I have seen PK in many venues, on all types of horses. And they all go better, they all show the horsemanship and tact of the rider. Those who can piaffe, bloom. And without a doubt they all track up (over in extensions) better. I have never seen a horse suffer from his riding, but all improved. More importantly, they also end up seeking fdo better (with an opening throat latch). Is it difficult to teach technique to those with problematic seats/timing/etc? Not easy.
But his work is little different than most of the germans/swedes/danes/austrian/portugeuse I have ridden with (and they had medals under their belts as well as experience with 100s of horses.). Those who think it different are likely on exposed to the last 20-30 years of competitive riding. And that said, his impact in Germany is probably the strongest.
As to the extension, it gained ground, the legs are parallel, there was over stride (in the vid, but it was slightly over tempo as well). And the nose was pointed basically toward were the front foot would land. Is there a slight over use of the foreleg joint? Yes. But most would not even sit on the horse he trains (conformationally).
In fact, one horse which is in his book, was headed to the killers in germany. I know the daughter of a trainer father & grandfather who saw the how. They were blown away by the changes PK made in the horse without any force.
A lifted hand has a purpose: to mobilize the jaw, to set a limit, to be able to extend the neck. As a hh, it is to cause the horse to change its balance and to fold the hindlegs. So higher hands hh is to fix the balance and the HINDLEG's action. That said by lifting the bit in the mouth with the horse in position, it can create the will to stretch fdo as well. By doing this the horse becomes the opposite of hollow, they become willing to CHOOSE the hand lightly and w/o ever hollowing. And on the lightest of connections. HH are BRIEF and purposeful. These are basic rein effects which have been around for a very long time.
Perhaps he is more clear than some other riders in teaching this effect, but hh have always been vertical (look at the vid of the pas de deux with Reiner Klimke...it is the same). And as far as equition: straight line from elbow to horses mouth IS the NEUTRAL.
In the piaffe, the fei rule is that the TOE of the hind leg should be slightly ABOVE the fetlock of the other hind leg. It is in his pix. But MORE IMPORTANTLY, the croup is lowered (joints folded) and the foreleg which is bearing weight IS vertical (rarely seen today). And his horses are (properly) piaffeing from the balance of the seat/are very light in hand, and are so full of life. And the white grey horse, I don't know who would even bother to train a horse with a vertical shoulder in the first place, I am impressed with the work with such a horse. ALL horses. The black horse is simply one which is how ALL young dressage horses should be ridden, up/open/active/quietly..as it should be, but rarely is.
And for people who did not start riding until later in life, take note that he did not start until almost 20. And then of course he did LOTS of jumping at Samaur before specializing.
The question is WHY there is such a strong reaction to what was fairly traditional, and usually minimal (ie the (vertical) hh? Years ago an up and open horse which were freely stepping through/ifv (etc required by the fei directives) was the mainstream, as was perfecting equitation. Only educated riders started horses. And longitudinal flexions was not the first thing a rider/horse was taught. Fast forward and we see 'round horses' at training level; yet this posture is one which should come later with collection. So much is a reaction to reschooling. Unnecessary reschooling because the horses were asked things precipitously. Then the rider has to learn how to create different reactions.
For what it is worth, he also champions that every horse at every level should have to show fdo in all three gaits. PROPER fdo, seeking the hand and opening the throatlach. And horse ifv in all gaits (gee...he didnt think that one up...the odgs and the FEI rules demand it in the directives.)
As far as Toto, he was given 8s for his disunited/impure trots. All foreleg, no over stride but certainly over tempo. The thing is we have to ask WHY this occurs. Because of the closed posture of the training (the bending over to raise the (lumbar) back). But that also straightens the hindleg use, which makes the extensions braced. And the need for submission creating horizontal curbs w/o out ANY lightness or uberstreichen moments. He is NOT an example of a traditional system, but one which is based in french theory that went awry with SJ's leadership (since SJ was a misbegotten BSM student).
Last edited by equitate; 08-13-2013 at 04:25 PM.