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Anyone doing Jane Savoie's "Valium" exercise? Tips?

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  • Anyone doing Jane Savoie's "Valium" exercise? Tips?

    So I have tried Jane Savoie's "Valium" exercise (also referred to as "+7, +1") to supple my horse at the poll/ neck on our last two rides. He's definitely not getting it and I feel like I am missing something too. I am making sure to hold my outside rein, but my horse thinks I am asking for a small circle with the inside rein instead of just bending his neck 7 inches.

    The video from last week didn't really show the riders positions as well as I would have liked. Are any of you doing this exercise and do you have any tips? What inside rein aid are you using to get the +7 bend?

    I appreciate it!

  • #2
    I suspect that you are expecting the rein to do the work, rather than your legs.--Now that's work>
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

    Comment


    • #3
      How subtle is your inside hand? It should be like just turning a key. That's how I learned it watching a clinic of hers.
      A helmet saved my life.

      2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!

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      • #4
        I was there as a demo rider during that course, but that was earlier in the sessions, so I'd been watching the riders doing it, but had missed the lecture that went with it.

        Now that I've had the lecture I'm playing with it and it is helping some of them.

        The above poster had the right description of "turn the key", so think of rotating your wrist, thumb to the outside, not pulling. That is the key rein aid. But, you definitely need to think of your legs as well.

        Jane actually posts here, so she might see the question and clarify more.

        I have her Dressage 101 book and it is very clear. I think it would be worth the minimal investment to buy it.

        Comment


        • #5
          You might be bending the neck at the withers by pulling back/making a fist? I think what you are talking about is flexing inside (?) for which you need to pulse the aids (use the turning the thumb over) not holdddddd. And the horse cannot be too low or closed. But the horse needs to be up/open/active (from the (inside) leg). If the horse is turning onto a circle, then where is the inside leg? And where is the outside elbow (should be above your hip/hanging vertically).
          I.D.E.A. yoda

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
            You might be bending the neck at the withers by pulling back/making a fist? I think what you are talking about is flexing inside (?) for which you need to pulse the aids (use the turning the thumb over) not holdddddd. And the horse cannot be too low or closed. But the horse needs to be up/open/active (from the (inside) leg). If the horse is turning onto a circle, then where is the inside leg? And where is the outside elbow (should be above your hip/hanging vertically).

            FWIW, I think "Click, click, click"
            I wasn't always a Smurf
            Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
            "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
            The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

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            • #7
              (Hand or leg??? Hopefully not both at the time.)

              Perhaps the OP can state what the 'valium' exercise is (supposed to be)??? RIding 'in position' or shoulder fore or ???
              I.D.E.A. yoda

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              • #8
                Here's the video of the exercise
                http://savoiedressageacademy.com/program/suppling/
                Last edited by carolprudm; Dec. 7, 2012, 02:05 PM.
                I wasn't always a Smurf
                Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
                "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by carolprudm View Post
                  FWIW, I think "Click, click, click"
                  Thanks Carolprudm. Thinking "click, click, click" really helped! We did much better tonight with this exercise. Maybe more of a +5 than a +7 but we'll keep working on it. My greenie seemed to get the idea better on the rail than on a circle too.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Make sure your OS rein is not moving. Don't forget after the supple to give give give and give the exercise an opportunity to work. Make sure you're not taking the Inside hand back. If your horse is falling in on the circle try doing it at the halt at first until he gets the idea. You can also do it from the ground.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      After seeing this and the last thread about this exercise, I decided to give it a try on my horse today and thought I'd share the results.

                      I didn't watch the video, but about...gosh, 6 years ago, I was a rider in a Jane Savoie clinic where I rode this exercise. My horse doesn't necessarily need this type of exercise to relax or stretch forward and down, so I wanted to see what I'd get.

                      Well, I got a super round, through, and swinging back pretty quick.

                      I started at the walk, incorporating both regular bend and counter bend. He is used to counter bending/flexion but if your horse isn't, you may not want to add that part yet. For my horse, it really really helps him unlock his shoulders. I did the exercise at the walk in both directions. He got very round and soft. At one point, I felt his back really come up and his body sort of 'pop' into alignment. I took advantage of that and asked for the trot.

                      He was a bit resistant at first in the trot because of the quickness you are supposed to do these bends, but once he understood what I was asking, he went along with it. His initial response to the right was to try to curl and hang on me when I suppled him, and to his stiffer left side it was to raise his head and drop the contact. I just continued the exercise until he was doing it easily each direction.

                      Keeping the outside rein controlling his shoulder was super important. If I lost the shoulder, I lost the back.

                      I did this all on circles. 10-15 meters at the walk, 20 meters at the trot. He really brought his back up and was super round without being BTV. He was connected back to front - when I went across the diagonal I let him go into one of the nicest lengthenings he's ever done. His walk was super swingy, his back felt great.

                      He did such good trot work that I didn't bother with the canter, but I'll try it another day. This was a nice reminder of a very useful exercise.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by carolprudm View Post
                        Thank you for posting this link. Riding in a clinic with Jane is on my bucket list. She has a way of explaining things that I "get-it".
                        Hillary Rodham Clinton - the peoples choice for president.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The key to a suppling/flexing exercise is to wait for the horse to relax and give before releasing.

                          In that respect, I find the instruction in the video presented here to be lacking and, for an inexperienced rider, possibly very confusing. If the horse does not soften and give to the hand, you will end up with a pointless yanking exercise.

                          I use suppling quite often, especially in my warm-up, but not in a rapid-fire approach. I guess I would have to see it in the context of the entire program to understand why she teaches it that way (and hopefully she first teaches how to properly perform a flexion exercise).

                          Sometimes if you take a little bit of this and a little bit of that from various trainers you can end up with a confusing mish-mash of ideas. If you are going to follow someone's program, follow it fully and consistently until you have a very solid foundation.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Not to add to anyone's "mish-mash," but here is short explanation on suppling the neck and the importance of the horse giving (from someone I have ridden with quite a bit):

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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Larkspur - That video clip is from the recent 4 day workshop "The Art of Teaching", and this particular workshop was targeted to instructors, with each session having a targeted topic on how to teach, common errors, and tons of lecture. The riders were demonstrating.

                              I'm not exactly sure which day/session this was from, but there was a lot of correction to the riders to slow down the bending, there was no "rapid-fire" in this approach.

                              I will say that it was a super workshop with tons of theory, why you do what you do, when to do things, and the building blocks of what you do, "How to use your reins", "How to use your seat and legs", etc. This made it very different from a "lesson" that most clinics are for the rider.

                              I found it very educational and since the DVDs are finished, I now have all 24 DVDs to review, and I am using this rainy day to watch the portions that I did not see (I went as a demo rider for days 3 and 4, but saw parts of day 2).

                              It is a really thorough walk through the training scale, building progressively and I found that I was filling in lots of theory holes in my own knowledge.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by SaddleFitterVA View Post
                                Larkspur - That video clip is from the recent 4 day workshop "The Art of Teaching", and this particular workshop was targeted to instructors, with each session having a targeted topic on how to teach, common errors, and tons of lecture. The riders were demonstrating.

                                I'm not exactly sure which day/session this was from, but there was a lot of correction to the riders to slow down the bending, there was no "rapid-fire" in this approach.
                                Hmm... I don't agree. I rode on the 2nd days and I recall, clearly, that I was not doing this exercise fast enough. Don't know if any of my rides made it onto the final videos. Will be interesting to see if my memory is correct!
                                "Friend" me !

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                                • #17
                                  Isabeau - your entire rides are there. Day 3, DVD 3, Impulsion and straightness is you on Bert and on Day 4, you were either DVD 3 or 4.

                                  Timing is, IMO, the hardest thing as a rider to get right. Sometimes, I am too slow, sometimes I am too fast, and it is really hard to be just right, and it is also sometimes very frustrating when I try a clinician and get different feedback, but I've found that with very rare exceptions, once I can get my injured pride back into its box, I am able to see where that clinician has a different focus and valid feedback.

                                  I recently was able to get a slot with Linda Zang and she really nailed me on a lot of details that my regular instructor does not emphasize. While it isn't convenient to go ride with her every time she is near, I am going to add her as someone I ride with 2 or 3 times a year because she gives valid instruction and input.

                                  I would actually like to try a regular lesson with Jane. It was hard being a demo rider as I didn't really get a feel for how a normal lesson would go with her.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by carolprudm View Post
                                    "Quickly bend and immediately straight" is repeated several times. For those with questions, the video link pretty much explains them all.
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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by SaddleFitterVA View Post
                                      Isabeau - your entire rides are there.

                                      Oh goody.....

                                      I would actually like to try a regular lesson with Jane. It was hard being a demo rider as I didn't really get a feel for how a normal lesson would go with her.
                                      Jane was VERY good about reminding observers to be grateful for the demo riders. Every day she reminded observers how hard it is to demo because you cannot show your horse at their best. I know I had people thanking me as I was leaving the ring, and that was great.

                                      She also gave us an easy out for screwing something up. We could just say "oh, I did that on purpose." To which she would reply, something like, "Well that really sucked. Thanks for showing us that."
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                                      • #20
                                        I guess my point was more directed toward the inexperienced rider who watches the 17-minute segment that was posted here (which I watched twice) and then attempts to supple their horse in this manner, without an understanding of contact and the elasticity and the what's required for an effective neck flexion.

                                        I know she uses demo riders and that this was not a traditional clinic, and I did not intend to disparage the program in any way. But I can guarantee you there are newbie dressage riders who will look at this video excerpt and go out and yank on their horse's mouth and not learn anything, and certainly not teach their horse anything.

                                        A friend of mine has the Savoy DVD program but will not take lessons, and therefore will never get anywhere with her riding. That's not to say there's nothing to be learned from them and that they aren't valuable for any of you. I've watched some of her other videos and thought they were very good.

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