Schoolmasters - Page 2

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This is a discussion on Schoolmasters within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    02-09-2010, 02:39 PM
A few weeks back, my sister, Paige, was given the job to exercise an imported warmblood for a week while her owner was on vacation. This horse is ridden by her owner in a crank-flash noseband combo, a set of draw-reins, and heavy, unsteady hands.
We took all of that off. Paige found just a tiny bit of softness remaining in that horse, and it only took a few day for her to bring that out, for the most part. This horse had probably been well started in Germany as a three year-old, before she came over here two years ago at six years.
At the end of the week, my sister cheekily said that she wanted to take Freddy for a test drive, and threw me up on the mare to cool her out. You had to be absolutely, completely soft with her, and she right away taught me about passive seat. Just at the walk, and this horse wasn't even a schoolmaster (even though she was probably an amazing prospect at one time). But just getting on something that was even remotely dressage-trained after having ridden jumper horses for my whole career was a great oppurtunity.
As much as I'm greatful to Freddy for teaching me about basic roundness and learning to deal with an attitude like his, he's still a jumper-trained horse, and he will never be a dressage horse. It's not fair to ask that from him; I don't even own him. But now I feel more like I'm teaching him, and I guess that just means he's taken me as far as he can. We're looking to lease or even buy (!) a dressage-trained horse or well-started prospect this spring, but we'll see.

My sister was lucky. She was a working student for a local dressage trainer, who had competed at the WEG and owned Grand Prix horses. Paige had just come from a hunter jumper barn, and, even though her old coach was training riders to be effective, she was still not a dressage rider.
The first time she got that horse, he started piaffing and wouldn't stop. She learned within thirty minutes of riding that horse what seat, leg, and hand really means.

I wouldn't consider myself even worthy of cooling out that level of dressage horse, not yet. But I think anyone can benefit from getting on a schoolmaster, which doesn't have to even be a top level horse. With any level of schoolmaster, you can feel and experiment with a horse that is asking you to be the type of rider that he needs and what you want to be. You can see what blatantly works, works in the wrong way, and what doesn't work at all.
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    02-09-2010, 02:49 PM
Originally Posted by Mercedes    
"Push button horse" = automaton, NOT a schoolmaster.
This, exactly!

I don't like riding horses that are so forgiving... Freddy can be this way sometimes.
At one show last summer, we were warming up for my first equitation class. I asked Freddy to canter, but I didn't have the inside bend. I thought he was going to take off on the wrong lead, but he still picked up the right one. So I brought him back and asked properly. My trainer said, "Why did you bring he back, he still cantered!"
"But I asked wrong!"

We're good (picky) students!
    02-09-2010, 06:14 PM
I had an interesting lesson on a schoolmaster once. We had some great work, but he really told me – mostly by passage-ing ;) – when I asked for something incorrectly.

When riding a school master I expect him to know more than I do… that I’ll learn something new riding him as opposed to teaching something new to my mount. I certainly learned and felt new things in that one lesson.
    02-09-2010, 06:19 PM
Originally Posted by kelley horsemad    
I had an interesting lesson on a schoolmaster once. We had some great work, but he really told me mostly by passage-ing ;) when I asked for something incorrectly.

When riding a school master I expect him to know more than I do that Ill learn something new riding him as opposed to teaching something new to my mount. I certainly learned and felt new things in that one lesson.

Originally Posted by Mercedes    
Schoolmasters are created from a combination of superior training, intelligence, attitude/dominant personality/call it what you like, and the inherent need to want to be understood on an entirely different level and demanding it.
Haha...someone found out what Mercedes said...didn't they
    02-09-2010, 07:24 PM
Originally Posted by IslandWave    
Well I've never had a chance to ride a dressage schoolmaster yet, but I expect it to be a great learning experiance. To have a horse that knows more than you can be a challange is so true, but it is also a challenge to learn how to (for example) leg yield on a horse who doesn't know how to leg yield. It can go both ways.
This is how I view it. I wouldn't expect to get on a horse that knows more than me and have it all down immediately, far from it in fact. It would just be a change from riding a horse who's learning with me. Hope that makes sense. I'm not talking about a pushbutton either, I mean a horse who knows what they're doing, and won't respond unless I ride correctly. Although, now that I'm typing this out it's made me think. My horse won't respond either unless I ride correctly... hmm. Definitely food for thought.
    02-09-2010, 07:39 PM
I rode these horses

Gotta see these pics by the way, theyre not me on them, but they are seriously stunning horses.
But yeah, I rode a couple a day for a week when I was at the lusitano stud on work experience. Experience it certainly was!!! By the end of the week I felt like completely different rider, as piaffe, half pass and travers etc were more than me and my own horse dreaming!! Every muscle in my body ached from using barely existent sore muscles. I loved it. They were crazily sensitive and I wanted to give up the first day, as I felt like a novice again!!! It was sooo worth it though! X
    02-09-2010, 08:14 PM
I think my boy loosely fits Mercede's description. He absolutely grunts, growls, groans when I ask for something wrong. You can see him visibly relax and say "thank you" when an experienced rider gets on him. The best thing about him though is that when I get something right, I can absolutely feel it from him and for me it only takes once or twice of feeling the difference between right and wrong for it to solidify and I "get" it. I think this steepens the learning curve a lot as I am very much a beginner so I don't think that a less demanding horse would help me learn so much so quickly. Of course, being a beginner it is likely I have no idea what I am talking about!!
    02-11-2010, 09:15 PM
Schoolmaster = reality check for me. I recently got to ride my instructor's Intermediate level eventing horse. She rode him first and of course looked fantastic. I then got on and instantly was riding a giraffe. He was like, "Oh so you think you have a balanced seat, do you? Prove it!". Any time I want to see if I'm really riding effectively, rather than spending money on a lesson, I'll just hop on him!
    02-12-2010, 03:17 AM
I find the schoolmasters my instructor hasm quite a challenge.

I mean, I can ride of teh school horses great, everything goes right to plan, but when im popped on one of the schoolmasters I do strugglr and can get really mucked out.

They are great to ride when you need to feel something like shoulder or trevade so you can get it better on a less expereince horse.
    02-12-2010, 11:56 AM
I just ran a survey to find out what people would most like to learn from a schoolmaster. The overwhelming replies were:
1. Sit the trot better
2. Canter departs
3. Put horse on the bit
4. Flying Changes
5. Piaffe/Passage

What top 2 things would you like to learn from a schoolmaster?

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