ESI Q and A Forums Home
 Search       Members   Calendar   Help   Home 
Search by username
Not logged in - Login | Register 

Why do you need a clinician 2?
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
 New Topic   Reply   Print 
AuthorPost
Capparella
Member
 

Joined: Mon Nov 24th, 2014
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 28
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Oct 2nd, 2018 03:49 am
 Quote  Reply 
I was not sure if I should post a new thread or add to the Why Do You Need A Clinician post from a couple of years ago.
I recently audited a Buck Brannaman clinic for the second time. I came away quite inspired and astounded at many things.
I love the way he builds the movements into increments-from square one onwards. As an example, when he was teaching leg yields (after many other things to be checked off as working well), he said this was to be working well before doing haunches in.
It was built from the basic unified circle, to engagement of hindquarters, and onwards (too much to mention here), up into more movements.
In addition, he explained each time why these movements were important, such as why a movement affected lead changes etc.
This really helped me, as most of the teachers I’ve encountered say these movements are for suppleness. I understand that, sure, but to have it further discussed made the details « stick «  more in my mind.
I have a subscription to EH and Equus, and I love watching the EH videos which show many of these things.
No substitute though, for the in person clinic experience. For me, Buck’s energy and countenance was palpable. I am hoping it is etched somewhere in my subconscious.
I also noticed the beautiful shape of his horses. The musculature and form of the neck and hind especially looked integrated, strong, flexible, and agile.
I am very interested in learning more about these incremental stages. I am a beginner, so doing haunches in and so on are not in my repertoire yet, and I would not try them yet. However I would love to start learning more about the hows and especially the whys.
I realize there’s much more to it-there certainly isn’t some mechanical list of this movement building to that, like an exercise program. I realize the deep work certainly involves the greater path and this is an adjunct (or lesser path in my understanding of the Birdie book).
So my first question is how to get a better understanding of the movements and their meaning. I have seen some interesting things watching the herd, but don’t feel I have a strongly developed eye for it yet.
I asked a question of Buck regarding doing things in the fields-not having access to a sand arena, the fields are mostly where we ride. I know keeping in balance is really important. He said to ride like in those old Family Circus cartoons, where the kids were only 200 feet from the house, but they showed all these dotted lines going in all kinds of figures. Just ride like that all over the place.
My second question is to do with hills. Is there any interesting things of value one can do with riding up and down hills? I did not get a chance to ask him this, as he was trying to wrap up the class-it was already going overtime and he was quite gracious to answer my question about terrains.
I do have a great teacher to help me, so I am not totally on my own, but as a teacher myself (of music) I know that getting information in many different ways from those who have been there before can penetrate the psyche from many different angles and hopefully add to my understanding of the huge panorama of horsemanship knowledge.

MtnHorse
Member
 

Joined: Tue Apr 19th, 2011
Location: Utah USA
Posts: 40
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Oct 2nd, 2018 08:39 pm
 Quote  Reply 
A past thread on backing uphill:

http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/forum1/2115.html

Capparella
Member
 

Joined: Mon Nov 24th, 2014
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 28
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Oct 3rd, 2018 03:20 am
 Quote  Reply 
Thanks so much for the link! Sounds like something great to try once I'm real sure my flat work is correct.

From Dr. Deb: Read what I've said in the post below. Cap, if you dare to "try it" only after you are sure your flat work is correct, you will not only never have your flat work correct, you will never be able to do the other thing on the hill, either.

PLAN ON MAKING MISTAKES AND LEARNING FROM THEM.

IF YOU PLAN INSTEAD ON BEING 'GOOD ENOUGH' BEFORE TRYING TO DO ANYTHING, YOU WILL NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH.

Listen to your self-talk and change it! -- Dr. Deb

Last edited on Wed Oct 3rd, 2018 05:01 am by DrDeb

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3123
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Oct 3rd, 2018 03:21 am
 Quote  Reply 
Cap, as I hear it, you're basically asking about how one pattern of movement, one level of collection, one shaping of the body, or the ability to perform one transition leads to or develops the ability to do something more complex.

The single most valuable piece of information you give me in your post is that you teach music. Therefore, you already understand and have the answer to your own question -- at least on a general level. You grasp that practice of scales opens the doorway to arpeggios and glissandos; that it stretches the fingers so that the pianist can more easily cover the fifths and sevenths and octaves that the composer may require; that changes in tempo sharpen neuromuscular coordination so that eventually, a page that is black with eighth or sixteenth-notes doesn't look so scary after all, because the fingers and the brain have gained the ability to move that fast.

I sing in a church choir, but I'm entirely an amateur who came in there with no ability to read music. Our choir director simply said, "OK, we're going to begin with this piece by John Rutter and I want you to scan it." Aaaughh!! Was my first reaction. Until I tried it. And then I found, well, I can at least tell when the notes go up vs. down on the bars. This is the exact equivalent of Ray Hunt saying, "smile and go at it." You do what you can at the time when you can, i.e. at each stage.

Your familiarity with music also clarifies to the point of making it absolutely concrete, the analogy that Tom Dorrance used to make between riding and music. I always try to do my best, so really, it does frustrate me because I am indeed painfully aware when we are singing, "Claaaaaaaaap your hands ye people who are children of God" in a Gospel piece with syncopated rhythm, and I'm supposed to come in spot-on right after a quarter-rest and then hold the "clap" for exactly six beats -- I say I am painfully aware of it when I can't get my mouth open until a beat late, or shut off as crisply as is really called for. And I am painfully aware of it (because I have perfect natural pitch) when the lady with the chronic sinus and ear infections who sits two chairs down from me and can't hear herself and therefore always sings a drone (this is a church choir so everybody is indeed welcome to participate) -- I say it is my responsibility, not hers, to stay on pitch in my own line and not let her drag me into singing flat or singing the wrong line. Tom Dorrance said, "everybody wants to sing the parts of the song they are already best at, and then they slur over the parts they're not so adept with. But those are the parts they need to practice the most."

Therefore, Cap, I'm going to tell you that I don't want to hear any more B.S. about ANYTHING WHATSOEVER not being "within your repertory" so you don't practice it. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LEVEL. THERE ARE NO LEVELS. READ MY LIPS: NO LEVELS. Would you stop a little kid who had already shown interest in music from 'just playing around' to pick out tunes or try things on a piano? Would you murder a little kid's interest and attitude by informing him that he could ONLY practice things in some particular order that comes down from on high? So then also, you don't murder yourself.

There are also no difficult exercises. In very truth, there are only two kinds of exercises: easy, and impossible. Exercises are easy when the necessary background or buildup of more basic skills reaches a critical point. Exercises are impossible when either the rider doesn't present things in the right order to the horse, so that he can gain the array of necessary fundamental skills; or else because they have been presented but the critical point has not yet been reached.

Please go play. Go mess with stuff. Go try stuff. Try experiments with your horse that may occur to you. Ray Hunt said, "man that never made a mistake never done nothin' anyway. Me, I don't worry about making a mistake....I'm too busy making a new mistake. So you smile, and go at it." In short: no one, in the entire six thousand year history of horsemanship, who has only obeyed their coach, or who is unable to bring themselves to ride their own horse in any way they damn please, ever became a great -- or even a competent -- horseman. One time I was with George Morris and I said to the jr. jumper squad we were teaching -- 14 and 15 year olds who really need to hear this -- I said to them, "you know, anybody who ONLY does what his or her coach tells them will NEVER make it." This caused George to snort pizza and coke out his nose -- because he knows the truth of it.

Now, so, how do exercises relate to each other? In a million ways. Yes, it is necessary to perfect untracking before you can leg-yield with any quality; and you have to be able to send the horse into a waiting outside hand. But you won't understand what this means until you try just shoving your horse sideways and come to realize how icky that is. You will not understand what 'the horse must rise to the leg' means until you start getting the connection between untracking and raising the base of the neck and the center of the back, and how this is done through a peculiar coordination of the leg and hand. You watch good riders and you catch the feel from that, and then you go apply it to your horse as an experiment. Note I said YOU GO APPLY IT. YOU GO TRY IT.

"Levels" are a perversion of the truth -- the truth being that there IS a connection between simpler or elemental movements or responses to aids on the horse's part, and more complex movements/responses -- but levels are a perversion of this truth. The connection is far, far more essential, far more a matter of balance and timing, of what occurs from one single step to the one that follows it, than it is a matter of doing something "required" to perform a test or pattern or even a single movement within that. That they cannot tell the difference between performing and training is a basic confusion and perversion of the Parallioids and of Dressage, both with equally fatal results.

Here is an example of what I mean. Let's say you have a row of poles or barrels set up at intervals along the long dimension of an arena. And someone suggests to you that you take your horse and weave, like a long snake-trail, going in and out from the first barrel to the last.

In working with this suggestion, which would be more important?
1. Making sure that the horse never missed a barrel, and always followed the snake trail pattern; or

2. Making sure that the horse was softly bent in the right direction at about the right time to flex around a given barrel; and that he kept the softness all the time. This would mean that if he stiffened or braced up, you might miss a barrel.

Which is more important? Keeping the softness, or keeping to the pattern? Keeping to the pattern is "performance". Keeping the softness is training.

The object is eventually to be able to do both at once. Which will be of more help to you in achieving this -- keeping to the pattern? Or learning to feel when the horse is about to brace up, so that you can prevent that and thus always keep the softness?

When you can do both at once, then the connection between simpler and more complex things will be obvious to you, and you will not need me, or Buck, or anyone else to help you any more; because you will, like the 18th-century masters and master horsemen of the Asian steppe -- or like a composer -- be able to make up any amount of exercises, patterns, or movements in any combination at any time, and ask the horse to perform them, and he will perform them in as high a degree of collection as you ask. And this will happen "all by itself", as Tom D. used to say. Ask Ytzhak Perelman!

Cheers -- Dr. Deb


Capparella
Member
 

Joined: Mon Nov 24th, 2014
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 28
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Oct 3rd, 2018 05:24 am
 Quote  Reply 
Thank you so much for your analogies to music. That makes a lot of sense to me, as I’ve been a music teacher for about 25 years. Your choir director sounds like a good one! And it is indeed very difficult to have perfect pitch and ignore the gal near you droning off of 440 and not try to join her to create some sort of harmonious congruence. A good argument for Bach’s well tempered scale development.
I have the same experience of disharmony when I get my horse off balance, or the cadence isn’t right. The times when it IS right, it’s like I forgot myself, there is no time, and the connection is there. I don’t even know how we did it. Like a flow thing happened.
The times I have felt that just felt so good, nearly ecstatic, like a spirituality, or mutuality, and then you think about it and crap, it’s gone. I try to get it back and I can’t if I think about it.
The example you gave with number one and two for the barrels-it’s like when you do a recording and there might be some weird timing, but the energy is there. I’ve always kept to the energy being there than to the mechanical performance. It’s great when both meet up, but if it gets mechanical there is no life in the music.
I did get to see Ytzhak Perelman in concert many years ago. Beautiful. Seeing Buck’s movements on the horse was beautiful like that.
I think Buck was really driving it home to us because there were some folks that didn’t even have the hindquarters at all, and were pulling with both reins. I’m thinking there were some safety issues with some of the folks for sure-they were in danger of pulling the horse so off balance that they would tip over.
I will indeed, try some stuff. Ben is a super great horse. When I got home from the clinic, I said to him, I’m gonna try some stuff, and by golly, he was fine with it. He was happy to do it. I’m sure I’ll screw up lots, and get us out of balance. Buck was real particular about keeping them in balance. I was thinking I’ve got to keep us in real good balance all the time and I can’t do it yet. It pains me.
I never really thought about just going for it, and letting the horse tell me it’s not working and do something different.
I did realize that in fact Ben IS turning loose to me, and it is I who is not turning loose to him. Thank you-I will concentrate on feeling rather than thinking. Maybe the off cadence and off tune time with us will show me what is off, and in eliminating that path, what the right path is in the moment.
My teacher told me I have picked a hard row to hoe. In knowing what is possible, and not being able to do it yet, I am probably blocking myself from just messing about. I just don’t want to put them into an uncomfortable situation. They are so forgiving! I am finding having a sense of humor is helpful. Horses seem to have a playfulness and sense of humor much like I try to keep with my students.
So it sounds like light hearted and aware exploration is key in your response.

Capparella
Member
 

Joined: Mon Nov 24th, 2014
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 28
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Oct 4th, 2018 03:57 am
 Quote  Reply 
I am really glad I revisited this tonight and just found the attachment to my second post from Dr Deb.

PLAN ON MAKING MISTAKES AND LEARNING FROM THEM.

IF YOU PLAN INSTEAD ON BEING 'GOOD ENOUGH' BEFORE TRYING TO DO ANYTHING, YOU WILL NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH.

Listen to your self-talk and change it! -- Dr. Deb

I am writing in again in case any others are reading this that can resonate with what a difference an internal change might make-I had a wonderful day with Ben.

I printed out Dr Deb’s longer response and reread it this morning. « Please go play » was the internal state I settled into during the hour drive to the farm.

Ben is easy to catch up. He’s fine about it. However, I’ve often sensed a resigned « okay, I’ll come » feeling from him as I put his halter on. We often do things other than ride-with the drum/pedestal, round penning, kicking a ball around, just coming in for grooming and so on. I’m sure they help, but I think I’ve been doing them all in a state of « working on something. »

Today I walked out to the pasture, he turned and looked at me, rolled his hind around to face me and started walking towards me. We walked together across the pasture and I put the halter on at the gate.

During the ride, we played around with opening and closing gates under saddle. A lot of movements were required to do it, and I would just think « we gotta get our butt around here, and move our front there, and get this angle so we can swing the gate » and so on. Ben seemed to say « oh, you want this foot over here? Okay. Cool, we got the gate thing done, what do you want to do now? » Then we’d do other stuff in the field for awhile and come back to mess with the gate again. Then he seemed to be saying « I know about this-I know to get right up to the latch so you can open it, then we’ll back up, swing the front over, and we’ll go in.»

These may seem like small things to some, but to me and Ben, it is huge. I think my « stringent work ethic » attitude has put an underlying pressure on him (and me), and I haven’t been much fun to be with.

I very much appreciate the help to reach this insight and make this change!

JTB
Member
 

Joined: Thu Aug 11th, 2011
Location:  
Posts: 41
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2018 07:25 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Cap and Dr Deb,

Brilliant information on the thread. I watched Buck's clinic earlier this year then rode with Dr Deb. Both of them talked about finding the feel that fits your horse and it wasn't about just 'doing' an exercise. Plus a tonne helpful information. :-)

I have had a huge internal shift and 'Little' and I are having the best time together. One of my goals is to ride her around our small farm. Today we had a wonderful ride around ten acres checking the sheep. It was two friends going together. It was bliss. I have made multiple experiments to get to this stage and some of them are very strange but boy it has made a difference to Little.

Cap, I hope your horse play is continuing to be a joy.

Happy Riding
Judy and Little

Oh and I can't find it now but somewhere Dr Deb-- I think you mention something about 'classes' (not sure if that is the proper word) of turns, different turns have forwards or backwards in them? Did I make that up, if not can we please have a look at these? Or folks if it has been covered before can you please point me in the right direction.
Many Thanks.

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3123
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Oct 19th, 2018 05:50 am
 Quote  Reply 
Judy, I think you're remembering the sessions we had in previous years that covered what I call the 'Three Classes of Lateral Work,' which would be:

Class I: Leg Yield Family
Class II: Shoulder-In Family
Class III: Half-Pass Family

Not sure if that's what you're really interested in at the moment, but if so you can Google with those keywords.

As to turns having forwards or backwards in them: I think there you might be remembering something Buck said. What you've heard me say is, that once you can cause your horse to step back "one step at a time" and feel each step and be certain that you are asking for/causing each single step, why then you come to realize that going forward is just the same, or ought to be: you go forward one step at a time, feeling/causing each individual step, including the very FIRST step when you start up from a halt, or when you go from a straight path onto a curved path.

Very happy indeed I am to hear that you're enjoying your rides with Little. The sheep help, too, don't they! As giving a real purpose to the ride, and horses always like the feeling that there's a reason and a purpose, a job they can perceive that needs to be done, and something they can help you do since they figure it's important to you also. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Aloha
Member
 

Joined: Fri Feb 3rd, 2012
Location:  
Posts: 40
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Oct 19th, 2018 08:22 pm
 Quote  Reply 
JTB wrote:
I have made multiple experiments to get to this stage and some of them are very strange
This just cracked me up and I am still laughing.

I do what I call "stupid $#!+" with my horses all the time. All the little tiny steps, experiments, or tests, that I come up with to eventually have the horse almost figure out for itself what my end goal is. Where they basically tell you, "Would you please just let me get into the trailer already?" or "Would you please just swing a leg over already?" I am currently training what will most likely be the last horse I start from scratch (I'm not getting any younger). This one is a Mustang that I got at 7 months of age. She is now 3 1/2. Everything I have done with her has taken 3 times longer than anticipated and broken down into 3 extra steps. I'm sure it was the same with my warmbloods, but it's been 15 years since I'd had a baby, so lot's to revisit.

With all my horses, it's created many instances where I just laughed at what I expected and what they actually did. This happens under saddle too. But I do believe it's been alot of fun for all of us. The other day I had an acquaintance over for the first time who got an older Mustang at the same time I got mine as a baby 3 years ago. We cracked up, as my horse very deliberately reached for my stocking cap which I had placed on the saddle rack, carefully picked it up and basically "handed" it to her. We all "3" had a chuckle over that.

It frees one up to so much more fun when you don't have a deadline or entry forms filled out.

I will be auditing Buck next weekend.

JTB
Member
 

Joined: Thu Aug 11th, 2011
Location:  
Posts: 41
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Oct 20th, 2018 07:09 am
 Quote  Reply 
Thank you for the reply Dr Deb. I had thought I had 'got' what you were saying about riding one step at a time but it hasn't been till this winter that I think I finally understood it. Little and I have been playing with turns one step at a time and that got me thinking about where is the weight and does it have forwards or backwards in it.

Aloha, it is just so much fun removing all agendas and limits. I recently prepared my yearling to go to a vet hospital for an operation, I made the appointment so I had to get out there to teach him about what was coming, I also knew I could change the date if the yearling needed me to. It was so much fun to break each task down to the tiny steps so he could learn and understand. It was amazing to me how many steps could be in learning one thing. The end result was he was a darling to take away, he stood calmly to have his follow up injections and has kept his delightful character. He had 'Aunty Little' to travel with him and she really came though and was a rock for him.

I hope it is alright to share one of my stranger experiments this year. When I took my steed to Dr Deb's clinic this year. ‘Little’ and I had been having epic discussions at home about responding to the leg and she can be adamant when she doesn’t want to move. I was at a loss as to what to do. She had a couple of ‘paddies’ when at the clinic and Dr Deb told me when she does this I am to be pretty disgusted with her and kick her guts out her nostrils. Great visuals on that one.

We also had a discussion about how Little falls in love with a ‘spot’ because if she leaves her chosen spot (she has a LOT of these on our farm) she believes she is going to die. And sometimes Little falls in love with herself (??!!) We talked about getting disciplined as we grow up, if the discipline was thought of as fair we are not offended by it but if we think it is unfair we are not amused and it can cause resentment.

Little had major resentment for really bumping her with my legs and whopping her with the flag under saddle.

I had a couple of miserable rides with Little when we got home. We were both so unhappy and having no fun. I thought about what Buck and Dr Deb had said about feel and I was stumped as to why this really intelligent pony had so much trouble understanding the idea of forward.
What was I doing wrong. Argh!

I had noticed whenever I rode her there was a lot of ‘letting out butterflies’. So I thought maybe I need to be smaller with her, Dr Deb had said I nag her…..yep hadn’t noticed but sure was, how annoying for her. Buck said how important it was to the horse to ask for the hind quarters to step over with the rein and no leg, it showed the horse you were willing to wait on them.

I embarked on a lesson of riding one step at a time in tiny increments. Gawd I realized how much I hurry her and didn’t wait for her to respond, so we abandoned all desire to do anything just get her to feel okay. It has been one slow step at a time but boy were those steps the most wonderful fun and she felt so nice, after the start of the sessions going slow, eventually she would unstick herself and offer a huge big walk. We were doing nothing and I was so excited and she felt happy!! During these sessions she started to feel she wanted to lie down, I didn’t think it was a good idea. BUT after one session of one step then another step that started with monsters at the end of the arena, she did her big walk around the arena and wanted to lie down at the end where the monsters had been so I thought let us see what will happen here!

She lay down and was very peaceful of half an hour, I just patted her and made like a mummy horse and stood with her. She didn’t feel shut down or angry just peaceful. I let her get up when she wanted to and we took all her gear off and I put it away while she continued to chill out. I thanked her and she followed me out to the paddock through the round pen where the monsters lurk.

Since that ride I have allowed her to lie down when she feels she needs to, sometimes I lie down too, I might take the tack off or we might keep riding once she is up, sometimes she sits half way up, which is so cute but I am aware this is ‘her’ time so I have no desire to turn this into a cued trick.

The positive side effects have been many but the best one is she no longer sucks back and feels so much safer to ride! Her ears prick up and when she offers her big walk her ears are so relaxed it is lovely. I can whoop her with the flag and she is not offended as I think she now understands what the leg and flag means. She knows the answer.

Sorry for the long winded post, I have been a bit nervous about sharing my 'pony sitting down' experiment, but when Dr Deb was in NZ she was encouraging us all to use this resource! She has sat down a few more times usually just after a period where she has tried really hard and has offered some awesome stuff. The experiment continues!

Happy Horse play to all.
Best Wishes
Judy and Little


 Current time is 09:17 pm




Powered by WowBB 1.7 - Copyright © 2003-2006 Aycan Gulez