The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:59 pm 
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Yes, very close, but this is a little more square. The curve is more rounded. I've actually got one attached to an ornamental bridle someone gave me. I'll take a photo tomorrow and post it for you.
zzzzzzzzzzzzz

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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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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:02 pm 
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Oh look what was on ebay (it's ended).

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So if this is representative, then the whole bit curves from ring to ring?

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:10 pm 
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Wait a moment! Here's one on ebay!
http://cgi.ebay.com.sg/ws/eBayISAPI.dll ... _500wt_715

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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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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:12 pm 
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:funny: :funny:
Funny to think the two of us on opposites sides of the world were sitting here doing exactly the same thing at the same moment!

Yes, that's representative.

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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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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:21 pm 
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:funny: :funny: :f: :kiss:

Thank you Sue!!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:46 pm 
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Karen, if one googles [bits] especially if they include snaffle, but even "bits" alone, and examine the ones now available one sees that indeed there is some movement in the direction of this bit shape.

Your question about the development and rein handing methods is thought provoking. I suspect that at one time, indeed as ancient art shows, the horse was ridden with more careful rein handling and indeed had as a result a properly conformed neck, with a break at the poll or just behind it.

At the risk of appearing classist I will say that where wealth and power prevail, say as in the Spanish nobility and in our own U.S. West Spanish held territories in the past, where life was, for certain classes, more leisurley time was taken to ride the horse in better form - or I should say in the current vernacular, "frame."

The warrior classes of the collective group called Mongols (many other tribes made up this group) had just such leisure themselves. They did not need to toil, not even hunt if they didn't wish to, but simply took, by either pillage or tribute from conquered peoples.

Thus plenty of time to ride as sport and develop the style and handling more like we are accustomed to.

Those who were poor though having access to horses hadn't the time aside from labors to practice any niceties.

The bit, I'm guessing, hasn't changed much, but just like our own bit styles can be used in at least two extreme ways, haute ecole, or rough and less refined handling so can this one.

I believe that Sue commented that it could be used with the nose lower and the mouthpiece on the bars. In fact I think it's really designed for this, and originaly to help "set," the head.

It has, if I understand the pictures of the horses, a feature that relates to La Jaquima - the bosal fitted hackamore, in that properly fitted and hung, it would, when the horse had a desired headset, offer not pressure on the horse's mouth and tend to hand loosely, as the bosal similarly hangs with no contact around the horses nose when his head is set.

In this case, as in La Jaquima con Fiador, on a loose rein, and with the desired headset it would be a very humane and gentle tool, comparatively.

Just as an improperly fitted and hung bosal this, in rough unsteady hands, results in nose high and forward to escape bar pressure - with the bit, bars of the inside of the mouth, with the bosal, bars under the jaw on the outside, and of course across the nose.

The toklat line and others have moved toward this sort of mouthpiece, but as yet I have not seen any end ring on a curved to the rear extension.

As you know I do not use bits on my own horses but since I teach and many do use bits (unless I can convince them otherwise :D ) I have to be current on designs and effects.

In fact just advised in a bit purchase for one student's horse. <grumble grumble> but at least she is developing educated hands, is on the road to lightness of aids, and will continue to be under my horse handling influence for yet more time. This is "horse doesn't comply, get a harsher bit," country you see.

I wonder how much damage can be done with this asian bit given how it hangs in the horses' mouth and how it tends to rotate to a neutral position when at rest with no rein pressure?

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Bitless Cupcake

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:43 am 
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I emailed Dave Elliott to see if he could deduce how the bit might function on a vertical head and a horizontal head. I might have to call him...not sure how comfortable he is with email. If I find anything out, I'll post it here. It would be nice to know if the bits are an ancient design or not, but regardless, I'm really curious. Dave will know!

Donald, all the curved snaffles I've seen are intended to curve or conform to the shape of the tongue and not curve up toward the corners of the mouth - and beyond. It's actually the "beyond" part that has me puzzled.

In looking at the photos this morning, I was left with the impression that the noseband attached to the rings of the snaffle, but in looking at them again, I see that's not the case at all. Hmmmm. All bits, in a horse with a properly released poll, are designed to hang neutrally in the horse's mouth (as long as no one is pulling on the reins)...correct? Not how they tend to be used, but that seems to be the intended use of them.

Just curious about this one. I'll see what Dave has to say (if anything) LOL.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:36 am 
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Karen wrote:
I emailed Dave Elliott to see if he could deduce how the bit might function on a vertical head and a horizontal head. I might have to call him...not sure how comfortable he is with email. If I find anything out, I'll post it here. It would be nice to know if the bits are an ancient design or not, but regardless, I'm really curious. Dave will know!

Donald, all the curved snaffles I've seen are intended to curve or conform to the shape of the tongue and not curve up toward the corners of the mouth - and beyond. It's actually the "beyond" part that has me puzzled.

In looking at the photos this morning, I was left with the impression that the noseband attached to the rings of the snaffle, but in looking at them again, I see that's not the case at all. Hmmmm. All bits, in a horse with a properly released poll, are designed to hang neutrally in the horse's mouth (as long as no one is pulling on the reins)...correct? Not how they tend to be used, but that seems to be the intended use of them.

Just curious about this one. I'll see what Dave has to say (if anything) LOL.


Some western bits , those called "grazing bits," in fact do not hang neutrally at rest (when the horse is in frame) as the shanks are bent to the rear. In addition, currently, extra weight in western reins is popular - closer to the bit with more weight. Slobber straps sometimes called water straps upset the balance too.

And since there is no leverage in a true snaffle bit (our type) it doesn't count as "neutral" at rest in this instance where we are considering leverage.

In fact these bits might even qualify for NOT being a snaffle since there may be some leverage involved in use. A jointed mouthpiece bit is only a snaffle if it has no leverage action. A mullen mouth, no joint at all, can be, as long as there are only rings at each end with no lever offset, is still a snaffle.

One of the things that make me curious about this asian bit, and it's evolution. Difficult to classify, really, and a challenge for your friend to sort out how it's function relates to the horse's anatomy.

Chances are its form exists elsewhere, at least historically. He might know.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:07 am 
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I heard back from Dave already and so I sent him the photos. We'll see what he can figure out regarding the function of the bit.

Sue, I found some old illustrations of mongolian horses and many of them show the horses as being more primitive, but in the same strung out, nose high frame. I found one statue that looked interesting...like a haute ecole pose, but I'm wondering if it's not simply a romanticized depiction? Maybe they've sort of always ridden that way? :huh:

Quote:
One of the things that make me curious about this asian bit, and it's evolution. Difficult to classify, really, and a challenge for your friend to sort out how it's function relates to the horse's anatomy.


I'm curious about it too Donald...wondering if the bit is made specifically for nose high riding, or if it was ever intended for a rounder frame?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:42 am 
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I can recall those nose high and forward illustrations you refer to as well as the more rounded form with nose in. I saw both again at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. I think Sue and I chatted here on AND in the past about the museum, though not about the horse depictions.

I believe all those with nose high and forward showed the horses running, a typical posture for all fast running horses.

I don't recall anything, pics or statuary that showed a horse at rest or being ridden slowly, though doubtless they were there.

I had another lesson with Eric today. Despite my nasty head cold I managed to cobble together a few mounted exercises to increase his confidence and help him relax into the trot. He did rather well I thought.

My big challenge today was Dakota. He doesn't take well to all the isolation from human contact - or more accurately, from humans responding to his aggressiveness with dominance exercises.

I visited alone with him in the pasture before my student showed. It was something of a scene. he was very wired, not uncommon for him upon first contact and my liberty work broke down very quickly into him running off to a neighbor buddy's shared fence, and snorting at me.

He is very wild play oriented, something I didn't encourage (as we expected him to return to being a little girl's horse) back when I first worked with him. And his antics today were set off worse when I forgot to touch ground with my bare hand before touching him.

Touch ground? Yep, we are in a paddock below two rows of high voltage electrical towers and just moving about will charge one up if the are wearing rubber or other insulating footwear. One has to discharge before touching the horse, who with a nice conductor to ground will get, as Dakota did, a sharp zap.


He really struggled over the treat I offered - unusual for him. He so wanted it but was afraid to take it. He waved his head back and forth and moved from hoof to hoof in front. Eventually he did take it.

We have only a month now before Eric leaves. Though we are meeting only once a week for about an hour and a half I think for what he faces we can lay the ground work.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:53 am 
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Karen, I spent some time, (a lot actually! It was fascinating!) in the Urumuqi museum. This area of the Altai mountains is famous for it's ancient burial mounds, where mummies that date back 3,800 years have been found, preserved in excellent condition. The oldest is the Loulan Beauty - a clearly Caucasian woman.

The information plaques are equally fascinating for their fudging of facts. A mummy, a couple of thousand of years younger, is described as being of that of a famous Han Chinese military commander who helped to expel the "foreign invaders" from the area. :funny:
Then just to confuse things further, there is the Chechen man, ( a red haired Celt, 3000 years old,) and the Yingpan man, a 2,000 year old six foot tall mummy who was apparently of Greek origin! Many of the others appear to be clearly mixed Caucasian and and East Asian.

I have seen many old paintings, drawings and statues that you talk about, that show the Mongol horses in that long strung out frame. But I wonder when these pieces were created? Then of course, there are the romanticized newer ones which show the horses ridden in collection, in poses that are probably borrowed by the artist from classic images. But there are also other, older, more primitive stone and clay figurines that show horses engaged in various activities, and being ridden in collection. Some of these were labelled as being "Mongol warriors". This would suggest that this style of riding predated the "modern" style. I was absolutely fascinated. Wish I could have taken photos in there. I wish I could have brought one home! They were gorgeously rounded figures, from ten to fifty cm tall. I can't find anything that resembles them on the internet.

It's hard to find any information on dates of artwork on the internet.
Here's an interesting picture. It's clearly not a "classic" style horse. It's from chinese art though which had it's own way of stylizing horses. Apparently it's from the Ming dynasty, which means it was painted some 150 to 450 years after the Mongol army swept through. This was the standard way for horses to be depicted during this period, and this horse's tack and rider, though title is mongolian, appear to bear more resemblance to the Chinese horses of that time. I doubt we can really learn much truth from painting that were created after this time, mostly by artists from a different culture.

I must go back there again! Want to come?

http://www.conflicts.rem33.com/images/R ... age018.jpg
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/world ... mummy.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 13638.html

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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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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:22 am 
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Donald, sorry! We are straying so far from the needs of your topic! With you and Dakota, it sounds like Eric is in very good hands for an excellent grounding. (Whoops, pardon the pun.)


Still looking at horse pics: Here's a Tang dynasty figure that predates the Mongol invasion, of a polo player in Gansu, on the Mongol border. This is a Ferghana horse from the Tianshan ranges.
Looks pretty collected!
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And here's a photo I took of a horse that WASN'T a bag of uncomfortable bones!
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2000 years separate these horses, but they still look like cousins don't they!

Here's another one with build and condition that I liked:
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Although you can see the effect of the constant hobbling on his neck muscles, and his back muscles are starting to atrophy.
This is a big part of the reason that horses lose all their topline muscling I think:
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Here's an unbroken five year old stallion who's just been caught off the mountain.
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Here's a photo that shows the method riding skewed to the side, with feet hooked in the stirrups to hang on.
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This is why I strongly suggests that Eric finds a saddle that suits him and horse ; It's just WIERD and ungainly being perched up high above the horses back, unless you're going to copy the local method of hanging off the side.
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When the rider is not sitting off to the side, they lean back like this to alleviate their discomfort. The stirrups are set very forward.
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This rider has taken the bit out of the horses mouth so he can graze as they herd. This is in a very poor, desert area on the plains, so I guess that's a necessity.
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This man is local born, but is a top rider and trainer in a showjumping stable in Beijing now. You can see how at ease he is in the local saddle, perched off the side with his foot hooked into the stirrup.
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This horse is tipped to be a winner.. long body, deep shoulder, good quarters. Pity about the ewe neck..
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And this is why I suggest taking a girth..this is a very common sight. If the horse doesn't have an open sore, he probably has large lumps from previous injuries. The saddles have to be cinched up really tight to accommodate the "hanging on the stirrups" style of riding.
The owner of this horse was doing his best to alleviate his horses suffering, but there's no way this is going to heal up till next winter. I gave my girth to him when we left.
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And a challenge for anyone who's up for it :D ,
What breed are these three?
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And the winning horse and rider from the Altai endurance race:
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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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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:24 am 

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I love this thread...it's really interesting for me to read and see the pics. The last 3 horses are a warmblood/saddler/thoroughbred??? Unbelieveable how they hobble them. I guess just putting the front feet together, they would still run off? Amazing also that they are often tied in grass where they can't eat, yet the one herder knows it's important his horse eats so he removes the bit!
Great pics and descriptions, please keep them coming!
It's always interesting to see what plans people make with little money and resources and "old ways" of thinking.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:11 pm 
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Okay, first guesses are in..
Keep 'em coming! I'm not giving anything away yet.
Winner gets, hmmm, I don't know.. An all expenses paid trip around my back yard? :D

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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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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:22 pm 
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The first looks like an anglo arab or thoroughbred. The second looks arab or akhal teke. The third looks mostly thoroughbred to me.

Probably bad guesses! :funny:

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