The Art of Natural Dressage

Working with the Horse's Initiative
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:51 am
Posts: 693
Location: Germany
I really like your videos. Nice work.
And he does it really good.
And Mucki is so with you... :f:
He looks a bit like Zermi in the video.


Last edited by Yogini on Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:18 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:46 pm
Posts: 250
Location: Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada
oh Volker - that's beautiful! Love the softness. your horse is moving in a lovely smooth way. And when you watch the hind legs, they keep moving in a regular way, it is still a walk.

Unlike what I get :)
not sure if this is because of the way I trained it (whip cue, negative reinforcement) or the horse - very restricted through the shoulders - at the beginning, I couldn't physically lift his forearm very high at all, about half the range of the other horses. So overall I am happy with what Special and I have. But I will try to add some of the qualities of you and Mucky ;)

here's that short (bad) video of us doing the SW - I made excuses for it before, and I will do it again here :D
- I left the herd out in the field and they wandered off few miles away while we were working
- I was in my "push and achieve" stage - much too demanding
- I actually try to pull his head down during the first attempt at the SW... wrecks it for the rest of the session :blush: :sad:

This was the second session working on the SW under saddle - with our cue coming from my seat only (or trying to ;) )

(on another video -) There is something I haven't noticed before - Special moves his leg up and out to the side in those exaggerated steps. (by the way, the amplitude was always his idea, right from the start, maybe it's because I just got so much happier when he did a HUGE step? :) )
I wonder if that "sideways jerkiness" isn't where that shoulder restriction was coming from? I just hardly ever see his SW from the front... Maybe I will try doing some gentle manipulations of his forearms to see if the leg "has to" go up and out?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0mBiTKwzgY


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:53 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:42 am
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Location: Vienna, Austria
Thank you Dani and Zuzana! The best instances of our SW will never be on camera, because they happen in sudden moments of elation and pride. Like yesterday we did several wonderful ones on a 2 hour walk through the countryside. We were both just so happy that we are on the road again, the sun was shining - it was just a perfect autumn day! :sun:
So actually the best cue for it is happiness :D and so it happens that Mucki always makes me laugh when he does his Spanish Walk. It is after all an exercise that I would never demand of him. If it is not given freely, it simply does not work at all.

Zuzana wrote:
not sure if this is because of the way I trained it (whip cue, negative reinforcement) or the horse - very restricted through the shoulders - at the beginning, I couldn't physically lift his forearm very high at all, about half the range of the other horses.
Mucki tended to have problems lifting his left foreleg above a certain level. When he did, he sort of gave way in his right shoulder, so I started to keep the Jambette and SW low. Now, it's slowly getting better.
I think it's a combined issue of a weaker right shoulder and not putting the weight on the hindlegs enough. So he leaned heavily on the right shoulder, which is also a very bad position for balance.

When re-reading this thread today, I found out (again) that my idea about the SW is not really the Spanish Walk but the School Walk, like in this video that Karen posted previously:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K3LJAb40y4

Having that image as a goal, Mucki developed a nice flowing, just a bit accented walk. From there, it was him that experimented with higher, more exalted leg lifts by himself. So basically I trained the School Walk with him - he's training the Spanish Walk by himself 8).

Zuzana wrote:
(by the way, the amplitude was always his idea, right from the start, maybe it's because I just got so much happier when he did a HUGE step? )
Mucki did that too in the beginning, as he was so eager, but I deliberately rewarded him for less. In the beginning just for a tiny bit of accented upwards tendency. I actually asked him to do it sloppy - as sloppy as necessary to keep the walk clean ;).

Zuzana wrote:
There is something I haven't noticed before - Special moves his leg up and out to the side in those exaggerated steps.
Maybe he's doing that for balance? How is the SW without a rider? A ridden SW must be a major balancing challenge for the horse, so I guess one can expect a lot of things - like the head position for example - to deteriorate during the first learning phase.

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Volker

The horse owes us nothing.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:07 am 
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Location: Vienna, Austria
I was examining the School Walk again and since it is said to be a slightly diagonalised gait, I took a close look at my last video of Mucki's SW again. Indeed, Mucki starts to diagonalise at the very end of the video. Now I have to think what that means :funny:. I guess it's just a normal consequence of delaying the forward reach of the frontlegs while the hindlegs try to keep to movement intact. What do you think? Is that something that could cause troubles later on?

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The horse owes us nothing.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:46 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:46 pm
Posts: 250
Location: Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada
Thank you for your thoughts Volker.
the sideways deviation is there without a rider too - in fact that is where I noticed it - at liberty, no whip, about 30 feet away from me - I lost that video :sad: , but will film again. I haven't seen it since, so maybe it was just temporary after over-doing something... but I bet it has lots to do with balance. Because we don't have balance in our SW. ;)

my thoughts on the diagonalization of (any) walk:
there is an endless continuum of footfall timing in any gait. When they did studies on this - some people even go as far as to say "there are no gaits"... the horse adjusts his feet according to his balance.

I don't think anything bad happens with changes. If you can train your way in, you can train your way out... The idea that the horse's gaits "must remain pure" (whatever that means) from beginning to end of training is silly, I think, and relatively new. And reflects the fact that today's trainers (not all, of course) are only "using" what the horse already has - and if they push too hard and change the gait, they are helpless to change it into something else.

I don't have a clear understanding of diagonalization and "advanced placement" type of patterns - yet ;) - but there is some thinking going on in my little brain - does the horse "catch himself" with his hind leg (changing the gait pattern by landing the hind hoof earlier)? And then does the hind foot leave the ground earlier too? I suspect that dropped hindquarters and hind legs staying under the horse (especially during retraction phase) change the footfall in any gait...

but I would say with confidence - no this will not cause you trouble later on!!! :D


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