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Western dressage??? Really???

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  • Originally posted by mbm View Post
    re: spade bits - i am not sure that a horse could seek the bit in the manner of dressage if they are using a spade - could they? i would imagine it would hurt like hell...... while i am pretty ignorant about spades i am pretty sure that the roof of the horses mouth is very sensitive and that any movement of the reins equals movement of the spade into the roof of the mouth... hence the draped reins.....
    the spade does not swing loose and bounce in the horses mouth like so many english bits do

    it is intended to fit in one place and be held by the horse and not by the rider....he was taught as a hackamore horse where and how to place his body....

    once that musculature was developed he was given the spade minus rein contact and ridden in four reins and then the hackamore was dropped to only a bosalito and the horse worked off the spade alone.With reins of braided hair.

    Tamara
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

    Comment


    • mbm, actually the entire premise of a spade bit is that it's used *only* on a very finished bridle horse.
      And at that level the spade bit is picked up by the horse *only* by the horses' choice.

      The idea of a bridle horse is that the Horse decides when the bridle is used. Not like dressage where the rider decides the time, level and amount of contact. The spade is designed to sit completely lax and unused in the mouth. Whenever it is used, it's because the horse has chosen to pick it up.
      The rider shows this off by the elaborately draped, loose rein and lack of hand signals. The idea behind training up to bridle horse is to show off the Horse and not the rider. The partnership between the two and "becoming of one" ideal by leaving that option up to the horse. That the horse is that in tune and symbiotic with the rider. And carries itself without needing the bit to do so. That the horse trusts the rider to the point that it will pick that bit up and knows that it will never be discomforted by it.

      A dressage only background may see the bit as a big, mean pain inducer because they equate balance, lightness and accepting the bit with rein contact. But there are more roads to Rome when it comes to acceptance of the bit. In a Bridle Horse it's the horse's choice, not the rider's.

      In dressage at a certain level the double is introduced.

      Only at the very pinnacle of bridle horse training is the spade introduced.

      "In the manner of dressage" has been bastardized over time to mean that dressage equals constant rein/bit contact. Submission to the bit.

      Also dressage is not an inclusive concept. Dressage people often can't even agree what dressage is. They bandy around silliness like "pure" when it comes to the discipline or the gaits. As if dressage is one thing only and the only way to achieve it is ______.

      Dressage is a plethora of concepts and premises. There's classical, competition, haute ecole, 'natural' dressage, etc. No single one is right or pure or whatever. Dressage does not mean "back to front" or "on the bit" or whatever catch phrases the past or current masters have coined. It also doesn't mean "this type of saddle only" or "this type of movement only" or "this type of rein contact only."

      ETA...and as I was typing oout my long winded attempt at explaining a spade bit, Tamara beat me to it with a much more succinct explanation.
      You jump in the saddle,
      Hold onto the bridle!
      Jump in the line!
      ...Belefonte

      Comment


      • As those above have said, the spade is not used until the horse is well beyond the stage of "seeking contact". And the contact is a much different thing with this kind of bit.

        I'm puzzled why the western dressage folks felt the need to include rules regarding spades when the only tests that exist at this time are for the lowest levels. It seems to imply that spades would be acceptable at the intro levels, which I would consider a mistake (as this discussion demonstrates).
        "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

        Spay and neuter. Please.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
          mbm, actually the entire premise of a spade bit is that it's used *only* on a very finished bridle horse.


          ETA...and as I was typing oout my long winded attempt at explaining a spade bit, Tamara beat me to it with a much more succinct explanation.
          I type too slow to type long.

          the spade by it's correct and long construction and a perfect balance to the center*, cannot move much at all in the mouth...remember also that the curb chain also prevents undue movement by it's tension

          nothing in the English world compares to the Moorish bit...nothing...it cannot as it was never for work horses in harness.
          it was for the ridden animal from the beginning

          * you could balance the center of one on the smallest part of your pinky finger

          Tamara
          Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
          I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

          Comment


          • It's already been pointed out, but I've seen several people use the term "spade" when I am pretty sure they mean "curb." The vast (vast) majority of people who ride Western (of any sort) do not use a spade, which is a good thing as it's really meant for only the highest-trained horses and riders.

            Please get your terms right.
            You have to have experiences to gain experience.

            1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

            Comment


            • Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
              Oh Katarine, I apologize. I saw some video of you competing on your gaited pretty and assumed it was Gaited Western Dressage. It was Gaited Traditional Dressage?

              Paula
              What video did you see of me that you thought was 'western gaited dressage?'

              Comment


              • You have that gaited barbie doll horse -all blond and purty (TWH?). You posted a video of a test with him. I must have misremembered the gear. You looked awesome BTW.

                Paula
                He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                Comment


                • Originally posted by quietann View Post
                  It's already been pointed out, but I've seen several people use the term "spade" when I am pretty sure they mean "curb." The vast (vast) majority of people who ride Western (of any sort) do not use a spade, which is a good thing as it's really meant for only the highest-trained horses and riders.

                  Please get your terms right.
                  I don't think anyone's confused. The WDA allows for spades, so I pulled the stuff re: spades. There are lots of curbs with tall ports, but spades are allowed so I indulged in defining these signal bits vs curbs.

                  I don't see anyone demonstrating confusion of one vs the other.

                  Who do you see posting that you think is confusing the two? I must be missing something.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
                    You have that gaited barbie doll horse -all blond and purty (TWH?). You posted a video of a test with him. I must have misremembered the gear. You looked awesome BTW.

                    Paula
                    Well, I do have a champagne sabino (he's my DH's) that I've shown once. My main horse is a nearly black, brown horse with a splashy white face, very eye catching. I had no clue what you'd seen LOL, thanks.

                    Scout
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmx2J...sH2o9e0ytawP0g

                    My horse:
                    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

                    Comment


                    • Yup, that was the video! Scout. LOL isn't memory interesting? In my mind I'd put you in a Western Saddle.

                      Paula
                      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                        mbm, actually the entire premise of a spade bit is that it's used *only* on a very finished bridle horse.
                        And at that level the spade bit is picked up by the horse *only* by the horses' choice.

                        The idea of a bridle horse is that the Horse decides when the bridle is used. Not like dressage where the rider decides the time, level and amount of contact. The spade is designed to sit completely lax and unused in the mouth. Whenever it is used, it's because the horse has chosen to pick it up.
                        The rider shows this off by the elaborately draped, loose rein and lack of hand signals. The idea behind training up to bridle horse is to show off the Horse and not the rider. The partnership between the two and "becoming of one" ideal by leaving that option up to the horse. That the horse is that in tune and symbiotic with the rider. And carries itself without needing the bit to do so. That the horse trusts the rider to the point that it will pick that bit up and knows that it will never be discomforted by it.

                        A dressage only background may see the bit as a big, mean pain inducer because they equate balance, lightness and accepting the bit with rein contact. But there are more roads to Rome when it comes to acceptance of the bit. In a Bridle Horse it's the horse's choice, not the rider's.

                        In dressage at a certain level the double is introduced.

                        Only at the very pinnacle of bridle horse training is the spade introduced.

                        "In the manner of dressage" has been bastardized over time to mean that dressage equals constant rein/bit contact. Submission to the bit.

                        Also dressage is not an inclusive concept. Dressage people often can't even agree what dressage is. They bandy around silliness like "pure" when it comes to the discipline or the gaits. As if dressage is one thing only and the only way to achieve it is ______.

                        Dressage is a plethora of concepts and premises. There's classical, competition, haute ecole, 'natural' dressage, etc. No single one is right or pure or whatever. Dressage does not mean "back to front" or "on the bit" or whatever catch phrases the past or current masters have coined. It also doesn't mean "this type of saddle only" or "this type of movement only" or "this type of rein contact only."

                        ETA...and as I was typing oout my long winded attempt at explaining a spade bit, Tamara beat me to it with a much more succinct explanation.
                        ok, so a few questions: how can a horse "pick up" a bit that is in its mouth and that , due to the size of the mouthpiece, any action whatsoever of the bit - either by god. the horse or a human - would mean pain for the horse?

                        also, just to clarify -correct dressage does not need a horse bearing down on the bit - nor does it need a rider who initiates contact..... the amount of contact changes, yes, but as a rule should be *light* and the horse chooses how much weight to put on the bit - except for during a half halt - but even still it should be *light*... yes, there are times when the connection might get a bit heavier but i would be horrified if i had a heavy feel.....

                        as for dressage - while there might be various roads to Rome, for the most part, the masters agreed on what a correctly trained horse looked and rode like.....

                        remember those of us at the bottom really have no clue ....and all the not so great riding out there should not be equated with how it should be.

                        so back to WD - why is a spade bit allowed if it is the epitome of training? that would be like allowing a dbl bridle in T level.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by mbm View Post
                          ok, so a few questions: how can a horse "pick up" a bit that is in its mouth and that , due to the size of the mouthpiece, any action whatsoever of the bit - either by god. the horse or a human - would mean pain for the horse?
                          this is incorrect that any action would cause pain.it does not...by it's balance fore or aft ever so slightly the horse adjusts his carriage if need be


                          the mouth of the spade horse has not known a non pleasant contact so he has no need or desire to avoid it.The weight and balance of the bit(and the romal reins/chains as well), cause it to hang in the perfect place (down) such that it alone creates this "contact" you are concerned with....


                          this activates the highest part of the bit on the waaayyyy up interior recesses of the upper part of the mouth and causes the flat face and upright shoulders that mark one of these animals...but you are talking about the lift/squeeze of a single finger at most....the spade horse is far past a half halt even requiring face work,that is given from the seat alone

                          again the Moorish style has no equal in any English riding but perhaps it could be considered that the spade is the invisible constant side reins that give the "place" the head should remain if the horse is to be comfortable in his work....

                          but even that will not suffice to explain it

                          and sadly most "western" riding is simply English corruptions in Western gear.

                          Tamara
                          Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                          I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                          Comment


                          • When I first started dressage it was commonly stated that a dressage horse wasn't finished until it could be ridden one handed in a curb. When the military introduced dressage to the Olympics, everyone knew that the tests deliberately did not ask for the highest levels of dressage because it was an art beyond the needs of the 20th century military horse. After over 80 years, we now think Grand Prix IS the highest level. Surprise - it's not. There are still masters of classical dressage who move to the curb only for display. You can find them on YouTube. Why did Klimke drop the snaffle rein to show off tempe changes? Why did this produce wild applause? Why do dressage riders still go to just the curb one handed to show off? Because they are staking their claim to having a truly finished horse - one that will work one handed on only the curb.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Hobbs View Post
                              Maybe he'll disown his cr*p when y'all disown your rollkur garbage...just a thought

                              ....and my arab cross pony moves like a warmblood too
                              I have NEVER in my life used rollkur and indeed, I DO disown it! I cannot stand what I see in Anky Van G's riding and while I think Totilas is a beautiful horse, I am NOT impressed. Okay? Still waiting for Mr. B-H to say that tying the horse's head to its tail is NOT the way to teach it to yield to the bit. Okay?

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by mbm View Post
                                ok, so a few questions: how can a horse "pick up" a bit that is in its mouth and that , due to the size of the mouthpiece, any action whatsoever of the bit - either by god. the horse or a human - would mean pain for the horse?
                                Funny, my girlfriend's second level dressage horse must have missed the pain and agony we were inflicting when she tried hanging my spade in her mouth. Why do you insist on now having strong opinions on something you admitted a page ago you know nothing about? You can't have actually had a spade in your hands if you can make this sort of ignorant statement. Go find one and actually examine it.

                                As for picking up the bit, the horse does it like so:
                                http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-TZJYUFNg9m...pade%2Bbit.jpg

                                Richard Caldwell (and I guess Bruce Sandifer, to credit the above photo) has done a demo ride where, after mounting up, he gets a helper to place a spade bit in the mouth of his horse without any form of headstall attached. He then proceeded to do an entire dry work session with the horse quite contentedly carrying and responding to the bit. At any time the horse could have opened it's mouth and spit the whole bit out. While an extreme example by intention, THAT's what's meant by carrying the bit.

                                Unlike what seems to go around from those equally ignorant of the traditions involved, and unlike the curb bit culture, a spade does not simply hang loose in the horse's mouth...tapping the palette when the horse comes above the bit and laying back on the tongue when the horse overflexes.

                                The horse learns to pick up and carry the bit, so that the signals start with movement of the reins. To avoid distraction, the weight of the reins is balanced to the length of neck and movement in the horse. When's the last time you took the time to choose reins that balanced your bit? By the time the spoon of the spade comes off the tongue, there are a multitude of other signals that have come and gone.

                                Even the length of the spoon is largely irrelevant. SHORTER spades are harsher then longer ones, unlike what most believe. Most will adjust the curb strap on their bits so that the spoon is nowhere near the roof of the mouth before the curb strap comes into play. The longer up the tongue the HIGHER the palette is, so a 4" spade (what my horse is learning to carry) is MILDER then a 2" or shorter one.

                                As for the WD issue, all I'll say is that it's a rulebook looking for a training "method" that doesn't exist. I've been boarding at a competition dressage facility for 4 years with my horse who I've been bringing along with the vaquero traditions, and have been taking weekly dressage lessons for a year as well. Not only is there no issue doing so from anyone involved, as long as we stick to the snaffle the training dovetails perfectly with the spanish traditions.

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by Tamara in TN View Post
                                  this is incorrect that any action would cause pain.it does not...by it's balance fore or aft ever so slightly the horse adjusts his carriage if need be
                                  i am not trying to be a pain, really i am not.... but..... by the design of the mouthpiece and the sensitivity of the horses mouth - the horse will of course adjust its head set (aka vertical at all times i suppose) so that the bit hangs perfectly vertical and therefore not moving in its mouth. (as for why i am having an opinion, i am not - i am using logical thinking to try to figure out how a piece of equipment might affect a horse)

                                  my next question was already answered: if the horse carries the bit and uses it as he sees fit - why then the need for reins?

                                  out of curiosity - how many living people today are able to ride well enough to use a spade bit?

                                  and yes, of course a HH does not need affect the mouth "negatively" once the horse is trained highly because it is all from the seat....

                                  my question still stands: why is it ok to have such a bit at effectively training level?

                                  also, i get that there is more to dressage than what is in the show arena and i also get that riding on the curb alone is seen as showing well finished work....

                                  Comment


                                  • I really would recommend reading John Richard Young's "The Schooling of the Horse," (Originally "Schooling the Western Horse.") The chapter - original published as an article in The Western Horseman - "Calling a Spade a Spade," really dissects all these arguments. If the argument for the spade bit's, mmm...usefulness, correctness? is acceptable as when used by an educated rider on a thoroughly trained horse (bosal, two-rein outfit, finished spade bit horse), as people have pointed out, because the horse is totally 'educated' so that the spade is rarely, if ever, touched....then as Mr. Young states, the horse's mouth appears soft, but the truth is, it is NOT an educated mouth because it has never been touched. A bosal does not teach the horse to yield the jaw, but a spade bit sure will!! But not in dressage terms.

                                    Mr. Young's books may not be entirely "classical" in the dressage sense (whatever that means!), but he was a QUESTIONING horseman and learned more in the cavalary school. He did not hold a lot of western training of his ear (admittedly, the 50s and 60s) as being to a very high standard, though he was probably more thought of as a western/problem horse trainer. I don't remember from which of his books this statement was from, but he, and I paraphrase, believed that the training of a horse was basically the same up until the point where you specialized, i.e., a jumper, a reiner, a high-level event horse, high-level dressage horse. However, his stopping point for "basically the same" was a horse that would perform in all gaits on a loose rein, on light contact, and "on the bit" and would jump a 3'6" course. He has pictures of his daughter riding on contact with rubber-band reins, i.e., the horse could do whatever it wanted if it did not respond as a trained horse. He also has a picture of her reining back, in a curb, with paper and thread reins.

                                    Comment


                                    • [QUOTE]
                                      Originally posted by mbm View Post

                                      my next question was already answered: if the horse carries the bit and uses it as he sees fit - why then the need for reins?

                                      other than ornamentation only the balance afforded by the weight of the romal chain and reins?....there is no true need...

                                      out of curiosity - how many living people today are able to ride well enough to use a spade bit?
                                      any who can ride with the seat alone.


                                      my question still stands: why is it ok to have such a bit at effectively training level?
                                      I know nothing about what you are asking...I imagine it has to do with the western dressage stuff? I know nothing about that...

                                      it seems (to me) a way to sort of pander to the notion that dressage/english riding is the only/best way to ride on the planet...

                                      so if we create a comparison between the two then somehow,those who cannot ride the Doma Vaquera/Four Rein can somehow come close by being some sort of "dressage" in a western saddle

                                      when the Moorish way is just as beautiful and elegant and useful as dressage ever was. I do not want to say that western dressage disappoints me,but I have mixed feelings about it for certain.

                                      ETA: this alone comes close to any ideas I have about dressage in a western style http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKWau...eature=related
                                      know ahead that there is no trot work in the test he is riding only the canter and walk

                                      Tamara
                                      Last edited by Tamara in TN; Oct. 29, 2012, 04:49 PM.
                                      Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                                      I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                                      Comment


                                      • I found this video when Googling the garrocha pole:

                                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOVykh4tGzk

                                        Lots of comments in Spanish for the video and I'm not sure if they are positive or negative, but I liked the video.

                                        This is a big aside, but does anyone know anything about the garrocha? I read that it is 12' long or so. How much does it weigh? What is it made of?

                                        I ask because I thought it might be fun to play with. Today at the end of my dressage school at home I grabbed my lunge whip and dragged it behind my horse while cooling out - I swung the whip all around him and at the end thought about the garrocha. So I turned the whip handle-end-down, planted it in the sand, and tried to make a circle around it. First we started by just doing small circles (so dragging the handle in a small circle as we circled around it) but by the end I could keep it planted and do a circle.

                                        I think the interesting thing about that kind of exercise is that it takes your focus off of "put this leg here and that leg there and this rein here and that rein there and sit in this direction or that" and you just do it - you just do whatever needs to be done to make the circle. My horse was supple, he was bent, he was moving forward - I had both reins in one hand and the body of the lunge whip in my other. It was quite fun! I'd like to make a mock garrocha to play with - would just some plain-ole PVC do, or is there a certain "flex" to the garrocha?
                                        "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

                                        Comment


                                        • I was introduced to Doma Vaquera when someone posted Pedro Torres in a Working Equitation speed test http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5895K-Xjupk

                                          Holy wow. Hadn't heard of WE before that, but it's apparently as close to Doma Vaquera as we are likely to get in the US. There is a Working Equitation organization http://www.workingequitationusa.com/

                                          Their competitions include dressage, speed, obstacles, cow sorting. It looks pretty cool. Of course it's on my list!

                                          Paula
                                          He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                                          Comment

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