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Why learn about the Art of Classical Riding

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  • The art of classical riding difficult misunderstanding

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    07-05-2010, 02:23 PM
  #11
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
Spirit Horse
I was inviting you to crash the thread.

I come from an era when "classical techniques" were deemed to be too sophisticated for the general rider. Back in those days one was taught to stay on with the view to one day being capable enough to follow the hunt. It was not until I started to ride in Andalucia amongst the Spaniards that I realised what for decades I had been missing. It was then too late for my ageing frame.

But as for being a great rider - let me assume that you mean " the better of the best" - I fear that the continental Europeans are taking the Art of Dressage to very high levels. The cost of the specially bred horse, the facilties, the schooling and the training plus the allocation of the time put top level dressage beyond the reach of the majority of us. Then of course there is the matter of ability.

My horse - an Irish Draught/Connemara 'cob' could do well in a younger persons hands - and I suspect she'd especially thrive with some Portuguese rider's attention even though she is a mare. Personally I'd look a big silly wearing a pretty dress but maybe my wife could be persuaded to dress up and parade in a feria. I am sure the horse would love it and maybe she'd find a handsome Lusitano stallion to make foals with.
Barry;
The Europeans are actually destroying classical dressage as the art form.
They are dependent upon leg movers v. Back movers. The high false extension of the foreleg, etc......and the riders cannot get out of the horses' mouths....and their bodies are moving like a bag of potatoes rather than a bag of marshmellows.

The rules of dressage do not divide and stipulate a particular description of the gaits as applied to a specific breed of horse. That being said, the judges are mezermized by the circus dressage performed at GP. They judge not by the rules but by their ideals and their concepts of good dressage horses. One cannot compare a Connemara to a WB, one should be informed of the breeds and their NATURAL gaits thus apply the rules in the judging. If this occured the WB would be losers...........espeicially at international GP.

As for your aging frame.....Riding is the best exercise for it....I am 65 and expect to compete in the Olymics when I am a bit older.... I ride an Andulusian mare and ride dressage without a bit, spurs, whip and she is barefoot. Oh my gosh, I TOTALLY go against the Europeans concepts. And I am having a new design of dressage saddle forumlated.........Guess I truly am the blacksheep of dressage. Oh well I ride for the betterment of my horse not what others think. LOL

To bad that the 'modern' dressage trainer and rider ignores the Portugese school of dressage. The good old battle movements are so great in schooling for classical dressage.

Your mare should be looking at a fine old bloodline Andalusian stallion...wow would that be a foal..................~!!!!!!
     
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    07-05-2010, 03:36 PM
  #12
Guest
Spirit Horse
I have just bought 'Tug of War' by Heuschmann. It is heavy going for the likes of me but he hates Rollkur.
When I was young - I am now 71 - I and my Welsh Cob had a week with Lord Loch - one of the memorable holidays of my life. I got to ride the Lusitano stallions which he brought back from Portugal.

My Girl 15h2 DiDi has a broad chest, a deep barrel, a broad flat back and a foal bearing butt - she'd make a good bride for the Lusitano in the bull ring on your web site. I don't think she would make it in the bull ring though. She is a gentle, kind, intelligent, sensitive but very sharp mare.

Trouble is I was taught to ride 'forwards' on cobs - a la Vladimir Littauer.
My 65y old wife (who also went to Lord Loch) does better with her than I do.

Look up the albums on my profile - there are photos of both DiDi the dapple grey mare and Joe the hairy black Cob. There are stories about both of them on this forum.

As for Andalusians, I love them but they are used to the sun and alfalfa - here we have rain, and green, green grass. And no, I can't have a stallion at my age, especially in Britain But I know where to find one in Murcia.

Welcome to the Forum

Barry
     
    07-05-2010, 04:23 PM
  #13
Weanling
Thank you for the welcome.

Yes...good old Heuschmann.
He has good intentions but does not express them well, in my opinion. And I have found that most people do not comprehend his writing....

I teach horsemanship as the actual dance that it is. In other words, I teach equine anatomy, its independent action and how we interfere with this action.

As for teaching riding forward....I was schooled that I want the horse forward not me. LOL

My Andulusian and I live in Utah....snow in the winter and desert heat in the summer............she does great. Well what is important is not 'having' the stallion, but as you say...knowing where HE is..............!
     
    07-05-2010, 04:25 PM
  #14
Yearling
I mostly agree with you, spirithorse, but not about the aim of getting a horse completely off the bit; in the same way, I don't agree that the parts of classical dressage that are battle-oriented are necessarily so great.

I'm just one of those who don't enjoy "push-button" horses. There's too much machinery and buttons and touchscreens in my life as it is. I like horses because they're ALIVE. I prefer to live without the do-it-or-we'll-both-die attitude. I AVOID this sort of situation, just like a dancer might avoid working out in a field of holes and rubble. When I find myself in such a place, I just hope our relationship holds up to get us away safely.

Which leads back to reins and the bridle, which I use for communication. Yes, I ride mares, who aren't afraid to "talk": there's a lot you can say through the reins. And I do enjoy the conversations.
     
    07-05-2010, 04:38 PM
  #15
Weanling
"I mostly agree with you, spirithorse, but not about the aim of getting a horse completely off the bit; in the same way, I don't agree that the parts of classical dressage that are battle-oriented are necessarily so great."

Ah, I think you misunderstood me. I want the horse on the bit, however, that is an expression that actually relates to the frame of the horse. When I teach a client to ride bitted, I teach extremely light constant contact...literally in ounces of pressure; that is the goal.
Battle-oriented movements are great because the movements are truly gymnastic in the physical element. This aids in the developement of the suppleness and fluidity of the horse.

"I'm just one of those who don't enjoy "push-button" horses."

When I have a client come to me with a "push-button" horse, it is within a very short time that they learn to allow the horse to be horse. Thus I 'remove' the push-buttons from the horse and the rider learns to communicate.

"Which leads back to reins and the bridle, which I use for communication. Yes, I ride mares, who aren't afraid to "talk": there's a lot you can say through the reins. And I do enjoy the conversations."

Tis the reins that are the secondary line of communication. The rider's soft, supple, fluid and unconstrained body is the mainline of communication.
As Col. Podhajsky stated: "My Horses, My Teachers"
     
    07-06-2010, 05:44 PM
  #16
Yearling
I did misunderstand you.

I've seen quite a few western-type trainers work hard to get a horse's "face"-- they can be quite rough until the horse drops the bit. I think it's a way towards submission, which of course is necessary; but it's one of the things about Western riding that I find uncomfortable. (That and the saddle!)

I'm also a fan of Podhasky, and that's one of my favorite books.
     
    07-06-2010, 05:49 PM
  #17
Weanling
With permission of the publisher that has the rights to Podhajsky, I created part one of my own dressage manual. I do agree alot with the Col., however, over the past twenty years I have discovered that we have actually been inhibiting the performance of our horses.

Our motto is; "Supreme Performance Throught Supreme Freedom" and that is exactly what we mean. From nose to tail, we want our horses in self carriage without constraint, moving as they do when free.
     
    07-06-2010, 06:47 PM
  #18
Trained
As one who trains in "The European Style", this:

"The Europeans are actually destroying classical dressage as the art form.
They are dependent upon leg movers v. Back movers. The high false extension of the foreleg, etc......and the riders cannot get out of the horses' mouths....and their bodies are moving like a bag of potatoes rather than a bag of marshmellows."

I find slightly offensive. Yes, there is a lot of exaggerated and artificial looking movement in today's competitive dressage arenas, BUT, it is not because the horses are leg movers, that the riders are hanging on the face or that they cannot sit. It is that the horses in these arenas are bred for dressage, so much can be asked of them and that they are so hot, high powered and temperamental. Comparing modern day, high performance warmbloods to the Spanish and Baroque breeds is like comparing apples to oranges. Riding one is so entirely different from riding the other, which is the reason for the two main schools of dressage in the first place. And please, don't insult the riders. I am sorry but for you to say that just sickens me. Some of the worlds greatest trainers ride in European style and have developed some truly amazing horses into athletes in that style. I dare you to watch Robert Dover ride and tell him he looks like a sack of potatoes. I dare you to accuse him of harshness. I dare you to tell the same thing to Wittig, Peters, Klimke and the scores of other riders and trainers and coaches in modern day dressage. And then I dare you to get on their horses and pull or hold on the contact as you accuse them of doing. When you get out of hospital, give me a call.

I think it is a shame that those of the Spanish and Baroque schools feel the need to bash those in the European school. Many of us might be more willing to travel to these other schools were they not so high on themselves and low on others. Classical dressage is classical dressage no matter the school you are in.

$0.02
AnitaAnne likes this.
     
    07-06-2010, 08:14 PM
  #19
Weanling
Anebel~*~;682433]As one who trains in "The European Style", this:
I find slightly offensive. Yes, there is a lot of exaggerated and artificial looking movement in today's competitive dressage arenas, BUT, it is not because the horses are leg movers, that the riders are hanging on the face or that they cannot sit."

You should not be offended by a personal opinon. I actually image that if we were together in a schooling session we would not disagree much if you allowed yourself to actually let me school you and inform you as to the reasons behind my precepts [the horses requirements].
The portion stating the horses are not leg movers is incorrect, for there are numerous individuals some with quite high stature that declare the same thing, including equine veterinarians, judges, other trainers and riders.
As for the riders hanging on the face, I totally disagree with you as that is the standard being set in the competition arena. As for they cannot sit, I disagree with you totally, and that is the standard being set in the competition arena.
Why, because the judges are allowing it and the competitors are to complacent to file the appropriate protests.

It is that the horses in these arenas are bred for dressage, so much can be asked of them and that they are so hot, high powered and temperamental. Comparing modern day, high performance warmbloods to the Spanish and Baroque breeds is like comparing apples to oranges.

Let us examine that statement. This is the reality: "Dressage is not about creating that which is not there naturally". Dressage is about each individual horse of the various breeds being capable of meeting the descriptions contained in Article 401. One should never compare any breed to the other. The comparisons are arising because the breeding programs are creating horses with exaggerated gaits/strides, this is presenting circus stars not dressage stars.

And please, don't insult the riders. I am sorry but for you to say that just sickens me. Some of the worlds greatest trainers ride in European style and have developed some truly amazing horses into athletes in that style. I dare you to watch Robert Dover ride and tell him he looks like a sack of potatoes. I dare you to accuse him of harshness. I dare you to tell the same thing to Wittig, Peters, Klimke and the scores of other riders and trainers and coaches in modern day dressage.

Wow, insulting riders? There never has been any insulting by me. When the riders do not sit quietly, when the riders do not let go of the horses and keep them constrained, when the riders cannot even present the horses according to Article 401....these riders should be criticized.
The overriding description contained in Article 401 is that the horse should appear as to be doing it on its own....well that means releasing the horse. As for accusing them of harshness, anyone has that right when they induce tetanic contractions into the horses. Not that is not to say it is intentional....for it is not....it is because of lack of knowledge. And that is not what good dressage trainers and riders should be doing. They should be seeking out new knowledge that can help the health and welfare of the horse and create a horse and rider combination that can actually fulfill the descriptions contained in Article 401.

And then I dare you to get on their horses and pull or hold on the contact as you accuse them of doing. When you get out of hospital, give me a call.

I would love to get on just one of their horses and demonstrate horsemanship. I have even set forth such a challenge, but of course no takers. That is because egos get in the way. Their positions are clear, they know more than the little guys and gals, therefore, we having nothing to teach them. A perfect example is Hilda Gurney who at last years conference stated she had tried bitless dressage and found no difference. Well when I approached her several years ago she said you could not ride dressage bitless. Riding with the cross under the jaw rein bitless bridle is not the same as riding with a bit and she made no effort to learn.
I have never found a horse that would not listen to me, because I "allow" the horse to have freedom to make decisions without continuous constraints being applied. Since 1988, when I invented Spirit Bridle, I have never had a horse take off with me nor place me in a position that I brought forth any reason to be fearful.
"Supreme Performance Through Supreme Freedom" has been my motto and my results.

Classical dressage is classical dressage no matter the school you are in.

By your response to me, you have actually made this statement a falsehood. The SCHOOL of DRESSAGE I participate in is the one of the horse not of man. The problem with today is that dressage has forgotten Col. Podhajsky and his simple philosophy 'My horses, my teachers'.
I ride classic dressage, poll high - nose in front of the vertical - back up - hindquarters thoroughly engaged - collected - on the bit frame without a bit - and without spurs nor whip, nor shoes upon the horse's hooves.
     
    07-07-2010, 04:25 AM
  #20
Guest
Wow Spirit Horse.
I am now well aware you are way above my pay grade. I'd love to see you riding my mare. It would be very interesting to see how she would perform in your hands The sad thing is that I doubt if I could follow on from you.

Threads on this Forum often turn into debates. Look back over the list of threads in horse training, horse riding and you'll see that some topics attract 1000s of viewers and several hundred posters.
More gentle training & riding 'systems' are very much in vogue.

May I suggest you pick a favoured subject and start a debate on some aspect of dressage about which you feel particularly strong.

The Forum is multi disciplinary and broadly divided into Western and English.
Riders of English in the US have slightly different ideas from those in Britain and of continental Europe. But it doesn't matter. What does matter is the debate and giving cause to riders to think about what they are doing with their horse.

I'll look out for your thread.

Barry G
     

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