Response vs Movement

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Response vs Movement

This is a discussion on Response vs Movement within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Responsiveness vs movement

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    03-27-2009, 12:43 PM
Response vs Movement

Read this question on another board.

What are your opinions on 'quality of response' versus 'quality of movement'? Where/when do you ask for quality movement once you've established the response to the aids?

One answer was.................All you can expect the first time a horse learns a movement, is a response.

Discussion anyone?
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    03-27-2009, 09:04 PM
I think movements should be used as exercises to improve the horse. A good response is needed, yes, but it will come only when the horse is ready to do the movement and the rider asks correctly and teaches the horse. Quality of movement comes when the horse has built up the correct muscles through correct repetition of the movements.
Perfect practice makes perfect type thing.
    04-20-2009, 09:37 AM
I feel you can't get quality movement without first having quality responses. Quality of movement, in my opinion, comes from the lightness and response level in the ride. To achieve quality movement the horse must be adjustable in his carriage, balance, lightness etc. All goes hand-in-hand to the level of response.
I ask for quality from the beginning. No reason to teach the horse to carry himself unbalanced, heavy, and unresponsive, and then going and looking for quality. It starts from day 1.
    04-20-2009, 09:38 AM
BTW, very good thread. Hopefully more people will participate.
    04-21-2009, 05:19 PM
What is "quality of response" and "quality of movement" ?
    04-21-2009, 06:47 PM
Quality of movement is the amount of quality(how good it is) within the gaits.
You can go around at a trot, but how good is that trot? There are many factors to decide if there is quality. Is the trot rhythmical? Is it balanced and uphill? Is it coming with ease and willingness? But, having said that, it doesn't mean that a quality trot is ONLY those things. Something better than what you had before, is gaining quality within that gait. It takes time.
Just like you had said in a post earlier on how you figured out how to bend your guy around the corners at the canter. You had a better quality of movement because he was bending in the direction he was going and had a over-all better canter.
Quality of response is how well your horse responds. If you can whisper the aids to your horse and your horse is right there to perform the aid, then the quality of response is high. If you have to whack your horse to get him into a lazy walk that you have to keep nagging him on, then your quality of response AND your quality of movement is low. Make sense?
    04-21-2009, 07:03 PM
I put this thread up because the answer is the typical egg before chicken question.

It can in fact be argued both ways.

A quality response is important just as a quality movement is.

Dressage should be such that nothing is so set that there is only one answer. Good riding, in my case dressage but can apply to any discipline should carry no absolutes. Horses are unique and training methods must follow that uniqueness. Valid arguments can be waged on both sides.

I had an answer to this question with this response.

Because the answer is self evident, I.e. OBVIOUS. So it's not really much up for discussion.

All you can expect the first time a horse learns a movement, assuming it has been well prepared, is a response. You can then work on the quality of the response. All the time, though, you have to keep your eye on the quality of gaits because if you lose the quality of the underlying gait during the movement, something is wrong with your preparation.

For example, when I taught my mare the shoulder in, I did not expect the degree of angle or bend that is required in a show and I did not expect the quality of expression. I just wanted her to respond to my aids and also to retain the basics of rythm and relaxation and the quality of the gait she had at the time. Then you work on angle and bend and expression with various exercises. I have been working on shoulder in for over a year now and we are now adding expression by doing tempo changes and transitions in the shoulder in which helps to strengthen her. The quality of my shoulder ins, after a year of working on them, is much higher than I could ever expect initially. She is doing so well (I worked on lateral suppleness so that I could do changes of bend) that she can now do the change of hand down centerline in shoulder in and she can do it with quality of gaits. Also as a horse develops, the quality of gaits can improve (especially the trot), and this can improve the quality of the movement as well.

So, IMO, the answer to the question is obvious. The response is important first (while retaining the basics and quality of gaits) and the quality of the movement improves with time and proper gymnastics.

And here is my arguement for the reverse--movement.

The better the movement, the better the response will be AND the better the response the better the movement.

The horse will not respond quick or proper until the rider has set the horse up in a balanced and engaged manner, this is movement. There can be no response good enough for the horse to be able react physically correct without the quality of movement being there.

Yes you can get some semblence of responce in a shoulder in with dragging legs and call that responce. There are many that train this way. Then there are the purests that insist in a pure forward movement correct in every way before they ask for the tinniest of baby step of a shoulder in.

For instance, if the horse is not in front of your leg, he can't respond as quickly or effectively. Being behind the leg and therefore not engaged cannot result in quality movement, and therefore response.

So it makes no sense for example in asking for leg yield if you don't have a relaxed, balanced and forward horse, that is rythymic and supple. So, you need quality of movement BEFORE asking for lateral work.

In summary: If the response is there, the movement will be there. And, if the movement is there, the response will be there.

So in fact both answers can be considered somewhat correct and the moral of this thread is that there simply are no absolutes in any discipline even in a structured one like dressage.
    04-22-2009, 04:56 PM
I agree 100%. :) Thanks Spyder!
    04-22-2009, 11:50 PM
I think everything is gradual you can't get on a green horse ask for a haunches in and expect to get it.
    04-23-2009, 01:50 AM
Great post Spyder - I appreciate you taking the time to put that up! Very informative!

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