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Dorothy
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Hello Dr Deb,
I have recently been having discussions with friends about how collected canter and canter pirouettes can become 4 time, and this led me to review your writings about the Wilton House gouaches, where you talk about the galope.

I have some questions. I have heard of this 4 beat variation of canter being called the 'school canter' or 'pirouette canter'. Is this essentially the same as the galope?

I am wondering where the term galope originated from? It is a term that none of my discussion group have come across.

I also wonder how the galope and mezair that you talk about relate to redopp - which I understand to be a travers-canter that becomes 4 time. The description that I have heard sounds very much like the mezair that you describe.

thank you.
Dorothy

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(Just to clarify, I have been lazy in my description of canter as 4 beat. I do understand that a normal canter is 4 beat, ie 3 footfalls and a moment of suspension, and the galope is 5 beat, ie 4 footfalls and a moment of suspension.)

DrDeb
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Dorothy -- Obviously, different countries and sometimes different regions within a single country will have different names for the same exercise. 'Redopp' is short for 'Redopple', i.e. Italian, meaning "four beat"....it is the same as Mezair. "Redopp" is also a term used in music, as there is much similarity.

Galope is Spanish meaning "gallop", and it can mean either the racing form (extended) or the school/manege form (collected). The short form of "Galope" is "Lope", used in North America (i.e. Mexico, U.S., and Canada) to mean a slow type of canter -- that's today's usage. In the past, it meant the slow or collected form of galope.

The distinction is important. The footfall order in canter is left hind, right hind + left fore as the left diagonal, right fore, suspension. The footfall order in gallop/galope is left hind, right hind, left fore, right fore, suspension.

That one finds many horses switching to galope while executing pirouettes has been a matter of controversy in competitive dressage, which is a game founded on a peculiarly restrictive and biased or culturally prejudicial set of rules. It has never been cotroversial among practitioners of the much wider art and science which is called the Classical High School or Haute Ecole, because the horse would have been in galope all the time anyway. Understand that historically, canter only comes along rather late -- i.e. in the 19th century -- and even then, only as a "ladies' gait" because it is smoother than the galope. But relative to the galope, the canter puts the horse on the forehand. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

 

Dorothy
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Thank you.

I realise that the sadly limiting influence of the FEI rules have caused the loss of these classical gaits in competitive riding, but why have they also been lost in the so called classical schools (Spanish Riding School, Saumur, Jerez and Lisbon)?

Are there any formal schools that do still train and teach the galope?

Maybe these are unanswerable questions.

Dorothy

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So does this explain the difference in beat emphasis; a horse on the forehand will canter 1 2 THREE 0 whereas a balanced horse will canter ONE 2 3 0 so the emphasis on the leading foreleg or initiating hindleg respectively?
Thanks,Ruth

DrDeb
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Yes, Ruth, it is not impossible for a horse to carry itself well in a canter; just tends to be more difficult than if it were in (collected) galope.

Wherever the horse's weight is, the sound will be louder. Hence the unequal sounds made by lame horses, crooked horses, and horses either markedly on the hindquarter or on the forehand.

And Dorothy, as to your observation about the loss of the galope: I should say, first, that it has not generally been lost in Iberia. All rejoneadores use it, and most of the people who do solo exhibition. It is also seen among the Mexicans, i.e. per the National school associated with the breeding of Aztecas. It has been lost, or not practiced, only among those who think (like Podhajsky) that they need to imitate Germans, i.e. that the galope is a "baroque" gait and that they need to look more "modern" and prove that the Iberian horse, paralleling the Lipizzan, is not just a stuffy little Baroque thing only useful for "the contractions of the manege," but capable of "extension". Unfortunately the German "extensions" are all incorrect and all damaging to the horse's physique, so although there is some justified criticism of a horse used ONLY for manege riding who may indeed become stuffy and contracted, the wise practitioner avoids these difficulties by the application of common sense, balancing manege work with a modicum of relaxed trail riding. -- Dr. Deb

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I am smiling wryly with the irony that there is discussion in competitive circles that a 'pirouette' canter should be recognised and introduced into tests, given that this is what so many horses do as they approach and execute a canter pirouette.... It is so noticeable that it can't be ignored and swept under the carpet any longer, with denial that canter and canter pirouettes should be anything other than '3 beat'

Last edited on Sat Mar 1st, 2014 12:11 am by Dorothy

Dorothy
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Hello Dr Deb,
I have another question.
Is it possible for a canter pirouette to remain totally in a 3 footfall, 4 beat canter rhythm, or are the demands of a pirouette such that there will always be separation of the diagonal pair footfalls to a greater or lesser extent?
Thank you
Dorothy

DrDeb
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Dorothy, I have seen pirouettes done in both gaits. It's just a question of how much on the hindquarter the horse prefers to maintain himself.

Aesthetically, I prefer the galope in all contexts outside of "ordinary" workaday cantering around the arena, i.e. as a "breather break", or else for flat-turf-terrain outside the arena; or else on a nice dirt or pea-gravel road that is either flat or that goes at a slight rise for a long distance. -- Dr. Deb

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This is interesting!  I don't think I have ever seen a galope, as you are describing it here.  I have however seen a lot of four-beat canter, either as a Western lope or as an attempt by lower-level dressage riders to collect and slow.  It's a flat-footed falling-forward kind of movement that doesn't look or feel particularly athletic.  I am not 100 % sure what the footfall pattern is, would need to go back and look at some video for that.  What you are describing as galope seems like something else altogether.  How would it compare to Western pleasure lope?

DrDeb
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Pintado -- it's all in the person's understanding of the terminology. Dorothy has been a correspondent here for a long time, and has already seen the correct definition of "four beat canter", which crucially involves what we mean by "beat."

"Beats" in music are both sounded (notes) and unsounded (rests). That they are unsounded does not mean they don't count when we determine how many "beats" are going to be in each measure of a particular piece of music.

The walk is a gait that consists of four sounded beats.

"Gait" -- all of its many forms and sub-forms, i.e. rack, running-walk, tolt, Spanish Walk, foxtrot, trocha, sobreandando, and so forth -- are also gaits that consist of four sounded beats.

This means one hears four sounds before the footfall repeats; thus, left hind, left fore, right hind, right fore is the order of footfall for all walks and all forms of "gait". These gaits have, in addition, no period of suspension (no unsounded beats).

The "pure" trot consists of two sounded and two unsounded beats per cycle or measure, i.e. two plus two equals four beats before the footfall order repeats. Thus, right diagonal, suspension, left diagonal, suspension. The trot, correctly understood, is thus a four-beat gait.

The "pure" pace likewise consists of two sounded and two unsounded beats per cycle or measure, i.e. two plus two equals four beats before the footfall order repeats. Thus, right lateral, suspension, left lateral, suspension. The pace, correctly understood, is also a four-beat gait.

The canter consists of three sounded plus one unsounded beats, as left hind, right hind and left fore together (left diagonal), right fore, suspension. The canter, correctly understood, is also a four-beat gait.

The galope is the collected form of the gallop, which is the extended or racing form. It consists of four sounded plus one unsounded beat (in the case of horses of ordinary ability), thus left hind, right hind, left fore, right fore, suspension.

In the case of extraordinarily talented or athletic horses such as Secretariat or Man O'War, they were capable of producing a six-beat or double-suspension gallop, as left hind, right hind, suspension, left fore, right fore, suspension.

Dogs and other cursorial carnivores such as cheetahs and pumas utilize a rotatory gallop. Horses can also produce this gait, but it is harmful to them to do so; in horsemanship it is called "cross cantering" or "cantering on two leads." The footfall order is left hind, right hind, suspension, right fore, left fore, suspension. The reason that this gait is harmful to horses is that it requires rotatory spinal mobility which the anatomy of the lumbar vertebrae in horses forbids.

The ugly and incorrect form of canter which is usually called a "four beat canter" is actually a form of walk, or gait; it has the footfall order of a walk but executed in a canter-like rhythm. The footfall order in this waddling pseudo-canter is left hind, left fore, right hind, right fore, plus a very brief period of suspension. It is thus in actuality a five-beat gait, but you need to compare the footfall order to that of the gallop/galope.

The fact that 99.99% of the time, whether it be in the Pony Club manual, the 4H manual, magazines, books, videotapes, out of the mouths of experts, or wherever -- you will hear the trot referred to as a "two beat gait" and the canter as a "three beat gait" is because the speaker or writer simply has not thought the question of locomotion in horses all the way through. To speak of the trot as a "two beat" gait IGNORES -- and causes those who might like to learn, to ignore -- the crucial, the all-important, the absolutely necessary PERIOD OF SUSPENSION during which the aids are applied, during which all changes or transitions are initiated, and which alone is the factor that gives life and liveliness to the horse in motion. Think about it please! -- Dr. Deb

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Thank you! Yes, I was aware from reading this forum that the correct canter has the fourth beat of suspension (it's in march time not waltz time), and I understand the footfall patterns in theory for the walk, trot and fancy gaits. It hadn't occurred to me, though, that the bad western pseudo-canter actually has a very brief fifth beat of suspension.

Your explanation about the difference between the galope and the pseudo canter is clear. After I sent in my question I was trying to visualize the galope from how you describe the footfalls, and realized that the galope would have to be very upright, and it made sense that it would appear in lateral and pirouette work. Whereas the bad pseudo canter pretty much makes these impossible, I think.

It's also interesting to think of the "pure trot" as having four beats due to the moments of suspension. I have seen a very few horses under saddle, and a few more at liberty, displaying noticeable suspension. I took one photo of a friend's warmblood trotting in pasture where he has no feet on the ground at all; he is hovering a few inches over the ground. But most of the trots I see have no suspension; there doesn't seem to be a moment without two feet on the ground, either in real life or in still photos I've taken. Perhaps there is a tiny moment of suspension that you can't see without slow motion video, or perhaps the trot is not properly diagonal, and is on the edge of a foxtrot, with the front and back legs appearing to move at different speeds. In this case, maybe there is a minute difference in lift-off time between the front and back diagonal pair, so it is effectively a four beat gait and no suspension. Or the horses are rolled over on their forehands and going very flat. If you want to respond that what I'm seeing is not a "pure trot," I wouldn't argue with that at all, but just saying I haven't found it out there very often to be observed, and when it occurs, it tends to be chalked up to horse talent. And, even then, sometimes lost under saddle.

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You write the galope is alive in Iberia. Do they teach the galope in Iberia, or do they allow the galope when the horse offers it, instead of "correcting" it and insisting on a canter?

Thanks,

Kevin

DrDeb
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Kevin, your comment reveals an entirely American "show horse" and "competitive dressage" bias.

(1) Your comment implies that the galope is "incorrect". Whereas, in enlightened horsemanship, which is to say in the Classical High School, there is nothing whatsoever that is incorrect. There are only phenomena, and you do with the observation, the phenomenon, the thing the horse offers or what he responds with as you see fit and as your expertise and experience allow.

(2) No one with the above viewpoint would ever "insist" on a canter -- or "insist", for that matter, on anything else. What we do instead is work with whatever the horse offers; we work to shape that, we work to develop that into something more useful or more beautiful or more physiotherapeutic.

(3) No one who has ever experienced galope would prefer the canter to the galope. The canter has its uses; the galope also has its uses. The galope is beautiful and powerful; it is more on the hocks than the canter. It is also often less smooth, though it can (like the trot) be developed into something very comfortable to sit. The galope is the highway to certain airs, such as terre-a-terre and mezair, which the canter cannot and does not lead to.

(4) The limited viewpoint, the restrictions on what movements can and cannot be exhibited, the prejudices, the itchy discomfort with anything "different" that characterizes competitive dressage is something that every horseperson could very profitably abandon. -- Dr. Deb

KevinLnds
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Thanks Dr. Deb, but my question doesn't show a show horse or competitive dressage bias. I neither compete nor show, and I don't like what I see when I watch either. I also don't think the galope is incorrect. That's why I put the word correcting in quotes in my post. I think correcting the galope is incorrect. However, my question does show my complete ignorance on the subject.

Up until this thread I have never seen the galope described. With one exception, every, and I mean every, book, video, blog, or forum I've seen has focused on the canter. None has even mentioned galope. When I ask whether the galope is "corrected", I assume someone on a rules committee has "decided" that the galope is wrong and it therefore needs to be "fixed." The situation with galope is similar to ambling. If it were not for you and William Shakespeare, I wouldn't know that Europeans rode ambling horses for hundreds of years. If you read most books on horses, you'd probably conclude that something in New World water causes ambling, and not that colonists brought ambling horses to the Americas.

The exception I mentioned above is Nuno Oliveira's Reflection on Equestrian Art. However, in my edition (translated by Phyllis Field), Nuno describes the galope, but calls it a collected, four beat (sic) canter. He also describes three versions: The Western Pleasure "canter," a version with the correct foot fall but heavy on the forehand, and the galope you are describing. He values only the last, and does say it is the basis for the canter-in-place, the canter-to-the-rear, and the canter pirouette. This thread clears up my confusion about his description.

Also, since I read this thread, I rewatched some You Tube videos, and have seen galopes. In the past, I thought the horses looked good, but they didn't seem to be cantering correctly, and that's because they weren't cantering, they were galoping. The fact that I thought something was wrong in spite of the obvious quality of movement is due to a prejudice caused by my ignorance.

Thanks again,

Kevin

DrDeb
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Kevin, it may have been ignorance, but I think you're being blind to the fact that your ignorance  has been CAUSED by something, and that something is that your life as a horseman is embedded in the "culture" of 20th-century North American horse practice. This is why you have seen so little mention of galope: because the people who write for most of the horse magazines, and the editors of the magazines, and the authors of the books, and the editors of the books, and the authors of the Pony Club and 4H Manuals, are themselves ignorant. They have the same historical depth or knowledge of the past as the child -- or adult -- who thinks John F. Kennedy lived hundreds of years ago, does not understand or appreciate the evil of Hitler, and thinks that people who speak a language in addition to English are un-American.

Now, if you want to amend your own (professed) deficits in this area, that will be easy. All you have to do (to begin with) is obtain the following books, which are older works which have been re-printed complete with the original plates, and which are readily available through Amazon or the like on the Internet:

(1) Antoine de la Baume Pluvinel's "Maneige Royale" (The Royal School), 1626.

(2) William Cavendish (The Duke of Newcastle) -- "Une Nouvelle Methode de Dresser une Cheval" ("New Method of Horsemanship"), 1743.

(3) Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere's "Ecole de Cavalerie" (sometimes translated "School of Horsemanship" but more properly rendered "The Practice of Horsemanship"), 1751.

It sounds as if you already have my "Conquerors", wherein these books are discussed; but it also sounds to me as if you're the sort of student who would appreciate seeing the originals. All were originally written in French, but all the reprints are in English translation. You should also be sure to TAKE THE ILLUSTRATIONS LITERALLY -- they were the Chilton's Auto Repair Manual of their day, meant to be taken as INSTRUCTIVE DIAGRAMS in which every detail counts -- just like taking apart a carburetor.

Have fun. -- Dr. Deb

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I'm following this conversation with great curiosity. I've never heard of a galope (and no question, lol, that I've been steeped in a culture of North American horsemanship). But upon reading about it in this thread, I thought to myself, "why have I not heard this gait?" I've considered the possibility that I have and simply didn't notice, but when I question myself on the matter, I can very clearly hear the difference between a gallop and lope, and not just in the timing. I mean, some gallops are obviously slower than others, but I can't bring to mind any incident in which I heard a gallop that I would have called truly collected, or a canter that sounded like it had an extra beat in it (of course I've heard of the WP '4-beating', but I've never spent time around western pleasure horses, certainly not close enough to hear something traveling that slowly).

So my question is, is it probable that I have heard it, and just missed it? Or is this something that must be taught, rather than something a horse is likely to do on it's own, either in the pasture or under saddle? I will say, and maybe this is part of the discrepancy, that when I think about it, horses are much more likely to long trot and then gallop in the pasture than lope/canter. And even when starting a young horse, most, the first time you ask them to lope off, will either start scrambly or at a gallop, unless you ask them the first time out riding in the desert or something, or the rare unusually well balanced and collected colt. So perhaps the galope is something that does need to be taught, just like the lope often is, and simply requires more collection, and perhaps a different manner of asking?

DrDeb
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Bryna, it's just a question of your inexperience. There is a lot of talk in your post....not always sure you know what the meaning of the words actually is. This is what I'm getting at with the 'multiple guess' question in the other thread: we need to take each term separately and get its meaning completely clear in your head before any discussion can possibly be profitable, or even sensible.

I suggest as a first step in learning about the galope that you go to YouTube and enter search terms such as 'Peralta Brothers bullfight', 'Rafael Peralta', 'Angel Peralta', 'mounted bullfight', or 'rejon bullfight'. You should also do this at http://www.youtube.es.com.

Then go to YouTube and search for videos of Nuno Oliveira -- there are lots of them.

Finally, go to YouTube and enter search term 'Freddy Knie Sr. Pirouette'.

A few hours viewing these world masters will help to cure anyone's blindness. -- Dr. Deb

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A picture of Valegro showing suspension - I hope.

Attachment: Valegro.jpg (Downloaded 389 times)

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Never seen a horse suspended at the trot? Google standardbred trotter. These beautiful, well built, incredibly willing horses are often overlooked and sadly looked down upon by many in fact almost all disciplines. Especially due to the fact that most cannot achieve a true canter until they have had years of training and muscle development. What most can easily learn to do is galope. Unfortunately because is it a rougher ride and it commonly thought of as incorrect these wonderful horses are often never given a chance. What a shame.

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I've never ridden a standardbred at the canter, but I've watched one fellow run around in turnout at play. Yes, amazing trot, with moments of pace when he gets really fast. But the interesting thing is that his canter also tends to look a bit "lateral" at times. It is still I think a three beat gait, but the timing between the footfalls alters a little so that legs on one side seem to be moving more in unison than in a normal canter, as if the pace footfall is affecting the canter. I don't have video of it,unfortunately, and no idea of what it feels like to ride. I haven't seen any other horse do this, but haven't seen that many standardbreds at play.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgicT7gTpyY

Well there is this, Jeannie

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An interesting video clip that makes me pose the question 'is there a difference between trot on the spot and piaffe'?

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Can the horse passage when the walk gets collected enough that it is somewhere between a walk and a trot, but hasn't turned into a trot yet? Have wondered about that, Jeannie

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMLUWeJZwwo

It seems that the horse goes into a "mini passage" without breaking into a trot at times ( at 6:17 perhaps) and a "gentle passage" at a slow trot later. Makes me realize how much the amount of energy the horse has coupled with the precision of the foot placement affects the flow of weight, and how it is all a continuum, for the horse anyway.
                          Jeannie

DrDeb
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Been wanting to get time to reply to this thread for a month, folks -- just too much work and too much time on the road. Finally there is the opportunity.

First, to Pintado: Yes, your observation is correct -- many times, with a horse that has either been taught to pace through use of hopples, or else is a 'genetic pacer' never hoppled -- the canter is problematic. To get the animal to canter at all often requires very strong flagging. It is helpful to enroll such a  horse in Buck Brannaman's colt class, where it will be vigorously flagged around in company with a large number of other horses, which seems to help 'set an example' for the reluctant canterer.

The 'pacey canter' you observe is due to the animal coordinating as for a canter but not putting quite enough energy into it to 'clean up' the paceyness. The horse may need to be allowed almost to flat-out gallop for some time before any attempt can or should be made to create a more comfortable, more rideable, slower canter. Pacers and also gaited horses learn that pacing and/or gaiting costs them less energy and less effort than cantering and this is why, to begin with, they are reluctant to change into canter. However, after years of not cantering or not cantering very often, it also begins to give them physical pains to canter, which conspires to increase their reluctance.

As to the Albert Ostermaier video: I do enjoy this old boy because he is self-deprecating if anything and has a perfectly infectious sense of humor and lightness. I have film of Ostermaier that I often show in classes that documents his successess, as well as his mistakes, over more than a 50-year period, that is to say, with many different horses. He is not ashamed to show mistakes -- because no horse is a total mistake, merely that some come out better than the others. He is a fine example of a person who loves horses, who was for a lifetime engaged with horses, who invented different ways of solving training problems, who was not afraid to go against the German system or complain loudly (and even somewhat effectively) about the roughness and crudeness that has infected and taken over the dressage world since the 1970's.

In the Ostermaier video you may observe him riding the American Saddlebred stallion Patriot. My experience with ASB's is that they are very high IQ; also, they are the only breed of horse that I know of that has natural passage. They also have the disadvantage that they will very readily tighten up in the back and hollow out esp. at the trot, and hence Ostermaier's comment about 'you have to ride somewhat over this horse' or why he is not 'sitting into him'. What works for a broad-backed Andy will not work for an ASB.

Ostermaier was an absolute master of two things: one, having the horse be 'with' him at all times. He did not talk about Birdie of course, that being my own invention, but that is what we are talking about here. O. laughs about the horse not running back to the barn -- and getting it all done by praise, sugar & carrots -- judiciously applied of course -- with no wires, no straps, no overcheck, no coercion, no roughness; just friendship between man and horse. The man is the teacher; so is the horse in this partnership.

Observe the absolutely killer transitions in and out of the piaffe; this is another Ostermaier specialty, and he does it so well that you'll almost miss how important it is unless you look -- watch that last 'up' transition again and again, I advise you.

We also, of course, admire Nuno Oliviera and the clip cited is an absolutely wonderful example of how to use the walk, with all three classes of lateral work, to prepare a horse under saddle for piaffe and passage. Many people misunderstand any clip of a famous horseman to be showing 'what he did at the show'. Neither Ostermaier nor Oliviera gave a rap for any type of show. What you are seeing in Ostermaier's case is a man playing with a stallion. What you are seeing in Oliviera's case is a man asking questions of a stallion.

There is something -- and even with all my biomechanics I do not fully understand it -- about the half-pass and/or traversale movement that just tickles horses into wanting to passage. I have found this with every horse I ever took that far in training, and so we see it also here in the Oliviera clip. But watch what Oliviera does! He inquires, tactfully, in the shoulder-in; he performs 'the rose' on the circle, altrnating between shoulder-in and haunches-in; he takes the horse in renvers through some corners; and then you can almost hear the horse say, 'may I please trot?' and when Oliviera hears this, he lets him trot, and the trot that comes out -- the first three steps -- are soft passage the first few times. He then repeats this, in different combinations of half-passing movement at the walk, over a three-day period, until soft passage emerges pretty reliably. Then he comes half-pass in the canter and upon the down transition out pops a passage that is a little more than soft passage, that is, a little more vigorous, a little higher action.

Upon those occasions when preparation at the walk might have, but does not, elicit soft passage, Oliviera halts and asks the horse to step back three and then try again. He does this also when he wants to see a little effort at piaffe. Note that in neither the piaffe nor in the passage do we have what we would see at a dressage show, the reason being that this horse is just learning -- these are the first three days of showing him that piaffe and passage are what is wanted, and of opening up the doors so that these movements can and will emerge.

So a question about a 'difference' between a 'stepping piaffe' vs. 'real piaffe' is a good example of confusion on the questioner's part. When is a piaffe a piaffe? When is a passage a passage? The dividing line must always be fuzzy; the horse has to start somewhere. In this clip, the animal is just beginning to get his coordination and balance together so that he can perform with a man on his back that which he could easily perform in a pasture at any time.

For my part, I love it when the horse reaches the stage where the collected trot blossoms upward into a soft passage, and as I have utterly zero interest in bringing horses to dressage shows, I am inclined to leave it there. If my horse becomes passionate or excited about something, he has on occasion 'blossomed upward' still further, into a sharp or show-type passage, a terre-a-terre, or a levade. Normally I do not need to ask for that much energy, as my purpose has to do with pleasure riding. LIkewise, as to piaffe, Ollie started to offer that last year, and from the first it was a vigorous, elastic-feeling effort.

We've recently had some lameness issues, plus as I said I've had to be out of town quite a bit this year, so I've had to let piaffe and passage rest for the time being. But I am not worried about whether Ollie will express them later this year, when I can get back to serious riding. I also intend, of course, to get a photographer out there as soon as possible to document Ollie's achievement.

And as to that old pacer....bear in mind that Ollie's 'passage' and 'piaffe' are done in a 100% lateral pace and not a trot. Where does that fit into the show mentality and the show spectrum? Nowhere of course. How does it fit into the kind of thoughtful, individually-tailored training, which can also certainly be called 'the daily experiment'? Perfectly of course. About this, our teacher Tom Dorrance said: "To me, that's really living." -- Dr. Deb

Jeannie
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Hi Dr Deb, thanks for your insights on the videos. I have learned a lot by watching the Oliviera video, a lesson of a lesson, by seeing why he does what he does, and why he stops when he does. I was trying to get a collected walk the other day and could feel how his front legs were lifting just so when the horse said, " I have to trot now", so was thinking it must be hard for them to maintain that walk for long.

         Ostermaier talks about the four kinds of piaffe in one of the videos posted by Kallisti, which I am enjoying. He talks about the classical piaffe, the dressage piaffe, the bullfighting piaffe and one other which I didn't get the name of because of the audio, maybe someone else picked it up, but it was one where the horse has an exaggerated side to side motion which has to be done under conditions where the horse won't slip.

I received the 7clinics with Buck Brannaman for Christmas, and after watching all of them several times, I had one of those"oh" moments where you see something and understand it on a different level than you had before, that is that what he does is teach the high school.

                                                         Jeannie

DrDeb
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Right. A lot of people unfortunately let the cowboy hat get in their way of realizing that is exactly what Buck does. The real McCoy, the true classical High School -- not whatever it is that you see at dressage shows, which are very far from classical -- is not only the result, but the inevitable result, of Ray Hunt's teaching -- as it would also be of Nuno Oliviera's. So, equally unfortunately, many of the people, even those who were able to be with Ray for one or more clinics, but certainly including those who have only heard about it or never heard about it but see a Ray Hunt student practicing on horseback -- unfortunately, I say, they do not get the connection between the little bouts, the little repeats, of, say, walk, halt, quarter-turn on forehand, walk, halt, quarter-turn on forehand the other way -- and the inevitable result of this if practiced over time, which is canter departs from a halt. Or they do not get the connection between walk, lengthen step at walk, shorten step at walk, lengthen step at walk, repeated many times, and then repeated at trot, and the inevitable result of this exercise, which is piaffe.

The 4th type of piaffe is "balance" with an accent grav over the last "e", pronounced "balan-SAY". Ostermaier claims it is more difficult than other forms of piaffe, but here is one spot I disagree with him: I think it is a way that some horses that have difficulty "sitting down" in back cheat -- they go side to side instead, as a way of escaping the effort. Cheers -- Dr. Deb




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