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  1. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    ???? did you not read what i wrote? - step by step - whatever their ability is - you advance them as much as they can do that day.
    Apparently you don't read well either, or you're not getting what I'm saying. You were talking about the rider working hard, and I was saying that that can drive a horse nuts, depending on what the rider is doing.



  2. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect Pony View Post
    That video was her at 3, almost 4, she was about 6 months into work. Her right lead was difficult at that point, but as soon as she started being asked to go in a little more upright frame, and started doing 1st level work (lateral work, 15m canter circles) she started getting uneven and "popping" her front end at the right lead canter. Working closely with my vet/chiro and farrier we tried a few things, as well as working on several gymnastic exercises (counter bending, counter canter...). I decided to move her to a H/J barn for winter and a change of pace for a while and found the perfect home and decided it was the best thing for her for the long haul.

    After that I decided my next horse would be symmetrical, at least as much as possible. Certainly my new pony will have her issues, but Bugzy told me in no uncertain terms that the work was really hard and painful for her. And she found real joy packing a 10 year old around over a course of jumps. Who was I to argue with that?
    She did look pretty downhill in the video of her first show, and her canter looked somewhat lateral too. Not a horse I would have looked at and said "I want that to be my dressage horse!" Especially not with the high/lo.



  3. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by grayarabpony View Post
    Apparently you don't read well either, or you're not getting what I'm saying. You were talking about the rider working hard, and I was saying that that can drive a horse nuts, depending on what the rider is doing.

    hard work as in day by day, week by week, step by step - doing the work that is needed to get the job done.



  4. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    hard work as in day by day, week by week, step by step - doing the work that is needed to get the job done.
    Oh god you make it sound like such drudgery. The exact opposite of what dressage is *supposed* to be!



  5. #165
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    i give up !



  6. #166
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    What I'm trying to say is that I've had some of the very best dressage rides when I went out with no agenda or goals and didn't care how it went. (In fact before the ride with the Arabian referenced above I was thinking "I give up -- I can't ride dressage! lol) No tension crept into the ride and I was able to get the result I wanted all along.



  7. #167
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    This used to be an interesting thread about the "French School."



  8. #168
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    I am completely fascinated by everything in this thread. I am not sure what I have properly understood/digested, but my wish list on Amazon is now longer.

    Swamp Yankee, or others, - can you say anything about how French vs German school fits with baroque style vs modern warmblood body types?

    I do not think I am fully able to articulate what I am trying to get at with my question. I drove a WB inspector (German) to the airport & while I had him trapped, I asked about baroque vs WB and collections vs extensions. I got a long answer that was over my head & involved a lot of "schwung" (which makes me giggle b/c I think of Wayne's World).

    From what I could gather, he said that the term "collection" as used by Spanish Riding School & as used in FEI were not referring to the same thing. He believed that the modern WBs (? I may be misstating this) were better able to step under themselves, which resulted in more freedom of movement/schwung. I SO did not understand this.

    I admit I asked him this b/c I have a super strong preference for a close coupled, compact horse.

    I have always wanted to be trained in the classical sense, but I admit that I am giving up hope of this ever happening. Right now I read a lot, but have trouble actually putting anything into practice.

    Mostly I spend my time worrying about not tripping over the lunge line.



  9. #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicen View Post
    Can we consider that release of the rein as reward doesn't have to mean going all-over-floppy loose?
    What a timely statement...just last night, in my lesson with a new to me trainer (long, weekend of auditing one instructor, lessons on a schoolmaster, with a second instructor, and lessons on my own horse, with a third instructor) I was working to think of my releases in millimeters, not the centimeters or inches of prior years.

    And it was working.



  10. #170
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    I have decided that my mare's comfort/communication zone is 0.5mm! That is the window of brilliance for us. We jumped light years ahead for us! It was an epiphany! Huge wall broken down...very happy with our lesson! It is something I have been struggling with for a long while and finally felt what she was telling me....

    Too much rein shut her down mentally...too overwhelming!

    Too little rein had her laughing at me....not listening!

    0.5mm of communication and I had her attention.

    I tuned into her quickly when I realized what she was communicating with me. Viola! We are both happy as clams and have lightness, forward, variability!

    Very, very happy! I listened to her and to myself. I PLAYED with her!
    Be Patient! Be Kind! Try to understand!



  11. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippolyta View Post
    I am completely fascinated by everything in this thread. I am not sure what I have properly understood/digested, but my wish list on Amazon is now longer.

    Swamp Yankee, or others, - can you say anything about how French vs German school fits with baroque style vs modern warmblood body types?

    I do not think I am fully able to articulate what I am trying to get at with my question. I drove a WB inspector (German) to the airport & while I had him trapped, I asked about baroque vs WB and collections vs extensions. I got a long answer that was over my head & involved a lot of "schwung" (which makes me giggle b/c I think of Wayne's World).

    From what I could gather, he said that the term "collection" as used by Spanish Riding School & as used in FEI were not referring to the same thing. He believed that the modern WBs (? I may be misstating this) were better able to step under themselves, which resulted in more freedom of movement/schwung. I SO did not understand this.

    I admit I asked him this b/c I have a super strong preference for a close coupled, compact horse.

    I have always wanted to be trained in the classical sense, but I admit that I am giving up hope of this ever happening. Right now I read a lot, but have trouble actually putting anything into practice.

    Mostly I spend my time worrying about not tripping over the lunge line.
    Afraid I'm not quite understanding what he meant, either; it's possible there was a bit of a language barrier there. German equitation terms lose a lot in translation to English.

    If your horse is the close-coupled type (and our modern QH's and similar are descended from Spanish blood, same as the Lipizzaners) a great study source for you would be the books of Alois Podhajsky, especially The Complete Training of Horse & Rider. It walks you through the training of the Spanish Riding School, which is Baroque horsemanship at its most systematic, with a Germanic flavor. This is derived from the French, but does not include the techniques of Baucher, who came later. His theories were never adopted in Vienna. The Vienna School is training with which it's really hard to go wrong! Your horse will develop lightness, but through the training progression more familiar to people with experience in "modern" dressage.

    The whole competition style, and the horses it takes to do it, have become so "extreme" in my opinion that it's barely even relevant today to other breeds of horse who don't have that extreme elasticity and amplitude. To try and ride a QH or TB that way would be like sailing a light, fast, tender sailboat and bitching that it isn't handling the waves like a container ship! You-can't-do-THAT, because you-haven't-GOT-that! Work with what you have, with the tools that work for YOUR horse. That's all dressage techniques were designed to be, really--tools for training. Why people get all "religious" about it has always sort of bemused me.

    To the posters above talking about it being miserable hard work: Why would anyone want to do that? Riding is supposed to be FUN! And the French School's motto is,
    "belle legerete" or "beautiful lightness!" This should be PLAY, folks--think Jerry Garcia noodling on his guitar and coming up with new and wonderful sounds, not some kid playing scales on the piano with a scowling instructor rapping his fingers!

    You and your horse should both be ENJOYING this!



  12. #172
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    I thought this was an interesting article relating to this topic: Balance vs. Motion



  13. #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodpony View Post
    I thought this was an interesting article relating to this topic: Balance vs. Motion

    OMG Lisa, thank you so much for this article, talk about a HUGE lightbulb moment for me with our little Flora. She is such a different type of horse than I am used to, and I have found over my first few rides on her, my entire training program has had to be modified. These paragraphs have given me the validation I needed, because I have instinctually been working very differently than I am used to because she has been telling me what she needs (and it hasn't really made sense to me, until now).

    In the end, the debate of methods seems to come down to the type of horse in question. We must keep in mind that each training tradition grew out of a historical context where particular kinds of horses were being prepared for certain styles of riding. Different styles and horses require different approaches.

    For somewhat phlegmatic Warmbloods, an early approach that confirms forward energy and a horizontal frame seems to be the right recipe. But for a horse with notably uphill conformation and naturally elevated gaits, like Iberian horses, it appears best to capitalize on their ability to sit into the haunches early on. Also, since they are generally more animated than Warmbloods, more focus can be placed on eliminating jaw and bodily contractions, rather than developing a forward, rhythmic stride. And for horses that fall between these two types, perhaps a blend of both methods is best.



  14. #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by MelantheLLC View Post
    This used to be an interesting thread about the "French School."
    Nice...



  15. #175
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    lol! fwiw i never said riding was drugery... i said that if you are training an average horse you need to be okay with small progress and be okay with working hard (not literally - figuratively) to get the kind of results another might get with a million $$ horse in a few days....

    as as to the topic at hand - i am reading Decarpentry right now - fantastic book and interesting the things he writes about flexions.... he feels they are not suited for the average rider and that in fact they were taken out of the military program because they were not working and in fact ruining horses when used by the rank and file.



  16. #176
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect Pony View Post
    OMG Lisa, thank you so much for this article, talk about a HUGE lightbulb moment for me with our little Flora. She is such a different type of horse than I am used to, and I have found over my first few rides on her, my entire training program has had to be modified. These paragraphs have given me the validation I needed, because I have instinctually been working very differently than I am used to because she has been telling me what she needs (and it hasn't really made sense to me, until now).
    Glad you found something useful! Good Luck Today!



  17. #177
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    Regarding the rein release, pardon me for quoting myself!

    Quote Originally Posted by MelantheLLC View Post
    That's why it's so important to release the pressure at the precise moment the horse offers what you asked for, and release it clearly, so the horse understands.

    As a horse becomes more "trained," meaning it not only comprehends the simple, single aids, but has a rider it can trust to apply and release them in a way that makes sense to the horse, then you can add more subtle variations, ask for an "upgrade" in performance--and know that the horse will be confident enough to accept it and even enjoy himself. Horses LOVE consistency. It makes them happy and calm. They love to know that when they respond accurately to a clear, simple aid, they can affect what happens to them.
    It doesn't matter what school you adhere to, the basic laws of learning apply. If you are in the stage of teaching the horse what is meant by leg--then when it moves forward off your leg, throw the #$@K away the reins! Let 'em flop, while he bounds forward with no barrier. So it's CLEAR to the horse what you meant, and he responded correctly. (And you can--and should--also keep this complete release as a "jackpot" when the horse does especially well later at bounding forward off a light aid, because you always want to randomly reward behavior that you want to keep. The only reward for the horse in any kind of traditional training is release of pressure, so use it.)

    I am talking about early stages of training "the lesson of the leg" as Racinet called it in his books. Later you can work with rein lengths down the millimeter, IF you have that kind of seat.

    Here's the big problem with the reins. We can talk all we want about how much contact to maintain, but the fact is, very few of us have that much control of our seat and balance, much less our hands.

    We balance ourselves on the reins. It takes a very high level of equitation not to do this. Unless you are a person who can jump a course without stirrups or reins (and Racinet and Karl at least are in that category), you are very very likely to be using the reins to some extent for your own balance.

    Horses can and do understand signals given in millimeters. Heck, they pay attention to eye blinks. It's one of the things you learn when you get into positive reinforcement methods, how incredibly alert horses (any animals) are to tiny tiny signals of body language.

    But this is a two-edged sword. Whether you flop the reins or change your contact by a millimeter, that's not all that's happening. There's a whole world of context at that instant, from your leg to your seatbones to your balance to the weather that day. The horse has to cut through all this static to guess at which body language signal matters to him, and what he should do about it.

    This isn't French or German or anything else. It's the way the world works. There's no magic to rein length or contact. The magic is in whether the horse gets the signal through the static, comprehends it, acts on it, and gets reinforced for that action in a way that causes it to repeat the action when the same signal is given later.

    The main reason I like the French philosophy as Racinet explained it is because it dovetails more clearly with the reality of how horses learn and why they react as they do.

    Sorry for the rant. It's saturday morning and I've just had one cup of tea.

    I love this thread, thanks again!
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.



  18. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    lol! fwiw i never said riding was drugery... i said that if you are training an average horse you need to be okay with small progress and be okay with working hard (not literally - figuratively) to get the kind of results another might get with a million $$ horse in a few days....

    as as to the topic at hand - i am reading Decarpentry right now - fantastic book and interesting the things he writes about flexions.... he feels they are not suited for the average rider and that in fact they were taken out of the military program because they were not working and in fact ruining horses when used by the rank and file.
    This is true. You should figure out the strong/weak points of any horse and be happy with the success you have with them and not compare to the horse with more gaits or you will be dissapointed.

    Tell yourself that you will make THIS horse obedient and willing and happy and you will start to be excited with breakthroughs!

    If you compete the judge will be right there to hand out the points if you look like you are comfortable (both of you), and that you show difference in the movements.

    Work on your seat. Work on your horses suppleness and forward just like everyone else and judge cant see that. Trust me
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  19. #179
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    "Can we consider that release of the rein as reward doesn't have to mean going all-over-floppy loose?"

    When first started, a rider would have a full release; a meaningful, obvious reward. Later when the horse understands that the release will ALWAYS come and has confidence in the rider to do so, then a rider can "release WITHIN the contact". When a rider sets up this conversation to always take place, then the horse will always be waiting for the release, the rider won`t have to exaggerate it, a rider can REFINE it. What I am speaking of is the language that a rider has set up between herself and the horse from the very start. You ask,.... the horse searches for the answer, when he hits any where close, you reward by the release or cessation of the aid. Later on in the horses training, everything becomes much more subtle until the conversation becomes invisible and "the horse looks as though they are doing the movements on their own accord."

    Lacking to do this, and appreciating the 'slightest try" and effort of the horse and releasing to that........ is how horses get discouraged..... and become nappy, and bear down on the bit, go above the bit, run onto the forehand and a million other undesireable behaviors trying to find their own release.

    Many horses become nappy or dead to the leg because the rider asked the horse to go forward, but the reaction was not quick enough to satisfy the rider, so the rider applies MORE leg without rewarding the horse for responding to the "go" aids that the horse offered. Whereas, if the rider would have rewarded the "slightest try" and the horse responded with going forward, they could have built on that and the horse would have most likely become more attuned to the riders aids, waiting for the rider`s release. GOOD HORSEDMANSHIP IS A TWO WAY STREET, each with their own responsibilty. It should not be ........DO because I say so. We all know what kind of attitude that inspires, even in ourselves.



  20. #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by MelantheLLC View Post
    Here's the big problem with the reins. We can talk all we want about how much contact to maintain, but the fact is, very few of us have that much control of our seat and balance, much less our hands.

    We balance ourselves on the reins. It takes a very high level of equitation not to do this. Unless you are a person who can jump a course without stirrups or reins (and Racinet and Karl at least are in that category), you are very very likely to be using the reins to some extent for your own balance.

    Horses can and do understand signals given in millimeters. Heck, they pay attention to eye blinks. It's one of the things you learn when you get into positive reinforcement methods, how incredibly alert horses (any animals) are to tiny tiny signals of body language.
    The first two paras constitute a good explanation of why most people never succeed in getting their horses on the bit.

    Once the horse is on the bit throwing the reins at them isn't going to do much good however. It's not a reward then. The state of being on the bit is its own reward. That's why horses seek it out if the rider allows them or sets them up to do so.



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