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What does roundness feel like? How do you describe it?

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  • #21
    Suddenly the horse expands and fills the saddle flaps just a bit more.
    Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

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    • #22
      Dressage Rider - I dont think I did my best description re my mare's roundness - first off, we are in rehab mode, so not doing much collection right how. Second, maresy can be stiff/tight at the base of her neck and will then want to come up off the bit. When we get loose and rounder thru our rides, she relaxes those muscles, and softens that underside. It is her "Ahhh" point, from which everything becomes easy. Dropping the neck was probably a bad choice of words.

      I compare it to my pilates classes where the trainer says "relax your neck and shoulders. "!
      We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

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      • #23
        I describe and feel roundness as the ability for the horse to carry me and not the other way around. It is evident in flawless upward transitions as well as down. When I'm carried up to the canter and down to the trot, without losing any forward momentum.
        --Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity--

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        • #24
          Originally posted by Lost_at_C View Post
          Just a wee caveat to the descriptions that mention lightness in front, or a "disappearing" forehand... this is true for most horses but for those with a naturally elevated front end or a tendency to curl behind the contact, the feeling of roundness can actually be accompanied by a greater awareness of the front end, as the horse offers connection to the rider's hand and stretches round and consistent throughout its whole body. Nitpicking I know... but I commonly ride so-called "baroque" breeds and they're wonderful at prancing around all light and arched in front with no genuine connection whatsoever.
          I don't understand the "disappearing" front end. As my horse rounds and uses his whole topline his neck becomes more rounded overall, yes, and depending if he was trying to lift his neck and hollow his back his head might be lower - but through virtue of his hind end rounding under him, his front end seems to grow in length, not disappear. Or is disappearing referring to horses who are too heavy in contact normally?
          If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.
          -meupatdoes

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          • #25
            "Bucking back' is the shorthand my trainer uses. I feel the lift and power coming up into my seat (and sometimes have a micro-panic moment of 'buck or not?') If I funnel that lift and power, life gets quite lovely.

            *star*
            "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
            - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926

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            • #26
              I think of 2 things -first the lifting of the back which feels like I'm sitting almost on the haunches, and am sucked into the horse's back.

              Second its that marvelous telescoped neck, starting from the withers. That light but powerful solidness which remains whether bent left or right - you feel the connection throughout the body. NOT waterskiing, but pushing a living baby stroller (if you correctly HH and make adjustments )

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              • #27
                Originally posted by right horse at the right time View Post
                Let me clarify the draw reins thing. Trainer is wonderful and very smart - not just in training horse, but in getting inside my head. We used the draw reins for a very short time in part of one lesson to teach ME something, not horse. I do appreciate the feedback, and I know that everyone has his or her own idea about draw reins and other such things.
                If you are a newbie and using draw reins from time to time, be careful not to confuse "lighter or less heavy in the bridle" with the horse starting to "curl" or getting behind the bit. Yes, it can "feel softer", the horse can seem "rounder" but it can be false -- actually an evasion that eventually can be very hard to break.
                www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by netg View Post
                  I don't understand the "disappearing" front end. As my horse rounds and uses his whole topline his neck becomes more rounded overall, yes, and depending if he was trying to lift his neck and hollow his back his head might be lower - but through virtue of his hind end rounding under him, his front end seems to grow in length, not disappear. Or is disappearing referring to horses who are too heavy in contact normally?
                  I'm guessing that's the case, and that's why I wanted to clarify for any novices who might be reading. My first reaction to the word 'disappearing' was 'GAAARRGHH!' but on reflection I think it's just a case of relativity.
                  Proud COTH lurker since 2001.

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                  • #29
                    Reading most of this would confuse anyone!

                    I would say to the OP the trainer is trying to help you learn to supple (I wont comment on use of draws).

                    When you supple a horse he may be more round in the neck alone and soft in the body. I think this is a good goal. Obedient, relaxed, supple.

                    Learning more about bend and other things is good too if you also learn rhythm which you may already have?

                    What a lot of people here are describing (i think hmmm) is impulsion and collection. WAY WAY in the future. LOL

                    For now you just keep a nice gentle relaxed tempo as you learn a bit of "round" aka softer lines. Figures, and bending.
                    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

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                    • #30
                      Eventually you will feel like there is communication going on through the horse's mouth - from you to the horse and from the horse to you. Not pulling, not ducking contact, but you lightly telling the horse this is where you need to be - and the horse asking back - is this where you want me? You can actually see the horse's withers pop up, feel the back lift (to get a taste of that early on - ask your trainer to lift the horse's back by pushing his stomach up while you are sitting on him). Another good sample of the feeling of the back lifting - when the horse poops - it lifts its back!

                      It takes a long time to get to the feeling - and it comes and goes, but that is how I think of it...

                      Draw reins won't get you that feeling but sometimes they can help TELL the horse this is where I want you (there is no 2-way communication going in draw reins).

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                      • #31
                        For me, the starting stages of round is the feeling of the horse letting go. The horse becomes soft in the hand, willing to go forward, and you can feel a little lift in the shoulders. The gaits get smoother with a clockwork tempo.

                        Some horses need extra help when learning to travel round and may require extra hold (never without leg first) to maintain it for more than a minute or so. I'm guessing the draw reins were there to offer the horse clear, stable support without having to necessarily rely upon the learning rider's feel and judgement, sort of like side reins. As long as you're not cranking the horse's nose in with it, just lightly supporting, not a problem.

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                        • #32
                          It feels like the horse's back is lifting up and filling in the area under your seat. You literally feel like the horse is being pumped up full of air and you and the saddle are lifted up by his back.
                          "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

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                          • #33
                            I don't understand the "disappearing" front end.
                            Yeah me either. True roundness comes when the horse is connected from tail to tongue. I do a fair amount of yoga and tai chi, so visualizing things that way is easy for me. It feels like the horse's center of mass is right in front of my lower dantian.
                            See those flying monkeys? They work for me.

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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by netg View Post
                              I don't understand the "disappearing" front end. As my horse rounds and uses his whole topline his neck becomes more rounded overall, yes, and depending if he was trying to lift his neck and hollow his back his head might be lower - but through virtue of his hind end rounding under him, his front end seems to grow in length, not disappear. Or is disappearing referring to horses who are too heavy in contact normally?
                              I think that the contact--the feeling in the reins-- stays roughly the same. But when the horse's withers really come up then it feels as though they raise up higher than the head and neck.
                              "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

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                              • #35
                                Sometimes in the search for "round" the cart gets before the horse.

                                I have found that if a student is allowed to progress to the point of riding correct 10 m circles , the horse will of it's own volition come light in the hand, if the hand is educated to accept it. If the student rides the circle as they should they are not using the inside rein, and they suddenly find that they can loop that inside rein, and not only will the horse stay on the circle, he will go a tad bit deeper seeking the contact. That is when the student will know she truly has round.

                                Sometimes the coiled spring analogy is more accurate, when you start into second and third levels, and the student horse combo has mastered the lateral exercises.
                                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.

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                                  Sometimes in the search for "round" the cart gets before the horse.

                                  I have found that if a student is allowed to progress to the point of riding correct 10 m circles , the horse will of it's own volition come light in the hand, if the hand is educated to accept it. If the student rides the circle as they should they are not using the inside rein, and they suddenly find that they can loop that inside rein, and not only will the horse stay on the circle, he will go a tad bit deeper seeking the contact. That is when the student will know she truly has round.

                                  Sometimes the coiled spring analogy is more accurate, when you start into second and third levels, and the student horse combo has mastered the lateral exercises.
                                  The first one - THAT'S IT! That's what I felt! And in the middle of doing 10 m circles (hopefully correctly - trainer was explaining to me to sort of leg yield him out from my leg). He went deeper, although I connected that with an imaginary planned buck from sweet horse who clearly was doing what he was supposed to be doing . (And what trainer told me at the time!)

                                  And it totally makes sense that I didn't feel the coiled spring, as I don't have that yet! There are fleeting moments with me, and when trainer rides horse I can see that often, but not with me. But that's okay, because we aren't there yet. I'm patient .

                                  Sneaking looks at COTH from work here - loving reading this. NOMI - I think we are at the rhythm and bending as well - not impulsion/collection/etc. Again, I'm patient. I want to do this right from the start. Too hard to unlearn bad habits. I want to do this the real way!
                                  LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...

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                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by CFFarm View Post
                                    Suddenly the horse expands and fills the saddle flaps just a bit more.
                                    This. I can feel when mine, who has a natural overtrack, is really lifting his back and engaging behind, because I suddenly feel more fullness under my seat and thighs, and a lighter, but steadier contact in my hands. I am blessed to have a horse with good natural gaits who will come round on his own, as I have little talent for influencing his movement, but I know its happening because anyone watching from the ground will comment on his improved movement at the same moment I'm feeling it.
                                    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                                    Witherun Farm
                                    http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

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                                    • #38
                                      The first one - THAT'S IT! That's what I felt! And in the middle of doing 10 m circles (hopefully correctly - trainer was explaining to me to sort of leg yield him out from my leg). He went deeper, although I connected that with an imaginary planned buck from sweet horse who clearly was doing what he was supposed to be doing . (And what trainer told me at the time!)-rhrt

                                      In order to maintain that feeling, as you leg yield out from the circle, maintain the same bend. Get that organized, and you are on your way to learning S/I.
                                      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.

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                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Eclectic Horseman View Post
                                        I think that the contact--the feeling in the reins-- stays roughly the same. But when the horse's withers really come up then it feels as though they raise up higher than the head and neck.
                                        Huh. I guess my horse's withers aren't really up in my profile pic... given how uphill he already gets, I look forward to the day they really come up then.

                                        I think it has a lot to do with a horse's natural balance and shape, but there's a reason GP horses don't carry their heads below the withers...
                                        If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.
                                        -meupatdoes

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                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by ShotenStar View Post
                                          "Bucking back' is the shorthand my trainer uses. I feel the lift and power coming up into my seat (and sometimes have a micro-panic moment of 'buck or not?') If I funnel that lift and power, life gets quite lovely.

                                          *star*
                                          For a beginning rider who's sat on a bucking horse, this is a good one!
                                          "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

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