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The stages of Training to Reach Collection

This is a discussion on The stages of Training to Reach Collection within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        06-21-2013, 12:38 AM
      #21
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tinyliny    
    I am referring to Xenophon, whose writings on horsemanship were often referred to as the basis for the European tradition of dressage.

    Yes, one of the FIRST to document the art of TRAINING (dressage).



    Gee, is that a lavade I see? The battle friezes common among the Greeks show most of the horses (while in battle) doing lavade. Go figure........
    jaydee likes this.
         
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        06-21-2013, 12:43 AM
      #22
    Super Moderator
    And bareback without stirrups!

    ( I mean with a treeless saddlepad)
         
        06-21-2013, 01:22 AM
      #23
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Allison Finch    
    Dressage IS very old. It's very principle has nothing to do with the show ring. It is all about training a horse to be supple and responsive and balanced. The principles that dressage values has been around, probably from the first day a human threw their leg over the back of a horse.

    The principles RIDERS value have been around for as long as there have been horses with riders. But teaching a horse to move in a highly collected state was always a specialized thing.


    These movements, the aires above ground, were all about battle. The levade was to put the rider in an elevated position and out of reach of the ground troops while allowing the rider to spear his attackers.



    Guess that would work, if it put the horse out of spear range and could keep it there. However, what it really does is slow the horse down and make it easy to spear. Pikes ranged up to 20 feet in length. You could armor the horse, but I haven't seen armor plate on the belly.

    The Capriole was all about kicking the attackers behind him, where he could not otherwise protect himself...

    Again, that sounds good until you realize that the enemy doesn't stand there and wait to be kicked. The value of a horse in combat is speed, not standing around in a swarm of enemy soldiers.

    Dressage is just a "foreign" word that means training. It isn't just that fancy schmancy stuff you see in that rectangular ring.
    If dressage just means training in French, then let the French use the word. In ENGLISH, it means something else - and the dressage training scale is intended to reach that something else.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tinyliny    
    I am referring to Xenophon, whose writings on horsemanship were often referred to as the basis for the European tradition of dressage.
    From Xenophon, who in this sense is the father of dressage:

    "But possibly you are not content with a horse serviceable for war. You want to find him him a showy, attractive animal, with a certain grandeur of bearing. If so, you must abstain from pulling at his mouth with the bit, or applying the spur and whip--methods commonly adopted by people with a view to a fine effect, though, as a matter of fact, they thereby achieve the very opposite of what they are aiming at. That is to say, by dragging the mouth up they render the horse blind instead of alive to what is in front of him; and what with spurring and whipping they distract the creature to the point of absolute bewilderment and danger. Feats indeed!--the feats of horses with a strong dislike to being ridden--up to all sorts of ugly and ungainly tricks.

    On the contrary, let the horse be taught to be ridden on a loose bridle, and to hold his head high and arch his neck, and you will practically be making him perform the very acts which he himself delights or rather exults in; and the best proof of the pleasure which he takes is, that when he is let loose with other horses, and more particularly with mares, you will see him rear his head aloft to the full height, and arch his neck with nervous vigour, pawing the air with pliant legs and waving his tail on high. By training him to adopt the very airs and graces which he naturally assumes when showing off to best advantage, you have got what you are aiming at--a horse that delights in being ridden, a splendid and showy animal, the joy of all beholders.

    But now suppose he has attained to the grand style when ridden--we have accustomed him of course in his first exercise to wheel and fall into a canter simultaneously; assuming then, he has got that lesson well by heart, if the rider pulls him up with the bit while simultaneously giving him one of the signals to be off, the horse, galled on the one hand by the bit, and on the other collecting himself in obedience to the signal "off," will throw forward his chest and raise his legs aloft with fiery spirit; though not indeed with suppleness, for the supple play of the limbs ceases as soon as the horse feels annoyance. But now, supposing when his fire is thus enkindled you give him the rein, the effect is instantaneous. Under the pleasurable sense of freedom, thanks to the relaxation of the bit, with stately bearing and legs pliantly moving he dashes forward in his pride, in every respect imitating the airs and graces of a horse approaching other horses. Listen to the epithets with which spectators will describe the type of horse: the noble animal! And what willingness to work, what paces, what a spirit and what mettle; how proudly he bears himself--a joy at once, and yet a terror to behold.

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1176/1176.txt

    That is why I said dressage has its roots in parades: because that is what Xenophon described, and how dressage was used since the 1600s. This is what the training scale was meant to produce - not a horse serviceable for war, per se, but one who would impress spectators. It was meant to show the Prince was a stud:

    "Listen to the epithets with which spectators will describe the type of horse: the noble animal! And what willingness to work, what paces, what a spirit and what mettle; how proudly he bears himself"

    None of this is needed to create a strong, balanced, flexible or responsive horse. Dressage and its training scale is meant as a subsection of riding. Most riders in history have used horses, not to go slowly and for show over a parade ground, but to cover lots of ground quickly and efficiently.
         
        06-21-2013, 01:55 AM
      #24
    Super Moderator
    I am so glad you quoted Xenophon. He really does state the very best of what dressage is meant to be; showing the horse to his greatest potential.

    On the contrary, let the horse be taught to be ridden on a loose bridle, and to hold his head high and arch his neck, and you will practically be making him perform the very acts which he himself delights or rather exults in; and the best proof of the pleasure which he takes is, that when he is let loose with other horses, and more particularly with mares, you will see him rear his head aloft to the full height, and arch his neck with nervous vigour, pawing the air with pliant legs and waving his tail on high. By training him to adopt the very airs and graces which he naturally assumes when showing off to best advantage, you have got what you are aiming at--a horse that delights in being ridden, a splendid and showy animal, the joy of all beholders.
    Elana, Skyseternalangel and jaydee like this.
         
        06-21-2013, 02:44 AM
      #25
    Super Moderator
    BSMS, I wish you would break the quotes so that I could respond accordingly. I know you know how....

    So, 430 – 354 BC is when Xenophon was developing his techniques. What you quoted was true dressage. THIS is why I posted this to show that "dressage" was older than the hundred, or so years you claimed it to be. Xenophon was NOT in the 1600's, which was your example of time. You just proved my point. Thanks.

    You said;

    Quote:
    None of this is needed to create a strong, balanced, flexible or responsive horse. Dressage and its training scale is meant as a subsection of riding. Most riders in history have used horses, not to go slowly and for show over a parade ground, but to cover lots of ground quickly and efficiently.
    Yet Xenophon believed;

    Quote:
    A horse in combat, or any other kind of equestrian activity, has to be trained on cue to reorient the motion of his entire body to perform maneuvers vital to the success of military operations.
    If you really believe that dressage is not what basic training is all about, and that basic training could not be called dressage, then we will just have to agree to disagree.
         
        06-21-2013, 09:38 AM
      #26
    Green Broke
    This was actually not meant to dissect dressage from other trainings or to incorporate it in the classical sense. Dressage is a sport and that is the name of it.. but I NEVER looked at it that way.

    The very word translates to "training."

    A green horse is a green horse.. and helping the green horse to carry weight effectively and to respond well to the aids, regardless of future discipline is ALL "Dressage" (training).

    A lot of athletes have found improvement of their athletic endeavors by incorporating ballet into their work outs. That was all I was saying.

    What I liked about the diagrams is they show a horse as a green horse learning through time how to better carry himself. In the #4 diagram he is raising the root of his neck and the diagram shows it. Take the English tack off and change the break at the poll and the horse is going in a western frame but in a balanced manner.

    This was just a way to see the difference as a horse gains training.

    Now I will tell y'all a little secret. When I was training I used to start my horses in a loose ring hollow mouth single jointed snaffle. Then I started to read about training in a rawhide core bosal and how a horse in a spade bit was a made horse etc. I started training the young horses in a bosal with a mecate. I also started training using a side pull or a half breed.

    Some of these horses went on toe be western horses.. some went on the be field hunters.. a few went on to do 3 day eventing and so forth. My job was to lay a foundation that was solid. I used dressage.. and a bosal.. and whatever else it took to get the horse ready for the next step.. be it dressage or barrels.

    My only point in sharing the diagram was the pictures show what each horse looks like.

    Take the fancy "dressage" term off and say it in English.. as training. Foundation work is not very different.

    Regardless of discipline, a horse never hurts for having a good foundation.

    FWIW higher level dressage horses often have hock issues as do a lot od cutting horses (all that flexing and weight to the rear). Meanwhile, other horses in other disciplines tend to develop other issues. Jumpers often have front leg issues as do horses used in barrel racing.

    A well trained horse that has learned how to carry not only himself but a human as well is less prone to injury IMO. It does not remove injury or increase useful lifespan though many dressage sport horses do compete well into their teens.

    This was not posted to "diss" one sport training over another.. but simply meant to show how a horse progresses in training. Most green horses in any discipline look like that #1 horse. Some actually start out worse with head higher and back totally hollow.

    That being said, this discussion is interesting.
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        06-21-2013, 09:45 AM
      #27
    Green Broke
    BTWthe airs above the ground truely were battle moves. Not so much to make the HORSE more or less vulnerable but to help the RIDER fight better. You would not request a levade against a 20 foot pike carrying attacker... but you WOULD request it in a saber battle with an attacker on foot.

    Remember.. the cavalry was mounted but often would be in the midst of a fight with infantry or archers etc. As the horseman mingled with those on foot, the various airs above the ground could benefit.

    If you are in a fight you use the weapon that gives you the most advantage at that moment.. not the weapon that will give your enemy the advantage. Matters not if the fight is with horses and sabers or with words on the computer.

    :)
    Allison Finch and jaydee like this.
         
        06-21-2013, 12:40 PM
      #28
    Super Moderator
    This seems to be yet another thread where we Europeans (and obviously some others) regard 'dressage' as training and the foundation for our basic riding style and dressage as a sport as something that tests those skills at whatever level.
    I honestly find it really hard to understand why some people can't see it that way but when its what you're brought up with I suppose its easier.
    Some dressage riders seem to feel that its an insult to them to call low level dressage 'dressage' when in fact its actually no different when you see that its just the same in theory - testing the horses ability and training at whatever level its working at - dressage is not just about half passes, Piaffe and Passage
    So much more is being done in the UK now to encourage riders at all stages and who own horses of various shapes and sizes to get involved because many of them will get inspired to go further as they see the sport become demystified and realize that they can achieve more than they believed they could - hopefully removing the trend to it being seen as an elitist sport.
    If this link works it should be the USDF Intro A test - which is just walk, trot and halt and that is medium walk, free walk and working trot
    http://www.sonh.org/uploads/Equestri...SDF%202011.pdf

    Just to add that the basic techniques of collection that controls impulsion and stride, balance & leg changes are all used by show jumpers.
    I would also imagine that 'being able to work on the bit responsively and use their quarters effectively must make the difference between a great working ranch horse and a mediocre one
         
        06-21-2013, 12:48 PM
      #29
    Trained
    "So, 430 354 BC is when Xenophon was developing his techniques. What you quoted was true dressage. THIS is why I posted this to show that "dressage" was older than the hundred, or so years you claimed it to be. Xenophon was NOT in the 1600's, which was your example of time. You just proved my point. Thanks."

    No, I did not. Between 400 BC and 1600 AD, who taught dressage? Who used horses for showy displays, and were they a significant percentage of riders? During that 2,000 year period, who were the dressage masters, or even the dressage practitioners?

    Xenophon was used in retrospect, but the passage I quoted was a small part of the use of horses even in his time.

    "But possibly you are not content with a horse serviceable for war...a splendid and showy animal, the joy of all beholders...Listen to the epithets with which spectators will describe the type of horse: the noble animal! And what willingness to work, what paces, what a spirit and what mettle; how proudly he bears himself...
    "

    Very few riders, even in Xenophon's day, rode for showing off. Princes did. It was useful for public gatherings in parades. But it was NOT why the vast majority rode horses then, during the next 2,000 years, or now!

    People rode horses for the last 2400 years because it was faster than walking. You could move men and supplies faster with horses than without them. You could take a message faster with a horse than without. In farming, the horses pulled plows faster and farther and in heavier ground than any man could.

    None of this involved collection. None of this involved the dressage training scale. When someone rides a horse to cover distances faster and easier than they can without a horse, they do not want significant collection.

    "Yet Xenophon believed; Quote: A horse in combat, or any other kind of equestrian activity, has to be trained on cue to reorient the motion of his entire body to perform maneuvers vital to the success of military operations."

    Yes, but what does that have to do with dressage, or collection? A horse also needs to be trained, on cue, to turn, stop, go, go faster, go slower, tolerate other horses nearby - all of which can be done on a loose rein and in natural carriage.

    "If you really believe that dressage is not what basic training is all about, and that basic training could not be called dressage, then we will just have to agree to disagree."

    True, in the sense that I am not likely to convince you. However,the English word dressage does not mean all training. In French, dressage can mean training to fly jets. In English, it does not.

    If you decide to use the word "tomato" to mean "riding", then we would all seek skill at tomatoes. But communication is simpler if we use riding to mean riding, and tomato to mean tomato. Using dressage to mean training is completely fair, if the rest of the sentence is in French.

    "What I liked about the diagrams is they show a horse as a green horse learning through time how to better carry himself. In the #4 diagram he is raising the root of his neck and the diagram shows it. Take the English tack off and change the break at the poll and the horse is going in a western frame but in a balanced manner."

    Thank you for that second sentence. A horse can be balanced and controlled without a break at the poll, although the break at the poll & being 'on the bit' are appropriate for some styles of riding. All riders want a balanced horse. Not all riders seek the same balance, because not all riders do the same sort of riding. When the US Cavalry looked at dressage, it rejected it for military purposes because the balance sought was not helpful for the type of riding the Cavalry did. It was also too hard to train the average cavalry trooper to ride that way and the average horse to move that way.



    There is nothing wrong with wanting to train a horse to move with greater collection. Most do that to some minor extent. I have, with Mia & Trooper, and I'm a beginning rider who doesn't compete in anything. But the degree to which I need it is minimal, to the point that it doesn't require a training scale or significant effort.

    "A well trained horse that has learned how to carry not only himself but a human as well is less prone to injury IMO."

    We agree. Roughly speaking, there are two approaches to balance - forward, and centered. Lots of people will shift back and forth between those two on a ride without thinking about it. Within the normal range of motion, either one or both interchangeably keep a horse healthy.

    A horse can be ridden a lifetime and be perfectly healthy with only minimal, instinctive collection. Horses respond to the rider's weight in ways subtle enough that we have only recently discovered it - small changes in their balance, in how long they leave each foot in contact with the ground, changes in stride length for varying terrain, going slightly slower (IIRC, the study results showed a change from 7.4 mph to 7 mph average speed) - and we cannot train them to do this. They do it on their own.

    When we ask a horse to do something physically harder - jump fences, significant collection, repeated tight turns in barrel racing or cutting cattle - then we risk injuring them by forcing them to do what their body isn't capable of doing. I'm a lifelong jogger. Jogging on my own, trying to maintain a decent speed, I get no injuries. I have sometimes tried to push myself to go faster by increasing my stride, etc - but those were the times I ended up hurting my knees. Being a human, I could think, "I'd better stop before I damage my knees!" Horses can't tell us that, so they may obediently continue until lameness pops up.

    If a human wants to push their horse outside the boundaries of normal equine adaptations, then the human must be careful to train the horse properly in advance. That is why the dressage training scale is important. If you follow it, you can set the horse up for success in collection without injuring it - assuming you are sensitive to the horse as it tries to progress up the scale.

    It would be really interesting for someone to develop a training scale for barrel racing or jumping or racing on the flats.

    As for the usefulness of a levade in medieval combat - that answer may need someone better at historical research than I am. This tapestry from the 1400s could lead a person to either conclusion :



    Wikipedia actually has a good article on the horse in war, but it is silent on the levade...

    Horses in warfare - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
         
        06-21-2013, 01:03 PM
      #30
    Foal
    I've read through this twice and I'm still confused. What are you guys debating exactly?
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Allison Finch and AnitaAnne like this.
         

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