The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:03 am 
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Location: Natal, South Africa
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Thank-you all so much! I'm learning a lot from reading your opinions!

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Glen Grobler

Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled. Anon


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 11:00 am 
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But why, why would Freckles have to carry his head in a certain way if he does not choose so himself?

Who would know more about his body...?


One more note about that bridle thingy... would that metal not get really hot in the sun and burn Freckle's cheek? (Just wondering).

A piece taken from my website bitlessdressage.com

"A practical example; Your horse walks with his head far in front of the vertical. You want his head to be low. To achieve that you put pressure on the reins..[ ]... The horse lowers his head… but he has a false bend in his topline. His pelvis is not rotated, he does not use his belly muscles and he does not use his back. As a result he hangs heavy on his forehand which is murder for his front tendons. "

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 3:31 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:29 pm
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Instead of thinking you need to show your horse how to carry his head, think of it as finding your horses comfort zone. Too many riders force a horse "on the bit" in a very unnatural and uncomfortable position for the horse. Your horse may not have the development in his back/neck muscles yet to carry himself the way you want under saddle 100% of the time.

It took a few years to get a consistent ramener with my horse even with a bit/side reins/draw reins forcing him into position because he was not physically ready.(if I only knew then what I know now) Now with the codeo we have ramener at all gates except for the walk as he tends to relax at the walk(it's ok by me).

With any bridle if you are constantly asking for ramener and the horse is not carrying himself, the horse will be off balance and not on a true ramener.

Western riders will teach a horse to be on ramener with a slight touch of the noseband/bit/bossal then let go of all contact with the reins once the horse responds to the pressure. Releasing the pressure is the reward and eventually the horse responds to the slightest touch of the reins, the pressure is only applied when the horse is not in ramener. Horses quickly learn how the rider wants the horse to carry himself.

Melanie


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:03 pm 
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And Glen - your Freckle also still needs a lot of work to get the body more healthy. I think, the flexion and collection also will come when he is ready, if you give him the chanse. I think as many of the other that any way of forcing him in collection might only harm his body instead of help it....

(I am not even sure I would ride him yet, only take him for long long walks, and when the condition is better start groundwork and also riding when you/he feels ready. But I have gotten maybe too extreme in this after my rehabilitation-period with Vilja).


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:01 pm 
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But why, why would Freckles have to carry his head in a certain way if he does not choose so himself?

I absolutely agree! I have to add, however, that it is my job to teach him the best way to carry himself, and understanding ramener is part of the knowledge he needs.
Quote:
would that metal not get really hot in the sun and burn Freckle's cheek? (Just wondering).

It perhaps would, which increases the need for sheepskin!

Now then. I think that you're all thinking that I want to climb on his back and demand ramener. That's not it. I want to teach it to him on the ground and voice-cue it so that he can feel the benefits. The point I was making was that he has not understood a request for ramener until I tried to ask with this bridle. Oh, and I only asked once. And praised the daylights out of him for getting it right! :lol:
It will come under saddle when the time is right because he will offer it. That will probably be when he learns to rotate his pelvis more often than just when trotting over poles or playing free - which requires building his "top-line" muscles, which means lots of trotting on hills, which means a bridle that works for both of us. He started showing a little collection at liberty a week ago, but the head is all over the place.
I ride with loose reins because he is young, and we work on the first step of the pyramid - loose, free, forward, pendulum. Also, I only ride between 30 and 90 minutes a week, two thirds of which is out-ride/trail-ride.
I see any bridle as a communication aid - and this seems clearer than any I've tried so far, at least for ground-work. I still have to adjust and pad it before I do more than "stand still and flex, please" with it.
Quote:
I am not even sure I would ride him yet, only take him for long long walks, and when the condition is better start groundwork and also riding when you/he feels ready.

I wish I could, but my health does not allow it - I have very little stamina, so that means ride him for those those long walks or don't go! Also, he is not confident enough to go for walks alone, and I'm not skilled or strong enough to cope with more than one horse at a time! So the only way to get him out of the stable-yard is to ride out with at least one other rider!

Everything you've all said is good "food for thought" and I will have to be careful not to choose something because it feels better for me, it must also be right for Freckles. This LG does have the potential for mis-use, but then so does any item of equipment.
I appreciate the way that responding to your comments and opinions forces me to clarify my thinking.

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Glen Grobler



Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled. Anon


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:59 pm 
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Ha ha...

Well, yes, then I think it is better you ride :lol: It will be better for him to move with you on his back than to not move...

But I would then only have had loose rains when I rode, so he most easily could balance himself - and focus on my own body, that I didn't disturb him too much.

And work on the collection in the groundwork as well. And when he gets more fit, and better and stronger in the groundwork I would put the two together for short periods of time.

In groundwork you could also do long raining you know, if the cordeowork seems too difficult in the beginning (I did that a bit, because the cordeo was so unusual for me, and rains was more familiar. I used a regular halter only for this.).


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 7:12 am 
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Long reining does interest me, but again I would have to run behind and 20m of that is enough to exhaust me for the rest of the day! I will have to wait until "we" are both fitter!

Quote:
But I would then only have had loose rains when I rode, so he most easily could balance himself - and focus on my own body, that I didn't disturb him too much.


Of course my reins are loose - :twisted: - and I spend a lot of time in a forward seat also. I only ride rising trot and standing canter. I check him for back pain every time after I ride and so far there has been none. The saddle is carefully padded with a "concussion pad" which absorbs any bumping I might do.

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Glen Grobler



Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled. Anon


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 7:39 am 
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I did not mean you are dragging them :lol: (the rains)...

I meant it as I would not try to collect him yet, only help him balance himself... But there are many ways to go, and each have to choose what we feel right - AND of course are able to do...

The long raining is also not for walks - but a little groundwork. So, you could start wilt 10 meters only... :wink: :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:19 am 
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I think that if your horse isn't ready to collect naturally when you ride him, then it's better to let him move in the shape that he chooses himself, than to force him to pretend to collect.

I'm not saying that you are consciously forcing him to collect, but the thing is that a leverage-bridle does that forcing for you - without you even wanting it. You only squeeze lightly in the reins, and the horse feels a sharp pressure that's drawing poll, nose and chin together and can only be escaped by flexing at the poll.

Not only will such a false collection damage his body more than just ambling around freely, but it also builds up a lot of negativity and bad thoughts about collection and this posture in his brains - and that is quite the opposite of what you would want!

Another thing is that collection isn't something that you can let your horse do for hours on end - rather minutes. So if you want to do a half an hour (or longer) trailride, you can't expect your horse to feel better or get more healthy if you put him into a collected frame for all that time. I would say; if you're not conscioulsy training for collection but instead are riding out, just let him walk as he wants for now. And for collection training, train at liberty/with cordeo and let him discover the right posture in a pressure-free, positive way so that in the future he might even want to incorporate that posture into the riding too! :)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 1:22 pm 
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Miriam,

Now I understand the concern much more clearly. I think I will ride in this at the "no rotation" setting of the wheel. First I must still do more groundwork until he understands the bridle. Then I can reset it for teaching things like ramener which is done standing still anyway.

I did not understand that even with very light or no pressure on the reins I would be "forcing" collection before his body is ready - I thought it would be the same as a snaffle in that aspect! Thank you for clarifying.

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Glen Grobler



Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled. Anon


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 7:09 pm 
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Hi Glen,

I think you can feel the collection after a while.
When you do for example a walk and you walk first slowly and then a bit faster and then slowly again.
You have to train this :wink: then suddenly you will feel his collection.
You do not need the reins at all to let your horse collect.

As Mirjam said before, no horse will be collected at all times. Unless you will force him with the reins.
And most of the times it become al "false collection"


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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 4:53 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 6:46 pm
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Location: Cave Junction Oregon
Interesting design, not for me however. I don't like the chain or the metal rings. This page has illustrations of the number of nerve endings that the metal might come in contact with.
http://www.horsepoint.com.au/portal/ali ... fault.aspx I have been much more conscious about this area, and try to keep the area free from contact with any bridle parts.

I just recently modified my Natural Bitless Bridle. I uncrossed the "X" What happens is I now have a side pull that doesn't twist. I will get pictures today and post them. Babbette was curling inward, and slightly behind, with the traditional cross under that I have used for years. I stole this design from an Australian e-bay item. http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZkiayranda

We also have a member on the forum that has a beautifully padded nose piece with her cross under bitless. It could easily be modified to a side pull. http://www.naturefarm.se/

Geraldine

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 5:54 pm 
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Geraldine,

Cool site, thanks! Of coursw if I do buy one of these I will cover it with lots of sheepskin. He didn't respond well to a sidepull. Or a rope halter ...

And I maybe want to do competitive dressage when he's grown up ...

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Glen Grobler



Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled. Anon


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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 10:49 pm 
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Quote:
And I maybe want to do competitive dressage when he's grown up ...


But wouldn't you have to use a bit for that?


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 6:33 am 
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:evil: Well now. The rules state the horse "will wear a bit and must submit to it" - they do not specify how the rider will/will not use it! It can just "dangle there" maybe ...

I am thinking (if I go ahead with the idea of competition) that I can ride with seat and legs and loose reins like the old masters. If he is carrying himself correctly and performing the required manouvers correctly they cannot say he is not submitting to the bit! But I haven't actually made a decision yet!

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Glen Grobler



Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled. Anon


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