The Art of Natural Dressage

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 Post subject: Collection
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:02 am 
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Ralph told me that he saw on an other forum that dressage people took a look here.
Nothing unpleasant at all about us :)
They just concluded that we had no collected bridleless riding here.

That started me thinking, also because I saw pictures of the beautiful Jauke of Danielle.
She road him with bridle and bit and it looked really good.
The she rode him without bridle and to me it looked even better.

Yes, his head was higher and a lot in front of the vertical without the bridle, and his ears were pointing back towards her (which I regard as a good thing).
But his hind looked much more engaged!
His belly muscles more contracted, his hind legs far more under.

I asked on the dutch andalusian forum out of interest how they thought Jauke was moving better but no reply yet.
So I am still curious about how people see 'good movement' and if they see the same things I see.

But it started in my mind, this process that we perhaps need a different 'picture' of collection, because for now, it seems to have a lot to do with where the horses neck and head is at...
A beautifull arched neck and head does not neccessarly go with engaged hind quarters is we well know now...
The other way around though, seems to work just fine!

Thus I believe that a horse can be very collected with his head vast in front of the vertical and I don't even train the ramener anymore (there; my confession), I just want to work on the horses body...

I would like your thoughts, views, images and info about it...

Thank you all!

Warm regards,

Josepha

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:34 am 
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I have had this discussion in an german forum ...

the result was .. that there are a lot of different minds about "collection" !

if you ask

leisure rider :?: you say so in englisch :?: (freizeitreiter)
dressage rider
baroque rider
shwo rider

everyone has a other mind about collection - where the horses neck and head

so I think it´s very difficult to make a standard declaration about correct collection

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:37 am 
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maye we should chop up pictures in half so that you only see the part from the shoulder and than ask people of the horse is collected.

After a lot of people have given the answers we add the front of the horse again to the picture.

I think a lot of people will be surprised!

Sounds like a good idea?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:45 am 
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Josepha wrote:

Sounds like a good idea?


YES that a very good idea!!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:47 am 
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Which forum was that?

About showing collection or not, is just don't think I agree, but I can understand that they didn't find it because our forum is just getting so big. But if you look at the videos, for example of Tamarack's first rides (especially number four), you already see a real collected trot. What about Lasuria and her videos, both riding and groundwork? And Titum shows collected canter steps (altough four-beat, which modern dressage riders see as fault but was preferred by classical teachers), and Opositor also shows great moments of not only collection, but also extension in the trot...
And in the picture section, what about the piaffe and terre a terre of Beau?

But I guess the problem with modern dressage riders looking over here, that with a lot of them their definition of 'collection' is having the horse in the same (collected) frame for long periods of time. While our horses use the collection according to the exercises and the movements, and collect more or less to do them. But you won't find a head in the same position for half an hour indeed. Sjors can do a great collected trot - for a couple of steps, after which he goes into another uncollected exercise. Does that mean that he isn't collected? Not if you ask me: he is just learning more and more about collection, and is slowly extending the exercises that collect him.
Another problem is that modern dressage riders don't always know the classical collected movements, and instead view them as erratical modern movements (the terre a terre or the four-beat canter for example isn't a canter gone wrong, they are seperate exercises).

Another thing to remember is, that just because we're on this forum, posting photo's and videos, doesn't mean that we're perfect. :D We're posting all that stuff exactly because we want advice and learn from the things others know and have experienced! So even if for example 80% of a video is uncollected - then it's not right to say that the horse doesn't collect. It's simply not true. The truth is that the horse is already starting to collect himself, and is learning to do it longer, better, higher etc. in the other exercises too. And his trainer just as well. :wink:

And like Josepha wrote and which is the most important thing about this forum: we're not trying to do modern dressage, achieving modern movements without bridles. Instead, our aim is to teach our horses their own, natural collection. And what is collection according to modern dressage riders? Most of them have very different ideas than classical masters (or modern classical dressage riders). Classical riders will say a horse isn't collected if the reincontact is tight, or if a horse triangulates in piaffe, or when he has bent his neck in the third vertebra. And all that is what you frequently see in the highest levels of modern (sports) dressage. Our natural collection might not be as flashy or exaggerated in movements, but is that bad for the horse? I don't think so, and rather think the opposite is the case.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:54 am 
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I totally agree Miriam (you would have to ask Ralph about the forum though).

What I am aiming at here is to find a way in which we state with image and word what we consider collection.
Not to say that we know better of course but just to explain it to people right away when they come out here for info (which I think is sooo great and exactly what I hope for would happen when we started out) what we consider collection, so there can be no mistakes.

For instance, I do not consider Salinero collected all the time. I see some collection, but mostly I do not see collection at all.

But if to others that is collection than surely Tam's will not be.

The beauty is, we do not have to agree for our goals are different, but we can learn from each other and our horses :)


I just would like to add a clear defenition of what we consider collection and also that we do not think it is something a horse can do for more than 5 or 10 minutes at a time.
Meaning we aim for mere collected steps and are very happy about that.

Maybe we should call it 'natural collection on the horse's initiative' and add photo's and videos?

What do you think?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:00 am 
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Very very very good post Miriam..!!!

And Josepha - that was a great idea, actually - to cut the head off.... I think a lot of people (included me, unfortunately) gets confused and blinded of the head position.... :oops:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:05 am 
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I too had that for a long time, because that is what they teach you to look at and work on.

But now... I see more high heads and engaged hinds than the other way around.

I am searching my mind like crazy... my grandfather told me something about that when I was very young and we were watching the spanish riding school of Vienna on the german Tele...

What was it... I need that book from my dusty library brain...

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:36 am 
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Josepha wrote:
maye we should chop up pictures in half so that you only see the part from the shoulder and than ask people of the horse is collected.


Great idea!! That´s what I do with Titum very often when we are training (no, I don´t actually chop off the head... :twisted: :wink: I just turn my head so that I can´t see his neck), because I think that I can easily be blinded by the neck position too. And I focus on sideways movements, stretching and stepping under much more. In that way we have lost most of what we had this summer, those high and springy movements... but maybe that´s not that bad and our reward will be real collection one day...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:17 pm 
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Miriam wrote:
...
Another thing to remember is, that just because we're on this forum, posting photo's and videos, doesn't mean that we're perfect. :D We're posting all that stuff exactly because we want advice and learn from the things others know and have experienced! ....


I agree this! therefore I´m here, to learn from other people and horses

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:34 pm 
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Well let's place a picture of collected riding the way it's seen on many occasions in modern dressage :roll: but bitless :wink:



Bianca is not paying attention... this picture shows how it's NOT correct to our point of view :oops: like a rollkur on the forehand


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 1:09 pm 
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and indeed Evita does not step under...
however you both still look so beautuful! 8)

When horses do this it seems like they are to tired to really use their hinds correctly, or that is why Jamie does it, I feel pretty confident concluding.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 2:01 pm 

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This is a great topic. I have already come to the conclusion not to teach the ramener. I think it teaches a head set. It becomes a habit even though there is no force.

I have started Shhzzar in the picadero where the focus is helping him to work his hindquarters. And it is working. The other day, he was a little bit more put together when he played. And I've only used the picadero twice within 2 weeks.

I feel that in order for the front to rise, the hindquarters need to come under and this isn't happening in a lot of photos and videos, but what I do see is BALANCE. And balance has to come first and then collection.

The horse will be balanced, even tho his weight is still on the forehand.

Alexander's horses are great to look at, because they do have balance, but at times, they are also moving crooked. He would disagree, but it's there in the videos and his recent pictures of last year. I don't see pesade or levade or collection in his horses. What I do see is a head set and working on the front end not the back.

You can till by watching the hind legs, how light are they and is the rump level with the withers or even sometimes coming a bit high when they trot. Then look at the front end. Are the shoulders standing tall and are they taller than the rump or are they level with the rump? And then compare the front to the back which ones seem heavy?

In a collection, the hind legs need to come well under and when the horse is conditioned there will be an up hill from the rump to the shoulders. The horse will look very tall when collected. This doesn't just happen, but in play especially Rosie, has grown very tall when she's collected.

In a BALANCED horse, yes, the forehand is going to bear weight still, but this isn't bad. We have to start somewhere and once you have this then you can get to the next level...collection.

What I've been seeing is people going around and around, but there seems to be no exit to the next level. We just haven't found it yet.

This is where I think Hempfling comes in. The picadero is working and theres still no force and the corners are doing the work, not me.

Just my 2 cents...I reread this and it may sounded a bit like I was a know-it-all, please do not take that way. I'm just talking through my own thoughts and hopfully we'll all be able to work together on getting on the right path.

April

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:36 pm 
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Interesting post, April!

I think that Hempfling indeed can teach us and our horses a lot, and really have enjoyed the conversations that I had with him. However, it's the same with Hempfling as with teaching the ramener: for some horses/people it will work, for others not. Some horse really will benefit from learning that they can flex in the poll if you teach it the good way, others less. Some horses really will benefit from stepping under through a corner, like your Shzzar for example, others not. They're equal in that they are both good methods, and that we can feel quite rich to have both of them in our toolbox. ;)


April wrote:
What I've been seeing is people going around and around, but there seems to be no exit to the next level.


I know you probably don't mean to, but this does not really seem fair. As long as I can't look through my computer into the paddocks of people and see how they train on a day to day basis, I will not tell them that they're not improving. Even when it's the case in my own yard with my own ponies, but there's not need to project that on others. Simply because there's no way that I can know!

I have never seen more people dedicated to personal growth and improvement, and to that of their horses, and to giving positive and really helpful feedback to others. Because that is also how we train our horses: we reward the things that are good, and in that way we give the horse the confidence and courage he needs in order to improve those good things even further, untill he is perfect in every way.

I agree with you that we should continue to work on prefecting collection. But in order to do that, we have to build on the things we're doing right already. That's what this forum is for, and when I look at what people do over here, it really seems to work!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:40 pm 
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Josepha wrote:
When horses do this it seems like they are to tired to really use their hinds correctly, or that is why Jamie does it, I feel pretty confident concluding.


Evita is not well trained and in this old picture she is been ridden the 5th time or so ever in her life ;)
She has not enough strength in the back to shift her weight to get the ultimate collection but I have also pics of her weight shifting to the back (the 15th time riding or so). Now she is in no shape as a mummy so we have a lot of training ahead even to be able to ride again for a few minutes let alone get a good collection.

to reply to Aprils post; what is collection in your point of view? If you mean really sit on the back you need to have in mind it takes many horses years of 6 times a week training to achieve this.
Because many here don't train their horses like these types of 'bodybuilders' maybe the collection is not so severe as dressage riders would achieve with many hours of training. At the Spanish Riding School horses are trained with piaffe and passage from age 10 to illustrate my opinion in this. So if you see the amount of time and weight people here train and compare it to sportsriders many are developing themselves with the speed of light!

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Last edited by Bianca on Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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