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French School Peeps - A questioning mind asks a few questions...

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  • I really dislike watching that video for the very same reasons that have been mentioned--the lack of muscling as well as the up/down steps. The horses also look (well!!) bored out of their minds/dull almost mechanical and lack any true expression. Sad really in my opinion.

    On the other hand there are a couple videos that were shared that the horses at least to me appear 'held by the seat' its really quite impressive to see.
    Redbud Ranch
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    Comment


    • I realize it's difficult to imagine, but there was great and crap even before they invented video. Five minutes of video means nothing. If I showed you all the videos of AVG getting bucked off, run off with, spooked with, etc, etc, would you deem her the dressage star of the 90's? Yet she is, by virtue of the world-breaking scores she was given.

      I think,kaluha2, you are asking for some sort of validation on worth on the French school. Is that correct? Why, I couldn't tell you. Pot stirrer? Curious? Got your panties wadded 'cause your horse would get that right lead? I have no idea.

      But either way, here's the short answer: if you don't see any worth in it, then there is none. Just like if you think Vincent Van Gogh was a crazy loon who painted like a 4 yr old -- I don't think people are going to stay up night arguing with you on the matter.

      Many of the answers given you have been very informative, and true, IMHO. Dressage test rules have changed (some of the high school movements once were part of it, I was told) over the decades. The Germans/Dutch/Swedes already had very well organized stud farm at the disposable of their breeders and in the late '50's there was a dramatic switch to breed riding horses as opposed to all-purpose animals who could do farm work as well. The mares no longer had to have a plowing part to their test.

      As these countries created more and more "dumbloods", the tests began to feature more aspects of the type of movement that fitted this type of horse. Again -- please don't take my word for it: do you own research and report back.

      If you want to research history of competitive dressage, you might also
      research the FEI, when it was formed, and how many citizens of each country were on the test(s) committees since 1945. That should be enlightening.

      Now, there are so few really accomplished riders that people interested in dressage discover it only through competition -- so that's what they think "Dressage" is. And as they learn, like most people they use various "experts" to help them sort wheat from chaff.

      Well, I was personally appalled when AVG won the Volvo Cup; I thought Reiner Klimke and several other riders bested her and easily. I've never liked rough, physical riding anyway, but suddenly she was #1.

      But to a whole generation of dressage riders, she was "the Best".

      Personally, I never cared for her or any of the "crank & spank" school, but if you showed videos of her riding to any group of 10 people, many of them will agree she was/is amazing. Some will not.

      So what does filming the riding "prove" -- that judges went nuts over her riding? Well, obviously we can track the scores for that. Instead, shall we examine every single movement and compare our opinions with the judges? Again, what does that prove except we have a different opinion than they?

      So if we show you a video of Racinet, and you proclaim it mediocre, what will that prove? Do you really think that some total nobody on an Internet board is FINALLY going to convince me that AVG (as an example) was/is THE dressage rider to emulate & Racinet is junk?

      Aside from the fact, "Best" is a silly word = there is no such thing except in the land of Humans and our never ending need for recognition I see no place where a video would help.

      So pick your own heroes: the Russians won Gold in both '60 & '64 (maybe Silver in '64) riding a breed that hasn't seen a GP ring since -- the Akhal Teke. He was on the cover of Time and voted Athlete of the Year I've been told. Or give your loyalty to Anky or Carl or even a rider that (!"!"gasp!!") does NOT compete!! Amazing as it may seem, ribbons are not that important to many people.

      But I honestly don't think seeing a video of Racinet ride proves anything at all. And I'd love to hear your reasoning as to why it should. If you have questions regarding his methods, read his book.

      If you think it's garbage, don't waste your time. But I for one am very glad this thread is up and that it stays informative rather than argumentative.

      Comment


      • Actually, per Racinet, NO. When he and his group "Discovered" Nuno O. and were blown away by his riding (and there wasn't even a FEI judge around to tell them he was good! I wonder how they knew?), they asked him what "school" of dressage he was practicing.

        Amazed at their question, he responded, "Why, your's of course!!" Meaning the French school.

        This is when Racinet realized how far away from the French school's original goal of "lightness" the riding had gotten. At least, that's what he writes in his book...

        Comment


        • Originally posted by alicen View Post
          Yes, that is Racinet. And whatever is that flapping about so dangerously close to his foot at :17 ?
          That is the curb rein!! Wouldn't you love to see some of the modern competitive riders riding the canter (I would call that a working canter, wouldn't you?) with one rein while the curb is not even engaged!

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post
            That is the curb rein!! Wouldn't you love to see some of the modern competitive riders riding the canter (I would call that a working canter, wouldn't you?) with one rein while the curb is not even engaged!
            Working canter is not called for at the level when most riders are showing in a double bridle.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by kaluha2 View Post
              "i think that based on that little snippet he could clearly ride...... "

              Mbm: Have you ever sat and spent time watching him ride different horses or are you actually basing your opinion on the snippet?
              i am basing my comment on that little bit - he looks like a rider..... why is that shocking?

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
                Please understand that when viewing students' horses, you are in some cases viewing horses that have not been long in training, and others that might have conformational defects.
                sorry, i am not buying it. a horse that has had no training doesn't look like that - one that has incorrect training? depends....

                The horse never lies. and whether or not i buy into a methods - what really matters is how the horse works and looks. those horses are not good advertising.

                Now, the grey in the Nuno vid with the woman rider? that is a hell of a fantastic advertisement for him. lovely lovely LOVELY riding and a well muscled horse!

                Comment


                • Originally posted by mbm View Post
                  sorry, i am not buying it. a horse that has had no training doesn't look like that - one that has incorrect training? depends....

                  The horse never lies. and whether or not i buy into a methods - what really matters is how the horse works and looks. those horses are not good advertising.

                  Now, the grey in the Nuno vid with the woman rider? that is a hell of a fantastic advertisement for him. lovely lovely LOVELY riding and a well muscled horse!
                  Bingo. As we know a pretty rider is not necessarily an effective rider. The horses tell. Also as one ages the mind is willing but the flesh can be weak so one's back may not be quite as straight or toes quite pointing in the correct direction as a young, equitation rider but if the horse is getting the correct message he will respond correctly.
                  Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

                  Comment


                  • It is pretty simple (even with an as yet undeveloped horse) whose riding and methodology is developing a horse correctly, the gaits/bearing tells the viewer whether the aids are changing the horse. Lightness in an of itself is meaningless unless it is a creation of the horse and the effect of hh....and it is true yesterday and tomorrow, on the most naturally talented horse and those who were at the back of the line...good training transforms horses.

                    Dressage test rules have changed virtually not at all since they were put together by Decarpentry (french), and airs were never part of it (although levade was part of training).

                    Imho it is unfortunate that 'mares no longer had to have the winter plowing' (after they were broken and while they were in foal with their first) because they worked in groups.

                    The tests really have only changed (shortened) due to lack of breadth and time (for training). The rocker has been taken out due to test and television time. There was actually more test of extension/collection early on. (The only really weak tests were in the brief time after WW2, due to lack of riders/horses at all.)

                    What people are 'taught to appreciate' today is movement created through excessive tension (hugely dialated bloodvessels) and limb flinging (due to lack of balance). And we are well into generations who have seen little else (since 1980s).

                    As far as the chestnut, it is provocative because of a shortened outline w/o folded hindleg joints. It is not the type of horse which gives that outline, it is the riding. Light yes, but missing many elements. And the grey horse was more a type of horse making the outline than the quality of training (she obviously must have gotten better in her timing from NO's reactions, but still, not clear training methods imho).

                    The russians won in 60 and 68, the Swiss in 48/52/56. Most riders until the 70s rode lighter type horse, with lightness as expression.
                    I.D.E.A. yoda

                    Comment


                    • Catching up. I have a ways to go. Pony tore his eyelid. Not bad, but he is missing about 8 or so eyelashes and the vet that is on duty tonight hates Max .

                      The 4 ecoles = the 4 horsemen of the apocolypse . I am sure of it .

                      Comment


                      • Ugh. This looks more like the "teaching of bad habits" school.

                        4_Hinterhandaktivierung a´la Baucher

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&fe...&v=Me_oiwqE9vw


                        Check how tight the throatlatch looks here!!

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=0QxuVgfv3Tg

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post
                          If you think it's garbage, don't waste your time. But I for one am very glad this thread is up and that it stays informative rather than argumentative.
                          Agree. I'm not firmly in either camp, but learning more about how Racinet did it was a turning point for me, because up until then I only knew about the balance from movement school of dressage and needed to know more about the balance to movement techniques.

                          Once I realized that there were other ways to get to Rome, then that allowed me to re-evaluate what I was doing from another perspective, which was a huge step forward for me.

                          Comment


                          • Well, we can sit here at our keyboards picking videos apart until the cows come home--ANYbody's videos, as another poster pointed out. But I'd sure like to be able to ride like Racinet when I'm almost 80 years old, and I saw him in person many times. Anyone willing to even get on strange and difficult horses at that age--and for hard training, not a walk in the woods--is already exceptional. Before disparaging the man's life work on the basis of a snippet of film, please bear in mind the important difference between "showing" and "training."

                            What is far MORE important and to the point is, if the standard competitive training methods and progression so enshrined by the FEI is working so wonderfully for every breed and type of horse, why have we got 3 threads concurrently running, some to thousands of posts, concerning the methods and merits of the "black arts" of Baucher?

                            If flexions, or fixed hand, or separation and moderation of the aids work for you--and they have provided some here with substantial breakthroughs--use them and enjoy!

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by kande04 View Post
                              Once I realized that there were other ways to get to Rome, then that allowed me to re-evaluate what I was doing from another perspective, which was a huge step forward for me.
                              Exactly!! Even "non-dressage" folks have watched videos of top riders of the late '80's & '90's and wondered why it was so "different" than what they thought the sport was suppose to be about.

                              They would say stuff like, "but I thought it was supposed to be a dance between horse & rider?" and "but I thought the aids were suppose to be invisible?"

                              Not to mention that (to me, at least) the horse(s) looked very unhappy most of the time.

                              Imagine my surprise when I discovered that an entire generation of riders held these guys up as a rider to emulate!

                              It IS nice to know there is another road to Rome, even if it isn't going to be acknowledged in the competition ring.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post
                                Exactly!! Even "non-dressage" folks have watched videos of top riders of the late '80's & '90's and wondered why it was so "different" than what they thought the sport was suppose to be about.

                                They would say stuff like, "but I thought it was supposed to be a dance between horse & rider?" and "but I thought the aids were suppose to be invisible?"

                                Not to mention that (to me, at least) the horse(s) looked very unhappy most of the time.

                                Imagine my surprise when I discovered that an entire generation of riders held these guys up as a rider to emulate!

                                It IS nice to know there is another road to Rome, even if it isn't going to be acknowledged in the competition ring.
                                Who says "Rome" IS the competition ring? I always thought it was, "The perfect understanding and harmony between horse and rider."
                                Last edited by Lady Eboshi; Nov. 22, 2012, 11:30 PM.

                                Comment


                                • Historical context and practicality . . .

                                  Thinking further about this discussion today, I feel a need to add one further salient point:

                                  From roughly 1830 on, "dressage" was most strongly influenced by the exigencies of military equitation. The sport of Eventing was in fact born of such. The Germans and Russians had their own orthodoxies and key trainers, even as the French swung away from Baucher AND Versailles, trending toward the English TB and the proto-"forward riding" doctrine of the Comte d'Aure.

                                  As a person who has whipped in to hounds sidesaddle and played polo, as well as participated in paramilitary mounted games, I can tell you unequivocally that lightness is indispensible. Simply put, for nearly any practical purpose entailing mobility and agility, a horse who is "mise en main" at minimum is a prerequisite to the activity at hand. I would also include working cattle and bullfighting in this equation.

                                  You need to be able to ride with one hand. The other is occupied with hunting whip, mallet, reata or rope, or historically sabre, spear or pistol. For most, in the absence of many years to achieve an optimal training, to be blunt this was (and is!) achieved through bitting. There is a reason for the vaquero's spade-bit, the polo player's gag and draw reins, the cavalryman's sharp spurs and double bridle. That reason is to "draw the horse a picture" and put him in a balance that his rider needs right now for the requirements of mobiltity, and eventually, as a matter of course develop the proper frame, topline and muscling that will enable the horse to be rideable under duress in such practical occupations as these.

                                  Bear in mind that when playing polo, hunting hounds, working cattle or wielding weapons your attention is primarily on something other than riding the horse; he should (must!) be able to go "on autopilot," attuned to the rider's seat, leg, and hand as a unified whole, and respond instantaneously in any direction necessary to put the rider on the ball, on the cow, or in engagement range of his combative opponent.

                                  For all but the last 100 years of the history of man and horse, this was the primary question to be answered.

                                  Now look at the 2 schools of thought again in that context, and ask yourself what balance you'd like your horse in if your life itself depended on it! This was in fact the "dressage" paradigm from roughly the fall of the School of Versailles until post WWII.

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post

                                    As these countries created more and more "dumbloods", the tests began to feature more aspects of the type of movement that fitted this type of horse.
                                    I cannot understand the urge of some people to be insulting just because they can.
                                    "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

                                    "...you'll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x

                                    Comment


                                    • But the tests have changed very little...what has been given high scores has...which is the shoulder for extensions. But COLLECTION has traditionally be the emphasis of haute ecole, ground covering is more the campaign school.

                                      And the internatoinal tests have really gone from tb types (officer's horses) changed to crosses which were 'bred to wear a collor' (well they were!) after the wars (because there was little else left) and now back to more tb types. However the TRAINING which is winning (de jour) is NOT producing extensions (flailing yes, but not ground gaining) nor collection (no lowering/often balancee).... That is not to say the horses cannot, because they can. But if trained traditionally it would not produce the tensioned movement which people now like to see, but the movement would fulfill the directives/rules of the fei. I maintain that the rules WILL change to fit the situation...ie things like poll the highest point/ifv WILL be taken out. However the way around purity of gaits, how will that be removed? I guess its by giving 8+ for impure trots which are not ground gaining (as happens now) and equivocation. By the same token one cannot look at that chestnut and call it impulsive.
                                      I.D.E.A. yoda

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                                        I maintain that the rules WILL change to fit the situation...ie things like poll the highest point/ifv WILL be taken out. However the way around purity of gaits, how will that be removed? I guess its by giving 8+ for impure trots which are not ground gaining (as happens now) and equivocation.
                                        I think they will too, but then when the breeders have exhausted the potential for more and more bizarre gaits that are practically impossible to collect, it may come full circle again. Not that it matters, because I think everyone who is interested in Classical Dressage has already rejected the current competitive scene, or soon will as it becomes less and less classical and more and more flashy.

                                        It's no different than saddle seat, reining, western pleasure, hunters, or any other style of riding. What started out as competitions that measured practical and desirable training that made horses better at their work, have evolved into bizarre and exaggerated caricatures that actually make the horses unsuitable for the work it's supposed to represent. If a low head carriage was considered desirable then the horses were trained to carry their heads lower and lower until they were rolling peanuts. If fancy knee action was considered desirable, then the horses were not only trained to lift those knees up higher and higher, but were chained and sored to achieve it.

                                        One would think that dressage would be free of that because the testing is complex enough that the judges shouldn't need to have to reward more, more, more to separate the winners. But apparently not, as dressage competitions are now turning into the same kind of more, more, more flash at the expense of more, more, more utility.

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
                                          Now look at the 2 schools of thought again in that context, and ask yourself what balance you'd like your horse in if your life itself depended on it!
                                          Swinging a leg over with battle ground images of the slaughter of man and beast running through my head probably wouldn't be helpful in achieving the relaxation and super acute awareness I seek when mounted. Yeah, go ahead. Call me a wuss.

                                          Comment

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