The Art of Natural Dressage

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 Post subject: Overbent in ramener.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:02 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:07 am
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Before doing any exercises, Moe and I do flexions at the halt for a few minuts, just to loosen up her neck. It's mostly gently going from side to side. Not very far as I don't want to over do it and end up losing bend in her whole body when we are working laterally. We also practice ramener but she mostly just dips her nose in. I try to lift the reins to bring her neck up more but the noseband just slips up and she ends up getting confused. Even when we work at liberty, I can get her neck higher then but she kind of throws her chin choppily backwards much more forcefully than with the head collar. Is she to weak yet? Or am I just asking her wrong?

Any ideas will be very appreciated. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Overbent in ramener.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:20 am 
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We have a few threads here where you might find some ideas, for example Advice please on vertical flexion or Advice on head posture

I see it like Josepha, for me the head position is just the thermometer of what the horse's body does. Many horses overbend and put themselves into some sort of Rollkur position when they are just learning to carry themselves. I still remember how I was worried when Titum did that when we started working on dressage at liberty a few years ago. However, as soon as they get stronger, the head usually sorts itself out. :smile:


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 Post subject: Re: Overbent in ramener.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:54 pm 
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I agree with what Romy said, about the head position being an indicator of the entire body posture. I found that if the hindquarters are engaged and step under the body, then the pelvis tilts correctly. If the pelvis rotation is right, then the back is lifted. If the back is lifted as a result of the other two factors, then the head position is automatically right. So in my opinion the ramener position is not so much an exercise in itself, but a result of other factors. And it varies greatly between breeds and types of horses...

The question is, how do you cue for the ramener? Only recently I realised a mistake I did when I was doing the School Halt with Mucki. I was looking at it only as a stationary exercise and the result I got was just not satisfactory. Then I realised, also supported by feedback from the forum, that it is called School HALT for a reason ;). It's basically an energetic halt, with so much engagement of the hindquarters and upward movement that it results allmost in a levade. To get this engagement it is very helpful to do an energetic walk first and than come to an halt with lots of backwards tendency. Like that, our School Halt improved. I basically succeeded to apply a reason to an otherwise abstract exercise :).

Where I am going with this is that Ramener is a similar kind of exercise in my opinion. Of course it can be trained separately, without the rest of the body in mind. But why would I do that?
For me, ramener and rassembler (see Ramener! How to define it... for further explanations) are both effects of a certain state of body and mind which is called 'collection'. Therefore my goal would be to get my horse in a healthy state of collection, as natural as possible. Then the ramener position will follow on its own ;).

So if my horse would get behind the vertical, I would ask myself mainly how did I cue for it? Did I just ask to change the position of the head? Then I wouldn't worry too much, because it was just an exercise of changing head position ;).
If I was cueing for collection though and I got the head behind the vertical consistently, then either my cue is wrong and is not causing my horse to collect naturally and healthily. Or my horse is not yet physically able to collect himself for a longer time.

Maybe you want to describe more detailed how you ask for ramener, or maybe even post a picture or video?

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 Post subject: Re: Overbent in ramener.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:51 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:07 am
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Well, I'm not really doing it to get collection. I know that collection comes from rotation of the pelvis and the hind legs bending in order to lighten the forehand. I was just doing it separately to see what muscles she was using when she lifted her neck. Thank you for your input Romy and Volker. I see now she is too weak at this time for me to ask this of her as she uses, I think its called, brachiocephalic muscle. The one that is connected to the shoulder. So she is obviously still using her shoulders to pull herself forward. I guess more lateral work to lighten her shoulders? Ergh, I'm so impatient... I have another question. When I lunge her, I ask her to lower her head down and relaxed at the poll. This has helped her back to become stronger and she is much more balanced. I have read though, that this should help the whole topline but her neck is very slow in changing. How can I help her neck become stronger in the right muscles? Perhaps I should just give it more time, I don't know.

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 Post subject: Re: Overbent in ramener.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:44 pm 
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Amongotherthings17 wrote:
I have read though, that this should help the whole topline but her neck is very slow in changing. How can I help her neck become stronger in the right muscles? Perhaps I should just give it more time, I don't know.


We have a thread about this, Training the neck-back band, with some wonderful explanations by Miriam and others. Enjoy! :f:


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 Post subject: Re: Overbent in ramener.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:33 am 
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I didn't mean to discourage you from doing the ramener with your horse. And I certainly didn't mean to discourage you from experimenting! :sad:
I'm still interested in how you cue for the ramener with Moe. I did it with Mucki once via hand target behind the chin for example. Mucki looks very pretty like that, because his conformation favours those exercises and soon it looked like I imagined a ramener. Still I think that it was not the ramener that you get when the whole body is collected. So I guess it's just a different exercise. But it is still very interesting to try - especially like you did to check what muscles are used :yes:

Amongotherthings17 wrote:
... as she uses, I think its called, brachiocephalic muscle. The one that is connected to the shoulder. So she is obviously still using her shoulders to pull herself forward.
I would not say that using the brachiocephalicus is a bad thing, or wrong when doing the ramener. Actually, I think it's quite normal, if you ask me. I'll go into more detail - maybe more than you want, so take what you like and forget the rest ;)

The m. brachiocephalicus is used for lateral flexion, if it's used only on one side. If both sides are used, then it actually lifts the head. You can see the muscle on this picture:
Image
It's origin is the shoulder blade, from there it inserts into the upper arm, as well as to the back of the head. If this part is contracted and the shoulder is fixed, then it is lifting the head. If the head is fixed though - by use of the ventral muscles, like the sternocephalicus for example - then this muscle, in combination with other dorsal muscles, is actually doing exactly what you want for the ramener position: it shortens the neck and takes it back.

Like with every collected move, this can only happen when the dorsal and ventral muscle groups work in accordance. So, in my opinion, this is where working in movement can be beneficial. I believe that in movement, collection - even if it is just minimal - comes very natural to the horse. Stationary, it would require a lot of pent-up energy, or training, to get into a healthy and natural collected state.
So if you walk in a slightly collected walk for example (short, but with energy), and then halt and ask for ramener, I believe you would get far better results, because it is done in an intuitive and natural collected way. That way, you could even train the muscles required to keep collection for longer periods :) And furthermore, it's an excellent preparation for the School Halt ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Overbent in ramener.
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:04 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:28 am
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This is all very helpful to me, thanks everyone!

The second day I asked Ramener of Sirocco I thought I start to get him used to the cordeo at the same time but it caused him to step back all the time. So the advice of doing an energetic walk before asking Ramener sounds very logical and I will go and try it now.

One more question that arose was if I should be using a voice cue at first so I can then add the cordeo or is a hand-movement enough? I'm afraid I'm not very imaginative when it comes to cuing. I was thinking maybe I could open a thread to ask what cues everybody is using? Or does anything similar already exist?

Uli


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 Post subject: Re: Overbent in ramener.
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:19 am 
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Concerning the cues for ramener, you have probably seen the sticky about Ramener already? If you are interested in the use of verbal cues in general, maybe these will be useful:

Verbal commands
Cue for walk/trot/canter from the ground

Or in any case we can continue discussing verbal cues over there. Personally I don't want to use them, or only for very specific behaviours. I just have to try to find the thread where I have explained why. Otherwise I'll explain it again in the other thread. :smile:


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 Post subject: Re: Overbent in ramener.
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:20 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:28 am
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Oh thanks Romy!

Somehow I thought this one is the next step after. Your forum is so well organized, but I still get sidetracked with other interesting things. There is soooooooo much to read!

Thanks so much!

Uli


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