I cannot imagine why this is so and I do many very problematic horses (I clinic for six weeks at a time all over the country.
How does the horse 'protest'? Rude how? (Rooting? or?) Which flexions? Did you start with 'merely' tasting the bit/mobilizing the jaw by lifting? Most of the time I see the horse 'protest' (lateral flexions) it is because horse is too low/closed and the bit is acting backwards/on the jaw rather than lifing the bit into the corner of the lips for the lateral flexion.
Most people think the ridden flexions are easier, but remember the longer the reins the move leverage the rider has....good news/bad news.
From what I have read over the years, I realize you are much more experienced than I am when working with dressage horses. I have mostly have "other people's problem/throw away" horses and have learned over the years that finding an approach that doesn't undo all the months (sometimes years) of foundation work is more than worth "this is the way".
I once worked with a champion saddlebred who would try to flip over backwards if you tried to hold the curb rein from the ground. This particular horse in the little video was given to me as star grazer who went from being completely hand ridden in a twisted wire snaffle to a western grazing bit with no contact. It has been slow work to get him to trust the hand. Sometimes taking many steps backwards.
I am not saying your are wrong when you ask and I'm paraphrasing, "why not from the ground? the horse should respond " and I'm sure he would probably be accepting of that work now, but one has to adapt to the horse's baggage and personality not just go by the book. I am willing to listen to the horse and compromise where necessary if it means getting results. I am not a professional on a time limit. I'm a 60+ pleasure rider having a ball.
btw here is kind of what i am talking about... in the first part of this vid - you can clearly see PK riding with a high hand - to act on the corners of the mouth and the horse going FDO and "pushing" into the bit.
Re the PK vid, that makes sense, and that is following from other work in hand for jaw mobilization and lateral flexibility movement in order to get 'neck extension'.
For what it is worth CFF I do all types of horses from all disciplines, and the majority have to deal with 'other people's problem/throw away horses' (including horses to refuse to go forward/injure people/etc). So we handlers have to learn HOW TO REPLACE BEHAVIORS.
Interestingly enough ALL curbs used to be longer than what is now 'allowed' by the fei. If anyone had tried rk on horses of those days the riders would all have been dead because harsh actions on a longer curb would have resulted in the same behaviors as the saddlebred showed. And that is why the flexions start in a snaffle (and for horses like that with treats as well), and perhaps in movement. Trainers today have to be equine psychologists as well as simple trainer. Horses have no clock, they simply learn once they trust (and it is interesting that SW is a really good avenue for learning). (And isn't being 60+ a blast!)
Im having such a good time learning SW with my pony--Im glad I went ahead and decided to play with it.
Im not 100 percent sure which is responsible for which but I have noticed since starting to play with the Flexions (In Hand Work) and a bit of SW leg stretches Im noticing a real change in my guys way of going. I think we are coming up on about a month using both. What I notice mainly is the raising of his spine/lifting of the wither and its not something I am actively requesting (or maybe I am and just dont yet know it). What is interesting to me is he will actually come out of the barn as he warms up you can feel the wither noticeably come up. On particularly good days I can transition directly from our warm up exercises to trot work in a long forward down and out stretching frame(while keeping the wither up). I also think is cadence/rhythm tempo are improving. Among other things I have noticed an improvement in his Stretching Circle at the trot--almost as though as he continues to gain strength and balance he has more strength to stay up in his shoulders while stretching. His improved balance and thoroughness have allowed me to focus more on straightening and this has a direct effect on his gait quality and ability to extend/lengthen. Maybe not a big deal on a bigger horse--but when you ride something with short legs its a very big deal -- if you want to compete. Anything you can add to gait quality and longer steps is a bonus. The in hand work has very much improved his enthusiasm and willingness under saddle. What I noticed mainly in looking at some recent pictures its almost as though his center of gravity (balance point) has moved back just a notch.
GoodPony - so cool you are having such an interesting time
are you having any instances of pony giving you spanish walk when unwanted?
i want to try some things with my pony, but he is so into being a good boy and giving me what i want that i worry that it might turn him into a spanish walk machine - .... giving me salutes all the time.....
does anyone have any experience with this? will they do this? are there any negative repercussions to teaching this?
are you having any instances of pony giving you spanish walk when unwanted?
Not under saddle--he will occasionally get confused when we first begin the stepping over exercises in hand and offer to stretch a leg instead. If he persists (as in begging for treats) I reposition his head--its enough to unbalance him or I just plain ignore him (no reward for his effort). I have been careful to only ask for a few SW steps on our way back to the barn--and not in the arena. I hate to admit it but his efforts are sometimes HUMOROUS (look at me = Im so clever) he makes me laugh. He is learning to distinguish what I want when I want it. Just a matter of time for him to be more confirmed.
This is us playing around with the SW steps--we have only been doing this for just under 3 weeks and this was more a play session than anything like classical schooling of any sort. He continues to progress and the steps get more connected and expressive: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4468086413230
I did find out inadvertently that asking him to back occasionally before we begin does help keep him from taking advantage of his size and leaning into me or popping a shoulder--and it definitely helps to connect the hind end with the front. Alas I have not help to sort of drive him from behind. I dont normally use this area to do the SW but instead use a fence line--it was just for the photo op.
Last edited by goodpony; Nov. 24, 2012 at 12:48 PM.
...my point was - a pressing into the bit *might* be one of the responses we look for.....
The answer to that is yes. By lifting high enough the horse WILL seek to go the 'other way'. This is particularly true of horses which have learned to evade (pain on bars) by hollowing. (There is a youtube of PK on a brown horse in canter doing this action that I think you are relating...sorry to be dense about the application.)
Here is a fairly decent (considering) photo of "ribbon candy teeth". It it a large high resolution photo. If you download it and blow it up, you can see the ridges and valleys .... even thought these teeth are packed with Maxwell's breakfast which included SandClear (along with his pellets) which is gooey and stuck in his teeth. Sorry, it is somewhat gross, but informative.
ETA: the pony in the photo is nine. I had a full dental work up done on him in an effort ot figure out what was causing his perpetual grinding noise. He has very deep ridges and can slice through oak branches easily. He loves to dine on woody vines.
I have seen Max bite the inside of his cheek without having any bit or bridle on. He is very careful because he hates that sharp pain. I can see it by the way he sort of startles himself when he does happen to bite the inside of his cheek. He does have very tough skin though, so apparently there is not usually a cut, it just hurts.
There are some really graphic images on this page of what can happen inside the horses mouth: http://www.restless-night.com/articl...es_mouth.shtml
In thinking about the locking jaw further--if you do not understand how this might happen--Lift your horses head as high as you can and see what happens to the jaw--it moves!
re FDO was just looking at the PK book (Twisted) (which I am thoroughly enjoying) and he mentions there is a systematic progression to the flexion which I think is what Ideayoda is talking about:
1) Cession de Manchoire
2) Lateral Flexion without Closing the Poll Angle
3) Poll Flexion without lowering the head
4) Extending the Neck
Also PK talks about the Spanish Walk:
In conventional Dressage Circles it is common to consider the Spanish Walk as non-classical- a circus trick that serves no purpose and that is vaguely frowned upon To this can reply: giving a good Spanish walk to a horse is not easy and is therefore worthy of interest. What is classical is to manage to give good Passage to any horse using gentle and intelligent methods.
He is talking about a progression from teaching the Jambette ( leg stretching) to Spanish Walk (Combining the Leg Stretches with a Symmetrical forward Walk) to Passage (utilizing SW-Trot transition as a means to achieve the Passage).
He goes onto to say:
" Horses with relatively inexpressive paces give very correct and even astonishing passages using this approach. This method also improves the passage of gifted horses giving it greater height, roundness and cadence."
Last edited by goodpony; Nov. 25, 2012 at 12:40 PM.
Goodpony - you might be interested to know that my trainer agrees with PK.... maybe not about the spanish walk (i dont know) but for sure about teh ability of average horses being able to develop good passage/piaffe etc.
It will be fun to see how much we are able to develop my tank boy - he has a very nice natural canter - but his trot? not so much so we shall see how it comes along....
I do think there are many different ways to reach the same goal - and a good trainer will use what is needed to get to the correct end game - whatever that may be.
I think it is cool that you are experimenting - me? i am not sure what my mimic machine would do if i tried
Well I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying the PK book and am now considering purchasing it for my instructor for Christmas (if she doesn't already have it which I am fairly sure she does!).
What is interesting regarding the Spanish Walk is I have now read at least three different authors that suggest the same as PK. I also saw yesterday that Anja Beran has a new video coming out in 2013 (English Version) that demonstrates the progression of training this movement as well as others--I will look forwards to that.
As far as teaching SW--I think PK is right its not easy (at least not easy to do correctly if you have no experience) but it is really fascinating work (at least to me and I am enjoying it tremendously). It is helping me to really understand the mechanics of the walk in a more meaningful way. And incredibly there does seem to be some gymnastic effects even at our very early stage. My DH being highly intelligent rarely comments on my pony or my riding (smart man!). Today he was out running the bush hog while I was schooling in the arena--afterwards DH commented on how well my guy was moving---and my DH RARELY comments EVER.
I also mentioned that the work has improved my guys enthusiasm for ridden work---today he came THUNDERING to the gait to go to work the minute he saw me with my breeches on--he always comes and is happy to go to work---but it is quite rare for him to break out of a walk. He is NOT BORED in the least with our work but instead shows great enthusiasm even beginning to show expression/pride--which is HUGE!. I have had some of the best rides I have ever had just in the last two days--I can really REALLY feel how the quality of his gaits has improved quite dramatically. I cannot really say it was one thing (ie SW or Flexions) or the other (lot of strength/endurance/changing his diet and a myriad of other details/work)---but it is very apparent that a LOT of the pieces have really come together in a significant way--and all since starting this work.
For all of you Western states Philippe Karl/Bertrand Ravoux "Legerite" enthusiasts, just got an email saying not enough auditors therefore the series is a no go in Santa Fe. They had the riders but just needed more auditors to round out the balance sheet. It will be just too expensive given the Trinity Ranch venue and the other extraneous expenses to hold it in Santa Fe.
They are going to try for a venue in Cheyenne, Wy.