The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:11 am 
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I read somewhere mares are less keen to leave their "domain" than male horses. What is your experience with this?
Evita is not afraid to go outside luckily, just thinks it has nothing to add. Imperia can't wait to go outside at this moment. I wonder she will keep up the love to discover the world :mrgreen:
At what age you started to walk outside with your horses?
I can only walk along streets at my neighbourhood (no forests :( ) so I think this is maybe a bit to impressive at the moment for my one year old Imperia.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:20 am 
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Ahh, Bianca! Then we don't disagree at all! How nice! :D
Footprint, my husbands horse shows me my ideal of collected for long walks carrying a rider. She's been a station horse on a big hill country farm, and always ridden bitless, on a loose rein. She just bows her neck slightly, keeps her head slightly low, her tummy tucked up, her back a little raised and her rump tucked under and off she goes, for mile upon mile of walking or jogging. When she canters, she bows up a little more..And when asked to perform in the arena (which she doesn't really like) she goes up into a much more collected stance, with head high and nose tucked under.

She has really great muscling over her loins and a beautiful shape to her neck.

While Sunrise was unfit, she used to go everywhere with her head in the air and her back hollow, especially at a trot. I would NEVER get on her in this position, not at any speed. We did miles and miles of walking together, hour upon hour, until she was ready to start trotting.. then I did miles and miles and miles of cycling with her walking and slow trotting beside me, and I taught her to target my fingers so that I could bring her head down and soft. As she got fitter, and learnt that this position felt good, physically and emotionally, she hardly ever needed the target anymore to keep it up on her own. Then we began working on the canter in hand to bring her up even more. At the same time I was doing stationary flexes with her many times a day, and she would often offer it for just quick moments as we trotted. I could see her neck strengthening and changing shape.
(Prior to this regime, I spent six months doing the usual stuff for this.. trotting over poles in our liberty work. It got her fit but didn't change her head carriage or posture. She looked awful doing it most of the time.)

It was only AFTER doing all this for a few months that her posture had improved to what I deemed to be sufficient for some very short rides.
She was rounded as I rode her. When she lost it, going head high with excitement or such, I got off and continued walking with her.
And now we're going to wait a bit longer before beginning again.. after she turns four.

sue


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:40 am 
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Oh I just saw your post..
My understanding was that geldings are the most likely to become herd bound. Also, Andy Beck states somewhere in the Natural Horse Planet mag that less than four horses does not constitute a herd, and the horses will be less likely to be willing to separate from each other.

We have eight mares.. and they all love going out.
But.. the younger horses who have grown up with us and never experienced being pressured or forced to leave the herd are the most confident to leave the herd without other horses in company. Paradoxical isn't it. Our shetland pony foal would leave her mother calling anxiously in the paddock, to duck under all the fences and come visiting us in the house, and stay for hours, at the age of three months. By five months she was accompanying the older horses.. sans mama... on walks outside, even on the road, at liberty. She's never been frightened of anything, and learnt very quickly how to handle traffic. It's a quiet road with good visibility.

Sunrise also has an unusually high degree of independence and curiousity. She began accompanying us at the age of ten months when we got her.. then she began exploring on her own.. naughty.. But she wasn't ready to come further than the end of the drive with me alone, with no other horses, until she was around two and a half. I handled it like a picnic. Wherever she was happy to walk to.. we would stop and have a picnic, then go home. She was quite nervous alone with me at first, and our first walks were only a hundred metres away from the farm. When she realised that A: there was a pleasant destination and B: She had control over how far we would go, and when we would return, she became much more confident, and now a year later she even goes out with me at night, for five km or more walks, or through a busy market area of the city, or along the edge of a six lane road..with no hesitation or fear.

Harlequin, our gelding is two and a half. He's following Sunrise's pattern. Totally confident to go places with the other horses, and working with Ella at liberty to gain the confidence to go away from the herd. She's recently had him cantering, at liberty, with her, as she runs away from the paddock, through the gate and up the driveway. So far, he's letting her know that the bamboo at the end of the driveway is far enough to go on their own. But.. he knows from his regular walks with the others that there's better pickings further afield, so I'm sure it won't be long until he suggests a longer journey with her.

So.. seems to me it's just a matter of gradually extending their boundaries, and letting them have the say over how far they are ready to go.
Which is what it sounds like you are doing so sensitively with your girls. :D


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:54 am 
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Really interesting, both the leaving the herd and the correct posture for riding out!

About the latter: I don't think that riding out is bad and don't think that it's bad either to ride horses that are not as collected as the NHE ideal. The only problem I see with riding out is that so many horses that are ridden out have this awfull, hollewed back and neck - both because of physical (never learned to collect naturally) and psychological (still afraid for tigers in the wood) stress.

When a horse has a horizontal neck or lower and a slightly flexed poll (not the nose sticking out forwards) in all gaits, this is a very nice posture to ride out in. More collection isn't really needed but also not pleasant for the horse, as higher collection is much more strenuous. It's not an energy saving mode, but instead a very tiring body posture. It's like human sprinters that are ready for take-off: their posture at that moment is very tense, supercollected with every muscle ready for immediate action. It's very efficient for an immediate take-off. But not for standing for a longer time in. ;)

With a horizontal or lower neck and slightly flexed poll the horse isn't really collecting, but instead walking in an energy-saving way that most important stretches the muscles alongside his spine. And these need to be stretched in order to be able to contract further in collection. In the classical dressage this is also the posture in which young horses are ridden, exactly because of these reason: these horses haven't learned how to collect, and how to collect under a rider yet, but in this posture they can still carry the weight without harming themselves.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 12:38 pm 
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What is the NHE ideal? I thought dividing the weight between the back and front, and not really collection like you see in the higher grades of Classical Dressage?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:14 pm 
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No, the NHE ideal is the highest collection, not the equilibrium between frontlegs and hindlegs. That's why there's so much emphasis on jumps, rearing, a high flexion of the poll - and the collected canter and piaffe before further training starts. There's no training of stretching the neck out or horizontal in movement between the exercises. That's what got Blacky a bit stuck: he tends to see neck and back as seperate things, and with the sole emphasis on a nice curl and flexion on the front his, he let his back sag during movement and tensed especially in trot or in transitions to/from trot. It might look nice and flashy, but there was no true balance. So now instead we focus on holding the neck long and low when moving in between the bits and pieces of more collection, and Blacky starts to move much more as one creature ;) and when he does collect more during this, he keeps more length in his neck which really benefits him.

But the NHE goal right from the start is bodyweight on the hindquarters, and as much as possible. I remember an NHE member (Ania?) in the past posting a message with lungeing photo's of her young horse trotting with her neck stretched out nicely low and forwards, just like Classical dressage masters would want to see in a young, unridden horse because she already starts to even out the bodyweight between back and front in that posture. But when I recall correctly Lidia's response to that picture was that it was wrong because the horse didn't collect, and that she should only be lunged with her head high and flexed. She was right as it wasn't collection yet, but where in Classical dressage this phase is seen as preparation for collection (with as general idea that when the horse gets stronger, he will move his head more upwards on his own into a more collected posture while the back stays this relaxed), in NHE this phase isn't accepted as preparation for collection. I guess that instead of this stretching the neck and back in movement, NHE has it's stretching exercises in standstill (bow etc.) as replacement. But moving in a relaxed, stretched but uncollected manner even without rider isn't part of the NHE training system: when moving, the horse should always collect, and have more weight on the hindquarters than on the frontquarters. That was also the outcome of a long (and long-ago ;) ) discussion with a Spanish/Dutch NHE member (now long gone) who advocated trailriding in horizontal equilibrium.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:47 pm 
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Aha, now some pieces of the NHE puzzle come together. I was indeed training Evita like the Classical way.. first strenght and (hmh how to explain in English) upward neck carriage as a result after gaining a lot of strenght and self carriage.
So the neck position at NHE is more a learned than a natural position like it seems? After 2 years of groundwork Evita is not really able to flex her neck like Alexanders horses if you want this as a result as strength coming form the back. She could walk this way if I ask het to flex the poll but this is unnatural, indeed like a seperate movement of the neck and the rest of the body.
Aha!
So I'll never say "like NHE says" again ;)

I must say that I thought I saw that the weight at NHE pics was not really all on the hind in between exercises, only during the exercises.

So how natural and on the hind is the NHE collection in reality?

I'm not saying I want to discuss NHE here because this is our own journey but am curious!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:51 pm 
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Quote:
About the latter: I don't think that riding out is bad and don't think that it's bad either to ride horses that are not as collected as the NHE ideal. The only problem I see with riding out is that so many horses that are ridden out have this awfull, hollewed back and neck - both because of physical (never learned to collect naturally) and psychological (still afraid for tigers in the wood) stress.


Here here Miriam.. couldn't agree more.

I think that the ideal riding out collection is slightly more than the strung out and stretching that young, unbalanced, or physically challenged horses show though.
You describe the neck horizontal or lower - yes, this is exactly what I understand too. Rosie as she began to recover from her sore back and feet and began to be able to canter again in our liberty work kept her nose on the ground at first, then gradually over the weeks as her body improved she carried it higher and higher until it began to look normal.
However.. fit, balanced, relaxed adult horses who are comfortable with their rider/saddle/body and have been allowed and encouraged to develop their natural preference tend to hold their necks slightly higher than vertical, with a nice curve and head tucked slightly, instead of low and flat, and you can see that their back is actually being lifted by their ring of muscles, not simply by the stringing out of the "bridge". They are telescoping the base of the neck up slightly, not simply stretching it down. Then you will also probably see that they have good strenght through the loin.. sometimes the muscle there is slightly raised. Whereas a young/unbalanced/physically challenged horse will probably be slightly hollow there in that area in front of the hip. Their tummy will also be tucked up and taught.

It took many more months, and concentrated work, for Rosie to achieve the muscling and more rounded look and be able to gently collect, in the way that Footprint and Brodie naturally show.

I dug out this picture of Footprint in her normal "outing" walk/trot frame, which kindof shows what I'm getting at.

(Photo removed.. see first of series in album instead..
http://picasaweb.google.com/windhorsesue/Collection)

see the difference in neck muscling between Footprint and this Quarter horse who is a very similar body shape, and who is usually ridden in the Western "low" style, but with a leverage bit, sore feet and a great heavy saddle of dubious fit.
(Photo two)

Hillwork is a great way for developing the kind of carriage that I'm looking for in an "outside" horse..and here Brodie's got it, with a curved lengthened neck, and raised back..
(Photo three)

At a walk or trot the neck is just above horizontal, and slightly curved, and ideally at a canter, slightly higher, and with more curve.. Here's Brodie demonstrating not too badly in the background..
(photo four)

And here she is in three stages of collection during a training session..
At a ridden canter, on the dreaded trail.. I would like her to mostly be in the third position, although even that could be a little more relaxed.

(Five six seven)

Be interested to hear your thoght on that.

Bianca, as far as the NHE ideal...
Well, I'm pretty sure that the extreme collection you see in Nevzorov's training and Haute Ecole, IS the type of collection that they believe is neccessary for ALL riding to prevent damage to the back. This is why they say that one may only ever ride for ten minutes at a time, because this position requires too much exertion from the horse to hold for any longer than ten minutes at a time.. and when you release him from that collection, you must get off his back.
Which is why I bristle a little about trail riding/collection.

The type of collection I'm talking about is the kind that a fit and experienced horse can keep up for hours at a time, at lesser gaits.

As an aside.. in New Zealand where it is normal for horses to live outside and more naturally, and they are able to exercise themselves regularly, naturally, on varying terrain, there are far less problems with damage to older horses.. the ones that aren't being used hard in competition. The kind of awful preventable problems that I see in stabled horses here are something I never witnessed at home. I personally believe that the benefits of providing this kind of exercise for horses far outweighs the potential for harm... as long as it is done carefully, mindfully, with consideration for the horses complete needs, mental, emotional, physical.And I think that stable keeping and arena riding pose far bigger problems than lack of collection...

Yesterday, one of the kids baby cockatiels found it's wings and flew away. I'd been planning on building a really nice big aviary for them, outside in the garden, a few metres by a few metres..
But when the bird flew, he circumscribed a huge arc, right around our property, effortlessly, in moments, drawing a ring around the blue sky. ONce, twice three times, then back the other way.

I thought about horses.. I'd wanted to give the bird more than just a little cage.. a relative size to a horse in a stable... I was thinking more along the lines of a paddock.. as I wish for all horses. But the bird showed me, in a few moments of free flight, that my idea of sufficient space for a feeling of natural freedom was pathetically insufficient for such a gloriously mobile creature. So it is with horses.

I watched our horses when we set them free on the beach, effortlessly run, in no longer than it took the bird to circumnavigate the farm four or five times, from one end of the beach, to become little specks down the far end. Then run back.. and take off again in the other direction, just for the fun of it, and back to us again. And then spend the day wandering for miles in the dunes.. and the night escaping and enjoying the country lanes..before being found peacefully resting, just five hundred metres away from home again in the morning.

Our idea of providing a feeling of natural lifestyle for them is pathetically limited. At least by allowing them to learn to enjoy and be strong for ridden journeys, they are able to experience some of the pleasures of flight that riding around in an arena will never give.

zzzzz
Sue


Last edited by windhorsesue on Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:05 pm 
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:lol: Natural is a bit of a trick word isn't it.. it usually means whatever it's authors want it to mean.

I no longer use the term natural collection when refering to NHE collection. I call it extreme collection.

For me, it cannot be natural, because it is rigorously taught, albeit by using positive reinforcement. We know how that can override the horses sense of what's right or normal don't we... it's the often repeated warning against clicker training. Not saying that it's not desirable to teach it..I am teaching it to mine to help build there strenth and repertoire.. but I won't be expecting them to use it every time I get on their backs. I will be allowing them to make some choices, and I do want them to experiment with all their repertoire of ways of moving too.

A definition of natural for me would be what the horse chooses to perform naturally, when given all the prerequisites neccessary for it to do so, but not being given extrinsic rewards for. Anything that has been interfered with by a human value scale could no longer be termed natural..

Sorry, there's a problem with my pics.. they show up big on this forum instead of in small size to be clicked on..
Very late.. will try to edit and fix them in the morning... apologies.
sue


Last edited by windhorsesue on Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:52 pm 
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Can't see the pics! :(

But I do agree with you on headposition: the more collected it becomes when riding out, the better! So if a horse comes above the horizontal line and flexes his poll, I'm the last one to correct that! :lol:

The horizontal or lower neck really is for young horses, or more advanced horses who are relaxing their bodies. It's not collection, but both is great because it's really healthy for the backmuscles. I even read an article of a German veterinarian who wrote that you can never really strenghten the back of the horse as much when doing groundwork than when riding, because when the young horse has the correct, relaxed headset under saddle, he both stretches his upper spinal muscles and strengthens the ones that support the spine and make it bow upwards. It's an active use of the riders dead weight as muscle-building tool. 8) But of course that's also the reason why you start with only riding like this for five minutes, thenafter a few weeks ten, then fifteen etc. Because the idea is to build muscles in short sessions, not ride long sessions in which the horse can still actively lift you for ten minutes and then doesn't have the musclepower anymore and lets his back sag (maybe even with his head down, but just not using his legs anymore). Then you work against what you want to achieve! But once the horse is really used to carrying people in this way, he will use this low, healthy outline as soon as he relaxes and that can also be during trailrides. And when your horse gives out of this relaxation a start of collection, that's wonderful indeed!

@ Bianca: the horses sometimes coming on the forehand between or during exercises is also because some movements are in essence less collected than others, so that might explain the difference. And of course collection can slip between exercises when horses get a little tired and take a rest in between. That's natural, but then I ask myself the question: how do I teach my horse to relax his body in such a way that his movements are still healthy? For me the answer is in the classical dressage idea of first teaching the horse to stretch down in every gait so that he feels how good that feels and then have him realise that this is the best default-position he can have. So that the horse does the thinking for me, and searches this position on his own when he is tired during training. For me that just works great; when I've asked Sjors for some more collection and then walk to a new area of the paddock to train, Sjors automatically lowers his neck and walks like that with me, stretching his back all over. Which is just wonderful, because exactly this alteration between tightening and stretching muscles strengthens him!

I discussed this with Silke, and she thought that this piece of dressage, the relaxed stretching, in NHE is replaced by the stretching exercises which stretch specific muscles at specific times (bow, crunch, Spanish walk etc.). Apparently it lets Alexander and Lidia reach their goals, which is great for them. But I guess tthat their goals differ from mine. I want more relaxation, both mentally and physically and a better outline when the horse does take a break. One thing that always puzzled me was that on one of the NHE dvd's (I think it is the second?) you see Alexander in front of the camera explaining something (why a horse should always be collected?) while Lidia in the background is lungeing Lipisina. What I kept wondering, was: 'Why isn't she collected?', as Lipisina was just trotting her rounds, head up and turned outwardsand the back a little stiff. Only when I started going back to the low head and neck and therefore relaxed back as basis and working from that towards collection, I realised that Lipisina was trotting like this because she wasn't collecting. And didn't know what to do then as she just hasn't learned that stretching out down and forward feels so good and is the basis of collecting with proper use of the back.

My ideal is that when I don't give cue or an assignment for the horse to do, he goes back to the 'default posture' that costs the least energy but also is the most healthy. But the horse has to learn which position that is! If not, the default position is the one that horses take in when not thinking it over or having a history of moving in unhealthy waus, when stressed or sore: head high, neck and back hollow and head turned out and away from the center of the circle (if you're lungeing that is ;) ) The great thing however is that the good stretching movement is self-rewarding behavior: when teaching the horse that this outline feels good, soon you don't need to reward him for it anymore or cue him. And that saves a lot of energy. ;)

So, now I'm thinking it over, this could very well be a natural way of moving or the horse. Because when watching good classical dressage trainers working with young, unspoilt horses, you see that these horses take up this default position within a single training session, just because it makes sense to them. So when they slowly start to collect out of it (at liberty I mean, not with reins), it can be called natural collection too...?

At the moment I'm training with the pony's like this: I have taught them to flex their polls and stand/move collected on command, but now am going back to the basis of moving with a stretched neck - and when they feel like it, they can transfer to a more collected posture, without me really cuing for it anymore. And if they get tired, they stretch out again. Now it's more their call then when it's all labled as exercise and has to follow a command from me. And I like it this way a lot better. :D


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:15 pm 
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Miriam wrote:
I discussed this with Silke, and she thought that this piece of dressage, the relaxed stretching, in NHE is replaced by the stretching exercises which stretch specific muscles at specific times (bow, crunch, Spanish walk etc.).


I think the same. Also, when lunging with cordeo, it's very difficult to do the "long and low", at least my cordeo was falling down very often. But of course it was very good for collected lunging ;)
Also, the cordeo is a cue for collection, that's why you take it off during the wild games. Now when I put the cordeo on my horse, her first reaction to this will be showing "the pose" with her head. She also does it when running and when she's doing the Spanish Walk. But this is only one position for all exercises - so I think that there is a danger that some muscles will be stiff, at least in our case. On the other hand, I also have a cue for collection without cordeo - I point at the base of her neck with my finger, or I raise my hand. But I don't use it very often. I want her to discover it by herself, and now we are discovering the benefits of "long and low" and just relaxed position in different gaits.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:25 pm 
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I don't use the cordeo anymore because it still seemed to distract the pony's from what I was trying to communicate with it, so now I have coreo-less cues. ;) And it's great for lungeing while stretching down! :D But I had teh cordeo-sliding-problem too, especially when letting the pony's have grass as atreat. It was always shifting!

Also I have different cues: for the flexion at the poll I point at their head , say 'mooi' (beautiful) as cue or scratch the base of the neck (where the cordeo was lying before). For the head down I ask 'neer' (down), or point to the ground myself.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:36 am 
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Ok.. Morning again.. I'm loving this discussion. Very edifying!

I removed the photos and posted a link to the album instead. The photos are in the order that I wrote about them. I added in another of Rosie, a year ago, beginning to pick her back up and flex her neck as she was finally healthy (although she didn't yet look it. :cry: ) If I got on her at that stage, she would hang her head down and stretch out, as her back was not yet strong enough, nor her balance good enough.
Her position is the kind of collection I'd like to see for relaxed riding work at a trot. It looks exagerrated because she's still recovering from emaciation in this photo, and going over the pole. (Now she has nice muscling covering up that bony neck!)

Your comments on requiring weight to strengthen are interesting Miriam. I can see that this would be true.
I've spent a lot of time watching horses roaming together in natural environments, and it often strikes me in the discussions of collection, and natural collection that there seems to be a belief that it needs to be "taught".
Horses when they're relaxed and covering distance, at an active walk or gentle trot, trekking to the water hole for example, will show the same kind of relaxed collection that we're talking about.. neck slightly above horizontal, slightly curved, head low, backs raised.
SO when you say this:
Quote:
So, now I'm thinking it over, this could very well be a natural way of moving or the horse. Because when watching good classical dressage trainers working with young, unspoilt horses, you see that these horses take up this default position within a single training session, just because it makes sense to them. So when they slowly start to collect out of it (at liberty I mean, not with reins), it can be called natural collection too...?


YESYES AND YES!

It's always been very hard for me to accept the one very high head set, very flexed position as being the epitome of "natural" collection. This is only ONE type of collection that horses show in nature, in extreme circumstances, and it's most often associated with stressful situations, which call for extreme short bursts of power... Fighting,mock fighting, play that practices for fight or flight, the first moment of fright and flight, arrival of an unknown horse etc etc etc..
Of course, I can see that when you want the horse to perform airs above the ground, this is the kind of collection that would be neccessary for the extreme burst of power. But for flatwork?

And whether the horse is in extreme collection and performing airs, or in relaxed collection and moving easily, the same need to gradually strengthen back muscles through adding weight in increments of duration would apply wouldn't it?
To my mind, provided you apply the same principle of care for all parts of the horse , and train the horse's body to gradually be able to carry more weight, there should be no more likelihood of damaging a horses back through "trail/pleasure/field" riding ijn the relaxed collected stance, as there is in airs above ground in extreme "natural" collection. And then, the stipulation to only do ten minutes at a time would not be applicable.. In nature, a horse only holds the extreme collected pose for very short periods, but the relaxed collection they can do all day.

If horses don't know how to stretch out and down, or take the relaxed collection posture, (or even extrem collection) I wouldn't assume it's because they haven't been taught it. I would imagine that it's because this natural behaviour has been stamped out of them, through UN-natural management practices.. Lack of natural exercise over varied terrain, improper ways of feeding and watering, lack of horse company in a free and stimulating environment, stabling, overfeeding/underexercising, improper hoof care, rigid training practices that don't allow for the natural self expression of the horse, poor riding, forced head set, discomfort from saddle and girth, pressure and fear, learned helplessness... and then of course into the pain and discomfort problems that these things generate.

So yes, I agree with this statement..


Quote:
My ideal is that when I don't give cue or an assignment for the horse to do, he goes back to the 'default posture' that costs the least energy but also is the most healthy. But the horse has to learn which position that is! If not, the default position is the one that horses take in when not thinking it over or having a history of moving in unhealthy waus, when stressed or sore: head high, neck and back hollow and head turned out and away from the center of the circle (if you're lungeing that is )


when you are working with a horse who has already experienced the loss of it's natural movement.

But, if conditions are good, and you have a young horse who has not been misused, I believe that all you will need to do is not interfere with it, and you will be able to keep all the range of movement, and then translate that to ridden work.

So.. to bring it back round to the starting of a young horses..
This has been my guiding light:

I don't attemtp to force anything on her.. not a particular gait, or posture or head carriage (even through positive reinforcement) in my rides (or sits :lol: ) on her. I let her take the position that she wants and that feels right for her. If I can feel or see that this is not sufficient for bearing my weight safely (for example, she becomes excited and her head goes up high and back hollows) I dont' attempt to correct it. I immediately get off, and let her continue walking with me, as she wants to. So.. this is how she is showing me how and when she is ready to ride.

Some might think that this will teach the horse that they can make you get off. This is not my experience. By getting off before things become a problem for her, she never experiences the feeling that she WANTS me to get off. So far.. she WANTS me to ride. :D


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:16 am 
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Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Indeed, when Evita is tired during riding she will tell me she has to stretch out and indeed ofcourse she can walk stretched and low to relax and stretch. Some horses are so under pressure they can loose the ability (dare) to stretch and lower the neck I do believe.

This weekend I saw a horse of a friend wich was not really able to walk stretched and low (she rides with a bit) and in galop the lower neck muscles were very tense even when she wpuld totally losen the reins, but he collects and carriaged himself nicely. I put the reins on the nosestrap and got the bit out of his mouth. My friend could galop with a relaxed and stretched horse within a minute! My friend will now turn to bitless ofcourse :mrgreen:

I am quite happy the "cordeo pressure" is off ;) though. At NHE I was pressured to use the cordeo even though Evita and I disliked using it so I didn't and was told I was to start over again.... and now we can just carry on our own "thing" totally free
:D


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 5:52 am
Posts: 1852
Location: Taiwan, via NZ
Bianca, good going, helping your friend to open up her eyes and see the light!

Like you, I hardly use the cordeo at the moment. It's easier for me personally to teach, and for the horses to understand without any gear at all. I can see how it's useful in higher stages of Haute Ecole though, for providing the "lift". Strange that you were criticised for not using it. I wouldn't have thought it mattered in the early stages. AN stresses in the second dvd that the cordeo is only used to signal to the horse how much vertical height you want, and everything else can be done without cordeo, which he demonstrates in his riding.
We're a long long way from that :lol:
So liberty is fine.
Sue


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