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Really cool article on balance and collection

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        12-19-2013, 12:40 PM
      #11
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    
    A lot of mumbo jumbo written from the view of a spectator, and not a rider.

    Yes it is all well and good to recognize correct work. Yes we can sit and analyze performances and pictures and slow frame videos and pick out freeze frames of good and not good. However, horses are living and breathing animals with minds of their own. It is important to recognize the training aspect of collection. It is very easy to sit down and write a webpage saying war is bad and peace is good. The difficulty is the HOW. And this is where we need to refer to the literature written by riders, and not the peanut gallery.

    Developing a Full, Round Neck

    Ride Like a Dressage Professional

    Some better, true, published articles by Charles de Knuffy and Christoph Hess, respectively, on the subject of RIDING the horse, not watching it.

    "How" really is the next step and not one that is possible if people have not understood how to recognise what is correct first. Calling the article a lot of "mumbo jumbo" seems pretty unhelpful really, unless you are saying it is incorrect in which case please explain further.

    In depth books can be a difficult way to learn about how to achieve collection with a living breathing horse, I think good one to one instruction might be better.
    Skyseternalangel likes this.
         
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        12-19-2013, 12:58 PM
      #12
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Clava    
    "How" really is the next step and not one that is possible if people have not understood how to recognise what is correct first. Calling the article a lot of "mumbo jumbo" seems pretty unhelpful really, unless you are saying it is incorrect in which case please explain further.

    In depth books can be a difficult way to learn about how to achieve collection with a living breathing horse, I think good one to one instruction might be better.
    It's mumbo jumbo because it's a lot of words that never really say anything. There's no science or riders backing it up. It just creates a bunch of armchair enthusiasts behind their keyboards complaining about upper level dressage because an anonymous person once posted a picture of Anky in a moment of time and the horse was BTV and now she's evil and does Rolkur despite the fact she has, and has had, many horses competing well and happily into their late teens in FEI level dressage. And because "Bob's Dressage Page" on the internet is the end all be all for everything Dressage and Anky can't possibly know a single thing about horse training - she is abusive and MEAN!!

    I think folks need to read more about the training of the horse and learn to recognize what THE HORSE thinks of as correct. Those of you not familiar with Pia Munck should read some of her internet rantings too. While occasionally extreme, it is good to have both sides of the argument. And she is always fighting for the good of the horse. A hollow frame with back dropped but nose ITV is not correct either and has actually been shown to be more detrimental to the horse than RK and BTV/LDR. Once people are familiar with the training of the horse, by reading literature, THEN to get on the horse and get good instruction based on this literature is how folks should get acquainted with what is correct and incorrect in the saddle, from the view of the horse. Not by reading "Bob's Dressage Page" and www.RolkurIsEvil.net. Go to the classics, go to the masters.
         
        12-19-2013, 02:47 PM
      #13
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    
    A lot of mumbo jumbo written from the view of a spectator, and not a rider....
    From the article:

    "When the horse’s nose is behind the vertical, the thrusting energy of the hind legs does not travel through to the poll. It only makes it to the spot in the neck where the vertebra are ‘broken’, at which point the energy is stifled by the heavy head and remaining neck that are hanging downward off the front. The weight of the already overburdened forehand is increased."

    I'd love to hear what that actually means. The thrusting energy of the hind legs can be broken into 2 vectors, one vertical and one horizontal. The greater percentage devoted the the vertical, the less is available to the horizontal. But it cannot stop somewhere in the neck. Once created, it either lifts weight or moves the horse forward. Holding the head at an artificial spot may do a number of bad things, but it does not cause energy to dissipate...where? Through the pores of the skin?

    It might result in stiffness, or the horse becoming resentful, or it might result in the horse adjusting its steps in a harmful way, but it does not cause the energy created by the rear to be stifled in the neck.

    "This naturally offered posture allows the rein aids to travel freely through each vertebra, through the pelvis, down to the hind pastern joints."

    Again, this may be verbal imagery that helps someone, but it is not a mechanically correct statement. Reins aids do not travel thru the vertebra or pelvis. The horse moves, in very complex ways, as a learned response to rider inputs transmitted via the reins.

    Arguably, with good training, the horse comes to understand the actual end goal of the rider, and responds in an efficient manner to create that end goal. Riding is about movement, not posture. The horse adjusts things like how long each foot remains in contact with the ground, stride length, how far each leg is moved to create the stride, how much thrust each foot creates, how much of it is created by main muscle and dozens of other things that we have only begun to be able to measure. But we do not control any of those things. Our 'aids' do not flow thru bones or muscles. They only are inputs to the horse's mind, which then practices to learn the easiest way to perform that motion.

    It isn't posture that allows the horse to respond, but understanding the end goal we are asking for - and hopefully we haven't screwed it all up by accepting the wrong motion in response to our 'aids'.

    In Ride Like a Dressage Professional, Christoph Hess & Hilary Moore Hebert write:

    "If we do not read the body language of our horse, we cannot ride dressage correctly. A happy dressage horse is one that can work with the dressage rider. In turn, it is the dressage rider's job to learn when a horse is feeling encouraged in his work.
    "

    This is true of all riding, not just dressage. We train the mind, but we do not control the body. In ~*~anebel~*~'s other link, Charles de Kunffy wrote:

    "...the second breakthrough came when I realized that riding is a dancing partnership with the horse."

    Exactly. You do not control where your dance partner puts her feet, and you'll both look like fools if you try to control where she goes. She either dances with you, or you both struggle. You can affect her mind and heart, but not her feet! Once her heart and mind are with you, getting the feet to go along is a matter of practice and possibly conditioning on both of your bodies. But your hand on her hip does not flow thru her legs into her shoes, and we would feel stupid suggesting otherwise.

    Riding is a dance. Training is teaching the horse our goal, and making it easy for him to perform it. It has far more to do with the horse's willingness and understanding than it does a few degrees of change in nose position.

    All that said, I'm inclined to be happy with any website that argues that riders should not focus on 'headset' and 'frame'. When was the last time you heard of someone trying to get his dance partner into the 'right headset'?
    ~*~anebel~*~ likes this.
         
        12-19-2013, 02:52 PM
      #14
    Showing
    For me the article touched upon what you should be seeing when what you are feeling is correct.

    It did go into BTV and ITV but I think the point was not to worry about the face because even if the horse looks right, it could be using itself improperly.

    To me, this article isn't the go to for information.. mainly I'm adding it to my toolbox of knowledge. It offers some sound information to consider, but I'm not going to pin it to my mirror to study every night before I go to bed.
    Clava and bsms like this.
         
        12-19-2013, 03:16 PM
      #15
    Super Moderator
    No one single thing or person should ever be your only point of learning
    Mumbo Jumbo is how I would describe something that's impossible to understand and yet this article actually makes things very easy to understand which is why it is so useful
    As for being a spectator the author Tonja Dausend has been a professional trainer for 25 years (wow that's before some of our members were even born!!), she's worked with top international instructors in the US and Germany, taken part in USDF Instructor programs and attended the L Education program for judges training to assist her in evaluating horses and riders. She has ridden in western and English disciplines but mostly now focuses on Classical dressage
    Clava, boots and KigerQueen like this.
         
        12-21-2013, 02:05 PM
      #16
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    
    ... Yes we can sit and analyze performances and pictures and slow frame videos and pick out freeze frames of good and not good....It is very easy to sit down and write a webpage saying war is bad and peace is good.
    Actually, I don't think it's that easy. There are many kinds of war, and many kinds of peace, too.

    I don't think recognizing good movement, or training, or riding, is all that easy either. I've lately been trying to be completely honest with myself, when watching YouTube vids: am I really happy with what I'm seeing? There are times when I "know" the work is "correct" but no, I'm not happy. I think, can't Steffen (one of my favorite riders) give just two more inches of rein? His horse looks so cramped!"

    Thank you for the articles. Funny how they all stress a happy horse, and relaxation; qualities I feel are quite rare in upper-level competitive dressage.
    jaydee likes this.
         
        12-21-2013, 02:35 PM
      #17
    Super Moderator
    "When the horse’s nose is behind the vertical, the thrusting energy of the hind legs does not travel through to the poll. It only makes it to the spot in the neck where the vertebra are ‘broken’, at which point the energy is stifled by the heavy head and remaining neck that are hanging downward off the front. The weight of the already overburdened forehand is increased."

    I'd love to hear what that actually means. The thrusting energy of the hind legs can be broken into 2 vectors, one vertical and one horizontal. The greater percentage devoted the the vertical, the less is available to the horizontal. But it cannot stop somewhere in the neck. Once created, it either lifts weight or moves the horse forward. Holding the head at an artificial spot may do a number of bad things, but it does not cause energy to dissipate...where? Through the pores of the skin?

    if the horse is forced to "break" his neck behind the poll, he loses access to the looseness and lateral flexibility of his poll joint. He literally cannot have the same soft flexion in the poll and jaw that he has if the line to the poll is even, and thus the nuchal ligament not shortened by the artificial "kink" that a break at the 3rd vertebrae creates. the soft inward tip of the head, from the poll, with face hanging at the vertical, is paramount to every dressage excersize. Just enough to see the edge of the inside eye, right?




    "It isn't posture that allows the horse to respond, but understanding the end goal we are asking for
    - and hopefully we haven't screwed it all up by accepting the wrong motion in response to our 'aids'. "

    . But, if our own posture is not correct, we end up trying to force our partner to comply, and dance, with an unweildy, unbalanced sack on her back. Or, we tie her head down toward her chest, then ask her to follow our lead and dance with us. She can do it, but she can do it a lot better if she has her choice of where to put her head.


    "This naturally offered posture allows the rein aids to travel freely through each vertebra, through the pelvis, down to the hind pastern joints."

    Again, this may be verbal imagery that helps someone, but it is not a mechanically correct statement. Reins aids do not travel thru the vertebra or pelvis. The horse moves, in very complex ways, as a learned response to rider inputs transmitted via the reins."


    The cues to not , of course ACTUALLY travel through the spine. Not in a physical sense. But, when the horse is relaxed in the jaw and has a soft bend in the poll, the rein aid will not stop there, but the horse will offer a bigger response by preparing or offering all of it's body for a bend, which the rider asks for with the leg. If the horse is rigid in the poll,tense in the jaw, the rider can't get the bend by "asking", she has to "push" or "make " the horse, since the horse is not soft in front, and thus not ready and offering further down his body.
    Beling, Clava and jaydee like this.
         
        12-21-2013, 05:34 PM
      #18
    Trained
    "if the horse is forced to "break" his neck behind the poll, he loses access to the looseness and lateral flexibility of his poll joint."

    That has nothing to do with the thrust of the hindlegs being stifled by the neck. Flexibility or 'softness' is not the same as "the thrusting energy of the hind legs does not travel through to the poll. It only makes it to the spot in the neck where the vertebra are ‘broken’, at which point the energy is stifled by the heavy head and remaining neck that are hanging downward off the front."

    "
    But, if our own posture is not correct, we end up trying to force our partner to comply"

    Yes, but the article was talking about the horse's posture and a headset.

    "But, when the horse is relaxed in the jaw and has a soft bend in the poll, the rein aid will not stop there, but the horse will offer a bigger response by preparing or offering all of it's body for a bend, which the rider asks for with the leg.
    "

    So SAY what one means, and do not say that rein aids flow thru the horse's body. And frankly, having the nose in the vertical does not mean the horse is more responsive. A horse can be trained that way, but a cutting horse, for example, is very responsive without flexing at the poll.

    When using words like responsive or better balanced, one needs to define "for what". I assume flexing at the poll helps with a collected gait, since dressage riders prize it. It does not help a horse respond to a steer or do other things, like turn around a barrel or go down a steep hill. That is why a well-balanced and responsive cutting horse looks very different from a well-balance and responsive dressage horse.

    I agree with ~*~anebel~*~: "It's mumbo jumbo because it's a lot of words that never really say anything."

    Saying, "We need flexion at the poll as a sign the horse's body is ready to perform the degree of collection we desire" or some such thing may make sense. I don't know, since I do not do dressage. But saying, "This naturally offered posture allows the rein aids to travel freely through each vertebra, through the pelvis, down to the hind pastern joints" is to spout nonsense.

    "thus the nuchal ligament not shortened by the artificial "kink" that a break at the 3rd vertebrae creates"

    Maybe. Maybe not. I don't know enough to say.
    My inclination is to ask, do we have any evidence that "the nuchal ligament not shortened by the artificial "kink" that a break at the 3rd vertebrae creates" and that that difference causes anything significant?

    When you look at scientific studies on horses and movement, we find a lot of unexpected things, because our expectations are based on very superficial models - as are many of our beliefs about rider position.
         
        12-21-2013, 05:49 PM
      #19
    Trained
    "The quote at the top of this article [‘A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject’] is attributed to Sir Winston Churchill. And it is the fanatic aspect of the debate about hyperflexion that makes it so peculiar. It is not unlike sectarian extremism: people opposing the use of hyperflexion will generally do so based on their real love of the horse and their genuine belief, rightly or wrongly, that hyperflexion is a serious health and welfare issue.

    Such civilised voices are, however, completely shouted down by the messages of hate and intolerance of the militant minority, who generate personal attacks on riders, trainers and sponsors of equestrian events. But the militants’ arguments are based purely on emotion, not on facts, and they spin the outcome of scientific work to fit their own agenda. Let me be quite clear on one point, there is absolutely no way an experienced rider will ruin a horse using hyperflexion..."

    http://www.uu.nl/faculty/veterinarym...kur%292013.pdf
    ~*~anebel~*~ and Surayya like this.
         
        12-21-2013, 06:14 PM
      #20
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    
    "The quote at the top of this article [‘A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject’] is attributed to Sir Winston Churchill. And it is the fanatic aspect of the debate about hyperflexion that makes it so peculiar. It is not unlike sectarian extremism: people opposing the use of hyperflexion will generally do so based on their real love of the horse and their genuine belief, rightly or wrongly, that hyperflexion is a serious health and welfare issue.

    Such civilised voices are, however, completely shouted down by the messages of hate and intolerance of the militant minority, who generate personal attacks on riders, trainers and sponsors of equestrian events. But the militants’ arguments are based purely on emotion, not on facts, and they spin the outcome of scientific work to fit their own agenda. Let me be quite clear on one point, there is absolutely no way an experienced rider will ruin a horse using hyperflexion..."

    http://www.uu.nl/faculty/veterinarym...kur%292013.pdf
    THANK YOU.

    Lets all just ride and train our horses and be happy.
         

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