Suppleness - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-16-2010, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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Suppleness

Thought this would be a good subject to discuss for those that may be confused with a horse that just bends to a horse that is truly supple.

Kayty also posted a good response on the other thread.

I posted.

Suppleness developes out of the driving forces of the rider acting on the hind to produce the energy to allow the hind leg swing to reach its maximun extension (or as far as the conformation of the horse allows).

It is this energy that allows the energy to travel along the back and neck muscles and stimulate the horse to seek contact.
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-17-2010, 03:00 AM
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This is a good thread Spyder. So many of the concepts that we deem as simple and obvious really are not when you are just starting out in dressage.

Suppleness, like rhythm, relaxation, straightness, throughness etc etc all comes from forward, and thus engagement.
You cannot achieve a horse that is truely on the aids, collected, and able to perform anything more advanced than a simple walk-trot transition unless you have engagement. Simple as that.
You cannot truely 'steer' a horse without engagement. Trying to give direction to a horse on the forehand is like trying to steer a road train around a tight bend. When engaged, the horses hind legs act as a 'rudder' (I am fighting to put this into simple, bite sized pieces!!) through turns. They push the horse around the bend and keep it upright. In a way, the forehand follows to hind end, rather than the front legs pulling the horse along, the hind legs PUSH the horse along. Much like a 4WD car compared to a front wheel drive car. The 4WD gives a far greater degree of control over the vehicle as the back wheels are pushing the car and giving direction, where as putting a front wheel drive on a muddy, slippery track will result in the car sliding out in the back end.
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-17-2010, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
...the hind legs PUSH the horse along.
You're explanation is very good, but I would like to make a word change here:

...the hind legs CARRY the horse along.

A racehorse 'PUSHES' himself along on his forehand, but a dressage (riding) horse 'CARRIES' himself.
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-17-2010, 08:31 PM
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As i said above, trying to put it into simple words ;)
i was attempting to put it as though the hind legs are doing the driving, and the front end is simply going along for the ride so to speak. Perfectly understand what you are saying about carrying vs. pushing though, it was a simple attempt at putting my explanation into bite size, understandable pieces for those who do not know the ins and outs of dressage 'lingo' so to speak ;) But i can see that yes, I suppose pushing does give s lightly wrong idea.
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-17-2010, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty View Post
As i said above, trying to put it into simple words ;)
i was attempting to put it as though the hind legs are doing the driving, and the front end is simply going along for the ride so to speak. Perfectly understand what you are saying about carrying vs. pushing though, it was a simple attempt at putting my explanation into bite size, understandable pieces for those who do not know the ins and outs of dressage 'lingo' so to speak ;) But i can see that yes, I suppose pushing does give s lightly wrong idea.
Totally agree with your explanation, the front end going where the hind end tells it to go, etc.. and thought it was bang on with the exception of that one word. Nitpicking perhaps, but biomechanically pushing and carrying is quite different. I always figure people should learn the correct terminology right off the bat.
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post #6 of 7 Old 02-17-2010, 10:04 PM
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No worries mercedes, totally understand ;) I've never been good at explaining in simple terms what I know in my head. I could never been a coach as I just 'do' things if that makes any sense at all.
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-26-2010, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty View Post
No worries mercedes, totally understand ;) I've never been good at explaining in simple terms what I know in my head. I could never been a coach as I just 'do' things if that makes any sense at all.
Actually, yes, that makes sense. You ride with your body and soul, not your head. So, when asked how do you do that, you respond, "Hm...let me think about that for a minute."
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