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Dressage Radio interviews McDonald and Peters

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  • Dressage Radio interviews McDonald and Peters


  • #2
    way to go debbie!

    great interviews, interesting idea.... and 24 other shows to listen too.

    (and they will be doing an upcoming show with a panel of experts on "the" hot topic- which will be interesting)


    • #3
      Very interesting stuff!

      Debbie McDonald made it very clear where she stands on the issue and put the blame exactly where I put it -- on the judges. She also said "it's far overdue!" (a discussion on RK).

      Steffen was more diplomatic -- but I thought it was interesting when he said "I would have to educate myself further on the biomechanics to find out the reason to use it....but it's certainly something I want to stay away from."

      Like he can't figure out WHY the riders need to resort to this "tool."

      I'm like you mbm -- now I have to find time to listen to the other shows!


      • #4
        His comments on whether his style of teaching would be accepted there, referring to giving riders options to make decisions, rather than just do what teacher/trainer tells them.

        I love that--that idea that the rider needs to understand why they are doing something and be educated in the decision-making.

        Trust our own standards
        regarding how the horse feels to the rider, supple and adjustable, vs doing the movement for showing.
        Ring the bells that still can ring
        Forget your perfect offering
        There is a crack in everything
        That's how the light gets in.


        • #5
          It was a really good interview in all. Debbie's comments were very different from Peter's, though. He was more circumspect.

          In context, the statements about asking questions/getting options seems to refer specifically to questioning hyperflexion.

          It's not hard at all to view hyperflexion as a quick fix, But that's very much not how proponents see it - to them, it does something no other technique does, and is not substitutable and is not optional.

          It's very interesting to hear someone of Peter's stature say he doesn't understand the technique. This guy isn't some tree hugger off in the boonies. He's right in the middle of things, and I'm sure he's ridden plenty of horses trained that way, in the course of training, buying, selling, teaching.

          The best part of it is that he's scoring at the top of the elite dressage world without using hyperflexion. Clearly, he has a method that works very, very well, without using it.

          Would questioning a trainer work? From my experience? No. It would not work. Not with most dressage trainers. Most of them get very angry if they are even questioned.

          About hyperflexion? I think once you question a trainer that fundamentally, you are on your way out the door, one way or another. I don't find most trainers, American or European origin or trained, all that flexible about students wanting to try a different method. Sometimes there is a very good reason for doing something a certain way, sometimes not.

          I've been told to do a number of things that made me very uncomfortable. Why uncomfortable? Either because I didn't have enough experience to understand it, because I thought they were quick fixes, just incorrect fixes, or traditional but too forceful or rushed - there didn't really seem to be any way to negotiate other than quietly leave.

          Some time ago I spoke to a trainer I was interested in working with. I found the trainer was very into hyperflexion. I wanted to see if she would be open to working with someone who was unwilling doing that. I described my horse's and my issues and she just kept insisting that hyperflexion was exactly what was called for, and 'You'll love it' every time I asked any questions or expressed any doubt.

          So I asked HER trainer, who had a lot more experience competing, at bigger venues, at higher levels, than the first trainer.

          To my surprise, her trainer had a very different take on it. Not only was this not the best choice for this particular situation, it was a BAD choice and the WRONG choice.

          All a person can do is just follow their conscience.


          • #6
            Steffen is most likely more 'diplomatic' than Debbie b/c he's still actively competing!!! Can't afford to alienate the judges, especially when he's aboard the current top horse.

            He can say, too, that riders need to develop their own styles, but he comes from a world of upper level riders, most of them experienced, and on horses suited for the sport and upper-level work. These students are already well-versed (or at least appear to be) in the basics of connection, fwdness, and throughness. But, in fairness, I'm not quite sure in what context he made this statement or in response to what question.

            It comes from my own experience of watching some very rich, overmounted (as in, the horse was way more talented than the rider, but the rider had no idea) 'riders' who ride in front of uber-ULRs, and b/c their stirrups are long, they think of themselves as dressage riders. THESE riders are not ready for free-thinking approaches. That's like inviting a kid who's just mastered long division to come to a master class in pure mathematics.

            I also think Steffen is a really beautiful rider. He is one of my favorites in the dressage world.


            • #7
              Originally posted by slc2 View Post
              It was a really good interview in all. Debbie's comments were very different from Peter's, though. He was more circumspect.

              In context, the statements about asking questions/getting options seems to refer specifically to questioning hyperflexion.

              It's not hard at all to view hyperflexion as a quick fix, But that's very much not how proponents see it - to them, it does something no other technique does, and is not substitutable and is not optional.

              It's very interesting to hear someone of Peter's stature say he doesn't understand the technique.
              No, that's NOT what he said. He said he "...didn't understand why you would have to use this technique."

              Very different content.

              I don't care what sort of Pablum the crank & spank (C&S) school is trying to feed the public, I think it's obvious to most fairly educated eyes that RK is mainly used for control & to effect "submission" (and I loved SP's comment about not really even liking the word "submission" -- that he preferred "cooperation"). The contact is so extreme, the horse's expression is so trapped & fearful.

              As for using it to "supple" a horse: I saw a tape of Davignon as a younger horse -- he was about 6 at the time I think. His rider put him in a hyperflexed position -- his neck was totally curled so his chin was against his chest.

              After riding a stride or two in that position, the rider threw away the reins -- literally let them go and rode on the buckle for the next 3-4 strides.

              Davignon kept his head in that position the whole time while he kept merrily going forward. Then the rider patted him on the neck, and D. brought his head back to a "normal" position.

              They did this several times, and D. was very consistant in his response.

              THAT I find no objection to -- it shows you are "suppling" the horse, but the horse is a willing participant.

              Peter obviously feels that you can get a horse flexible without it, and judging from his riding I must concur.

              Yes, Debbie was much more forth right in her statements -- she is retired from competition so she can say "screw 'em".

              I don't think SP was "circumspect" so much as he was being diplomatic...after all, he is still competing & after his contribution to the GDF, maybe he figures he can affect change in more subtle ways...

              Anyway, I'm just really glad to see that top riders are now coming out against RK as well....if you can't "supple" your horse without it or need it to control your horse's "brilliance" then you need to find another horse or another sport, 'cause what you are riding sure isn't dressage....

              Now, if they can just get the judges glasses so they can read the actual FEI standards, we'd be all set...

              Will be curious to see where all of this goes...