The Highest Point Poll

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The Highest Point Poll

This is a discussion on The Highest Point Poll within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    09-09-2010, 11:25 PM
Poll the Highest Point

This is an honest question, not sarcasm. I would really like to hear from other Dressage Enthusiasts about this issue.

Does anyone know why the USEF Dressage Rule DR 101.6 (Article 401.6 of the FEI Rule Book) which states:

...The head should remain in a steady position as a rule slightly in front of the vertical with a supple poll as the highest point of the neck and no resistance should be offered to the rider.
is almost categorically ignored by competitors, trainers and judges alike both at home and in competition, but when we show a horse in hand (on the triangle) the poll is always the highest point and the nose is always in front of the vertical? Has anyone noticed how wonderfully expressive the horses gaits are in these breed classes. It is a contradiction that has puzzled me for years now. If we truly think the horse should go with a short neck and behind the vertical why have we not started to see that in hand on the triangle? If we don't believe that, then why is it consistently rewarded in competition?
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    09-10-2010, 11:16 AM
Err, it's not. Lol. That's how I show my horse (poll highest point and nose on/in front of the vertical) and the last show I was in I was consistently 6-8% higher than the rest of the competitors (who were perhaps not in that frame as consistently).
Most horses that I see in the ring, no matter the level, that have short, pulled in necks, score quite low. Some with amazing talent still manage to pull a very mediocre score, but they are still not getting what I would consider a "good" score.

But, oh yeah, all dressage judges know nothing and are bribed, right? Not like they've ridden Grand Prix or attend seminars and lectures on exactly this kind of stuff or anything.
    09-10-2010, 06:40 PM
Green Broke
Ya, all the riders who win that I know have their horses head the highest point... When I roached my mares mane and it was growing out it made her neck look like she was on steroids (lol) so it made her look like her head was curled in (even though it was on the vertical) so I scored low...
But I always wonder... what about horses with really big necks? Like, renas neck is kinda big, so sometimes her neck is a little over her pole (this was a while ago, before we got her sitting on her butt more) and what happens if your horse has a MASSIVE neck? You shouldnt just crank their head way up should you? Because that can't be correct...
    09-10-2010, 06:50 PM
Honestly I think dressage is one of those disciplines that is highly subject to individual tastes. I was recently watching a 2nd level rider school an ex-grand prix level horse. While I was standing there trying to decide if the horse I was watching was truly working through from behind, another rider walked up, uttered something under her breath about how the horse was behind his leg and stomped off. 2 seconds later another rider came by, remarked how fluid the horse was moving and she left. A minute later, another remark on how the horse was swinging through his back but was sucking back a hair.

Guess my point is, it's all relative. All breeds are built differently. A horse who's neck ties high into a horse's shoulder will most likely be ridden on a far shorter rein than a horse who's neck ties in lower. What might appear to be a short leash might not be one at all. I'm honestly not sure if the "fakers" are winning or not because with the upper level horses, I really can't tell who's the real deal. It easy to see at the lower levels who's pushing and who's pulling. Since it all starts there, hopefully the lower level judges and trainers are doing their part to push the art of correct riding. I do my best to train my own horse correctly. That's all I can do.
    09-10-2010, 07:03 PM
Green Broke
This has always confused me...but I'm new to dressage. When I hear the poll should be highest point I assume it is higher than any other part of the horse, but usually I see pictures of dressage horses with beautifully arched necks where the middle of the arch is higher than the poll. Cinny has begun to naturally carry himself this way, even in turnout.

Is this also what you are talking about?
    09-10-2010, 07:10 PM
I just googled dressage pictures, and I must say, it really is hard to find one that fits the OP posted definition. While some of the horses appear to be swinging freely through the back, and noses are slightly in front of the vertical, their poles are not the highest point. It really is maddening. I can see why it's so confusing for people to understand when it's so hard to find.
    09-10-2010, 11:50 PM
Here let me help :P It does also matter on the moment of the picture, the "pushing" phase will show a bit more nose "in front of the vertical", while the suspension phase the head will be closer to vertical. My horse is a bit cresty naturally, but in the muscling of the neck it is clear that the horse is not creating roundness purely from the 3rd vert. His neck is evenly round.

And a decent photo of a horse bent at the third vert.
    09-11-2010, 10:13 AM
My horse rounds her neck so her highest point is not her poll but about a quarter way down her neck? She is on the verticle but can tip in behind it if not ridden string frim behind
    09-11-2010, 10:30 AM
Green Broke
I agree, neither of those pictures show the poll as the highest point, that's what confuses me...people saying this is correct, and yet the rules saying the poll being highest and.....ugh
    09-11-2010, 11:17 AM
Green Broke
I think they mean besides the neck muscles.Thats the definition I use, if the bone is above the pole it is wrong, but if theres just a little crest above the pole but the horse is moving through itself properly then its fine.

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