted AND bitless.

    I am of the firm mindset that when used properly, a bit is the tool best suited for subtle communication - the metal picks up vibrations in a way that crossed leathers or big plastic bits can't. Think tuning fork. But, I'm not naive enough to think that everyone has the knowledge to use a bit in this way - but I also don't think for a minute that just because a horse is bitless that it means their rider is more subtle with the aids or more forgiving or that the horse is more comfortable. So, why don't we agree to disagree on the bits/bitless debate and concentrate on getting the most out of our horses - bitted or bitless.
    "the waist is not a joint" I MUST REMEMBER THIS!



  3. #23
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    I guess I don't understand why the bitless brujas are so focused on dressage. For the most part, dressage is highly monitored with stewards, TDs, drug testing, extensive lists of what is legal/illegal equipment.

    I think their energy would be so much better focused on disciplines that use illegal bits, equipment and training. Go hound them and leave us to our 20 meter circles.



  4. #24
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    Okay, after seeing recent photos of Parzival being warmed-up at WEG, I have to retract my statement. It would seem the bad images of dressage are coming straight from the top of the sport. I just wish that people would not assume ALL dressage riders choose those methods.



  5. #25
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    I guess I don't understand why the bitless brujas are so focused on dressage. For the most part, dressage is highly monitored with stewards, TDs, drug testing, extensive lists of what is legal/illegal equipment
    yes and in my area it's rare someone needs to be eliminated.
    "When you think you don't need a coach ...then you're in trouble" Don Imus 2012



  6. #26
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    Does anyone think that these controversial methods coincide with horses that are brought along too fast these days?



  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by princessfluffybritches View Post
    Does anyone think that these controversial methods coincide with horses that are brought along too fast these days?
    yes
    I can remember when 18 was middle aged for a show horse... now they are retired.
    start them slow to ride them longer
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwblover View Post
    Am I living in another universe or something? Dressage is constantly being hounded, there is talk of whips flailing, spurs bashing, flashes squeezing, and cranks cutting off circulation. Where are you guys seeing this happen? I go to a lot of clinics, I've gone to watch two big rated shows within the past year, and my trainer (when she comes up this way) is the head trainer at a huge and very competetive breeding farm.

    And guess what? All the riders at the clinics have been delightful. The riders at the rated shows were also very good and patient. In fact I only saw 1 person at that big show who I thought was being ugly toward her horse. Another trainer reported it to the TD and the TD jumped on it immediately!

    My trainer never suggests for anyone to be abusive with their whips, never asks us to tighten the flash up a hole, and she prefers us to wear the plastic spurs with the roller balls. Am I in the only place in the country where people are kind to their horses? I just don't get where all the "horrors of dressage" are going on. And I'll tell you right now that everyone who rides at trainer's farm follows the same principles, they are kind and patient, and gasp.........winning!
    You're very lucky to be in on a good group. My gaited horse is at an exceptional barn where padding etc is frowned upon.



  9. #29
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    I find that it's more productive to focus on my own riding and that of my students, then that of people I don't know and never will, who have no relevance to my life at all.

    The mature version of MYOB.

    I am this way, at least in part, because I have found that in generals, if someone is yelping about someone elses bad riding, they are probably riding badly on the opposite end of the bad riding spectrum. For example, on one of the recent threads someone is yelping about horses not being poll high, etc. Etc. If you click on their website link, their horses are poll high all right.. And they are strung out with their backs dropped and under necks in full action to achieve this "ideal". No doubt they are proud... Well, good working hunters show a better balance and impulsion as well as acceptance of the bridle than that.

    So... If you look around a bit, it becomes clear that paying attention to what you can positively influence (yourself and the people you teach) is more productive than picking a topic and whining about it.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by EqTrainer View Post
    I find that it's more productive to focus on my own riding and that of my students, then that of people I don't know and never will, who have no relevance to my life at all.

    The mature version of MYOB.

    I am this way, at least in part, because I have found that in generals, if someone is yelping about someone elses bad riding, they are probably riding badly on the opposite end of the bad riding spectrum. For example, on one of the recent threads someone is yelping about horses not being poll high, etc. Etc. If you click on their website link, their horses are poll high all right.. And they are strung out with their backs dropped and under necks in full action to achieve this "ideal". No doubt they are proud... Well, good working hunters show a better balance and impulsion as well as acceptance of the bridle than that.

    So... If you look around a bit, it becomes clear that paying attention to what you can positively influence (yourself and the people you teach) is more productive than picking a topic and whining about it.
    Where's the like button when I need it!



  11. #31
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    This thread was about opinions about appliances that may or may not effect communication (mostly from the horse). It was not supposed to be about bitless and who rides better. For those pro crank/flash, can you offer reasons why these things improve your communication?



  12. #32
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    okay, I will bite.

    It all depends on the horse and what the horse needs. For some horses it it isn't an issue, for others it is. You have to take the horse and their issues into account for what equipment you are going to use. If you have a horse that goes great with a plain cavesson and no flash- then AWESOME. And if you don't, then you have to investigate other tools to help you and the horse.

    The fact of the matter is that if you are doing dressage you are scored on the general attributes that are gaits, impulsion, submission (horse coming up in the bridle, lack resistance to the bridle, willingness to take contact) rider (inc. use of the aids).

    Here is why I use a flash cavesson with a padded crank with a snaffle bit. He was a show jumper for the 1st 6 years of his life. Had been ridden in a double twisted snaffle to keep him from getting too strong over the jumps. He was very much backed off the bit, had a habit of carrying his mouth just slightly open, and I rode with zero ounces in my hand- not in a good way. All of these things are resistence and a lack of submission to the bridle(which you get knocked for in dressage). I tried riding him with no cavesson, no flash, plain cavesson. No amount expensive bits to encourage the horse to 'play with the bit' and relax in the mouth worked. Cranking my reins shorter or driving him from my seat into the bridle didn't work- he just went faster/bigger with more resistence in the bridle.

    By using the crank I have an evenly distributed amount of pressure (and it's padded, and I also add padding). The flash also helps to close his mouth so he's just not 'carrying' the bit or picking it up and dropping it. Sometimes you get a false sense that because you are carrying ounces in your hands that that is relaxation. It isn't. Esp. if they are carrying tension in their head, poll, neck shoulders then back..It is all interrelated. I can't influence him if there is tension. So by having an even steady connection to his mouth to my hands with a cavesson and flash I can apply effective right or left flexion as needed. I can get a reaction/a softening and then I can do a micro give and test his self carriage. I can use a half halt to get him through in his neck and relax. Now the movement in my hands can be smaller, minimal and I can get a reaction and still be effective. It is a steady lightness of contact and willing submission on his part.

    I just couldn't go above second level with a horse that was resistent to the bit...trying to do a shoulder in, a lengthening, a half pass, a canter walk or worse a counter canter walk transition or a rein back with a horse that was resisant to the bit/bridle. ugggh! Quel nightmare!



  13. #33
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    I've worked with similar horses BOR and in fact my primary jumper is exactly as you described your boy. Mouth gaping open initially, zero contact, hollow, tense beyond belief. He is an OTTB and was ridden in a ring bit and a flash. First thing I did was put him in a low-ported snaffle that allowed him some tongue relief. Mouth closed almost completely. Next, I actually stayed off his back for the next few months and just worked him on the ground developing emotional collection and relaxation (at least getting it started!) so that he was safe u/s. Then, u/s, we just used patterns and exercises to work our way up the Training Scale and voila, a soft, relaxed, submissive dressage horse without tying his mouth shut!

    So, in general, why can't the same apply to other tense and hollow horses? Working up the Training Scale, you are supposed to develop rhythm and relaxation initially. Why can't it be done classically, without the cranks and figure-8's? This is just my personal opinion, but all the specialised nosebands seem to simply be a band-aid. In my experiences, where cranks and figure-8's have been used for clearer communication, it's been to shut down the static the horse's create - their communication - making it more one-sided so that they could hear the rider better. But why not instead address why the horse feels the need to communicate thusly and really pound in that Training Scale? Resistance to the bridle and lack of submission are problems easily solved with relaxation (the cornerstone of the Training Scale) and earning the horse's partnership.

    On that note, I do not understand the term 'static' riders are using - what static (other than 'static' created by the horse, as mentioned above)? When my horses are mentally and emotionally developed (ie. 'collected' emotionally and thus at least relaxed) and we have a partnership, there is no static. They are tuned in to me and are listening carefully because we are a team. Someone care to explain in further detail what they meant?
    ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.



  14. #34
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    Betteroffred, thanks for taking the time to explain reasons why a crank or flash would be used. I guess I can compare it to hooves,( which is my latest obsession); there's the book ideal, then there's reality. And you sound like you're someone who is using these items as tools. And Naturalequus suggests these items are "bandaids" which they can be, but possibly they can also be a stepping stone? Naturalequus, it's too bad that they are used too frequently as a bandaid.

    Maybe it's not so much the equipment, but the person using it? Maybe it has more to do with an individual's goals? Maybe you can't draw conclusions from just seeing a crank and flash on a horse?

    Naturalequus, like you, my satisfaction comes from succeeding with the training scale. But I've never worked with a horse that has been so mentally and physically damaged that they have just hung up the phone and are not taking calls. Do you think that there are horses out there who cannot be taken up the training scale in the ideal way?

    Maybe there should be a level you reach in competition where you are no longer allowed to use a crank?



  15. #35
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    It is certainly possible for them to be used as a stepping stone I suppose, and I definitely agree it is more about the individual than the tool being used (as with anything), but isn't there a better way? And if the crank or figure-8 is being used as a training tool, should it not be possible to remove said training tool once the goals warranting its use are accomplished??

    I have worked with horses who are so mentally and emotionally damaged that they initially completely tuned their riders out and had no concept of the term 'relaxation' - and the Training Scale still worked with them. Just took longer. My jumper OTTB is a prime example. Personally, I don't believe that there are horses who cannot be taken up the training scale the ideal way if they are given time. However I have to concede I am not 'all knowledgeable' (no one is, haha!) and I have not worked with every single horse out there on this planet (lol). The more you learn about horses, the more you realise how little you actually know. That said, I do not see how one cannot possibly develop relaxation in a horse without the use of such training aids, irregardless of the horse's past baggage or the situation, given time. I am interested to hear input from others here though!
    ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.



  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by princessfluffybritches View Post
    I've always learned that correct dressage is like an open phone conversation with both parties listening and having a calm informative conversation.
    Then, why the crank, flash, etc-doesn't that sound more like you're leaving a demanding one sided voicemail message?
    A flash/dropped noseband keeps the bit in the proper location so it won't move around as the horse chews, swallows etc...

    The intent of the flash is to stabilize the position of the bit in the horses mouth so the horse can better perceive the clarity of the riders rein aids.
    Copyright ©2007-2012, Percheron X
    My creative work may be used on the COTH forum only.



  17. #37
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    So, what about the horses who can still listen while they chew and swallow? Why can some horses listen through the chewing and swallowing, and some "can't"?

    I can understand the intention for refinement and subtler communication however does the drop noseband (and what about cranks and such??) really create a substantial difference in the stability of the bit (research?) and is that level of subtlety really required when it is not required elsewhere in other scenarios?

    I am questioning honestly here
    ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.



  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by naturalequus View Post
    So, what about the horses who can still listen while they chew and swallow? Why can some horses listen through the chewing and swallowing, and some "can't"?
    I love when my horse chews and swallows. Isn't it called the "stretchy chewy circle" for a reason?


    In all seriousness, I do actually love that from my horse. I've discussed his tendency to get btv and back off contact, and if he's chewing he's thinking about the contact and reaching for it instead of tensing and bracing himself behind it. His whole body is softer, more forward, back lifted, more responsive, while he's chewing.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  19. #39
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    I do wonder why (some) people are so determined to go after dressage. Not that it's perfect, but... look at some of the bits used in other disciplines, while dressage snaffles are generally not harsh at all; if one shows, they are not allowed to be (e.g. no ported snaffles allowed!) Look at the corkscrews, twisted wires, super long-shanked curbs, curbs with sharp extensions that dig into a horse's tongue, bits made of bicycle chains etc.! (I wandered into a tack store trailer at a Morgan show recently, and there was not ONE legal dressage snaffle in the place. Most were twists, and most were wicked thin. To be fair, a lot of Morgans have big tongues and low palates -- ask me how I know -- so some of those big thick "gentle" snaffles drive them nuts because there's no room in the mouth for them.)

    Sometimes I think the flash, crank, figure-8 etc. get used in dressage because the allowed bits are quite mild. And please remember, cranks don't have to be cranked, flashes don't have to be tight, etc. But I do think it's ridiculous how many people seem to assume that if it's a dressage horse, it needs a flash. (My mare needs a flash with a loose ring, just because the rotation of the loose ring bothers her. As she comes back into work, I'll be trying some other variations to see if she's happier without the "noise" of the loose ring.)
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    Proudly owned by Mythic Feronia, 1998 Morgan mare; G-dspeed Trump & Minnie; welcome 2014 Morgan filly MtnTop FlyWithMeJosephine



  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by netg View Post
    I love when my horse chews and swallows. Isn't it called the "stretchy chewy circle" for a reason?


    In all seriousness, I do actually love that from my horse. I've discussed his tendency to get btv and back off contact, and if he's chewing he's thinking about the contact and reaching for it instead of tensing and bracing himself behind it. His whole body is softer, more forward, back lifted, more responsive, while he's chewing.
    Exactly, I love seeing that foaming mouth and having a horse happily snacking away on the bit. When they are relaxed it is not a disturbance and I haven't found it to interrupt communication. Am I missing something or misunderstanding??
    ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.



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