The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 12:56 pm
Posts: 33
Location: Grafton NSW
Hi! I would like to know what cues you would ask for vertical flexion in the cordeo, starting on the ground. I started teaching my Arab Lorenzo how to flex in the cordeo and used the cordeo with slight pressure and he would do it for a little bit. Should you also combine a voice cue? or cue with your body on the ground first? I would like to know what people have tried and what works best. My dream is to ride him in collection bridle-less! Our bridle-less riding is going quite well but not collected yet, but we can walk, trot, canter & gallop and great stops and laterals are getting there. I was watching a video that was posted on FB not long ago called Cheryl and Cam and it was SO lovely. My little Arab Lorenzo is very similar to Cam, grey too! They are such an inspiration :clap:

Here is the video of Cheryl and Cam

http://youtu.be/3efvt4jded0 :smile:


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:42 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:02 pm
Posts: 8
A lot of it has to do with your body language... voice cues aren't terribly helpful here imo. Are you familiar with getting a horse into school halt? This is where a horse leans back, maybe raising a front leg if the movement is big, but mostly the horse tilts back on his haunches. The way you get this is to walk forward, then back a step without a pause in between. Then, once this is going smoothly, have the horse pause the second he leans into the back up step. There are a lot of great clips of school halt done conventionally on youtube, but it works great in a cordeo. You can then pair it with a cue, holding your hands a certain way, pointing, ect. The cue is really up to you, but something that makes sense to the motion, (ie, don't do a jumping jack :) ) Once you get this, you can work on collecting the horse while he moves forward, (ask, but don't stop him totally.) This is messy and silly and fun, so just start small, reward for little trys and keep a good sense of humor. Best of luck!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:54 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:02 pm
Posts: 8
Another way to think about it that I love is doing everything "with the brakes on." Think about holding the horse just a tiny bit in everything you do... it can be as little as a gesture with your hands or steady, tiny pressure on the cordeo, but you can make it mean something big to the horse. AND is all about micro-cues.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:42 am
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Location: Vienna, Austria
So, you're asking for a cue for collection, right? Well, for me it's hard to bring it down to one thing. I have cues for collection - body language most of them, but also voice cues, touch cues, ... But when I think about it, I think the most important cues for me are of a situational and emotional kind.

Collection for me is not just a certain way for carrying oneself - it's not just happening in the body. It's a state of body and mind. A state of collected energy, so as to use the body most efficiently, but also to use all the senses to full effect. It has a lot to do with awareness, balance and poise. In a lot of yoga exercises, I get a feeling what it must be like for a horse to be collected and I understand why they love to learn about it.

So where do I want to go with my argument? I think to seek collection only via shaping of the body and the movement falls utterly short and misses half of what collection is about in my opinion.
So what I do is to set the stage for collection first. Whether I want a playful type of collection, a competitive one, or maybe even a defiant one, I use play, wild play, teasing, provoking. Also certain movements help to set the mood, like rearing, school halt, Spanish walk and so on.
It's in those situations where I exercise collection and there is no specific cue that set it off, but the whole situation. Over time, those situations became more frequent and collection and energetic movement became more and more the usual mode of interaction.
What I try of course in those moments is to be collected myself. Maybe that becomes the real cue in the end?

Why do I go to these lengths, instead of establishing a simple cue like a touch of the croupe or similar? Because I believe that that's the only way to "exercise" real, natural collection. It's the only way to ensure, that it's done by the horse himself and not just instilled by me.
Both our horses started to lift their backs and tried to collect from the first moments of riding, without any cue from us.
I believe that horses like to collect when being ridden, because they know it's the best way of carrying a heavy load. But they need to learn it on their terms, in their time and have the chance of feeling the difference in a stress-free, playful situation :f:.

Now, that wasn't the straight to the point answer you'd probably wanted, but I think the most things in horse training are best reached by a devious route :green:.

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Volker

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:45 am 
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Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 2:05 am
Posts: 430
Location: Perth, Western Australia
I second what volkur said and it's pretty much what I would suggest. I was quite pleasantly surprised at how little we had to do to get Bear to collect when we rode him. He already knew how to collect on the ground and when we rode we rewarded similar things and he just started offering it. Even his canter which he started out like a giraffe is starting to get rounder.
As for cordeos its completely up to you. I found it easier to use other cues when I ride (Bear turns with body weight and we touch the side of his neck and point the way we want to go) and gave up try to put anything on cordeo cue.


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