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Spinoff: "French School!"

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  • Thank you for that Horsefaerie...

    Originally posted by horsefaerie View Post
    May hew, PP, it might be helpful to change how you see your horse.

    You don't have the whip to get after him. You have the whip to provide clarity. Until the leg is draped the leg aid is diluted. In my world, the inside leg is first supported by the inside seat bone. You stretch down to the inside seat bone, tense your calf muscle, inhale and lift your chest, then go. It happens more quickly than you can read those words.

    However, many folks starting out use the entire leg due to concerns that you mentioned. Your horse is not your adversary. You are trying to set up a communication that you both can rely on. IF when you go to use your leg your seat bone looses contact and in fact throws your weight to the outside seat bone you have just thrown your horse off balance. If you scotch forward as well to get more leverage for the aid you are throwing him off balance and in fact telling him not to go. Fetal position?

    So, it is retraining both you and the horse. I have ridden a few thousand horses and there are those that DO NOT GO and it is tempting to whomp them with my legs, believe me. In the long run it is better to start small, just halt to walk for clarity and when YOUR legs get wonky, apologize to the horse and start again. Discipline in the riders leg is very tough to achieve but well worth it as SY says.

    DO y'all have access to a trained horse to even feel what the desired result should be?
    As many years as I have ridden, I do not think I have ever had a trainer or instructor say it quite that way.
    I will try a whole new tact.
    It just hit me like a ton of bricks. I will be excited to see how he reacts to those small steps, Cause clearly the whomping with the leg is not getting it, or the spanking.
    Thank you again!

    Comment


    • Originally posted by mayhew View Post
      He eats whatever is in his reach when he is being tacked up. I tie him to a trailer outside so that we don't get the inside of the barn dirty. So, he munches on the side of the trailer, the window sills, the bridle racks, whatever is raised above the side of the trailer. Are you serious that he would get a welt? I've never even considered that.
      Yes I would, if the horse kept stopping while I was leading him. Totally unacceptable. I wouldn't let him chew all over the trailer while I was tacking him up either.

      It's going down a dangerous road to let a horse do those things and bad horsemanship.

      You can't have a partnership with a horse if he doesn't respect you.
      Last edited by grayarabpony; Sep. 23, 2012, 09:10 PM.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by mayhew View Post
        Just to clarify, here is what happens when the problem occurs. I take horse to tack-up area, he resists once or twice but basically goes forward. I brush him, tack him up, during the saddling he eats anything in his reach, but he has always done this, no difference between saddles. I lead him to our spot, the dressage arena, with several arguments while we get there. He says "no, I'm not going," I step back to his shoulder and apply the dressage whip, very lightly, to his flank. He steps forward and we carry on. Eventually, we get to the dressage arena. I get on. We walk for several minutes. As soon as I ask for an upward transition he pins his ears and refuses to go forward. I have had saddle fit checked. What I absolutely do not want to do is insist that he move forward if he is having a physical issue that prevents him from doing so.
        I haven't read any responses since this post but it caught my eye. To me, this does sound like a horse who could have a physical problem. While it may also be true that he is not respecting your space, it may also be true that he is resisting going to work (because of pain) in any way that he can.

        While it may not be that he is "lame" (as in head-bobbing, obviously lame on one leg), it does sounds like there could be an underyling physical issue. What breed is he? What is his history? How long has this been going on? Could be anything from ulcers to an EPSM-type thing. But I wouldn't discount the possibility that something IS bothering him.

        We took in a horse that had previously been an upper-level horse. You could not touch this horse on the chest, couldn't brush him, couldn't tack him up without him being fussy or trying to bite you or nibble on his lead rope or something - it was a behavior that had been accepted as part of who he is. He didn't want to lift his feet for picking, he wasn't keen on coming to you in the pasture, etc. Bridling was difficult, standing for mounting was difficult. If someone had said to get after him for acting that way or that he didn't respect me on the ground, I would have missed the opportunity to help his body heal.

        Put him on ulcer meds. Changed his shoeing. Put him on Previcox, had the chiro/acupuncture vet out. Had the saddle fitted. After all of that, he could be touched, brushed, groomed, easily caught, etc. Turns out that he was way too much horse and returned him to his owner who went back to schooling him at a level higher than we could ride him. Despite her wonderful care of him through his competitive career, some of the avenues we took hadn't been explored. I think it might be worth looking at some of this stuff for your horse.
        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 Sannois View Post
          That is what I am doing... The thing is, I need to keep his owner off him, She is not quick enough and lets seconds go by, or does nothing at all and lets him plod along.

          As JAne Savoie would say whisper your aides and horse should shout the answer!
          Yes if you are the trainer, convince the owner to stop riding for a while. I had to put the BWP who came to me, in my exclusive hands. First I sent him to an NH expert (whom I trust!!) and had her put some respect and valuable ground work exercises into him to reinforce the "react/release". Next I worked with this trainer to learn and continue to maintain the exercises during his time with me. THen I began riding with "react/release" constantly in mind. Leg - go forward - release. Riding mixed in with ground work, in hand work, etc during the weekly schedule.
          Now I give him ever so slight leg and he reacts and goes forward. It took months (sometimes it will with a horse that has been abused) but it is working.
          No one else must ride this horse in his learning period but yourself. Then you can take the rider and horse and teach her exactly how to apply the aides correctly. If she is not capable of learning this - time for a different horse.

          Comment


          • Yes..

            Originally posted by belgianWBLuver View Post
            Yes if you are the trainer, convince the owner to stop riding for a while. I had to put the BWP who came to me, in my exclusive hands. First I sent him to an NH expert (whom I trust!!) and had her put some respect and valuable ground work exercises into him to reinforce the "react/release". Next I worked with this trainer to learn and continue to maintain the exercises during his time with me. THen I began riding with "react/release" constantly in mind. Leg - go forward - release. Riding mixed in with ground work, in hand work, etc during the weekly schedule.
            Now I give him ever so slight leg and he reacts and goes forward. It took months (sometimes it will with a horse that has been abused) but it is working.
            No one else must ride this horse in his learning period but yourself. Then you can take the rider and horse and teach her exactly how to apply the aides correctly. If she is not capable of learning this - time for a different horse.
            Well day 4, and great results. He is so much better at listening. Maybe because I am speaking more clearly.
            Did a bunch of ground work and lunging, and some mounted walk work with a tad of trot thrown in.
            And the react release WORKS!!! Holy heck I was floored.
            It took only twice and I was able to leave my leg off and he kept going forward. And reaching forward. Opening at his poll, and guess what, between the lunging and the mounted work he was nice and foamy! This horse normally has a very dry mouth.
            Asked for a trot, and got it instantly, and just kept a soft connection and he kept trotting. Straight. Not looking all over, Trotted several ground poles and he was long and reaching through them.
            I was so pleased with his attitude.
            I know we have a long way to go, but it gave me hope.
            Now how do I keep her off of him for a few months?

            Comment


            • GOOD!

              Originally posted by Sannois View Post
              ...
              I know we have a long way to go, but it gave me hope.
              Now how do I keep her off of him for a few months?
              Can you find (or she can lease) another horse for her to ride maybe an older schoolmaster type horse or something in your barn; maybe she can half lease another student's horse just for lessons. Doesn't have to be a horse too advanced just something that goes to 2nd level but goes relatively nicely. She can learn more effectively and improve under your tutelage and you can continue to improve her horse. Of course she'll have to invest a little $$ but it will so help her if she doesn't have to worry about her horse and can work more on herself... Makes perfect sense!

              Comment


              • Riding should be fun! You must be doing it right or the horse wouldn't be! Thanks for getting back to us with your results! Enjoy!
                “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                ? Albert Einstein

                Comment


                • Kind of sad

                  to see this thread die, it has sooo much fantastic information on it.
                  Still doing well, Today he was even more attentive, and I must say almost seemed to enjoy himself.
                  No spooking either, Too focused on what I was asking him to do.
                  Owner does have another horse to ride, He is a solid citizen that she retired. totally sound and just what she needs to get her seat. I told her a month ago I wanted her to ride him ever day to get in shape. Well, she is not riding at all right now as she is out of town, but hopefully when she gets home and I show her what I am doing and explain why it would be against purposes to not stay consistent with what I am doing she will agree.

                  Comment


                  • Everything that you have posted is what you should see with a horse ridden this way. Trained this way.

                    For most folks it is a huge difference!
                    “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                    ? Albert Einstein

                    Comment


                    • This thread has been so much fun. I bought my Oldenburg mare just under a year ago and she has been a challenge to me as a re-rider. She was spooky, not focused and stressed about everything. To say we have taken it slowly is an understatement. Finally, she is relaxed with me and her surroundings and we are becoming quite bonded.

                      She is very sensitive to leg and hand, so I have had to learn to adjust and become very light with her.

                      I still have a problem with releasing my leg. It is especially a problem with the halt. The only way I can get her to halt without inching forward is to take my leg off completely, like air between my leg and her side. This in turn makes me brace a little and I have to lift my hands, with palms turned up to get a good halt. It's ugly! Suggestions?

                      Comment


                      • So ask yourself why is the leg doing more than breathing with the horse? Unless you are asking the horse to go forward (or lifting the belly with the spur which is a very particular action), it should only breathe with the horse. By 'merely' stretching from hip to heel (alignment/etc) the rider will feel the horse inflate/deflate.

                        Now, for the horse 'inching forward'. That has many possible causes: the rider has not stilled their seat, the hh is heldddd too long (you said you brace 'a little), the horse is too low or too closed (needs clearer demi arret),etc Since you said you brace a little, what happens when that happens in the horse.... the horse continues to brace against your action. Remember action/reaction (demi-arret/cessation of aids) means you act, and you review. If the horse is not high or open enough it will not fold the hind legs but crawl with the forelegs. Try using a clearer arret in the first place, but make sure the aids/hands are IMMEDiATELY NEUTRAL. Remember than demi-arrets have two purposes: change balance/mobilize the jaw.
                        I.D.E.A. yoda

                        Comment


                        • Also Hpilot, get a copy of Centered Riding by Sally Swift. It's written and illustrated in a way that's very helpful for a rider to understand how to relax in the saddle and use subtle aids.

                          Comment


                          • well I have a different POV since I have spent the last few years riding a very sensitive and opinionated mare

                            your mare needs to learn to deal with your leg so you need to stop playing the game her way. same with the spooking etc.

                            You need to ride her with intent, with a determined attitude, asking her to do as you ask (ie allow you to put your leg on her without drama etc) and to focus.

                            if you are not able to get her to work as you wish, it might be beneficial to get someone else on her for a bit to see if they can get her more compliant.

                            once she understands the rules of the game a bit better you will have a much better time

                            and if your mare is anything like mine it will only take one or two rides for her to say "ok i get it"

                            oh i never used force or harsh riding - i just said "mare, my leg is here and you will deal - if you want to buck spin leap - that is fine - but my leg is still there and all of that didnt accomplish anything - now can you go forward happily?" i actually couldn't believe how easy it was to change that whole scenario once i was determined !

                            Comment


                            • Are you gripping with your leg? If so, dismount.

                              Start working the mare in hand, if the "French" way is too much too soon, go to something simpler like LTJ's work. Teach the mare to halt with a voice command. Use a stick to the chest, yes tap the chest as you exhale and say in a deadpan voice "Whoaaaaaaaaa" If she resists you can tap abruptly to say I mean it. Now if this upsets her and makes YOU uncomfortable you can try another approach.

                              QUICK, quick, quick, forward with you standing next to her then light on your feet, turn and back her from the walk or halt. If the halt creeps forward you can use this to get her thinking rein back is possible and she needs to pay attention.

                              When you can relinquish the stick and use just the verbal command you can do more work from the saddle.

                              Now there are all sorts of ways to criticize this method. I prefer to chunk it down, keep it safe and achieve cooperation. There are also numerous ways to make a mess of it. Hang in there. Failures during attempts to do this will tell us a great deal about you and your horse and what is hindering your best halt.

                              No anger, no frustration, just a couple of ways to explain what you want from the ground. No mention of hand, that will come next.
                              “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                              ? Albert Einstein

                              Comment


                              • Has anyone read "What the Horses Have Told Me" by Dominique Giniaux?

                                It is mentioned in Total Horsemanship and am wondering if it is worth the purchase.

                                Comment


                                • This,

                                  Originally posted by horsefaerie View Post
                                  Are you gripping with your leg? If so, dismount.

                                  Start working the mare in hand, if the "French" way is too much too soon, go to something simpler like LTJ's work. Teach the mare to halt with a voice command. Use a stick to the chest, yes tap the chest as you exhale and say in a deadpan voice "Whoaaaaaaaaa" If she resists you can tap abruptly to say I mean it. Now if this upsets her and makes YOU uncomfortable you can try another approach.

                                  QUICK, quick, quick, forward with you standing next to her then light on your feet, turn and back her from the walk or halt. If the halt creeps forward you can use this to get her thinking rein back is possible and she needs to pay attention.

                                  When you can relinquish the stick and use just the verbal command you can do more work from the saddle.

                                  Now there are all sorts of ways to criticize this method. I prefer to chunk it down, keep it safe and achieve cooperation. There are also numerous ways to make a mess of it. Hang in there. Failures during attempts to do this will tell us a great deal about you and your horse and what is hindering your best halt.

                                  No anger, no frustration, just a couple of ways to explain what you want from the ground. No mention of hand, that will come next.
                                  Sounds excellent, But I am dealing with Mr. Dull blood on the ground. He still has his feet stuck to reverse.

                                  Comment


                                  • Sannois, hit the ground! First try a dressage whip! If that doesn't work and you are adept at doing so use a longe whip! If he jumps away in ANY direction, caress and say Good boy!".

                                    Make sure the door is open and that you trust that he won't pop away.

                                    Start there!
                                    “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                                    ? Albert Einstein

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      Originally posted by LMH View Post
                                      Has anyone read "What the Horses Have Told Me" by Dominique Giniaux?

                                      It is mentioned in Total Horsemanship and am wondering if it is worth the purchase.
                                      This book, written by Dr. Giniaux together with Jean-Claude Racinet, explores in great depth the hypothesis that Baucher's flexions were actually the tip of a large iceberg of manipulations that can be done under the aegis of Equine Osteopathy.

                                      Jean-Claude went off on this particular tangent in a big way in the late 90's, having spent time with Giniaux learning to do the manipulations, which he then made part and parcel of every clinic pretty much that he did. He began, with great enthusiasm, to practice this alternative healing art on any horse and owner who would literally stand still for it.

                                      Which was more or less where we parted the ways. Creative differences, if you will. I had no interest in becoming a health practitioner, I wanted to ride! At that time, the local vets were also suing anyone and everyone they considered to be "practicing veterinary medicine," including tooth floaters and any farrier who ever cut out an abcess so I wasn't going to touch this with a 10-foot pole.

                                      In my mind, the jury was and is still out. I saw manipulations that seemed to help "break the contractions," and I also saw a horse who, once relieved of compensations that he'd probably been building for years, went from serviceably sound to abject cripple in one weekend. If you're interested, buy the book and read it . . . but I'd want to have a lot more input before going out and experimenting with its theories.

                                      Stick to Baucher's flexions themselves in the spirit of "first, do no harm!"

                                      Comment


                                      • Excellent!

                                        Originally posted by horsefaerie View Post
                                        Sannois, hit the ground! First try a dressage whip! If that doesn't work and you are adept at doing so use a longe whip! If he jumps away in ANY direction, caress and say Good boy!".

                                        Make sure the door is open and that you trust that he won't pop away.

                                        Start there!
                                        Yes I am very good at snapping a lunge whip.
                                        Will try tomorrow!.

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by SwampYankee View Post


                                          Stick to Baucher's flexions themselves in the spirit of "first, do no harm!"
                                          Thanks for your thoughts but I have ordered the book.

                                          The manipulations look very similar to what I learned in the Masterson Method-and those release are so valuable I can't imagine 'just riding' without them.

                                          Comment

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