The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:09 pm 
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Location: Appleby, Cumbria
I like the idea of the FAQ area, and might I suggest that since the topic of bits is inevitably gooing to come up, I promise not from me, but it will, but if there was a little sub forum where those who wish to discuss it, could, in a non dogmatic forum, I believe that would be a positive benefit. It would also provide a way of legitimately getting the topic of bits/bitless off the main discussion boards.
But on the topic of equipment, why whips. I have written a short bit on the subject which may amuse a few people, http://naturaldriving.co.uk/content_whip.php but if bits are bad, and I believe they are, why are whips used?
I believe in 20 years the use of whips with horses will be illegal, and we will look back on the whole chivalry based horsemanship with disgust. I have discussed the relationship of chivalry with cruelty to horses in this article, http://naturaldriving.co.uk/content_chivalry.php and although it upsets a lot of people, i have not heard one convincing argument against my thesis.
I expect to hear all the usual "extension of my arm" "signalling system" stuff but if that was true a length of foam pipe insulation or a peacock tail feather would be just as good.
I am happy to move this discussion to a more suitable topic or even sub forum if that is necessary.
Simon

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:21 pm 
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Hi Simon,

I see your point about the subforum for bit discussions. But I think that there are so many places in the internet where people can argue against bits (or for them), so why do it here? I just don´t see what this adds to our goal of learning more about dressage at liberty?

About whips: I could not agree more with what you said that IF they were an extension of the arm, they could also be something very soft. When I still used them, I often used a long dry and stiff grass, but even that was too much pressure for Titum, even when I did not touch him at all. But he does not like the driving aspect... so when we use something like that now, it´s only as a target stick.

The difference for me is that I think they CAN probably be used in a horse-friendly way and be helpful for dressage at liberty (for example as target sticks), whereas I see no way for this in the case of bits. :smile:

Warm Regards,
Romy


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:26 pm 
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To be quite honest Simon,
I do not care of someone has a hamer in his hand while training his horse as long as this person does not inflict any harm and the horse does not mind in any way.

I myself think it cool to hold a nice whip straight up in my hand while I ride sometimes. It helps me keeping my posture straight and I invison the posture of my example Ecuyer De pluvinel.
I tried a nice birch branche, which looked even better, but Owen took at from me and ate it :funny:

Again, this forum is about studying natural dressage. Not about being against anything.
We can talk about bits, whips etc. here but only according to our house rules.
That means not advocating them, nor judging those who do use them.
We can however state scientific facts and share our own experiences.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:20 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2007 5:13 am
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I appreciate a lot - when discussing controversial issues as the role of punishment and of pain in horse training, or the use of nailed iron shoes - honesty, just as I hate hypocrisy (can we call the latter "hippocrisy" , dealing with horses...? ;) ).

So I appreciate who admits that his training goal focuses on that peculiar kind of "blind" horse obedience that - perhaps - can be obtained only with pain, or with signals from a tool that promises pain in case of resistance. But this kind of blind obedience is not, I presume, a needed goal here.

But I found too some arguments favouring the bits, much subtler, and more clever; an example is, Philippe Karl; I didn't hear by him personally, but from his pupils only: nevertheless they insist that in Karl opinion, bitless riding causes phisical damage to the horse by biomechanical umbalance and by suppression of a complex mechanism of bit-induced relaxing of mouth and neck muscles. This could be a side of the issue that could be discussed here, in my opinion, since the welfare of a bitless horse is questioned... . I don't believe that this argument is true... but it's so complex a matter for me; something that deals with collection, where collection - I hope - is not needed for basic equitation.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:39 pm 
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Hi Alex,

When one studies the Art of Natural Dressage, it becomes totally apparant by itself why one does not need a bit, even more so, it would get in the way.
As we do not strive for obedience but for self expression, communication and health.

In other words, if that is Mr. Karls opinion, well than it is. As far as I am concerned there is no scientific proof of this. The contrary seems to be coming out of scienticif research.

But anyway, what Mr. Karl thinks about bits or no bit is not of our (my) concern nor is it relevant to this forum.
What is relevant to this forum is when anyone studies Mr. Karl and finds anything he or she can use in the lines of AND philosophy.
Every teacher has something that an other can use, so I think. :)

Funny thing:
When I was teaching in Capetown, I taught a wonderful dressage instructor who studies Mr. Karl... she rode all her horses bitless :)

I myself never studied him so I can not tell you anything about his training.

I studied Antoine De Pluvinel mostly. He used bits and spurs, preparing horses for war.
As I prepare not for war but for health and self expression, I can leave the bits, the spurs and the obedience out and still have magnificent training knowledge at my disposal which I use on a daily basis, showing the world that healthy dressage and natural collection is within everyone's grasp when the horse becomes the initiator of the dressage. not the human.

As Romy said, the world wide web provides massive spots to argue about bits and views of training.

Here we simply study The art of Natural dressage and keep ourselves to what our horses tell us to do.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:40 pm 
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I think this thread is fascinating. There is a lot of information here, and opinions, and all kinds of interesting things. :D

I can't resist making a comment. I ride bitless, and it is not because I am passionate about bits or bitless. It is not because I believe bits to be right or wrong. It is because MY horse starting putting his head way up in the sky when he saw his bridle coming :ieks:

He is a LOT taller than me, so I had to throw his bit away so he would accept a bridle again, and then I could ride. This way we are both satisfied and contented.

Simple. Scary, but simple.

There was a price to pay. At that time, I chose to listen to him and dump his bit, but to do so I also had to face the fact that it would mean I probably would never get to compete on him - which had been a part of the reason I chose this horse. :D We clicked easily and quickly so I knew we could work together with no major argumentation, and he has a Sport Horse breeding (he is a Warmblood) and he has the temperament and conformation of a horse that can jump and do quality dressage. PLUS, he's so pretty! :yes:

Making a different choice about a bit might have made it possible for me to compete, but what price would my horse have paid? How would our mutual respect have progressed?

As it sometimes happens the universe then turned around and sent me as strong message. Bitless Competition Dressage was accepted in South Africa within a few months of me choosing to allow my horse to decide not to work with a bit in his mouth. 8)

So I know I made the right choice for us. :clap:

As a side note, I haven't competed on him yet. I'm not sure I want to any more. We know what we can do, and we don't need "judges" or officials to tell us when we get it right. :rofl:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:58 pm 

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Glen Grobler wrote:
Bitless Competition Dressage was accepted in South Africa within a few months ...


This is very interesting for some of my friends (not for me... ;) ) ... Can you give me a link about?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:30 pm 
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Hey Alex:

Here's a thread with some more information on SA and bitless dressage competition:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1269

:)
Leigh

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:05 pm 

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Thanks... :kiss: I immediately sent the link to Alberto Barozzi, the Italian dealer of BB, who owns a large riding stable where all the horses are bitless & barefoot! And, one of main interests there is dressage!
----
:blush:
Obviously, Alberto, as the BB dealer, already knew that news... Thanks again.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:20 am 
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Thanks, Leigh. Good catch. I;m not here consistently at the moment ... :sad:

Alex, I have contact with the 2 main people who made this happen, and they are somewhat disappointed by the reality of it. Here are some of the things they said, and I really hope my memory is accurate. Please forgive if it is not.

The bitless horses enter the same competitions as the bitted horses, BUT they compete last and are apparently judged by the same judges who are looking for "obedient to the bit" and "frame" so it's been a bit of a let-down.

My friends said they were promised at least one dedicated bitless event, but that has not happened. The horses that have competed have been criticized for being a little in front of the vertical, or for "breaking frame" from time to time, or for similar issues.

It appears that the judges do not wish to see a "new way" but only wish to see the same old frame and "artificial collection" transferred through a noseband instead of a piece of metal in the mouth.

:D I believe my friends are now pushing for a new "classification" in the competitions, because a bitless horse does not move like a bitted horse (unless, of course, you keep the same type of contact on the reins and frame the horse with your hands) and therefore, they believe that Bitless Dressage should be judged by people who understand what they are seeing when they see true self-carraige and natural collection.

I have not chatted with them for a month or so, so I might be out-of-date with this information. I will try to follow up and see what has been happening.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:51 am 
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Quote:
Bitless Dressage should be judged by people who understand what they are seeing when they see true self-carraige and natural collection.


Would be wonderful if that would become the case for bitted dressage as well.

Some vet needs to write a rapport about the difference between 'the forced upon frame' and 'collection'
(I wrote one lately in a Dutch magazine, but I no vet :D )

Seeking horses compete in 100% collection all the time is an idiotic thing to my knowledge.
What they should look for is horisontal balance and some exercises which are only correct if collected.
That would mean the horse would be the one to do the dressage, not the the human.

when humans say: "I jump" or "I do dressage" I always say, well, get of your horse and let me see you do it then.
:green:

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:10 am 

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Thanks Glen for feedback. And thanks Miriam for your header post! As soon as I can, I'll add a translation of it into "Italian translations" topic here.
In the meantime, the 3d deserves anothe mention to ancient Italian High School before Pluvinel, there are two interesting chapters into Il cavallarizzo by Claudio Corte (1562):

Book II, Chapter 63 (http://it.wikisource.org/wiki/Il_cavall ... apitolo_64 ):
Quote:
Cap. 63. Del modo di maneggiar il cavallo senza aiuto di redine, & senza barbazzale.
Ogni fiata, che havrete ridutto il cavallo à tanta giustezza & obbedienza, che benissimo vi corrisponde à tutti gl’aiuti, & maneggi con quella gratia, prestezza, & agevolezza, che se gli richiede, facil cosa vi feci ridurlo al raddoppiare terra terra, à mezz’aere, & forse anco alto co’ calci, senza aiuto di barbazzale, e di redine, a i repeloni: & anco al correre d’una e di piu determinate carriere, lo potrete parare senza barbazzali sì, ma non forse senz’aiuto di redine: se non fosse il cavallo per aventura di schiatta, e razza numida, & misilea, & che sì buon ammaestramento havesse havuto, che al sol cenno, non che con la verga lo poteste rattenere, & governare.


Book II, Chapter 64:
(http://it.wikisource.org/wiki/Il_cavall ... apitolo_64 ):
Quote:
Cap 64. Del modo d'insegnare al cavallo il corvettare, & il maneggiar da per se alla terra.
Ancor che questo paia impossibile è però vero; & io ho visto ginetti maneggiar in questo modo da se stessi, senz’huomo à cavallo.....


Someone of you can help me to translate this into a decent English? Chapter 63 deals with bitless riding, Chapter 64 with dressage at liberty... :ieks:

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:15 am 
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throw it thru the babelfish and then we can see what we can make of it.
I am VERY interested!!!! :ieks:

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:44 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2007 5:13 am
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Babelfish doesn't run with XVI century Italian... :sad:

I'll do my best as "human babelfish", then you'll fix it. ;)

Yes, the first sentence of Chapter 64 could be a good slogan for AND (about high school at liberty): "Even if it would seem impossible, nevertheless it is true" :)

The book of Claudio Corte is mainly interesting because Corte was a "literate ecuyer", and he quoted in his book anything he found about horsemanship and hippology into biblioteques of his time, from Xenophons, to Latin poets like Virgil (a deep expert about horses), to ancient greek veterinarians and other books of his time. His book is much more a review than a report of his own ideas and opinions; a big difference with another very interesting book, the Fiaschi's one, where the (really interesting) opinions of the author are reported.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:57 am 
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Ah, XVI century Italian, why did I not see that right away, mi stupido! :green:

Okay, well, guess you have your work cut out for you again...

I NEED to know the rest, so translate, or I'll have to get XVI century on you :green:

Just joking... please Alex, pleaeaeaeaeaeaese!!! :cheers: :pray:

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