The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:47 am 
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Hey Kim:

Thanks so much for sharing these!

Just love your energy with the gang -- and your husband's (if that is your husband in the second video) as well (making that assumption w/the "family" reference.)

Tempo is just gorgeous! Really lovely flowing kinetic sense to her. (Actually, as do you -- your movement quality seems incredibly well matched with each other.)

And I'm loving the big sand hill! What a great idea -- looks like you have some wonderfully fun obstacles in your playground.

All the best,
Leigh

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:24 pm 

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Quote:
Just love your energy with the gang -- and your husband's (if that is your husband in the second video) as well (making that assumption w/the "family" reference.)


Thanks Leigh -- yes, that's hubby (Van) in the videos. He's the one who introduced me to clicker training after using it in his dog training business.

Quote:
And I'm loving the big sand hill! What a great idea -- looks like you have some wonderfully fun obstacles in your playground.


I wish the sandhill and obstacles were in my personal playground!!! That video was shot at Mullet Hall, our county park/equestrian center. We are blessed to have such an amazing place within a 30 minute trailer ride from our farm.

Thanks for your other compliments as well! I agree Tempo is lovely; she brings out the best in me, for sure! ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:23 pm 
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Very interesting topic. Good timing too as I've just recently realized how much muscle wastage Diego has from my ill fitting, adjustable Wintec. :sad: I've pretty much retired the saddle for now, as I don't think any amount of padding will fix those preassure points caused by 130lbs sitting on him. Anyways this is why I'm looking into a treeless saddle, I find all the treed ones too ridgid, they simply can't move with the horses back. As for bareback it's funny to read the various responses. D has always been "goosey". Ticklish, easily irritated, etc. The first time I rode him bareback he was the epitome of stop-go-twitch-confusion-repeat. Mom was laughing saying that it was likely no one had ridden him without a saddle before. He did respond better to a posting trot though. I love to ride bareback, but D has always expressed a certain amount of annoyance when we do canter and jumping especially. I remember one bounce (multiple jump) sequence where he continued out of the bounce at in a bucking rythym exactly like the rythym in the bounce. :ieks: That was fun. Since retiring the saddle a month ago I've been riding bareback exclusively, although my seat is stiff and my abs are underdeveloped. =( I always use a pad though because I'd heard the two preassure points of my seatbones in 2 small concentrated areas were just as uncomfortable as a bad fitting saddle. The pad doesn't fix that but it helps. D had never stood still for saddling and I feel so bad now that I understand why. He was even afraid of the barebackpad at first this winter, he still eyes it with suspicion, but will stand perfectly still and he doesn't flinch anyone when I set it on his back. Slowly but surely I think his back is getting more muscular again and less sore. :yes:

Josepha) Loved the description of the light seat. It's something I've been trying to train back into myself. As a child my dream in life was to be a jocky, :funny: ;) so I got yelled at countless times in lessons when I'd stand in my stirrups during a bumpy transition or such. I even found myself doing it a few years ago when I'd let D fly across the yard in a gallop (then again after tailbone surgery it was the only position I could ride in). Unfortunately like someone pointed out, to keep from bouncing alot of us dressage riders were taught "heavy in the seat". Instead of addressing the flexibility of the body, torso, pelvis etc. I'm working hard to get that 'heavy" idea out of my system not because I've never seen any improvement in D's movement with it, and I know now his back simply can't move the same with me sitting all the time. Now after reading all this I'm wishing I had some stirrups again! :funny: I miss my 2pt seat.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:43 pm 
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Hey Kim :)

You never have to explain yourself to me, it’s your choice and your choice alone. I said 'Í would never, nor never advice’ so that is just me, but acceptations are always the case.
I too have had horses who come screaming at me seeing me with saddle and bridle, incredible. Not riding them tho, made it much worse indeed ha ha ! 8)

But in all fairness, after watching that video of yours I have to say that it is all your fault! Yes, indeed, sorry to say! Gosh, when training like this, if was Tempo, I would want to be ridden too!
If everyone in the world would start riding-training this way, the world would be overrun by riding crazy horses :green:
We would have to hide our saddles just for some time off...

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:46 pm 
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Excellent put Don :)

Leigh, Kim, Karen and Colinde, thank you for your words :)
If ya'all interested I shall try to get a paper on it up on my website a.s.a.p. :yes:

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:45 pm 
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Quote:
But in all fairness, after watching that video of yours I have to say that it is all your fault! Yes, indeed, sorry to say! Gosh, when training like this, if was Tempo, I would want to be ridden too!
If everyone in the world would start riding-training this way, the world would be overrun by riding crazy horses
We would have to hide our saddles just for some time off...


Truly! :yes: :yes:

And Josepha,
Quote:
If ya'all interested I shall try to get a paper on it up on my website a.s.a.p.


Yes, please!

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:35 pm 
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Donald, I absolutely adore old cavalry-surplus McClellan saddles. I wish I could find some today. They are SO nice to horses, and it's relatively easy to make them nice to people. It involves quite a lot of high-density foam, some glue, and a piece of stretchy denim ...
;)

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:23 am 
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I have one but the tree is much too narrow for Tam...not that I would ride in it anyway. It's cool to look at. The date on one stirrup is 1918 and the other is 1919. Someone must have lost a stirrup at some point.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:55 am 

Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 9:06 pm
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Quote:
But in all fairness, after watching that video of yours I have to say that it is all your fault! Yes, indeed, sorry to say! Gosh, when training like this, if was Tempo, I would want to be ridden too!


Guilty never felt so good!!! :cheers:

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 2:29 am 
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Leigh wrote:
and two point feels to me like how it feels when you've been hiking with a backpack on your back for a while and lift it up off of your shoulders, holding it from the bottom with your hands. It does take the pressure off of the top.

Leigh, what a great comparison! :applause:
I was always wondering how two point can be so less demanding than sitted trot if the rider's weight is in both cases on the saddle => on the horse's back


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:29 am 

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I just found this topic, having been gone all summer and fall from this forum. I had always wanted to get serious about bareback riding and now I'm really unsure what the best way is to do it. I'm using a bareback pad with a 3/8 inch shaped wool underpad and hope that's enough to protect Blue from my seat bones. She acts like she's very comfortable but then she also acts like she is very comfortable when I ride her with a Len Brown Corrector and the same wool underpad under my Western saddle. I was hoping to learn to communicate better with her with less leather and tree in between us but now I'm wondering if I should use a thicker underpad to protect her back better. The one advantage I see with bareback riding is that I CAN move around from time to time so that the pressure is not always in the exact same place. That's something that's not really possible in most saddles, treed or treeless, except for a very flat cutting-type Western saddle.

Concerning the rising trot I don't know if I quite understand the purpose. I guess there is pressure in whatever place the stirrups are hung if the rider puts more weight in them when rising. I only see this as an advantage because that way the pressure shifts from one area (where the rider sits (or stands as Josepha puts it) to another, stirrups and rider's thighs. Am I missing something here? :huh:

Birgit


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 2:32 pm 
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Birgit wrote:
[...]

Concerning the rising trot I don't know if I quite understand the purpose. I guess there is pressure in whatever place the stirrups are hung if the rider puts more weight in them when rising. I only see this as an advantage because that way the pressure shifts from one area (where the rider sits (or stands as Josepha puts it) to another, stirrups and rider's thighs. Am I missing something here? :huh:

Birgit


Most people post too high.

One should barely leave the saddle. This better insures the rider is in time with the horse, and that the horse has the maximum ground contact as the riders' weight come back into the saddle. Stirrup pressure increases the least when the rise is very low and of shorter duration.

This low rising to the trot allows the horses' body to be more in control of the action with their own mass motion contributing more to the rising and falling of the riders' mass.

Obviously too, the amount of "contact," time is greater, meaning the horse retains more "feel," of the rider and can receive more information including those bits of information that constitute cues.

In fact, when you have gained some skill with low posting you can prove to yourself that the horse is better treated by this method by dropping stirrups and posting without them. A lot of childrens' equitation classes include this little exercise in horse shows. "drop stirrups, post to the trot please."

It's standard in my own instruction. If I ever get back in riding shape again (long layoff recently) I expect it will be my standard measure to determine if I am in shape yet.

One does not rise only or predominately from the stirrups, when posting is done properly. One moves their mass with the help of the horses' movement of its mass.

The picture I want my students to have in their mind when posting is that of trying to hide the rise .. to make it so small it appears to be something the horse is doing, not them. I doubt one can, in real life, do that, but it's a good goal to aim for.

Finally, I question the assumption which presumes that posting is less impactful on the horse than sitting to the trot.

A rider that develops the ability to sit a trot, including an extended trot, as dressage riders do, is, I believe, barely impacting the horse at all, whereas unless one is the most skillful of low rising posters posting itself is impactful and may even be detrimental.

An opinion, mind you, no scientific backing for it other than examining the horses' dynamic anatomy, (being in motion) and through the laws, and rules, of physics.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:38 pm 

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Wow, I can see how it would be beneficial to learn posting without stirrups the way you describe. :f: Beautiful!
Unfortunately I see a lot of instructors, often minimally skilled 4-H instructors, around here teaching kids to post without stirrups but because kids are so light and strong for their weight they manage to post high and learn to grip tightly with their knees. Since they are only asked to do it for a couple of minutes they often feel successful doing this and usually interfere with the motion of the horse. Often, poor instruction is worse than what kids do naturally, get on bareback with a halter and have fun with their horses.
I really like thinking of myself as standing when riding and that is definitely harder to do when riding bareback, esp. on rounder horses, I guess it will take time to stretch all the right muscles. I will try to help myself by not using lower legs for cuing at all for a while until everything else is relaxed but centered. :funny:

Birgit


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:54 pm 
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I had not given alot of thought about 'posting too high' but that hits the nail on the head. I often find myself "behind" in the motion if I spend too much effort posting. Something I've been having trouble with. When I was much younger and rode everyday I had a smooth gliding motion - I'd let the horse's back "throw" my pelvis forward, not up, the result was it simply slid partway up the pommel and back down. It takes alot of strength and flexibility in the abs, back and thighs. I think the "ideal" posting leaves out any extra pressure in the stirrups.

You're right Birgit, it's all too easy to pinch with the knees sometimes. I found riding bareback as a child stopped that habit - if I gripped too much my pony would shoot off like a rocket :funny: so I stopped gripping with my knees!

On the subject of posting bareback - when done well it's one of the most strange and yet natural feelings. I used to be able to accomplish it by simply tensing the insides of my thighs and my buttocks and allowing the horses back to give me a small push upwards and come right back down. I found it was actually easier to keep my leg long and straight during that because there wasn't any stirrup to tempt me into bracing against it. Where I run into trouble is when the stirrups are there to tempt me. ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 7:25 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
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Colinde,
I'm with you on the stirrups. I wasn't aware that I put much weight into them until they were gone, ha,ha.
At 47 years of age I find nothing is quite as easy and comes so natural any more as when I was a kid. But it does help to think things through the way I couldn't as a kid. I'm doing some strength training when not riding and it's starting to pay off. I am now contemplating adding a beginning ballet class to my cross training.

Birgit


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