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JTB
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Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2019 06:25 am
I think he is over weighting the right shoulder as he doesn't want to carry the weight on the right hind, he need to weight the outside pair of legs-- he is also not stepping under the body shadow with the left hind. His Birdie is flying to the right. With regards to arrows his hinds in this picture are tracking forward in a straight line. The left foreleg is placed forward rather than swinging out to the left.
Cheers Judy
DrDeb
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Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2019 06:57 am
Yes, correct Judy as to one of the questions asked on the sketch: the horse overweights the right shoulder because he does not want to take the proper share of weight on the right hock. However, you're in error about which hind leg/whether he's stepping under behind; unfortunately he is stepping under with the left hind -- too much, and this is the first of the 'missing vectors that might also be coming into play' that I asked about. Draw an arrow on the sketch from left haunch to right shoulder: the horse is "pushing through the outside shoulder", with the push coming from the left hind. When the horse steps under with the left hind leg, it pushes his weight forward and to the right. This still does not mean that the right hock accepts its proper share of that weight; instead, too much of it goes forward to the shoulder.

The horse's birdie may or may not be off to the right; we don't know because we can't see his eyeballs/pupils. Where their birdie is, is often where their forehead is facing just because that's the most comfortable and usual; however, a horse can face right and look/focus/think left, just as we can.

You see from this sketch what terrible effects heavy, insensitive, wooden, or unfeeling hands have: they pull or HANG all the time in the false belief that this is what constitutes 'contact.' With hands like this, there is always a backward vector in the reins. This is the other 'vector that could be in play'. When there is a continuous backward vector in the reins, that amounts to the rider compressing the neck backwards. The thing for everyone to notice is that compressing the neck does not always mean 'rolling it up' or 'tucking the nose' or 'flexing at the poll'; it may instead mean 'crushing the neck together into a left-right zigzag,' which is what an 'S' bend in the neck is. The cause of the 'S' bend in the neck is the rider's heavy, dead, constantly pulling hands AND the fact that she doesn't know how to use her legs or isn't using her legs effectively. It is the leg, of course, that tells the horse which hind leg he ought to be stepping under the body-shadow with -- see below.

As to the hands, the solution is not to release the reins in the sense of abandoning the FEEL. One absolutely must maintain a feel of the horse's tongue, or else you don't know where he is, and neither does he know where you are or what you want. So riders who give up in despair (or sometimes in anger), when I tell them to quit hanging on the reins -- they will angrily or desperately throw the reins forward or sometimes take their hands off the reins altogether. This is to show that these riders' brains aren't working very well; their emotional response has made their thinking brittle and inflexible; they can't think of very many options. Surely there is a middle place between hanging and pulling vs. abandoning the feel.

This middle place is where 'feel', the concept taught by Tom Dorrance, lies. An absolutely brilliant analogy I once heard Tom make when somebody asked him, "Tom, what is 'feel'"? is this: he said, imagine holding a broomstick in your hand. Raise your hand over your head and try to balance the broomstick on the ball of your thumb. What does this take? Constant, small adjustments which amount to little movements of your arm in three-dimensional space, right? Think of the circus actor who balances the spinning plates on the upper end of a vertical stick, or similarly, think of the tightrope walker -- constant small adjustments keep the plates and the tightrope walker from falling.

Now imagine balancing the broomstick, Tom said, with the wind blowing. This would take still more attentiveness, and would demand an ability to somewhat anticipate what the broomstick was going to do, so as to be ready to move one's arm in some small way, in order to compensate and keep the stick balanced on the thumb. "After awhile," Tom said, "if you did this often enough, it would get to be second nature, and you wouldn't have to think about it."

This is the very essence, the crucial difference, between POSING ON HORSEBACK vs. being able to RIDE.

I've had a couple of busy days -- Redmare sent me the hind end photos just as requested but I haven't had time to do a thing with them. Look for a reply with those photos in another day or so, and meanwhile, I think the above may be good as food for thought. -- Dr. Deb

JTB
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Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2019 07:22 am
Thanks for clearing that one up for me!! As I read it I went duh! re the inside hind, so obvious when it is pointed out. Great thread. My young mare has a dent in her muscle below the point of her shoulder, I was wondering what it was and now I know. Thanks for posting Redmare.
Redmare
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Posted: Thu Jan 10th, 2019 04:15 pm
While we are waiting for Dr. Deb, I wanted to come back and update: I have been doing the TMJ work my vet and I agreed upon as well as doing what Dr. Deb recommended, which is to say breaking it down for this horse on the ground as to how to twirl his head. Surprisingly, he did so very fluidly and easily to the left...which got me thinking. This gelding has been a funny one to work with, in other threads we've discussed his troubles with Birdie and I think his "S bend" neck has origins in both his Birdie and his poor posture in motion (i.e., the running onto the right shoulder).

Twirling to the right, however, was extremely difficult. My husband - who is a very knowledgeable horseman in his own right - watched and he described it as like watching a locked up wheel that badly needs greasing. The horse ducked it first, then tried to lift his head up to avoid it altogether and when he realized he couldn't go anywhere to avoid the flexion he gave a bit, but it was jerky and sharp. I took that as the best he could offer in that moment and let him be, then tried again. It is getting better and better - he no longer looks to evade it now, but it still, as my husband said, "needs grease".

When I took that to under saddle the first day it was fairly ugly. To the left was no problem mechanically, though we still have this issue of Birdie in certain places in the arena that we continue to work on, but to the right the gelding tried everything he could think of (often more than once) to avoid relaxing and twirling to the right. When he finally got it for a stride or two, we ended for the day.

So while he's gotten a bit better each time I work with him, his anxiety about it is slower to subside and I can tell there's a LOT of bound up tension in that area as he gets very mouthy, twitchy with his lips, etc when I go to ask him to twirl. I am thinking that just like Dr. Deb has said that this seems to be a horse who needs concrete examples, this is also a horse who has a very strong learned pain/defense response to certain movements and it is probably going to take some care and time to get him to where he will truly believe that A) what I'm asking is not going to hurt him or overwhelm him, and B) that I am not asking of him anything he cannot do.
DrDeb
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Posted: Fri Jan 11th, 2019 03:33 pm
Redmare, I have had a terribly busy week and just no time to post the photos and discuss that aspect yet. Give me another day or two!

Meanwhile, your last post is very clear and again, describes a situation and a set of responses from the horse that pertain to literally thousands of animals so I am sure will be of interest to many readers here.

I don't know about 'heightened pain response'; what I am getting is that, whatever his level of defensiveness or pain-sensitivity, the bottom line is that asking him to twirl to the right does give him some pains -- like when you 'sleep wrong' on your neck and you wake up with a stiff neck. It would take a very, very skilled and highly sensitive chiropractor to work on someone's neck when it's that way and not get a lot of defensiveness from the person. To be able to go "up to" the place where it's going to stick or freeze up or cramp or brace -- yet not go INTO it -- takes real "feel" and real empathy.

One thing I will suggest immediately is that, before asking him to twirl to the right again, you first work on some leg-yields from right to left. That is, you untrack the right hind when on the short rein with a right bend and walking with him clockwise.

Now normally we are careful to not overdrive a leg-yield, meaning we are careful not to "push" the animal so hard from the inside of the bend that we not only drive him properly onto the outside pair of legs, but actually put him too much on the left forelimb so that he becomes overbent to the right and the left shoulder bulges out.
However, for the moment this is exactly what I want you to do with this horse: exaggerate, make it abundantly clear to him that he's to weight the left shoulder. And while he's got it weighted, then ask for the right twirl and I will bet that will make it much easier for him.

It feels to me from your description that you're trying to peel two layers of onion at once, i.e., if he's weighting the right rather than the left shoulder, and while he's got his weight distributed that way you ask for the twirl to the right, it will be extremely difficult for him. It would be extremely difficult, and painful, for any horse actually, if there were enough weight on the right shoulder, but for this horse what we want to set up before twirling right is that he has almost zero weight on that right shoulder.

Let me know how this works out and what his reactions are. Great reports and a wonderful discussion which I hope others are paying attention to. Cheers -- Dr. Deb



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Posted: Fri Jan 11th, 2019 05:49 pm
Ahhh, yay! What you suggested - an exaggerated leg yield from the right rein, where he falls through the left shoulder, is EXACTLY how I finally got him to understand that he could twirl his head to the right under saddle! The bat ended up not being very helpful to him, so instead I took a page from Mike Schaffer's book and used an upward right rein to give him the idea that that was not a place he could look for support. From there he automatically moved off the right shoulder and into the same sort of leg yield you described - way too much through the left shoulder and the hind end trailing, but it was effective in the way it needed to be.

From there I was able to then ask for the exaggerated leg yield to the left, but with a lot less exaggeration, and then ask for the twirl. Once he figured that out, I was able to get a few over the course of a couple rides where I didn't have to exaggerate the weight shift to the left fore and just asked for the twirl. We have been repeating this pattern most rides - like I said, he needs concrete examples and it seems he really needs to find it the same way over and over and over again, hence my belief that there's a pretty strongly ingrained pattern in this horse that he feels he must defend. But this is the perfect thing to work on right now as it's so darn cold out and so this and playing on the drum, with the ball, or practicing dragging things are about as much as I can do before I can't feel various body parts.

So no, not working with two onion layers, I don't think - just didn't give enough detail initially to make that more obvious.

I know you're busy, so no rush on the response to his hind end photos - while I very much look forward to reading, I am guessing much of what you might say will not surprise me!
DrDeb
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Posted: Sat Jan 12th, 2019 03:51 pm
Super, great -- and here is an insight for others reading this thread: Mike's upwardly-directed inside rein is for therapy or "corrective" purposes only, for the reason that it does exactly what you describe: force the horse too much through its outside shoulder. The upwardly-directed rein is made even worse when the "aim" is not strictly straight up-and-back but points across the midline of the horse or across the mane-bed. This "style" is particularly common among the Parellioids, who do nothing correctly. But indeed many people -- the majority of riders that I see -- who think they are doing leg-yields are not doing a real leg-yield, but instead are doing what you describe your very dysfunctional horse as having to do: they discover that "lifting-up" rein, and they feel the horse shift its weight through the shoulders, so they think "aha, that's it, that's how you make him do it". But because their seat and leg is ineffective and their feel is not "covering" or inquiring of the WHOLE horse, they wind up half-assed stumbling sideways with the hindquarters trailing, when instead in a proper leg-yield or any other movement done properly, the hindquarters would be driving not trailing because the movement would have been initiated by the untracking of the inside hind leg and seconded by the rein, which would be held in just the normal "home" position. Or on a greeney greeney, to make what you want obvious to him, the inside rein can be in the 2nd or "opening" position with the inside hand displaced straight out to the side but not upward.

The reason that exaggerating the leg-yield so that you deliberately drive the horse too much onto the outside shoulder, is that this destroys the "S"-bend in the neck. It forces the horse to go from an "S"-shape to a kind of cranky "C"-shape (maybe I could represent that on the typewriter keyboard as "<"). It's "cranky" because there's still a lot of stiffness but at least you have now got only one curve, and that one is going in a direction that is harmonious with the desired twirl to the inside. Once we take away the "S" we have made it much easier for the horse and probably taken away much of the little strains & pains that make him want to defend himself.

So, now that this is working, it's time to start alternating bends, which is a still more effective technique for breaking up those little cranky stuck spots at the neck joints. We are aiming to increase the horse's ability to flex not only the poll joint sideways (to "twirl"), but every neck joint; and we are also aiming, ultimately, to even those flexions out so that no one of the eight neck joints is flexing more than the others.

So what you do is set up a long, loose serpentine -- what Tom & Ray used to call a "snake trail". DO NOT use barrels, poles, tires, cones, or other markers -- they will only tempt you to make the horse turn "on time" so that he goes between the markers. But at first we do not care at all when he switches from one bend to the other. It may take him many steps, which would carry him past the marker. If the best you can do with him is to get him to change the weighting of the hind legs/change the weighting of the shoulders/change the bend through the poll (i.e. twirl)/change the bend through the ribcage -- I say if the best you can do is to get him to flex the entire vertebral chain and change his weight from the "old" outside to the "new" outside ONE TIME in the whole length of the arena, that's just dandy fine!

In fact at first I'd be real careful to set this up so you come around the short end "short", going from the track to the opposite quarter-line; and from there (let's say you came through the short end on the left rein, counterclockwise of the arena), you keep the left bend as you return toward the centerline. Before you hit the centerline, you should be asking him to change bends, so that as he crosses it hopefully he does so. Then you have a right bend, and you make a big lazy right bend with him and you now on the left side of the centerline, but eventually you get back to the centerline and again, before you get there you tell him to change his body back to a left bend, so that as you cross the centerline you approach the far track with left flexion poll to tail.

And so forth, at a good Ray Hunt-style very forward walk which is just shy of what would make him need to take bigger breaths, i.e. approaching 7 mph. Repeat until you definitely feel him loosening up, and then go one more time but instead of just one set of bend-changes across the center line, try for two in the length of the arena. Then go let him graze or go stand on the drum a while.

When all this is easy, you can then start more "standard" four-loop serpentines (meaning eight changes of bend in the length of the arena), or else make o-to-o figures of 8 (no diagonal lines, two perfect circles tangent at the single point where the bend changes). It will also be helpful, and you can do this right at the beginning, to set up o-to-o figures where one "o" is at the top left quadrant of the arena, then you come off that and "drift" (a.k.a. leg-yield) as you change bend somewhere near "X" and do the second "o" in the lower right quadrant of the arena. In other words, you circle, then change bends utilizing the leg-yield, then circle the opposite way of the first circle. Remember that the KEY to changing the bend through the length of the vertebral chain is changing from untracking the first hind leg to untracking the other one.

The overall goal is to get the horse to turn loose of himself, so that the lightest touch of the reins, with the least positive support from the leg, will cause the horse to bend, flexing every joint that can be flexed laterally, from poll to tail; and then to be able to switch very fluidly from flexing the first direction to flexing the other way.

When that's in place, you can proceed to canter departs from a halt. What fun this all is, and how very easy it is too, once the rider gains some insight as to what the horse needs in order to turn loose, and how to set it up so that he learns that performing in the turned-loose state is far more comfortable and less effort than performing work in any other way. Cheers -- Dr. Deb



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Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2019 03:01 am
OK, discussioneers (like "mousketeers" LOL) I've finally had time to put together Redmare's rear-end photos for our educational purposes. I'll post them as I put them together on my screen, but if the text I put on comes out too small to read, I'll post that beneath. Each set of photos has a separate post, so look for two postings, one for the side view and one for the rear view:

Attachment: Redmare weightbearing left hind no1 sm.jpg


DrDeb
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Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2019 03:03 am
Here's the rear view:

Attachment: Redmare weightbearing left hind rear view no2 sm.jpg


DrDeb
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Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2019 03:11 am
Now -- is it clear to everybody what's going on here?

(1) How does the horse's desire or habit of taking shorter steps with the left hind demonstrate that he'd rather weight-bear on the left hind?

(2) Why does the horse, in halting, so position himself that the left hind is closer to the midline?

(3) Why do the blue hip and stifle lines tilt?

It is real easy to get mixed up on these things and attribute the cause to the wrong factors, so those who are interested in this, it is worth some time and concentration to understand what these photos show. It may help you to make a sketch at your desk as you view the images, and of course you'll want to go out to the barn to do the same experiment with your own horse, won't you! Have a helper lead the horse slowly forward and watch closely how he uses himself behind. Bring him gently to a halt and see how he prefers to arrange his body parts with respect to the centerline of his body and thus with respect to his weight. It will be important in many cases to REPEAT the slow walk and the halt a number of times, not only because you may not be too sure of what you're seeing for a while and thus need to practice to get sure; and also because, some horses are less committed to one-sidedness than this gelding and therefore less consistent -- they may stand or walk one way one time and less so, or evenly, or even the opposite, other times.

Redmare, I can't thank you enough for these photos: they're great help for other people who are trying to learn how to "see" crookedness, leaning, and lameness which is defined as asymmetry of motion (not "soreness"). Cheers -- Dr. Deb

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Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2019 01:16 pm
You are quite welcome for the photos - I'm so glad I created this thread, it's proving to be extremely helpful.

The longer I think about this, the more muddled/confused I get myself, which is something I tend to do.

1) Dr. Deb, do you mean desire/habit of taking shorter steps with the RIGHT hind? That is what this horse prefers to do, although neither of his steps, left or right, are very long, which tells me this horse is not really coiling through his loins. But if he is short stepping on one side versus another, is it not simply a matter of time spent on the ground? I.e a longer step means more time spent on the ground, which means more weight bearing?

2) As for #2 and #3 I actually got down on my hands and knees for this and played with it, but I can't come up with a "why", only recreate what I functionally know is happening with this gelding, but that doesn't tell me the reason for his choosing this pattern of crookedness...
DrDeb
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Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2019 02:13 pm
HI, Redmare: Yes, this can get very confusing, as I said, and anybody attempting it, myself included, must really concentrate on keeping the principle or rule in mind that the reason the horse short-steps with one hind limb (i.e. with whatever hindlimb is swinging, that's the one we mean when we say "he takes a step") -- so if he takes a short swing with the left hind, it is because he wants to minimize the time he weight-bears on the right hock. And this is what all the photos you have sent show. If you have been thinking that this horse steps shorter with the right hind, maybe it is because you are not using the word "step" in the same sense that I am, i.e. the "stepping" leg you mean is the one that is weightbearing.

Now you have also noticed that this horse takes rather short steps in fact with both hind limbs and I would agree. However he's coiling his loins just fine. The correct interpretation is exactly the same, or a parallel to the same, that we make with left vs. right hind limbs; here, it is hind limbs vs. forelimbs. What this gelding is doing is not only shifting his weight to the left, but in a major way also forward, to the forehand. He short-steps behind because he does not really want to carry a proper proportion of his weight with either hind leg (though the right hind is shirking its load more than the left).

Why we can easily draw a plumb-line downward from this horse's spine in rear view, and find that it falls noticeably closer to the left hind limb than to the right hind limb, is because the horse deliberately places his left hind limb closer to his midline. This is a kind of inverse way of saying that he is leaning to the left, and it is the offset or leaning which skews the hip and stifle lines -- in other words, in order to achieve and maintain the asymmetrical placement and weighting of his hind limbs, he must twist and roll his hips somewhat. When the horse places his left hind limb closer to the plumbline of his midline, which is where his weight mainly bears, he is shaping himself up to bear most of that weight with the left hind.

Crawling is a great idea for anybody to try, who wants to really understand what the horse's experience and "strategies" to accept or avoid work with one limb or another are. So you can prove to yourself what I just said in the above paragraph by doing some push-ups. That's with your "front legs" rather than your "back legs," but the human arm has joints much more similarly arranged to the horse's hindlimb than does the human leg when we crawl; the joints form a "Z" shape that can collapse or expand down and up. Let us say you desire to do mucho macho pushups with one arm. Where will you place the palm of the hand of the arm you intend to do the pushups with? Will you place it out to one side, or will you not rather place it right beneath your sternum or as close as possible to that point as the size of your boobs allow?! The horse's hindlimb muscles are particularly thick between its hind legs, and this (rather than boobs) is what limits his ability to bring the preferred weightbearing limb fully under the midline, and also causes him to need to twist the pelvis somewhat. Note how the tilted pelvis also causes the dock of the tail to subtly tilt.

Note how when you practice the exercise we suggested above -- the exaggerated leg-yield right to left, we are actually accommodating this horse's preferences by deliberately putting him onto the left hock. However, we're also telling him to unweight or "get off" that right shoulder, which is tantamount to telling him to bear a FULL complement of weight on the left hock, which we have just said he is reluctant to do. But I will play to this horse's strengths initially; I will ask him to do a little more of what he's already best at, rather than "correcting" him. When we exaggerate the leg-yield, we have annihilated the "S" bend in his neck and poll and created a single curvature in his spine from poll to tail. As we continue to ride the horse, we work on evening out that bend so that he stops flexing sideways too much at the base of the neck and too little at every other joint.

Once that's working, then we begin attempting to do a more proper leg-yield, and we do that by subtle --although at moments it may need to be quite firm -- use of the outside rein. Firm, that is, if he insists on leaning forward. So you meet his 50 with exactly 50 until he cuts that out and gets brave enough, even at a halt, to stand a full and proper proportion of his weight upon the left hock. Once he'll halt and stand properly on that hock, then you can use subtle support from both reins to cause him, or assist him, in taking the full and proper amount on the right hock also.

When he will do this, he ought also to be able to properly leg-yield left to right, which is why I suggested already that you begin alternating. Again: remember, the KEY to changes of bend is switching from the old outside (=weightbearing) hock to the new outside (=weightbearing) hock.

Let me know your thoughts. Cheerio -- Dr. Deb



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Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2019 05:58 pm
So to make sure I understand this right:

- This gelding prefers not to fully weight either hock, and in stepping forward with either hind leg is shifting his weight somewhat to the opposite hind limb but largely forward into his forehand.
- When he does shift weight between his hind limbs, he would strongly prefer to keep it mostly on the left hind, but does not want to take it ALL on the left hind. Essentially, he takes enough so as to take the minimum on the right hind but not so much that his left leg is at 100% weightbearing capacity. (I'm picturing the limb movement at the canter - this horse therefore would, and does, struggle with the phase of the canter where the outside hind limb is the only weightbearing limb, especially if that outside hind limb is the right hind.)
- The horse is able to bring his left hind closer to the midline but not directly under the midline because of the adductor/groin muscle bulk, so he's favoring it as much as he physically can, essentially.

Yes, I was thinking of the stepping leg as the weightbearing leg, hence my confusion.

So in taking this information going forward, I think one of the things I'm realizing is I am not well connected enough to his hind feet via the reins. I've been talking a lot to his front because that's where the louder of his troubles have been, and as you said earlier, I need to be careful not to get sucked into a problem of my own overfocus.
I might need to spend some time with him at the halt just practicing getting him to shift back onto his hind end.
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Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2019 11:43 pm
Yes, you've got it now. I suspected you were using the word "step" just the opposite of the way I use it, because "to take a step" often is taken to mean "to step down" (to "stomp"), and the stomping down is what is counted as the "step". But in gait analysis, "step" has a defined, technical meaning: it is the distance between the toe of the left hoof and the toe of the right hoof, either fore or hind. "Step" is a measure of how far apart the left and right limbs spread during walking or whatever other gait, or you might say how wide the "V" between the two limbs is. Step is a direct measure of suppleness and a long step, as you note in passing, is a good predictor of how turned-loose (and therefore of how ready to work and learn) the horse is.

This is strictly to differentiate the term "step" from the term "stride", which is defined as the distance from the mark made in the sand by the toe of (let us say) the right hind, and the NEXT mark made in the sand by the SAME hoof. In gaits that have a period of suspension, this measures how far the horse flies forward through the air during each period when no feet are on the ground. Stride length is a direct reflection of power and effort, and is also a very accurate predictor of racing speed. Unfortunately what we almost universally see among dressage competitors is the complete confusion of stride vs. step, so that what is almost always seen in competition winning prizes nowadays is lengthening of step at the trot, not lengthening of stride.

And yes: spending some time with him at the halt just getting him to shift back onto his hind end is exactly what I was suggesting. You can look to Mike Shaffer for some good direction on that -- Mike won't permit even a single forward step from a horse that is laying on his hands/bracing. He'll sit there, waiting at the same pressure exactly as we teach too, and the horse will wriggle, try to move sideways, toss its head, and fuss and grump until at last it tries rising to the leg, which means it arranges its bodyparts underneath the rider so that the two hind limbs carry the proper amount of weight, the freespan of the back and the base of the neck subtly rise, the loins subtly coil, the stifles subtly flex, and there is "feel" and "communication" through the reins but no bracing, pulling, or leaning on them by the horse. Only when this occurs, and I know you know well what I am describing Redmare, does Mike permit them to take even one step forward. I am of exactly like mind and find that this work at the halt is essential and highly beneficial IF IF IF we have a rider who has the correct conceptual grasp, sufficient skill, and is working for the right responses. Also, by the way, this approach was described in detail, practiced, taught, and recommended by Francois Baucher.

It's been criticized, both historically in the 19th century as well as by later riders, almost all from Germany, who contend that this type of work at the halt kills their much-worshipped "impulsion". But there can be no impulsion at all, even in a horse that is moving fast or expending considerable power, if there is the slightest brace anywhere in its body: the brace transforms power (the raw working material) into tension and strain, shoving and pulling, false collection, and ultimately injury; whereas when the turned-loose horse offers the rider his power, it is transformed into impulsion, which means fluid energy and thrust which the rider can distribute to any part of the body where it is needed for the desired work -- and this indeed is the very definition of impulsion. It does absolutely no good, fostering neither a correct understanding in the horse nor correct physical responses, to go on trying to ride "forward" on a horse that is bracing. The brace, as Baucher said, must be annihilated first.

This brings up a basic training protocol which I usually find a way to mention during horsemanship clinics:

1. Position
2. Wait at the same pressure
3. Release to the horse's release.

"Position" means you propose an idea to the horse; you suggest he rearrange his bodyparts. Everybody who reads here I think appreciates that the release is the reward, and that's how the horse learns that he did what was wanted. But the part where most people fall down is Step Two, because that requires near-infinite patience, a willingness to hang in there until the horse gives a full, sincere, no-holds-barred try. Specifically with respect to the above discussion, the rider has to have totally come out of being hypnotized by the trot rhythm and must utterly abandon the concept of "forward" as being a primary goal or even a desirable training approach. Every normal horse will go very freely and delightfully forward, generously placing his great physical power at the rider's disposal, when he finally turns loose, rounds up by rising to the touch of leg and rein, and begins to submit deeply to the rider's direction.

Keep us posted how your work with this horse goes from here on out. At some point you might send us some photos of you & he under saddle.

Also, BTW, somewhere in my files I have some photos of our friend Judy McHerron and her gelding Majic working on this stuff at the halt, which might help you to look at. Will post 'em when I find 'em. Cheers -- Dr. Deb







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Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2019 06:25 am
Thank you Dr Deb and Redmare for this excellent thread. When the weather clears I will be out with the camera to see if the photos show what I feel when I ride.

Looking forward to seeing you in NZ next month Dr Deb. :-)

Regards Judy



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