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Foxtrotters/cantering
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Cruzeiro
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 Posted: Wed Jun 27th, 2007 04:11 pm
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I have recently become interested in Missouri Foxtrotters and would like one to be my next horse.  I currently have an Arab that I have trained and owned for 16years so I understand the mechanics of getting a horse to collect and round to canter.  But everything I have seen of Foxtrotters is that they raise thier head to canter.  I have been told it is to counter balance themselves but if they round their back and have their hindquarters under them as a collected horse does, why do their heads come up?  I have been told by people that breed Foxtrotters that you ride them and fit saddles  and etc like any other horse.  If so, then why the difference at the canter?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Jun 27th, 2007 05:32 pm
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Dear Cruziero -- We first need to make sure that the terms "roundness" and "collection" mean the same thing to you as they do to me. For this purpose, I first want to suggest that you go to the "Knowledge Base" section of this Website and read:

(1) Lessons from Woody, followed by

(2) True Collection.

These articles give the correct principles and biomechanics, as well as some suggestions as to rider/handler technique.

Second, yes, MFT's are horses first, MFT's second. This is true for your Arabs, too: they are horses first, Arabian horses second. In other words, all horses are alike. They all possess the same anatomy which drives the same biomechanics.

Some horses do raise their heads when they attempt a departure from walk or trot (or gait) to canter. These will be individuals who are stiff or otherwise abnormal through the hocks, haunches, back, and neck. It has nothing to do with what breed they are; one may see this in some horses belonging to any breed. If "developers", tiedowns, "bitting rigs", overchecks, or martingales have been used on an individual horse, chances of that horse having this difficulty are greatly increased. Among the so-called "gaited" horses, many of them who would normally canter and who do canter at liberty, are discouraged from cantering under saddle. Then at some later point in their life when someone comes along who wants that horse to canter, it can be difficult for the horse to arrange his body under the rider for cantering, because he simply lacks the strength and coordination.

For all of these difficulties, there are approaches and solutions. So once you read the papers suggested (this is your "homework"), then we'll go on to your next batch of questions which the reading will likely bring up.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Cruzeiro
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 Posted: Thu Jun 28th, 2007 05:52 pm
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Dear Dr Deb,

    I have done my "homework"  and it is nice to know that my understanding of collection and rounding are what you are talking about.  It is nice to hear someone else say what I have been thinking all along.  I am so tired of seeing riders cram their horses into a "frame"  when is so much more fun and easier to have the horse do it himself!!

    Anyway, back to the MFT question....if a horse is collected and cantering, why does he raise his head and shoulders with each stride?  From all the info I have gathered and been told about MFTs, they are "famous"  for their "rocking chair" canter.  the video I have seen of this shows a horse cantering by "flinging" his head and shoulders up  with each stride.  while the forehand is in the upward stage, the forelegs swing forward but are relatively straight.  they have a slight bend at the knees but it is not what I am used to seeing with my Arab.  What causes this and why?   If you want to see what i am talking about, you can see a clip on the following website:  http://www.calicocreek.com and go to Gaits. 

 

 

Bill
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 Posted: Fri Jun 29th, 2007 01:17 am
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What causes this is training or untraining. I have mft and I don't show. When you first start some of them they can have a rolling canter but I've seen this in other breeds to. What your talking about is what I call a show canter, the same way QH peanut rollers performed, 'training' or what ever you want to call it. Bill  

Cruzeiro
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 Posted: Thu Jul 5th, 2007 11:56 am
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Thanks for the info, Bill!  So if it is a training issue, do the MFT still have a head nod at  the canter or do they canter like other properly trained horses?  Also, I think I may be asking my questions incorrectly.  What I really wanted to know is what physically causes the head nod in a MFT and is the head nod exaggerated in the canter.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Jul 5th, 2007 07:30 pm
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Cruziero -- I am puzzled by your last post, because these questions were already answered in full to you above. There is no "head nod"; there are only horses who nod their heads because they have stiff toplines. The muscles of their jaws, poll, along the crest, under where the saddle goes, and over the top of the croup where the hamstrings carry down into the hock: this is the "topline". When those muscles are stiff, the horse starts moving abnormally and then he will nod his head noticeably, and this will occur at walk, trot, gait, and canter.

I have already told you in full detail what a "rocking horse canter" is in the common understanding. It is my hope that you would have no interest in such a thing, would turn your back utterly on it. If the horse you have canters like that, then the horse is abnormal and your job, I would hope you would believe, would be to do everything you could, as soon as you could, to cause him to move normally once again. This would involve totally getting rid of the sort of "rocking horse" movement that the horse now has, because it is abnormal and, ultimately, crippling.

There is no way of moving that is special or unique to any breed of horse. All horses are horses first. "Normal" is "normal" for all breeds, at all times. There is no special way to treat or train any breed. People who say there is, without exception are the same people who do not know how to work with a horse so that the horse retains normal movement. Why would you listen to any such person?

So this will be the end to this questioning, I am hoping Cruziero. Accept the authoritative answer that you have been given. And then, having thought about what was said in the post that I offered you above, you can write back and ask questions as to how to promote or create normal movement, or what movements and exercises would be appropriate for a horse that has already been made to move in an abnormal and crippling way by the ignorance of people who have lost the art of horsemanship.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Scott Wehrmann
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 Posted: Thu Jul 5th, 2007 11:08 pm
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Hi Dr. Deb,

I have recently become interested in Miss America Pageant winners and have decided that my next wife should be one.   Never mind that I am am 45, I'm getting a little beefier around the middle, I'm shorter than I used to be, my hair is turning gray, at least the hairs that aren't falling out completely, have no social skills or standing,  I'm likely to be broke for the next 30 years or so..... 

What in the world is wrong with Miss America these days....or for that matter, all of womandom?????  Couldn't possibly be me, could it??????

   

 

     

 

 

Scott Wehrmann
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 Posted: Sun Jul 8th, 2007 12:48 am
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Oh My.

 

I expected all sorts of nasty replies to this.  The lack of nasty replies is what is really troubling me now.   Here was a person who wrote in about a horse.... in my view a horse that was probably a square peg being pounded into a round hole. .....but a legitimate and common problem......one that we ALL experience to one degree or another. 

She was blown off.  Deb told her that here is the "authoritative" answer.  She gave kind of a snotty response.  That prompted an even snottier response from me.  I apologize.   

No human being has the "authoritative" answer.  The horse does.  So, maybe I didn't respond in a way that was effective.   A good friend called me to ask if I was on some kind of illegal substance when I wrote back.....and if not I must be an idiot.    Maybe she's right. 

Anyway, to the original poster....no hard feelings....no insult or any kind of ill will was meant or intended.  Keep on searching.  You might think about finding a horse more naturally suited to you and your life.....but good for you to keep struggling.

But to Dr. Deb.....my goodness, that was awfully pompous and condescending.   It wasn't helpful to anyone.  It was the kind of thing that makes students, from kindergartners to PhD candidates just want to scream.   And horses too. 

"Hey, goddammit, here is what you should KNOW. Here is what you should DO.  This  is who YOU should BE.  And if you're not it's YOUR fault.  If you don't get it, don't blame me." 

Don't think for a minute that the horse doesn't pick up on this too.   

Deb, it's all the same.  People, horses, life.  I hesitate to bring this up because I have a great deal of respect for the time and effort and work that you have put into being good at what you do. Lord knows I've done the best I can at being good at what I do.   But as Tom often said, the real obstacle in getting people and horses to get along and work together is the human ego.  I know I can do better, and it is up to me to do it.  I know you can too.    

 

       

 

     

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jul 8th, 2007 03:41 am
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Scott: I didn't respond to your post above, or pull it either, because I thought you were joking or just in a wierd mood.

But I meant it 100% when I asked Cruziero to please accept the authoritative answer that I gave her. The reason people write in here, I assume Scott, to ask me questions is to receive just that: an authoritative answer.

I give the answer. That's all. They, and you, can then take what I gave you and chew it over and either accept it or write in again, if there's something still puzzling. That's what I call freedom. I have my role, and students have their role, which is to take what the teacher says and think about it -- whether they like it, agree with it, can't figure it out, or whatever -- and then respond to that, if they need to.

But what I don't much appreciate is being asked twice the very same thing by the very same person. Did they not take the time to hear what I said the first time? I mean, it's perfectly OK if they didn't understand what I said, or maybe I didn't make it clear; then they should certainly ask again. But, as I said, I found it puzzling that Cruziero should just simply (apparently) ignore, or go right by, what she was told.

And in this matter, there ARE no ifs, ands, or buts: the rocking-horse canter, so-called, is a pathological and pathogenic way of moving that is taught to horses by people who are ignorant of the art of horsemanship. There is no way that I can, or would, say otherwise, because just like our teacher whose name you mention, I'm here PRIMARILY for the horses. Whether you like or dislike anything else about me really makes no difference to me -- I haven't got time to deal with your likes and dislikes, and there are many other worthy students.

So, Scott, if you don't like my teaching style, then you can go find another teacher, one that you like better. There are lots of them out there. But this Forum is my classroom, and I am the teacher in this class. Your thoughtful and intelligent questions are always welcome, just like everybody's are. Discussion is possible on any subject, and we've had some deep ones here. But when it is a question of facts, and I have given the facts, then there's no leeway at all either for the student or for the teacher. You cannot make oranges blue by wishing, or even insisting, that they be blue.

So in like manner I say to you also, Scott: accept the authoritative answer that you have been given, realize what this space is for, and think over again whether being given the straight facts in a straightforward, clear, and comprehensible manner is beneficial to you -- or not.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

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 Posted: Sun Jul 8th, 2007 03:35 pm
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I have been reading this forum off and on for several months.  I have also tried for several months, to register, with no luck.  I also have recieved zero help or even a response to the multilple emails I have sent.   But now I see that it may be possible to reply as a guest.

Dr. Deb, you make several valid points here.  This is your board, and indeed you have the final say in any discussion posted here.

That said, what distinguishes a great teacher is the ability of the teacher to remain a student.  When you stop listening to your students and ask them to swallow "the authoritative answer" as written in stone, you cannot help but give me the impression you have a closed mind with no interest in further expansion.  Are you so dead certain that this nodding movement has never been observed in a young gaited horse before it is under saddle?  That it could not have picked up this habit from it's dam or pasture mates?  The one absolute I have learned is that nothing is ever absolute.

Knowledge was never meant to be held in an ivory tower and be dispensed to the masses by a chosen few who decide who is a "worthy student' and who is not.  Knowledge is dispensed, tested by every student, and if it is sound it will hold up under that scrutiny.

 You refer to Tom Dorrance as "our teacher".  I never had a chance  to meet the man, I sure would have liked to have been a student of his.  From what I have watched and read of his work, he opened and welcomed the input of his students, and learned from them and his horses until the end of his life.  

But this is your board.  And it is my right to decide whether to listen to what you have to say.

Or not.

Best wishes

Christina

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jul 8th, 2007 04:27 pm
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Christina -- The reason you have never received a reply to any of the EMails you sent is that we did not receive them. Are you sure you have been EMailing to our address? All EMails received in our office receive a reply -- we don't leave people just hanging. And we do want to know if somebody has had trouble registering -- we haven't had anyone mention this to us for some months and thought we had that whole problem solved.

As to your being put off by my reply: Christina, you need to distinguish between facts, which are unalterable, and open or closed-mindedness. If I were closed-minded, how do you figure that I came to acquire the knowledge that I have? H'mmm?

And one thing that I have learned is this: When something is true or proved, then that's true and proved, and there are no two possibilities about it. That applies to the head-nodding as described by Cruziero. Cruziero was not speaking of young or untrained horses, and I gave her the only answer there is to give: it's a pathological and pathogenic way to move. It is not innate to this breed of horse or that breed of horse.

I've had the same kind of response sometimes to the facts about how and at what time horses become skeletally mature. I think this is because people have never heard it before, but there is no horse that is physically mature before it is six years old. This is another example.

You and Scott both need to think through what you are objecting to in my teaching. I think your concerns here are largely the product of something C.S. Lewis warned us about way back in the 1940's, and that is, an educational system that teaches people when they are young that they have a "right to equality". This gets them deeply confused about truth, i.e., it teaches them that if they are given an authoritative answer, but they don't like the answer, then they can just turn their backs on the teacher and ask someone they think maybe will give them an answer they like better! This is the same strategy little kids use when they first ask Mom and then they ask Dad. It is a way for an immature person to get what they want. It is not a way to discover truth, or to go from facts to find out the implications or results of those facts. In short, it is not productive of the kinds of things this space is intended for.

But the truth of the matter is that there is no such thing as equality, except, to the extent that we can rationally create it, under the law. But in any and all other matters, you and I are not equal, Christine. You are not the equal of anybody, because God never makes two things exactly alike.

So I am inviting you, and Scott, and anyone else listening to this, to take your petty judgements about whether I am a good student, or a good teacher, and roll them into a tiny tube and stuff them in your ear. What I am saying is that you should be ashamed of yourself. We are all here, each and every one, on the same quest, and that is, to ask questions and then receive authoritative answers. An authoritative answeris the very answer we should hope to be lucky enough to receive! But you and I, Christione, are NOT equal, and I mean innately we are not equal. I have things that you don't. I provide this space so that you and others can ask me to share some of those things. So the only thing I want to hear from YOU is gratitude -- or more questions for discussion.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Jul 9th, 2007 05:42 pm
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To respondents whose recent replies to this thread have been deleted: let us be clear as to why this is.

You are violating a Forum rule -- in fact you violated it above, also, but I have permitted that part of the thread to remain because there may be some benefit in it to you or others. The rule is this, that we do not discuss in a critical voice any person who is a Friend or Faculty of this Institute, nor any other correspondent, nor any person whatsoever at all. Discussions here are not permitted to be about persons, only about horsemanship topics of interest.

And, as I mentioned above: if you do not like my teaching style, then there are many other teachers, and I cordially invite you to go find one you like better. But you shall not discuss me, or anyone else, in personal terms here. You fail to notice that we have done YOU the courtesy of not doing that to YOU.

I have deleted your last few posts specifically because you are not responding to the request I made above, and which still stands, which is, that you express gratitude for the authoritative answers that you can and have received here, AND that you not criticize or even discuss anyone. Your posts ignored this -- you continued to try to lecture the teacher, and you continued to make negative personal comments -- so they were deleted.

Obedience is a grace, and I am telling you that if you want to participate in this Board, then you must OBEY the rules. This will have the added benefit of teaching you WHY obedience is a grace.

You are correct about one thing: I am utterly uninterested in hearing about what you think I am "ready" for. When you come here, I expect you to act like students, and that gives you two jobs: (1) to ASK things, and (2) to ask things in a way that is respectful of the teacher. Perhaps you are reluctant to do these jobs. In any case, however, your reactions to what I have to say, or how I say them, are your own problem, and I suggest that, before you post here again, you go and deal with the hostility you have been expressing in its true home and heartland. "First remove the log from your own eye."

Sincerely -- Dr. Deb

Julie
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 Posted: Tue Jul 10th, 2007 10:52 am
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This one is none of my business but I do want to keep learning from Dr Deb. Her experience and knowledge is awesome and please lets give her the respect she deserves.  We are here to learn and improve, if we knew what we needed to know we would probably not be on this forum.

Julie

Kim L
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 Posted: Tue Jul 10th, 2007 06:55 pm
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I have been coming to this site off and on for years. Maybe not for 10 years but close to it. When I don't lurk here is when I'm not hooked up to the Internet. It has been worth the time spent here. On many different levels. I really appreciate that Dr. Deb has been able to keep this about the horse. If you don't believe that just sit back a watch. You will learn something.
 

Thank you for your time and efforts Dr. Deb.


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