What are the basic basics!!!

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by mooselady, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    Says the woman talking about “Advancing to Upper level work in Dressage“.........on a thread about BASIC BASICS~!! :faint:
     
  2. mooselady

    mooselady Senior Member

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    Oh I'm sorry, it must be someone else who has often said on this board that having a couple of days off will make a dressage horse lose it's edge, and a week off about ruins it.....my mistake
     
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  3. Breezah

    Breezah Senior Member

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    I have a slightly different idea of 'basics'. By the time they are ready for riding (after all of the groundwork and initial handling has been done), I only want my horses to be only two things:
    - quiet
    - respectful

    If you have those attributes, the horse is well on their way to having a good work ethic, and after that everything else comes easy. A quiet horse has enough confidence to be easy to load, tie, and mount, and a respectful horse will be willing to try for their handler no matter what is being asked of them.

    I've owned show horses as well as horses that were "for recreation only", and my personal findings are that show horses tend to be less quiet but the pleasure horses tend to be less respectful. It probably has something to do with the different types of workloads being expected of the horse over a period of time. My show horses wouldn't be as quiet if I didn't hack them outside of an arena once in a while, and my pleasure horses wouldn't be as respectful of the aids if I didn't bring them in and ask a little more work of them on occasion. But neither will perfectly excel in both areas, USUALLY speaking; I'm definitely not trying to generalize and lump all horses under one umbrella.

    I like to find somewhere in the middle.
     
  4. StraightandTrue

    StraightandTrue Senior Member

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    I think what slc is trying to say is that a horse should have a basic understanding of contact/connection. And by "basic" I would take it to mean the horse doesn't panic, throw it's head, grab the bit and bolt (or some other dramatic response) when it feels pressure on the reins, but softens/yields to light pressure. I don't think he/she is suggesting the horse should be going around correctly on the bit, but rather isn't afraid of contact.
     
  5. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    In my definition, "on the bit" is a quality of responding to the aids, not a head position on the vertical(or any other head position). ''On the bit" would only be achieved somewhat later in the dressage training when the horse is really becoming "through" (permeable, half halts go through the body without meeting any resistance).

    For the youngster, my goal is to have the horse "accepting the bit", which is what's meant when the horse bends or otherwise responds to a rein aid, and that yes, he isn't tossing his head up and down, gnashing his teeth rapidly, yanking the reins out of the rider's hands, craning his head way up, and so on. What you're describing, S&T, is what I would call ''accepting the bit."

    That's the foundation for ''on the bit" but is not the same thing as "on the bit." A training or first level dressage horse is expected to ''accept the bit''.

    The complaint against me in this thread is that I admitted to a great sin, LOL, and that the young horse should not be ridden on a contact(or he will lose his mind....). And if the discussion gets far enough(perhaps it already has, I didn't catch up), yes, you will have people here who will be very upset if they see a young horse ridden with its head on or near the vertical, that's some sort of torture, too.

    I have no problem riding a young just broke horse on a contact, and he will accept it very happily, if the rider's hand is steady. He's just spend a few months being longed on a contact, and the rider riding on a contact won't be anything different.

    The problem with riding youngsters on a contact isn't contact per se, it's the quality of that contact, how well the rider can follow the horse's head/neck movements('sympathetic' contact).

    If the rider does want to shape the horse in any way, at this point, he needs to do it very subtly, very slightly, and with an awareness of the horse's limitations.

    For example, I watched Stephen Peters ride some very young, just broke horses. Everyone watching was just....mouths were hanging open, curse words were spoke, lol. He made it look so easy, so light. Because Stephen never appeared to actually do anything with the reins, yet horse after horse was in a comfortably slightly-ahead-of-vertical position, slightly raised head and neck, and no 'undertow'(neck curling or 'breaking' behind the poll) and accepting a contact beautifully. Yet the reins never were for a moment, taught, tight, taken back, or frankly, as I said, even looking like Stephen did anything with them.

    So. I don't have anything against riding a youngster on or near the vertical, if the rider is capable of doing that without annoying the horse.

    At that early stage of the game, depending on what shape the horse's mouth is in (which teeth are 'done' coming in), and depending on how thick his throatlatch is, he may be a ways away from being comfortable in a near-vertical position. It's all in being aware of the horse's conformation and stage of growth. Reiner Klimke, in his training videos from the early 1980s, painstakingly brought out one youngster after the other to show that while none were ridden extremely pretzeled, rollkured or extremely low, they each needed some modifications. So one horse with a very thick neck was ridden more in front of the vertical than the others, each was ridden in a slightly different position as a baby.

    How about European auction horses? We often see internet horrors over those. And most of them, I think, are ridden on too short a rein, with too much of a position (and made to go too fast). However, I wouldn't feel any need to ride my (dream) Euro auction horse with his nose in the dirt for the next three years, either. I'd use a much more moderate posture than auction riders do, for sure.

    When I've ridden horses that were ''jammed up'' in an extreme position like the auction riders do it, those horse's backs usually feel sore and they very often taken uneven strides, even to the point of looking lame. Isabel Werth once said in interview, that it takes 3 or 4 weeks just to get them to calm down after the auction, and longer to undo the training completely.

    But I have not found any necessity or benefit from riding a dressage horse excessively low or leaving him to poke his nose out for months or years, either. Stretching? In dressage, it's a brief exercise, not a religion.

    What works for others in other riding sports, could be very, very different from that. But you won't find a Western Pleasure trainer teaching his students to all first train their Western Pleasure horses to have the head and neck position of the World Champion 5 gaited Saddle Seat horse, either, and the same logic applies here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  6. GotaDunQH

    GotaDunQH Senior Member

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    Basics for under saddle for me is.....stop, turn, move forward at all 3 gaits and back up.

    For the debate on contact...no contact for western horses, I'll say this. Yep, they are started in a snaffle with LONG straight line contact. Example; the only way a WP horse can ride on a drape is by being ridden with contact when started. It's not a curled up dressage contact, but a long contact with give and take. You give when the horse is correct and you take when the horse isn't and so on.
     
  7. Faster Horses

    Faster Horses Senior Member

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    I want a horse to have a handful of basics before I will hop on for the first ride.

    Walk, trot, easy, turns, whoa, and stand, all done by ground driving. Usually a basic reverse too. Of course, the STB knew this all already, so he had me spoiled. :)

    From there, hopping on is no big deal and many of the basics are already installed. Both of my horses were started riding on the (very quiet) roads and fields. I usually work on moving from seat/leg right away. Both of my horses caught on in less than ten rides (with room for improvement, of course). Add in canter, and we are all set.

    That's what I need for a pretty reliable trail horse. We've got a lot more years to nail down the rest (both of my geldings are currently four).
     
  8. StraightandTrue

    StraightandTrue Senior Member

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    GotaDunQH - I think this is how all horses should be trained, western or not. When they're doing the right thing, leave them alone. When they're doing the wrong thing, apply the correction and then... leave them alone. They will eventually learn what their "default" body position should be for each pace, and carry themselves in that position until the rider makes an adjustment.
     
  9. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Yes, you are mistaken. I never said a week off would ruin a dressage horse. You're exaggerating and twisting what I said to make it look bad, as usual.

    I said there is a loss of responsiveness/suppleness after a short time off. A person who's riding at training or first level may not notice because his different figures/transitions/change of posture not following in as rapid a succession of movements, but it's more obvious at third level and up.
     
  10. mooselady

    mooselady Senior Member

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    Hang on MY issue was this

    So we are talking about basics, and you would not have a horse that A starts Western because he starts them with little contact!
     

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