Beling, I am currently an intern at a dressage farm and as such, am in the position of a student. I'm learning. I'm far from being a great rider, much less a trainer. I also have found that I struggle with conveying my training thoughts and ideas to others and I feel that is the case with my previous post.
I think nothing but the best of my current trainers. I have seen, time and time again, that their methods work and that they have produced many a happy and correct horse over the span of 40-50 years. However, I also know that there is more than one way to training the dressage horse, some ways more "right" than others.
My trainer has also taken lessons from well-respected trainers and has an open mind to other training techniques. In fact, "moving the bit over the horse's tongue" is what Lendon Gray taught her.
I only started working with green/unstarted horses when I came to the farm last summer. When I begin riding them, I find obedience to be at the top of my priority list. Does the horse listen to me and understand me?
I guess what I meant is that I don't ask the horse to carry themself in a round frame during these first rides. I'd rather they turn when I tell them to, go forward when I ask, and halt when I give the aids for it. I do take up a steady contact with the reins and soften when they give to it. I am not riding with floppy reins.
This particular horse is amazing. Her conformation and the way she travels is just so cool. She naturally uses her hind end and goes along in an uphill fashion. When I said that she "naturally carries herself in a frame" I meant that when I sit on her and basically do nothing other than ride her with the basic aids for w/t/c, turning, halting, and keep a steady contact with her mouth, her poll is a the highest point and she is on the vertical. I and the other interns have been able to work with many green horses so far, and have found that some of the horses are like her. They naturally fall onto the bit and carry themselves in a round frame. We've also found that others don't and instead drag you down onto the forehand, hide behind the vertical, stick their neck out like a wood board, or etc. They're all different from each other and what I've mentioned is only their first reaction to being undersaddle. Once they "get" what we would like them to do, they cross the line from being "just started" to "green." Or whatever the correct terminology would be. And slowly, we can move the horse that wants to be on the forehand to being better balanced, push out the tucked in head and neck of the horse behind the vertical, and bend and supple the stiff horse. It's like driving a car. You need the basics like steering and the brakes. Once you've got that down then you can turn on the radio and adjust the A/C.
I feel like even now I've muddled things up again, but I really do hope that this helped you understand my thinking a little better. I just don't want to mis-represent my trainer at all. I appreciate your input and am always happy to see a fellow local on the boards! I'm from the Big Island and have lived there all my life until I decided to do this internship. What type of riding do you do?
"He doth nothing but talk of his horses."