Sidepasses and Forehand Turns
The majority of my formal instruction has been western, not necessarily WP, just general "Western Riding", with maybe a year of English lessons from the same instructor. No one in my area gets too specific or technical - Land of the Multidisciplinary.
My question stems from my desire to introduce real lateral work to Scout. My formal instruction emphasized turning on the haunches, turning on the forehand, and "connecting" the two to achieve a sidepass. However, with the emphasis on engagement, connection, and throughness that I see in my dressage research, along with no mention of sidepassing, I'm concerned that that formula treads too close to disengaging the hindquarters. However, I know the practical use of having haunch and forehand turns fluid on the trail. Although I understand that there are major differences between pirouettes and turns on the haunches, at least here is an analog, vs. sidepassing and forehand turns.
Would I be better advised to conquer hindquarter control through haunches-in and other classical methods and preserve what engagement we have achieved? Will learning a turn on the forehand hinder Scout as he learns to engage his hindquarters? Have I found a point where I must sacrifice classical dressage ideals for the sake of "practicality", or vice versa?
Perhaps an odd question, but I would appreciate some input! Thanks! :D
I'm not going to even try to answer your question--- there are quite a few really GOOD dressage instructors on this forum--- I just want to comment on a distinction I see between dressage and the Other Disciplines, which I've been pondering, and which has bearing on what you ask:
Dressage is all about the horse. No matter how it ends up in the final, FEI competition arenas, it IS structured to strengthen, supple, and make him more obedient. The exercises are just that, exercises, which, when done well, shows a horse at his most beautiful.
Other disciplines seem to focus on a horse's performance: the jump, speed, how well he does-or-that. It isn't about improvement, but about aiming for excellence, in that sport's standard.
Can you see a difference? I bring this up after reading a Western Pleasure thread, where the champion horses actually look crippled. :?
So whatever methods you try out, first decide for yourself if what you want is an exercise for your horse, or a particular, isolated movement.
Just to set you on the right course there is no such thing as sidepassing in dressage.
There is the leg yield----there is the half pass----and there is the full pass.
The full pass is rarely used but is the closest thing to the western sidepassing.
None of the above will work well without control of both the forehand or hind quarters.
Thanks so much for your replies. :D
Beling: The points that you bring up are some of the same that I'm working through myself. Just today, since I posted this thread, I found an article emphasizing the difference between an exercise and a movement that piqued my interest. There are days when I think to myself that I ought to just quit thinking and ride. :lol:
Spyder: The very absence of the sidepass and forehand turn in dressage is the root of my concern. :wink: My understanding of classical dressage, that it is geared toward developing physical and mental excellence in the horse, tells me that if a movement isn't part of the curriculum, so to speak, there is a reason. There is a motive, a reason behind each maneuver and figure. To me, this suggests that if a movement isn't there, it's either of no consequence or outright harmful. I'm very familiar with the NH concept of disengaging the hindquarters to gain respect and control on the ground, and I can easily see how disengaged hindquarters are the last thing that one wants in a dressage horse.
Perhaps I've answered my own question; any maneuver that disengages the hindquarters will by definition be detrimental to forwardness, engagement, etc. I think I'm back to my study of haunches-in.
Thanks for your help! :D
Control is control. You MUST have control of the hindquarters and the forequarters regardless of what dicsipline you are doing. Very few disciplines actually require a forehand turn but if a horse can't do one I would bet they don't go far. If you can't yield the hindquarters you can't change leads or help a horse get in position. I don't have much experience with dressage horses but I would bet if you ask even a low level horses to yield its hindquarters it would do so very easily. You don't have to disengage the hindquarters to have control of them but you have to have control of them to disengage them.
I think you have misunderstood me.
We don't say sidepass. The closest movement to this western movement is the full pass but is never asked for in any level of dressage. This does not mean that it cannot be practiced. If done right it requires a skilled horse/rider for errors can creep in very easily.
Regarding the turns. I didn't even address them but there is both a turn on the hind and a turn on the fore. The turn on the forehand was removed from any level as it was felt that it puts the horse on the forehand and was not going in the direction of a lighter forehand.
The turn on the hind is the most established turn that is both asked for in competition and in training as it leads into so many other moves.
I on the other hand, I actually feel the the turn on the forehand IN MOTION is one of the most important moves you can train your horse to do for only a supple horse can do it well.
The other thing that is different is that the term disengaging the quarters, is almost a swear word in dressage for ENGAGING the hind quarters is the goal...NEVER disengaging them.
How about looking at it this way. To meld together all the above posts, yes, you never want to disengage anything. Without forward, you cannot develop impulsion, and there's nothing to collect. Instead of thinking about disengaging one part, think about manipulating different parts to accomplish what you're trying to achieve. You can move the butt and shoulders around all day and never lose forward momentum. If you learn leg yield, shoulder-in and haunches-in, there's a zillion combinations of things you can do with them to move your horse's shoulders (shoulder-in) and hind end (hanches-in) as much or as little as you want. You can work them into circles, serpentines, anything you want. The one rule is always allow for one stride of straight before changing from one bend to another. These movements can all be done at the walk and then at the trot assuming you can sit it. I'm still working on that one myself.
Never-never-never kill forward when doing dressage. A shallow leg yield with more forward that sideways is better than a deep one that kills the movement. Same with shoulder-in and hanches-in. Start shallow and move deeper as you horse develops the muscle and balance necessary to complete the exercise. I actually haven't done turn on the forehand for the very reason you mention. My horse is not very forward, and I don't want to do anything that makes him think about standing still. For now, all our exercises involve forward. We're just now getting to where he's forward enough to where I finally have something to collect.
Sorry, I'm rambling now. To me it sounds like your thinking about the two movements you first mentioned are correct. Start with things that involve forward.
Dressage is about Rhythm, Relaxation, Contact, Impulsion or Schwung, Straightness and Collection. Everything else is just tricks. The reason that the tricks are asked for is to confirm that the horse has correctly developed the aforementioned 6 qualities. If you are so worried about training the tricks, then you are training a trick horse, not a dressage horse.
Thank you again, everyone. Sorry if I'm a bit dense; this isn't an issue that I've seen discussed in great detail before.
LY or HP are lateral movements. My third level mare (and my second level mare) can both travel almost straight across the arena in LY or HP - so sounds like sidepass (a western term for leg yield).
LY the horse looks oppositethe direction in which it is traveling - e.g. horse looks left while moving to the right. In HP the horse is looking in the same direction in which it is traveling - e.g. horse is looking to the right while moving to the right.
And the idea of dressage is that the rider should be able to independently move any part of the horse - be it shoulders, hind end, barrel, neck, etc. Remember that not every movement is in the dressage tests.
Look at this link for some good dressage information:
The Art of Classical Riding--Dressage Training for Horse and Rider
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