The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:29 pm 
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Not even going to try. LOL

Wonderful pics that sure help to get a feel for the place, people, and horses.

I'm not quite sure how to prepare Eric for that off to the side seat. I suppose he'll pick it up, or do something to better pad the saddle. Looking at other pics from Mongolia I believe this is the case there as well, the switching from side to side riding.

As for the artwork: I think it safe to assume that they are representative though possibly romanticized. Realism over abstraction was the rule in art then I think ... at least the pieces suggest it strongly if you look at the other elements. The rider (polo player) doesn't appear stylized hence probably the horse isn't either in the statue.

If an arched neck was not a standard of attractiveness we'd be looking at what was. If not arched as a usual way of going then it was at least desirable and attainable.

Which brings us back to the bit we are discussing. If that was in use then it was designed to help create and or support this released poll most likely.

For whatever reason this reminds me of the common sight on polo fields of today, the majority of horses showing the upside down neck development from all the pulling.

In the hundreds of hours of watching polo (I ran a polo stable for a couple of years) I saw only one string of horses with proper top line development. Of course all owned and ridden by one man. He was heavily subsidized to ride for his team (of rich business and professional people riding polo as a hobby). I never learned where his skill came from. A taciturn sort that tended to keep to himself, and quietly outride everyone on the field - and deadly with his stick, both as to aim and blocking other's mallets.

He rode and handled his horses like we see in the best stock horse reining classes of today. Leaving the field the other horses would be winded and dripping - his would be fresh still, barely warmed up. I took a lot of "lesson," from just watching him.

His gear was the same as all the others, except he used no martingales or tie-downs as they all did. Just light educated hands.

Snaffle bit, of course, while others rode with double bridle, some of them.

I'd like polo more if the riders were more like this one horseman.

The statue reminds me of him.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:32 pm 
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My apologies also Donald...I have completely hijacked your topic. I'm sorry! The bit mystery has completely grabbed me and it won't let go. :blush:

Will your student be reporting back to you at some point? It would be fascinating to know how much you have helped him because I'm betting you are providing something more valuable than he could guess...not only will he learn to ride, but you will also show him how much empathy plays a role in understanding the people and horses he will encounter. The reports from Sue and Volker both, are amazing. Isn't the internet magical for this? That we have friends with such knowledge scattered across the globe and that we can all be here, in one glorious forum to listen and learn!! :clap: :yes:

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:52 pm 
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Good on you Karen for some educated guesswork. No hints yet though. :D

C'mon Donald, give it lash, before I close the bets! Some of the answers are sniffing round correct, but one missing ingredient. Look at the shoulder and hoof size of the grey.

Just been going through all my photos, finally....
Thanks for bringing this trip back up for me Donald. :) There was a lot of stuff went on after I came back from the second trip and I haven't even looked at the photos.

One thing that strikes me, more and more strongly, is that it's not so much the bit or hand action that's causing the tense backs and necks. It's back pain from the saddles and method of seat. I've looked at photo after photo where one or other of us is riding next to a local. Some are riding with soft hands and relaxed reins, but still, in comparison, their horses are tense and high headed, whereas all the various horses we're riding are relaxed through the topline and swinging their backs. We took our own saddles for the trip. I would really urge your Eric to educate himself a little about saddle fit and function, and find himself one that he likes when he gets there. Or take along an English saddle that would fit a small tb shape. How tall is he?

You see, that offside seat isn't just a matter of comfort. It's how the horsemen distribute their weight and lower their centre of gravity. Otherwise, at any speed, you're dangerously ungainly up high there, both to yourself and your horse. Maybe that's why they make the saddle so uncomfortable - so the riders not tempted to be lazy and couch up there! ;) :funny:

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:01 pm 
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windhorsesue wrote:
Still looking at horse pics: Here's a Tang dynasty figure that predates the Mongol invasion, of a polo player in Gansu, on the Mongol border. This is a Ferghana horse from the Tianshan ranges.
Looks pretty collected!
Image


That horse DOES look collected...and not overly so, just perfectly so with a relaxed poll. Nice!

Thanks for the extra info Sue! This is so fascinating!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:06 pm 
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Sue, are you hinting there might be some draft (or warmblood?) in the first horse? Really? Not a mix I would think to guess for endurance riding!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:15 pm 
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Lol. No. The first two didn't enter in the race. They were just there for show. This was at the second race we went to in a different area, where the army has a huge breeding farm and the people are crazy for horse racing. The third one did race in the first endurance event we participated in, in the Hemu area. He's the horse that intrigues me most. ;)
No more clues!


There are lots of those polo playing figures from Gansu, dated around 160 AD. Many of them are apparently women, competing alongside the men. All are shown in attitudes of collection like this! Cool huh! Some are clay statues like this, and some in fresco. Have a poke around the internet!
:)

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:19 pm 
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Here's an example of a woman!
Image

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:15 pm 
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Look at this one. LIberty play! LOL!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/drs2biz/3441140031

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:32 pm 
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And this one - my favorite.
Image

Isn't this interesting! Female rider, half pass? JPG would be proud of her ear over ankle position!
Image


If you do a search for Tang Dynasty horse you'll find lots more, and Tang Dynasty polo will bring up images from the tomb murals.
Image

The saddles look very similar to Iberian don't you think? This area was the cultural melting pot of the world for thousands of years, so anything is possible I guess! :funny:

Tang dynasty was between 618 and 907. Genghis Khan was born, not far away across the border in Mongolia, a couple of hundred years later. And it was HIS warriors who were renowned as being matchless horsemen, not these polo players in Gansu. :blonde:

They rode mares in battle, with foals at foot. They lived on their horses. Everything they needed, cooking utensils, food, provisions, were carried on the horse.They had no base. Each man had a string of four horses that he kept with him at all times. He would swap horses throughout the day so his mount was always fresh, while the others ran along behind. Genghis Kahn insisted on horse welfare first. He said, "No horse, no man". Every soldier was expected to do the same. The men carried long reeds, so that when riding, they were able to drink without dismounting, and their horses were renowned for being able to eat on the move, and thrive on the forage that they picked up along the trail. The men supplemented their diet with mare's milk and blood that they occasionally tapped from a horses vein, just like we would give blood.

I can't believe that horsemen such as these could tolerate a horse who couldn't be mounted or handled from the right hand side, and I think they probably would have slaughtered these modern day horsemen who ride their horses hard then tie them up without food.
Some things have definitely changed, even if we don't know for sure that the Mongol warriors rode differently to todays Mongolians. I believe though, after seeing the back pains, saddle sores and girth galls that abound now, that they couldn't have created the same problems in their horses, because they just wouldn't have been capable of the incredible feats that they performed.

Karen, you've wound me up on one of my pet subjects now!
stop sue stop!! :funny:

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


Last edited by windhorsesue on Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:39 pm 
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:funny: :funny: :funny:
Seems we're both still at it!
Karen, that one is gorgeous!I love the closed fist and the open hand image. Seems to symbolized control and strength complemented by freedom and openness.
Here he is:
Image

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:41 pm 
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Ooooo! I love those two Sue! Such nice rider positions! The second one honestly looks like a half pass done very softly. Wow!

I'm rather glad we "wound you up"! :funny: :funny: :funny:

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:44 pm 
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I found this one...Tang Dynasty. Many of the horses I came across this morning are depicted in something of a "half goat" stance which I find very, very interesting as well.

Image

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:47 pm 
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Now I'm afraid I'm wound up as well...LOL. Hit a treasure trove of images with "Tang Dynasty Horse" image search on google! Thank you! WOW! :ieks: :clap:

Looky here...a Spanish Walk!

http://www.chinapotteryonline.com/?p=980

I suppose it's no accident that so many of these figurines show a very uphill stance. This is so cool!

Image

This last photo (above) is from an auction site:

http://www.glerum.nl/veiling_details.php?id=185&lang=en

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:00 pm 
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Oh nice!

You'll have to make that trip out there with me!
This area of China is fascinating. More interesting than Mongolia imo, because it has a mix of so many different cultures from different corners of the world, including the Mongolian.
These horses we're looking at now are not "Mongolian" horses. The headshape and conformation is different. These are the horses from the northern steppes of China. Some of them look, (even now) almost spanish, with their convex faces and baroque build. I saw one.. we almost bought him.. still might one day. The most gorgeously perfect example of a horse you could imagine. He looked just like these terracotta images. Buttery round and glossy, double back, curved and carved with a chisel neck, mane flowing to his knees, snorting through flaring nostrils at us! Oh. :love:
In Hemu where we went for the first race, some of the horses were like this, and some were obviously bred from the Mongolian horses, a more primitive looking horse, that have migrated with the people into the area. Most are a mix of the two. Maybe for thousands of years.
In Ili, on the other edge of the desert, where we went for our second race, these two breeds have intermingled with the the Kazhak and Turkish horses, giving a bit more height and fineness.
And now they're being crossed with Tbs to "improve" them. :roll: It's not an improvement in my opinion.


Are you convinced yet that the "collected horses' aren't romanticized copies?? :green: :green: :green: :green:

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:21 pm 
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So, here, finally, I've got around to putting up an album of pix from my first trip. It's not Mongolia.. Windhorse Sue and XinJiang. :green:
So many photos and every photo has a story..
https://picasaweb.google.com/windhorsef ... e-p7Y_YdA#
I'm going to make a movie later about my time with Karagok. It was a pretty special event in my life. I have to tell the story one day...

Zzz

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


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