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post #21 of 85 Old 05-31-2019, 01:05 AM
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@bsms , I'd agree bit action can create foam in the saliva. But horses that are working hard normally swallow enough that there isn't saliva running out of the mouth. It's similar to running long distance. You don't swallow as much as normal, because it requires coordination and thought because of your breathing due to the physical exertion. But runners still swallow enough that drool is not running down their shirts (some find it easier to coordinate spitting instead of swallowing, however). Same with horses, unless you combine exercise, a tight noseband, overflexed neck, and continual working on the bit. That is what excessive saliva is a sign of, not that your horse is in an ideal state of communication with the rider.
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Originally Posted by AnitaAnne View Post
IMO the energy and tension that is seen in horses at the upper level is understandable for a hot horse at that level of fitness.
I agree. I'm sure everything that is done to get to the upper levels might not always be considered gentle and kind, by some. However, I don't believe horses that have the physicality and temperament to do upper dressage would be docile enough to be forced into it if it was completely negative for them. More likely with that type of energy and brain power, the horses would be unmanageable and too stressed to focus on the work. It would be impossible without cooperation from the horse. There also must be some relaxation involved, or the maneuvers are simply impossible to perform.

Agree also that just because a horse appears focused and intense, that does not mean the horse is not enjoying what they are doing. Adrenaline and hard work can be enjoyable.
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Originally Posted by AnitaAnne View Post
People that look at an athlete, and see the tension, the muscle strain, the sweat, etc. and interpret those visual signs as "unhappy" may not be looking at the whole picture.
Definitely. I've had people think some of my horses and friends' horses that were very alert, working and hot as distressed, as if the only state where a horse is happy is calm and half asleep. For some temperaments or breeds, it might be a sign of distress if a horse was that worked up. But for other very fit athletes, they are happy and enjoying themselves. Human athletes often look very unhappy when they are exerting themselves, but they might be feeling just fine. There are many other things to look for, such as if the horse feels willing, has a good attitude about being taken out and prepared for riding, if physical health is evident, etc.
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post #22 of 85 Old 05-31-2019, 06:11 AM
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I agree with a lot of what @AnitaAnne has written. I dont think there is anything I can add, it was explained better than I could do.

I think a lot of horses enjoy it once they understand. I think introducing collection and increasing the level of collection a lot of horses find very difficult. I think the introduction of movements like half pass, half steps, etc often can make even a very sweet horse confrontational and ask questions. It isnt that the rider is being mean or unfair to the horse but that it is asking the horse to release so much of it's mind and body to the rider that some simply dont like that. I think that many act out their opinions in the beginning and it is the rider's job not to punish or get after the horse but be patient, keep the expectation, dont change the story and have faith it'll all come together. Keeping the expectation through the tantrums. I think ugly moments are to be expected and normal. And people who havent been through the process or havent really experienced very much just expect it to be easy all the way up the stairs of training without realizing what goes into producing a result or how much time is spent behind closed doors developing these horses are all the ugly moments that were before he picture we see in the show arena. And truthfully these top riders do NOT show a lot of the developmental processes with their horses because of all the "know it all" amateur riders who cant even ride 2nd level trying to claim to know better than a professional. Or thinking because a horse was imperfect a moment the rider must be bad because people seem to think if it's a capable rider everything is smooth and easy. It isnt but the experienced rider knows to keep to their guns, be patient and wait for the results that may take months and years to come but will no doubt come. And I think that is one of the biggest differences between experienced and inexperienced people. For example when I needed help with my horse, I talked to a GP trainer, FEI riders and people who have done it and not people who are learning how to develop a horse up. But a lot of people who havent even developed a horse up the levels always think they know better than the people who have done it.

I think my horse enjoys what he does, there are definitely moments of confrontation and discussion and each day is different but I find he enjoys it. He loves to half pass, extended canter, extended trot when he gets it and there are moments when he gets the piaffe a few steps and I can feel it in him. He is very proud. He also likes the spanish walk. I think he loves having his brain activated. If he hasnt worked in a few days, even in the cross ties he's biting the air, kicking out and not happy then he works and he's in the cross ties and he's relaxed and happy. I dont think it's a job necessarily all horses love but I think some horses it just gives them an outlet to channel their energies into. And as @gottatrot said human athletes wear expressions of focus and can carry tension in their bodies, it isnt a sign that they are unhappy but extremely focused and tuned into what they're doing. I dont think dressage is the most relaxed work, the upper level work definitely has tension but it's not necessarily bad tensions and some of the horses are SO SO SO hot they carry tension and the goal of the trainer is to reduce it and gain more relaxation. Every horse is different in what process is best for them. For example if you talk to a Portuguese GP rider they focus on collection before they develop extension because their horses dont know how to step forward with regularity until they understand how to keep tempo with a rider's seat and the rider has to be much more actively involved regulating that horse's rhythm to develop an extended trot. Vs the Northern european horses find extension very easy and struggle in the collected work. Generalization.

I think dressage increases ridability, cooperation, willingness to work together and harmony. Yesterday I let a GP jumper ride my horse who I never thought would become as agreeable and sweet as he is today. And all he said was super horse, incredible ridability, this one should have been kept a stallion. When a few months ago, that same horse would throw a fit because you half halted and wouldnt let him run, or told him he doesnt get to just take the bit and do what he wants. I think half pass for example is such a good exercise because the horse has to release so much of it's body to the rider and most horses struggle releasing that much of themselves to a rider. It really connects the outside hind to the inside rein and asks the horse to move into a bend which is quite tricky. Or half steps-piaffe helps a horse understand how to shift weight to the hind end, as well as to respond and listen to the riders seat. It helps regulate tempo and develop a trot. Here and at most top stables a horse starts half steps at 2nd level and should start learning passage at 3rd because it improves the quality and understanding of the trot work. I think the increase through the levels is increasingly asking horse and rider to submit their minds and bodies to one another and I think developing that trust and compliance is where some of the tension comes in.

There is a lot of good to dressage and I think it helps with horses who have prior injuries with soundness.
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Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 05-31-2019 at 06:26 AM.
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post #23 of 85 Old 05-31-2019, 10:29 AM
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One of our horses didn't produce foam when ridden in a bit but does produce foam when ridden bitless

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post #24 of 85 Old 06-07-2019, 02:35 PM
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Behind the bit is acceptable these days because it was found to be helpful, or necessary, for control of the horses when the breeds became ever bigger, ever more powerful and energetic. BTV is a position of submission.

So why is it accepted and encouraged so much everywhere, even with quiet QH lesson horses? Because everyone wants to do "DRESSAGE", in which they envision Grand Prix--- best of the best, culmination of the art/sport--- which I think, overall, is ruining what used to be a valuable training system.

I am really sad that RELAXATION was taken off the training pyramid and relegated as a sort of second-rate indication of suppleness. To me, relaxation is always FIRST in a training routine.

As you might guess, I'm not so much a fan of CD as the rest of you. I think in many cases her brilliant performances are in spite of, not because of, her riding. She has magnificent horses to ride.
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post #25 of 85 Old 06-07-2019, 02:57 PM
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@Beling , btv, as already said isnít the same thing at Rolkurr so Iím not really sure which one youíre referring too and not even where Ďsign of submissioní comes into either.
Btv can happen for many reasons, rolkurr can be one of those causes because it creates that Ďrubber neckingí reflex but itís far from the main one.
Rolkurr was first seen in use when Ankys husband saw it used in the UK, it wasnít called Rolkurr then, it was simply a method used as a fast track to putting ponies and horses into a headset by creating muscle memory. It was mostly used by showing producers back then. It had nothing at all to do with submission. The horses were left standing for increasing lengths of time with their heads tied to a surcingle, quite often using baler twine, from the bit to the surcingle. The length of whatever was used was shortened as the horse developed the muscle memory to cope with it. Those horses were then lunged in tight side reins and ridden in draw reins.

As for CD, she was a successful young rider before she ever hit the dressage scene and was producing ponies and horses from scratch. The horses that go to her and Carl range from youngsters who know nothing through to horses ready to go up to higher level. Valero was bought for peanuts as a passed over untrained, reject.
Many of the magnificent horses they compete would be difficult rides for even more advanced riders and the reason they get any magnificent horse at all is because the owners want the best riders on them.

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post #26 of 85 Old 06-10-2019, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
... btv, as already said isnít the same thing at Rolkurr so Iím not really sure which one youíre referring to....
I believe they differ only in that one is mild, and one extreme. My understanding is that it first appeared around the time of Christine Stuckelberger (sp?)-- in any case, the horses her trainer had then were huge. If big was good, bigger was better. A training method had to be found to deal with this. If getting a horse to bend down was effective and good then more was better; cruel habits often begin like this.

I'm not saying anyone is a poor rider, far from it! And true, it often takes very, very firm riding to get a horse to behave. I've seen plenty of successful trainers even here whose methods I'd rather NOT see. But there you go, it's the results that matter. The alternatives of course could be worse. No one wants to see a talented, beautiful horse fed to dogs because he won't behave.
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post #27 of 85 Old 06-10-2019, 09:55 PM
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A few points that should be taken separately from the conversation- there are times when btv is useful (this does not mean so cranked the horse can't breath, just simply as shown in this video). As someone with a green horse learning how to carry herself properly we do a lot of "head above" to "head below" to "head above" etc. The head should be an extension of self carriage, poor riding, specifically poor dressage, is all about the head, but the head is a result. (should be). In any discipline. She is riding in a way to encourage the horse NOT to do that and has a fairly loose rein. There are plenty of top level riders who are far from flawless but this isn't one, this is one of the top riders well acclaimed all around, and as far as I'm aware has nothing to tarnish that from any angle including the well being of the horse or intentional "poor riding" (rolkur).

As someone who while fit and in shape and riding professionally has gotten on some actual professional upper level dressage horses, well, it sure took me back to being a 5 year old on a pony more then anything ever has. They are BIG and they are HOT and they respond to certain cues and usually firmer cues. I'm 5'3" and clearly remember riding a 16.2 Dutch mare who was literally blowing *sideways* through my leg to go towards the gate while her owner/trainer was shouting at me "more leg!". The best part is the owner is significantly smaller then me, I thought I was going to die (from embarrassment, not the horse lol). Even posting the trot is difficult because it is SO big with SO much movement. Seriously, it's hard enough to stay on, that alone is impressive. Not super relevant to the conversation but I felt like the people who buy 300k cars then get in a wreck because they can't handle that sort of car lmao and again, I was riding a ton at that point, training rides. Difficult is a lot easier for me to handle then those massive horses. And yes, practice of course helps but it's something to keep in mind when you're evaluating so specifically. And I think overly specifically in some ways, though I understand you're not used to it. Dressage really WORKS the horse, more then any other riding style (and the human too lol). It's strength plus yoga plus some fitness training thrown in, most disciplines have one or another. Upper level dressage is EXTREMELY difficult and not even in a general sense just the work that goes into every single movement. I like that you posted a video of a rider who does know what she's doing because unfortunately there are many poor examples that wouldn't prompt such an interesting discussion and maybe just "yes that's horrible" lol.
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post #28 of 85 Old 06-11-2019, 09:33 AM
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In the UK, the concept of developing a headset by tying the horse just btv (not on the chest, that came later when Ankys husband saw the idea and ran with it) was probably used more for childrenís show ponies than anything. They were doing it when I was a child, thatís a long time ago now!
You had skinny little kids riding novice ponies in the ring. They had to go in a nice looking frame but most of the kids didnít have the strength or the years of experience to achieve that without some help creating muscle memory and the ponies developing self carriage to work in that frame.

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post #29 of 85 Old 06-11-2019, 05:25 PM
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I dont think it's at all true that relaxation was thrown out of dressage tests. I'd say priorities change and when you're doing advanced, highly collected work it is not relaxed work and the horse's you sit on at that level are NOT relaxed, easy going horses. I've worked my butt off to get the amount of relaxation I get from my horse and even then I dont always get it every moment. Is it a goal? Sure but not something I can have all the time with a very intense, strong, eager beaver temperament. I also think you see more "tension" at the higher levels because of the work that is being expected of the horse's. You cannot hold low level ideals to a high level horse, it just isnt the same. What is being asked from a horse is totally different and the types of horse's that prosper at the low levels vs the high levels are very different. A lot of people see a flashy, lovely horse and think oh that will do the GP because it moves nice and it has nothing to do with it. The mechanics of how that horse moves, how easy it is for them to sit and extend, as well as the temperament. They have to want to do it, trust me if they dont want to do it. You can try to make them but the horse has the final say. They have to want it. And no absolutely not anything can do the GP, it takes a VERY special horse and the qualification has little to do with quality of gaits. In Europe, go to the CDIs the horses at the GP dont move nearly as well as in the young horse championships or PSG. The GP takes a different sort of horse. It's a special horse who can do the GP.

I'd love to sit quite a few people on my horse to have a wake up call. The horse I have is a GP prospect but very difficult. He's a fun horse and absolutely loves what he does but he's dangerous in the wrong hands. Heck why I took him to Europe with me is because my trainer who is a GP rider, also rode jumpers etc worked with him for 3 weeks while I was in Denmark and said, "there is no way in he!l you'll find someone who can ride this horse and if you do they'll probably get hurt on him and he'll be put down, so either find a way to take him with you or have that on your conscience." So I took him. The reason I say that and why it is relevant is to communicate these horses that have the GP talent are not easy. They are intense, they are hot, they are strong and they are often not amateur friendly. Getting relaxation in that is really hard. It is SO SO easy to criticize without sitting on those horses and feeling what those riders are feeling and knowing what they know.

Also Charlotte is an amazing rider who makes even plain horses look extraordinary, that is extraordinary talent. She also develops and trains young horses, also really difficult and produces her own horses. That is absolutely a testament to her skill as a rider and trainer. I guarantee if Valegro were anywhere else in Europe he wouldnt have been the star Carl and Charlotte made him into and dressage would not have been revolutionized to what it is today. It'd still be the dutch tension of rolkur vs the harmony and harnessed power we see today.

The other thing is no rider and no horse is perfect, even brilliant riders at the top have imperfect and ugly moments. I feel people see one imperfection and just fixate on that, rather than looking at the whole picture. People are so negative in dressage and horses in general and it really irritates me. Nobody is perfect. And this is in general NOT directed at anyone at all but people hold others to an impossible standard while ignoring their own flaws. We are all flawed and imperfect, so why not be realistic about it and be fair to one another. Or if we dont understand what they are doing or why, just ask. Rather than belittle and criticize.
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Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 06-11-2019 at 05:33 PM.
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post #30 of 85 Old 06-13-2019, 10:34 PM
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^Hear hear!

I just loved (and I know I sort of said this already) how much I can relate to what loosie was uncertain of, and what I can see in that video as someone who is trying to get a "headset" on a green horse, because really it's not about the head and for a green horse, or a tired horse, or a difficult horse, etc you can see that back and forth and it's exactly as was said "ask the horse to give horse drops down, push horse forward, head comes up" as with anything training wise there's a lot of rinse and repeat and this video shows it very clearly. In a show ring this would be lousy, but she's not showing she's working on something specific, and with ANY type of training including your backyard trail horse, something may look ugly when you're trying to train something specific.

I DO think there is some truth to a horse being ideally slightly ABOVE the vertical, which (as with everything-human nature) became well vertical is good, to behind the vertical is good. But while I think we aren't back to the "above is ideal" (slightly of course, for a horse round and in work- and I think this is the key point to loosie's question and dressage in general though this is also seen in other disciplines) I do think there is more of a focus to actually being on the vertical and not incorrectly behind. That said, it is ultimately a headset and vertical or not shouldn't be the focus, but the overall carriage of the horse. (Though learning on my mare it was great having a trainer to call out "more leg" and such! lol)
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