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Spinoff: "French School!"

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  • "Consistency is key. The same rules should apply all the time. Reward and praise for good effort."

    The word you used was EFFORT, not just praise for the answer. And that is very important, glad you used the word "EFFORT" and not just the "end result".

    A wonderful benefit comes if the person is consistant and predictable.........the horses get so they are not afraid to SEARCH for the correct answer. We should always be encouraging our horses to explore for the answer we are looking for them to find. Searching comes before finding......so that means being patient for something even earlier than the correct answer.

    Too many times people lose patience when the horse is still searching, and then that causes anxiety in the horse. It`s lke telling a person, they need to HURRY UP when they are already doing their best!

    Comment


    • French style & competitive dressage?

      Hello!
      I've followed the beginning of this thread with interest and only skimmed the rest - so forgive me if this has already been addressed: I've been wondering for the last few days about the connection (or lack thereof) between this "French school" and competitive dressage riding. France has been doing very poorly in international dressage shows for the past 20 years or so and even the only rider who represented the country at the London Olympics trains for half of the year in Germany. So my question is: is that style not "competitive" enough? What are your thoughts dear Cothers?

      Comment


      • Rohello, kiddo, read the rest of the thread. It's definitely been addressed, but we're kinda trying to stay off of it because it tends to be such a divisive issue.

        Welcome to COTH! Don't feed the trolls!
        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 belgianWBLuver View Post
          Fuego very much like the Henriquet’s horses who compete in the int’l levels were started using traditional French school methods. However like most of us have acknowledged and said, ad nauseam in this thread, the training changed to more competition geared methods to simply be able to survive out there.

          Once you decide to compete seriously and invest the $$, you make a choice…
          He looked very different from the rest of the horses in that competition, however... and not just because he's an Andalusian.
          Last edited by grayarabpony; Sep. 19, 2012, 04:42 PM. Reason: spelling

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Rohello View Post
            Hello!
            I've followed the beginning of this thread with interest and only skimmed the rest - so forgive me if this has already been addressed: I've been wondering for the last few days about the connection (or lack thereof) between this "French school" and competitive dressage riding. France has been doing very poorly in international dressage shows for the past 20 years or so and even the only rider who represented the country at the London Olympics trains for half of the year in Germany. So my question is: is that style not "competitive" enough? What are your thoughts dear Cothers?
            Having spent decades in France as a groom and rider, most French dressage competition riders do not practice the French classical method. Some study it and perhaps have started their young horses in it but they gravitate towards Germany and Holland for competition training and for their horses as well.
            Catherine Durand Henriquet was the only French olympic competitor in "recent times" (having extensively studied the French Classical methode thanks to her husband Michel Henriquet) in 1992 to compete on a Lusitano stallion at Barcelona. Today she rides WB's as well as Iberian horses at home and in competition. Margit Otto-Crepin who rode Corlandus for France trained extensively in Germany but came to the Henriquets and other classical trainers from time to time to perfect certain movements.

            Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
            He looked very different from the rest of the horses in that competition, however...
            Fuego was brought along as a youngster in the French classical methodes by trainers at Jerez and other places. Later he and Munoz-Diaz gravitated towards other schools of thought geared more to producing competition winning results.


            I think it is interesting, especially after having reviewed again that lovely article by Bettina Drummond on Oliveira how the many successful riders "look" in other directions and towards other schools during their journeys. That for me is what makes working with horses such a passion...

            Comment


            • Originally posted by MelantheLLC View Post
              Humans are very good at generalizing learning from one context to another--we learn to use a pen, and immediately we can write with a pen or a pencil--we generalize the concept and recognize a writing instrument and things we can write on quickly. Animals are not good at this. It takes them longer to figure out that the same cue means the same thing in all circumstances. So when you teach a horse to move his haunches over by simply lifting your hand, you need to change the context and repeat your cue--five different places is the rough rule, but may be different from horse to horse--so that the context changes but the cue and reaction remain the same. Through the consistency of the cue-reaction while the environment or context changes, the horse learns thoroughly to understand the cue.
              So how long do you think it takes for a horse to learn a cue permanently?

              Comment


              • Originally posted by alicen View Post
                But this is a thread about the French school and, as such, I think it not inappropriate to discuss Racinet's thinking. And yes, you don't have to read too far between the lines to realize that he considered the French school to be superior to the German school. He's French. I hope I won't be shot as the messenger. I hope to just do the reporting as written in D&CT even though, personally, I'd like to have a "see here" moment with the gentleman.

                What is frustrating about the "Tracking Up" article is he freely switches between tracking up and over tracking. And there are truly baffling statements like this: "The theory goes like so: the more forward the hind legs set down, the more they will carry weight, and the more this will "alleviate" the front end."
                "At first glance, this theory makes sense."
                "It is, in my opinion, totally undeniable at a halt (piaffe, levade), or at a canter, in which the two hind legs engage simultaneously." (Italics mine). What?

                He also argues that he once bought a wretched little jumper who after three years of training could barely "track in" but he went on to become a back up horse for a Belgian Olympic rider. About that he says, "Since that time, I have always taken the theory about the virtue of tracking up not with a grain, but a loaf, of salt."

                So, yeah, there are difficulties in reading Racinet. Perhaps to be taken with a tsp. of salt?
                Hmm, you're right, that is confusing. Perhaps he means you have to assess each individual horse in evaluating its talent, gaits and correctness?

                I knew one horse that did not track up even in the working trot, but would overtrack in his mediums and extensions (and yes he had suspension in all aspects of his trotwork). I don't know if such a horse has any relevance to what Racinet wrote though.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by belgianWBLuver View Post
                  Having spent decades in France as a groom and rider, most French dressage competition riders do not practice the French classical method. Some study it and perhaps have started their young horses in it but they gravitate towards Germany and Holland for competition training and for their horses as well.
                  Catherine Durand Henriquet was the only French olympic competitor in "recent times" (having extensively studied the French Classical methode thanks to her husband Michel Henriquet) in 1992 to compete on a Lusitano stallion at Barcelona. Today she rides WB's as well as Iberian horses at home and in competition. Margit Otto-Crepin who rode Corlandus for France trained extensively in Germany but came to the Henriquets and other classical trainers from time to time to perfect certain movements.



                  Fuego was brought along as a youngster in the French classical methodes by trainers at Jerez and other places. Later he and Munoz-Diaz gravitated towards other schools of thought geared more to producing competition winning results.


                  I think it is interesting, especially after having reviewed again that lovely article by Bettina Drummond on Oliveira how the many successful riders "look" in other directions and towards other schools during their journeys. That for me is what makes working with horses such a passion...
                  It seems to me that a mix of the schools is the perfect thing: the lightness and subtlety of the French school along with the push from behind and stretching over the topline to get a horse that is truly like an accordian, capable of collecting and extending.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                    So how long do you think it takes for a horse to learn a cue permanently?
                    Truly it depends on the horse; I've worked with arabs and lusitanos who have learned an aide (cue) after 2 applications. (Rewarding them immediately after the good response)
                    I've had warmbloods and drafts who've taken much longer maybe 5 or 6 repetitions over days sometimes.
                    Right now I'm working with a large Belgian WB who takes forever to learn an aide (that is several repetitions with ample breaks in btwn to prevent him from blowing a fuse). He came to me as a "ruined" jumper - a horse who refused to jump and in some cases refused to even go forward. This was the result of very impatient/brutal training methods.
                    Every horse is different and should be treated as such to really follow the core of the French methode.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                      So how long do you think it takes for a horse to learn a cue permanently?
                      As the poster above said, it depends.

                      This could be an entire spin-off thread, about learning theory. I fear I'm a bit passionate about it so I'd better keep it short here.

                      To generalize a cue, you need a learned behavior that is occurring 80-90% in response to the cue in the first context. Then you change the context, and repeat the cue, reinforcing the correct response. Your percentage of correct response will almost certainly drop when you change the context, so stay in that context until you're back up to 80-90% correct. Then move to another context.

                      Studies of horses have shown that 3 to 5 different contexts are required for them to reliably generalize a consistent response to a cue. But the more contexts, the better.

                      Context could be rider, handler, location, weather, time of day, other horses, under saddle, on the ground, spooky stuff, quiet, etc etc. The more different things you can introduce, while maintaining the consistent cue and reinforcing the correct response, the faster and better the horse will learn the cue. Obviously you start with the simplest, most secure context for the horse, and proceed from there to more challenging environments for the best success. You want to keep your cue clear to the horse, and give him the best chance to respond correctly, and the more exciting, challenging situations will make that more difficult so you work up to them in stages.
                      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


                      • The very problem...

                        Originally posted by re-runs View Post
                        How is the person around the horse? Do they have enough presence to get noticed? Are they not "sure" around horses? It can be as simple as how one carries themselves. Horses NOTICE because awareness is wired into them, it is what keeps them alive when there are wolves trotting across the tundra a half mile off. A wild horses instinct will tell them if the wolf is hungry or they are just passing through by the wolves movements and carriage. If a horse will notice those things about a wolf trotting a half mile down the valley then......How much is a horse noticing of the person standing next to them?... QUITE a lot..., even if the horse is partially shut down from being handled by clods all its life. They FEEL your energy. A person has to look inside themselves and see what their horse sees/feels about them and that is where the changes have to start. It is always about us and how we need to change to fit the horse, not the other way around. And that is why no "method" or "technique" really gets to the center of the problem.

                        I don`t mean the person has to be loud and boisterous to get the horses attention, you may only trigger the horses fight or flight response by doing that. A person has to approach the horse in a way the horse will respect,.... "they know when you know, and they know when you don`t know." As someone else said in a previous post, "you can`t fool a horse."

                        How much will it take, how little? If the person has to use a lot at first to get the horses attention, the idea is to get to the place where it it takes very little......that is what lightness is. Lightness is a way of BEING, not just how much it takes to move a horse over, or how much leg or rein to stop and go. Lightness comes from feeling of the horse as the horse... is for sure, aware and feeling of you,..... timing your requests..... and the release that needs to follow and be predicatable to the horse.

                        "You want to get the horse to where the horse doesn`t weigh anything." Tom Dorrance. THAT Sounds like LIGHTNESS to me.

                        Now, if one person can ask the horse to move over and get the proper response, it doesn`t mean that the owner will get the same response, in fact, the owner may even get the same dull response because that is their way of operating around their horse. Good chance that if the owner doesn`t take the time it takes to change, they are going to dull the horse right up again.
                        She is a quiet person, Not very sure of her self, at least with the horses. And this one knows it. A good example is I taught him to lunge and used voice commands, he will not do it for her, She has tried and he ignores her, me I say Ttttrot and he is right there, Which makes me wonder if I used the word with the aide if I would get the forward better.
                        No she coddles him, he crowds her on the ground, hangs his head over her shoulder, and barely walks on the lead line
                        I get right after him and he says Yes maam. But I fear that I will put this work into him and she will not follow through.
                        I am not doing it for money, She is a good friend, I have known her for years, But we have been down this road for a while now, I have said she must be consistent with him. HAve given her all the tools, work with her weekly, but there is always an excuse why she has done nothing.
                        My goal is to get him going well myself and taking him to a schooling show next year. Last year she showed him at one schooling show, did not do well, No forward, and curling behind the bit. And as you see we are back to square one. I have no horse right now so it is something to keep my foot in it. I do like this horse, I think he has potential, But his brain is so confused right now it is going to be a real challenge. Your input is so appreciated.
                        Off to work with him tomorrow. Work kept me busy today so I have not gotten to go ride. Thanks reruns

                        Comment


                        • This is the root..

                          in a nutshell.
                          As long as I have known her she NEVER praises her horses, either verbally or with a pat. I am the one in the middle of the ring saying Gooood boooy. And reminding her over and over.
                          I have explained to her that he does not know what is right or wrong, Inconsistent aides, no reward, do ing the same thing over and over. Sigh~ She is not a mean person my any stretch, I think the fact that she rides so infrequently she has all she can do to follow what I am having her do.
                          Last year she bought Jane Savoies 600 dollar Happy horse DVD set. IT is really great and so understandable and addresses all the basic problems she needs to work on... She has never watched it, maybe the first disk only. I have it memorized.
                          I just do not think she is willing to admit she does not want to put in the time and effort this will take. I would be fine with that if she would just admit it. My husband tells me to shut up and just work with the horse or lose a friend.

                          Comment


                          • Here's a detailed report on a PK clinic in Australia, lots of quotes and specifics:

                            So what is classical training? And how is it different from competition training?

                            "Less power, more harmony," says Philippe. "It is the way the result is achieved that matters. In competition, often the result is all that matters. It should be difficult for the rider, easy for the horse.

                            "If the horse is not able to do something, it means either he is not physically able, or he doesn’t understand the aids. Gymnasticising is not teaching the horse the aids. Above all we must educate the horse to the use of our hand.
                            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


                            • French dressage and competition.

                              It is much easier to take a horse trained in french classical dressage whose resistances have been decomposed,gently connect both sides of its mouth with the bit in front of its tongue, and compete, than it is to ride through resistance and tension pushing onto the hands.

                              Comment


                              • A horse learns in about 30 seconds, the question is does what the handler/rider remain changed? And is the balance created sustained? That is not the responsibility of the horse. Cues are one thing (ie spanish walk), consistency of tact/placement another, and balance is another. Imho the repetitions are needed for horse which are reallllly out of balance and who have learned to ignore the rider's crudeness as well, greener horses are easier, and with experienced riders the changes fairly immediate (ie with pk).

                                The relevance/positive impact of work in hand (standing mobilization/flexions and exercises) is that it breaks down reactions (for horse AND handler) into digestible pieces so they can be applied when mounted more easily and effectively.
                                I.D.E.A. yoda

                                Comment


                                • A couple of thoughts, having watched Catherine Henriquet a lot, the horses are really trying to be all things to all schools, more traditional than de jour but trying to copy methods de jour as well (unfortuantely). And Corlandus was started and developed to fei by a very traditional (upright/active/etc) rider who happened to be german woman here in the US before the verband took him back to Germany.

                                  The fact is that ALL the schools used to stress lightness and subtlety which was revealed by the uphill balance and impulsion (not just push which is training level at best) and TESTED the ability to seek the hand by seeing if the horse would chew fdo (not 'stretch' but open/arc/with chest still lifted). That said collection was more valued a hundred years ago that (wearing a collar) extension. Now there is a rush to longitudinal flexion which creates a lowered/closed horse which cannot be uphill nor properly take a hh (to fold the hind leg joints) and who will not seek fdo (so the riders delude themselves by applying ldr instead for obedience).
                                  I.D.E.A. yoda

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by belgianWBLuver View Post
                                    Truly it depends on the horse; I've worked with arabs and lusitanos who have learned an aide (cue) after 2 applications. (Rewarding them immediately after the good response)
                                    I've had warmbloods and drafts who've taken much longer maybe 5 or 6 repetitions over days sometimes.
                                    Right now I'm working with a large Belgian WB who takes forever to learn an aide (that is several repetitions with ample breaks in btwn to prevent him from blowing a fuse). He came to me as a "ruined" jumper - a horse who refused to jump and in some cases refused to even go forward. This was the result of very impatient/brutal training methods.
                                    Every horse is different and should be treated as such to really follow the core of the French methode.
                                    Originally posted by MelantheLLC View Post
                                    As the poster above said, it depends.

                                    This could be an entire spin-off thread, about learning theory. I fear I'm a bit passionate about it so I'd better keep it short here.

                                    To generalize a cue, you need a learned behavior that is occurring 80-90% in response to the cue in the first context. Then you change the context, and repeat the cue, reinforcing the correct response. Your percentage of correct response will almost certainly drop when you change the context, so stay in that context until you're back up to 80-90% correct. Then move to another context.

                                    Studies of horses have shown that 3 to 5 different contexts are required for them to reliably generalize a consistent response to a cue. But the more contexts, the better.

                                    Context could be rider, handler, location, weather, time of day, other horses, under saddle, on the ground, spooky stuff, quiet, etc etc. The more different things you can introduce, while maintaining the consistent cue and reinforcing the correct response, the faster and better the horse will learn the cue. Obviously you start with the simplest, most secure context for the horse, and proceed from there to more challenging environments for the best success. You want to keep your cue clear to the horse, and give him the best chance to respond correctly, and the more exciting, challenging situations will make that more difficult so you work up to them in stages.
                                    The second post surprises me a bit.

                                    My TB mare came off the track with a difficulty in picking up the right lead canter. Didn't matter who rode her; even if she was perfectly straight she'd only pick up her right lead 50% of the time. Then I had a lesson with Peter Kjellerup that changed everything. He jumped on her with his clogs on (criss-crossed the stirrups because they were too short for him), and in 13 minutes retrained her to take the right lead. She never forgot the lesson.

                                    What he did was to move her hindquarters way over so that she HAD to take the right lead -- an exaggeration of the normal aid for canter depart. Her first reaction was to try to move back to her old configuration before cantering. He'd just stop her and wait. She started off cantering in place before realizing that she could indeed move. He did most of this work on the buckle btw because she got pretty tense at the beginning of the lesson and he didn't want rein pressure to make her any more tense or add confusion. His seat sufficed for most of the rein aids.

                                    Forever after I never had a problem getting the right lead.

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by ideayoda View Post

                                      The fact is that ALL the schools used to stress lightness and subtlety which was revealed by the uphill balance and impulsion (not just push which is training level at best) and TESTED the ability to seek the hand by seeing if the horse would chew fdo (not 'stretch' but open/arc/with chest still lifted). That said collection was more valued a hundred years ago that (wearing a collar) extension. Now there is a rush to longitudinal flexion which creates a lowered/closed horse which cannot be uphill nor properly take a hh (to fold the hind leg joints) and who will not seek fdo (so the riders delude themselves by applying ldr instead for obedience).
                                      How do you feel about the stretch circle at training level?

                                      Comment


                                      • I dont believe a horse which is only asked to 'accept contact' and is not yet 'on the bit' should be (can be) asked to go fdo. It might offer a lower neck if the rider drops the contact, but otherwise the horse is not arcing out to the bridle. And does it even have a mobile jaw? And if not, why not? Most training level horses are too low/too closed/are not taking a hh. (And least we forget it was put into our tests to let hunters come play in the sandbox....and european judges who come here dont even understand such a test....why would the horse be asked to 'show' when they are not yet on the bit yet?)
                                        I.D.E.A. yoda

                                        Comment


                                        • So you feel it should be introduced at First Level instead? It seems to me to be an introduction to self-carriage such as is required at 2nd level.

                                          I don't see a point to it other than the horse should stretch and follow the bit down, raising his topline in the process. Used in that way it's a very useful exercise.

                                          Comment

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