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Spinoff: "French School!"

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  • 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...
    So do I. My instructor just got back from a clinic with one of Oliveira's long-time students. I love the things she comes back with and the results from the exercises. The feel I get is just amazing.

    But ... I can't just do those exercises. My horse is short-coupled and built to collect. He's also a very busy horse mentally. After 10 minutes or so of the "collected" work, we move out and get the forward going, too. Or he'll decide himself when he's had enough and start blowing it out on his own. And that ain't good.
    __________________________
    "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
    the best day in ten years,
    you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

    Comment


    • Originally posted by alicen View Post
      Done effectively, it is not too much or too long.
      Agreed. However, I think on hot sensitive forward horses it's often easier to go back to the walk after doing more forward work. The horse is more willing to listen than to anticipate going somewhere!

      The most difficult part of the walk is keeping it relaxed and forward at the same time, more difficult than at other gaits. Especially on a horse not gifted with a big walk.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
        Slow work/work in walk should NEVER cause a horse to become angry/tensed, if that is happening then the rider is doing something very wrong, and speed is the enemy of impulsion.
        In the real world though this isn't always the case, not at the beginning of a ride. In the French school surely work with a young horse doesn't always start with the walk does it, every day? Think of a winter day with a brisk wind blowing up the horse's butt. Weeee!

        Comment


        • Originally posted by stryder View Post
          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.

          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.
          That's what dressage is supposed to be all about. The communication between horse and rider, and the lightness and willingness to go on the part of the horse.
          Last edited by grayarabpony; Sep. 10, 2012, 12:00 PM.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
            Lets say you are teaching a child how to run carefully down a hill.
            If you are German, you explain that running down the hill is important, and you practice running down the hill seeking the botom of the hill.
            If you are French, you talk about keeping your weight over your hips, and practice walking slowly down the hill with your balance back over yourself first.

            Both kids get to the bottom of the hill, both reach an eventual goal in their training of being able to run down the hill in balance, relaxed and not rushing, but they started in different elements of training.
            The German child will always resort to pushing forward if confused,and the French child will always resort to rocking back and rebalancing.

            What you teach first is what sticks with you.
            The problem I am having with the German vs French school is the either/or.

            The German kid will still have to balance himself if he doesn't want to fall flat on his face, even the first time he runs down the hill, and the French kid will have to learn to push and carry at the same time unless he wants to be the slowest kid all of his life. Push is a necessary part of the impulsion equation. Otherwise you end up with a hollow horse stuck in place.

            To me, it seems the forward and the balance must be simultaneous, and separating the two is a human artifice.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by ZiggyStardust View Post
              I may murder some of this, but would like to take a stab at it, since I'm fairly immersed in this philosophy of riding now (from a trainer originally taught in the French school, and now training with PK and his student).

              Straightness is incredibly difficult, and as we (including horses) are all naturally "handed", we have to balance the way we use our muscles, and understand and improve our weak areas before we can become straight and forward, with evenness and power used without injuring ourselves.
              Who is PK?

              Straightness is difficult, not so much for the horse to do as to how to ask for it. From what I have experienced the horse being forward and straight are the keys to everything. Easy to say, hard to do.

              Comment


              • Philippe Karl

                Paula
                He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                Comment


                • Ah OK. Thanks!

                  Comment


                  • "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. "



                    And that is why I posted the teachings and video of, what some on this thread dismissed as, "one of those roundpen cowboys". What Tom Dorrance taught, (yes, Tom Dorrance; who studied and endorsed Beudant and Baucher),.........was the pursuit of lightness. Tom said it was getting your horse "to where it didn`t weigh anything" and that you felt like you could "ride him up a telephone pole or down a badger hole".

                    It starts with the groundwork, with the leadrope and leading with a FLOAT in the rope. They call it "feel"; that invisible silver thread of communication, where the horse stays just one instant ahead of you but waiting for you, ready for your next request, mentally and physically ready and with you.........um........"freedom on parole".

                    But please, I do not want to hijack this thread, it is a good discussion of the history of the French School, of DeCarpentry, Baucher, JCR and others. I`m one of the lucky ones that kept all my old D & CT issues with exchanges of JCR and others and had something to compare to over the years.

                    By the way Dr. Deb Bennett has translated Baucher in her 2004? DVD Inner Horseman series, complete with interpretations and pictures and it is very educational. I think you can still get it if you go to www.equinestudies.org and put in a request. I don`t know what the cost is now but back then it was only $25.

                    Comment


                    • GAP, the either/or is real.

                      I know very few riders who persisting the "German" school who will let go of the horse's face! Few who will spend the time to ride the tiny elements, to "nitpick" if you will to refine the aids as far as the French.

                      I rode in Germany for a few years. I brought others and taught there as well. It was enlightening and a learning experience for sure. I also rode in England for about 4 months. THey were different but enjoyable and profoundly influenced my riding as well.

                      I went to the dark side, or would that be the light side, on my own and have read and studied and applied everything I can find on the subject. It is intoxicating. It really affords more opportunity for rider's skill, regardless of size and strength. You rely more on your mental stamina and ability to teach the horse than your strength to oppose him.

                      It is more demanding of the rider in that way and more demanding of the horse to make the work their own instead of being piloted about the ring without any need to have it become part of them. They are tasked with self carriage very quickly and WE mean it. We will not carry the horse, at all!

                      I prefer the latter, obviously.

                      Clear as mud?
                      “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                      ? Albert Einstein

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by re-runs View Post
                        By the way Dr. Deb Bennett has translated Baucher in her 2004? DVD Inner Horseman series, complete with interpretations and pictures and it is very educational. I think you can still get it if you go to www.equinestudies.org and put in a request. I don`t know what the cost is now but back then it was only $25.
                        Oh my.

                        Sorry, re-runs. I love Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt, etc. But I draw the line at Deb Bennett. I have her pamphlets on conformation and they're interesting, even though her writing makes them hard to read. Other than that, no thank you. She could be the poster child for why reading and studying about riding does NOT necessarily make someone an expert.
                        __________________________
                        "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                        the best day in ten years,
                        you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                          ...How does balance before movement work in practical terms? A clear upright balance combined with a mobile jaw folds the hind legs so that they CAN CHOOSE to go forward rather than be coerced into it from agressive supports (whips/spurs/etc). I have gotten SO many horse to reschool who have refused the leg/the whip to the point they are dangerous. By teaching them proper reactions in hand, and then mounted they have relearned to GO ACTIVELY with minimal aids. So then as trainers we have to ask what cause that refusal (to the point that sound fei are sold for pennies or even given away). The answer may be bad riding, it more usually is preciptious flexion which have put them onto the forehand. One should simply not have to ride over tempo to get the horse to go at all, let alone going over tempo without tracking/or barely tracking.
                          I second this^^ and have seen some of these really nice horses "given away" because of overdosage of certain movements (for lack of a better term).
                          Still an interesting thread and the prove is in the pages...

                          Comment


                          • 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.

                            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.
                            OK, a few definitions.

                            What is counted walk?
                            What is ramener?

                            I don't know what kinds of horses you are starting in hand with piaffe, or what kind of piaffe you are expecting to see, but most of the youngsters I start are gawky butt high coming 3 year olds who don't have a whole lot of sit to them. Is this seriously what you are expecting them to be doing? Or is it mostly like the western round pen crowd, who talk the talk about a horse doing a leg yield or whatever, but the movement is hardly recognizable as a dressage event.

                            Lungeing a horse without side reins....OK, I don't see much to that, as all young horses should be started on the lunge, and without side reins for goshsakes! Then loose ones after they develop balance and some poise. Not with their heads tied to their knees as seems to be popular these days "forwardness, propulsion and regularity of the gaits" right, that's the idea. Also muscling of the topline to carry the rider, don't forget that.

                            Pop on the rider, carry on as usual, sure! If you have the skills and another person around, go for it.

                            "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. " Sure thing- with the majority of horses there won't be any fireworks to this point.

                            "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. "

                            Jaw dropping! Did you say CANTER?????? CANTER????!!! Are you serious or is this a typo? I've never, in the 52 years I've spend in the saddle, and countless horses I've started in that time, EVER managed to convince a newby backed young horse to CANTER right from a walk. Never even once- heck, I've never had a youngster even BOLT the first times under saddle. Usually they sway like a sailboat in the wind and seem totally content to walk around and stop and contemplate all of this cool new stuff. Heck, it's all I can do to teach them to reach around and take a sugar lump (talk about turns on the forehand). This is gotta see.

                            [QUOTE]
                            Originally posted by SwampYankee View Post
                            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!
                            QUOTE]
                            Everything seems totally normal here, till we get to the "run around unbalanced" part.

                            OK, in my humble experience, unbalanced horses do not "run around". Unbalanced horses tend to stand still and not move for instance till they feel balanced. That goes for walk, trot and canter. Introducing the rider changes everything- baby horses getting backed tend to be timid about thier balance and that's the job of the treat briber (the "other" person who offers a continual stream of cool treats) who encourages them to actually MOVE with this weird weight on their back.

                            Honestly, it must be nice to introduce all these riding concepts on the ground, another fun way to play with your baby, but once the rider mounts and the horse has to learn to cope with this new balance issue, all prior lessons (ie: 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) lose most of their meaning. And I would venture to guess that about the time they become balanced enough to revisit these concepts, they would be ready to visit them the first time if they were started more conventionally.

                            I'm sorry, but some of this smacks of the Parrelli 7 circles of hell play list to me.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by horsefaerie View Post
                              GAP, the either/or is real.

                              I know very few riders who persisting the "German" school who will let go of the horse's face! Few who will spend the time to ride the tiny elements, to "nitpick" if you will to refine the aids as far as the French.
                              The key term here being "riders." The either/or is in the mind of riders, not in the horses themselves. Everyone has their preferences -- in horses and everything else. The horses just go along to get along.
                              __________________________
                              "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                              the best day in ten years,
                              you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

                              Comment


                              • "Oh my.

                                Sorry, re-runs. I love Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt, etc. But I draw the line at Deb Bennett. I have her pamphlets on conformation and they're interesting, even though her writing makes them hard to read. Other than that, no thank you. She could be the poster child for why reading and studying about riding does NOT necessarily make someone an expert."

                                The old adage applies here, "Don`t knock it till ya seen it."

                                On this DVD there are some lovely plates from Baucher, and some plates from Fillis, also infor. comparing Fillis`s work to Baucher, especially the flexions. LOTS of information on how this effects the horse physically; for the information on the physical part you have to respect the lady, she knows her stuff.

                                A person can always sort through the rest if you don`t like the riding/training information but, some of it gets you thinking about why/how Baucher could achieve the astounding things that he did.

                                I was a student of Arthur Konyot, in a lifetime past, and most of the exhibition riding/training was what I saw this Baucherist do also.

                                Each to their own. I respect anyones reasons "why not to".

                                Comment


                                • Rassembler-gathered into self carriage/collectable, Ramener-standing on the bit with the chest lifted/gathered

                                  Counted walk-the ability to take on step (not stride) at a time w/o holding the horse pressed together.
                                  I.D.E.A. yoda

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by stryder View Post
                                    ...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.
                                    That is what I remind myself of each day - a horse can feel everything (a fly on his mane, etc). If we start off a greenie or reteach an older animal this premis of lightness then we keep it throughout his training whether on the ground or ridden.

                                    True we, ourselves need "considerable self control emotionally and physically" to be able to obtain and sustain lightness with our equines.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      [QUOTE=HSS;6551728]OK, a few definitions.

                                      What is counted walk?
                                      What is ramener?

                                      I don't know what kinds of horses you are starting in hand with piaffe, or what kind of piaffe you are expecting to see, but most of the youngsters I start are gawky butt high coming 3 year olds who don't have a whole lot of sit to them. Is this seriously what you are expecting them to be doing? Or is it mostly like the western round pen crowd, who talk the talk about a horse doing a leg yield or whatever, but the movement is hardly recognizable as a dressage event.

                                      Lungeing a horse without side reins....OK, I don't see much to that, as all young horses should be started on the lunge, and without side reins for goshsakes! Then loose ones after they develop balance and some poise. Not with their heads tied to their knees as seems to be popular these days "forwardness, propulsion and regularity of the gaits" right, that's the idea. Also muscling of the topline to carry the rider, don't forget that.

                                      Pop on the rider, carry on as usual, sure! If you have the skills and another person around, go for it.

                                      "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. " Sure thing- with the majority of horses there won't be any fireworks to this point.

                                      "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. "

                                      Jaw dropping! Did you say CANTER?????? CANTER????!!! Are you serious or is this a typo? I've never, in the 52 years I've spend in the saddle, and countless horses I've started in that time, EVER managed to convince a newby backed young horse to CANTER right from a walk. Never even once- heck, I've never had a youngster even BOLT the first times under saddle. Usually they sway like a sailboat in the wind and seem totally content to walk around and stop and contemplate all of this cool new stuff. Heck, it's all I can do to teach them to reach around and take a sugar lump (talk about turns on the forehand). This is gotta see.

                                      Everything seems totally normal here, till we get to the "run around unbalanced" part.

                                      OK, in my humble experience, unbalanced horses do not "run around". Unbalanced horses tend to stand still and not move for instance till they feel balanced. That goes for walk, trot and canter. Introducing the rider changes everything- baby horses getting backed tend to be timid about thier balance and that's the job of the treat briber (the "other" person who offers a continual stream of cool treats) who encourages them to actually MOVE with this weird weight on their back.

                                      Honestly, it must be nice to introduce all these riding concepts on the ground, another fun way to play with your baby, but once the rider mounts and the horse has to learn to cope with this new balance issue, all prior lessons (ie: 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) lose most of their meaning. And I would venture to guess that about the time they become balanced enough to revisit these concepts, they would be ready to visit them the first time if they were started more conventionally.

                                      I'm sorry, but some of this smacks of the Parrelli 7 circles of hell play list to me.
                                      Parelli had yet to make the scene back when I learned all of this; I'd literally never heard of him. For definitions, the books you are looking for are both by Jean-Claude Racinet:

                                      Another Horsemanship and
                                      Racinet Explains Baucher

                                      BTW, I did NOT intend this thread as a redux of the uber-tiresome German vs. French argument. If you like the German methods, have a WB or other horse who's working well for you, if it ain't broke don't fix it! Many of us sold our souls to the devil Baucher when we had tough horses to make up and the German orthodoxy was about to get us killed; or else we lacked the muscular strength to get it done.

                                      NO judgement here about ANYone else's method--JCR was very quick to say use what works for you and the horse you rode in on!

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by SwampYankee View Post
                                        I enjoyed Belasik's books greatly, and went to one of his clinics expecting to see some great stuff. Wow, what a disappointment! Trying to have one leg in each theoretical camp, he mostly got a lot of nothing done in an entire day of people pounding sand around and around an indoor--in one case, a poor girl on a TB near the end of her rope, almost in tears, couldn't put him on the bit AT ALL and was being hauled downhill through his transitions--Belasik did NOTHING to help her! I had to forcibly bite my lip and sit on my hands to keep from taking her out behind the barn and fixing it in about 30 seconds--the horse was all but crying out for her to get the hell off his mouth but P.B. was so busy hearing the sound of his own voice spouting The Zen of Physics that he ignored her. I was so pissed off and disillusioned . . .
                                        !
                                        Wow, this sounds like I could've been that rider. However, my clinic with P.B. was 15 or so years ago. Speed-trotting around and around and around the indoor. Can't say my horse or I got anything accomplished other than lots of sweat. He writes a good story, but in my experience, that's about IT.

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                                        • Belasik has his school here in PA. I was always intrigued by it, but since he has a no-fatties rule he was out of my reach. Eh, just as well I guess.

                                          Paula
                                          He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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