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Dare I say 'Frame'
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tegz1
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 Posted: Sat Aug 12th, 2017 08:47 am
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I am new here so lots to learn and I have been cruising through and reading the threads and will make my way over to your web site articles, but from another post I mentioned about a dressage frame that is rather closed. I am wondering why 'frame' is not a good term?

On a different topic from a google search I found myself here as my gelding partly holds his penis out when ridden, which having read that post has told me his birdie has flown. I have an idea that this is when I have lost his focus but I am sure your articles will clarify.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Aug 13th, 2017 05:40 am
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Yes, good, Tegz: many horses need to get different things separated. Some of them need to get athletic effort vs. sexual excitement or effort separated. You will need major help from one of our recommended guys to get your horse over this, but you're on the right track in thinking it has to do with focus.

Now, on to your question about 'frame'. This term is the single worst and most destructive introduction into the dressage, and now even the general horse industry lingo that has ever been made. It was invented by a lady by name of Violet or 'Vi' Hopkins, who long ago was a student of a very good European coach named Bengt Ljundquist. Mr. Ljundquist suggested to her that, as part of her learning, she read a famous book called 'Riding Logic' which was written just after WWII by a German named Museler (there is an umlaut over the 'u' in Museler's name but I can't reproduce that with the equipment I'm writing this with).

In that book, there is a very famous sequence of images purporting to show increasing degrees of collection, which I reproduce below in the lefthand column of the illustration. Ms. Hopkins looked at this sequence and realized that you could draw a rectangle -- like a picture frame -- around the outside of the horse, nose to butt, and that this 'frame' got shorter and shorter as the supposed degree of collection increased.

Please note the underlined words, because Tegz, all that is written, illustrated, or otherwise printed in books is not gold. The horse pictured is a typical example of the shove-and-hold approach used by the German Nazi school, of which Bubi Ginter and Otto Lorke were the heads and of which Museler was an adherent. And, the "collection" shown is not true collection at all. Why?
 
-- Collection has nothing whatsoever to do with whether the horse's head is vertical.

-- Collection is not measured by the degree to which the horse 'tucks' or how tightly the poll is folded; this and the first are mere side effects.

-- Collection is not measured by how high the horse carries its poll, but rather, by whether he raises THE BASE of his neck.

-- Neither collection, nor either 'engagement of the hindquarters', is measured by how far forward underneath the body the horse's hocks may be brought; rather, by how much he coils his loins and raises the freespan of the back.

-- Collection primarily originates in the horse's spine, and the spine has been entirely left out -- not only left out of Museler's illustration, but was not even present in the conception of the Nazis. And yet the spine is the primary source and origin of collection. You see the spine drawn into my correction of Museler's illustration on the righthand column.

Notice how many details differ in the two sets of illustrations. Particularly, note how the horse in the correct sequence showing true collection begins on a rein taut enough to allow the rider to feel the horse's tongue, but soon passes into a draping rein as the horse 'throws the reins back to the rider' as the FOUNTAIN OF COLLECTION begins to be activated under the rider's seat.

So Tegz -- there is no frame. Collection is not something imposed on the horse from the OUTSIDE; it is something that originates by the arching of the spine on the INSIDE. There never was a frame; even Museler, mixed up as he was about the biomechanics of collection and the nature of true collection, did not talk about a frame.

As I said previously, I highly advise you to erase all thoughts about 'frame' from your mind -- which will help to erase hardness from your feel. Getting the right picture will change what you EXPECT to feel; it will change what you are feeling for. This is the right path to be on: to ride in lightness, in an envelope of softness. Please, make this the last day and the last hour in which you ever again say the word 'frame' in a horse context.

I also always advise students who hope to advance to higher levels of training with their horses to totally stop, right now, today, looking at pictures of dressage competitors in magazines. Instead, plaster your refrigerator or your bedroom wall or the stable bulletin board with images of Ray Hunt, Buck Brannaman, Josh Nichol, Fredy Knie Sr., Angel Peralta-Pineda and his brother Rafael. The latter two are the world's greatest mounted bullfighters; Mr. Knie was one of the greatest and most effective trainers of High School horses for circus performance; and the first three live a cowboy lifestyle. Do not let this bother you, because there is also no such thing as either 'western' or 'english'. There is only good riding and training, or else -- nothing that I would be interested in, and nothing I would desire for my animal. -- Dr. Deb.







Attachment: Museler corrected comparison FORUM SM.jpg (Downloaded 191 times)

tegz1
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 Posted: Mon Aug 14th, 2017 12:30 am
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Just letting you know, I haven't disappeared and I appreciate the detailed answer. I have lots of questions but seeing if they are answered through your articles or on the forum already. Lots of reading of reading to do!

Looking at recommended trainers in Australia, is there just the two, Brenton Matthews and Tony Uytendaal? I will contact them and see if they are willing to travel for clinics.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Aug 14th, 2017 01:00 am
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Tegz, Tony already travels; look up his website and see where he's going to be. Tony is a traditional dressage trainer with a lot of experience. However, he has been influenced by our school and by nature he is a very kind man. I send students to Tony when I feel (1) that they need to be longed on a school horse to improve their seat; (2) when they want to start bringing on passage or piaffe, as Tony is a specialist in that; or (3) when they own a Lipizzan, as Tony is one of the few really qualified riding instructors in Australia to have experience with this breed.

Brenton is our good friend. I doubt he would travel. He lives south of Adelaide. If you want to attend clinic at Brenton's, we haven't done that in several years now but it's still possible; if you want to sign up for a "potential" (not guaranteed) clinic, write to me by private EMail and I will give you the contact person. We need several sign-ons to make a clinic viable, and even then, it has to be convenient for Brenton and also fit my schedule. I am the teacher at these events; Brenton assists me.

Brenton also teaches on his own, and again, you could go to Brenton's place to ride with him. He is an older man of vast experience in all styles of horsemanship, jockeying, polo, cowboying, circus performer, master of hounds. He's fearless across country and I think is specially valuable for timid riders of little experience.

Beyond that, you should certainly get your act together to go ride with Buck Brannaman. He's in Australia every two years. Go to http://www.brannaman.com to find dates.

I believe Joe Wolter comes down occasionally too: again, find his Website schedule.

I don't know if Tom Curtin goes Down Under; he may; if so, go find him please. I am also looking for someone to sponsor Josh Nichol; it would be marvelous if you guys had the opportunity to meet Josh, who is from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

I've also had several "feelers" from people over in Perth, to sponsor myself; but that hasn't worked out yet. I used to do clinics regularly in Canberra and in the Melbourne area, occasionally nr. Sydney and also Brisbane; but for a whole variety of reasons, the folks who were sponsoring those -- this goes back some 20 years -- are no longer in business, so if you and your friends would like to sponsor a Dr. Deb clinic in OZ, by all means write, and we will figure out the logistics from there. I'm in your neighborhood every year, April or May, because my New Zealand students and sponsor are still going strong. -- Dr. Deb


tegz1
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 Posted: Wed Aug 16th, 2017 04:44 am
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Dr Deb, I have been trying to no avail to get in touch with Tony Uytendaal, the contact email listed bounces, the website found via google is defunct along with the phone number belonging to someone else now. If you have any other contact details I would much appreciate it.

I am located in Western Australia so I will see if there is enough interest to get you over next year. I will email you directly to get details. Are you able to do dissection clinics too or your preference to just run horsemanship clinics?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Aug 16th, 2017 06:58 am
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Tegz, I do teach both kinds of classes, but they are very different in terms of logistics. We can discuss details by private Email: office@equinestudies.org.

I am more interested in hearing what your actual thoughts are about the long answer I made you above, and whether you have finished studying 'Lessons from Woody' and 'True Collection' where the same subject is also discussed. -- Dr. Deb

tegz1
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 Posted: Wed Aug 16th, 2017 08:52 am
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Ok I have read all three articles but have been working through my questions by searching the forum. There is so much information percolating in my head that I am a little hesitant to post but a good way to learn I guess.

My understanding of collection from what I have read and my knowledge so far is that it is the coiling of the loins which is created from contraction of the rectus abdominus and Illio-psoas, this has the effect of lifting the back as in a bascule and the leverage effect will in turn lift the base of the neck completing a circuit of energy that can flow through. This can only happen if the horse is straight and free from any brace.

Now the reason frame is not a desirable description or picture is that the tendency is to create from the horse being shaped by rein and leg which can shorten the horse but doesn't engage (coil) the hindquarters and results in a tight horse over the top line as shown in your comparison pictures.

There are a couple of terms such as twirling and I think it was untracking that I think might by synonymous with what I call stellning, bending and stepping under, but I would like to check that I have a correct understanding.

Stellning is the creating freedom for the atlas joint done initially at standstill by bringing the skull forward and down so you see the atlas wing free from the lower jaw. You then ask for bend where the lower jaw slides under the atlas wing and the bend appears to go through the whole body through a rotation where you will see the inside hip come forward and down slightly. In motion this rotation creates a stepping under of the inside hind tracking either in or a little medial to the front hoof print. Without all of these things in place collection is not possible.

I will wait and check that I am on the right path in my thinking and then I have a couple of specific questions.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Aug 18th, 2017 08:52 am
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Yes, Tegz, almost 100% on this.

The essential problem with Museler's concept, and the whole concept of the 'frame', is that a frame is something imposed upon the horse from the outside. The Nazi school teaches to push or shove the horse forward into the hand, creating what they think of (falsely) as 'positive contact.' It is not positive contact; it is merely heavy contact, or leaning forward against the bit if you will, because the horse has been urged or shoved forward until it is off its balance from back to front.

True collection originates in the arching of the spine, i.e. coiling the loins, arching the freespan, raising the base of the neck. In other words, true collection is not imposed upon the horse from the outside, but instead comes up from the inside, under the rider's seat, lifting it, as if the rider were sitting on top of a fountainhead. Thus, the 'fountain of collection' as I term it.

How amusing that the German-speakers have their own term for what they refused to learn from Francois Baucher. But make no mistake: Baucher was there first and deserves all the credit. What you describe as 'stellning' is an exact description of Baucher's first methodology, published in 1833 but vehemently rejected by Seeger and later by Steinbrecht -- who married Seeger's daughter -- keeping the prejudice against the French master 'all in the family.' Literally every other page in Steinbrecht's book is a polemic against Baucher. Too bad, because this rejection opened the way to the brutal Nazi school forty years later, which has now become the dominant school in world dressage competition.

Baucher's main purposes, as he states, are: (1) to annihilate each and every brace ('annihilation' is Baucher's own term; he also sometimes says 'destroy', and the meaning is 'totally and completely eliminate'); and (2) to achieve perfect balance through governing the flow of weight and energy in the horse (the so-called 'forces' of the horse, the same meaning as in Physics 101, i.e. mass and energy). Thus it is anaethema in our school to push the horse off its balance in any direction, least of all from back to front. We don't PUSH at all. The Nazi horse, by contrast, tilts its whole body forward and, to maintain the so-called 'positive contact' must brace its neck -- like someone who braces his arm muscles as he pushes a lawnmower through thick grass, the Nazi horse leans on the bit and the resulting tight heaviness is very commonly mistaken for 'contact'.

True collection, i.e. when the fountain of collection is turned on, causes the horse's body to become shorter from nose to tail, the shortening being due to the animal having rounded its loins and back and arched its neck, which is the immediate result of raising the base of the neck. If the rider begins with the reins taut enough to feel the horse's tongue, but the horse responds to the leg by arching itself -- AND the rider does not reel in the reins but leaves them the same metrical length from the mouth to the hand -- the result will be that the reins drape.

And that is what contact is, when the horse not only so to speak 'carries himself', meaning has good carriage, which means good posture, which means arches his spine; but he also 'carries' the bit, grasping it and feeling of it and completely accepting it, not trying to spit it out or move it around, as it lies on the tongue in the toothless bars. The mouthpiece of the bit then becomes the axis of the universe; as the horse's effort increases and hence the degree of collection increases, the bit floats, cosmically, exactly in the same place in three-dimensional space, and the horse grasps it there, he 'refers to it'; with the result that, as the degree of collection increases, the horse pivots his head around the mouthpiece. For as the animal raises the base of his neck and arches his neck, this pushes the poll away from the withers and the breast, but the muzzle stays in exactly the same place, and again, this is what 'contact' is.

When you can free yourself of the Nazi concepts -- which today pervade not only dressage and the Pony Club teachings and the Olympic games, but also many other kinds of riding that have unfortunately picked up the terminology and the wrong concepts -- I say, when you can free yourself completely of the wrong picture and the wrong concepts, then in fact, training horses becomes easy, because all you're asking them to do is what they would have done themselves, had they only known how to balance under a rider and had they only realized that they could take steps, even vigorous steps, without bracing up. So THIS is what you have to teach them, not all the crap about 'levels' and 'going forward'. They go forward plenty already, most of them, but they don't know how to carry either themselves or you, once you get on them and your mere presence there, quite inadvertently but also inevitably, messes up their balance.

Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Naomi Miller
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 Posted: Fri Aug 18th, 2017 08:40 pm
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Hello Dr Deb and fellow students,

This is the first time I've posted on this forum, but I've been reading and learning here for several years, and attended Dr Deb's dissection clinic in Qld Aust. 2015. Thank you for this wonderful resource.

Re Tom Curtin in Australia: his schedule includes clinics in Qld, Vic, NSW and SA in October / November this year. His website has the dates: http://www.tomcurtin.net

Naomi

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Aug 19th, 2017 04:53 am
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Oh, wonderful, I hadn't realized. Please people....by all means go. You won't have a better or more productive experience anywhere. -- Dr. Deb

tegz1
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 Posted: Sat Aug 19th, 2017 11:38 am
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Thank you for the detailed response above in particular in regards to contact as that was going to be one of my questions. Does the horse actually hold onto the bit and if so how? Or is it more as a result of the collection of the horse that the bit is perpendicular to the ground and therefore gravity and acceptance of the horse allow it to hang there? Trying to picture it...

My next question relates to balance of the horse and the overtrack of the hind legs to the front hoof print. I had always been lead to believe that a big overtrack was a desirable thing until I started studying more of the classical inhand information. This bought my attention to that the hind hoof should push down under the horses centre of mass if it is to stay balanced with the rider on top, otherwise the horse is on the forehand.
Watching my horse he has a large natural overtrack in the walk so it has been something that I have been very aware of but also praised for what a great walk he has. With my recent knowledge I am now realising he is dropping through the base of the neck while overtracking. If I get the twirling and untracking the base of the neck lifts and the walk step mostly steps under the centre of mass. What I would like to know is what should happen in extended paces? Should it overtrack?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Aug 20th, 2017 07:15 am
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Tegz, the horse grasps the bit. He holds it, like you would hold your grandmother's arm to walk her across the street -- neither pinching it nor crushing it nor chewing on it, but still very positively grasping it with just the amount of pressure needed to keep it from dropping or clanking. Remember the bit lies in the toothless interval of the bars, a perfect 'grasping place.' Of course, the bridle-hanger prevents the bit from coming out of the mouth; but the horse who accepts the bit will select a certain spot along his tongue and along the bars, and carry the bit there. He grasps it between the tongue and the palate, with some assistance also from the lips.

Yes, the contacting hind hoof (or hooves, if he's jumping -- or bucking) have to be under the hip socket at the moment of highest downward effort -- in suspended gaits, if suspension is indeed going to happen. In order to fly up into the air, the horse must push down; this is Newton's law of equal and opposite reactions. When the basketball player goes for a jump-shot, he first bends his knees and next he exerts effort by the quadriceps and gluteal muscles which coordinate in humans to straighten the knee joints and extend the hip joints: but this is just a fancy way of saying, 'he first bends his knees and then he exerts effort to push his feet down against the ground.' And in reaction to that, his body flies upward. Pushing DOWN is the origin of 'suspension'.

So that answers your question also about overtracking. The walk has no period of suspension, during which all four feet are off the ground. So it's harmless what he does at the walk, just so long as it isn't stiff, inhibited, poky, or lazy. As the walk is BY FAR the most important training gait, I want my animal right up on his toes energy-wise at the walk; the walk is not when we rest. If the horse stands above 15 hands, there should be no moment between when you mount and when you go to get off, that if he is walking he is walking less than 5 1/2 mph, and preferably closer to 6 1/2 (that would be, between about 8 and 10 kph). Of course he will slow down in down transitions too; but when working at the walk, you have him right up there on his toes and you'll be amazed at how not poking and dogging around at a half-asleep walk cuts down on shying and other forms of naughtiness or uncertainty that are rooted in inattention (yours, and his).

If the animal has the ability to have long, elastic hind steps at a walk, great; a lot of WB's have that, some ASB's and some TB's too. But a horse that does not have as markedly elastic or overstepping a walk can also be just fine, again given that he WORKS and produces a lively, energetic walk -- less than what would get him anxious or bothered of course, but way more than what you see most people doing as they snore around the arena or snore down the trail on a hack.

The situation changes when you are working in gaits that do have one or more periods of suspension: then, even though you still ask for plenty of 'life in the body', you never ever ask them to take a longer hind step than they spontaneously offer on any given day or at any given point in their training. See if you can figure out why this is so, Tegz, as a bit of homework. Hint: What's the difference between length of step vs. length of stride?

Once you do this homework, Tegz, you'll understand what 'extension of stride' actually means. It isn't what most of the dressage world thinks: it IS what the FEI handbook SAYS, i.e. the handbook is correct, but what it says in there is not the understanding of most people who think they are 'doing dressage'. What bodypart is supposed to be 'extended' during an 'extended trot'? Careful! That's a trick question. I never pose a trick question without warning the student. See if you can figure out what the 'trick' is. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

tegz1
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 Posted: Sun Aug 20th, 2017 11:53 am
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That reads a bit like a cryptic puzzle!
Length of stride is the distance from one hoof print to the next of the same hoof. Step length is the distance one leg takes and should be even between legs. You shouldn't ask for a longer hind stride than what the horse offers as it will push the horse out of balance and create irregularities in the stride such as toe flicking.

I am then thinking if the horse is carrying itself in balance that an overtrack is of no concern but it would depend on the horizontal balance of the horse ie with more collection the hind legs shorten the step length and therefore they lengthen in extension.

The extended paces come from collection and the steps will become longer from the neck being able to extend. (Eeek looking at that I don't know if that's my previous dressage training answering)

Even after writing that though and understanding it to my current knowledge, I still have a question mark in my head that those horses that step under our/their centre of mass are much more balanced, adjustable and easier to ride than a horse which goes past the centre of mass?

Last edited on Sun Aug 20th, 2017 12:11 pm by tegz1

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Aug 21st, 2017 05:29 am
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Tegz, you're obviously a very good student. But one of the things that can plague students is...."concept hash" which produces a string of words coming out of the student's mouth which, in practical fact, are not grounded in the student's reality. In other words....the student has no actual experience of them, but is just repeating terms or words in order to pass an exam or please the teacher.

But I am not presenting an exam, not now, and not at any time. I am presenting real life, life as we live and experience it, life in the 'now.' So we practice and we learn to love the practice for the practice's own sake.

So. You give the correct FEI or Pony Club definition for stride length -- it is the distance from the strike of a given hoof to the next strike of that same hoof. However, Tegz, this misses the most important point! HOW does the horse get from that first hoof impression or hoofprint, to the next one (in suspended gaits, not the walk)?

Likewise, you give a correct definition of step length, and again miss the point: what would increasing the length of step mean, in reality? If increasing step length, which produces one form of overtrack, is a good thing, then what would maximum step length create? Many many competition horses have been shoved down this particular training path. What happens to the horse's ability to create suspension as step length increases? I attach some images that should bring this home with some force.

From thinking again about this, please tell me in your next what an "overtrack" means. Do you want your horse all keespraddled out like the illustrations, or do you want him flying forward through the air, as if he were weightless, as if he spurned the earth? How can he possibly produce lengthening or "extension" of STRIDE (in suspended gaits) if he does not fly?

And, please, you have not answered the "trick" question. So again: what bodypart is "extended" during an extended trot? Hint: the neck has nothing to do with what I'm after getting you to notice here; it's at this point, where you start talking about the neck, that your reply starts to dislimn into word hash. Don't make it more difficult than it needs to be, and take the thinking one logical step at a time. Is "extension" about extension of STRIDE or extension of STEP? -- Dr. Deb

Attachment: Forum effect of wide step on ability to suspend.jpg (Downloaded 88 times)

tegz1
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 Posted: Mon Aug 21st, 2017 07:35 am
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It is thrust from the hindleg that is required to create movement- both step or stride. If the thrust effort is increased it still needs to be under the horses body for maximum effect so the stride length will increase as the horse extends. The step length will increase but be equal distance for both front and back steps but there will be an overtrack as the horses forward momentum carries it during the suspension phases.

In regards to the trick question as it is the stride length that is extended I don't know that it is one body part that can be implicated but the whole horse.


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