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Spinoff: "French School!"

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  • I have ridden horses into piaffe and passage without a bridle at all. Contact is more about your seat and how it influences the horse than about what you feel in your hands.

    That said, ride with the amount of contact YOU are comfortable with. If you decide to up the ante at any time you can.

    I certainly didn't start riding without a bridle although I moved right to it in just a few years. For reasons we won't go into here. Still decades later when it was suggested to me that I could ride a horse I'd never ridden into those movements without a bridle, I was game.

    Some horses will provide plenty of expression with rubbery contact some look for the feather light. It is between you and your horse.
    “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
    ? Albert Einstein

    Comment


    • Originally posted by horsefaerie View Post
      I have ridden horses into piaffe and passage without a bridle at all. Contact is more about your seat and how it influences the horse than about what you feel in your hands.

      That said, ride with the amount of contact YOU are comfortable with. If you decide to up the ante at any time you can.

      I certainly didn't start riding without a bridle although I moved right to it in just a few years. For reasons we won't go into here. Still decades later when it was suggested to me that I could ride a horse I'd never ridden into those movements without a bridle, I was game.

      Some horses will provide plenty of expression with rubbery contact some look for the feather light. It is between you and your horse.
      I actually can see this happening with us (not that that is a specific goal I have in mind) but when he is offering his "Self Carriage" mode and the contact becomes nothing more than the weight of the reins in my hand (Feather/Whisper)----the feeling to me seems something more like seat/leg aides being connected to haunches/hind end. The connection feels as if there is no hand but becomes like a tiny vibration at the back of the arm (or someplace in that vicinity.) Almost like the bit-rein-hand-arm become one thing and that is elastic.

      I had a blast today in my ride with our newly discovered "flexing and bending" and connection abilities we got the Half Pass to really flow without losing our line of travel/balance or tempo (and the million other things I do to mess things up)--it was AWESOME!!

      He also did his first "Leg Stretch" under saddle--I was so pleased! Such a cool pony!
      Redbud Ranch
      Check us out on FB

      Comment


      • Balance. . . ALWAYS balance!

        These are very good questions, and answers, concerning the contact and how it should feel.

        It should be borne always in mind, that the contact is but one component, and not even the major one, of the horse's overall balance. This is influenced to the greatest degree by the rider's seat, which is why many of the French masters have been so adamant that one's seat become as independent as possible. This is something to challenge oneself with daily, and forever.

        Go for the goal of as much lightness as you can achieve, bearing in mind that a horse easily feels the weight of a landing fly. But, as you strive for this, remember always to keep the impulsion, the elevation of the withers, activity of the hindquarters, and relaxation of jaw and poll--ALL indispensible components of correct "rassembler."

        And welcome . . . ye practioners of Dark Arts!

        Comment


        • Ok, Im still waiting for my book! I have no idea what many of the terms mean and have to go look them up every time they are mentioned.

          Anyhow I found this online and it really struck me that that is the feeling I am trying to describe :

          Quote:“'Collection' is a limited achievement, wherein the horse goes truly up to his bridle; the rider feels the forward impulse of the horse come up to the tips of his fingers (la mise en main); the fingers and the bit are the limit whereto the horse can go".
          "The rassembler is an unlimited achievement, wherein the bridle, horse and rider have become absorbed into one entity; the bit possesses a limiting effect no longer, the forward impulse travels right through it, without let or hinder; actions of hands and bridle-effects have become mere messages to the horse’s nerve-centre.

          "'Collection' is a form.

          "'Rassembler' a quality!"

          From Henry Wynmalen.

          How cool!
          Redbud Ranch
          Check us out on FB

          Comment


          • goodpony, thank you for that. I couldn't remember that author's name for the life of me. I have several of his books in storage. Yes, He is an important read. One of his books in particular, but I don't remember which one. Hopefully I will get my books out of storage soon.

            Henry Wynmalen

            I have some of his very early books that my auny had. They are heavily illustrated and the illustrations are awesome. Just from the beauty aspect, maybe more than biomechanical aspect.

            Comment


            • just don't look at the pics of him riding

              Comment


              • His works looked a lot like saddle seat to me, but he did a series of free jumping horses in watercolor (illustration style or gouache) that were positively GORGEOUS. I used to try to copy his shading and highlights. I studied a lot of his early stuff when I was young. And then much later, again, but the heavy theory stuff.

                Comment


                • TREATS---Im guilty as charged when it comes to cookies--tonight my pony blew a bubble right out of his lips---I swear I have never seen any horse blow a bubble! Have you ever seen a horse blow a saliva bubble?! It actually looked just like a soap bubble and floated. It seemed like something right out of Pavlov and his Dogs!

                  I have to say though my guy is respectful when it comes to treating. Others get no hand treats at all (or almost none!)! And some still haven't grasped treats as a reward--but they will.
                  Redbud Ranch
                  Check us out on FB

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by goodpony View Post
                    I have to say though my guy is respectful when it comes to treating. Others get no hand treats at all (or almost none!)! And some still haven't grasped treats as a reward--but they will.
                    I've known some who think it's a right.

                    Comment


                    • There absolutely IS such a thing as 'too light'. Lightness is a combination of several things: mobility of the jaw/folding of the hind legs/self carriage (and activity). A horse can 'pose' behind the hand (could or could not be btv or too compressed). But first the horse must be able accept a steady connection/move into the hand/follow the hand IF allowed.

                      Heavy contact (de jour) is now allowed because the horse is requested to come to longitudinal flexion (to or btv) before that are properly laterally flexible while they are up and open (itv).

                      And too often riders think it is THEY who make lightness, when in effect they are only the ones which 'set the parameters' and have an action which creates a reaction/balance in the horse.

                      It is the balance which allows the hind legs to be active, for the horse to CHOOSE forward and reactive to the aids.

                      One cannot ride by the seat alone UNLESS the horse can be ridden by the posture of the rider. That kind of self carriage comes over time and with training. And it is the UPPER ARM which is part of the posture, the rest of the arm just 'is'.
                      I.D.E.A. yoda

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by goodpony View Post
                        This is the question Im trying to better understand---'how light should light be?" Featherlite? It seems the contact my guy is willing to offer ranges between Elastic-almost Rubbery---to Feather Light- Whisper Light.

                        I kinda like the Rubbery Feel, Whisper-Light feels a little scary for me because its feels like I must trust implicitly and ride completely off my seat which is just a little out of my comfort zone. If that makes any since at all.
                        Light as in not heavy. As in the horse should be carrying itself. Light contact means just that -- there is contact but it's light because the horse isn't leaning on the reins.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by stryder View Post
                          It makes very good sense. I don't think there's such a thing as too light, as long as there is two-way transmittal. Think of two dancers. A couple that's well-tuned and paying very close attention to the other can communicate with feather-light contact, or less. Each dancer is responsible for his/her own self-carriage. If one is distracted, perhaps more contact is required. But if it "works" with feather-light contact, can you do less?



                          It is a matter of trust - from both the rider and the horse. Rider needs to trust that horse is listening, and horse needs to trust that rider is listening.
                          This is important. I believe that the horse must find the contact "comforting and reassuring". Some horses like a bit more than others. Consistent and elastic.
                          Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                            There absolutely IS such a thing as 'too light'. Lightness is a combination of several things: mobility of the jaw/folding of the hind legs/self carriage (and activity). A horse can 'pose' behind the hand (could or could not be btv or too compressed). But first the horse must be able accept a steady connection/move into the hand/follow the hand IF allowed.

                            Heavy contact (de jour) is now allowed because the horse is requested to come to longitudinal flexion (to or btv) before that are properly laterally flexible while they are up and open (itv).

                            And too often riders think it is THEY who make lightness, when in effect they are only the ones which 'set the parameters' and have an action which creates a reaction/balance in the horse.

                            It is the balance which allows the hind legs to be active, for the horse to CHOOSE forward and reactive to the aids.

                            One cannot ride by the seat alone UNLESS the horse can be ridden by the posture of the rider. That kind of self carriage comes over time and with training. And it is the UPPER ARM which is part of the posture, the rest of the arm just 'is'.
                            This is a really interesting response and fits in well with what I am feeling with my pony.

                            ...but when he is offering his "Self Carriage" mode and the contact becomes nothing more than the weight of the reins in my hand (Feather/Whisper)----the feeling to me seems something more like seat/leg aides being connected to haunches/hind end. The connection feels as if there is no hand but becomes like a tiny vibration at the back of the arm (or someplace in that vicinity.) Almost like the bit-rein-hand-arm become one thing and that is elastic.
                            I think that is why find balance/lightness/self carriage when he offers it a little 'scarey' because its not something I feel I am generating in a conscious way. I do not think he is sneaking behind the vertical because he is very willing to stretch the neck when offered (in whatever gait-walk, trot or canter) and also willing to lengthen or shorten or allow the half halts to come through. I can feel my weight resting evenly in both stirrups and can feel my core engaged. The poll is high and the neck long (I happened to look and not only could I see the base of the neck rising but could feel it) I think at that point my only 'conscious' thought is to tell my self to keep FOLLOWING with my arms and check for tensions in my body and let them go. Its all very new to me/him/us and of course my instructor is almost never around when I have these rides. As I mentioned before Im deaf as a doornob so my lessons tend to be focused mainly on seat/position and the real magic seems to happen between lessons.
                            Redbud Ranch
                            Check us out on FB

                            Comment


                            • I love horse nerds .

                              Comment


                              • Presuming the rider can ride (that's 'loaded') then if the rider only uses lightness, I think they throw away half the tools in their tool box.

                                If your only goal is to ride a horse in the dressage ring at Grand Prix level, then you really don't have to learn about heavier contact (I am excluding the RK crowd ... contact gone wrong IMO) ...

                                The faster the horse goes .... as in extended gallop ... and the trickier the terrain gets, then I think it is really important (a rule to live by) to take up a serious contact, especially with a good snaffle bit.

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by goodpony View Post
                                  This is a really interesting response and fits in well with what I am feeling with my pony.



                                  ... I think at that point my only 'conscious' thought is to tell my self to keep FOLLOWING with my arms and check for tensions in my body and let them go. Its all very new to me/him/us and of course my instructor is almost never around when I have these rides. As I mentioned before Im deaf as a doornob so my lessons tend to be focused mainly on seat/position and the real magic seems to happen between lessons.
                                  Firstly - being somewhat deaf is an advantage to you when working horses - IMO - because it allows you to develope your other senses. One of the most talented riders I ever came across (in France) was a blind and deaf rider who obviously rode just off feel - Wow!

                                  I like to feel a connection and energy (or Schwung if you will) when I ride. I know that the hind end is creating an energy that flows into the back - which relaxes and begins to come "up" then flows up the neck and into the poll and down to the jaw. This forward but light energy flow is kinda what I live for. My entire body works in unison with the horse to keep this energy flow going.

                                  Comment


                                  • IY, I still say you cannot have too light.

                                    What you are saying if I read you correctly is a horse that goes behind the bit? Who refuses contact? Who does not communicate with it?

                                    I would not call that too light. I would call it what I just did.

                                    Yes, the horse I rode w/o a bridle was very trained indeed. There are horses I would not even sit on w/o a bridle let alone attempt forward and energy of that kind.

                                    I tell my students that in my world, good dressage should feel like the horse is spooking at every stride but isn't going anywhere without me being happy! I have found it helps folks to understand the new energy found with this type of riding.
                                    “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                                    ? Albert Einstein

                                    Comment


                                    • re: connection/working correctly/etc

                                      for me what i feel when they are working within the circle of the aids to the best of their ability - is there is no me and them - it is us - we are a unit and somehow my legs slot in, i can feel their hind legs in my hands - i think - they do.

                                      of course this will be fleeting in the beginning but once you get "there" the contact is not light or heavy - it is just balance....

                                      as an example: this weekend during a lesson riding the 4 yo who finally is working with enough energy to be able to get glimpses of this.... there were a couple times when we were "in the zone" where trainer said that he was actually taking weight behind - aka collecting - and that my half halts were asking too much - but for me it felt like i had done nothing at all... *that* is how sensitive the system is once everything is in sync.....

                                      so how light is the wrong question!

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by belgianWBLuver View Post

                                        I like to feel a connection and energy (or Schwung if you will) when I ride. I know that the hind end is creating an energy that flows into the back - which relaxes and begins to come "up" then flows up the neck and into the poll and down to the jaw. This forward but light energy flow is kinda what I live for. My entire body works in unison with the horse to keep this energy flow going.
                                        We have experienced this type of recycling of energy as well and it is very much what we strive for. When he gets in his "Self Carriage" mode (sorry I cant really think of a better way to describe) it almost seems a notch even above this----and then I think where the *ell do I go from here what lies just beyond this? is there more? Do I even want to go there? Like everyone else I love my little pony and never want to push him beyond his scope or talent and risk injury or burnout---but this is such a turning point for him I just want to be very very careful to allow time for his mind/body to be thoroughly prepared for what he offers. He is I think ready for this---and its what HE offers rather than me taking/requesting or otherwise manipulating in some fashion---at least not consciously!

                                        I tell my students that in my world, good dressage should feel like the horse is spooking at every stride but isn't going anywhere without me being happy! I have found it helps folks to understand the new energy found with this type of riding.
                                        This also fits well with the ride I had the other day-but with the level of the energy being that high I couldnt tell if it was the stampeding alpacas in the next field! LOL!
                                        Redbud Ranch
                                        Check us out on FB

                                        Comment


                                        • GP - it is easier for them to work connected than not.... they really get into it and it feels good to them.

                                          Jack is a strong guy - i dont think you would over work him or ask too much.... like most of us you are probably not asking enough

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