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Spinoff: "French School!"

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  • One imho should not be expirimenting with different things, the trainer should be using a logical progression and guiding the horse into a reactions which causes the horse to reuse its balancing rod/neck in a different manner. The carriage of the horse IS information about timing/degree/etc and is not to be ignored. And to lengthen/extend the neck the rider/handler must use lateral flexibility (i.e. circles/etc) as well as getting the horse properly to the outside rein and telescoping it fdo in very small degrees consistently. And for such a horse (arab/friesan/etc), they must spend a much longer period of their education being able to telescope/move/have strength in self carriage with minimal flexion longitudinally and honestly move into the hand BEFORE they are asked to offer light collection.
    I.D.E.A. yoda

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
      This is what I am learning and struggling with now with the new pony, who has a high neck carriage and in typical Arab fashion wants her nose straight in the air. I can easily force her into a "head set" that would make her look really fancy, but this does not seem to be the correct way to actually get her forward and swinging and using her hind end.

      Thankfully I have a couple instructors that are really helping me experiment with different things, and keep reminding me to not worry about her head right now. Actually in my lesson my instructor told me about 150 times "don't look at her head!".

      I'm still not at all sure what "school" I am riding in, lol.
      Her head won't change color as you watch, either. At least, my mare's hasn't.

      Don't force. That's never good. But you could encourage her to drop her nose with a one-eighth flexion to the inside. Keep teasing.

      Comment


      • Where are the examples, videos or photos, of the results of the French School? I know there may be a couple from the head honchos such as Karl, Nuno, of JCR. Who else? Where are the results from successful amateurs? I looked at some clinic photos and videos from the PK trainers course in Canada, and none of them looked good. A couple looked just ok. I also looked at the websites of PK's approved instructors. They didn't look very good to me either, and they were also riding rather untalented looking horses. I'm wondering if this style of riding appeals to riders that don't have very gifted horses. Also, I have not seen any photos or video from JCR that were worth praising either. In short, what is attracting new people to this method? I can't speak for the rest of you, but I need to see results and riding I want to emulate before I buy into an instructor or method. I do not need to see show results, only a horse demonstrating collection and extension and training that would be the equivalent to the PSG.

        Comment


        • I've been away watching a clinic all weekend so had a lot of reading to catch up on!

          I don't know much about theory and it doesn't do me (personally, I just don't learn that way) a lot of good to read about it. I do learn by watching and listening and doing - so for me, a lot of my approach is from how my horse *feels* to me. My horses are very different so I have to approach them differently (duh) - my TB needs to start out on the buckle with W,T, moving forward, just getting loose and long and stretched out and then we work on balance. My mustang, OTOH, cannot start out on a loose rein. He needs contact right away, and THEN when he's warmed up and focused and working steadily and in balance I can lengthen his frame and let him go long. I don't know if that is very much a generalization in comparing the two different styles, but it is interesting to me to have to switch my approach between the two.

          In any event, I do feel that dressage (dressage well done, that is) is for every horse - at least through First level. I waffle back and forth between wanting to compete - some years I do, some years I don't. Regardless, though, dressage has developed my horses so they are stronger and more fit. They weren't bred to be dressage horses, but the training has improved their gaits and their rideability.

          I understand what mbm meant about it being hard work. I don't go out and drill my horses for hours daily. We spend a lot of time on the trails, and some time jumping, too. But I put a lot of myself into training my horses. I want to improve as a rider and I want them to improve to the best of their ability. I took a rangy mustang (http://pets.webshots.com/photo/27821...TKv?vhost=pets) who had been used as a pack horse every now and then and taught him how to respond to leg, how to steer, how to move into the bridle, how to wtc with some semblance of balance, etc. (http://pets.webshots.com/photo/27288...HMc?vhost=pets) Granted, I am an amateur, so I didn't say he does these things *well* , but dressage has improved his rideability in an amazing way.

          I tried to touch on some of the points that were discussed while I was gone - hope I didn't go too off tangent!

          The clinic this weekend was interesting because there were three clinicians and each had a different approach, yet each was able to affect improvement in the riders and/or horses. There isn't only one way to do things, but listening to the horse and how *he* likes to go and learns best is the key, IMHO, regardless of "style."
          My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

          "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

          Comment


          • Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
            One imho should not be expirimenting with different things, the trainer should be using a logical progression and guiding the horse into a reactions which causes the horse to reuse its balancing rod/neck in a different manner. The carriage of the horse IS information about timing/degree/etc and is not to be ignored. And to lengthen/extend the neck the rider/handler must use lateral flexibility (i.e. circles/etc) as well as getting the horse properly to the outside rein and telescoping it fdo in very small degrees consistently. And for such a horse (arab/friesan/etc), they must spend a much longer period of their education being able to telescope/move/have strength in self carriage with minimal flexion longitudinally and honestly move into the hand BEFORE they are asked to offer light collection.
            My instructor is not "experimenting" for experiment sake, she is using different tools for different horses, as you point out in your own post. But what I still find interesting is in riding such different horses over the past few years (and now having one radically different than the last) I find it hard, through reading about the different schools, seeing how one school could work for all horses...
            On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

            Comment


            • Ideayoda, I suggested folks do both to understand the differences. I can train your horse to be responsive and light but if you have always pushed and pulled and your aids are bold, the horse I train may come out of their skin. The quieter ones will stand still and do nothing, or get a bit ugly.

              Riding the walk and feeling each footfall, how the horse uses itself to adjust to motion, weight and direction and influencing that to aid the horse to balance and carry requires skill and effort. It requires focus and sensitivity.

              In a single lesson, most horses will show a glimmer of what they are capable of. I good instructor can bring that out, without riding the horse. Certainly, that is the goal of instruction is it not? To get the rider and horse together as a team. Partners.

              Most people will be both overwhelmed and bored. It is a tremendous amount of information and yet you are simply walking. THis can open you up to derision from those doing w-t-c work of a different sort. For that reason I suggest that only 15 minutes or so be spent on this work and the rest of the ride can be whatever. THe horse and rider team will come along just fine.

              Tiny, baby, specific chunks that have tremendous influence on how a horse will use themselves and progress, versus a great deal of strength and force that will also certainly change a horse and their way of going.

              I am rambling a bit, but it brings me back to ride both and see for yourself.
              “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
              ? Albert Einstein

              Comment


              • Originally posted by horsefaerie View Post
                Ideayoda, I suggested folks do both to understand the differences. I can train your horse to be responsive and light but if you have always pushed and pulled and your aids are bold, the horse I train may come out of their skin. The quieter ones will stand still and do nothing, or get a bit ugly.

                Riding the walk and feeling each footfall, how the horse uses itself to adjust to motion, weight and direction and influencing that to aid the horse to balance and carry requires skill and effort. It requires focus and sensitivity.

                In a single lesson, most horses will show a glimmer of what they are capable of. I good instructor can bring that out, without riding the horse. Certainly, that is the goal of instruction is it not? To get the rider and horse together as a team. Partners.

                Most people will be both overwhelmed and bored. It is a tremendous amount of information and yet you are simply walking. THis can open you up to derision from those doing w-t-c work of a different sort. For that reason I suggest that only 15 minutes or so be spent on this work and the rest of the ride can be whatever. THe horse and rider team will come along just fine.

                Tiny, baby, specific chunks that have tremendous influence on how a horse will use themselves and progress, versus a great deal of strength and force that will also certainly change a horse and their way of going.

                I am rambling a bit, but it brings me back to ride both and see for yourself.
                But this is not exclusive. Every rider should be doing this. If they treat the walk as an add on then that is their own misfortune.

                Hopefully trainers will take to heart the need for more options with each animal rather than less.

                People say dont cherry pick from each method? I say why not find the common grounds of each one because they do exist.

                Working the collected walk and back again to create a comfort level in the horses body should be something you do AS WELL as learn to find your half halts on forward longer framed stretching horse AS WELL as working with your poll up and open frame AS WELL as teaching balance and forward and balance.

                This is all something you can do in a ride or if its a young horse over a few rides depending on how strong they start out.

                If the question is where to begin with a less naturally strong horse... Then I would say that you start with getting good help if you do not know already or are not seeing progression fairly quickly.
                ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                Comment


                • Originally posted by alicen View Post
                  Done effectively, it is not too much or too long. It has been my experience that when a horse is balanced and comfortable at a slower tempo that they will confidently,willingly, and bliss, gratuitously offer increased impulsion.
                  Yep! But there are those who think that the "french" method is never really being ready. You have to keep asking for it and watching how long they can sustain it.

                  It becomes a bit complacent to my own eye to just keep perfecting collection... And is it really correct real collection if you cannot lenthen from it and go correctly straight and forward?



                  Originally posted by alicen View Post
                  A quote from Robert Hall, Pratical Horseman, June 1985:

                  "Most of the problems that horses have are man-made. A horse enjoying his freedom will show you some of the best dressage that you will ever see: he walks, trots, camters, stops, and turns without any problems. If he falls on his forehand, he doesn't give himself two halfhalts and kick his hindquarters farther under, he just slows down."
                  This!

                  There is not only forward or only collected. Slow down if you need it and increase tempo if the horse can hang
                  ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                  http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                  Comment


                  • no good german trainer would "force a headset" - ever. horses come to the bit from correct work. if you are working with a trainer that wants the horse to have a headset that is not the fault of the particular school - it is the fault of an uneducated trainer.

                    Stryder - thank you for the progression.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
                      My instructor is not "experimenting" for experiment sake, she is using different tools for different horses, as you point out in your own post. But what I still find interesting is in riding such different horses over the past few years (and now having one radically different than the last) I find it hard, through reading about the different schools, seeing how one school could work for all horses...
                      a well educated and experienced trainer will be able to "handle" most horses that come their way. they will not use the exact same thing with all horses - they will do what is needed for each horse.

                      teaching a horse to reach down is all about getting them to chew and to work forward actively. i personally would not be worrying about this at all with a 3 yo just getting going under saddle. Better to work on her balance and her desire to go forward - once those are addressed - she will bring her nose down as a side affect of the correct work.

                      if you feel you need to address this right now, try some turn on the forehand in hand to see if she will chew... then you can progress to TOF under saddle.

                      but the "head being down" is the result of correct work as you know.

                      Comment


                      • I swear, the COTH dressage forum has got to be the most condescending place on earth...
                        On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
                          .... is it really correct real collection if you cannot lenthen from it and go correctly straight and forward?
                          There MUST be the ability to do so. That is what the directives demand as well. But it is NOT about SPEED, it is about stride length. Tempos should vary VERY little.
                          I.D.E.A. yoda

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by stryder View Post
                            mbm -
                            In general, a french classicist would start the young horse in hand to develop strength, balance and flexibility. Standing flexions at the start. In hand work would include turns on haunches, turns on forehand, shoulder-in, counted walk, piaffe. Lots of lateral work. The half-halt, reverse half-halt, halt, direct rein and indirect rein would all be installed on the ground.

                            The longe would be used to promote forwardness, propulsion and regularity of the gaits. No side reins.

                            Always from calm.

                            Some people observe horses going around with their noses stuck into the air and think they are hollow. Hollow horses are wide at the base. Raising the head entices the horse to raise the base of the neck. It also encourages the horse to shift weight to the rear, and creates the foundation for propulsion. The position of the nose is the least important. I think "back to front" and wonder why people are obsessed with the nose. Look at the base of the horse, and whether it's stepping under itself. Always, the horse is encouraged to seek its own comfort and at some point, when it's strong and flexible enough, to drop the nose into ramener.

                            Then, if the situation permits, a passenger is put onto the horse and the trainer continues to work the horse in hand, to accustom the horse to working with weight.

                            While this process may seem to be slow, it's really not very long. The horse has few, if any, resistances. It's forward and calm. It's rarely been asked a balance question that it can't figure out. There's been very little, if any, scrambling. No arguments.

                            From the time the trainer mounts, things seem to go very quickly. Walk work first, then canter departs progress to cantering a full circle. But any time the horse gets off balance, back to walk and start over.

                            Trot work comes last. Walk and canter are more alike, and trot work is easy.
                            Thank you for saving me a ton of typing! The above is the exact sequence another trainer and I used two years ago in starting my three-year-old foundation line QH roan filly. I did her early preparation with tack fitting, longeing in tack, and a little ground-driving; everything up to backing proper.

                            Whereupon my younger counterpart (I don't bounce as high as I used to! ) took over and did the work-in-hand as described above for exactly ONE DAY before mounting her without any control, resistance or disobedience issues. A few days later she had her doing a very creditable walk and trot on a nice light, "chewing" contact with enormous forwardness and throughness.

                            This on a rear-end-high, rapidly growing young mare! Her great work ethic and considerable intelligence helped of course, but this work was in every way progressive and systematic. We just skip the step of letting them run around unbalanced, that's all!

                            Two years later said filly is a lovely hunter type, who willingly collects fully with ease; loves her lateral work; fills up the bridle XC like a good eventer, and incidentally fears nothing, spooks in place if ever, and has absolutely not EVER, even once been behind the bit OR the leg.

                            Those interested in starting their youngster this way, please print out the quoted post and LAMINATE IT and hang it on the wall in your tack room. That's the right way to do it!

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
                              Good french method has no problem working within the levels. In fact if done correctly you should zoom up the levels rather quickly being that you started introducing collection so early.

                              The difficult thing is people introducing collection early have to do so with INCREDIBLE finnesse and timing, as with every other method and maybe even more so since its like doing geometry with a horse that is still learning math.

                              I dont advocate having a lower level rider start in the french method and start with collection... Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.
                              This is also true. In the days of L'Hotte and Decarpentry, these were specialized techniques used and experimented with, and debated about endlessly, in the European cavalry schools, by the highest-ranking training officers. These guys rode for a living, trained cadets for a living, lived, slept, and breathed horses! They were not hobby amateurs riding their pets twice or three times a week; they studied equitation and equestrian theory the same way the Air Force studies jet propulsion and nuclear physics today--and with similar motivations, I might add.

                              It was called "Haute Ecole"--High School. It was not basic riding for beginner riders or basic training for baby-green horses and was not intended to be. Too much of what is called "dressage" today is VERY basic U/S training--or what I like to call, "Gee, Haw, & Whoa!" Please no one underestimate the level of equestrian tact required to have success with these techniques.

                              I myself stumbled upon JCR's articles in D & CT, and started applying them first on each and every leg-dead, sour, spoiled, nappy beast I had to ride. It worked SO WELL it was like a fire running through our brains! It actually scared me, so I started spending a lot of correspondence time with JCR which resulted in going to some of his clinics, then flying him up here regularly for several years and hosting our own.

                              If you're not sure of yourself, start the way I did--with a horse who doesn't have too much to lose if you're NQR!

                              Comment


                              • Where are these articles? I would like to see them.

                                Or is this a book?

                                I need to start brushing up on my reading
                                ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                                http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  Originally posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
                                  Where are these articles? I would like to see them.

                                  Or is this a book?

                                  I need to start brushing up on my reading
                                  I'm going to post an extensive bibliography, with commentary, here as soon as I can. Wild & hairy weekend here, too shot to do it tonight! But soon, I promise . . .

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by horsefaerie View Post
                                    For that reason I suggest that only 15 minutes or so be spent on this work and the rest of the ride can be whatever.
                                    And that's exactly what I did today.

                                    Inspired by this thread, I had ordered & received a couple of J-CR's books. Read up on the "counted walk."

                                    Went out today & tried it with the mare. Had a very interesting, positive, 10 or 15 minute experience.

                                    And then we went to jump a few jumps in another ring.

                                    ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~

                                    Comment


                                    • Many of the articles (from years of his writing a column for Ivan B) are part of the book(s). But you would have to contact whoever stores the D&CT to get them (or collect them).

                                      However, I would read DeCarpentry (who headed the committee who wrote the FEI rules), pk, etc.
                                      I.D.E.A. yoda

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
                                        I swear, the COTH dressage forum has got to be the most condescending place on earth...
                                        how is it condescending to answer and respond to your post with my own POV?

                                        Comment


                                        • The recent discussion has been focused on collection, but I would like to take us to lightness. What is the quietest, lightest conversation one could have with a horse? Does it work beyond (actually, below) the weight of the rein?

                                          The beauty of collection and balance is that the horse is always ready to go - from piaffe to canter. But once that's working, what's next? Sure, one could become fascinated with collection and strive for higher degrees of it until the horse canters in place or even canters backwards.

                                          But lightness is what we're chasing.

                                          I started playing with an idea while leading. Lightly holding the rope just a couple inches below the snap. Walking along with my mare at my shoulder, could I maintain a constant connection? Not pulling forward and never letting my hand retreat. Not leaning on her, or letting the connection drop. What happens when I close my hand? Does she slow or stop?

                                          I wanted to try it on the ground first, to eliminate the possibility that I would give off an involuntary, subtle cue with my seat or legs.

                                          I learned it works. Closing my hand is enough, even with a halter.

                                          That feeling - the combination of lightness and connection - is intoxicating.

                                          Sure, we'll work on canter pirouettes and flying changes. But that's minutes, really. The rest of our time together is spent pursuing lightness, in the context of the connection. This study engages me - chasing the elusive centaur moments.

                                          Comment

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