The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:04 am 
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I wrote this initially in Patrice's diary, in response to some difficulties she was having when attempting to ride Cali with previously trained PNH methods, after some time of using AND type methods of groundwork.
I"ve moved it here because it got a bit long... :blush:
Anyway, I think this is a pretty common point for people to arrive at, when they find that their horse has really taken to the idea of playing with their human, and having a say, and then starts to demand that their human employs some other methods of riding communication too..

Please others, feel free to add in your ideas, methods, thoughts..


Re: Playing with Cali & Shaman

Quote:
Or backup when I'm riding her...that was her default when I would use the cue of a light squeeze for forward which she has been quite responsive to for a couple of years now!!! So it is frustrating that she is not wanting to listen to that cue now. I'm hoping this was just a weird day and that won't be lost completely


Quote:
she didn't respond. Now the game that is more interesting to her is the one that gets the treat. She had been rewarded for a back up cue early on that day's riding and she wanted to do that for all the regular cues I was giving. She was looking for that treat.

So my response was to go back to more pressure....so I got off and put the Parelli hackamore on so I could swing the mecate rope end for motion around my shoulders and then on Phase 4 it would lightly tap her hind. So then she did respond.



Hi Patrice, I was thinking over your difficulties as I was going to sleep last night, and the differences between Parelli's idea of "natual" and the horses idea of natural, with regard to riding. And I found these two quotes from you this morning that are the starting point for where I head off in a different direction.... So I"m going to offer up an alternative diagnosis of your riding problem, and you're free to consider, debate, adapt, or toss out as fits!


As I understand the horses natural motion and balance now, a light squeeze combined with a slight forward weight shift will cause even a totally untrained horse to curl up and move backwards. Horses can of course be trained to go forward off a squeeze and a lean forward.. but they have to be trained to it.. and that's where the phases of pressure and the final, much more direct because it IS a natural cue for forward, cue of a tap on the rump, come into play.

The phases of pressure that Parelli teaches to make a horse go forward; first squeeze the bum cheeks, then the thighs, then tighten the lower leg are I believed GUARANTEED to make a well balanced horse go backwards, and or bunch up... if they haven't already been trained to it. It's possible to train a horse to go forward from any cue.. dangle a feather duster round their ears, if you want.. And after horses HAVE been trained the Parelli way, and usually with the final tap on the bum providing the clarifier in the earlier stages, the may well move off really smoothly with just a kiss and the forward thought.. But if they don't,,,... that's where novices and un-centred riders.. and even lots of experienced riders.. get into difficulties. In trying to pressure the horse to move forward, they make it more and more difficult for the horse to balance and move freely in the direction they want the horse to go.

I used to just ride "my way" for thirty years. Then when I had to start teaching others, I began to worry about how to teach what I just did naturally. So I began to look at Parelli, and thought it might be a nice simple idea to use his "natural" system. Hmmm.. didn't work out that way for me. Although I do still like some of his methods, I've become very selective about which ones I use.

The people and ideas that have really helped me to find a way to teach others to ride "naturally" are (not neccessarily in order of importance.

A couple of concepts from Dr Bruce Nock, in his book the Ten Golden Rules of Horse Training.. most particularly his ideas on "primary and supporting signals". Although I don't apply the rules quite the way he does. , it's an important distinction to make: some cues have an intrinsic ability to provoke the desired response, (what he calls supporting) others, which he terms primary, have to be trained.

He starts with the trained signal, followed a moment later by the "supporting" signal. So, he follows a similar system to Parelli, of using the primary signal of a leg aid, followed a moment later by the supporting signal, the tap on the rump, until the primary signal has been conditioned.

In classical conditioning theory, these signals are termed as "conditioned stimulus" and "unconditioned stimulus".

If you are going to use the Parelli/Nock method of training this, then " The primary and supporting signals should continue to be given in tandem until the horse makes an acceptable response. As a general rule, the supporting signal should be given half a second to two seconds after the onset of the primary signal. The intensity of the primary signal should remain unchanged while that of the supporting signal increases until the response is evoked. With repeated and persistent pairing of the primary and supporting signals, the horse will eventually learn to respond to the primarly signal alone." (Bruce Nock) (And I would add, with regular brush ups as the neccessary, when the horse becomes less responsive to the primary signal.)

There's a slight difference in there that I think makes Dr Nocks method a little more sophisticated than Parellis.. No increasing phases of the primary signal... It dispenses with unneccessary confusion on the part of the horse, and ugliness in the rider, I think.

(I prefer to call these signals direct and indirect.. because I don't neccessarily teach them in that order, and where possible and practical, I try to dispense with the indirect signal altogether, and go with the one that is natural, "supporting", direct, unconditioned.. because this is usually the one that will flow best with the horses natural movement, balance and self carriage.)

Then.. also from Bruce Nock:
" Leg aids, like voice cues, also have little inherent power. This is, they do not naturally make horses go forward or faster. At the beginning of training, many horses either do not respond to leg pressure, or they might even go backward. Thus is a horse does not respond to a leg aid, there is no reason to increase pressure or to spur him. Contrary to popular belief, spurs (or greater leg action - sue) are not a natural forward driving aid. Instead, spurs tend to cause horses to tuck their croup downward and to step further under thier body with their hind legs."


Okay.... so I'm going to insert my diagnosis in here:
I think that Cali was responding to what she thought was your cue to back up..
Perhaps because you've had a break from riding her, or perhaps because she's been learning to respond to you more naturally, rather than from her trained conditioning (PNH), or perhaps because it hadn't been as well conditioned initially as you thought, or perhaps even, as you thought, that she was remembering her earlier reward for backing up, and made the link that you were asking for it again.. she's "forgotten" her conditioning and instead she's just responding naturally. Upping the phases and swining the rope around your shoulders just added to her confusion and brought up fear.. And finally when you tapped her butt, adding in the unconditioned stimulus/supporting signal/ direct cue she got it, and moved forward.. but by this time not happily, and not trustingly.

So.. my remedy would be ... if you want to continue with classical conditioning method..
Ask with your leg cue again, do not increase pressure. If no response, relax, and ask again, with a tap on the butt coming a second or two after the leg cue.. that is, don't wait till you're frustrated and her confused and anxious to clarify. Reward if you want, or release. Then practice again and again, until she is clear on the link again, and moves forward off the leg cue.

OR>>>>>>> you could have a little think about how you want to cue her to go forward, and if there are better ways of preparing her to move off forward more freely and with better balance.. IE.. perhaps you could find some subtle ways to change you primary cue, to make it more of a supporting cue as well.. or put another way.. find a cue that suits both of you as a primary cue - one you're happy to continue using as you ride her.. (tapping on the butt gets a bit embarassing doesn't it???! ) AND AT THE SAME TIME is clear to her as a supporting cue.. that is, suggests naturally what you are wanting, and allows her body to flow in the way that you suggest.

This is the way of the centaur!!

So.. back to my story..

Ahah! Thinks I as I read this from Bruce Nock. YEs! This is what I learnt with my first ever pony.. a wonderful and wise little gymkhana pony, bought for a fortune and then "given" to me for $100 because I was the only rider who could figure out how to make him stop going flat out backwards and find his forward button again, after he'd had a training breakdown.

So.. thinks I... why not use this natural inclination to collect and go backwards off a leg aid to ASK the horse to go backwards......???? And use my old method to go forward.. But what was that method.. it somehow just involved the belief that we WOULD go forward.. like my flying dreams relied on me believing I could fly. But how to teach someone that? What was I actually DOING while I was visualising the horse and I moving forward?

Sometime later, I was watching Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling's first video. He's riding his little horse, tackless, out in the open landscape. They come to a place where the little horse is reluctant to go turn and go down. He crosses over and carries on ahead.. KFH leans slightly forwards, lets his legs slip slight back and squeezes.. The little horse stops and backs up.. and after a little dialogue of the same nature, with KFH alternately "opening" himself up to ask for forwars, and "closing down" to ask for backward, the little horse agrees.



I went to KFH's book, dancing with horses, and found lots of wonderful mindopening information on how horses actually balance, and how we can help them to move freely.

Also useful to me were;
Mark Rashid's video of "finding the try" where he also illustrates the leaning forward/backwards, opening up and shifting weight slightly back/forwards principles.
Dr Deb Bennet's work on straightness (available on her website)
Carolyn Resnick, who showed me through her movements with horses on video, that every movement we do with our horses, on the ground or on their back, should be performed in the same way that we would dance with a partner.


Okay... I'm going to post this now, because it's LONG already.. and I have to do some work! But I'll continue with the story and tell how I'm teaching it now, and hope that I'm not being too pushy!

Cheers!
Sue

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:25 am 
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Okay, part two...

So.. the first thing I don't like about the Parelli method is the uneccessary, confusing, and bullying phases.

The second thing is what it is teaching the rider to do with their own flow of energy.

Try this: stand up, squeeze your butt cheeks together and try to walk forward. Your pelvis is probably pretty stiff. Now add in a squeeze from your thighs and a squeeze from your calf muscles, and try to walk forward. You will be "locked in the hips". Now, if you do this on your horse, and ask your horse to move forward while you are locked like this, they will NOT be getting the direct information from your seat that they need to free up their shoulders and move forward. They can do it! But it doesn't feel good, and it has to be conditioned. They will be getting the opposite message: lock the shoulders. And there is the brace that you feel...

Now add in some squeezing or tapping from heels, and we've got shoulder brace AND tummy tuck.. Lean slightly forward as most people do when they are in this situation and urging their horse to go forward.. the weight shift will influence the horse to naturally step back! (You can try this piggy backing someone.. very interesting.. the opposite of what we usually assume.)

Here's a cool little experiment I just thought about. Stand up, lean forward from the waist and at the same time try to take a step forward. Then lean forward and step back.. it's such an easy free moving swing isn't it! ANand the opposite: lean back and try to take a step back.. damn near impossible!


I believe that horses mirror humans in the way we move. There are some obvious differences related to our two legged/four legged status, but the basic principles are the same.

Leading, free leading, liberty work and mirroring can provide some really useful practice at understanding how we can flow together with the horse, so I usually start riding theory with this.. not with riding.

The way that I like to signal for a walk forward would be primarily the same from the ground or from their back.

It would start with my eyes and chin lifting on an in breath, my arms opening slightly as my shoulders lifted and gently squared back, my chest slightly opened forward, and my pelvis tilting over forward, setting my weight slightly back over my centre of gravity, and that would allow my leading leg to swing naturally and gracefully forward.

On the ground, this is probably sufficient to signal my horse to step forward with me, but if it needed further clarification, or motivation, I could either add in a target and "kiss" (and a reinforcer) , or a tap on the TOP of the HQ with a twig, a moment after my initial step.


Okay.. then on the horse, to signal forward, I do the same thing, keeping ALL MY BODY FREE OF TENSION/SQUEEZING, so believing that I'm going to step forwards. If the horse needs further clarification, then I would usually start the training with a voice cue paired with a tap on the top of the rump with a stick, while being careful to still keep my body "open" and my direction forwards. Later, I would begin to add in a leg cue.. BUT.. I would not use a sqeeze, because that puts tension in my body and confuses my signal.

When I teach leg cue for forward, I teach it as a long legged, OPEN hipped movement where the legs swing out and then gently "clap" at the girth, instantly releasing again, so that riders hips can remain free and open, ready for forward movement. This can be paired with the direct "butt tap" cue.. and of course the initial "natural" cue of opening and focusing forward.

For this "opening" to be effective, it must be done with no stiffness.. so can't be held and forced. That's where the quick butt tap comes in.

Something I"ve found has helped some of my students to attain this movement and posture without stiffness, is a "Scarlett O'Hara" visualisation.

You are making a "grand entrance" to the ballroom. You take a deep breath, your eyes lift, your shoulders straighten and your arms sweep open, elbows neither extended nor locked in, but gracefully opening and following he lead of the hands, palms coming up. You smile, your cleavage preceeds you, your tummy muscles are active and trim, your hips tilt and you swing gracefully forward through the door and invite the world to dance!

When my students first practice this, they do it in an exagerrated way. But as they and the horse understand it and learn to move together, it becomes refined down to the smallest and almost invisible movement. A light breath, a movement of the eyes, a slight lift, and the horse and rider move shoulder and hips simultaneously together.

Likewise, I'm not a fan of the Parelli method teaching backup.. either on the ground, or on their backs. Yes.. you can fluster or pressure a horse into moving backwards away from something.. in the case of riding, your feet fussing around in front of you. But once again, it puts the rider in a position that does not naturally balance the horse for moving backwards. IMO.. it LOOKS ugly. :green:

So.. I follow what the horse suggests. I focus ahead but "in" , I close myself "down" and backwards, through my shoulders, centre and hips, and I breath out, and incline slightly forwards. THat's usually enough, but if neccessary, I can put my legs slightly back and give a light tap with my lower leg. This method also has the benefit of helping the horse to go backwards in a calm, collected way, rather than with head up and hollow, as can happen if you use the moving away from pressure method.

Sometimes when working with students, when I"ve talked too much and still not found a way to teach the feeling, I advise them to let the horse teach instead.. and I use this method myself too, when I'm a good person! :green: :alien:

That is.. We agree that whatever the horse does is the CORRECT interpretation of our cue, for the meantime. We give a cue, as we think it should be, so in this example, forwards. If the horse moves forwards, BINGO, we got it right! If the horse moves backwards, we then HAVE TO accept that we were giving the cue for backwards! Simple huh! Then we can either choose to give the same cue again and practice backing up some more, with lots of rewards and praise of course, or if we're really hell bent on going forwards, we can try a different cue, an opposite cue and see how the horse interprets that. Funnily enough, the horse is NEVER wrong! :D :D


Okay... that's way more than my two cents worth!

Cheers,
Sue

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


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:29 am 
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Sue,
Can't wait to hear the rest of your story!

EDIT: Oops, Sue, we both must have been posting at the same time. :blush:

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Last edited by BladeRunner on Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:00 am 
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Great, great post, Sue!!

Quote:
Sometimes when working with students, when I"ve talked too much and still not found a way to teach the feeling, I advise them to let the horse teach instead..


Haha, the same here! In the beginning I have always told people to just feel like taking off and flying when they want the horse to move. But while this worked great with some, others (children!) have started swinging their arms like wings. 8) So now I am sometimes giving them an idea about how they could do it, but most of all I ask them to just do what the horse tells them and that IS opening up when you want to go forwards.

My horses also move backwards on the usual forwards cue - or even if there is just some tension at all, so they force you to give that up unless you want to ride backwards or in standstill all the time. :smile:


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:09 pm 
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I haven't read the time to read the entire story (but I will! :alien: ), but about when a horse doesn't go forwards when I want him to, I can be quite short: I will do something else.

The thing is that how you ask your horse something, is linked directly to how he feels about that exercise. It's the difference between your mom asking you to bake a cake, and asking you to clean up that bloody room of yours for once - and don't forget to hoover!!!! 8)
The actions in themselves have the same benefits (nice cake, clean room) but how we're asked/told to do them influences directly how we feel about the task itself.

So when Blacky doesn't want to back up when I ask him, usually I just ask him to do something else (like shoulder in, travers, trot, preferably things that actually are a bit tougher than the back up) and reward for that. After five or ten minutes I ask for that back up again, maybe ask it from a different position (next to him or behind him instead of in front of him) and usually Blacky then does it without a flaw.

Once he didn't want to canter for three whole days. I didn't correct him for that and just let him choose that he didn't want to earn rewards by cantering (and of course as the days passed I became slightly worried that soon we only would have trot and walk left 8) ). The fourth day I again just asked with my voice for canter, and Blacky cantered his volte as he had always done.

That really convinced me that letting your horse say 'no' doesn't mean that he will never do anything for you again, become totally dominant or take over the world. And for me how Blacky feels about exercises still is more important than having forced him to do that bloody exercise, because the only first in the end is the road that leads to the best results and more exercises at liberty. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:50 pm 
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:ieks: :ieks:

Wow Sue....COOL! :applause:

Quote:
This is the way of the centaur!!
It sure is!

This totally mirrors my experience with Tam when I rode him for the very first time. On his back, I asked him in all my normal ways to move right, back, left, forward...and each and every request, without fail, got me the exact reverse of what I was asking. I asked him to go left (even adding repeated hard tugs of the cordeo to the left) and he would invariably turn to the right. The harder I asked to go left, the faster he would turn to the right...even doing what looked like really nice humming tops while I was on him. If I asked him to go forward, he would back up. It was frustrating, and the only thing that kept me from over reacting to his "wrong" answers was the absolute thrill of being on his back while he was moving. Something I looked forward to so much that nothing could have made me feel any negative emotions.

But that experience brought me back here to the forum with a LOT of questions that all began with the same word...WHY????

Then Sue, Donald, and a few others came to my rescue and tried to explain to me what Sue has explained here again (although a little less epic in length) :rofl:

And finally, Sue described it all as waltz steps and the lightbulb went on. I could see it in my mind. I shouldn't lean to the left to go left, I should, in essence, be leaning to the right to go left. But since that would then most likely make me fall off my horse (because he would then literally walk out from under me), I needed instead to "open the door" to the left. So lift the left hip (or drop the right...both occur) take the left leg off and invite him into that freedom. And the same for moving forward. If I lean forward and squeeze, I am closing the the door that I want left open. So instead I need to lean back (which is really just sitting up straight and not really leaning at all) and take the legs off (perhaps touch with the legs, but not squeeze) and open the forward door. To back up, I now do as Sue says...I essentially curl forward, but I do not lean forward. I tilt the pelvis back which causes in me a forward weight shift). As long as my weight is opening the correct door, I can cue with my legs almost as I have always done, but my body must leave the correct door open.

Anyway, I don't think I need to go into all this explaining, because Sue has described it so wonderfully and so perfectly.

What a wonderful post (well, 2 of them) SUE!

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:58 pm 
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Sue this is incredibly helpful and makes so much sense -- reading it, I see how I was taught to cue "go" and cue "slow" "stop" or "back" is totally a human translation that's 180 degrees from where energy opens for the horse!

This just blew my little mind! :ieks: Kerplooie! ;)

I'm so thrilled to have this thought in my head as I start to play with Circe and riding and begin to re-visit riding with Stardust.

D'oh! This makes so much sense -- open the energy for them to enter!

And Miriam, I love this:
Quote:
That really convinced me that letting your horse say 'no' doesn't mean that he will never do anything for you again, become totally dominant or take over the world. And for me how Blacky feels about exercises still is more important than having forced him to do that bloody exercise, because the only first in the end is the road that leads to the best results and more exercises at liberty.


I think you are so right, right, right!

This is becoming more and more apparent to me -- when the conversation isn't about dominance, who has the last word is about that moment of interaction and those rhythms at that time and has nothing to do with one of us "winning" and somehow training dominance into our horses.

Instead, it's about building a true give and take with each other. For me, this has been one of the heart-pieces of understanding how AND can work for us -- I was so thoroughly trained to always get the last word that it's been huge for me to see and hear "no" and say "okay!" without needing to work around it. And I'm discovering that by letting my guys decide when they're ready to say yes, there's no fight about it, they do it willingly and with pleasure when they're ready, and the whole question of "who's in charge" just quietly goes out the window. It's a non-issue!

Yay!

:D
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:01 pm 
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:applause: Yes, that is just what I am trying to find input on.
Here in this article the same idea of "go" by opening is talked about.
http://www.katelynkent.net/article_03.php

There that it is called "release".

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 2:05 am 
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Oh thanks Karen! You've added in the next bit that I didn't dare get started on yet, about opening the door left and right! And you've done it so very clearly and BRIEFLY! :D

Glad to hear that this matches up with other's lightbulb moments and new beginnings!

Romy, I've had that experience with some of my students too.. some are just so literal that it's scary, and I have to be so careful to not let my imagination run too wild. :green:

Cheers,
Sue

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 3:46 pm 
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Quote:
got me the exact reverse of what I was asking. I asked him to go left (even adding repeated hard tugs of the cordeo to the left) and he would invariably turn to the right. The harder I asked to go left, the faster he would turn to the right...even doing what looked like really nice humming tops while I was on him. If I asked him to go forward, he would back up. It was frustrating, and the only thing that kept me from over reacting to his "wrong" answers was the absolute thrill of being on his back while he was moving. Something I looked forward to so much that nothing could have made me feel any negative emotions.


This was exactly my experience last year :blush: I had trained what I thought were nice soft turns from the ground using the cordeo, and figured they would also work when mounted. Oh no they didn't! I just sat there (enjoying the fact that my horse was quite happy to have me sit on his back and didn't feel the need to scamper off to join his pals) but every time I thought I'd asked clearly for a left, I'd get a right. Asking for a right seemed better but still pretty unpredictable. I swapped to the scawbrig, and it was just as bad. Eventually, I think, horse got used to my mysterious cues and would (mostly) oblige me but I think he probably had a bit of a baffled expression.

Having read this thread, I will revisit and see what happens! We have been riding tackless again over the last few weeks - it is a sort of winter thing (a warm furry back is much nicer to sit on, and I hope my bottom is more comfortable than a cold saddle).

The one interesting thing is that I tried something Donald mentioned in another thread - I tilt my head back, and without any other cues, Jackson steps softly back. What's going on there? (I was so delighted when it worked first time I jumped off and hugged the horse. He is not a hugger, but he allowed me...)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:56 pm 
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Wow, never saw this before! Very interesting :)

And I agree with most too 8)

Allthough I have different experiences with the 'butt squeeze'. So I hop you do not mind me adding up :)

My experience is that when a horse wants to go forward with an engaged hind and therefore raised back, we need to lighten or raise our seat as most horses do not have the muscles back they would need to carry our weight with ease.
So, in my view, one would have to make up for the muscles of the horse that are not there with there own muscles on the butt.

Now, when you sit on a fitness ball, you see very clearly what happens to the ball when you allow all your weight into it. The ball gets hollow.
When you engage your abdominals and sqeeze your buttocks, the ball gets his original shape back.
This, in my view, happens with the horse's back also.

So, when I myself walk, I feel more free, elegant and powerful with a light squeeze of the butt, which makes my pelvis rotate, so my body gets lined up.
Also when I dans, I sqeeze my buttocks (I tried with slack bottom and engaged bottom just now, hopefully no one saw me ha ha ! With the slack bottom I tend to fall forward a bit and my movement becomes less fluent and elegant).
I see that in the same way as collection in the horse. Engaged buttocks.
So when you say horse mirrow human, I believe that completely due to the laws of physics which are applying to both during riding.
Therefore I always say to my students: collect your self.

Now, back to my experience. When I get on a horse and would like transition upwards (walk or trot), I squeeze my buttocks and engage my abdominal, but I make sure to keep breathing low in my belly, in order to make sure I can follow the movement.
I wait, and also do the 'enter the dansroom thing' as you said it :) and within a short while all of them ussually start to go into walk or trot, which of course I reward with the voice.
It works everytime, even with horse's who are used to getting really hard leg cues.
But, you have to make sure that every other muscle apart from your buttocks hang slack and your knees only are touching the saddle and not sqeezing.
To me the knees and the lower leg are the problem why horses often do not want to walk when 'asked'. Because the knees and legs are like strng sqeezing arms around your ribcage holding you back. (or so I explain it to my pupils).

Now, when the horse goes into walk or trot, I follow the sideways movement of the two back halfs with my seatbones. They are like tiny feet in my buttocks, walking on the saddle.
To move them, you need to sqeeze each butt in turn while breathing deep and keeping you legs long and hanging. I call that the follow up seat. (And without knowing the follow up seat, one can not transition down or get to halt on natural responses is my experience).
If you feel your horse wants to lift his back even more, and you are still to heavy on the back, just lean into your stirrups more, and stretch.
I believe that the stirrups are invented for that reason. I also think this is what the master do and why their stirrups were so long.

If your horse truly can collect with ease and his a huge pack of muscles on his back, then I believe you can 'sit' more. But you have to maintain an engaged seat especially for things as piaffe, collected canter and trot etc.

To me it is much like 'the art of sitting without sitting'.

Stirring
As far as stirring goes, I too think it is a matter of horses following what is logical as far as their natural behaviour towards the applied laws of physics go.
This is al mathematics to me.

You sit upright and engage your buttocks a bit so you pelvis is lined up within your body.
Then you make sure your weight is evenly divided over noth seatbones.
Next you turn your pelvis into the direction where you want to go (as if you had a stick attach to your belly; just point the stick).
Your inside leg will fall long on the girth automatically, your outside leg will fall behind the girth.
Your horse will feel a bit unbalanced by your action. now the logical thing for him is to place his inside leg further under his mass, which will make the inside of his pelvis rotate, and hence, you have got the beginning of a correct circle.
Maintain the proper position of the pelvis for as long as you want to be on the circle.

This also works in the corners and for things as shoulder in and leg yield.

Now with the cordeo, you can get more bend in the horse's neck if you choose so, or get a horse who has learned not to listen to his natural impulses, to understand again he can.
Move you arm forward so the cordeo slips forward, then move you arm towards the inside of the circle. Most horses bend their neck away if slight pressure or touch is applied on the muscle on the outside of the neck.
It is in fact the natural neck reining principle.

Now I too am a fan of action reaction. I think the old masters came up with their teaching from trial and error: when human does this, horse does that.

So to me, it is a case of finding the natural responses to the physical laws that are applied to us, human and horse. working with this bueatiful natural force, as would a sailer with the sea and the wind, that is what makes a centaur I believe.

And last, within this system, we do not want to use or legs at all if not neccessary. We want to stirr and transition or horses on pelvis and buttocks only :)
The legs are then for lateral movement and later on collection.

Hope it makes sense... anway, this is what my second book and the DVD Ralph and I want to make will be about Hopefully interesting :)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:08 pm 
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I forgot to add a fairly important thing.

I believe that doing the excersises thru natural responses make the excersises go naturally correct: you have gymnastisation

Now when you do them on cue like pulling the reins, or just squeezing with your legs, or pulling the inside rein for the circle, the excersises are naturally not correct as the horse will go croucked and on to the forevhand.

That is the whole reason why a preach letting go of the bridle or at least the bit (and spurs), forget about obedience and just learn the action/reaction which allows your horse to move as if you where not there again.

The motivation of the horse to do so are his prey instinct and biomechanics:
he always wants to maintain and keep his balance, he always wants to maintain his body as healthy as possible.

Thanx for reading,

Josepha

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:21 am 
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Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah! Josepha, I totally agree with everything you said! :D

I didn't mean to give the impression that we are sitting slackly on the horse.. :blush: And I can see I probably did give that impression. Of course, we have to hold our own dynamic tension in our seat.. and this is part of what happens as I sit up and open.. I engage myself! But not LOCK the butt in a squeeze, which is something that is I think really easy to happen when using the Parelli method.

The point I was trying to make re "squeezing with butt cheeks" is in response to the Parelli method of squeezing to go.. which is quite a bit more extreme than what you are talking about I think...

If you see a video of him demonstrating it, (I think) it looks embarassingly like he's constipated and straining.. And I know a lot of people use it this way,.... encouraged by the later "phases" that are recommended if the horse doesn't respond to this first cue. The squeeze is extended to thighs and then lower leg.

Anyhow... LOVE what you wrote! And thanks for clarifying this!

Especially loved this:

Quote:
Now, when the horse goes into walk or trot, I follow the sideways movement of the two back halfs with my seatbones. They are like tiny feet in my buttocks, walking on the saddle.


Again.. yes yes yes! :D This is what I have been trying to describe to people when I talk about how I'm trying to follow the hind leg movement at a trot.. and how it feels like my butt is connected to my horses hind legs, and my knees are connected to her front legs.. occasionally when I've really flowed with it, I feel like Sunrise is a puppet on my strings, and I've been able to just "think" lateral movements and turns. Doesn't happen as often as I'd like though... I need to spend much more time in meditative riding with her.

And you're right I think.. for this to happen, my butt is always engaged with very slight active tension.. But I wouldn't call it squeezing tension, because to me, the word squeezing implies more static tension, and then a block, rather than a flow.

Must read your piece again and get inspired to go out and practice!
Cheers,
Sue

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:27 pm 
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Thanx Sue... getting me blushing somewhat here :smile:

So you think a DVD showing just that would be interesting for a lot of people?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:38 pm 
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Yes, I do! I think it would be really useful and welcomed by many! :)

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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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