The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:47 pm 
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Romy wrote:
I often see that when using my body language, it's not posture that matters but movement.
I noticed that too. Although I would rather say: posture does matter, but only in movement ;).
I noticed (drawing hindquarters is often such a revealing exercise! :yes:), that if I didn't get a good response from my cue at first, I sometimes try to get the response by doing the same movement a bit further and longer. It usually doesn't work.
But if I stop the old movement cue and start a new one, this time with more verve and expression in the beginning of the movement, then the results are usually much better.

I also found that I often replicate my body cues in a too simplified form. For example I would explain the drawing of the hindquarters just like Romy did. Maybe I would add a shoulder movement as well.
But when I really imagine myself doing this task with Mucki, I realise that there is so much more to the cue than just the positioning of hips and shoulders.
There's a certain bend to my knees right from the beginning that gives the movement power and lightness before it even started. There's a luring quality to the draw with my hip and leg and finally a smooth transition to what Romy called the second step of the movement: the pushing or blocking the horse's shoulder with my inner hipbone. With that blocking movement comes a lifting of my whole body as well and while I had my hip tilted backwards before and the upper body more bent over, now my breast opens upwards, my hip tilts forwards and my whole body becomes upright.

Maybe the movement I described is more what I use for travers than just drawing the hindquarters, but it shows how many many-faceted and complex a body language cue is in reality. And sometimes, I'm not even aware of all those facets and subtleties. But I have the feeling like the horses pick up exactly those subtleties and use them to differentiate a "cue for travers" from "just taking my hip backwards"...

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:59 am 
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Volker wrote:
Maybe the movement I described is more what I use for travers than just drawing the hindquarters, but it shows how many many-faceted and complex a body language cue is in reality. And sometimes, I'm not even aware of all those facets and subtleties. But I have the feeling like the horses pick up exactly those subtleties and use them to differentiate a "cue for travers" from "just taking my hip backwards"...


Same here. This is why I don't give receipes for exact body language cues that are supposed to trigger a particular movement but try to suggest a direction and then let the human figure it out with his horse. However, I think I have to find some point on the continuum between providing no description whatsoever (which I think is not helpful) and a full description with all the subtleties (which I think is not possible).

I am so glad that last weekend we got some video material that precisely shows what I mean when I speak about temporal precision and binding one's movement to that of the horse. In this video, Nelly is asking Onti to walk with her and he refuses. I have repeated the scene several times and slowed it down so that it is easier to see. I think it's so great how each of Onti's small movements triggers a movement in her. :)

The full Nelly-Onti video can be watched here.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:52 pm 
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Romy wrote:
However, I think I have to find some point on the continuum between providing no description whatsoever (which I think is not helpful) and a full description with all the subtleties (which I think is not possible).
Yes, that point is hard to find and will be different for each person, I guess. Providing a full description (if that would be possible) would be counter-productive anyway, because it would inhibit those individual parts of the body language cue that I think are required to work on an individual person. A simple copy of a movement from another person can never be as effective a cue as one that is sucessfully integrated into the very own way of moving.

Maybe a good way to explain a movement cue to another might be via associative images - like it is done in Centered Riding. It's usually a good way to explain how a certain movement should feel like.

Romy wrote:
I think it's so great how each of Onti's small movements triggers a movement in her. :)
Indeed there's an interesting dialogue going on :).
I wonder, is Onti a clicker trained horse? The way he reacts to Nelly's reach into the treat pocket is interesting. Just when I can see the idea of following Nelly manifesting itself in Onti's body, she reaches into the pocket. Onti seems to take that as a marker signal, stops all movement and then there's even a hint of turning his head away to wait for a treat ;).
It's interesting how Onti is somehow synchronising his movement to the treats, rather than the human.

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