Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

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Chisamba
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Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

Postby Chisamba » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:31 pm

Tanga made me think, which I suppose is a good thing. I think technology has contributed to some if the changes in dressage.

Old school: the pirouette must maintain rhythm. Now with the naked eye it was evaluated with a view to it remaining a canter.

New school: technology has proven that the rhythm is lost so no one attempts to ride or judge the pirouette as a true canter

In my opinion this has very much changed what pirouette looks like.

Piaffe
Old school: piaffe is a trot and should have a moment of suspension.

New school. Technology has proven that piaffe has no moment of suspension. Rider and judges no longer make any effort to maintain the appearance of suspension in piaffe completely changing how it is ridden, trained and scored.

I think is some of the changes in dressage are reflective of the modern era of social media and tech driven lifestyles.

Riding, breeding and judging reflect this.

Thoughts?

There are other old school beliefs that may be false.

Does the nose actually point to where the foot hits the ground in extended trot. Many photos and video seem to belt this old oft quoted belief.

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Re: Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

Postby Ponichiwa » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:32 pm

I always struggled with the nose-points-to-where-the-foot-lands argument... because clearly if that were the case the nose would move during the stride as you cover ground. And would it just point for the one foot or both feet? The mechanics just don't work.

I do think there's a tendency to use ideal imagery (purity of the canter in the pirouette, suspension in the piaffe) as concrete rules. Yes, clearly the rhythm breaks from pure 3-beat canter in the pirouettes, but if you visualize it as a 3-beat canter the pirouette improves (generally).

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Re: Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

Postby Tanga » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:10 pm

Thank you. :) A new discussion to jump into!

I think the whole technology part is a good thing. Judging has changed from a rote "this is the way you judge it" to a more integral overall understanding.

I think another thing that will change is the poll must be the highest point. It was focused on to contradict the pulling the noses into the chest type of riding, but I don't think it's always necessarily good. You can now see horses with polls at the highest point with their pulled straight back into an upright neck and a dropped back, like a Saddlebred, which is much worse than overflexion in my opinion.

I have heard the nose to where the foot lands in awhile. I agree it never really worked, but it was a general idea to stop the toe flicking, which is now prized.

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Re: Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

Postby Dresseur » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:55 pm

Note: my points are about competition dressage, not classical schools like the SRS.
There are things that I like about dressage of the good old days and things that I don't. For instance, the pirouettes now I like the style of much better. The older videos often show horses almost spinning because of the fewer steps taken. However, you find good pirouettes few and far between in the competition ring. Most either step out a bit or don't truly step under or kind of punch off the shoulders.

The extensions now, right or wrong just seem to defy gravity. I think it's beautiful, (not counting the glaring issues found in a lot of extensions). Regarding the photos, at this point, while I can appreciate a good photo, I do not think you can really form an accurate impression of what's going on in the ride from a photo alone. Sure, if every photo taken shows the horse curled, or hollow, you can make assumptions. But most video can be carefully stop motioned to pull either the best moment or something that looks horrendous. Even if the training is correct. Things like tempo, rhythm and cadence don't come across on photos -and they are incredibly important to the overall impression.

That tangent aside, I do get a bit tired of the assertation that modern horses are bred differently, and they are much more specialized as an excuse to not train correctly, or according to classical principles. If anything, these super balanced, super movers should show even more correct balance and collection than their predecessors. Reach and scope of step are inherent in these freak movers, as is cadence, but then, why is collection such an issue.

I also think that judging back then was much better because the judges were more educated and were (in my opinion) horsemen. We often find judges now that have leased a horse to get medals to be eligible for being an r or S judge. There aren't that many (at least in my area) that have brought horses along and are scholars of the sport. Why is that important? Because it means that incorrect movement and sub par collection continued to be rewarded over less freaky movers that may actually show more true collection.
Just my 2 cents.

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Re: Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

Postby musical comedy » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:06 pm

Dresseur wrote:I also think that judging back then was much better because the judges were more educated and were (in my opinion) horsemen.
When is 'back then'? What time period? Can you name some of these more educated horsemen judges that have trained horses to GP? This isn't a trick question, but I am curious. Axel wouldn't be one, would he? Nor Edgar Hotz? I'm pretty sure we have or have had some "O" judges from Europe that didn't even ride FEI. I would think that judges are even more educated now with the judge's training required.

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Re: Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

Postby Dresseur » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:30 pm

It's not necessarily if they've trained to GP, but I think it's helpful. It's more that in my opinion, the older horsemen and women learned things through necessity. It wasn't perfect conditions and perfect footing etc, and the horses were not specialized, so there were a lot more tools in the toolbox - in my opinion.

As far as judges go, I do like Axel, Gary Rockwell and Cesar Torrente as well as some other "modern judges".
For "back then" judges,"O" judge Jaap Pot, Wolfgang Niggli and the likes.

Again, with the judges, this is a bit of "me"-search, not research based on what I've seen, what I know of the L-program and what is winning or at least being rewarded in the ring.

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Re: Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

Postby Tanga » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:32 pm

Hm. I think I forgot to put submit on my post. It's not here. I don't think judging was better back then. There were plenty of judges who never trained or showed who got in before there were any requirements. (DeKunffy comes to mind,) From who I know now, there are a lot more judges who have done the process and showed and still do show.

I showed back then, and I didn't encounter many of the east coast judges, but a lot of the ones I showed under, especially the German ones, were not that good and highly prejudiced. I see a lot less of that now.

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Re: Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

Postby Chisamba » Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:37 pm

actually it still happens I researched a couple of judges in the USA, who received their international FEI judges cards and never rode FEI, as their country of origin has a different system of appointing judges.

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Re: Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

Postby Tanga » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:43 pm

The same thing happened here. Some of the early (old) FEI judges never rode FEI.

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Re: Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

Postby Abby Kogler » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:06 pm

But as Chisamba pointed out, one doesn't need to have achieved something to be able to coach it/judge it well. this is often true across the board in any sport. I don't see why horses should be any different >;->

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Re: Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

Postby Tanga » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:50 pm

I disagree. I think some judges can do OK, but I think the really best judges have achieved it. I'm not talking about top sport, but having training and ridden up the levels. I can always tell the difference between a judge who has done it and hasn't. You really need to keep grounded in what it feels like and how to do it to judge well.

I mostly ride, judge some, scribe when I can. I try to always do as much variety as I can to keep the perspective of what something looks like versus feels like, because there can be a huge difference.

And that brings up another brilliant idea that will probably never happen. It would be great to get some of the top riders who are never going to go through the judges program because it is not worth it in so many ways, an alternate route to being judges. I don't care if they've not been through every step of the program, or any of it, I would love to ride under Debbie McDonald, Robert Dover, Guenter Seidel, Leslie Morse, Steffen Peters, and on and on and on.

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Re: Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

Postby musical comedy » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:11 pm

Tanga wrote:And that brings up another brilliant idea that will probably never happen. It would be great to get some of the top riders who are never going to go through the judges program because it is not worth it in so many ways, an alternate route to being judges. I don't care if they've not been through every step of the program, or any of it, I would love to ride under Debbie McDonald, Robert Dover, Guenter Seidel, Leslie Morse, Steffen Peters, and on and on and on.
Maybe they could just take the exam without have to take the courses. I wonder if they would all pass the exam with flying colors. Do you think they would even want to be judges?

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Re: Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

Postby exvet » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:53 pm

musical comedy wrote:
Tanga wrote:And that brings up another brilliant idea that will probably never happen. It would be great to get some of the top riders who are never going to go through the judges program because it is not worth it in so many ways, an alternate route to being judges. I don't care if they've not been through every step of the program, or any of it, I would love to ride under Debbie McDonald, Robert Dover, Guenter Seidel, Leslie Morse, Steffen Peters, and on and on and on.
Maybe they could just take the exam without have to take the courses. I wonder if they would all pass the exam with flying colors. Do you think they would even want to be judges?


I like your suggestion MC. I suspect there is more to judging than just having trained and ridden through all the levels; but, that is not to say that I dismiss their capabilities, opinions or perspectives. For this reason, I'm not sure that they would all pass with flying colors. If there was an alternate path to obtain judging credentials, what would that say about all the effort that's gone into the current system? Is there another country producing reliably 'better' judges utilizing another system? As for wanting to be a judge.......I would say, hell no. It's a thankless task.

Having stated the above, I do prefer a judge who's been there. It's much like equine veterinarians. I quite frankly have more respect for those, especially the ones specializing in lameness, who have ridden. However, I have to admit one of the best 'leg men' I've ever seen never rode a stride in his life.

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Re: Things I wonder about wrt modern dressage

Postby Tanga » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:05 pm

I think most riders who have done it all could pass an exam, whether with flying colors or not, maybe not, as there are always the little things you forget about. But, I think almost everyone could do well enough to pass. If you're riding and showing and really don't know the details of how judges are judging and why, you're never going to do that well showing. It's part of smart riding.

I don't know that other countries have much different systems, but it would be interesting to know. I don't know how you find out about that.

As for wanting to be a judge, I think it would have to be inviting. I have the qualifications, but there is no way I want to go beyond L. Way too much. I don't think any of these big riders who have the experience would do it for the $5,6, $700 a day plus all of the time to travel, especially regularly. But maybe if they created a system where they could be guest judges when it works for them? I don't know, but it would sure be cool.


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