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Lessons from Woody
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Porfi
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 Posted: Thu Nov 14th, 2019 03:13 pm
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I am reading Lessons from Woody and I got to the paragraph 'If the horse is leaning to the right, find the time in the stride when the horse's right hind foot is all the way back ... Just as the foot begins to swing forward, stimulate it to change its flight..... Light aids are all that are required;'  But the article does not mention what the actual aid is.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Nov 14th, 2019 05:37 pm
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Porfi, welcome to the Forum. Here is where we engage in dialogue, which means a back-and-forth exchange between you and me, and also sometimes with others who read here and who want to ask questions or make comments.

So, right off the bat, I am going to ask you to think which of the aids seems most likely to be the right one. The "aids" means, essentially, which of your body parts you use to touch the horse with.

That's first --for you to write back with an answer to the above question. Meanwhile also, I'd like you to learn how to use the Google advanced search engine to search for threads/discussions already posted in this Forum. The Forum has been "up" since 1997 and there are several thousands of discussions.

What you do is go back to the top of the Forum home page and see the "announcement" thread that gives instruction on how to use the Google search engine to specifically search this Forum. Enter keyword "untracking" and that should pull up material that will be helpful to answering your query. Happy reading -- Dr. Deb

Porfi
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 Posted: Thu Nov 14th, 2019 08:00 pm
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Google! I hate Google. :) Anyway, I tried it on my horse today. While going in a circle I moved my leg back, with the swing of the horse, to ask him to step under. After a few times I could feel the step under. And I used less and less of the aid because he moved with just a simple touch. Also, when we were on a straight line I could feel the lean, so I asked for one step under. Was that right? I'm sure I'll learn more as I read/listen to your CDs.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Nov 16th, 2019 06:32 am
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Porfi, you may hate Google but you DO need to read the previous discussions, if for no other reason than simple courtesy to me. Did you want me to have to repeat explanations and directions that I've already given, just for your unique benefit?

You did figure out "which aid" very well, as I figured you would do....it's just a matter of common sense, really.

You are right ANY TIME you feel that the horse has begun to carry itself crooked, and you step in there with the appropriate aid and help him not do that. Teaching him to carry himself and you straight is the greatest thing you can do to enhance and preserve his soundness, not to mention open the door to collection and all the finer and higher things that flow from that. -- Dr. Deb

Kuhaylan Heify
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 Posted: Sat Nov 16th, 2019 03:03 pm
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Dear Deb: Straight meaning ,'dressed"? Reading the Duke of Newcastle book from Eclectic horseman he's always talking about dressing horses. Since a lot of the old masters were also military men who had to ,' dress ,' their lines of troops in order to mass their fire on the battlefield it seems self evident that the word Dressage in realty refers
to the body of knowledge having to do with straightness and NOT with working, or training a horse as the usdf types are always calling it.
eureka!
best
Bruce Peek

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Nov 16th, 2019 05:29 pm
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Yes, Bruce, you have heard me say this every time you've been in one of my classes.

The title of Cavendish's (Duke of Newcastle's) book is:

"Un nouvelle metod de dresser un cheval", which means: "A new way of straightening a horse" or alternatively, "A new way of preparing a horse."

It is only by extension that the FEI and USDF can justify translating it as "A new way of training a horse". -- Dr. Deb

Porfi
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 Posted: Wed Nov 20th, 2019 02:39 pm
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An interesting response to my aid for him to step underneath himself, was that his head dropped down.  I mean his nose was on the ground.  Any thoughts on that?

Kuhaylan Heify
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 Posted: Wed Nov 20th, 2019 04:17 pm
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The reason I ask Deb is that I've gotten so tired of always reading in fairly reputable magazines- Dressage today- Practical Horseman etc. that the word dressage simply means to train... It most certainly does not. It is derived from dressing a line of troops. Because in the old days in order to mass your archers fire you had to mass them in a straight line. The same tactic was used to mass musket fire until at least the american civil when large scale use of breech loading rifles with an accurate lethal range of at least 200 yards first came into use. At that time the soldiers in the field tried to abandon the formal skirmish line which resulted in literally thousands of casualties in less than 15 minutes.( Malvern hill, Pickets charge, and Cold Harbor) It took the officers a few months to catch on to the tactic of sketchily aligned troops advancing unevenly in order to take an objective. Similarly in the heyday of the mounted charge ( 800 to 1900 AD) a line of cavalry had to be dressed- meaning straightened- and kept straight in order to be effective.
Newcastle and most likely ALL of the old masters were either active military commanders or worked with
military men so they easily transferred the term dressing a line of troops to dressing your horse so it could travel straight.
I supposed from at least 1979 or so, that the dress part of the word dressage came from the close order drill officers' command to," dress right dress." Meaning to straightly align a file of marching band members or troops by looking to the right and evenly aligning themselves..Most of the time when I asked any of the three dozen or so ,' dressage instructors" I have had about the origins and evolution of the word dressage during the last 40 years I have been met with blank stares of incomprehension. The reason this is important is that muddled terms leads to muddled thinking, which in turn leads to muddled understanding of the subject matter, which in turn leads to would be dressage riders endlessly drilling their horses and the wrong composition of dressage tests in competition..
food for thought.
best
Bruce Peek

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Nov 20th, 2019 06:49 pm
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Reply to Porfi: Yes, as soon as the horse starts to carry himself straight, he is relieved of a great deal of strain, vis., the strain of having to use excess muscular effort to go forward while crooked.

This is on the physical level. On the psycho-spiritual level, whenever a horse untracks (steps under the body shadow with the inside hind leg), he begins to feel much more submissive. Every bodily movement has a meaning to horses; it is the language that they "speak". So when you ask your horse to untrack and he does so, he relaxes not only physically but also much more deeply, which is to say "on the inside", mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Stepping under also almost compels the horse to pay attention to you rather than having his Birdie, that is to say his attention and consciousness, drawn off to anything on the outside. And it is the deepest of all truths to tell you this absolute rule of horsemanship:

A horse's body is compelled to be where its Birdie is.

Thus if the body and the Birdie are in different places -- you trying to turn left but his mind is on his stall where the food and the buddies are, which is off to his right -- he cannot relax and will always have a brace in him until this conflict is resolved. When you untrack you call his Birdie in to him, and the instant it arrives he will turn loose of himself. And that's when the head drops down.

Much of the trouble that people have in riding arises from their thoughtless desire to accomplish "this" or "that" rather than having it as a priority to take care of their horse's needs. And the horse has NO greater need than this, which is to have his body and his Birdie together at all times. -- Dr. Deb


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