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ESI Q and A Forums > ESI Q and A Forum > Questions and discussions for the ESI Q and A Forum > Asymmetrical tree point adjustments on dressage saddles

Asymmetrical tree point adjustments on dressage saddles
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SheaS
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 Posted: Sat Apr 8th, 2017 12:50 pm
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Dr. Deb, Another way to level the saddle up would be to level the horse.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Apr 8th, 2017 02:54 pm
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And that would be done by doing -- what?

SheaS
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 Posted: Sat Apr 8th, 2017 05:25 pm
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In the training/ riding. Encouraging the horse to use both sides equally.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Apr 8th, 2017 07:48 pm
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Yes, in other words: the rider needs to gain the following skills:

(1) Understand that 99% of all horses carry themselves crookedly;

(2) That "to carry themselves crookedly" MEANS to prefer either the left or the right pair of legs;

(3) and that means that the horse will habitually lean toward the preferred side;

(4) and the rider needs to be alert for that lean;

(5) and the rider has to be 100% committed to teaching the horse not to lean when it moves or stands;

(6) and how that is taught is, that the rider needs to ask the horse to untrack (to step the hind leg under the body shadow) on the side TOWARD WHICH  the horse leans, so that if he habitually leans to the left, the rider should ask the horse to untrack with the left hind leg;

(7) which has the effect of pushing the body off to the right, and unweighting the preferred hock especially.

In 90% of horses this will in itself be enough, so long as the rider commits to always being alert for the horse to try to go back to leaning, and every time he tries it (which will be very frequently at first), to ask him to untrack as above described.

In 10% of horses, this will not be enough; in those horses, once the untracking is performed, the horse will get off the preferred hock but will not entirely get off the forelimb of the preferred side; and in those cases, light use of a stick or flag on the preferred shoulder, co-ordinated with the untracking, will take care of it.

The rider also needs to understand the manifest forms in which this untracking and unweighting of the preferred fore and hind limbs takes, i.e., it is not just a so-called ground-school exercise, but indeed is effectual when performed as drifting from one circle to another to change direction; as expanding the circle by a mild and oblique leg-yield from a 10 or 15M circle to a 20M circle; as leg-yield on the long or short diagonal; as leg-yield head-to-the-school down the track; and as the formal turn on the forehand. All of these are straightening exercises.

Now, here we are, ready to begin our horse's training on the way to raising him to the level of either a good bridle horse, or else a good High School horse, because we have understood, and committed to addressing, the very first PHYSICAL requiremet, which is straightness, which is an absolute prerequisite to collection. In other words, a horse CANNOT properly or comfortably collect if it is moving crookedly. As the wise man once said: if you don't first make your horse straight, you will produce contortion not collection; and all the cranky, cranked-together, crooked upper-level competition dressage horses that we see today are sufficient proof of this.

So again, it is time to return to your initial question, and I think we have answered that fairly clearly in ONE aspect. I mean, ONE reason that nobody should ever shim a saddle, or apply thicker padding to only one side, is that it proves absolutely that the person who proposes to do this has ABSOLUTELY ZERO knowledge of how to train a horse: they mistake effects for causes; they do not understand the cause or even see that the fact that their saddle is tilting is because they have blindly allowed the animal to go on moving crookedly. They have seen only what is on the surface -- literally, in this case!

But there is another, and equally important reason why one-side shimming should never be done. And this applies to hoof care as much as to saddle fit, for there is a school of farriery thought (started by Tony Gonzales, continuing after Tony's untimely death by his brother Moses Gonzales) that says it is OK and beneficial to put stack pads on only one forefoot or only one hind foot.

I attach a small sketch (below) that shows a saddle on a horse's back that has a one-side shim. So now the question for you to answer, Shea, is what you think this shim is actually doing TO THE HORSE, especially after the rider mounts and his or her weight is in the saddle. -- Dr. Deb


Attachment: Shimmed saddle for Forum.jpg (Downloaded 49 times)

SheaS
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 Posted: Sat Apr 8th, 2017 08:28 pm
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The shim would increase pressure and dig in to the horse's back.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Apr 8th, 2017 09:20 pm
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Right again. The shim will act as a wedge that will act to TRAP the horse into the crookedness, the leaning stance, that he already manifests.

The idea is not to make ourselves comfortable, it is not to make us "look good" for the sake of winning some equitation prize, or to look good in the eyes of onlookers of any kind. The idea is to help the horse, to train the horse, to raise its quality and its capabilities. Anything else positively reeks of superficiality -- the very embodiment of the idea that whatever may be wrong is something that needs to be covered up rather than actually fixed. It also implies that the rider thinks -- as indeed very many of them do think -- that whatever it is about the horse, that that's "just how the horse is". They don't want to go to the effort of thinking it through as we have in this thread, they don't want to go to the effort of learning how to ride and train effectively; they don't want to have to practice essentials; they're not interested in mastery. They just want the horse to DO IT so that they come off looking good to an audience in the process. So, as a result, they settle for very little; they don't mind if their horse moves like a crab; indeed they don't even notice that is what he does. And the standards at horse shows are so low that a mere sketch of the class requirements (whatever they are) will almost certainly prove to be sufficient for some kind of ribbon.

I attach below a photo I took of a rider in the warmup pen at a local rodeo. This is somebody's dad, probably going to go in the ammy roping (note the one glove). I could show you a hundred other photos I've taken of other kinds of riders in other kinds of tack whose horses were just as crooked and their riders just as oblivious to the fact. The riders are not bad people; they have simply never in all their lives seen a horse move correctly, so they have no idea how much they're missing. They are content so long as the horse gets them out there and it doesn't buck or give them too much trouble, so that they can throw their rope or jump their fence or ride their dressage "pattern" or whatever.

This, then, is the reason I have been willing to take the time, step by step, to answer your query, Shea: it isn't just about you, but the other five thousand people who read this Forum. Potentially each one can contribute by understanding and practicing what is written here, by squelching every misdirected effort by every so-called "saddle fitter", by showing this conversation to their friends and their students. Because every conversation on the Internet can potentially, these days, "go viral". It would be a wonderful thing if the knowledge of straightening the horse would "go viral", and if every person who owns a horse and yet is a beginner, would go to http://www.equinestudies.org, click on "knowledge base", download the free .pdf document entitled "Lessons from Woody", read it, study it, come back here to ask questions about it if they need to, and ultimately use the knowledge to help their horse learn to carry itself and its rider STRAIGHT.

Cheers -- Dr. Deb




Attachment: Horse cantering crooked for Forum.jpg (Downloaded 50 times)

diz
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 Posted: Sat Apr 8th, 2017 10:28 pm
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I am one of those '5000'! This is a great reminder to concentrate on the basics for the good of our horses. Thankyou Dr Deb & Shea

SheaS
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 Posted: Sat Apr 8th, 2017 10:33 pm
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Thank you Dr. Deb for setting us all "straight"! And thank you for the generous conversion and sharing your knowledge. I'm very appreciative more than you'll ever know.
Cheers!
Shea


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