It's great to have this dialogue and freedom to learn about all things equine, with no commercial or competitive bias. The situation is indeed the same in the UK as Jeannie mentions for Canada... perhaps worse, as we are even closer to the mainly responsible European influences, and are subjected to regular visits of their "trainers" who come over to make us "correct" in our methods. Those that don't employ a known name as their trainer don't win prizes, and it's all about prizes these days. Kids' instructors now get trained by these people as well, so unfortunately they get at them even younger now.
Over the past 30 years or so I have seen a steady decline in real horsemanship, and an enormous increase in the proliferation of commercial European-style horse breeding and "production" and associated "training". I actually used to compete and judge dressage many years ago, but it became impossible to bear so I stopped in the mid 90's. This was when the real changes were thoroughly cemented here, and dressage was turned into a process, quite mechanical, and very much level oriented. The horses were to perform mechanically, in an "outline" and with extension prized over natural stride length and rhythm. Collection just didn't come into it, straightness was completely ignored, and those involved wouldn't have been able to recognise it anyway. We had to comply with an interpretation of the German "scales of training" and mark tests accordingly. It was all nonsense of course. It was very much a relief to just stop and never watch another test again. I have never watched a test since.
It is sad to think of all the wasted effort that goes into the commercial/competitive world and even sadder that the animals involved have no choice. However, it is so encouraging that communities like Dr. Deb's here keep the real value of horsemanship alive. I am now at the stage of basically having nobody I can even ride out with, as it is remarked how odd I ride without a noseband, or that I would suggest we were ready to turn for home when we hadn't "got anywhere yet"...! Worst of all remarks being I don't "take enough contact". Thanks to being educated here I can cheerfully let that last comment pass me by!
Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Dr Deb. Our progress has been due in no small measure to reading and practicing all of your advice from the forum. As far as which course of athletics will build more muscle, well, I have living proof of that -- I have a photo of him as a three year old. Again, people have to know how muscles work, in order to know which course will develop them.
In my own horsemanship journey, I am constantly reminded of the philosophy put forth in the book Mastery, that mastery is a process, not a goal or destination. I think people tend to do what other people do because they want to look competent, not foolish, never realizing there is nothing wrong with looking foolish.
Ruth, over the course of taking photos of horses moving, I have seen where all of the weight is on the one contacting fore limb in canter, and both hind feet are up in the air behind the horse. I would think that any time you add more speed to a horse that is already on it's forehand, things will be harder on the horse, and they will be set up for injuries.
Katherine, that is interesting, and kinda depressing about England succumbing to the pressures of elite trainers. Everything in the horse world seems to revolve around money. I should mention that while I am Canadian, I live in California, and maybe one of the members who live in Canada could say what the situation is like there. Maybe we can start a quiet revolution under Dr Deb's tutelage, yeehaw!
Hi all I am new on this forum. The threads posted have been fantastic. The equestrian scene here in New Zealand is much the same. Horses these days seem to revolve around money and results.
I am probably in the minority my horse cost nothing to buy as a yearling and now as a ten year old has definitely been a project but worth it.
What a learning experience if I did it again I would do it differently, and probably still make many mistakes just different ones.
I'm sure in time I will have many questions in the mean time I have been doing lots of reading and watching Dr Debs online lectures, thank you.