The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:39 am 
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Makana wrote:
She wants the horse to very softly give to the bit and arch his neck -- ramener. She knows this isn't collection. She knows it isn't true throughness. But it's a critical component for teaching the horse softness through his body so that true collection begins to come.


Very interesting, and good to know! So I'll keep ramenering on in hopes of future collection!

Question about physiology???

Isn't softening/relaxing of the lower jaw linked to poll flexion?? Which is then linked to the rest of the topline, and eventually the hind end/engine??? Or something like that?? Sort of the argument that bit proponents use saying that if you don't use a bit you can never get that throughness/collection, cuz you can't relax the lower jaw????

Personally I think cookies soften the lower jaw <GRIN>

Brenda

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:44 am 
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Karen wrote:
If you watch my little Goat on a Mountain video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kx1k1n1vNIo


Hey Karen!

Really great to watch this clip again, now that I know a bit more than the first time I watched!!

And what great timing of your click on the last GOTM, when he moved the last hind into place!! Cool!

Brenda

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:04 am 
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Makana, my friend Paul also teaches the importance of "releasing the poll" as a beginning step to collection. It is done with care, tickling the reins and learning when to reward the smallest try. Lateral movements are much easier and more flowing for the horse when the poll is relaxed - and of course the lateral movements aid in causing the release of the poll to happen as well. And it is what I do. Ramener was the very first thing I taught Tam!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:18 am 
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Brenda wrote:
Personally I think cookies soften the lower jaw <GRIN>


:lol: :lol: :lol: Oh Brenda, I will copy and save that one! Fabulous!! And I think that you are very right.

Last year when I was in that German dressage forum, they had a discussion about the importance of relaxing the jaw. I don´t know if this transfers to bitless riding at all (I remember something Josepha said about the problems that the bit should resolve not being there in the first place when you are riding bitless), but one of the advice they were giving in this discussion to demonstrate the importance of chewing on the bit was to try riding with a chewing gum.

I never thought about the fact that we are handing out chewing gums ;) to our horses all the time... so even if relaxation of the jaw is an issue for bitless riding at all (which I don´t know), then for me giving treats is a so much nicer way to do that! :)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:50 pm 
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Karen wrote:
Makana, my friend Paul also teaches the importance of "releasing the poll" as a beginning step to collection. It is done with care, tickling the reins and learning when to reward the smallest try. Lateral movements are much easier and more flowing for the horse when the poll is relaxed - and of course the lateral movements aid in causing the release of the poll to happen as well. And it is what I do. Ramener was the very first thing I taught Tam!


I found that my own path to Ramener, using La Jaquima, was very similar but began with lateral rather than vertical flexion.

I did it this way not just because I was taught it as a youngster, but because is made sense logically to me as a physical development step.

The poll naturally releases as the head comes around to the side, and one can use the same tickling and instant rewarding for the slightest movement laterally. The flexing and stretching from one side to the other, I think, develops the muscles needed more gently and softly in smaller groups, right and left, before the larger muscles needed for Ramener.

I'll have to see what I find as I work with Altea later after her foal is here. And later with it too.

You make me want to explore this further as I was taught that Ramener develops, if the hand is light, from the rear forward by exercising the haunches, the back, and bringing the hind legs under.

This too is how I teach it.

But I can certainly see where gymnasticizing all around has it's place. Some horses might well need to work from the front first to free the rear for collection.

I can think of many TBs I worked with, especially OTTBs, that were terribly strung out behind and all on the forehand. I may well have unconsciously worked to bring their noses in when I could not bring their hind quarters under and engage upward movement.

Donald R.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:08 pm 
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Quote:
The poll naturally releases as the head comes around to the side, and one can use the same tickling and instant rewarding for the slightest movement laterally. The flexing and stretching from one side to the other, I think, develops the muscles needed more gently and softly in smaller groups, right and left, before the larger muscles needed for Ramener.


Of course you would know this! :bowdown: In a way, I envy your experiences that brought you so much knowledge.

I struggled to truly understand how the lateral movements could actually cause the poll to release. The very first time we learned about this was in doing circles with the horse...either in hand or under saddle. As the horse is traveling in a small circle, if the emotions are looked after, the poll more naturally releases, and you can "steal" a few steps of forward movement in order to allow the horse to experience how that feels. And yet, I still didn't make the connection at that time. Now I know...
:lol: :lol:

And yet it does require a "feel" doesn't it. You can teach the concept, but the feel is the hard part to explain. I have tried to show others around me how to do it with a soft rhythm, but they don't always get it.

How would you explain it Donald? Perhaps you can help me figure out new ways to explain it as each person you come across seems to require a different mental picture in order to find that feel.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:42 pm 
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I'm quoting Donald, too! :-)

Quote:
The poll naturally releases as the head comes around to the side, and one can use the same tickling and instant rewarding for the slightest movement laterally. The flexing and stretching from one side to the other, I think, develops the muscles needed more gently and softly in smaller groups, right and left, before the larger muscles needed for Ramener.


This is SO helpful -- I've repeatedly noticed that if Stardust and I haven't worked in a couple of days, he's really unsure if he do a nice ramener.

(He gets stiff very quickly if he hasn't been moving around a lot.)

What I've noticed is that when he's stiff in his poll and neck, he tends to reach laterally first, and then diagonally with his head, cocking his head so his jaw comes up.

I've not felt particularly good about that, thinking that we were missing a good, clear, balanced ramener.

Reading this just turned on a big lightbulb for me. :!:

It's NOT a bad thing, but instead is Stardust's effort to loosen his poll before he can comfortably stretch it into ramener. DUH!!!! :-)

When I try this on myself, it makes perfect biomechanical sense. (Thinking about the very top of my spine as it comes into my neck as my poll -- I realize that when I stretch my neck out, particularly as I try to mimic the roundness and lift that comes as my version of a ramener, I am specifically softening and imagining warm air in my imaginary poll -- it softens and opens the movement.)

I'm realizing that I need to make a more conscious effort to remind myself what stretches feel like in my body, and what the natural progressions of those stretches are -- this could be really helpful to Stardust!

And this thought process has gotten me intrigued with the imagery I use when I'm stretching -- how to look at that more closely, and think about how I can use those images when I'm working with the big SD and the golden princess.

Thank you Donald! I, too, would love to hear more!

:-)
Leigh

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