How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

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How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Tsavo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:43 am

A while back, a known quantity claimed that dressage was obvious/intuitive. I can't remember the exact wording.

I think dressage is the most counter-intuitive thing I have ever tried. I think there is almost nothing obvious about learning how to ride and train.

Your thoughts?

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby StraightForward » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:17 am

If it was intuitive, I'd be a lot better at it by now.
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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Tsavo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:20 am

I agree. If it was intuitive we would have a much lower attrition rate up the levels.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Tsavo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:22 am

It is so easy to show how counter-intuitive riding is. One hundred and ten people out of one hundred will lower their hands in response to a horse coming above the bit. The exact wrong thing to do. It is amazing someone so knowledgeable could have said that.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby piedmontfields » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:14 am

I like that quote that says "dressage is simple...but not easy."

Although I frequently think that learning dressage is like learning ballet (can you even imagine learning to dance on point as an adult?! :lol: )

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Tsavo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:28 am

I deny dressge is simple in any sense. I never understood that quote. If Clayton needs two doctorates to study biomechanics then dressage isn't simple.

None of this makes any sense. These claims are imaginary. I think elite riders become so adept and automatic that they simply forget their learning curve from so long ago. There are things I can do know automatically but I will NEVER forget how hard won they were.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby piedmontfields » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:35 am

I think some of the basic principles are simple. But not easy to execute or understand!

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Tsavo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:38 am

What is one of those simple basic principles? I mean people still argue whether horses move into or away from pressure. Different people use stiff side in opposite senses.

The people who claim dressage is straight forward sound high. LOL

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby kande50 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:23 pm

Tsavo wrote:It is so easy to show how counter-intuitive riding is. One hundred and ten people out of one hundred will lower their hands in response to a horse coming above the bit. The exact wrong thing to do. It is amazing someone so knowledgeable could have said that.


But would they contine to lower their hands if 1) they found it didn't work and 2) no one around them was riding with lowered hands?

I think one of the things that makes dressage so difficult for thinking trainers is the FEI, and their promotion of incorrect dressage. It misleads so many into thinking that pseudodressage is dressage, and then they spend their resources pursuing something that just damages their horses, and gets them nowhere they'd ever have wanted to go if it hadn't been glorified by some organization that was more interested in their bottom line than in anything that benefited anyone but them.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Tsavo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:00 pm

kande50 wrote:
Tsavo wrote:It is so easy to show how counter-intuitive riding is. One hundred and ten people out of one hundred will lower their hands in response to a horse coming above the bit. The exact wrong thing to do. It is amazing someone so knowledgeable could have said that.


But would they contine to lower their hands if 1) they found it didn't work and 2) no one around them was riding with lowered hands?


1. YES

2. YES

It is as hard a habit to break as surfacing when you are out of air underwater.

If this was easy we wold all be at GP.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby kande50 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:29 pm

Avoiding low hands isn't going to get anyone to GP, and certainly isn't going to get anyone to good dressage at any kind of an advanced level. What's difficult about getting to any kind of correct dressage at a more advanced level is coming up with the resources to get there. What's usually missing, or at least not in adequate supply, is time and money

Given sufficient time and money the FEI has made sure that any reasonably healthy rider can get to GP. All they need to do is buy the right horses, get the right trainers, and put the time and effort in. Course the time and effort investment can be considerable, but if there's enough money one can buy whatever they might lack.

A more admirable goal, IMO, is to be able to demo correct work at any kind of an advanced level and get there without spending buckets of money to do it.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Tsavo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:39 pm

kande50 wrote:Avoiding low hands isn't going to get anyone to GP,


I'm not talking about avoiding low hands.

I am talking about the inexorable instinct to lower your hands when a horse comes above the bit. At that moment in time.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby musical comedy » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:55 pm

You know what, I don't think I ever had that fault of low hands. Perhaps I did a long time ago when first starting to ride. I think you're right that it is instinct for some, but it is also the fault of some trainers (especially those of novices) to be screaming about hands down and quiet your hands. It encourages rigid stiff hands. Even my current trainer is on my case the whole lesson about hands down.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby kande50 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:14 pm

I see what you're saying now, and I think the reason that lowering the hands is so instinctive is that it works. Or at least it does if one has good timing, can ride with independent hands, and doesn't block the horse from responding by being harsh with their hands.

I think the reason some may feel that lowering the hands doesn't work is because they're looking at those who want to pull the horse's head down and hold it there, rather than at those who teach the horse to lower his head and then use some kind of change in pressure as the cue.

Alternatively, the horse can be taught to lower his head in response to higher hands, or wider hands, or spitting in his ear.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Rosie B » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:16 pm

The only people for whom it’s obvious/intuitive are the ones who have been immersed in it for so long that they’ve lost sight of the journey they went through.

I would suspect that anyone who said that started from a very young age with excellent instruction.

For the rest of us, it’s anything but. There are so many generalities that can actually inhibit you from progressing if you always abide by them even if you have access to excellent instruction. e.g, that a light contact is a sign of correctness and something you should work toward. It’s true, but there are other things that are more important and striving for a light contact before those other things are in place will block your progress.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby kande50 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:27 pm

musical comedy wrote:You know what, I don't think I ever had that fault of low hands. Perhaps I did a long time ago when first starting to ride. I think you're right that it is instinct for some, but it is also the fault of some trainers (especially those of novices) to be screaming about hands down and quiet your hands. It encourages rigid stiff hands. Even my current trainer is on my case the whole lesson about hands down.


Rigid stiff hands and rigid stiff bodies...

Most instructors, and therefore riders, are way too focused on their hands and their horses' heads. My last instructor was very good at staying focused on rider' alignment and the use of figures and exercises to shape balance, rather than fussing about hands and contact and where the horse's head and neck was.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby kande50 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:43 pm

Rosie B wrote:e.g, that a light contact is a sign of correctness and something you should work toward. It’s true, but there are other things that are more important and striving for a light contact before those other things are in place will block your progress.


I think that light contact is one factor that contributes to correct contact, but doesn't equal it. After all, anyone can ride around with light contact forever, but unless they teach the horse something with that light contact then all it is a light contact.

So I wouldn't say that a light (soft, gentle) aid would block the horse, so much as it might not be the optimal aid to facilitate optimal progress.

OTOH, I don't think that any kind of strong, sustained aid facilitates anything of value. There may be value in stronger aids under some circumstances (hh), but as soon as they become sustained they're more likely to block than facilitate.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Tsavo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:55 pm

kande50 wrote:I see what you're saying now, and I think the reason that lowering the hands is so instinctive is that it works. Or at least it does if one has good timing, can ride with independent hands, and doesn't block the horse from responding by being harsh with their hands.


It does NOT work irrespective of timing, hand independence, not blocking, etc.. People who know what they are doing do NOT do it because they have forced themselves to quell the instinct.

I think the reason some may feel that lowering the hands doesn't work is because they're looking at those who want to pull the horse's head down and hold it there, rather than at those who teach the horse to lower his head and then use some kind of change in pressure as the cue.


NOBODY feels it works because it doesn't. People who lower their hands at that moment hate themselves for giving in to instinct rather than forcing themselves to ride correctly.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby kande50 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:15 pm

Tsavo wrote:
NOBODY feels it works because it doesn't. People who lower their hands at that moment hate themselves for giving in to instinct rather than forcing themselves to ride correctly.


The reason it works is because shaping by successive approximations works, and because anything can be used as a cue.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Tsavo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:45 pm

We are not communicating. If you think that works then we are not talking about the same thing.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby musical comedy » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:03 pm

Tsavo wrote:We are not communicating. If you think that works then we are not talking about the same thing.
:lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby khall » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:19 pm

Umm, kande I think you need to go back and read some ODGs and the action of the reins. You may get an approximation of "frame" with lowering the hands but it is not correct "frame". The action of the rein when the line is broken down like when the hands are lowered is on the bars of the mouth. Yes the horse will give to that action (it is uncomfortable) but it does not release the jaw (TMJ) or relax the horse. It will cause them to break at C3-C4 instead of releasing occiput/C1. So the rider loses all of the beneficial effects of releasing the TMJ which occurs when that line is kept/followed from elbow to bit if not slightly higher when the horse comes above the bit. Then the action is on the corners of the mouth which does encourage the release of the TMJ.

Any dressage rider who studies biomechanics should know this.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby kande50 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:58 pm

khall wrote:Umm, kande I think you need to go back and read some ODGs and the action of the reins. You may get an approximation of "frame" with lowering the hands but it is not correct "frame". The action of the rein when the line is broken down like when the hands are lowered is on the bars of the mouth. Yes the horse will give to that action (it is uncomfortable) but it does not release the jaw (TMJ) or relax the horse. It will cause them to break at C3-C4 instead of releasing occiput/C1. So the rider loses all of the beneficial effects of releasing the TMJ which occurs when that line is kept/followed from elbow to bit if not slightly higher when the horse comes above the bit. Then the action is on the corners of the mouth which does encourage the release of the TMJ.

Any dressage rider who studies biomechanics should know this.


A horse who has come above the bit can come down without coming so far down and round that he breaks at the 3rd and comes btv.

Once a horse is in a double the curb can be used to position him lower and the snaffle to get him higher, but when it's just the snaffle it's about associating a cue that tells the horse that he's come too high and hollow, and needs to come back down.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby musical comedy » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:08 pm

kande50 wrote: but when it's just the snaffle it's about associating a cue that tells the horse that he's come too high and hollow, and needs to come back down.
What 'cue' would that be? I think that most of us here don't use 'cues'. I mean, there is a logicial reason why we do certain things with our reins, etc. to illicit the correct response. We could train our horses to drop or raise their heads with a variety of 'cues' (tricks). There is a logical reason why raising the hands, rather than lowering them, on a horse going above the bit works.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby kande50 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:13 pm

musical comedy wrote:
kande50 wrote: but when it's just the snaffle it's about associating a cue that tells the horse that he's come too high and hollow, and needs to come back down.
What 'cue' would that be? I think that most of us here don't use 'cues'. I mean, there is a logicial reason why we do certain things with our reins, etc. to illicit the correct response. We could train our horses to drop or raise their heads with a variety of 'cues' (tricks). There is a logical reason why raising the hands, rather than lowering them, on a horse going above the bit works.


We all use cues, as aids include cues. The cue is the information part of the aid. It's all tricks (behaviors), and especially so when you look at what's going on at the Int'l level!

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Tsavo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:21 pm

Kande, it is obvious to the person who just lowered their hand to correct coming above the bit that the maneuver didn't work even a little bit. It is impossible to miss that this doesn't work even to very new riders.

I don't think you are talking about what we are talking about if you say it seems to work even just at first. It doesn't even seem to work. I don't know how else to say this.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Moutaineer » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:39 pm

It depends how high the hands were in the first place...

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby kande50 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:20 pm

Moutaineer wrote:It depends how high the hands were in the first place...


That, and it depends on what the horse has been taught. It's the reason there's a learning curve when someone gets on a horse that they didn't train.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Tsavo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:02 pm

You could have your hands at shoulder level or above and STILL lower your hands to correct coming above the bit

T-O

N-O

A-V-A-I-L

That's my last attempt at this.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Chisamba » Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:21 am

I think it is not obvious for a few reasons. Humans tend to be satisfied with a result. If, for example, you lower your hands and the horse rounds its neck, you feel rewarded.

But....

If you have a goal of elevating the front, and changing the balance of the horse, lowering the hand was the incorrect method to get that result.

So it's a fake reward, you feel that you have achieved success but you have actually created imbalance.

So. Much of dressage seems counter intuitive because you should look to long term goals not immediate reward.

I have some students who, unless they change their perception of what success is, will never get above second look level.

The success is are you able to change your horses ability to balance itself and be permeable.

Fake success is can you put your horse in a frame.

Just my perception, as always there will be those who know I am wrong.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Flight » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:45 am

It's taken me AGES to understand that I get my horses rounder by allowing my hands 'up and forward'. I have to say to myself 'up and forward', 'up and forward'. I always want to drop my hands and pull them back. My instinct to do that is strong and I'll admit, I have to fight it hard!

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Tsavo » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:58 am

Based on some comments, I am coming to think the issue here is other horses are not reacting like my horse. He would come above the bit, I would lowered my hands automatically, and he would stay above the bit or go MORE above the bit. That is what I am referring to a when I say you can be a new rider and know for a fact lowering the hands didn't work to lower the head. And yet I couldn't break that habit for a long time because... wait for it... it is so deeply instinctual. It was only through gradually learning how to use my lower stomach and lower back that my horse stopped coming above the bit. There is very little to correct after that point which is good because lowering the hands sure as hell doesn't work. LOL And those skills of riding from the core could not be further from instinctual to fix an above the bit problem. It's like telling someone whose hand hurts to change the position of their left foot.

I think the fetal/hunter position is equally as instinctual and results in a dressage seat being completely foreign to people.

Thinking you have to lean forward to not be left behind in a canter depart is another deeply instinctual but completely wrong notion (if you have enough core).

Riding the horse up to the hand and quelling all backward hand is deeply foreign to any instinct.

People have a strong lay sense of physics just from living and for me, much of correct riding seemed to violate that until I was doing it. There was a mental block to learning along with physical ones for me. If I was teaching I would tell people that their sense of the physics is wrong and not to trust it. Nobody ever told me that.

I think I could fill a small book on things I wish I was told in my lessons that would have really sped my learning. I would call it "'The Lorax of the Bunnies".

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Dresseur » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:25 pm

Count me as one that thinks dressage (well, riding well in general) is not intuitive. People are by nature handsy - we can't fix things with just our hands. People by nature curl into fetal position when they feel at risk - you have to sit up and deepen your seat. People by nature are fixated by things in front of them - you have to look up and beyond the horse's neck. You have to increase energy to collect - not slow down or bring it back to you. You can't pull back - you have to ride forward to capture the energy and recycle it - on and on and on.

Regarding hand... it also depends a bit on neck shape I think. If you lower your hand on a short, thick necked horse- good luck - they'll just put their nose sky high and go. On a horse with a very thin, swan neck, you can curl them right up if you lower your hand. I think Chisamba hit the nail on the head with her post. People lower their hands because it's a fake reward - you can curl the horse up and it feels like they've yielded - but there is no true connection and it is not conducive to good upper level work.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Ponichiwa » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:55 pm

I absolutely agree that dressage is simple but not easy. Fundamentally all we're asking the horses to do are variations of go, turn, and stop; progressive training just provides nuance to each.

The "not easy" part is that all of the rest of our lives have not prepared us to be riders. We're tactile and verbal, we're increasingly sedentary, we're not used to motion that isn't self-generated. For all these reasons, being a quiet but effective rider is actually quite the hill to climb.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby DJR » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:04 pm

I think the quote about dressage being simple but not easy is sort of accurate. For me, when my instructor points something out and I follow her direction, my horse goes better (and so do I). Why didn't I think of that then? Well, because I was thinking about 5,000 other things and forgot about that "that" just then. Even though that "that" was the thing that would have helped.

It's also a matter of feel, and eyes on the ground, too. On Saturday, my instructor told me that Jet was tracking with his haunches a half step inside (lateral) to his shoulders. I said "yes, I feel that, and I'm trying to correct it". She was complimentary that I felt it, then gave me pointers to correct it (in this case, outside rein was needed more convincingly). Later that same lesson, she said "he's counterbent" (as we were working on a centerline approach to trot half-pass). I said "really??!!" cuz I simply didn't feel it then (frustratingly so). My point is that having eyes on the ground is irreplaceable in this discipline, and that's the reason things aren't easy (even though it's as simple sometimes as, say, more outside rein, for example) is because there's a LOT going on at any given time and what the rider is feeling/responding to may not be what the coach is seeing/responding to in each moment.

That also makes it SO interesting. But sometimes, so frustrating, too!
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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby musical comedy » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:11 pm

DJR wrote: My point is that having eyes on the ground is irreplaceable in this discipline, and that the reason things aren't easy (even though it's as simple sometimes as, say, more outside rein, for example) is because there's a LOT going on at any given time and what the rider is feeling/responding to may not be what the coach is seeing/responding to in each moment.
Exactly. The is why most of us need someone competent on the ground frequently to nip problems in the bud.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby DJR » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:31 pm

Flight wrote:It's taken me AGES to understand that I get my horses rounder by allowing my hands 'up and forward'. I have to say to myself 'up and forward', 'up and forward'. I always want to drop my hands and pull them back. My instinct to do that is strong and I'll admit, I have to fight it hard!


Ditto!

And a nuance on that self-talk is something my instructor said to me this past weekend. I was working on trot-halt and ensuring that Jet step up from the hind legs into the halt (and out). He kept halting and angling, to which I'd say out loud "no". My instructor suggested that I replace "no" with "forward" or "step forward". What a difference!
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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby khall » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:45 pm

I think chisamba nailed it. Dresseur too made very valid points on why riding dressage goes against our natural tendencies! For me, the devil is in the details now. Initially when we are starting out there are big changes and hopefully big leaps in understanding. Now after many years it has become about the minutia of it all, well based in the correct biomechanics. Then the feel on top of it all which is really hard to teach/learn!

DJR Cedar had me keeping my leg on in transitions from trot to halt and what a difference it made in Rip's engagement. Just a gentle hug with my leg, nothing harsh but also not the light leg I've always ridden him with. It also makes the RB easier!

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Chisamba » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:31 am

khall wrote:I think chisamba nailed it. Dresseur too made very valid points on why riding dressage goes against our natural tendencies! For me, the devil is in the details now. Initially when we are starting out there are big changes and hopefully big leaps in understanding. Now after many years it has become about the minutia of it all, well based in the correct biomechanics. Then the feel on top of it all which is really hard to teach/learn!

DJR Cedar had me keeping my leg on in transitions from trot to halt and what a difference it made in Rip's engagement. Just a gentle hug with my leg, nothing harsh but also not the light leg I've always ridden him with. It also makes the RB easier!


I'm sure more than one instructor has told me as much leg for the downward transition as the upward, so it sort of depends on how off the leg you horse feels that day. But yes a hug, not a brief leg

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby kande50 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:53 pm

Flight wrote:It's taken me AGES to understand that I get my horses rounder by allowing my hands 'up and forward'. I have to say to myself 'up and forward', 'up and forward'. I always want to drop my hands and pull them back. My instinct to do that is strong and I'll admit, I have to fight it hard!


My instincts are just the opposite: to raise my hands and put them forward, which I think is because I don't want my horse to come btv so the second his poll drops I lighten my hands and push him forward. It all started out with my theory that riders start "setting the head" so early in the training that by the time they get to collection they've got the horse so btv that he can't collect.

So my goal was to ride the body not the head, which worked out really well for me because I've always hated weight in my hands.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby kande50 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:01 pm

Ponichiwa wrote:I absolutely agree that dressage is simple but not easy. Fundamentally all we're asking the horses to do are variations of go, turn, and stop; progressive training just provides nuance to each.

The "not easy" part is that all of the rest of our lives have not prepared us to be riders. We're tactile and verbal, we're increasingly sedentary, we're not used to motion that isn't self-generated. For all these reasons, being a quiet but effective rider is actually quite the hill to climb.


If it doesn't take much physical effort most skills become easy as soon as we figure out how to do them, because it's the learning that's difficult. Dressage takes little physical effort on a well trained horse, which is why riding a test becomes so much more about mental effort than physical.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby musical comedy » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:04 pm

kande50 wrote: Dressage takes little physical effort on a well trained horse, which is why riding a test becomes so much more about mental effort than physical.
That is totally incorrect. How would you even know unless you rode a well trained high level horse?

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby kande50 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:15 pm

I didn't say a high level horse. I said a well trained horse. Riding a well trained horse that actually collects is physically easy, which is why very old, out of shape riders can do it.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Chisamba » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:51 pm

musical comedy wrote:
kande50 wrote: Dressage takes little physical effort on a well trained horse, which is why riding a test becomes so much more about mental effort than physical.
That is totally incorrect. How would you even know unless you rode a well trained high level horse?

I agree with MC on this. Riding dressage well takes both physical effort, exceptional co ordination, very good proprioception as well as actual core strength self balance and multiple minor muscle contractions along with tonic strength.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby demi » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:28 pm

Chisamba wrote:
musical comedy wrote:
kande50 wrote: Dressage takes little physical effort on a well trained horse, which is why riding a test becomes so much more about mental effort than physical.
That is totally incorrect. How would you even know unless you rode a well trained high level horse?

I agree with MC on this. Riding dressage well takes both physical effort, exceptional co ordination, very good proprioception as well as actual core strength self balance and multiple minor muscle contractions along with tonic strength.


I agree with what Chisamba is saying, but I also don’t think Kande is “totally incorrect” as MC says. Even at the lower levels, my horses have usually gotten much easier to ride as their training progressed. The 3 yr olds I’ve had required a lot of my own core strength to get them to start carrying themselves.I know that at my age (65), I no longer have enough of all the things Chisamba mentions (exceptional coordination,very good proprioception, core strength, etc.,etc.) to ride a young horse again. I also know that I need a good trainer to ride Rocky on a regular basis in order to advance her, because I have lost a lot of strength, a lot of balance, and my reflexes are slower than they used to be. BUT, with the help of the trainer, and by continually working on myself, I think I’ll be able to ride Rocky fairly well. Well enough to enjoy it and even eventually show....that’s my hope.

Also, I remember a trainer that work extensively with Micheal Poulin, told me that Poulin said the following about progressing in training: In the beginning of training, the rider works very hard, then they reach a point where both the rider and the horse are working hard, finally the horse is doing most of the work.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Tsavo » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:47 pm

The question remains as to how older expert riders who do not work out manage to ride at a high level.

I think their proprioception and timing and tact is honed to such a point that they can get by on a normal amount of core. If you have all those skills, riding may reduce to a relatively easy isometric exercise.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby Chisamba » Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:00 am

well, i have to concede. I am older and lot less fit than i used to be, but I can still ride five horses a day, and although i finish tired, and at times i have joints that hurt, i can in fact still do it

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby kande50 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:46 am

Tsavo wrote:The question remains as to how older expert riders who do not work out manage to ride at a high level.

I think their proprioception and timing and tact is honed to such a point that they can get by on a normal amount of core. you have all those skills, riding may reduce to a relatively easy isometric exercise.


I think so, and suspect that those who think one has to be fit to ride at a more advanced level is thinking shows and tests and the sustained and often considerable effort it takes to get to a show and warm up and string many movements together with no breaks in between. But dressage isn't only about shows and tests.

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Re: How obvious/intuitive is dressage riding?

Postby exvet » Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:34 am

If dressage were intuitive there would be a lot more gold medal riders and the US would be three teams deep in talent/skill. I agree that the principles/concepts are simple but making the connection/the link/being able to develop the feel and cultivate the skill so that the horse's way of going is the ideal of dressage isn't intuitive for most of us mortals. I think the theory IS intuitive. I believe the biomechanics are intuitive. Once you get a mere amateur mortal involved as the protagonist of the plot......well......lol the old adage of 'you don't know what you don't know' takes over. That is why a knowledgeable eye on the ground is so valuable.


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