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Question about gaits and movement and conditioning.

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  • Question about gaits and movement and conditioning.

    The last discussion we had on gaits was so enlightening, I am really hoping to pick some brains and get some real info here. I'm hoping this doesn't devolve into the usual dressage forum snarkfest. These videos do not depict anyone I know personally, so please be kind!

    This video shows a horse with movement quite similar to my horse's before he started training. This guy looks a lot like mine- mine is less heavy in the front and his neck is put on a bit higher, and that translates to movement that's less heavy all over, but the motion is very similar (I think this might qualify as "daisy cutter" in the not-so-positive sense).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4Y_ZDpwD9c

    Now obviously after a year of regular training, his gaits have improved quite a bit. But, I found this video of a horse of similar breeding to the one above who is working at solid 3rd. My question is, can a horse with gaits like those in video 1 develop the looser, swingy gaits of video 2?

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

    I especially love the walk of the horse in #2, and after watching several Jane Savoie vids about how easy it is to ruin the walk, I hope I haven't ruined any chance for such a lovely walk .

    Or was that walk something the horse was born with?

    I don't have any recent video of my own horse to pose the question with, so bear with me. He seems to grow by leaps and bounds every month in terms of his balance and rhythm and he's so bendy now, but I have no idea where to expect him to "max out."

  • #2
    Not sure what you are asking.

    How to tell how well your horse will move after some more training?

    Correct training always improves horse's gaits, correct dressage training is basically designed to improve gaits. The question is how much and how competitive or close to an ideal will the horse be, I think.

    The first horse isn't a 'daisy cutter'. They have a very low sweeping motion and don't bend their knees or hocks in the same way as other horses. Ideally, the 'daisy cutter' stride is very efficient and ground covering for say a field hunter. This horse bends his knees too much to be a daisy cutter, and doesn't have a long enough, sweeping enough stride to 'cover the ground' efficiently. He has a very long coupling and a hind quarter with a very, very steep croup. If you notice, he never actually sits on his hind end, and the root of his tail never lifts and drops, even at the canter; his hind quarter is inflexible and fixed at the steep angle. He balances on turns by twisting his hind quarters inward and dropping one hip, rather than by actually sitting on his hind quarter. He doesn't have any suspension at the trot or canter. Even so, he looks like a horse that could be a wonderful, wonderful partner for most dressage riders. He's extremely kind, very, very tolerant and reliable looking, and for most people that is far, far more important and harder to find than any other trait one can talk about.

    The second horse is developing nicely thrrough the training process. He needs to be more supple and develop more impulsion to improve his gaits and give them expression and cadence; he needs more muscle on his hind quarters and back. He does not have an exceptional walk, just a nice one and a basically correct one. It will improve more as his training continues.

    The two horses in the videos are extremely dissimilar. The second one isn't similar in breeding to your horse or the other horse video; it's half Andalusian, so isn't going to be similar to the first horse or to yours. The first horse is supposed to be a 'Spanish Norman' and supposed to be the same breeding as the second horse, but Spanish Normans vary a great deal, and too, the second one is further along and older so is always is going to look better than a younger horse.

    Andalusian crosses, especially when crossed with a compatible individual, tend to be quite stylish and tend to raise their head and neck higher, naturally lift their knees and hocks higher, and to have a very stylish pretty look to them, and a very pretty color.

    I very much doubt the two horses in the videos would look the same at the same stages of training, or reach the same maximum in difficulty. The riding the second horse is getting looks like it's more correct and more positively building toward progress.

    As horses become trained, they develop working gaits that involve more bend of the knees and hocks than they show in their 'ordinary' gaits when they start training. The development of activity and contact makes the knees and hocks bend more.

    As horses become more trained than that, around third level, they start to bend their knees and hocks MORE than in the working gaits. This is due to improving the straighness, contact and impulsion starting to develop.

    They start to develop 'baby collection' and start to show that difference between working and collected gaits.

    As horses become more trained that THAT, they start to show more and more difference between their collected, medium and extended gaits, until at the Grand Prix level, even a fairly uneducated person can spot the difference between, say, a medium trot and an extended trot, and most people even untrained ones can tell the difference between medium and collected trot. Hopefully the neck appears taller because the hind quarters are carrying the horse and freeing up the forehand, rather than the neck merely being lifted.

    Today's 'daisy cutter' - a warmblood with lower, sweeping action

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu2lDEGBdB8

    Show hunters - some with beautiful flat sweeping strides. Equitation horses usually aren't quite as sweeping. It's really stunning to see them move with such a flat knee and then crack their backs and tuck their knees up to their ears over the fences.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlIJn...next=1&index=9
    Last edited by slc2; Dec. 14, 2008, 01:37 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by slc2 View Post
      Today's 'daisy cutter' - a warmblood with lower, sweeping action
      - A warmblood? Correct me if I'm wrong, but a 'daisy cutter' doesn't have to be a warmblood...?

      Comment


      • #4
        You're totally right X, it is ANY horse (heck, I guess even a mule) with long, flat, sweeping movement. Many Tbreds and some Quarterhorses qualify as daisy cutters, and some of them are doing really well in hunt classes!
        www.MysticOakRanch.com Friesian/Warmblood Crosses, the Ultimate Sporthorse
        Director, WTF Registry

        Comment


        • #5
          No, any horse can be a daisy cutter, I never said anything different. What has changed though, is that today in the hunter ring, alot of the horses are warmbloods, and the typical trot is a little different from the typical trot of a Thb. In the past, I think the ideal hunter trot was even flatter and with an even straighter leg than that video. THe 'warmblood daisy cutter' is a little different gait from the 'thb daisy cutter' trot. The fashion has changed slightly, but the idea is still to have a flat, sweeping, long stride.

          In dressage, any amount of natural bend to the knees and hocks to start with is alright, as long as the horse is athletic, and can move from an extended to collected gait, and can if he is naturally a very high lift to his knees and hocks, not just going up and down on the spot, but able to reach as well. To advance, though, a dressage horse needs to be able to have 'someplace to go' - many horses with a very exaggerated lift to their legs can't do anything other than that.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Sorry, the "daisy cutter" comment was more for people who had been on the previous gaits thread, where we were discussing different meanings of the term "daisy cutter." Some were using it to mean a horse with a very flat gait and little suspension (the "negative" connotation) and some were using it for the hunter ideal, the long sweeping strides with little knee action.

            Comment


            • #7
              Daisy cutter does actually imply less suspension and bounce. It is not 'bad' for the Hunters, it is not desirable in dressage, but as anyone can see there are a lot of warmbloods going into American hunt seat arena that do very well there.

              It is supposed to be a flat gait that is comfortable to ride to all day, or at least for hours and hours. That means much less or no suspension is needed.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Both horses are half andalusian and half percheron- that's what Spanish Norman means. My horse is actually quite similar in build to most Spanish Norman horses I've seen, and very dissimilar to any horses I've seen with breeding similar to his (Perch/QH, ostensibly).

                Of course, I do recognize that the horses aren't built the same, and neither horse is really built like my horse, so they were just a starting point for my attempt to learn a bit more. I am going to go back and look for the things you pointed out, SLC. Can you see any sign of similar "issues" in the second video?

                But I am curious- how MUCH does riding/training improve gaits? Does anyone have before/after vids? How much suspension can you add?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Xpression View Post
                  - A warmblood? Correct me if I'm wrong, but a 'daisy cutter' doesn't have to be a warmblood...?
                  no your not wrong, its often seen and accepted in showing ponies as a daisy cut action

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ambrey, riding makes a HUGE difference in the gaits. I've seen horses go along looking flat and nothing spectacular (from a dressage standpoint), then get a good rider on their backs for a few months, and the difference is incredible! That is why spectacular gaits are so much LESS important than good basic gaits and a good RIDER to develop those gaits.

                    At last year's FEI Syposium, Jan Brink had one of the riders demonstrate that. She was riding this incredibly cadenced, lofty collected trot. He asked her to ride the horse in a regular working trot, the trot she had seen when she bought the horse. It was just a regular old, 2 beat, very little impulsion and suspension, working trot. The kind you see all the time at shows - nothing that makes you say wow, or even, I might want to buy that horse. Then, she picked him back up, and showed the huge, lofty, collected trot.

                    Of course, that is a VERY good FEI rider improving those gaits

                    On the other topic - your horse... There have been numerous studies on the heritage of the Andalusian, Percheron, and other French/Norman/Spanish breeds, and the Andy and Percheron have VERY similar genetic markers. It is thought, based on those studies, that the two are closely related, so that may be why you see many similarities between your Percheron cross and the others of Andalusian heritage. It may also explain why the Percheron is so often successfully crossed with lighter breeds for a rideable horse, and why the Percheron is so popular with vaulters - the horse is less of a draft horse than most draft breeds?
                    www.MysticOakRanch.com Friesian/Warmblood Crosses, the Ultimate Sporthorse
                    Director, WTF Registry

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Video #2, free walk is nice. When the reins get picked up it goes totally lateral - esp around the 45 sec mark and the 1:20 mark. The walk goes totally impure.
                      The canter show is working canter - verging on running off canter - and isn't collected canter at all. It is a cute canter and has potential but isn't sitting enough even for 3rd level.
                      The trot also isn't showing any 'sit' behind and isn't collected really either. Just slow and shuffly.
                      He also appears quite strong up front, not supple and not 3rd level straight either.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The two horses are both Spanish Normans, Ambrey and they are different as night and day, as different as crossbreds often are. Your horse isn't a Spanish Norman and he is different from both of them, but more similar to the first horse.

                        A working trot looks different from a collected trot, it isn't bad, it's just different and is supposed to be...and some horses look more cool in working gaits than others. It reaches less far than a medium trot or extended trot, doesn't lift as high as a collected trot. Alot of the horse's training takes place in working gaits.

                        When compared to the gaits the horse offers before it is trained, the working trot looks pretty spectacular. It only looks 'ordinary' or 'plain' or 'not impressive' when compared to the collected gaits and extended gaits, it's not really ordinary.

                        And a collected trot is absolutely NOT supposed to be over cadenced or at all passage-like. There is a limit to the suspension and cadence it can have or it is not a correct collected trot. It is just supposed to be collected, which is a difference in the shape of the stride, slightly higher and rounder, reaching less far forward and not tracking up as far.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by dutchfan View Post
                          Video #2, free walk is nice. When the reins get picked up it goes totally lateral - esp around the 45 sec mark and the 1:20 mark. The walk goes totally impure.
                          The canter show is working canter - verging on running off canter - and isn't collected canter at all. It is a cute canter and has potential but isn't sitting enough even for 3rd level.
                          The trot also isn't showing any 'sit' behind and isn't collected really either. Just slow and shuffly.
                          He also appears quite strong up front, not supple and not 3rd level straight either.

                          Thanks, these are the kinds of details I am hoping for. More understanding of the details of the gaits What did you think of the basic gaits of vid 1?

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                            The two horses are both Spanish Normans, Ambrey and they are different as night and day, as different as crossbreds often are. Your horse isn't a Spanish Norman and he is different from both of them, but more similar to the first horse.
                            Right, you just said their breeding wasn't similar- I was pointing out that you were wrong.

                            And I'm guessing that in a crowd of similar colored perch crosses, you wouldn't be able to pick my horse out if you tried. I could show you photos where he looks extremely baroque (and have had more than one comment to that effect) and I could show you photos where he looks like he'd be best off hooked up to a plow. Such is the nature of photography (especially amateur photography!). Incidentally, he has days where he looks like a fancy dressage horse and days where he... acts like a plow horse

                            But we were talking about gaits. Do those big swingy walks have a higher tendency to go lateral?

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by FriesianX View Post

                              On the other topic - your horse... There have been numerous studies on the heritage of the Andalusian, Percheron, and other French/Norman/Spanish breeds, and the Andy and Percheron have VERY similar genetic markers. It is thought, based on those studies, that the two are closely related, so that may be why you see many similarities between your Percheron cross and the others of Andalusian heritage. It may also explain why the Percheron is so often successfully crossed with lighter breeds for a rideable horse, and why the Percheron is so popular with vaulters - the horse is less of a draft horse than most draft breeds?
                              Unfortunately, I really don't know anything about the breeding of my horse. I wish I did, it would be really interesting to me! He is supposedly perch x QH, but I've never seen another of that cross that looks even remotely simlar to him. Most of them have very short, straight necks that are set on rather low. Perch crosses in general tend to be lighter than he is and not as obvious in their perchiness.

                              I would definitely say the perch is different from other draft breeds! I personally adore them- I think their intelligence and ingenuity is so fun, and I'd get another perchx in a heartbeat.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I said their breeding was different and I meant it. And you didn't quite read what I said:

                                "The two horses in the videos are extremely dissimilar. The second one isn't similar in breeding to your horse or the other horse video; it's half Andalusian, so isn't going to be similar to the first horse or to yours. The first horse is supposed to be a 'Spanish Norman' and supposed to be the same breeding as the second horse, but Spanish Normans vary a great deal"


                                The two Spanish Normans are as different as night and day. It is extremely unlikely that their parents were at all similar. It could just be genetic scatter, but they do not look at all similar. They move different, their proportions are different, their balance is different. I HAVE seen 6 offspring of the same stallion and mare (draft-thb parents), and seen 6 utterly different horses; this CAN happen with crossbreeding two such dissimilar breeds (who ever says Percherons are incredibly similar to Andalusians may be visually impaired, Percherons and Andalusians do have some pretty major differences, like one is a draft horse and one is a riding horse, and the differences continue from there, and yes, Percherons have both 'Arab' and 'Andalusian' in their blood, so does every other European horse breed).

                                It doesn't matter if they are both Spanish Normans or not. They are very, very different.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  OK, whatever. They either do or don't have similar breeding, and you are always right. Has nothing to do with my question really.

                                  The first horse looked to me to be a nice little guy who has not been worked in a way that would improve his balance and straightness, suppleness, rhythm, etc (all that training scale stuff). If you were to condition him- assuming he took to the work, enjoyed it, it didn't strain him, etc- how much would his gaits change and what would they look like?

                                  Just from my own experience, riding has always affected my horse's gaits, but conditioning and training have changed the starting point quite a bit. Even on the longe line, he moves differently now than he used to (my trainer and I were, in fact, just discussing this this morning!).

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    No I'm not always right, that's just some baloney you resort to now and again. To be completely honest, I don't know if I would even believe the first horse is half andalusian. it just doesn't look like one expects such a cross to look. The second one is more typical. The first one looks more like some half draft half thb crosses I've seen, but even there, there is a lot of variation.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                                      No I'm not always right, that's just some baloney you resort to now and again. To be completely honest, I don't know if I would even believe the first horse is half andalusian. it just doesn't look like one expects such a cross to look. The second one is more typical. The first one looks more like some half draft half thb crosses I've seen, but even there, there is a lot of variation.
                                      Nah, I've seen tons of half andalusians that don't show off their andy side very well. And with drafts, 6 is youngyoungyoung, and you can hardly tell how the horse is going to mature out from there.

                                      But do a search on youtube for "spanish norman," and you'll find they are more likely to start out looking like the first. I'd love to see photos of the second before he started good dressage work, I'm guessing he wasn't always anything to write home about. If you look closely, he has a lot of the same bone structure issues many perch crosses have (steeper croup, thick throatlatch, etc etc). He just has the condition to move well anyway.

                                      Comment

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