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French School "Workshop!"

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  • #81
    Well... I have been using it on each horse and it has only yielded good things. I am starting from a halt and attempting one footfall at a time.

    It has yield such lovely transitions (after CW, when I work in/between trot and canter, that I am having to quit rather quickly.

    I don't doubt that I am focusing the exercise at a place where it is difficult for me, but doable. What Mary Wanless would call the 'edge' of my ability. To do this requires sufficient feel of the horse and rider's bodies, along with sufficient knowledge of horse training. You must know your abilities, which may difficult if the rider is at a stage where they "don't know what they don't know."

    I can't say that I would make everyone here happy with my definition or description of what I am doing, but I have NO questions that the CW (as I am attempting it) has yielded some fantastic results fantastically quickly.

    I see only once copy of the book on Amazon, but I will have to get one if it is full of more stuff like this!

    If others keep dragging this off the topic of a 'workshop,' I suppose I can just PM Swamp Yankee directly. But I would to share the experiences with others interested in the 'workshop.' So I hope those who are arguing/discussing the finer details of THE TRUTH, can maybe allow this thread to be about those of use who are 'workshopping.'
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    • #82
      Simply gathering the connection with the walk may have yielded what you feel.

      But, what dont you agree with? Dont understand the disagreement. Axial rotation shows (is proof that) the joints are bending/compressing, it must happen before a horse can do a proper transition if we are to keep soundness. Yes, certainly a horse can do transitions other ways, but one joint pays the price (usually hocks). Slowing and shortening is NOT collection, articulation of the joints which are higher/shorter/more active is. Using balance (ie high/light/moving) to have the horse CHOOSE forward with PURE gaits=the entire point of c.w. (And yes I have had to use it for horses which have been ruined in walk.)
      I.D.E.A. yoda

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      • Original Poster

        #83
        Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
        I guess we need to talk about what a 'swinging walk is'. When seen from behind the hips alternately 'drop' side to side because of the axial rotation. That is ALWAYS part of the walk. Even if the walk is slightly shortened this should (nee must) happen. The more axial rotation the greater the articulation of the the ALL joints...and that comes from the BALANCE (ie up/open/active). The shortened base of support comes in collected walk (and/or in transitions to piaffe), which is a different thing altogether from CW.
        "Swinging walk," by which I envision a hunter's "free walk," would be the polar opposite of CW. CW is indeed meant to be a "sharpening" exercise, doled out extremely sparingly, to get the rider separating her aids and the horse understanding them. The results everyone above is getting are exactly the expected and proper results. And the walk is NOT the last gait to be collected; in French theory it is the FIRST.

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        • Original Poster

          #84
          Originally posted by re-runs View Post
          I was trying to decide if what I do is much different than what JCR describes.

          Since I have trained quite a few horses (not the one I was riding yesterday) to Spanish walk and piaffe (I learned sp. walk mainly from what I watched Pops Konyot do) I am pretty sure I am doing what JCR is talking about. Each footfall becomes more distinct to the rider because that is where their focus is and the horse is more aware that the rider is paying attention, so they both get on the same page to where the feet are. Only when one is aware can one influence. The difficult part in teaching the spanish walk is usually getting the horse to understand that he has to walk up with the hindlegs as well, but, with this way, you already have communication with all four legs so its not just about elevating the front feet, you can just ask the hind feet to walk up in the walk sequence. In fact sometimes you have to tell the front to wait up for the the big step up, of the back feet, so they can catch up and get under before asking the front to step out again.

          I actually use the energy in my body and my back more than my seat and reading the JCR articles has made me more aware of this. As I talked myself through it, I tried to pay more attention to what I was doing so I could write about it and put it into words. The horse becomes attuned to the riders back just like you would hold the horse with your back; the loosenes/tightness of your seat, such as when tightening to shorten the canter as going into a canter pirouette, OR a very slowed, shortened canter, then let go/loosen to follow........ to speed up or lengthen, or ask for a bigger jump in the canter. The horse learns to follow your energy thanks to the counted walk in early training. Of course, the rider is paying attention to what foot is grounded and what feet are in the air as to be able influence; balance and this is a conscious separation of the footfalls even when the feet are working together, such as two beat or three etc.. The conscious separation is learned in the slowest and easiest gait to learn it in; the walk.... with its distinguished, separate four beats in early training, in the counted walk.

          Since I do counted walk, at least my version, with ALL of my horses and this horse matches my energy because she knows what it is all about, we just did it like we always do. I suppose I could experiment with raising my hands but, with the version of the counted walk that I am familiar with, I don`t do anything with my hands after the horses gets hooked onto/learns to follow my body, no need for much hand really.

          Now back to more D & CT articles. And oh yes, dug out my Decarpentry book titled Piaffer and Passage.

          Great thread,.... an excuse to revisit information that I haven`t looked at in a long long time.
          You sound like you're ready to move into more advanced exercises; try taking a trot from a reinback or the canter from the CW or halt. Be aware these are demanding--only try them if your horse is well-conditioned and has no hock issues. The most important thing is to "open that door" by descente de main when you ask! Very soon your legs will just hang down at rest and you'll get all of this with near-imperceptible use of your abs--read Nuno Oliveira on this, he talks a lot about very small aids of pushing your belt buckle toward your hands. The true feeling is like "riding the clutch" of a car with a very powerful engine on high idle . . . all of that power gathered and contained, ready to be released in any direction you choose at your discretion and command.

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          • #85
            A free walk of a hunter may be swinging, but it is on parole (and only as a horse is connected will the free walk which is developed sustain the chest lifted because the horse is arcing as it goes fdo). But all walk on contact must have axial rotation IF the joints are folding properly. First there must be connection and balance, the use of demi arrets here help with the change of balance, joint articulation (esp when done on a curved line/lateral work). Too often what happens if there is 'containment' is that the horse only steps shorter and without articulation. This is not counted walk. Certainly traditionally (not just french) much time is spent in walk (even halt first) for balance/lateral flexibility/ability to chew fdo, but this also all help collect. For me there is a big difference between connected/balance and collected.
            I.D.E.A. yoda

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            • #86
              Played around some more with the pregnant mare in hand. Was able to do si/hi and half pass both ways. Interestingly, she continued to be quite supple and responsive off the left "leg." Under saddle, she tends to resist haunches in right and shoulder in left; she naturally wants to travel shoulders right/haunches left. (Shoulder-in right is easy, haunches-in left is easy, half-pass left is easier than right.)

              In hand, with me on the near side, she "flowed" away from me in haunches-in and hp, very easy. And shoulder-in left was easy as well.

              Which means, difficulty under saddle is likely from me. LOL imagine that, a rider causing her horse problems!

              With some focus on lateral work, she also fell naturally into a sort of CW. I wasn't particularly asking for it; she just was very attentive to me and my steps, aware of her feet, and "waiting" to be told where to go. Not lazy, and not stuck...just "patient," I guess you could say...concentrating. Her tempo matched mine. I could straighten, let her chew the reins fdo, and march on into a swinging free walk at any instant. And she'd march right on (or trot, when asked) in the lateral work. But if I slowed down and took deliberate steps, so did she. Pretty cool.


              And for anyone who *really* wants to feel their horse: ride in the dark! Got stuck working late on Sunday and had to ride the 4 y/o after dark. My riding paddock is on a gentle slope...add that to the darkness and a green horse, and you'll stay on guard with your own balance! It really makes you aware of your FEEL, though: is your horse straight in both reins, between both legs? Is your upper body leaning? Can you feel him chew in your hands? Can you feel him step under himself? With limited vision, you can't SEE that your circle is increasing or decreasing size, you have to FEEL it.
              “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
              ? Albert Einstein

              ~AJ~

              Comment


              • #87
                Originally posted by SwampYankee View Post
                Cool! If you get daring, ask her for a canter depart directly from your counted walk, but bring her back to walk if she falls out of balance or roots on your hands. Ask her to lift her neck and withers a bit first. When she's poised on her hind end, ask for the canter. (This falls under JCR's other tenet, "optimization of orders." More later!) Your mare sounds a lot like my guy--they like a lot of input, and once they get "addicted" to your new, lighter, way they are very attentive to the aids and a lot more forward.

                Now, for those of you looking for the flexions in hand, just found this:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vjQvThiccQ

                Lisa Maxwell is one of JCR's primary students and demonstrates these techniques very well. Please also watch Part 2.
                I stumbled upon Lisa Maxwell's site while researching French dressage and was going to ask about her credibility as a teacher of JCR's methods.

                Good to hear she's the real deal.

                Also I have a book ("Lessons in Lightness") by Mark Russell who, while making no pretenses to be a purist of any school, offers instructions in what seems to me to be some very useful exercises in getting a horse to relax its' jaw.

                SY, have you ever read it, or heard of him?

                Comment


                • #88
                  I am still waiting on the book before I try any of the techniques myself, if I even do. I am interested in hearing what the books say.

                  My pony is still pretty much in her first 30 days, I just realized I should start keeping some sort of diary. I am still working with my own knowledge and the basics: go and whoa mainly! Creating a routine, a work ethic, trying to make the riding as short and sweet as possible.

                  Curious what a "French" daily routine would be for a horse literally just started?
                  On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

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                  • #89
                    Over my head

                    I am sure, But what exactly is the counted walk?
                    Saw it referenced several times in the other thread, I am sure this guyI am attempting to fix is not ready for it but would like to know what it is.

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                    • #90
                      However the pic in the m.r. book are rather closed/low. The horse has given to the bit longitudinally precipitously.
                      I.D.E.A. yoda

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #91
                        Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post
                        I stumbled upon Lisa Maxwell's site while researching French dressage and was going to ask about her credibility as a teacher of JCR's methods.

                        Good to hear she's the real deal.

                        Also I have a book ("Lessons in Lightness") by Mark Russell who, while making no pretenses to be a purist of any school, offers instructions in what seems to me to be some very useful exercises in getting a horse to relax its' jaw.

                        SY, have you ever read it, or heard of him?
                        Haven't heard of Mark Russell. Does he mention who his teachers were? I'll check his book out on Amazon.

                        For Perfect Pony:

                        It's not so much that there's any different "routine." Unlike the show ring, there is no set progression here. Exercises are employed as the horse seems to need them, or executed as the opportunity arises. As you see from my posts, you go about your business of schooling or hacking or whatever you had planned--but riding the horse by the PRINCIPLES of the French School, always seeking the lightest aid that will get the desired response:

                        Separation and moderation of the aids
                        Balance precedes movement
                        Optimization of orders (we haven't discused this yet!)

                        What to avoid:

                        "Driving" an unbalanced horse forward onto your hands
                        Opposing leg and hand aids (using together) for more than a split second;
                        Allowing a horse to ignore ANY aid from leg, hand, or stick.

                        Hope this helps,

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                        • #92
                          Well said SY! Cliff Notes! Love it!
                          “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                          ? Albert Einstein

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                          • #93
                            Originally posted by SwampYankee View Post
                            CW is indeed meant to be a "sharpening" exercise, doled out extremely sparingly, to get the rider separating her aids and the horse understanding them. The results everyone above is getting are exactly the expected and proper results.
                            Yes, thanks. The horses are looking at me a bit funny (perhaps, "well, well, maybe she does have a brain....",) but when we move to riding more forward in trot and canter they are calmer/more trusting that they comprehend AND that I will not contradict/issue conflicting requests. Thus, they seem to respond much better. Truly very fun and seemingly a great relief to the horses as well!!
                            "Friend" me !

                            http://www.facebook.com/isabeau.solace

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                            • #94
                              Originally posted by SwampYankee View Post
                              try taking a trot from a reinback or the canter from the CW or halt. Be aware these are demanding--only try them if your horse is well-conditioned and has no hock issues. The most important thing is to "open that door" by descente de main when you ask! The true feeling is like "riding the clutch" of a car with a very powerful engine on high idle . . . all of that power gathered and contained, ready to be released in any direction you choose at your discretion and command.
                              One mare seems to take advantage of the canter transition by really surging forward and leaving me behind. This has always been an issue with her. She prefers canter to trot and can either sneak/roll into canter slithering out from under me, or lurch/launch into it and leave me behind. She uses the transition to 'get ride of me' (my plug in/influence.)

                              CW to trot I can 'hold together' with her just fine. Maybe I need to focus on CW to really get better control of the hind leg that initiates canter? It seems to me she uses the jump of that hind leg to create a 'pop' that aims to pop me out of the 'sweet' spot where I am in control.
                              "Friend" me !

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                              • #95
                                Isabeau, you might also try CW to piaffe and back. The piaffe uses the impulsion that comes from the counted walk. Back and forth.

                                Yes, I think horses are inspired when they realize they're also dealing with a sentient being!

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                                • #96
                                  We sort of have discussed optimization of orders within the two threads imho.
                                  I.D.E.A. yoda

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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #97
                                    Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
                                    One mare seems to take advantage of the canter transition by really surging forward and leaving me behind. This has always been an issue with her. She prefers canter to trot and can either sneak/roll into canter slithering out from under me, or lurch/launch into it and leave me behind. She uses the transition to 'get ride of me' (my plug in/influence.)

                                    CW to trot I can 'hold together' with her just fine. Maybe I need to focus on CW to really get better control of the hind leg that initiates canter? It seems to me she uses the jump of that hind leg to create a 'pop' that aims to pop me out of the 'sweet' spot where I am in control.
                                    With this one I would go CW to shoulder-in to canter! Any time she's not NICE, she gets the shoulder-in. No "pop" allowed!

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                                    • #98
                                      No, definitely not holding his face, ideayoda. Just trying to get the one step at a time as initially described confused him. He tries very hard for me, but when I am not clear enough in explaining to him what I want, he gets upset if he gets it wrong too many times. And I drop it until we can be in a better place to try it again.

                                      That said, reading many of the more recent responses it would appear that my own riding style is heavily French School influenced - though I did not know it. It would also appear from descriptions of counted walk from people who are trying to articulate their feel rather than repeat the official words that I was doing counted walk last night - except I was using it as I usually do as a tool to prepare for various individual trot and canter transitions.

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                                      • #99
                                        Please keep this thread going!!!! Couldn't ride today, my dog passed yesterday and my mother in law is not well. I need this for my mental health till I ride.

                                        Comment


                                        • Isabeau, is there anything that you are doing to cause the horse to want to pop you?

                                          Did someone else ride and own this horse before you?

                                          Rarely does a horse do anything for any other reason than self preservation.
                                          “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                                          ? Albert Einstein

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