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Spinoff: "French School!"

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  • Lifting the bit into the corners of the mouth (in hand...touching the corners of the lips). As little as it takes to mobilize the jaw and/or change the balance (sometimes that lifting also includes going backward to WAKE UP the mind/reactions). It might be mm or it might be feet. It depends upon the horse. The horse will then REACT (to our actions) and change balance. The handler presumes this, rewards (proactively) the change in the horse. Same thing for mm of lateral flexibility WHILE the horse is upright/high/light. After ANY of these the handler MAY allow the horse to chew fdo....but NOT always, and not IMMEDIATELY after. Again, it is what we allow, not what the horse barges to take.
    I.D.E.A. yoda

    Comment


    • I just want to thank you ideayoda for taking so much time on this thread. I have been working a lot on lateral flexion at the walk, as well as more lifting at the trot. My new mare is so different than I have most recently been used to. This thread, along with my wonderful instructors, have been helpful.
      On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

      Comment


      • Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
        Have to wonder if this horse might have a vision problem too..
        Hmmm thats the first thing trainers always say to their clients. Is it a vision problem.
        And yes I had him checked completely by a competant Vet - these reactions could always be linked to any number of physical issues. Fortunately everything was ruled out, vision, pain, saddle fit, feet, nervous system, etc...

        Comment


        • (Welcome.) Please explain what you mean 'lateral flexion at a walk'. Exercises which mobilize the jaw (lateral flexion at halt), or stress high/light/mobile (with more flexion) are generally done standing. Working a horse in hand (in lateral exercises) is about even bend/combined with high/light/mobile. Working a horse 'in position' (seeing inside eyelashes) is something else, as is working horses with even bend (ie sf/si/t/r) in lateral work.

          The only way the horse will splat onto its forehand is if the hind legs push/park out behind or the rider tries to HOLD (without cessation)...but if that happens the horse will NOT go (forward either). That happens regardless of system. HH/demi arrets DEMAND timing any way your cut it by any system.
          I.D.E.A. yoda

          Comment


          • I am on my phone, but basically we are not worrying about longitudinal flexion, but only lateral, and ignoring how high or fussy she might get with her head. At trot it's more just head up and lifted and forward, but at the walk working on letting go a bit laterally. When she begins to let go and relax hervhead and frame naturally goes where it should.

            Like I said, she is a different sort, very busy, smart, opinionated. She's half Arab on top of that, combined with pony! She is teaching me a lot about consistency, and most of all patience.
            On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

            Comment


            • And maybe flexion is the wrong word then. Maybe I should say bending.
              On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

              Comment


              • Definition is important. Bending is about the entire horse (head to tail) being placed on a curved line. Lateral flexibility is initially about lateral flexion at the atlas/axis WITHOUT allowing longtiudinal flexion. However, first the horse must understand a basic action of an arret or demi arret. For sure it is not bending a horse from the withers forward which would truncate the neck and push weight onto the opposite shoulder (the use of RK follows from this basterdized version).

                A horse should not be fussy with the head if the 'funnel' is acting correctly (both for the horse to to be high/light/balanced/mobilize the jaw/seek the hand/choose forward (all progressively). But the relaxation into fdo is chosen by the horse because of the preconditions of the rider's actions/requests. Works for all horses with all backgrounds(!!!)
                I.D.E.A. yoda

                Comment


                • Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                  Definition is important. Bending is about the entire horse (head to tail) being placed on a curved line. Lateral flexibility is initially about lateral flexion at the atlas/axis WITHOUT allowing longtiudinal flexion. However, first the horse must understand a basic action of an arret or demi arret. For sure it is not bending a horse from the withers forward which would truncate the neck and push weight onto the opposite shoulder (the use of RK follows from this basterdized version).
                  Bending the horse from the withers forward doesn't have to result in the horse pushing the weight onto the opposite shoulder. It can be done (briefly) to straighten a crooked horse.

                  Comment


                  • Bending the horse's neck only (from withers forward) truncates the balance and the responses. Flexion (atlas/axis/front of neck) is an entirely different matter because it allows true stretch without causing longitudinal flexion, and more importantly the 'root of the neck'/breastbone is centered (which is the heart of traditional training/bsm/etc. The later is the heart of the french manner, the former just incorrect for every school except rk or bfm. Straightening a crooked horse comes from control of the (outside shoulder through uprightness), keeping it up/open (which may need a great degree of lateral flexion at the axis/etc) and through bend which uses axial rotation as well. (ie si to counter si, or a bowtie of true positioning to neck reining in counter position).
                    I.D.E.A. yoda

                    Comment


                    • Time was ALL the rein effects were taught early on in a rider's career (ie direct/indirect at the withers/indirect in front of withers/opening(bearing) rein/etc) because all the teachers followed the military tradition (and this was true of h/j as well!!!!!) That is no longer done (read basics like the Gordon Wright's Equitation Manual).

                      Opening inside rein (greener horse by actually a smidge of opening/more developed horse only by turning thumb more outside with fingernails pointing upward) assists in even bending. And if the rider has a 'spiral seat' (shoulders parallel to horses/hips to hips), the outside rein will already 'allow the even bending through the BODY)...this keeps the bit held evenly and the horse 'funneled' onto the curved line. By keeping a steady outside connection the horse turns on a smaller arc, but USUALLY the 'slight slipping of the outside rein' is usually to allow more telescoping (smallll degrees of fdo) withIN the base exercise. IF the rider does this to a huge degree the horse will only lengthen the neck and go fdo, so INTENTION of the exercise is everything. IF a rider takes one rein and gives the other, that action would merely pull the rein through the mouth (even with a fullcheek/fulmer).

                      Remember flexion laterally (which can be gotten by merely carrying the inside rein a smidge higher/mobilizing the jaw on the inside) is different than even bending.

                      The hands never act backwards, but can be used upward (demi arret/arret), forward (following fdo) or in a horizontal plane (opening, or as a neck/bearing rein but never crossing the withers). Remember any rein effect is momentary and then neutral (or it ceases to be an effect).

                      The horse's carriage should always be somewhat up and open, if the horse is steadily ridden too low they cannot take a proper hh/demi arret/fold their hindleg joint enough to produce increased impulsion. If a horse is bearing down on the bit, then either the rider is holding/the connection is too long/or the hh not effectual enough.

                      Collection is produced through amplitude, but the use of circles and lateral work is for increasing lateral flexibility which is the basis for axial rotation/and greater straightness (control of the shoulders). IF the horse has gone too low/too long an outline/without energy they will get 'grumpy' because they have learned a balance which takes no energy and you are changing what you want rather than just asking for more expression. Horses are creatures of habit. Lightness comes from self carriage/clear demi arrets/etc, not from the rider having little connection or allowing the horse to be too low.
                      I.D.E.A. yoda

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by ideayoda View Post

                        A horse should not be fussy with the head if the 'funnel' is acting correctly (both for the horse to to be high/light/balanced/mobilize the jaw/seek the hand/choose forward (all progressively). But the relaxation into fdo is chosen by the horse because of the preconditions of the rider's actions/requests. Works for all horses with all backgrounds(!!!)
                        This is where these threads always drive me nuts. The fact is, this horse IS fussy with the head. She's 30 days undersaddle, it's her "thing". I have started many horses, they are not machines, they DO have personalities. It's been an adventure riding a horse this green that literally wants to go with her muzzle above her ears, and who expresses all her thoughts via her head (this includes when she is free lungeing in the round pen fwiw).

                        Maybe I am not following the French school, or doing things the right way for the masters...but I have great luck letting her go around with her nose in the air, keeping my hands higer, and simply following her mouth where it will go. We have added in lateral flexion and small circles at the walk. These two things are working and she is starting to seek the bit and lower her head/lift her back, but it's a real exercise in patience.

                        Whether I am doing it wrong or not doesn't really matter, it's all working. I just think it's interesting to work with a horse like this in this way, when I know for a fact most trainers would simply have her in draw reins.
                        On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

                        Comment


                        • Then the question is why the horse is fussy (always look at teeth). For a horse which is 30 days u.s. t is just a steady/light connection with the horse (usually) high and very open and just 'going large' (whole arena). Babies are babies (I did 30 a year for awhile). That said, work in hand helps the horse learn more progressively as well.

                          It is not simply riding a small circle (imho not on greenies ridden) to gather lateral flexion. But standing/chewing/etc will all help the horse learn HOW to react to the bit.

                          I too could care less about nose in the air (it should be very open with a greenie), but equally I do not follow the head everywhere. I sustain a connection (ie the drinks on a tray), but hold the tray evenly/high enough/etc (obviously the walk has bascule...the trot not).

                          Seeking the bit/working into it should happen. And if the horse is too high (mouth should be level with point of hip), then lower. But what lifts the back is folding of the hindleg joints and staying mobile in the jaw, not going lower per se. Fdo is a TEST (of bit acceptance) not a place to live with a greenie.

                          (Draw reins are for use for lateral flexibility, it is the way that horses were started in de la Guerinere's time...they for sure are NOT for longitudinal flexion as is now often applied.)
                          I.D.E.A. yoda

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                            Bending the horse's neck only (from withers forward) truncates the balance and the responses. Flexion (atlas/axis/front of neck) is an entirely different matter because it allows true stretch without causing longitudinal flexion, and more importantly the 'root of the neck'/breastbone is centered (which is the heart of traditional training/bsm/etc. The later is the heart of the french manner, the former just incorrect for every school except rk or bfm. Straightening a crooked horse comes from control of the (outside shoulder through uprightness), keeping it up/open (which may need a great degree of lateral flexion at the axis/etc) and through bend which uses axial rotation as well. (ie si to counter si, or a bowtie of true positioning to neck reining in counter position).
                            I don't want to quibble over terms, but what I am describing is not incorrect in terms of dressage riding. I am speaking of STRAIGHTENING the crooked horse, not making a horse crooked. You can believe or disbelieve me.

                            There's more than one way to skin a cat. I see SOoo many dressage riders, including LOTS at advanced levels, whose horses are not on the bit and through. A lot are chasing straightness by going in endless circles and leg yielding in and out and being yelled at if they can see their horses' eyelashes. It's crazy imo. It's true when a horse is straight there is no excess bend in the neck whatsoever. But that's AFTER the horse has straightened and stretched onto the rein -- in response to the bend which lined up the shoulders with the hindquarters.

                            The cornerstones of dressage are the horse being 1) forward and 2) straight. Generally if he is both of these things he will also be light and balanced.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
                              This is where these threads always drive me nuts. The fact is, this horse IS fussy with the head. She's 30 days undersaddle, it's her "thing". I have started many horses, they are not machines, they DO have personalities. It's been an adventure riding a horse this green that literally wants to go with her muzzle above her ears, and who expresses all her thoughts via her head (this includes when she is free lungeing in the round pen fwiw).

                              Maybe I am not following the French school, or doing things the right way for the masters...but I have great luck letting her go around with her nose in the air, keeping my hands higer, and simply following her mouth where it will go. We have added in lateral flexion and small circles at the walk. These two things are working and she is starting to seek the bit and lower her head/lift her back, but it's a real exercise in patience.

                              Whether I am doing it wrong or not doesn't really matter, it's all working. I just think it's interesting to work with a horse like this in this way, when I know for a fact most trainers would simply have her in draw reins.
                              My Arabian *can* be fussy too. Not sure how much is her personality and how much is bit fit and other factors. She has a tiny mouth and low palette. Now I just ignore her fussiness. She has to seek the bit. Some days she's great and that's wonderful. If not we just hack because she really needs the exercise.

                              I think a lot of trainers would put her in draw reins too and that would be a disaster.

                              Comment


                              • Whoa....Slow breathing...we are talking of nuances. That is what horsemen pick apart and study in depth.

                                Those terms (flexion laterally, bending through body vs neck only, flexion longituidnal, mobile jaw, etc ) are imho very necessary to speak of creating/controlling straightness. And I agree that many horses are not 'through' often because the neck has been 'taken out of the mix' or more likely because the root of the neck is manipulated w/o concern for the body. Circles ARE a suppling exercise (THE suppling exercise) and the reins form the walls of the funnel...as are steps onto circles (ie sf/si/r) and from a circle (t) or yielding to the leg (where the horse is more bended vs LY per se where the horse is too straight through the body). Those exercise are cornerstones in perfecting with straight(ness).

                                Ideally truckated neck bend never happens, but the fact is the horse needs to learn where the edges of the funnel are (first straight on/whole arena as we have previously discussed), and sometimes the horse looses balance/falls over a shoulder. So, we must ask why.

                                When a horse is truly straight there IS flexion (at the atlas) because a horse is a trapezoid. Align (perhaps with opening rein/or turning inside thumb over) and funnel straight ahead is job one. A green horse is 'positioned straight' when the inside fore/hind are aligned, a trained horse is 'positioned straight' when the outside fore/hind are aligned (because the horse is capable of more lateral flexibility..ie 6m volte) and sustains bend throughout the body. Bend (through the body) allows for axial rotation (hips) and that is what allows the shoulders (which are only hung in a sling of muscles) to be controlled, thus creating straightness and eventual amplitude (which is the result of straightness). If this were not true we would never need to ride a curved line or any lateral work at all?

                                Certainly energy must be added to sustain straightness (ride the horse forward make it straight), but balance is a key component as well.

                                And that is where the question arises: What rider actions create the horse being steadily 'to the bit'/light/up/openwith steady tempo/uphill balance. Rider's actions create horse's reactions.
                                I.D.E.A. yoda

                                Comment


                                • So much of these discussions are exercise dependent. And the discussion gets entwined. For example the idea of combing the reins almost when changing directions requires slipping the outside connection, perhaps a lot. But things like allowing with the outside for me has to do with the moments where you are trying to telescope the horse slightly longer. And then for MOST riders HOW do they retrieve the connection? And too many people while allowing a spiral seat use it as a corkscrew and pull the bit to the inside.

                                  For sure (in trot), the 'fulcrum' has to do with an absolute of the upper arms hanging vertically (most of the time). The fingers 'allow' but to do not go to an open hand (which would be INelastic). Equally in a proper spiral seat the upper arm it is NOT about the upper arm coming forward, but the mere hint with the shoulders (pointing the belly button). The seat IS maintained, butt evenly split, etc etc.

                                  Imho these effects also have to do with the ROUTINE presentation of the rein effects (when mounted) as well...from the french manuals of 1896 and 1912 (which were also the basis of the US Army Manual as well...nothing new there in this discussion imho)l

                                  "It was as if I'd removed the 'chattering of my hands' so the horse could hear better. " I agree.

                                  "DO NOT move your hand (hands) forward when you desire to 'give', but let the reins slide between your fingers." Imho this is in part. If you are allowing fdo specificially it is better to go to light seat and allow the bascule/telescoping so as not to fish the reins back within an exercise.

                                  "DO NOT remove your outside elbow far from your body in a bending movement. Do not open it. Keep it 100% symmetrical to the inside elbow (but don't forget, in the meantime, to give the outside rein more length, through an opening of your fingers)." Keeping the upper arms closed to the trunk serves many purposes. First it is easier to keep 'drinks on a tray" IF the tray is carried close to the body because there is less fatigue (in the upper arms). Second, the carriage there is more secure and trustworthy (IF the trunk of the rider is stable). The THUMBS must be upright for the elbows to be carried closed to the body (no bird wings). Third this therefore gives the horse a secure/lighter connection to the SEAT of the rider rather than fixed hands (these comments apply mostly to trot because w/c have bascule).

                                  "DO NOT move shoulders inside in a bending movement. Displacements of weight are displacements of seat; that is, of the mere pelvic bone. Torso must remain upright over the pelvis in any circumstance." Agreed, no leaning in (however there may be the inside leg closer to the girht which bulks the calf w/o leaning).

                                  So many of these things were discussed in JCR's column in D&CT years ago. Even if one disagreed with some of the concepts, they are THOUGHT provoking. And in the end the horse writes how much it understands our progression and points out when we fail.

                                  It is also why the FEI rules were written as they were, to assure the horse HAS A VOICE (can use its body...which methods like RK silence).
                                  Last edited by ideayoda; Oct. 3, 2012, 04:36 PM.
                                  I.D.E.A. yoda

                                  Comment


                                  • Please continue this discussion, esp the sliding rein! This thread is amazing and worth it's weight in gold.

                                    Comment


                                    • This is like a college course..

                                      I am reading and re reading.
                                      Fantastic. Ideayoda, it is like a wonderful clinic with you!
                                      Bet you are awesome to ride with!

                                      Comment


                                      • Key phrase in explaining lightness:

                                        Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                                        ... Lightness comes from self carriage/clear demi arrets/etc, not from the rider having little connection or allowing the horse to be too low.
                                        ^^This explains lightness - thank you!!
                                        it is all too often mis-taught by dressages instructors

                                        Comment


                                        • [quote=ideayoda;6588540]
                                          Opening inside rein (greener horse by actually a smidge of opening/more developed horse only by turning thumb more outside with fingernails pointing upward) assists in even bending. And if the rider has a 'spiral seat' (shoulders parallel to horses/hips to hips), the outside rein will already 'allow the even bending through the BODY)...this keeps the bit held evenly and the horse 'funneled' onto the curved line.[/quote]

                                          Interesting, according to Jane Savoie the above underlined reining technique is used to flex the horse left/ right at the poll only without bending the rest of the neck.

                                          Comment

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