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Spinoff: "French School!"

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  • Originally posted by goodpony View Post
    I thought this was an interesting article relating to this topic: Balance vs. Motion
    At what point are the Iberian horses taught to stretch over their topline and lift their ribcage? A lot of them are very hollow..

    Comment


    • Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
      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.
      Ok, I'm open to this concept, but you'll have to explain much more in depth just why the horse finds whatever "on the bit" is to be a reward. The horse hasn't read the book. So what physical state is the horse perceiving that is rewarding to it when it is "on the bit" by your definition?

      This is a serious question. "On the bit" is the kind of fuzzy "you'll know it when you feel it" language that leads many people into the wilderness. In my mind, it comprises a multitude of physical factors. You may be imagining something entirely different. It's a shorthand metaphor, one thing horses aren't good at.

      What, in the HORSE'S perception, is specifically rewarding about being "on the bit?"
      Ring the bells that still can ring
      Forget your perfect offering
      There is a crack in everything
      That's how the light gets in.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by mbm View Post

        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.
        I think "being used by the rank and file" is key. The military program was designed to turn out soldiers and mounts in 30 days. There wasn't time to develop any finesse or expertise, particularly among men who just needed to point their horses and stay on.

        That isn't the kind of riding that I'm interested in doing.

        I do flexions. Sometimes all of them, usually 2 or 3. They are a direct connection between my hand and my mare's brain, and the opening dialogue between us. That time is how we both recalibrate from our time apart and get our heads together.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by MelantheLLC View Post
          Ok, I'm open to this concept, but you'll have to explain much more in depth just why the horse finds whatever "on the bit" is to be a reward. The horse hasn't read the book. So what physical state is the horse perceiving that is rewarding to it when it is "on the bit" by your definition?

          This is a serious question. "On the bit" is the kind of fuzzy "you'll know it when you feel it" language that leads many people into the wilderness. In my mind, it comprises a multitude of physical factors. You may be imagining something entirely different. It's a shorthand metaphor, one thing horses aren't good at.

          What, in the HORSE'S perception, is specifically rewarding about being "on the bit?"
          I'm not going to bother to write a dissertation on this, because no doubt someone will take something out of context and wrangle over it, but here's a short version I hope will make sense:

          When the horse is on the bit he is balanced and there is no interference from the rider, just communication. That is the horse's reward for being on the bit. There is no "pressure". If you drop the reins briefly the horse will carry on without pause but it not a reward, just a demonstration that the horse is light and carrying himself.

          Why is that a reward? The horse's physiology, generations of domestication too. When a horse is on the bit he is light, on his feet and in the reins, and he is flowing in his movement.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by mbm View Post
            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.
            What sort of flexions is he talking about in his writing? Longitudinal or lateral?

            Comment


            • Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
              When the horse is on the bit he is balanced and

              there is no interference from the rider,

              There is no "pressure".
              Ok.
              Ring the bells that still can ring
              Forget your perfect offering
              There is a crack in everything
              That's how the light gets in.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by MelantheLLC View Post
                Regarding the rein release, pardon me for quoting myself!



                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!
                THANK YOU! for this post, and your superb clarity in writing it. It really gets to the heart of the matter on both accounts--how horses learn and the problems of trying to ride sophisticated techniques without being equipped with a truly independent seat.

                One thing that makes me cringe nowadays is how "everybody" and their sister is trying to "do dressage" when they don't even have basic riding skills. All of a sudden every kid's horse, every "D" Pony Clubber is having to be "on the bit," "through," "collected," and a whole lot of highly technical stuff neither the horse or rider are remotely trained to produce. This is why there's so much cranking, compression and exotic medical modalities out there.

                Back in the time of Decarpentry, "High School" was something you did AFTER you had exhausted the possibilities of jumping, XC, hunting, military outdoor riding. Usually the older officers, with the most experience, best seats and long years of theoretical study, plus observations of literally thousands of horses, were the ones engaged in this pursuit.

                Comment


                • This is the most interesting, informative, well-thought-out and well-written thread on theory this forum has produced in my memory

                  Thank you SwampY et al., and do trot on

                  Comment


                  • http://www.7clinics.com/video.html

                    Disc 3 The Release

                    You might say, what does a cowboy know about dressage? Well, he learned from a Baucherist/the French school and found that the theory works.

                    Use a little imagination and think about how that could later become "releasing within the contact".

                    It works.

                    Comment


                    • Longitudinal flexion is bfm, that is NOT what should be done. BSM is about folding of the hind legs and self carriage (THAT is what is rewarded), mobilization of the jaw, ability to seek fdo as a result. "Giving the bit" longitudinally might work for western/dressage de jour, but the 'french method' is about mobilizing the jaw. Two different things.
                      I.D.E.A. yoda

                      Comment


                      • "Longitudinal flexion is bfm, that is NOT what should be done. BSM is about folding of the hind legs and self carriage (THAT is what is rewarded), mobilization of the jaw, ability to seek fdo as a result. "Giving the bit" longitudinally might work for western/dressage de jour, but the 'french method' is about mobilizing the jaw. Two different things."

                        Mobilization and folding of the hindlegs is first asked for in the stepping under and untracking in the groundwork (lateral flexion) before a horse is ever mounted. (also practiced at the SRS. I have seen Karl Mikolka do similar but while moving in very small circle, in hand, many times, to achieve the same results, for the same reason)..... Definately which is a la La Gueriniere, along with the use of the shoulder in to take it just a step further in achieving the same result. When the horse is relaxed in the ribcage it allows for the horse to also let go in the poll and thus the JAW. The jaw is not the first thing addressed nor is it isolated, it is a result of the whole horse letting go of its whole-body braces (all horses are born braced, its wired into them from birth) in the stepping under, in the groundwork and then transferred mounted.

                        In the video clip, Buck was only trying to demonstrate the softness that CAN so easily be achieved. Bucks horses are "through" from the start.

                        Tom Dorrance, Bucks mentor was definately BSM.
                        Last edited by re-runs; Sep. 8, 2012, 01:38 PM. Reason: spelling

                        Comment


                        • training with what one has

                          Started riding years and years ago with an International Event rider that had done both part of her training at Saumure and with NO in portugal.

                          I have followed this thread with attention, very interesting.
                          Feels nice to be reminded of all of that.

                          One thing though that has not been brought up is the importance of knowledge ( reading, knowing the theory: we had to be able to name out loud the different rein aids while doing our dressage test)
                          Still remember " Le trot est une allure sautée à deux temps ou les diagonaux opposés ...." . I know it sounds like it is a side bar but it was not then.

                          The fact that one does need to adapt ones riding ( training plan) to the horse was one riding was important the larger the horse the more warmup needs to be done. We use to take ( as this was before there where that many wb around) our Draft X on hack before any ring work. That some horses could only take a few minutes of intense work at the time etc... Praise was discrete well all was discrete... no swining legs, no pulling hands, no leaning back, just straight and independance of aids.

                          We had our haha moments even on the very grade horses we rode. Which I have not had yet in a month of doing circles with my present coach.
                          Guess I need to go back to that !
                          Thank you OP for this very interesting trend.

                          Comment


                          • Clarify bfm and bsm please.

                            Comment


                            • Baucher the First Manner
                              Baucher the Second Manner

                              Comment


                              • Well I for one think this is a fun thread, since I am starting from scratch yet again with my new 3 year old, who teaches me something new every day.

                                I had a great conversation about the French vs German school with my instructor this morning before my lesson. Flora is a really interesting pony that makes you really think about what might work, and you have to play around with different things. I feel so lucky to have such a fun project and two great instructors that are great with youngsters and are both open minded. One comes from a more bio-mechanical perspective, one from a more mind-body and metaphysical perspective. In any case, it's fun to think about the various schools and try to figure out what works.

                                I don't think there is one perfect way, but I do think there are some universals. I for one really believe in teaching a horse stabilization - that every horse should learn how to have the reins thrown away, and how to balance themselves and be able to stabilize their rhythm. I don't know what school that comes from? I just know I absolutely hate riding those "dressage horses" that simply cannot balance themselves without being held up. And I know we have all ridden those. Often times they are going at a higher level, and have been ridden with firm contact for so long with never any full release, they just hang there on the reins, and fall apart without them.
                                On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

                                Comment


                                • And the French method takes another dive. The first vid posted with the undermuscled horses and now the western trainers.

                                  Ive been lucky enough to be around trainers who used some of the French method and were also competative to the highest level.

                                  But they too dont want to be lumped in with Buck and these funky overdone passagey trained animals.

                                  You do more harm to the method and idea by lumping it all into this poorly executed ball.
                                  ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                                  http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                                  Comment


                                  • It is funny as I was reading Decarpentry last night it is spot on topic for this thread.

                                    He talks about the jaw flexions and the theory behind it - that the jaw flexions produced a balanced horse and once balanced they would then begin work - but Decarpentry felt that this was perhaps possible only for Baucher himself and maybe one or two others - that for the rest of us it is thinking that one of the milestones of correct work (aka a chewing and soft mouth) was actually the way to a correctly working horse.

                                    In other words - if you can get the horse to chew and swallow somehow he will magically also be able to use his body properly etc.

                                    He really debunks this idea and says that the way to get a horse to use its body correctly is through correct gymnastic work that will, over time, produce a horse that is capable of doing as we ask.

                                    Part of this is that we use crossing of the hinds to produce suppleness etc... And this produces chewing.

                                    Really, a *fascinating* book and perhaps one of the most lucid and understandable of its kind.

                                    I urge all to buy a copy and read it.
                                    Last edited by mbm; Sep. 8, 2012, 07:04 PM. Reason: dyslexia

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                                      What sort of flexions is he talking about in his writing? Longitudinal or lateral?
                                      specifically jaw/mouth flexions

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        Originally posted by mbm View Post
                                        It is funny as I was reading Decarpentry last night it is spot on topic for this thread.

                                        He talks about the jaw flexions and the theory behind it - that the jaw flexions produced a balanced horse and once balanced they would then begin work - but Decarpentry felt that this was perhaps possible only for Baucher himself and maybe one or two others - that for the rest of us it is thinking that one of the milestones of correct work (aka a chewing and soft mouth) was actually the way to a correctly working horse.

                                        In other words - if you can get the horse to chew and swallow someone he will magically also be able to use his body properly etc.

                                        He really debunks this idea and says that the way to get a horse to use its body correctly is through correct gymnastic work that will, over time, produce a horse that is capable of doing as we ask.

                                        Part of this is that we use crossing of the hinds to produce suppleness etc... And this produces chewing.

                                        Really, a *fascinating* book and perhaps one of the most lucid and understandable of its kind.

                                        I urge all to buy a copy and read it.
                                        He said that because he *HAD* to say it, in accordance with his military orders that enforced Saumur Cadre Noir orthodoxy. At his time in history, that had explicitly rejected Baucherisme in name, but via fudge-factor it was still being practiced in fact--sometimes covertly. I heard that from Jean-Claude himself! The full history, controversy, and personality background of this question is explored in great depth in Hilda Nelson's book, Alexis-Francois L'Hotte mentioned up-thread.

                                        Anyone wishing to dismiss the French system, please see the video up-thread of Mestre Nuno Oliveira, also Henriques and de Ruffieu (sp?) Please do NOT judge the method on the basis of films of beginners having their first clinic lesson, or for heaven's sake on the round-pen guys out West. There are commonalities in ALL good horsemanship, all over the world--but the Great Basin horsebreakers are not using the system we are discussing here.

                                        I'll post a complete bibliography tomorrow, from my own collection, of sources for further reading, contemplation, and experimentation. The list of books on this subject is quite extensive. Right now there is a HUUUUGE thunderstorm heading my way, so I've got to log off! Thank you to all who are enjoying this thread for your great questions and input!

                                        Comment


                                        • agree that Nuno was incredible, but altho i dont know for sure, i am pretty sure he used gymnastic exercises to create what we see....

                                          and i dont have any opinion one way or another about Baucherism - just finding it interesting that i just happen to be reading Decarpentry when this thread started.

                                          i personally think it is fine to experiment etc.... but i do get a bit confused when people say one thing and do another.

                                          a well trained horse is a thing of beauty and that we can all agree on

                                          Comment

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