Piaffe & Passage Training - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 62 Old 09-17-2013, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Piaffe & Passage Training

My instructor recently hosted a dressage clinic during which she rode her Grand Prix horse. The clinician had her practice the piaffe and passage and walked next to her with a stick which he frequently banged on the horse's front legs (I presume to teach the horse to lift his legs higher and/or longer).

I found this a little disturbing. Is there no other way to teach a horse to lift his legs higher/longer?
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post #2 of 62 Old 09-17-2013, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frlsgirl View Post
Thee clinician had her practice the piaffe and passage and walked next to her with a stick which he frequently banged on the horse's front legs (I presume to teach the horse to lift his legs higher and/or longer).
You're right! Most dressage riders get an extra help from the ground with someone experienced enough to help them with a whip so the horse gets a better passage and piaffe. Personally, I don't consider it very bad, it's just an extra help to get the horse understading how you want it to be and to get more impulsion too and when used in the right momment it can really make a difference and be really helpful! And when the horse is well established in his piaffe/passage, the whip can be removed.
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post #3 of 62 Old 09-17-2013, 06:27 PM
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post #4 of 62 Old 09-17-2013, 06:28 PM
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I've seen a trainer use a whip along the back legs to encourage forward movement in the initial training but not to encourage the horse to lift the front legs. This is a good example of going from on the ground training to in the saddle
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H19UwQx-NU
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post #5 of 62 Old 09-18-2013, 01:02 AM
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Using a bamboo stick to touch the horse is quite far from "disturbing"....


And people wonder why GP trainers don't allow auditors and why it's being discussed to run FEI level competitions with no spectators.... Why don't you try this novel idea called asking a question to the clinician instead of making an uneducated judgement and now spewing it on the internet.
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post #6 of 62 Old 09-18-2013, 04:48 AM
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Much agreed with Anebel here. Was the trainer flat out belting the horse? I very much doubt it.
Depending on where a horse has its issues, a stick or piaffe whip can be used from the ground to tap the haunches, hind legs or fore legs. This encourages higher, more even steps, and on the haunches may dictate a rhythm to a green horse.
If that is disturbing then you'd best be out of horses
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post #7 of 62 Old 09-18-2013, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~ View Post
Using a bamboo stick to touch the horse is quite far from "disturbing"....


And people wonder why GP trainers don't allow auditors and why it's being discussed to run FEI level competitions with no spectators.... Why don't you try this novel idea called asking a question to the clinician instead of making an uneducated judgement and now spewing it on the internet.
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Someone using a bamboo stick on a horse could be disturbing - if they were using sufficient force to make it so - you have no idea how hard that trainer was using the cane so your response is based completely on assumption and IMO was unduly rude
There is nothing to be gained by hitting a horse on its front legs in piaffe training - please take a look at the video that ninamebo has posted and it will explain to you clearly why you wouldn't do it - piaffe is a forward movement that concentrates all the impulsion and energy into a power ball and the only way to create that energy is from behind - interfering with the front legs will only detract from that.
Nothing should be going on behind the scenes or in any sort of competition that should make anyone concerned about allegations of abuse - it needs more airtime not less.
Your response does nothing to promote dressage as a sport that's currently doing its best to encourage the average rider to get involved in
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post #8 of 62 Old 09-18-2013, 08:51 AM
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I think it can be argued both ways. It is immensely frustrating that people see something and automatically assume it is 'disturbing' and then come online to tell the world how a GP trainer was 'hitting' a horse. Much of our day to day horse care could be deemed in the same manner, sheath cleaning, teeth filing, hammering on shoes, stabling etc.

Though I don't agree with the 'authorities' wanting to lessen the uneducated spectators, I can understand why there would be many people at that level sick and tired of the uneducated criticism who would be happy to close the doors.
Personally, I think education is the way to go but that is very hard when you come across (not aiming this at you, OP, I'm just on a tangent ;) ) a large population who are hell being on destroying reputations. I believe the same to be true for many other disciplines not just dressage. 3DE is being watched now in Australia by PETA for example!
There will never be a clear cut answer, I think equestrian sports as a whole will just need to grin and bare it. But as s general rule to all on forums, like Anebel said above, ask the clinician or your own instructor before making assumptions and spreading that around. We do not know the reasons behind the trainers actions as we do not know horse nor riders issues. But most clinicians are all too happy to further explain their methods if you just ask.
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post #9 of 62 Old 09-18-2013, 10:21 AM
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This is all very true and well put, Kayty, but we also don't know the background of the OP, whether or not she even knew what a piaffe or passage was going into the clinic (I know, this is a bit dramatic), or if she knew how to achieve one. I don't think she was trying to out some trainer that was hitting a horse, just asking a question that she might not have had the chance to do on the clinic day to get a little more info on the topic. Yes, the obvious answer would be to ask the clinician first, but she may have simply not gotten the chance to; we won't ever know because we weren't there. I don't think she should be chastised for this. Just trying to see everyone's sides to things :)

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post #10 of 62 Old 09-18-2013, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~ View Post
And people wonder why GP trainers don't allow auditors
I'd appreciate if you would point out any to me, please. May be it's different in Canada, however EVERY clinic/training lesson I know of with GP (and even Olympic team) rider/trainer (whether local or visiting) in my area ALWAYS welcomes auditors (for $20 or so for clinic, for free for prospective student to watch a lesson). And yeah, people do ask questions there, sometime entry level (which all trainers I know of have no problem with).

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