The Art of Natural Dressage

Working with the Horse's Initiative
It is currently Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:21 am

All times are UTC+01:00




Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Turning... or waltzing
PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:53 am 
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 8:18 pm
Posts: 4941
Location: Alberta
Edit by Romy: I have puzzled this topic together from posts in Karen's video thread and Donald's diary, because I think the waltzing conversation needs its own thread in the riding section. Enjoy! :)

Donald, I have a job for you ;)

If you don't mind, that is.

Can you please think back in your vast mental library to your vaquero training days, and explain to me how the seat, weight and the legs are used propery to ask for turning? Just simple right and left at a walk. I am very interested to know if one is not asking anything complicated, is the inside leg left off? Is the outside leg asking with just a light touch, then release? What is the seat doing? the weight?


Top
   
 Post subject: Turning... or waltzing
PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 2:03 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 5:52 am
Posts: 1852
Location: Taiwan, via NZ
But you DID just get on and go for a ride! :lol:
That was the beauty of it. The difference from the norm was that the ride went where Tamarack thought it should go, and he got no negative pressure or worse :twisted: consequences for not being quite on the same page as you thought you were!

I'm so glad my comments were useful and not taken as annoying. :oops: It's hard for me to shut up, because you're following the same path I've just been travelling with Sunrise, and you're the first other person I've really seen doing it (although I'm sure there are others out there too.)
At risk of mememe-ing in your thread.. :blush:

When I started, I allowed Sunrise to interpret as she could, and take me where she would, only gradually taking over the directing of proceedings over about a six month period of only intermittent rides. There were two major benefits of not being so quick to try to get her obedience .

The first was, she still feels that going for rides are her idea as I've slowy trained my idea to be her idea and avoided all confrontation, and consequently she views riding as a special treat.

The second was it really helped me to see the natural results of my riding, posture, seat and aids. And improve them! In other words, I allowed her to train me, rather than attempt to train her.

So rather than try to say "Okay, a squeeze from the legs means go forwards, so when you go backwards that's the wrong answer.", I would say "OH! :idea: A squeeeze from my legs while I'm focusing in makes you think of taking a step backwards! Cool! Okay, I'll give you scritchies and praise for that, and try to remember to ask you that way next time. Now, what makes you feel like walking forwards?"

And just allowing and encouraging all her natural responses taught me a lot about the differences between traditional aids, which have to be taught, and natural aids, which allow the horse to automatically follow our movement. Her responses were so pure, untainted by her interpretations of what she "should" do, that I got great feedback on what I was doing right and wrong and how to balance and project myself better.

What I found was that it is exactly as Klaus Hempfling has described in his book. Inclining slightly forward, shifting legs back slightly, closing centre, squeezing, precipitates a backward step in any untrained horse. Opening up our shoulders, lifting head, opening legs, and inclining slightly back precipitates a forward step. The exact opposite of what many people do. Same with weight and focus shifts left and right. I'd already read this some time earlier, and practiced it some with our other horses with some good results, but Sunrise was like the litmus test! :D After she trained me, I got much better results with the others.

(Only negative is, when "untrained" people try to ride them, the horses get confused, which is okay, as long as those people are there to learn from the experience and don't think they're going to teach the horse. I have some cool photos of this at work with Footprint.. I'll try to get round to posting in my diary.)

For forward movement, I also decided to cue another signal from the ground that I could use to clarify when riding. So along with the voice, cordeo, my body language cues for walk, I added a tap with a twig in the middle of her rump.. which is a direct signal to move forward, as opposed to leg aid, which is a trained signal.
This allowed me (duh,, having difficulty translating knowledge into action) to really concentrate on opening, focusing outward and forward, avoiding closing in, and then if neccessary, after my voice cue, give a little tap on her rump to clarify, without falling into my usual trap of tensing up. YIPPEE!!! Scritchies and treats, and in no time, she had forward and reverse gears, without any obvious cues other than a slight change in my posture.

In your vid, it seems to me that Tam may be responding in a similar way. He does a lot of backwards, and disengaging hindquarters, and it seems that he feels you're asking him to do this.. so I wonder if it would be useful to assume that you ARE asking him to do this, and praise him for it, then figure out what it is that you're doing, so you can use it again. Later, when he is confident and sure of this, and if you want to, you can introduce the cue that you will eventually want to use.

I also found there's a big sticky bit, when Sunrise had to make the jump from LITERALLY following me, which it seems at times Tamarack is still trying to do.. going round in circles trying to get at your shoulder :lol: , to trusting that I'm up there and "following" me from in front. Patience, clear natural signals and lots of praise helps them through this.

Yes, Tam looks so beautifully balanced and in harmony with himself and you.
I'm sure this is the result of not riding them too young and all the wonderful groundwork that enhances self carriage. I also think that the togetherness they develop with us that allows them to predict and move in harmony with us on the ground directly translates to being able to more easily move in harmony with us on their backs. (Maybe also cause for a little pat on our own backs.. as all the groundwork and relationship building helps US to move better in harmony with THEM better too! :idea: )
:D :D
AND is wonderful!

I was shocked, and I wrote about it in my diary I think, how balanced Sunrise was for me right from our first rides. The first canter was light years away from the feeling from other young "green" horses I've had. I think newly started AND horses are a different colour altogether. Rainbow coloured maybe! :lol: She's still had probably less than thirty rides, in the six month since the first time, but when my daughter rode her out for the first time a couple of weeks ago, she said to me "WOW! MUM! Sunrise is awesome.. She's the best trained horse here!" She's always been scornful that my horse was really "naughty" and full of her own ideas, so that brought a huge smile to my face!

I see the same balance and poise in Tam. (And a better body!! :wink: ) Even when he's trying all sorts of different directions trying to get it right, he's right under you and perfectly in balance.

Here's to rainbow coloured AND horses!
:D :D


Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:05 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3690
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
Karen wrote:
Donald, I have a job for you :wink:

If you don't mind, that is.

Can you please think back in your vast mental library to your vaquero training days, and explain to me how the seat, weight and the legs are used propery to ask for turning? Just simple right and left at a walk. I am very interested to know if one is not asking anything complicated, is the inside leg left off? Is the outside leg asking with just a light touch, then release? What is the seat doing? the weight?


Presuming the horse is full trained, the cue at a walk is just a slight loading of the outside of the seat, very slight, with a touch of outside leg, and a releasing of the normal pressure of the inside leg.

The hand (we rode with the left hand holding the reins, to leave the right free for various tasks, roping, driving a cow with the Mecate end) held over the whithers about 6 to eight inches in front of the pommel, or horn, moving slightly in the direction of the turn.

At this stage of training, finished, more or less, no tension of either rein would occur.

As the turn commences and continues the rider comes back to center of mass and NO further cues accept to correct, are applied. A trained horse would hold a curve until you cued him to do something else, ideally.

I don't see training of that quality too often these days, but I know there are those that can and do perform at that level.

I do think I've some AND videos that appear to have that kind of response from the hores...holding to a curve until asked to do something else.

And only top competition reining horses consistently perform that well with rare correction on the curve.

I'm a long way from that with Dakota and still doing single rein work. But we haven't done the drills yet. Lots of point to point direction changes, so he tends to wander a good deal of the time and not really pay attention to me as fully as trained horse like I'm describing above.

I'm not looking forward to it, either.

While I can get precision, I'm not sure I want it. But a contract is a contract.
He'll be trained to do was he's trained to do.

Isn't that depressing? It is to me, no matter how well I can teach him to 'perform.'

I think I'd rather proceed with some other plans if I'm to stay in the horseworld.

Those would have to do with bitless/bridleless and similar emancipation of the horse which is discussed and described here so much.

Donald Redux

Image

_________________
Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:45 am 
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 8:18 pm
Posts: 4941
Location: Alberta
Wow Sue...I don't know where to begin. Wait. Yes I do.

THANK YOU!!!!

You will see in Donald's diary of Dakota that I have asked him how the vaqueros cued a simple turn. He ahs answered, weight the outside hip, and touch and release with the outside leg...keep the inside leg away. I used to ride this way as a child, and right through my teen years. I think this is because it is simply more intuitive. At the same time, you stay centered.

I couldn't quite remember, but Donald helped so much. See, the few times that Tam turned with me, I am quite sure this is what I was doing. The only thing is that I was not staying centered while I was doing it...a little bit over-compensating I think, and what sent me inward was then trying to turn how I thought I should do it.

So I will quietly sit with Tam, and from a standstill, try the wonderful old intuitive way...the way of the Vaquero, and see if Tam really is more in agreement with that. And I most certainly will send my focus outward, sit up straight and and a hint leaning back and see what his response will be to that.

And I think you are absolutely and positively right about his backing up - that I was telling him by leaning forward. He really is a good backer-upper... very fluid. And he WAS balanced...wasn't he! :D He never once tried to put his head down...he stayed "with me" and kept trying to figure it out for me.

I got some very lovely and encouraging words from Paul, too, when he saw the video.

Between this wonderful forum, the friends I ride with, and Paul - always there with wonderful advice (and jokes about being dissapointed that he saw no capriole or baroque athleticism). I am just beaming right now.

I am SO in the right place in my life.

I love the way you and Sunrise worked this out together. I think Tam will like that very much too. Trained cues can come later. For now, I would really like for him, too, to feel like I could honor his ideas and his role in this. I think a good way for me to do that would be to let go of the cordeo and stop trying to cue with that too.

I could hug you all right now. Thank you Sue!!


Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 8:04 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 5:52 am
Posts: 1852
Location: Taiwan, via NZ
:D :D
Wow!Cool! I feel so hugged!

Wish we could go ride our babies together sometime... I know we could learn heaps from each other.. I was immensely impressed with the way you had Tam sidle up to that mounting block. Sunnie and I are still struggling with this because I've been a really slack and undisciplined trainer, paying not nearly enough attention to step by step practices. So when I stand on a mounting block, she races up and tries to stand on it too. Your video was a good kick up the butt for me to sort that out properly. :roll:

Yes, I agree. Let go of the cordeo for a while. It seems to be unbalancing you a bit and taking away your focus. That's what I found too in the beginning stages.

Re Donalds Vaquero advice, I agree completely. This is what my horses have shown me. One thing that I do with my students when I'm teaching them how to weight and balance naturally for the turn, is to get them to waltz. :lol:
Yes, I really do. We dance around the paddock, with imaginary partners, turning with lovely leading waltz steps, paying careful attention to doing it gracefully, with chins lifted, faces smiling, like black and white movie stars so that our imaginary partners can follow our lead, It's fun!

What happens when you do a waltz turn, say to the left, is that your head turns in the direction you are going with eyes lifted and level, and your body follows, you lift up and open from the core, your left shoulder lifts and opens and your left hand sweeps up and out, your right hand follows and doesn't cross your centre, your hips swivel, the left side of your pelvis opens and lifts, your knee gracefully swings out to place your left leg out to the side and front, your right knee turns in slightly and moves in to follow the left, your weight is on your right hip as you push off your right foot, and SWoOOp, dip, lift and away, dancing around the arena. :lol: It's exactly the same pattern and balance as riding the turn.
So, shall we dance? :lol:

Then sometimes, I get them to lead the horse round the arena as they practice their walking waltz, exaggerating the dip, lift, swoop, swivel, and push off to turn. The horses respond wonderfully, you can see them look, lift and push off in unison.. then I lead the horse, doing the same thing, while the student rides the horse, and follows my dance step turns, exagerating lifting and swooping, moving the left arm and knee out for a left turn, following with the right, which naturally makes them weight onto the right side and have slight contact of right leg.

When they go back to riding alone, they've usually got it.. Although with the addition of cordeo or reins, they are apt to lose it again, often dropping what should be the leading shoulder or crossing the following hand over the mane, both of which weights the wrong hip and confuses the horse.
Me too! I can see in some of my first pix with Sunrise that I'm all crossed up, and so is she. And then when I get myself straight (which could mean correctly bent) she looks really forward and willing.

OH.. it's fun fun fun.. I want to dance, dance, dance all night! :lol:

Sue


Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 5:52 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 5:52 am
Posts: 1852
Location: Taiwan, via NZ
Karen wrote:
Sue!!!!!!

WE DANCED!!!!

Ok, we LEARNED some dance steps, but with the advice from Donald, your waltzing images in my head, I was able to move myself the way Tam wanted me to. Hip down on the outside, lightly touch, touch touch with my outside leg, leave the inside leg off, and I left the cordeo alone. What was nice with the image of dancing in my mind, was that I didn't feel stiff at all, and I could sort of "let it flow". I'm so clumsy you know, and in reality I never could dance, but it was enough for Tam to begin to understand. He also seemed to intuitively understand a little leaning forward for backing up (oh, he can back up so pretty and fluidly) and the dancing image also helped remind me to sit up and ever so slightly back if I asked for a turn or if I asked for forward.

I did, also, finally tap him lightly on the top of his butt.

He was again, so calm, so cool, so trusting.

I will update his diary in a little while.


Thank you!!!!


:D :D :D


:D :D :D

(Tell you a secret, I can't really dance either. :wink: But for my horse I'd bring down the moon! :D )

Quote:
He also seemed to intuitively understand a little leaning forward for backing up



Actually, I don't think it's intuition; it's simple balance. KFH explains it in Dances with horses, and I've tried out the exercise that he gets his students to perform, where they piggy back each other and found that it's right. We THINK that by leaning our weight forward, the horse will need to step forward to counterbalance, but in fact it is the opposite. So, you can piggy back someone, ask them to lean forward, and you will find that you automatically step backwards to get in balance again. Ask them to lean back and you will push off forward. If you attempt to step back as they lean back, you will find yourself reeling, and trying to run backwards to catch them. It's highly illuminating.
Same with turning left and right. We often think we need to lean left to influence the horse to move left underneath us, but it offbalances them. They "fall into the turn" right? So, as Donald describes, it's the slight weight shift to the outside that influences them to step to the inside.
Interesting huh. You've all just gotta go find a partner to piggy back and try this!

With the left and right, by lightening your inside hip, you also make a space for the inside shoulder to lift as it needs to to shift over. A turn begins with the inside leg placement. This is fun to practice with human horses as well. Get on four legs, get someone to ride you, sitting up near your shoulders, ask them to push down on your inside shoulder as you attempt to move your inside "leg" over to begin the turn.. you will likely as not topple on your nose. :lol: THen get them to weight the outside shoulder, and you will probably find that to balance yourself, you will want to lift and place your inside "leg" further to the inside.

Looking forward to seeing next vids!

Sue


Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:06 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3690
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
windhorsesue wrote:
:D :D :D

(Tell you a secret, I can't really dance either. :wink: But for my horse I'd bring down the moon! :D )

Quote:
He also seemed to intuitively understand a little leaning forward for backing up



Actually, I don't think it's intuition; it's simple balance. KFH explains it in Dances with horses, and I've tried out the exercise that he gets his students to perform, where they piggy back each other and found that it's right. We THINK that by leaning our weight forward, the horse will need to step forward to counterbalance, but in fact it is the opposite. So, you can piggy back someone, ask them to lean forward, and you will find that you automatically step backwards to get in balance again. Ask them to lean back and you will push off forward. If you attempt to step back as they lean back, you will find yourself reeling, and trying to run backwards to catch them. It's highly illuminating.
Same with turning left and right. We often think we need to lean left to influence the horse to move left underneath us, but it offbalances them. They "fall into the turn" right? So, as Donald describes, it's the slight weight shift to the outside that influences them to step to the inside.
Interesting huh. You've all just gotta go find a partner to piggy back and try this!

With the left and right, by lightening your inside hip, you also make a space for the inside shoulder to lift as it needs to to shift over. A turn begins with the inside leg placement. This is fun to practice with human horses as well. Get on four legs, get someone to ride you, sitting up near your shoulders, ask them to push down on your inside shoulder as you attempt to move your inside "leg" over to begin the turn.. you will likely as not topple on your nose. :lol: THen get them to weight the outside shoulder, and you will probably find that to balance yourself, you will want to lift and place your inside "leg" further to the inside.

Looking forward to seeing next vids!

Sue


Ah, yes, precisely.

I do so wish riders would learn this. Horses suffer greatly, I think, when having to constantly catch their balance under us, whereas this allows them to control YOUR weight on their back.

Truly empowers the horse.

I think of it, sometimes, as 'opening the way' for the horse. I have to unload the side I wish him to go toward, so that it is freed to move.

And it becomes, in time, not only the allowance of that freedom, but the cue itself.

Thankfully that's not a skill I've lost from not riding for so long. It came back in minutes on the first horse I rode last fall.

I'm only now just recovering the ability in riding to also do this in forward movement. And it's not just transitions, but in fact there is a way to do it for every stride of the horse.

It can be practiced at the walk much more easily, but it's at the trot where it pays off for the horse and allowing him his freedom to move.

One can change the trot into a very free forward movement, dynamic and yet smooth, by a oscillation of the pelvis, as though each side is making a small circle.

It mimics the same oscillation of the horses hips ... though I could not tell you exactly if it duplicates, leads, or follows. Possibly all three depending on what you want to ask of the horse, and what you wish to free up in his hip and leg on each side at each stride.

But when the timing jells each side, hip and buttock, is drawn forward by the horse's movement, just as we are describing for the turn.

I'm not sure oscillation is the word I want, but I think it conveys my meaning.

And it requires a certain looseness, a flexibility of the hip and spine to allow this to happen. I had it for maybe 5 or six trot strides today, and then my old stiff body lost it.

But it's all coming back. And this will too. The more I ride the more flexible and strong my body becomes.

Dakota did rather well for having not been ridden in a couple of months. He triggered my movement by his own good reaching up under at the trot. It's an unmistakable feeling. His hips just rolled.

I find I can do it on the horse's back at walk and trot, but hard to do sitting on a chair. Possibly women find it easier to do.

And it's more likely recognized by feel and done more easily bareback, or possibly too on a treeless saddle.

Donald Redux 1965

Image

_________________
Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


Top
   
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:37 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6016
Location: Dresden, Germany
I have just created this thread from posts that were originally posted in other threads, because although I knew these posts existed, it took me ages to find them in video threads and diaries. Therefore, I thought it would be much easier if we had that lovely conversation about waltzing and opening doors all in one place. :)

And here is another quote from Karen, that sums it all up - taken out of Cues for teaching "go"... conditioned v. unconditioned..
Karen wrote:
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.


Top
   
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:50 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:46 pm
Posts: 250
Location: Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada
Well, since this is part of my learning task at the moment, let's see if I can entice someone else to talk about it ;)

Turning while riding has transformed for me over the years.
It began a long long time ago as "pull on the rein towards which you want to go".
then came the phase of "turning from the outside":
this is about connecting the outside of the horse and me, the turns being true turns, more like turns on the haunches, strictly from the outside seat/leg/rein. it was about steering the horse's wither.

now the next stage: turning from the inside and the outside...
so while the outside aids and seatbone positioning is still crucial, it has moved backwards - to steer the croup to wither... and now we add a new component. this being a sort of "suctioning", the ability of the inside of my seat to draw the horse towards the direction of where I want to go. It very much has to do with reaching the inside foreleg/shoulder forward and in. this gives me the precision in positioning the horse every step - not by "doing something every step" of course, but by being myself in the right place, feeling the right things and being able to help the horse out if he gets a little lost.

The first stumbling block is the timing of this. It needs to happen exactly when the horse is in the position to respond, which, while he is moving, is ONLY when the inside front is just leaving the ground.... And I find that because of the hard work I did - learning about the outside aids, I have gotten into a habit of targeting the outside front. Causing it to reach across the inside front. Not the best for any faster work... so now I am working at retraining myself to feel for that inside front and give my aid at the right time...

next stumbling block is my asymmetry. I need to be much closer to straight/even in my own body for this to work evenly both ways. Right now, it is much easier for me to control the left front then the right. The contact of my thigh/seat on the right just does not have the same quality. yet. :smile:
And also with the way I ride - and move myself on the ground - favors the timing of the LF...

Thankfully I can practice my timing from the ground - leading the horse and applying the turn aid only in time with his feet.


Top
   
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:13 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:41 am
Posts: 4
I just wanted to say thank you for this topic, it helped me very much with my youngster Bilbo yesterday. With the picture of dancing in my head Bilbo understood what I wandet to tell him, first time in his life as a riding horse he followed my instructions without pulling on the rein.

Ans thank you Romy for your hint to read here!


Top
   
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:56 am 
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:42 am
Posts: 2147
Location: Vienna, Austria
Thank you, for letting this topic pop up again for me! I just saw myself riding on a video and I realised how much work I have ahead of me, regarding my aids for turning. I will definitely read through this one again...

_________________
Volker

The horse owes us nothing.


Top
   
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 

All times are UTC+01:00


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Limited Color scheme created with Colorize It.