"Throwing the Test" - Struggling to Compromise Between Classical and Modern - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 10-25-2018, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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"Throwing the Test" - Struggling to Compromise Between Classical and Modern

Long story short, I have two trainers: one I adore, and one I am warming up to.



Last night I realized neither practice the same kind of dressage. Not only that, neither of them like each other! This is not good for me.


The first trainer is a Grand Prix competitive rider, the second trainer is a classical dressage rider/mildly competitive.


Although Trainer 2 touts her training style comes from Tom Dorrance, it actually is a throwback to Phillipe Karl, of who I am reading about now ( @bsms this is your avenue!!!). I have been very upset because as soon as the lights go off with trainer 2, I take a lesson with trainer 1, and her methods make sense too! and they do work, but she rides in the "german" school, and wants me to ride in a way that will win me high scores. Nothing wrong with that, but it is in direct conflict with what trainer 2 wants.



So after taking a lesson with trainer 1 saturday, I had my lesson with trainer 2. She said my hands were too heavy, I was not allowing my horse to go forward, Tyra was crammed onto the bit, and asked me to lengthen her frame and do "rein yields" (hard to describe but a lot like Phillipe Karl teaches) to get herself more aligned.


Typical me I was extremely pissy over this, but I gritted my teeth and tried. And what do you know. Here I am going "but she has to be ridden this way!!" and... Trainer 2's idea worked. I was whining whining whining during my lesson and then i stopped and went "oh.... now she's straight. O_O"



"yes, you see?"


I told her yes I saw, yes I agreed, but how can that be? I am a big reader. The literature I've been studying says this SHOULD NOT WORK, and yet it does. So I asked her how does it work? Why is she straight? This is not the way Trainer 1 told me to do it. But Trainer 2's idea worked... How????


Of course she couldn't give me an answer.



I unfortunately am seeing Trainer 1 and Trainer 2 are not exactly compatible with one another... But while Trainer 2's methods are received well by Tyra, so are Trainer 1's. Albeit, Tyra is much lighter and seems happier with trainer 2.



More unfortunately, Trainer 2's style is not going to be well-received by the judges. Using her rein yield on the 20m circle is not going to go over well on the score sheet. Trainer 1 says as long as I keep her on the bit and on the vertical I will get an automatic 6 in every box... but...



What is more important? The scores or the happiness and comfort of my horse? it doesn't seem that right now, in our stage of training, we can get both.


So I am considering "throwing the test" so to speak, and riding trainer 2's way, and seeing what the score sheet says about it. If I get some major dings due to rein usage or her not being on the vertical, I will have to decide what I care about more: the process, or the results?


Thanks for listening... Probably will C+P this into my journal too!


Is there a way I can mold the two schools of thought?
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post #2 of 30 Old 10-25-2018, 04:36 PM
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"What is more important? The scores or the happiness and comfort of my horse? "

I love this question you asked and it's exactly the reason there are so many methods and opinions in the horse world. You are an individual, your horse is an individual. Not only that but neither of you are robots. Some times what felt good yesterday totally sucks today.

I think it's awesome that you have both aspects to work with. I have a feeling that in time, your own personal style with Tyra will be a blend of the two.

In the meantime, I think you're spot on to ride a test in style A, then one in style B and see not only which is best received by the judges but which one makes you and your horse happiest. I'm glad you're journaling this!
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post #3 of 30 Old 10-25-2018, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boo Walker View Post
"What is more important? The scores or the happiness and comfort of my horse? "

I love this question you asked and it's exactly the reason there are so many methods and opinions in the horse world. You are an individual, your horse is an individual. Not only that but neither of you are robots. Some times what felt good yesterday totally sucks today.

I think it's awesome that you have both aspects to work with. I have a feeling that in time, your own personal style with Tyra will be a blend of the two.

In the meantime, I think you're spot on to ride a test in style A, then one in style B and see not only which is best received by the judges but which one makes you and your horse happiest. I'm glad you're journaling this!

Thank you Boo. Both styles work for her, but in different ways and get me different results. Yes, Trainer 1's way will zoom us to the top much quicker, perhaps all the way, but it will require Tyra to shut down a bit, not resist, and rely mostly on me to tell her what to do.


Trainer 2 wants her to be solely responsible for herself. As a horse who does like people and does like to be "with you" on your ride and connected in some form, this is going to require her to accept that each member of the team has a different role, and that her role is as the base, holding me on her back, actually performing the test or the ride for the day or whatever. My job is to be the omniscient being who is simply there to point her in the right direction. As independent as she is, this is difficult for me to accept because we have worked very, very hard at her "giving in", for lack of a better word, to people and finding a way to trust and be close to them. Now we are "pushing her away" once more and to be responsible for herself.


it is hard for me. I like that closeness. I like the "smooshed" relationship, as unhealthy as it may be at the moment, because it allows me to monitor her at all times. But her jaw is so stiff, the half-halts do not work, and I can only ride off my seat with Trainer 1 because there's nothing I can do with my hands. Good thing Ty is extremely sensitive to seat aids and will slow as soon as your posting slows, or your hips stop moving with her.


But long-term, Trainer 2's way will be better for Tyra overall, for her own psyche, confidence, and relationship. But I can assure you my scores will not be great...
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post #4 of 30 Old 10-25-2018, 05:37 PM
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Zooming to the top is NOT what the aim should be. There are many, many ways of getting a horse to go on the bridle and fool a lot of people BUT when it comes to more advanced work the basics are not there.

Before a horse can truly come on th bridle it has to learn to have a regular stride and to go long and low.

Why, if these two trainers are so conflicting, are you taking lessons from both? Seems to me that all you are doing is getting yourself and your horse muddled.
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post #5 of 30 Old 10-25-2018, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Foxhunter View Post
Zooming to the top is NOT what the aim should be. There are many, many ways of getting a horse to go on the bridle and fool a lot of people BUT when it comes to more advanced work the basics are not there.

Before a horse can truly come on th bridle it has to learn to have a regular stride and to go long and low.

Why, if these two trainers are so conflicting, are you taking lessons from both? Seems to me that all you are doing is getting yourself and your horse muddled.

Completely agree Fox. Trainer 1 is my original trainer that i started dressage with long ago. Back then she was more in line with trainer 2. But she has made a shift, it seems, and is clinging harder to the pearl-strand convictions of "modern dressage."


I started in classical dressage, then got yanked to rollkur, then went back to classical, and again got pulled into hyperflexion/rollkur/competitive dressage where I stayed for 8 months. Now I am being reintroduced to classical but I feel brainwashed by the rollkur people and I am struggling to let go of the promise they gave me that we will succeed, we will score high and we can tango with the best of them. Now I know, deep down, this can never be promised, but it was an attractive sale none-the-less.


I ride with trainer 1 only once a month, trainer 2 is my regular trainer now.Going with both, like you said, is confusing my poor horse. It is confusing me, too!



I am reading up on Phillipe Karl and will study more of the classical masters. There is limited literature these days on classical riding, but a ton of resources for competitive riders.


I am a huge FEI fan and riding at that level is my ultimate goal. But FEI riding is harshly criticized as well. Most of the FEI-supporters complain that the critics are simply riders who will not nor cannot at all achieve that upper level skill, and that they yapping is just the sour peanut gallery who has no education or money to buy a "made" dressage horse.



It is a constant tug of war between winning and riding well. Why can't the two simply be compatible with one another?!
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post #6 of 30 Old 10-25-2018, 06:27 PM
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Bravo foxhunter....well said...


I don't mean to piss you off cc...honestly, but this may do just that...
My goal is for you to really think, think hard about what is most important...with that, my comment unfolds below...
************************

So my thought is who makes you happiest to ride with?

Are you impressed because of someone's "what they have done" or are you impressed because the way your horse responds, seems happy and compliant when asked not doing the task forced from the other instructor?

You seem to be easily impressed with "the name" and name-toss it where to me what impresses me is a happy horse and getting the communication right to talk to each other as a team should be...to build together in harmony.

Only you know what is so important...
Your test scores, skipping the strong foundation built
or
Your accomplishing communication and harmony astride

Who makes that communication as a team come together in approach better...
That is what would be important to me...

Different teachers, different approach and philosophy doesn't mean right or wrong...
Both work...but one achieves it and makes the team a happier entity...asking versus forcing makes a very different picture when a ear, a body, a tail, a "attitude" all fall softly together..or rigid with tension.

I think you need to pick which instructor is more important and impressive to you, to work with one teachers guidance and not work same discipline with 2 different views...
To me that is to much conflict and your sensitive horse...well, Tyra is the one who is not benefiting from the constant upheaval imo.
Your other threads you talk about her sick...has it occurred to you some of this may also be related...

If it were me, I would decide which instructor was more important to me, to my horse and who gave us the very best results...and then that is who I would ride with exclusively.
No more 2 lessons within a day of each other...your horse can't take it, period.

Not 2 lessons on the same day the way I read it...
Sorry cc but you are asking for and now achieving exactly what you wanted...massive attention delivered to a sick animal.
And if you rode hard, demanding of Tyra more than she could give in both lessons your horse did exactly what it should of done to wake you up...

Tyra is not prepared/conditioned to work such difficult things with not enough recovery time for her body...
She is falling apart...honestly and bluntly putting it.
Slow down and ease up on Tyra and on you...
For all of the things you have mentioned in numerous threads and posts shared...just slow down.
Maybe you need to seriously consider acquiring a second horse if you want to be this competitive and push, push and push so hard for gains...it truly is a lot to ask of one horse that has health issues ongoing.
Sorry, but that is what comes from my heart...to protect Tyra.
Tyra needs you to slow down...she can't give more, she tried and you know where it got you...
Only you can make those choices...
...
jmo...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #7 of 30 Old 10-25-2018, 06:31 PM
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What level are you riding at? Is trainer one perhaps working on a higher level than the horse is ready for? It takes a lot of time and basic work to achieve this level and it is not wise to take short cuts on the way there. Don't know if this applies to you but just a thought.

It might be worth it to try trainer two's ideas just to see how you score. Or if you are riding in more than one class try both and see what the judges say about your rides.
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post #8 of 30 Old 10-25-2018, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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@horselovinguy - this is more about training styles, not my horse's health. please don't derail the thread... Both give results, best results even, but one wants me at 1st level and one wants me to stay at training. One thinks tyra is capable of much more than the other. I also don't want to be competitive, I want to compete this horse. not just any horse - THIS HORSE. or else competition to me means nothing.

@Woodhaven , right now we are just at training level, but trainer 1 wants us at first. trainer 2 wants us to stay at training.
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post #9 of 30 Old 10-25-2018, 07:06 PM
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For you sanity, and your horses make a choice, and stick to it. I can’t imagine riding with two trainers that do not have a large amount of synergy.

From your writing you have been following lots of schools and styles, surely your gut instinct will kick in and tell you which is the way that is best for your partnership and goals.

“Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity”
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post #10 of 30 Old 10-25-2018, 07:08 PM
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Here's my two cents, as a person who has had a very German trainer and is currently riding with a trainer who is on a first name basis with Phillip Karl.

PK's methods are very different compared to your standard German trainer. The concepts -- Lightness, self carriage, power from behind, quietness -- they are all very similar. The methodology to get there is not. It is hard to reconcile the two. I can hear my old trainer yelling in the back of my mind as I ride this new way.

I don't agree with all of it, but a lot of it does make sense and gives results. In a month or so of weekly lessons, my horses gaits improved a tonne. Our lateral work has improved too. Their corrections and schooling do tend to be more exaggerated, which is one part I don't agree with so much. In the French Classical methedology, if a horse is heavy in the hands, you raise the hands, then once the correction is over you put the leg on. German the hands don't move, and the half halt and leg comes together. I do a combination, lift the hand and put the leg on together. I also try not to overly obvious in my lift, because as you say, that is not seen well in the ring. However I will say I have not shown yet under this new trainer.

I do think the French classical method is one that does not give the results the German does as fast. If your horse isn't balance or straight or strong enough, you can't hold them together riding them french. It's going to be obvious. German, you can fudge it a little bit. Not trying to say German is bad, not at all. It's really easy to do French Classical wrong and end up with a horse who hides from the hand by going up and drops the back.

Don't worry about if she's on the vertical or not. Judges don't actaully care that much. As long as she isn't sky gazing or curling, you will be fine. Especially at your level. You can score well this way. If you are needing to make big neck rein corrections, you probably aren't ready for the ring anyway. And if you do have to, I think a lower level judge would rather see you make a tactful correction then allow the horse to continue incorrect.

You have to decide who you feel more comfortable and pick a trainer. It's not fair to either of you to keep bouncing back and forth between them while you are still in the stages of figuring yourselves out. You don't need a GP trainer if that's your hang up. You're only doing training level, right? You have a ways to go before you need a GP trainer. Don't get caught up in what's going to get you your bronze faster, go with the one that is going to increase your feel and tact and keep your horse sounder. I can't say which one that is since I don't know the trainers.
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