What is correct?

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by CarlisleChipper, Nov 10, 2018 at 12:41 AM.

  1. CarlisleChipper

    CarlisleChipper Senior Member+

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    Watching more of Joseph Newcomb's videos and over and over he speaks to developing a horse correctly, giving them a good foundation. This might be philosophical, but is there anything objective to developing a horse "correctly?" What does this mean? Is there literature out there that defines what correct is for your discipline, etc? Or is this only something that comes from subjective trial and error passed down from great horseman to great horseman, to teach those of us that aspire to be something beyond average.

    What I gather is... training a horse to respond to cues using near undetectable aids because the horse is sensitive enough to respond and maintain in self-carriage. A language of pressure and release. Sounds too simple though.
    What say you?
     
  2. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    You already know.
    You did it to get your canter lead. You do what you want the horse to do, in your body, refine how your body cues the horse, and you will ride correctly.
     
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  3. QRTXhorseman

    QRTXhorseman Senior Member

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    Developing a horse and riding a horse can be thought of as two separate things, but they are related and often interact with one another.

    Think of a human athlete. Is it possible for a human athlete to succeed simply by participating in his or her sporting activity? In some cases, this seems possible – at least on lower levels. But how many aspiring athletes drop out of their sports due to inabilities or injuries? Most serious athletes combine their specific sporting activity with other training to help develop the strength, flexibility, and endurance called for when participating in their chosen sport. After injuries, they may depend upon specific types of physical therapy.

    Think of how these same ideas relate to horses. Horses have certain innate physical abilities. These vary from horse to horse. In nature, those with lesser abilities and those who have sustained injuries may succumb to predators.

    Horses with lesser innate abilities or those who suffer injuries may also fall out of the picture when asked to participate in activities required of them by humans.

    How many times have you heard people say, “I don’t understand why my horse keeps getting lame.” Could this be because this person did not previously prepare (or “develop”) his horse properly with certain exercises before exposing the horse to the demands of certain activities?
     
  4. BluemoonOKy

    BluemoonOKy Senior Member

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    I think we first need to Define what correct is... so for me when I ask the horse to do something I have a very specific way that I would like for it to be done from a biomechanical perspective and if I am doing groundwork I want to be teaching the horse something that will translate also under saddle.
    Let's say for example that I am teaching turn on the haunches so that the forehand will be what I want to cross over... so I need to look at how I want this to be done. Say I am going to move the forehand to the right... I need to have the understanding that for the horse to be able to perform the maneuver in the most biomechanically sound possible way, it is best to have him squared up when I ask for the movement at a standstill.. I need to have the understanding that if the horse is moving his forehand to the right then the right hind will be weighted more when he moves his left front leg across the right front leg over to the right.. So, if I am asking for that maneuver as we are walking forward I need to ask for it when the right hind is in a position to be able to take the weight. I also want the left front leg to cross in front of the right front leg, not behind it. I want to do this in a very balanced way.
    So yes for me there is definitely a correct way to be doing things so that the horses long-term soundness is Paramount. I am looking also at the training scale which says that relaxation is the basis for all movements. I want to find that relaxation anywhere that I can find it. There is so much more that I am thinking about when I am training a horse but this is just a snapshot of an example.
     
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  5. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    When Joe Newcomb talks about 'correct' he's referring to the classical framework of dressage, which means a set of long-ago set down principles that people are supposed to follow. And in fact, among people who are serious about dressage, the training scale is used consistently all over the world, and I can hop on a dressage horse in Russia, Italy, or Resume Speed Iowa, and use the exact same aids for every movement and exercise, and the horse will have been taught those aids and know them well.

    The classical framework isn't just pie-in-the-sky concepts. It affects everything we do.

    If you look at the German dressage Training Pyramid(also called the Training Scale etc), you will have the basic 50,000 foot view, but nothing about how to apply it or when 'this much of this' is enough or too much.

    How to apply it, when is it 'enough or too much of this', that all comes from riding lessons with a knowledgeable instructor. You can't learn this from a video, or from a book, though both are still indispensable, they accompany, rather than substitute for, in person instruction.

    Misconceptions about the training scale:

    1.) you work on one thing, then the next thing, then the next thing. It's a list. Nope. Not true.

    2.) ''you only use it to train.'' Nope. The training scale is chiefly how all dressage is judged by judges in competition.

    3.) "it's bull/irrelevant/out of date, I don't really need to learn it." Nope. Just nope. If you want to do dressage well, you will learn the training scale and think about it and use it every time you ride, dream or think dressage.

    The training pyramid of dressage has these elements:

    1.) Losgelasenheit or in English, Looseness, Throughness(letting through).

    Translating it as 'relaxation' has led to a bunch of - mostly American - people insisting everyone should be going around as slowly as possible with no contact, and that is not at all the intention of this part of the training scale. To clarify this it's often called an 'active relaxation' or a 'toned relaxation' or an 'alert relaxation', but the fact is, the word 'relaxation' has led to a great deal of misunderstanding about what 'looseness' or 'throughness' really means. Chiefly because when you tell an American to relax, he gets on a reclining chair with a beer. That's not what is meant here. YES the horse must not be hysterical or as tense as a board, but that is not the issue here.

    What this means is that despite cruising along in a very active working trot (or canter, or whatever) the horse is STILL loose and the rider's aids meet no barrier (this 'aids meet no barrier' is fundamentally what 'throughness' means). Throughness is hard to describe, but your instructor will be screaming and jumping up and down when you get it.

    2.) takt, or in English, Rhythm (this does not imply or mean 'slow rhythm' it means 'consistent rhythm' and 'consistent' does not mean 'slow', it means consistent - in other words, maintaining the same rhythm).

    Think about rhythm this way - number of hoofbeats per minute. This does sound overly mechanical, but that is the principle - that you keep the same number of beats per unit time. In America, 'rhythm' also means the beats of each gait, such as a 4 beat walk, a 2 beat trot, or a 3 beat canter. In other countries this having the right 'beats of the gait' is called the 'purity' of the gait. And many times, you can still hear 2 beats or 4 or 3, but it's STILL shading away from the really clear, each-beat-within-each-stride-takes-the-same-amount-of-time rhythm, and your instructor will have a cow.

    3.) Anlehnung, or in English, Contact, the thing that so many starting in dressage struggle with. Not there? Instructor will have a cow.

    4.) Schwung, or in English, Impulsion. We do not say the walk has impulsion, only gaits that spring with all 4 feet off the ground have impulsion. The walk as 'the desire to go forward' or a 'marching forward quality.'

    Impulsion is NOT simply activity or running around a pasture loose, though. Repeat, it is not seen in a horse running around loose in a pasture, or in a ridden horse not ridden with half halts. It is the result of riding(or driving, as in hitched to a carriage) with half halts and 'storing up' energy that can be released. If not there, instructor will be shouting something like, 'You do actually need to go somewhere' and throwing his/her hat on the ground. It isn't about going fast (though for sure you do have to keep up SOME active forward motion!). It's about gathering energy with half halts and releasing it.

    5.) Geraderichten, or in English, Straightness. Straightness is very important in dressage, and this is a fairly subtle kind of straightness. It involves the horse having his entire body, from nose to tail, on a 'straight line'. The line of travel, actually, which could have a gentle curve or be straight, whether the line of travel is straight or curved, the horse has to have his weight, and his body, neck and legs, evenly on this line, without his shoulders drifting outward or his haunches drifting inward, or vice versa.

    6.) Versammlung, or in English, Collection. Collection means that the shape of the stride changes - from a longer, flatter stride, to a rounder, more upward stride.

    The legs (and of course by using all the muscles and joints of the body - back, shoulder, hip) thrust the horse upward. The most basic dressage training starts with the horse thrusting himself forward from two vigorously working hind legs. But as training goes on, the horse learns to thrust upward and 'carry' himself more. Collection is NOT about a head or neck carriage nor is it purely about stride length. The changes in stride length, head carriage and neck height, are the RESULT of collection that originates with the hind legs changing from thrusting to carrying (upward lift), not something you 'cue' the horse for by lifting the head or neck with the hands or other stuff.

    Certainly, there is a lot more stuff. You could very easily say that everything else sprouts out of the training scale. Because it does.

    Precision is a big part of dressage. The letters in the ring are where stuff is supposed to happen - circles start or end, halts are made, transitions are made. Right at the letter. Right there. But also precision is about the size of circles, the size of steps(say, every rein back step of the 5 steps, is the same size), the degree of angle (as, say, in shoulder in) and a lot of other stuff.

    Position is an even bigger part of dressage. At the Spanish Riding School, new students spend 9 months to a year with no reins and no stirrups, on a longe horse, learning how to not just GET their position but also to keep it, despite very active gaits of the horse. Work on position is never-ending. The dedicated dressage rider is always working on it.

     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018 at 7:04 AM
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  6. ginster

    ginster Senior Member

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    I would recommend the books and videos of Dr. Reiner Klimke and his daughter Ingrid Klimke.
    I am not sure if they are available on youtube in english (there are so many in german) but thgere are dvd sets.
     
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  7. CarlisleChipper

    CarlisleChipper Senior Member+

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    SLC THANK YOU. This was the exact kind of conversation I was looking for. I desire to utilize the training scale consistently. In fact, I want to print it out and have it laminated. It's like Maslow's Hierarchy of Riding ;-) But the conversation must not stop here!

    Bluemoon, can you tell me how you've developed the feel to know where your horse's feet are and when to cue? This is something I need to develop in my self.

    Ginster thank you for the suggestion I will look into it.

    On a side note, I will always have a trainer to work with. In fact, I have a variety of them that I learn from. But I don't want to be dependent on them for knowledge. One small example. When I was in highschool you couldn't teach me math. Just couldn't. The way the teacher would explain it never helped me understand. But when I went to college and started math from the very beginning working up to college level algebra, I understood it. Why? Because it was taught online, through a program, using a book, with no teacher. What I had to do was digest the plain information as it stood, without the influence or opinion or style of the instructor. I finally learned it, and I did it better on my own. It will be me, 90% of the time, training my horse. I will not have him sent somewhere to be trained or have others ride him for me. I want his success to be a product of the partnership we develop, the trust, the work, the learning together. This is why it's important for me to study and listen to "what is correct?" How do we achieve this? What tools are out there? What person out there has information out there I need to know? Whose life experience can I gleam insight from and appreciate that they took the time to share it with me? This is what I crave! I feel like I am at a point in my riding "career" where I can take it to the next level. I don't want to be a riding instructor, I don't want to be a horse trainer. I want to train and develop my own horses to become excellent athletes, not just at the lower levels!
     
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  8. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    Not blue, but I may be able to answer. The easiest way is to have someone call out when 1 leg is about to leave the ground and then you can learn to feel what happens in your body when that limb leaves the ground. When I’m teaching I’ll call out Left Right as the hind legs leave the ground. Most people can feel the front legs without issues, but have no clue where the hind legs are. Keep in mind in walk, the entire barrel of the horse needs to move to the side to allow the stifle to come through. So barrel swings right so the left hind has room to move/come through. Once you have it in walk, then you move to trot - which will be easier by default given the limbs move in diagonal pairs. But don’t time your aids to the front feet. That’s cheating and you’ll never gain anything by going that. Once you get good at it you will be able to feel when a hind leg isn’t going to step through all as it should before the limb leaves he ground. You’ll then be able to aid it so that it does step through and there’s no change in rhythm nor tempo :)
     
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  9. CarlisleChipper

    CarlisleChipper Senior Member+

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    Blue enough ;)

    So does that mean we should be timing our aids to when the hind legs step off, depending on what you're asking for?
     
  10. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    The above shows your level of understanding & pride. Straight up, this type of mind set will be deterimental to your learning. If someone can help advance you & your horse by getting on and educating the horse to something or showing you how to do something - then allow that to happen! If the horse is struggling with something and you’re not able to get through to the horse because you level of understanding isn’t good enough to teach it, then don’t set the pair of you back simply b/c of pride.

    I do not get on students horses often. But here are times I could get on and have things improved 10fold with a 10min school. Or a rider is adamant the horse cannot go as I’ve requested or with the aids I’ve requested they use......they don’t believe it & I can’t change their mind unless they let me get on and prove it........

    My own coach has gotten on my mounts a few times for various reasons. It has always always improved things quickly.

    Having the option to ride a school master trained higher than your own education level is also just completely invaluable, so be open to all of that.
     

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