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Baucher
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Callie
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 Posted: Thu Feb 21st, 2008 11:51 am
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Pauline-

What is irritating, and this is not directed at you, as you have obviously read and studied etc. is the idea that any one person in any one discussion can clearly transmit to another an entire method of training a horse that takes a lifetime to understand, appreciate and put into practice.

Yes, the head on the horozontal is not desirable, but it happens.  And it is tempoprary.  Just like Allen's horse didn't wake up and perform that fabulous stretch on the pedistal the first morning he tried it.

Bauchers second manner is obsessed with collection.  Flying changes every stride were his invention.  He also did things like canter on three legs, canter backwards, etc.  So everything done in the manner is to get the horse to the highest stages of collection as fast as possible.

So yes, the horse may take steps with his head on the horozontal for 6 weeks, while his topline re-forms from his previous bad training.  So the amount of time he is in that position would be... 45min of riding 4 days per week for 6 weeks, with 25% of the time "up" would be a total of 4.5 hours.

But I also fail to see how the horse can't be relaxed in that position to the best of his ability at the time.  It is the job of the rider to recognize tension in the horse and return to the halt and get said tension worked out before proceeding.  Baucher's second manner is not for excitement seekers, LOL!  Lubersac, who is my hero, trained all his horses only in the walk for 2 years, and when ridden by students were found to be able to perform all the movements at all the gaits and the airs above the ground, with ease.

If I held the horse in that position with my reins, what you are sying would be true.  But the horse is perfectly free to assume any position with his head provided the haunches are doing what I want, and am thrilled with.  Maybe that's the problem, I wan't clear enough before that it is steps with the hindquarterss that we are in love with.  The horse is free to choose the specifics on the head position provided he works the rest of his body correctly.

A huge critisizm of the second manner is that it is "hand riding"  or the horse is ridden from front to back.  This challenge is laid down because the feeling in the reins and the flexions are so important and talked about so much.  Of all the horses I have ever ridden, the Bauchers second manner horses have their hind legs really working correctly.

As I said previously, you don't need to take the horse so high if it makes you uncomfortable.  Go lower if you like.  The only thing that really happens is it takes more time, unless you also teach the horse to hang on the reins while he is down there, then you loose the lightness.

I do believe there is magic in the release of the jaw, and understanding how that works on any horse in any head position.  Head twirling is great, and it usually produces a spontainious release of the jaw, but sometimes it doesn't, and then what do you do?

The very best way to understand this is to go and be taken in hand by a trainer.  And because there are so few of us around, it can be difficult to find one who is worthwhile.

And I wasn't irritated in the last post, mostly just breathing the sigh of carrying the understanding of an entire menthod on my shoulders.  It isn't a job I especially relish, being responsible for everyone's understanding of a lifetimes work.  I prefer to discuss with people who have at least read a book or two for background!

I most especially enjoy teaching where there is a horse to back me up!

I need to take off, so I hope this was clear and addressed what you were seaking.

I am happy to discuss as long as you have questions that can be answered without my writing a novel!

-Callie

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Fri Feb 22nd, 2008 11:04 am
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My thanks are due once more Callie, for pushing me to go dust off my skeleton and check what I have been speaking of.  There is no need for a novel, the matter we speak of is very simple - either the horse with a horizontal face has some part of his topline contracted or he doesn't.

But I also fail to see how the horse can't be relaxed in that position to the best of his ability at the time.

Perhaps this is where we are misunderstanding each other.  Emotional relaxation is not the same as a muscle that is not in use.  I have no doubt you are doing your very best to ensure your horses are not anxious or tense throughout your work together, an essential prerequisite.  However, every muscle that is functional must contract or tense in order to do the job.    As Dr Deb has said many times, muscles can't push - they can only pull which shortens, or contracts, their length.

So, thinking of the horizontal head, there have to be some muscles, somewhere, that are contracted in order to resist gravity for the nose to be lifted.  These are the muscles that primarily  do this:

Rectus capitus dorsalis - major & minor
       These two muscles attach to the top edge of the 2nd and 1st neck bones                   respectively, stretching across to the nuchal ridge of the poll.

Rectus capitas lateralis
       This muscle attaches to the first neck bone and a bony knob to the lower side of        the poll.

Obliquus capitas caudalis & cranialis
       These muscles lace between the first two neck bones and two points around the        poll.

Working together, all these muscles lift the nose to a horizontal plane.  Separately, the rec. cap. lateralis and obliques control the head twirling movement.  In order for the horse to keep his nose at that level, even for one or two steps, those muscles must remain contracted or 'on'.  These muscles are part of the topline.  We are aiming to have none of the topline muscles 'on' but to have them all in release or 'off'.

The other part of this problem is that if these muscles are 'on', then some of the major neck muscles that also attach to the jawbone or skull will be unable to release.  You do not have to take my word for this - look at any good anatomy book to see which muscles attach to this area.  For example, the sternomandibular muscle which spans from the sternum to the rear edge of the jawbone, will be put under tension when the nose is raised, making it difficult for the horse to either twirl his head or raise the base of his neck effectively or to move his jaw.

In contrast, the collected horse will lengthen his neck, open the gap between jawbone and 1st neck bone, which leaves plenty of room for gravity to pull the face to a more or less vertical position - no effort needed by the horse and therefore no bracing.   All that is left for us to do if we desire a high neck carriage, is to give the horse enough time and work to gain the necessary strength, considerably more than 6 weeks I might add.

I suspect we will never see eye to eye on this, but thanks for your time Callie, it has been an interesting discussion.

Best wishes - Pauline






Last edited on Fri Feb 22nd, 2008 11:06 am by Pauline Moore

Callie
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 Posted: Fri Feb 22nd, 2008 03:08 pm
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Horses that are "permenently contracted" (I can't think of another way to describe this today) because of previous poor training don't have to be activly contracting muscles to put them in a position.  Your whole post is saying that these muscles or those muscles have to be contracted for the head to be in that position, and I don't deny that you are correct, but I think you are missing the case where those muscles have been used so much as to be perpetually shortened and therefor even when not "on" they simply do not retain their previous length.

This is one of the issues cause by rolkur, is it not?  the horse is worked with the head so far down and curled over that the muscles in the front of the neck that attach to the shoulder (I am not an anatomy expert) become shorter.  So when the head is raised in the show ring, the front leg is pulled out more than is natural for the horses way of going.

Those horses aren't "using" those muscles to be in that position, that's just all the long those muscles are.

Horses that hold their heads on the horozontal are extreme cases.  But most horses hold their heads out in front of the verticle in the begining of this training, and it is not for the rider to try and change that by force.

A horse with incorrect muscle development can use the correct muscles to do something, but it won't look correct until those incorrect muscles have had a chance to change.

And the reason it goes so fast, is because once the horse "remembers" how his body can feel you see them out in the paddock doing all sorts of things differently so he takes over his own training.  It really is quite amazing to see the transformation.

Bauchers second manner works for me and my horses.  It works for my trainers and their horses.  It doesn't work for all my students though.  There are lots of reasons for this, some of them have to do with the riders temperment, attention span and experience,  and the biggest reason has to do with having an independent seat.  Any tendency on the part of the rider to hang on the reins and this method is out.  In those cases what those riders and their horses do would probably be remarkably like what you are doing now. 

It is certianly not the only way to ride, but in my opinion, it is the best way to re-teach a horse how to use himself correctly.  Un started horses should be ridden for at least a year in the "campaign" school (that means lots of cross country riding and jumping, and generally getting used to balancing a rider ) before they undertake this type of schooling.

-Callie

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Sat Feb 23rd, 2008 11:53 pm
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Bauchers second manner works for me and my horses.  It works for my trainers and their horses.  It doesn't work for all my students though.  There are lots of reasons for this, some of them have to do with the riders temperment, attention span and experience,  and the biggest reason has to do with having an independent seat.  Any tendency on the part of the rider to hang on the reins and this method is out.  In those cases what those riders and their horses do would probably be remarkably like what you are doing now. 

Ouch!  Perhaps an unfortunate choice of words, Callie - surely you do not mean to infer that your own is the only style of riding/training where an independent seat is a goes-without-saying basic necessity.  Please tell us of any riding style, anywhere in the world, where hanging on to the reins is a sucessful way to achieve lightness and true collection.  I suggest you look again at the photos/drawings in Dr Deb's translation of Baucher where total release is being demonstrated - do you see any one of those riders without an independent seat?

Horses that are "permenently contracted" (I can't think of another way to describe this today) because of previous poor training don't have to be activly contracting muscles to put them in a position.  Your whole post is saying that these muscles or those muscles have to be contracted for the head to be in that position, and I don't deny that you are correct, but I think you are missing the case where those muscles have been used so much as to be perpetually shortened and therefor even when not "on" they simply do not retain their previous length.

Yes, it is certainly possible for muscles to get stuck in the 'on' position where they remain at a shortened length.  This is usually a defensive mechanism to protect an injury or weakened area, tight muscles prevent further movement from exacerbating an existing problem.  It is possible to manually release those muscles through deep tissue massage & stretching but as a therapist I frequently choose not to do that until I'm sure of the underlying cause.  Sometimes tight muscles are the only thing holding a horse together, like a crutch.  Take that crutch away and the horse literally falls apart.    Muscle contraction to this degree will generally indicate the presence of an injury that requires medical intervention.

I have seen injuries that result in an extended head posture similar to the horizontal nose level of your preferred training method.  I'm thinking of a weanling foal who pulled back whilst tied to a pole during a 'tying-up' lesson.  This foal went about with his nose poking almost straight out 24/7 for close to 12 months while the underlying injury slowly healed.   The muscles I mentioned in my last post were locked 'on' to prevent any further movement of the spinal joints below and possible injury to the brain stem which extends as far as the 2nd neck bone.  This is a very vulnerable area of the horse because of its close proximity to the brain stem and he will be keen to defend it, which is why most bracing starts right there and why head twirling is the key to unlocking this bolted door.

This was an extreme case that no-one could miss, the simple muscle tightness you are alluding to does not cause anything like this degree of restriction - the horse would not be rideable.   There is no escaping the fact that when a horse lifts his neck high and pulls his nose up to any level even approaching horizontal (free in the paddock or with a rider on his back - it's all the same) he has used that list of muscles to do so and therefore cannot have all his topline in release at the same time. 

The way you like to ride and train is entirely your own choice - I am simply trying to help you be aware of some of the details of your choice.

Best wishes - Pauline





Callie
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 Posted: Sun Feb 24th, 2008 01:21 am
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Pauline-

My my, you are quick to paint me with a bad brush today!

I don't think there is a method of riding worth doing that suggests that one should ride without an independent seat.  However, there is then the reality that many people do ride without one, and even some that have independent seats can quckly become gripped by fear and unintentionaly hang on the reins in a split second.  And this method is out in those instances, untill they get control of their own emotions and/or their seats.

It is not in my nature to lead people down a primrose path trying to do things they don't have the foundation for.  If they aren't going to be sucessful and are likely to tick off the horse then it wouldn't be in their best intrests to try it out.  As a trainer of "last resort" these people/horses have already been through the wringer with the "good" (I use that term in the popular context, not reality) trainers, and they don't need any help feeling poorly about their horses and/or their riding.

However, the way this discussion is going just takes me back to what I have mentioned several times in this discussion....

It is simply unreasonalble to expect to get a perfect, or even a particulary good understanding of any method of horsemanship from a discussion via e-mail with one person that you have never even met, seen their horses etc.

There are too many complexities, situations, what ifs, communication ideosycracies, etc. that go on to make any real understanding possible.  Already, in what was ment to be a perfectly innocent comment in my last post about the fact that not everyone can or should or even needs to purse this course of training was taken to be a personal insult.

Again, I mentioned the head problem to sammy as a possibility, to try and help her avoid a common pitfall "dressage" people have when working a horse, which is an obsession with the position of the horse's nose.  And here I am, discussing another obsession with the horses nose.  I can't win for trying.

This post makes it seem like you think that the horozontal head position happens on every horse, all the time.  And now we are liking it to foals that have been damaged by terrible tying up "accidents".  The head doesn't go horozontal every time.  Not even most times.  The horses that do it are generally the most dangerous and have had the worst times in "training".  I have encounterd 3. 

But I don't need to defend myself, nor do I need to defend Baucher.  When I go out and see the horse's eyes, I know, deep down in my soul that I have helped them in the best way possible.   And that is really all that matters. 

When you work with horses, especially ones that have basically been systematically tortured at the great expense of their owner, stuff happens.  But some of that stuff can be ignored, and some of that suff is a major problem and most of the stuff falls somewhere in between.  And frequently, the stuff that most people obsess about is the stuff that can/should be ignored, and the stuff most people ignore is the stuff that should be obsessed about.

So as you said, I can do what ever I want with my horses, and I have spent a great deal of time, money and effort looking into what is best for my horses.  I believe, and my horses agree, that Bauchers second manner is the best way to achive high collection, or Haute Ecole.  If one doesn't want to do that, then they don't need Baucher or any of his manners (though they may want him).  Baucher's second Manner is not for starting young horses however, and that is why I am here.

I would encourage you to read some more books, and go and study with a master of the second manner before you go throwing the method out because of an e-mail discussion.

-Callie

Callie
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 Posted: Sun Feb 24th, 2008 01:32 am
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Sammy-

Not to loose sight of the original point of this thread, how is your horse doing?

-Callie

sammy
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 Posted: Tue Feb 26th, 2008 05:48 pm
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Callie and Pauline - thanks for this fascinating discussion. I have learned a lot.

Callie - I have some really heavy work deadlines at the moment, but will definitely update you on various horses' progress as soon as I have this lot off my desk. Just haven't got time to do things with the horses AND write about it at the moment!

Sammy


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