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"Flatwork" v. "dressage"... Are hunters the demise of American Show Jumping?

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  • But a horse does lower his croup when he is just about to take off in front of a jump.

    Anyone who has ever played a sport knows that you do lots of drills and exercises that help you attain strength and fitness as well as improve coordination. The same thing with horses - you ride them in different frames depending on what you are trying to accomplish at any given moment. You don't always ride as you would in the show ring, or really forward or really collected, but a combination of them to focus and correct your horse's weaknesses.

    Use the Force.
    Man plans. God laughs.

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    • Yes, absolutely. There are plenty of holes in Littauer's theories. Another is when he claims the piaffe is not engaged at all (because the hind legs aren't tracking up?) and says the picture of the three year old greenie trotting on the forehand is far more engaged than the piaffe. It is an interesting book. I wish the ODG was around today--I'd love to take him on.

      Kathy Johnson Dressage
      Kathy Johnson

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      • This is an interesting thread to bring back [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

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        • <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by rileyt:
          Whew! Thought that would get your attention! OK. Really not trying to start a fight, but provoke a good discussion. As some of you may know, I just returned from riding in Germany, and I saw lots of things there that made me think. Here is one. Recently, I think, despite good horses and good riders, the US has been only mildly successful in International Show Jumping. The Germans, on the other hand, have done quite well. I had a chance to attend a smallish show, and watched several jumper classes. Even in the 3 foot divisions, I saw almost NONE of the scary riding I see at the lower level A jumper shows here. The horses were 99% warmbloods. And went almost EXCLUSIVELY in SNAFFLES. I saw ONE gag, and ONE pelham the entire day. One thing I noticed... all of these competitors, even at the lower divisions... could have ridden a solid 1st level dressage test in a heartbeat. The horses went in much more of a frame, were far more engaged, and the riders rode more vertically and less forward than here. There is no "hunter" division in Germany. When the riders warmed up, they did "dressage"... in a first or second level frame. Now, I know some very good hunter and jumper riders whose "flatwork" really is "dressage". But I know far more whose "flatwork" consists of walk-trot-canter in a hunter frame... with an occasional smaller circle, or turn on the forehand, or shoulder-in. I'm just wondering if there's a connection.

          Do Germans learn how to engage a horse's hind end and RIDE the horse better than us?

          Is it because they are taught "dressage"? Instead of aimlessly cantering circles and calling it flatwork?

          Is the hunter "frame" (a longer, lower, more forward moving gait) and style a detriment when our hunter riders switch over to jumpers?

          Thoughts?

          Please don't blast me for picking on hunters... I think they have their place, and no one would fox hunt in a second-level dressage frame! But I'm wondering if the fact that most of the country starts with hunters ends up hurting us when they try to transition to jumpers.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

          I have not made my way through all the posts, I am jumping in from the top so to speak.

          Having had my start in riding in Germany I can tell you there aree a few things that are totaly different.

          We don't start out as Jumpers - just like that old movie: You have to learn how to walk before you can fly! There is no such thing as riding for a few month and then being let loose on the jumps. First you learn to master your horse - in *Dressage seat* the two point is reserved for when you are out in the field - after you had plenty of lessons and shown that you can be let out of the arena.
          Getting to jump is a mile stone - not getting to canter [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

          Before you can get to anytype of show - lowest level ( category C excluded) you need to take a test for the Riding Badge in bronce - a low level Dressage test, including medium trot and canter, and lead change through walk, backing up a length, a volte. And then you get to jump a course - I don't know how high, but I'd guess near the 3' markmaybe a little lower (but not much)

          There are no W/T classes there are junior classes, a glorified lesson set up, you just don't get corrected (in the group) and intro dressage 9for juniors usually - who'd want to ride around with kids for a show carrier in groups of four, still including a lengthening of the canter.


          As wether the Hunters are the death of the Jumpers - I don't know.
          In the past there have been many US riders who are just sweet to watch, light and forward, Joe Fargis, Conrad Homefeld, Anne Kursinski, to name the ones I can remeber, and they kicked butt when they apeared on the international stage!

          But now they seem to ride so *German*, hanging on the bit, ever more gadgets put on the horse....or if they do ride nice, they lack IMHO the proper horsemanship, the care one ought to have dealing with a living creature.

          Seems to be connected with the problems VIriding academy sees in the sport....

          [This message was edited by Alagirl on Dec. 04, 2002 at 03:12 PM.]
          Originally posted by BigMama1
          Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
          GNU Terry Prachett

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          • Original Poster

            Bumpkin! What are you DOING??? Don't you know I can only be responsible for stirring the pot on so many threads at once? Someone will have to sit-in for me... I'm busy making trouble on the dressage forum. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

            Half of Riding is 30% mental ... no wonder there are so many bad riders [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img]

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            • I always cringe when you see kids being told "Extend the trot" and think it means Go Faster, or "sitting trot," which means do the Western Pleasure Jog.

              "Bridle up" always gets me as well.

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              • I watched someone last night, for the millionth time trot around quite quickly thinking she was doing an extended trot, when her horse was all strung out and looked as though he was going to plow his nose through the arena footing.

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