The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:45 am 
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Wow Sue...I don't know where to begin. Wait. Yes I do.

THANK YOU!!!!

You will see in Donald's diary of Dakota that I have asked him how the vaqueros cued a simple turn. He ahs answered, weight the outside hip, and touch and release with the outside leg...keep the inside leg away. I used to ride this way as a child, and right through my teen years. I think this is because it is simply more intuitive. At the same time, you stay centered.

I couldn't quite remember, but Donald helped so much. See, the few times that Tam turned with me, I am quite sure this is what I was doing. The only thing is that I was not staying centered while I was doing it...a little bit over-compensating I think, and what sent me inward was then trying to turn how I thought I should do it.

So I will quietly sit with Tam, and from a standstill, try the wonderful old intuitive way...the way of the Vaquero, and see if Tam really is more in agreement with that. And I most certainly will send my focus outward, sit up straight and and a hint leaning back and see what his response will be to that.

And I think you are absolutely and positively right about his backing up - that I was telling him by leaning forward. He really is a good backer-upper... very fluid. And he WAS balanced...wasn't he! :D He never once tried to put his head down...he stayed "with me" and kept trying to figure it out for me.

I got some very lovely and encouraging words from Paul, too, when he saw the video.

Between this wonderful forum, the friends I ride with, and Paul - always there with wonderful advice (and jokes about being dissapointed that he saw no capriole or baroque athleticism). I am just beaming right now.

I am SO in the right place in my life.

I love the way you and Sunrise worked this out together. I think Tam will like that very much too. Trained cues can come later. For now, I would really like for him, too, to feel like I could honor his ideas and his role in this. I think a good way for me to do that would be to let go of the cordeo and stop trying to cue with that too.

I could hug you all right now. Thank you Sue!!


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 8:04 am 
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:D :D
Wow!Cool! I feel so hugged!

Wish we could go ride our babies together sometime... I know we could learn heaps from each other.. I was immensely impressed with the way you had Tam sidle up to that mounting block. Sunnie and I are still struggling with this because I've been a really slack and undisciplined trainer, paying not nearly enough attention to step by step practices. So when I stand on a mounting block, she races up and tries to stand on it too. Your video was a good kick up the butt for me to sort that out properly. :roll:

Yes, I agree. Let go of the cordeo for a while. It seems to be unbalancing you a bit and taking away your focus. That's what I found too in the beginning stages.

Re Donalds Vaquero advice, I agree completely. This is what my horses have shown me. One thing that I do with my students when I'm teaching them how to weight and balance naturally for the turn, is to get them to waltz. :lol:
Yes, I really do. We dance around the paddock, with imaginary partners, turning with lovely leading waltz steps, paying careful attention to doing it gracefully, with chins lifted, faces smiling, like black and white movie stars so that our imaginary partners can follow our lead, It's fun!

What happens when you do a waltz turn, say to the left, is that your head turns in the direction you are going with eyes lifted and level, and your body follows, you lift up and open from the core, your left shoulder lifts and opens and your left hand sweeps up and out, your right hand follows and doesn't cross your centre, your hips swivel, the left side of your pelvis opens and lifts, your knee gracefully swings out to place your left leg out to the side and front, your right knee turns in slightly and moves in to follow the left, your weight is on your right hip as you push off your right foot, and SWoOOp, dip, lift and away, dancing around the arena. :lol: It's exactly the same pattern and balance as riding the turn.
So, shall we dance? :lol:

Then sometimes, I get them to lead the horse round the arena as they practice their walking waltz, exaggerating the dip, lift, swoop, swivel, and push off to turn. The horses respond wonderfully, you can see them look, lift and push off in unison.. then I lead the horse, doing the same thing, while the student rides the horse, and follows my dance step turns, exagerating lifting and swooping, moving the left arm and knee out for a left turn, following with the right, which naturally makes them weight onto the right side and have slight contact of right leg.

When they go back to riding alone, they've usually got it.. Although with the addition of cordeo or reins, they are apt to lose it again, often dropping what should be the leading shoulder or crossing the following hand over the mane, both of which weights the wrong hip and confuses the horse.
Me too! I can see in some of my first pix with Sunrise that I'm all crossed up, and so is she. And then when I get myself straight (which could mean correctly bent) she looks really forward and willing.

OH.. it's fun fun fun.. I want to dance, dance, dance all night! :lol:

Sue


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:21 pm 
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Wow, I am learning so much from this topic, too!! Thank you Sue! I am very inspired by reading about your experiences :D
I am still trying to find my own path in 'the whole riding thing' as well... so this gives me a lot of ideas. Yippiieeee :lol:
And thank you Karen for finding the courage to share this video with us, even when you felt a little bit nervous about it. And now see what happens! There is a lesson in that for all of us, too :lol:

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Jolanda
----------
our introduction with photos: http://www.artofnaturaldressage.com/viewtopic.php?t=744


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 2:26 am 
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Sue!!!!!!

WE DANCED!!!!

Ok, we LEARNED some dance steps, but with the advice from Donald, your waltzing images in my head, I was able to move myself the way Tam wanted me to. Hip down on the outside, lightly touch, touch touch with my outside leg, leave the inside leg off, and I left the cordeo alone. What was nice with the image of dancing in my mind, was that I didn't feel stiff at all, and I could sort of "let it flow". I'm so clumsy you know, and in reality I never could dance, but it was enough for Tam to begin to understand. He also seemed to intuitively understand a little leaning forward for backing up (oh, he can back up so pretty and fluidly) and the dancing image also helped remind me to sit up and ever so slightly back if I asked for a turn or if I asked for forward.

I did, also, finally tap him lightly on the top of his butt.

He was again, so calm, so cool, so trusting.

I will update his diary in a little while.


Thank you!!!!


:D :D :D


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:28 am 
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You are having so much fun, and we are by you sharing it with us.

I'll tell you the feeling that goes with using seat and leg as I described.

When it begins to flow you feel as though the horse turns and does lateral movement as though suspended from your body, swinging below you.

Can you get that feeling in your mind?

When it truly is fully integrated you may some day feel this:

For a moment or two, hopefully even more, the center of the universe is at your center, inside you and that point in space is still, fixed in time and space, and everything, the swing of the horses body, your own body being moved along all is connected to that still point.

It all is moving. YOU are still.

Donald

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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 5:52 am 
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Location: Taiwan, via NZ
:D :D :D

(Tell you a secret, I can't really dance either. :wink: But for my horse I'd bring down the moon! :D )

Quote:
He also seemed to intuitively understand a little leaning forward for backing up



Actually, I don't think it's intuition; it's simple balance. KFH explains it in Dances with horses, and I've tried out the exercise that he gets his students to perform, where they piggy back each other and found that it's right. We THINK that by leaning our weight forward, the horse will need to step forward to counterbalance, but in fact it is the opposite. So, you can piggy back someone, ask them to lean forward, and you will find that you automatically step backwards to get in balance again. Ask them to lean back and you will push off forward. If you attempt to step back as they lean back, you will find yourself reeling, and trying to run backwards to catch them. It's highly illuminating.
Same with turning left and right. We often think we need to lean left to influence the horse to move left underneath us, but it offbalances them. They "fall into the turn" right? So, as Donald describes, it's the slight weight shift to the outside that influences them to step to the inside.
Interesting huh. You've all just gotta go find a partner to piggy back and try this!

With the left and right, by lightening your inside hip, you also make a space for the inside shoulder to lift as it needs to to shift over. A turn begins with the inside leg placement. This is fun to practice with human horses as well. Get on four legs, get someone to ride you, sitting up near your shoulders, ask them to push down on your inside shoulder as you attempt to move your inside "leg" over to begin the turn.. you will likely as not topple on your nose. :lol: THen get them to weight the outside shoulder, and you will probably find that to balance yourself, you will want to lift and place your inside "leg" further to the inside.

Looking forward to seeing next vids!

Sue


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:36 am 
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Very enlightening post Sue! Makes me think a lot about how I ride! :wink:

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Brittany

www.royalhorsecompany.com


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:06 am 
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windhorsesue wrote:
:D :D :D

(Tell you a secret, I can't really dance either. :wink: But for my horse I'd bring down the moon! :D )

Quote:
He also seemed to intuitively understand a little leaning forward for backing up



Actually, I don't think it's intuition; it's simple balance. KFH explains it in Dances with horses, and I've tried out the exercise that he gets his students to perform, where they piggy back each other and found that it's right. We THINK that by leaning our weight forward, the horse will need to step forward to counterbalance, but in fact it is the opposite. So, you can piggy back someone, ask them to lean forward, and you will find that you automatically step backwards to get in balance again. Ask them to lean back and you will push off forward. If you attempt to step back as they lean back, you will find yourself reeling, and trying to run backwards to catch them. It's highly illuminating.
Same with turning left and right. We often think we need to lean left to influence the horse to move left underneath us, but it offbalances them. They "fall into the turn" right? So, as Donald describes, it's the slight weight shift to the outside that influences them to step to the inside.
Interesting huh. You've all just gotta go find a partner to piggy back and try this!

With the left and right, by lightening your inside hip, you also make a space for the inside shoulder to lift as it needs to to shift over. A turn begins with the inside leg placement. This is fun to practice with human horses as well. Get on four legs, get someone to ride you, sitting up near your shoulders, ask them to push down on your inside shoulder as you attempt to move your inside "leg" over to begin the turn.. you will likely as not topple on your nose. :lol: THen get them to weight the outside shoulder, and you will probably find that to balance yourself, you will want to lift and place your inside "leg" further to the inside.

Looking forward to seeing next vids!

Sue


Ah, yes, precisely.

I do so wish riders would learn this. Horses suffer greatly, I think, when having to constantly catch their balance under us, whereas this allows them to control YOUR weight on their back.

Truly empowers the horse.

I think of it, sometimes, as 'opening the way' for the horse. I have to unload the side I wish him to go toward, so that it is freed to move.

And it becomes, in time, not only the allowance of that freedom, but the cue itself.

Thankfully that's not a skill I've lost from not riding for so long. It came back in minutes on the first horse I rode last fall.

I'm only now just recovering the ability in riding to also do this in forward movement. And it's not just transitions, but in fact there is a way to do it for every stride of the horse.

It can be practiced at the walk much more easily, but it's at the trot where it pays off for the horse and allowing him his freedom to move.

One can change the trot into a very free forward movement, dynamic and yet smooth, by a oscillation of the pelvis, as though each side is making a small circle.

It mimics the same oscillation of the horses hips ... though I could not tell you exactly if it duplicates, leads, or follows. Possibly all three depending on what you want to ask of the horse, and what you wish to free up in his hip and leg on each side at each stride.

But when the timing jells each side, hip and buttock, is drawn forward by the horse's movement, just as we are describing for the turn.

I'm not sure oscillation is the word I want, but I think it conveys my meaning.

And it requires a certain looseness, a flexibility of the hip and spine to allow this to happen. I had it for maybe 5 or six trot strides today, and then my old stiff body lost it.

But it's all coming back. And this will too. The more I ride the more flexible and strong my body becomes.

Dakota did rather well for having not been ridden in a couple of months. He triggered my movement by his own good reaching up under at the trot. It's an unmistakable feeling. His hips just rolled.

I find I can do it on the horse's back at walk and trot, but hard to do sitting on a chair. Possibly women find it easier to do.

And it's more likely recognized by feel and done more easily bareback, or possibly too on a treeless saddle.

Donald Redux 1965

Image

_________________
Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:49 am 
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Karen wrote:
Don't laugh too much please :D

He apparently had no idea what I was asking him, but he kept his sense of humor.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEe-XWdunpw


O Brave One!!!

I know I already sent you KUDOS privately but again... YAHOOOOO! Way to go!

No biggie that Tam might have been a bit confused...clicker trained animals are soooooo resilient! And he looked fine to me, what I saw was a horse simply trying to find the right answer, offering stuff he was familiar with, and not trying to end the ride, etc. so that's a good thing!

And I know what you mean about 'the best laid plans' stuff when you finally get on, it feels like you just got dropped on the moon <G>!!! That's what I like about videos tho, you can go home and study them, see what went well (cuz often we forget the good stuff by then!!), and also see what we would like to change the next time and get the chance to make a better plan! C'est la vie!

Anyway, loved seeing what you're doing and I am looking forward to more!!!!

Brenda, Lucy, and Jack


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:00 am 
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Thank you Brenda :D

Between Donald's help and Sue's instruction in classical dancing, I think we have it. I hope to tape more tomorrow if Tam is amenable!

I wondered why I couldn't get to my public page on youtube when I typed in "cisco1" which is what I thought I registered as. Then I noticed the typo...the page is called "cicso1". :oops: How embarassing. I don't know if I can live with that! If I change the user name, it means I have to sign up and start over. Maybe now is better than later. Then if the URL for the video changes I can fix that too.

cisco1 isn't available apparently. sigh.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:09 pm 
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I couldn't deal with Cisco's name being misspelled as my username.

My username on Youtube is now "ciscotam" and I have reloaded the video or his first ride and his Goat On A Mountain. I also added a video of practicing at the mounting block.

The new URl for the first ride is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ikrwLY9YNs


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:33 pm 
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Karen wrote:
I couldn't deal with Cisco's name being misspelled as my username.

My username on Youtube is now "ciscotam" and I have reloaded the video or his first ride and his Goat On A Mountain. I also added a video of practicing at the mounting block.

The new URl for the first ride is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ikrwLY9YNs


I just knew :wink: you were going to do that.

Donald

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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:36 pm 
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:lol:

I know. I'm about as strange as they come! The silliest things bother me!


They are still processing the other two videos. I feel much better now with a username that is spelled somewhat correctly :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:41 pm 
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Josepha, Bianca and Miriam, if one of you reads this, would it be ok if I add the URL for artofnaturaldressage to the description on my YouTube channel page, in case anyone wants to learn more about why I'm doing what I'm doing (and how, and all that)?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:56 pm 
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Karen wrote:
:lol:

I know. I'm about as strange as they come! The silliest things bother me!



That is NOT an exclusive club.

Quote:


They are still processing the other two videos. I feel much better now with a username that is spelled somewhat correctly :wink:


And I feel better for both Cisco and You.

Cicso? YEE GAD!

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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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