Dressage In The Time of Cholesterol

Mar 8, 2010 - 6:01 AM
Winyamaro and Catherine Haddad. Photo by Wentscher.

Dear Rita,

This is for the people who have asked me to explain the difference between LDR and HF. LDR—low, deep, round—is a position of the neck. HF—Hyperflexion is an extreme flexion of the poll normally performed in an LDR position of the neck.

In my stable we ride BPS and HA. Riders learn to IAS on the longe line before ever taking contact with the bit. No matter what method you choose to use, you can’t get started until you IAS. Learn to sit before you learn to hold the reins.

Back in Michigan in the early 1980s, it was the “classical” method of training that was under fire. To always ride with PHP was considered harmful to the horse’s back. Riding OTB and in particular, LDL, was considered best for developing a young dressage horse. This trend was much promoted by Reiner Klimke.

In the early 90’s, LDL irked Mr. Schultheis—who was diametrically opposed to it—to no end. We had an occasional rider show up for a lesson or to show a sales horse who would warm up in LDL in rising trot. Schultheis would tolerate this for about 30 seconds before he screamed, “This is a DRESSAGE stable. Sit the trot!” At which point the rider would shorten his reins, raise the poll and sit in the saddle.

Once, Schultheis turned to me and said something like: Anyone who rides with big knee rolls has to train in rising trot because nobody can sit correctly in a saddle like that. At least not on a horse. It would be better to park this saddle in the living room—very comfortable for watching television. He always said that people who rode in such saddles had GKA. This was only one of Mr. Schultheis’ fundamental beliefs.

If you go to a dressage show in Europe and sit by the warm-up arena, you will see 99 percent of the riders (from all countries) warming up at least a few minutes in LDR. Very few people use LDL at shows anymore (unless the warm-up is exceptionally quiet and empty), because the environment is too unpredictable and long reins are not advisable on super-powered horses being schooled in the middle of chaos.

For example, I was schooling Winyamaro, my relatively young and inexperienced Grand Prix horse, in the warm-up in Neumuenster a few weeks ago. W is famous for his spontaneous POWER and EXPRESSION. Twelve white ponies with riders dressed as swans were bouncing around the track in preparation for a show number, while four jumping riders intermittently negotiated two fences in the middle of the arena. A BNT was schooling his GP horse, and one horse was being lunged (BAF) on a circle at one end.

Now on the wall behind the trade stands, a HUGE screen showed the jumping competition in the main arena. The volume was turned up to the max. Every clear round was accompanied with bombastic applause and blasting music.

Meanwhile, one enthusiastic spectator climbed up on the three-board fence surrounding the warm-up and stuck a big Thumbs Up in W’s face. On the next pass by, he cleared up my confusion with “Love your colors!”—referring to my trendy moss green saddle pad and bandages from Schockemoehle Sports.

W was, needless to say, very impressed by this atmosphere. I had already ridden him at home in the morning before leaving for the show, because I knew it would be wise to take the edge off him. But could I trust him enough to follow my normal warm up of LDL interspersed with periods of riding PHP? Not without putting several lives in danger, including my own!

While I did not put him into HF, I certainly did position him LDR for the first 10 minutes of my ride. IMO, to have done anything else would have been CFS. After W’s initial excitement wore off, I was able to follow my normal routine with him.

What I am trying to say here Rita, is: Why are we so concerned with HF, PHP, LDR, LDL…? It’s all cholesterol to me!

Every rider in every discipline should be free to ride his horse in the way that suits him best for the circumstances in which he is riding as long as he is doing it with sensitivity. FS.

Nuff said forever on this subject.  

Let’s have a little fun. Can anyone correctly state the words behind these abbreviations as used in this blog? Please use one letter and _ _ _ blanks if you think they might contain swear words.

(eg: ‘d_ _ _’ for ‘damn.’) Hint: Some do!

LDR = low, deep, round

HF = Hyperflexion

LDL = _ _ _ _, _ _ _ _ and _ _ _

OTB = _ _ _ _   _ _ _   _ _ _ _

PHP = _ _ _ _ at the _ _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _

BPS = _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ in the _ _ _ _ _ _

HA = _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _

IAS = _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ your _ _ _ to the _ _ _ _ _ _

GKA = _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _ (German)

FS = _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _

CFS = _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _

IMO = _ _  _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _

BNT = _ _ _   _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _

GP = _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _

BAF = _ _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _


I am buying dinner for the first person who gets these all right and publishes in a comment to this blog!

I’m Catherine Haddad, and I’m saying it like it is from Vechta, Germany.

Training Tip of the Day: What happens to the movement in your hip and pelvic joints if you place your knees further back in sitting trot? And if you move your knees forward?



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