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Horse Cognition
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MsEithne
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 Posted: Thu Aug 4th, 2016 08:54 am
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This is a link to a study that showed that 23 out of the 23 horses (including one 38 year old) trained in a period of 14 days could use symbols to indicate their preference for a blanket put on, blanket left on or blanket taken off. Training was reward (reinforcement) based operant conditioning.

http://www.appliedanimalbehaviour.com/article/S0168-1591%2816%2930219-2/fulltext?rss=yes

or

http://tinyurl.com/zu3vl39

(the tinyurl link leads to the same link to the article)

While one would think that owners could use common sense to predict whether their horse wants a blanket or not, in situations I've observed it does not seem to be the case. For instance, in reading Australian websites and watching Youtube videos from Australia, it seems to me that there are people blanketing horses for conditions that would constitute spring or fall here in midwestern USA. It would be interesting to see what the horses preferred!

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Aug 5th, 2016 12:47 am
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Yes, the culture and traditions of the people in charge of the horses -- in whatever world region -- have a tremendous influence, and one that is difficult to change or overcome, no matter how logical or reasonable the change would be.

The British Commonwealth countries inherit their horsekeeping traditions from England, a country with a rainy, cool-maritime climate. In Australia, only Melbourne and (in some seasons) Canberra would present anything similar, and yet we see horses in the hot, arid regions as well as in the hot, humid subtropical regions blanketed. I've seen horses in Australia in blankets (not flysheets) at 2:00 in the afternoon when the temperature was above 85 degrees F.

When I ask, "don't you realize your horses are uncomfortable", and "don't you realize this is why they rub their blankets askew and tear at them, because they're trying to get them off," the owners readily acknowledge that they DO realize this. "So then why do you continue to blanket?" I ask, and the answer is, "because if we don't blanket, our neighbors will turn us in to the humane department for not caring properly for our horses."

In the U.S., although we also inherit some of our horse traditions from the British, the influence from that is not nearly as strong. Instead, what we have here is commercialism. Ask yourself: what is the highest-ticket item in any tack store? And the answer is: saddles. OK, how many saddles do you buy per year? Answer: one, or more probably, only one in ten years or longer. So although saddles are pricey and profitable to the store, the rate of sales of saddles is not what keeps them in business.

What DOES keep them in business is selling blankets. Blankets are the second highest-priced item in the store (along with bridles with bits). And given the rate at which horses mess blankets up so that they need repair (what tack store have you been in lately that didn't have a poster advertising "blanket repair"?), or get them stained with urine and poop so that the owner just "wants" to get a new blanket, the result is that women will buy, on average, one blanket per horse per year.

Blanket manufacturers promote this too, by manufacturing blankets and other "horse clothing" in all kinds of colors and patterns -- something that appeals particularly to the beginner, who often seeks to cover her incompetence as a horsewoman by playing dress-up with her horse. This includes not only blankets per se, but colored polo wraps, so-called "support boots" made of stretchy foam, Danskin-like neck and/or body "clothing" intended primarily to keep the coat glossy and the mane "neat".

And just as in Australia, here in the U.S. I often see horses with their blankets still on after 11 a.m., in the heat of the day. Nobody here would ever "report" somebody for not properly caring for their horse because it didn't have a blanket, so in the U.S. the main cause of this is utter thoughtlessness.

I hasten to add that it's also due to ignorance. Before it came into domestication, the horse species was holarctic in distribution, which means that it ranged from about 35 degrees north latitude up to the Arctic circle. Pre-domestication, horses did not occur in tropical climates or at any latitude farther south than 35 degrees N, except at altitude (altitude compensates for latitude, i.e. at higher elevations the temperature is cooler and the winters snowier). While it is true that the Przewalski horse's last refuge was the Gobi basin, which gets tremendously hot in summer, its winters are also severe. The horse can deal with hot, dry climates so long as it has a cold winter to look forward to; that is the period when their physiology has a chance to recover.

One may also cite the feral horses of Venezuela, that live in the Llanos which is very near the equator. Those horses, released or escaped during the European conquest of Venezuela, have over the past 500 years adapted not only to the tropical climate but to vampire bats, piranhas, and a load of tropical parasites. The Llanos region gets huge amounts of rainfall during the spring season, so that the ground becomes completely waterlogged and the horses are in water up to their ankles or knees for several months on end, until the dry season comes. Then all the water evaporates, the ground becomes as hard as cement, and the only places the horses can find forage is around the scattered waterholes. Take one look at a photo of a Llanero horse (go to Wikipedia), and decide if that's what you want your horse to look like....the body morphology has become goatlike or asslike as a way of dissipating heat, whereas the robust, heavy body of a "normal" horse is designed to RETAIN heat.

So, the bottom line on this is exactly as you have noticed: one hardly needs a behavioral study to "tell" when their horse needs a blanket. As a rule of thumb for a healthy horse who has lived in the same area for one or more seasons, the answer will be "almost never". Old, thin horses; sick horses; fine-skinned horses that have just been shipped far north of their point of origin and are enduring their first cold winter -- they may need a blanket. How you "ask" them is you go out at 4:00 a.m., just before sunrise, during the coldest part of the night, and observe where the horses are standing. Are they on the lee side of the barn? Then they're normal horses. Do they have pilo-erection, i.e. is their body fur all standing up on end, so they look like woollybear caterpillars? Good, that's normal too. Are they all standing quietly in a bunch? Are they standing with their tails facing the wind? All normal, no indication that anybody in that herd needs a blanket.

But if you keep them separately in stalls or pens, where there's no way for them to stand on the lee side of a wall; or if you see them shivering, then put the blanket on. But for Pete's sake, PLEASE come back and take it off again before the temperature gets higher than 70F.

Notice that 70F is the temperature where humans feel really comfortable. Nonetheless it is 30 or 40 degrees higher than the temperature where horses feel really comfortable -- i.e. the horse is at his most comfortable when the temperature is just freezing.

Food for thought -- Dr. Deb

David Genadek
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 Posted: Sun Sep 18th, 2016 07:08 pm
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Deb, Since you have mentioned the British Commonwealth countries, I have a question for you. Since you sent me the photos from Mathew Horace Hayes book I have been giving this a great deal of thought. I think the British influence on modern horsemanship has been disproportionate to the rest of human-horse history. From what I am seeing they created their own seat which I am calling the Imperial British seat. It is really quite different from Jineta ,Brida or Estradiota. From what I can see somewhere in the 1800s they created a chair seat which has had and unbelievable influence on the saddle design and fitting concepts of today. Do you know where and how this chair seat hollow back riding style came about?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Sep 19th, 2016 11:10 am
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Dave, this is a real good line of thought that would make a great Ph.D. dissertation for somebody willing and able to follow it up with extensive search (on line, in libraries, and also in art museums) for images that document a chain or progression of change in the manner in which people "sit to horse".

In "Conquerors," whose main theme is not the development of saddlery (but rather the early development of horse breeds of the Western Hemisphere), I give the broad outlines -- the framework upon which can then be fleshed out in greater detail. Thus, "Jineta", "Brida", and "Estradiota" can be thought of as great "families" or styles of sitting. It's great to have this much but more detail could be filled in, and it would be great to have somebody devote the time and resources to do that.

Meanwhile, you ask where sitting with the rider's butt plastered against the cantle (or even on top of the cantle), his legs extended stiffly forward so as to brace in the stirrups -- you ask where this came from, and my reply to that is the same as given in "Conquerors," i.e., it starts in the Middle Ages. Sitting that way, which I have called "a la brida" or you might say "full-blown brida," is intimately interrelated with the type of offensive weapons and defensive armament that the knight would use. Sitting another way, i.e. for example "full-blown jineta," as explained in "Conquerors," is also and equally part-and-parcel of the weapons and the tactical style of the Muslim raider or the lighter Persian cavalry. You can't have the one without the other -- the way the soldier sits is totally tied up with how he means to fight. If it is a civilian, I would say also that how the traveller chooses to sit is also totally tied up with how he or she expected to go down the road, i.e. was the horse an ambler or a trotter? Or did the traveller merely walk? Are we talking about some time after around 1835, when posting to the trot finally became universal? Or instead some earlier time when it was believed that the only way to "survive" sitting at the trot was to lean right back?

So, you see, this would be a most rich field for some careful and systematic documentation.

Funny you should ask this just at this time, as I have been working on a couple of articles for Equus Magazine which form the background to the biography of a very famous harness horse of the mid-19th century. As such I've been searching for images of trot-racing under saddle, i.e. the early history of harness racing. This is primarily an American sport and an American invention. In the beginning, i.e. in the time period right after the Revolutionary War and up until about 1825, races on trotters (or pacers) were always conducted under saddle, just as they had been in Rhode Island and Maryland before the Revolution. The difference after the war was that the type of horse changed from the Narragansett Pacer or Narragansett X TB, to Morgan or Morgan X TB, i.e. somewhat of a bigger, broader horse.

I attach a copy of a painting made at the Philadelphia Hunting Park Track in 1831, the first year in which under-saddle trot racing was carried out at that Park (which was then brand-new) under a regular set of rules. It very clearly shows how Americans used to race trotters under saddle. In the next post I re-present the old Albrecht Durer "Knight, Death, and the Devil" etching made in 1490, just to refresh your memory about saddles with a "butt cup" and the overall tendency of riding a la brida to make the horse hollow its back. -- Dr. Deb

Attachment: Trot race 1831 Philadelphia enlgt.jpg (Downloaded 166 times)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Sep 19th, 2016 11:13 am
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Here's the Durer artwork.

Attachment: Durer 1498 Knight Death and the Devil.jpg (Downloaded 165 times)

David Genadek
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 Posted: Mon Sep 19th, 2016 08:31 pm
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I am looking at it from the saddle design perspective and I can see your point on the Brida but there are dramatic differences in the saddle design and since saddle design is a product of riding philosophy it seems to me that the seat should be considered at very least a hybrid if not in a category of it's own. For instance the the seat has more bend to the leg so you could equally say that Jineta was the inspiration. The other thing that has bothered me is that for any of the 3 traditional seats the saddles were place very forward and over but not on the scapula. The Imperial British seat (for lack of a better name) begins the backward movement of the rider. When we look at the fundamental components of the saddle; Seat rail, horse rail and arches we see dramatic changes.
For the 3 classic seats the seat rails were level but when the Imperial British seat comes along we start seeing ramped seats and the rear arch looses it's function as an angle holder and they start confusing the seat rail with the horse rail. I have to question this because when we look at Brida there were real reasons for the design. They were clad in metal and needed arches to attach the saddles metal too. These cultures sat in chairs so it makes sense they would go to the chair maker and he would do what he knew. The Jineta cultures sat on the ground so they basically made the saddle into a floor and then decided to just stand after they figured out the stirrup. After Genghis Khan the two worlds begin to mix and the saddle designs clearly reflect the use of both worlds. All of which have clearly defined arches seat rails and horse rails.
I just don't see any real reasons for this chair seat style of riding other than the British Aristocracy decided to sit in this bizarre way out of shear arrogance. Were they just biting their thumbs at the French and and Italians by riding this bizarre seat?

Bryy
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 Posted: Mon Sep 19th, 2016 08:31 pm
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Dr. Deb-

Do you think the muscling shown in Durer piece is accurate?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Sep 20th, 2016 08:37 am
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Yes. Durer was one of the most observant of Medieval artists, and his style is quite realistic. -- Dr. Deb

David Genadek
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 Posted: Tue Sep 20th, 2016 11:52 pm
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When at the Leeds armories museum I was struck by the horse armor I saw. You could see that it was made to fit an inverted back.

Attachment: leeds_armory_museum-0282.jpg (Downloaded 144 times)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Sep 21st, 2016 10:19 am
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Yes. And you notice also that the armor in the foreground is formed to fit a normal or slightly rounded back. In fact, the men who functioned as knight-soldiers were very wealthy, or if not personally wealthy, then the sworn lieges of men who were. They could afford to have each armor specifically made to fit the particular horse, much like we custom-make saddles for individual horses today. -- Dr. Deb

David Genadek
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 Posted: Wed Sep 21st, 2016 04:29 pm
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Deb, I did notice and was left with the impression that no matter what seat people rode true horseman could be found in each of the seats. Here is a shot of two statues Liz found while teaching in Germany. Pretty amazing contrast.

Attachment: german-statues.jpg (Downloaded 131 times)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Sep 23rd, 2016 02:04 pm
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Yes, this might be Bamberg -- you might tell us the city if you know where the photo was taken. And yes, there have been good horsemen in all countries, of all cultures, at all periods. However -- that's as much a generalization as saying that "they were all good" or "they were all bad." One must have, to begin with, a definition of the word "horsemanship", and then also some scale or measure by which to assess "badness" or "goodness".

This is what I was indicating above, David. You have been an interested student as long as I've known you, and that's going on for forty years now. Retirement is not too far off for you. This will free up your time, I hope; and what I would vote for the most that you should do with your time and money in the next decade would be that you attend an accredited university, i.e. the University of Wisconsin for example. And that you take a degree in biology, engineering, architecture, history, philosophy, or some combination thereof. And the reason that these would be the desirable fields is that they are not going to let you graduate before they teach you to organize your thinking. And they are also going to require you to learn how to systematically (rather than incidentally or haphazardly) perform research, and they are going to give you the tools whereby that becomes not only possible but a life habit. And finally, they are going to take this organization and this power of performing research, and hitch it to a correct philosophy of research, which is that science proceeds not by proof but by disproof.

Let me explain this. Most people think that scientists or researchers are "out to prove a theory," and that this is how careers are made in science or how a particular scientist becomes famous -- because he or she succeeded in proving that their idea was correct. In the course of that sort of program, the successful scientist will have out-argued all other points of view, essentially beating down all opposition.

But this is the fantastical thinking of people who are neither scientists nor researchers. The truth of the matter is -- and it was biologist-philosopher Carl Popper who first realized this (so you can go look up his bio and get the full story under his name at Wikipedia) -- the truth of the matter is, that by the rules of logic, nothing can be proven. The only thing that can actually be done is to DISprove some ideas.

Notice how this realization totally alters any discussion. The person who is "out to prove a theory" is, in fact, on a witch hunt. He or she is always looking for stuff that seems to support their point of view. This leads to the gathering of anecdotal evidence or "testimonials" -- for example, "yeah that herbal tonic really helped me," or "yeah my horse stopped getting saddle sores once I changed to saddlemaker X's patented design of saddles." We don't question that the tonic might have helped, and we don't question either that the horse stopped getting saddle sores. Nonetheless, their testimonials don't count for much, because tomorrow they're going to be contravened by somebody else's insistence that it is "tonic B" that worked for them and "saddlemaker XYZ" that makes the better saddle.

Science cannot be done this way, not only because of what I've just said, but also because the researcher's own emotions are inevitably going to get in the way. As the adage goes -- no amount of facts will dissuade a "true believer" -- the guy that's on the witch hunt, emotionally deeply invested in finally, at long last, being "proved right".

What we do instead is as follows:

(1) State the hypothesis: as clear and concise a statement as possible, ideally involving only one single aspect or sub-system. For example: Having the front end of the bars flare more reduces the incidence of saddlesores under various specified conditions.

(2) Devise a method of testing the hypothesis that will give clear-cut results -- i.e., you put flared and non-flared saddle trees on horses of different build. You would also normally test all the reasonable or likely variations, i.e. you put flared and non-flared saddle trees on the same horse and then ask him to go up/downhill vs. on the flat, fast vs. slow, lots of bends and curves vs. on the straightaway. You devise a scoring system for assessing presence/degree of soreness in each category, and you tabulate results. 

(3) If results contradict your hypothesis, excellent: this is your stimulus to go back to step (1) and create a better hypothesis. If results corroborate your hypothesis, you have a more difficult task -- to find a new hypothesis that will DISPROVE your idea.

The name of this three-step procedure is "scientific method." Notice how different the emotional commitment/investment now is -- every time you get to step (3) you are being asked to kick your own butt, to step back and reconsider, to doubt and to ask again from a new perspective. Now we are not on a witch hunt for any straw we can grasp at that will shore up our ego, but instead we are engaged in a process of carving away all that is false.

But to make this approach one's habit of mind -- that takes training, and that's what a proper Bachelor of Science degree inculcates. It will not either, by the way, be sufficient for you to stop at the B.S. level, because the Baccalaureate program only teaches basic technique. It asks that the student learn how to spell, how to write an expository sentence, how to organize a paragraph and an essay. It asks that the student learn how to use University library resources. It asks for a certain amount of dedication and persistence, and it asks also for submission, because you're going to have to take the required coursework even if you think you don't "need" Great Books or English Comp 101 or Review of Calculus for Incoming Freshmen. But the B.S. does not typically teach how to perform research.

That's what the M.S. degree is all about. In the two years you will spend completing this, you will be working on some single project which has been agreed upon by you and your academic advisor. The idea is to produce a thesis, which is to say, a short book that tells all that is known about whatever your project is. Normally the M.S. thesis does not present any new ideas, but instead is proof that the candidate for the M.S. can look stuff up, can perform reading and comprehend other peoples' published technical papers, can write the book, and very importantly, can organize and present a complete bibliography of references.

Now we come to the third phase, and that's the Ph.D. In the four to eight years that you will spend completing this, you will build on your proven ability to review and report the technical work of others. You'll do this by setting forth a hypothesis of your own generation, testing it in whatever ingenious ways so as to expose its flaws, write a rather longer book (the Dissertation) which explains all this, and present a bibliography that is so complete that not one single reference is left out. This is because anyone with a Ph.D. is held responsible at all times for giving proper credit to other researchers. And proper credit cannot be given unless you are aware of everything that has ever been written on the subject of your dissertation.

So there's the future, David. There have to be no more witch hunts, no more effort to prove anything, but instead, real scientific method. I'm sure you see how this would prevent any expert from simply going on a disorganized rant. Instead, every statement has to be verified, has to pass muster in terms of logic, scientific method, and also by the lights of plain old common sense. I'd love to see you produce a book on saddle design and fitting which begins by explaining and illustrating the exact meaning of terms like "seat rail", "gullet width", and so forth. I know you would be capable of doing this. Question is, are you willing? Because, David, if you ultimately are not willing, you're going to go down just like Tony Gonzales "A Diary of Lameness," who had great ideas but no grasp whatsoever of how to define terms, set forth the ideas, or systematically test them; so that whatever merit his ideas actually had, and whatever contribution he could have made to the wellbeing of horses, has by now sunk into obscurity, never to rise again. -- Dr. Deb

David Genadek
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 Posted: Fri Sep 30th, 2016 07:24 pm
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The statues were in Bremen Germany.
The definition I use for horsemanship is that the horse must be worked and maintained with in it's natural psychological,physiological and bio mechanical limits. With in that you can do whatever you want.

I stumbled upon the photo on Face book.
Parthian Shot

Ancient Etruscan bronze Amazon performing Parthian Shot.
The Parthian shot was a military tactic made famous by the Parthians, an ancient Iranian tribe. The Parthian archers mounted on light horse, while retreating at a full gallop, would turn their bodies back to shoot at the pursuing enemy. The maneuver required superb equestrian skills, since the rider's hands were occupied by his bow. As the stirrup had not been invented at the time of the Parthians, the rider relied solely on pressure from his legs to guide his horse. The tactic also could be used during feigned retreat, with devastating effect.
In 1874, the British scholar Isaac Taylor brought up the idea of a genetic relationship between Etruscan and Hungarian. The Hungarian connection was recently revived by Mario Alinei, Emeritus Professor of Italian Languages at the University of Utrecht. Alinei's proposal has been rejected by Etruscan experts such as Giulio M. Facchetti, Finno-Ugric experts such as A. Marcantonio and by Hungarian historical linguists such as Bela Brogyanyi.
The discussion among linguists is still open, but as we look into the Hungarian equestrian sport and culture we find back evident proof of a Etruscan- Hungarian genetic relation. You can find in Hungary individuals and groups which are still practicing today the Parthian shot as a kind of agility sport on horseback
"You wound, like Parthians, while you fly,
And kill with a retreating eye"
— Samuel Butler, An Heroical Epistle of Hudibras to His Lady (1678)
(Text from Jan's Page)
So there was a real reason for the position but it was not a seat it was a maneuver. Why the British picked it up and used it as a seat is yet to be discovered.

Attachment: 14355709_10209058641816807_5269723158276529708_n.jpg (Downloaded 76 times)

David Genadek
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 Posted: Fri Sep 30th, 2016 07:32 pm
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So everyone has a reference to the seat the British promoted.

Attachment: englishrider.jpg (Downloaded 76 times)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Oct 1st, 2016 11:36 am
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David -- I have to object to your assigning the chair seat, or even the seat a la brida, exclusively to the British. I also object to your judging down on it. It is true that for most purposes today we hope that people will not ride that way, but at one time, it had a justifiable reason and purpose because, as I have pointed out above and in "Conquerors", it was part and parcel of a whole system of offensive and defensive armamentaria. It is also true that, as ways of riding that are more efficient and kinder were developed -- particularly here I am thinking of Caprilli's development of the "forward seat" -- the British (as well as everybody else) were gradually won over, so that nobody today rides the "back seat" at the flat track or over jumps. You haven't covered all the territory or reviewed all the artifacts before you make the blanket statement. This is what I'm trying to help you to overcome.

Evidently you missed the ol' Parthian rider -- this is a very famous artifact and I reproduce a picture (drawing, line tracing) of it in "Conquerors". Again, please try to complete your collection of the best books on the subject of horsemanship and horse history; you can find this same image in books on equestrian history/history of horsemanship by Anthrony Dent, Hans Isenbart, and Charles Chenevix-Trench, besides my own. These latter three works are absolutely the classics in this field and you should own and study them before going anywhere else, because the Internet is so very hit-and-miss as to the completeness and the quality of the accompanying information.

As to the point you are attempting to make -- the "Parthian" rider is Parthian because she is wearing clothing that the Greek sculptor who made the little metal sculpture, which is actually a decoration around the rim of the lid of a pot, thought that Parthians wore. And he wasn't far off: "Parthian" is a name for Persians, i.e. the culture that developed from the Medes and other nomadic horse-mounted tribes who migrated southward from the steppes of Asia to invade and populate the country we now know as Iran. The rider in the little sculpture is female because both men and women among the Parthians wore trousers. Greek women dressed very differently from Greek men, and so because the Parthian sexes dressed much more alike, the Greeks somehow got the idea that all the Parthians were women. This may have been because the people who were able to report about the Parthians saw them only from a distance a little greater than a bowshot....in any case, this is the origin of the Greek legend of the Amazons, warrior-women who could twist in the saddle on a galloping horse to accurately fire arrows to the rear, which is the famous "Parthian shot". The Greeks were not very good riders and this seemed awesomely impressive to them.

The Amazon/Parthian shooter sits as she does not because she is British, but because she is riding bareback and, you might notice, guiding her horse by means of her legs (since both of her hands are busy with the bow and arrow). Her seat or position in the saddle have nothing whatsoever to do with the much later seat a-la brida.

The small photo you present in the next post is of a British rider. It is an off-duty officer posted to India during the Raj. He is riding a part-Arab horse standing not over 14:2 hands, in other words, not very tall and also quite flat-bodied and "dry" in conformation and build. He is not shown with his polo mallet but that's what he was out to do the day the photo was taken. He sits as he does because of the build and way of going of his horse, and because sitting in that manner was considered the effective way to school a horse to make him into a polo pony. Again, what he is doing has much less to do with the seat a-la brida than it does with the practical necessities of the moment.

In short: there is much more to all of this than you seem to realize. I am encouraging you to stop making generalizations, and try to get caught up on the necessary reading. I am encouraging you to learn how to perform research in a systematic manner, and how to allow common sense some entry into the thought process. By "common sense" I mean that you have to consider numerous factors that may cause a rider to look a certain way in a still photograph, painting, or sculpture. These factors include, but are not limited to:

1. The general cultural background of the rider, their sex, and their economic level i.e. peasant, nobleman, colonel of cavalry, armored knight, tradesman. Are we looking at the Wyfe of Bath, the Miller, or the Squire?

2. The era or decade during which the photo was taken

3. The purpose for which he or she mounted the horse, i.e. sport, transportation, warfare, exhibition

4. The medium being analyzed, i.e. photograph, painting, sculpture; and especially important in this category, the particular artistic idiom, i.e. is it from an Egyptian tomb painting, a Medieval Italian Ucello, a Han Chinese rubbing, a Civil War-era photo taken by Mathew Brady?

5. Momentary variations or problems: if it's a photo, are we catching the passing bad moment? If it's a Civil War era daguerrotype which required the subject to stand absolutely still for three to five seconds while the exposure was being made, one must expect the subject to be "striking a pose". This is far different than what one might capture with a modern SLR or digital snapshot.

Again, is it a painting or drawing? In that case, what seemed important or accurately representative to the artist might represent something rather minor in the larger scheme of things. Thus, your statement a couple of posts above that the Durer knight could not be riding a-la brida because he has his knees bent -- David, that drawing not only shows a rider a-la brida in a full butt-cup saddle, but is the very DEFINITION of the seat a-la brida. The rider is clearly pressing down and forward into the stirrups, clearly sitting right on top of the cantle, on the butt-cups. If he bends his knees a little bit, and the artist records that, we need to take that into consideration as a minor variation, perhaps the rider scootching around in the saddle a little bit to relieve his stiff joints -- because surely that knight sat still for far longer than five seconds to give the artist time to complete his drawing. Furthermore, to go farther as you did and say that Durer's knight is an example of jineta reveals that you have forgotten what the seat a la jineta is: go back and look in "Conquerors" or the other books I recommended above. The jineta rider has knees sharply bent, riding with quite short stirrups.

The bottom line is: your points are nonsensical and your thinking is disordered, because you have not yet performed the necessary background reading; you do not yet possess the necessary breadth, the whole range of data, from which conclusions can sensibly or usefully be drawn. You need to get events and inventions that pertain to different time periods, different countries, different cultures, different purposes for riding horses and building saddles into order. This takes hours and hours of study and there's only one place to do that: in a good college library -- I recommend the Shields Library at U.C. Davis particularly, but I'm sure U. Wisconsin main campus library would be in the same league. You need to go take a degree as I suggested above; I don't know any other way to make sure that a student as interested as you are gets the necessary and correct training. -- Dr. Deb 


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