The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:40 am 
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Mmmh... I'm afraid I won't be of much help there. Our mare Lily did stand everything but square in the beginning, but changed to standing square now. I'm not sure what really caused the change, as we did nothing to correct it deliberately.
My theory is that standing square has a lot to do with being even-sided. I think it is caused by the preference of putting more weight on the stronger legs, which is usually a diagonal pair as I understand it.
We do a lot of exercises to get the horses even - like classical groundwork with the caveson, shoulder-in, stepping under, lunging. Basically everything that lifts the inner shoulder and gets the weight more on the hindlegs.
With those exercises, our horses have switched their better sides like five times in two years, which I take as a good sign for evenness. If they switch preferred sides, they will also switch the preferred legs to stand on, thus hopefully standing more square in the end? That's my theory at least ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:17 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 5:21 pm
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I was scratching my mares butt the other day and, when I scratched at some point over her spine, she shifted her weight forwards. Like when they move under our hands to be scratched at the right spot. I guess we're going towards this back crunch!
I couldn't see her overall frame, but her hooves were farther behind her body, and when whe'd step forward with one of the hinds, I'd stop scratching and she'd immediately put it back behind (she knows how to step back into me to keep the scratches when I stop and move further back... little problem, sometiems, is that she moves backwards even if I don't :roll: ).

She wasn't square, either (I tried to start at least a little square, but didn't manage to get it totally square), so I did it first with one hind ahead, then the other.
I have spent a lot of time with her in her stall on last month, and I noticed she usually keeps one hind under her body, and the other behind. And she shifts them ocasionally. Rarelly I've seen her rest in one hind while the other would be flexed, touching only the tip on the ground (as I thought that was the defaul resting position).

Well, she's had colic surgery 5 weeks ago (that's why I spent so long making company inside her stall), maybe that's the reason she found a different resting position.
Also because of this I wonder if I should practice this crunch already... maybe a little, without bribing much? For I suppose it's better to stretch slowly before allowing her to run loose again, when she'll probably end up kicking high in the air! :D

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:11 am 
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Luara wrote:
Also because of this I wonder if I should practice this crunch already... maybe a little, without bribing much?
Do you mean luring (make her follow a treat in your hand)? If you are concerned or unsure whether she might overdo a certain movement, I would suggest that you use shaping instead of luring. That way it is much harder to make a horse do something that goes beyond healthy thresholds.
Luring has several disadvantages in my opinion: greedy, jerky movements which could result in injuries, unhealthy feeding positions, deteriorating food manners. On top of that the learning effect is not so good compared to shaping for example, where the horse is actively seeking a way to the final behaviour.

That being said, if it works fine for you, stick to it of course :f:

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:49 pm 
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Hi, Volker!
Well, it's not following anything with her nose, and I'm not giving treats either (I'm myself still reading and learning how should I behave with that).
I stand by her butt (usually behind her, sometimes besides her croup), and scratch her. Then she goes moving forward, so that my scratching falls where she wants most to be scratched!
I did it again, yesterday, and noticed there isn't a right spot for that. Or it's not always the same, anyway... guess she ends up shifting mostly forwards, but sometimes backwards too.

Thinking about overstreching the line of the surgery: is it much more stretching than a pedestal? (ok, depending on the degree...)
When she was swollen I would keep her on a pedestal for a while, hoping it would help to drain (it was draining near her navel, which was higher than most of the swollen area. On the pedestal it was lower than the rest). She didn't have any problem with that, even seemed to enjoy/relax in the position :)

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