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Freestyle--discussing technicalities

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  • Freestyle--discussing technicalities

    I'm a freestyle geek and love doing them (have all six medals including all three freestyle, so done them at all levels) and have a lot of ideas about what I think and would love to discuss with other freestyle geeks. I'm in the middle of the Pacific, so watching the freestyles way later than everyone else.

    Just saw Valintina Truppa's and Patrick Kittel. I thought Scandic looked lovely and relaxed, but the way, but was really distracted by the cutting and pasting of the music back and forth.

    Pet peeve #1--Almost no one (and this is in general) actually gets walk music with a beat to the walk! but they add beats for the other gaits! The walk music is the EASIEST to find music to the rhythm!

    Pet peeve #2--I can't stand the tinkling slow music for the pirouettes, which have a REALLY strong beat. I thought Valentina's wasn't bad in this case.

    I think you should find great music and mostly ride TO it. You have to cut and paste to some extent, but I can't stand when it's just back and forth and back and forth instead of coming off like one cohesive piece. I don't like that the judging doesn't seem to reflect the real artistry in not just cutting and pasting random music. It's supposed to have a theme and a feel. I don't like when people ride from the spot they were "supposed" to start rather than with the music when they get off a bit.

    I was super impressed at the difficulty Valentina put in--one handed one tempis even though she had some mistakes. SO few (and I've only watched two of these so far) seem to put in difficulty in tempis by doing them on curved lines, though, and often do less than the GP. Ah--just saw Anna and Donnperignon do ones on a short diagonal to a circle of twos to ones on a short--good! Oh, cute! She gets extra points for tracing and Olympic ring pattern on her horse's butt!

  • #2
    IMO, the music I liked the least was Adelinda's. It was Nutcracker, but instead of picturing horse ballet, I was picturing some geeky guy in a basement room with Pro Tools adding beats where they didn't belong. They were out of time with the music much of the time. Big thumbs down.

    I also thought very little of Steffan's music. Generic freestyle synthesizer pap. It was really boring, especially compared to his cheeky use of Sympathy for the Devil and Safety Dance in his previous routine. He was really playing it safe.

    Patrik's music was the first of many 80's techno pop freestyles. I liked the idea of it, but didn't care for the vocals or the choppiness of it.

    I only have one criticism of the winning music, and that is that the use of the Olympic theme seemed like pandering/borderline manipulation. Hey judges, this is the Olympics!!! Make history for me! It didn't fit the overarching theme of British film music, which I otherwise loved.

    I am not qualified to comment on the technical aspects of the rides, but it seemed like after the stress and difficulty of the GPS, everyone's rides were more relaxed and had more of a flow.

    As far as best match between horse, rider, and music, I would give that to Juan Manuel and Fuego. I loved the castanets.
    2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

    A helmet saved my life.


    • #3
      One more thing...

      The GB riders had union jacks brushed on their horse's butts!
      2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

      A helmet saved my life.


      • #4
        I actually liked Adelinde's music because I love the music to the Dance of the Sugar Plum Faeries. To me, there's something otherworldly about that tune. I'm glad someone finally used it.

        i agree, I HATED the safety dance freestyle.

        I sometimes think that the walk music isn't put to beat because it's hard to REALLY know where the horse is going to be at mentally during the freewalk (i.e. a little tense? a little tired? a little agitated? perfectly relaxed?). In my experience, that's the least predictable rhythm.

        That said, you can be sure every rider spend somewhere in the 5-figure range for their freestyle music to be set to their freestyle pattern. It might have sounded cut and paste to us but you can be sure the owner liked it before the owner cut the check...

        Tempis on the bending line is HARD and a risk. Look at Steffen Peters. He did what, 24 one tempis on a bending line? A bending line of 2 tempis? He made a mistake in each. People have done this in the past and there's reward when it all works out but there's heavy penalty when it doesn't. The horses know the typical patterns and in the pressure of high level competition, it's sometimes nice to capitalize on this knowledge. IMO, Dujardin's horse truly believed he was doing yet another pirouette, not trot, in that transition he messed up. That's a risky transition she did there. Paid off, though. I liked her music, very dramatic and engaging.
        Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


        • #5
          I don't like it when the music changes every 10-15 seconds as they go from movement to movement, but that's what the judges reward. They don't want to see an interpretation of a piece, they want to see phrasing with the music exactly matching what is happening. Unless the rider has a composer write something for them, they end up with a mish-mash.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Zevida View Post
            I don't like it when the music changes every 10-15 seconds as they go from movement to movement, but that's what the judges reward. They don't want to see an interpretation of a piece, they want to see phrasing with the music exactly matching what is happening. Unless the rider has a composer write something for them, they end up with a mish-mash.
            YES!! Composer, James Park of Amenia, NY wrote a freestyle back in the early 80's for a wonderful gray stallion (whose name escapes me) and it was extraordinary. SOMEONE should find it and see if it can fit their horse!! Maybe, as it was a classical guitar piece, it isn't flashy enough for today's competitors, but wow, it was breathtaking. He wrote it so it was different for each level the horse was doing, too, so it changed as the horse got better. Amazing piece!!!
            co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!


            • #7
              I do hate the abrupt music changes....back and forth and up and down. It gets to be jarring.

              However, I also hate music that doesn't change in intensity or phrasing for various movements. I've seen top riders do freestyles where the trot music was all the same...nothing would change, there wasn't much phrasing to work with. So, when the rider would turn and blast out an extended trot, the music hadn't changed to support that (rather, there was nothing there to "interpret" in the music as "extended trot"). I did love Charlotte's freestyle for this reason....her interpretation of the musical phrasing was brilliant (I think of the canter half-pass zigzag in particular on this).


              • Original Poster

                I liked both uses of swan lake--the black German mare did it, also. I thought Steffens' new music was not good, and I agree about Kittel's--I like the idea but didn't think it worked well. I can NOT stand that cut and paste of Charlotte's music from The Great Escape to the Olympic music to the graduation music--WAY overscored. I didn't like it the first time, either. It's SO random cut and paste back and forth to the ride. This is the problem with freestyles as much as I like them--so much arbitrariness in judging.

                I was a little happier in that SOME of the pirouettes had some actually strong music to it as it should be, but too many hand tinkling or slow bells, which I think sucks and takes away. The music should enhance the horse and not take away from it.

                Walk music is actually the easiest to find to go to the horse, and once again, no one had anything with any beat.

                I know they spent a lot of their music, and I know the woman who does some of the US's. I don't like the way EVERYone does the same thing.

                I was happy to see some levels of difficulty in the pirouette circles and fans and one handed. That's another reason why Charlotte's is overscored. A lot of people did that difficulty, but not her, and since degree of difficulty is a 10 coefficient, it should be a big factor.

                Tempi changes on a bending line or circle should be in every freestyle at this level. It's hard, which these horses SHOULD be able to do, but not that hard. Man, my Appy was doing them in his I-1 freestyle until 28, doing 3 tempis to 2 tempis in a serpentine of the whole arena. Don't tell me he was so much more talented than these horses. I think the problem is the judges aren't counting it enough, so they don't do it.

                I thought they were certainly better than they have been and I see a lot of people pushing boundaries in music, which is good, even if I don't like it all. And certainly I saw a lot more level of difficulty. Some day everyone will have walk and pirouette music to the beat!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TheHorseProblem View Post
                  As far as best match between horse, rider, and music, I would give that to Juan Manuel and Fuego. I loved the castanets.
                  Definitely, that was the most enjoyable for me and I'm not even a fan of that pair.


                  • #10

                    Another vote for the little show man!! Wow, what an adorable combination!! I think Juan realizes that his little horse will not be the winner but doesn't care a bit! And honestly, that horse thinks he is the best!! The two together are such amazing performers and give the crowd what it wants and can appreciate! I recorded and watched on my big TV four times and could watch again and again! I wish I could have a little video on my phone to perk me up on a nasty day like today has been in the Northeast and any day I need a lift. LOVE that combination!!


                    • #11
                      Not very technical, but for me, I love the freestyles that come across as a mini-movie about the human-horse relationship. Sappy, yes!

                      For instance, my two favorites are Anky's current and Imke's with Sunrise at WEG. Cohesive pieces of music that present the horse and rider dancing romantically in an empty meadow perhaps in the moonlight. Not so much a Fuego "look at me" feel, but like you are peeking in on a lovely moment of horse and rider as one.

                      I loved Gal and Toto's in that I pictured a knight going to battle with his majestic steed, defending the kingdom from evil marauders. Unfortunately, the marauders stole Toto from Gal, and his freestyle with Undercover was the knight bravely, defiantly returning to the battlefield with a more youthful, inexperienced steed who despite instinct to flee finds trust in the manner of his Knight's brave confidence and determination to avenge the loss of his former steed.

                      Adelinda doing the Nutcracker reminds me of my days of a ballerina and that determination to be "perfect" and unflappable. A fierce prima ballerina daring with her piaffe fan at the finale like a taunt of "top that!"

                      Charlotte's was just okay music wise, the young Brit not coming from affluence, but affluent in talent and love for the beast pursuing the Olympic dream.

                      Did I mention, it is extremely hot here today so forgive the sap... The Portuguese one was fun, and the fun ones are just as important to get more of an audience. I thought Carl's had some beautiful pieces, but just as you were being swept away by one it would change up to another. Other's mostly wound up feeling like a "name that tune in ? bars"... Hate Hakuna Matata with a passion. Does that constant bumping with the hands really help the horse? But still, good job.

                      The "D" horses just don't do it for me. I appreciate the different types, but the spidery piaffes just aren't appealing to me. Those pairs seemed less "as one" IMHO.

                      Now to be more technical, we know what a "10" piaffe should look like, but what is a worse fault to you? Not lowering the haunches, but maintaining rhythm and activity. Uneven steps behind, but nicely lowered haunches, or lowered haunches, even left and right, but not hardly active? Also, saw some that appeared disjointed.
                      Just curious as to what is worse, and would love to know how the judges see each fault. Also have you ever seen one who piaffes like Parcival change it up to lower the haunches and keep the activity? Is it how many of Sjef's horses learn to do it that way or how they naturally choose to do it?


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by candico View Post
                        For instance, my two favorites are Anky's current and Imke's with Sunrise at WEG.
                        I'm pretty sure Wibi Soerjardi composed the music for both of those, working closely with the riders. They're my favorites, but strangely I know people who don't like them. I enjoyed all three of the top freestyles at the Olympics and felt the music suited the horses well.