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Horse Stumbling in Front
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T Tyree
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 Posted: Fri Jan 29th, 2021 11:17 pm
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Also note the WP horse has every limited muscle tone in the hind end and a hunters bump (that's what we call it) - obviously very on forehand,

Both incorrect horses have uneven hoof positions while in the air - I hope that makes sense - so I mean one leg maybe touching the ground prior to the diagonal leg touching down

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Jan 30th, 2021 01:20 am
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Tracey, the QH does not have a "hunter's bump"; they're just often built that way, with more downward slope to the croup. More important to notice is the relatively stiff and slightly hollow back, and the neck -- the base of the neck is not lifted, as Judy pointed out, and also it's showing "broken necked" posture, which implies rigidity at the poll. And Judy also pointed out that the horse is "flat", meaning that although the leg-coordination is nominally that of a trot with diagonal pairs working simultaneously, it is not really a trot but rather a stepping-trot or nonsuspended trot. By definition a true trot has two periods of suspension per stride, and FOUR (not two) beats (two sounded beats, and two unsounded beats which are the periods of suspension, equivalent to rests in musical notation. Rests still count when calculating the time signature, and the period of suspension is by far the most important moment in any gait for the rider to be accurately aware of; it is to develop this skill that we count cadence in every practice ride).

But yes, when horses move incorrectly one key sign is the unevenness of the foot positions, in almost any position where you happen to stop the film for analysis.

Which brings up another point: the near-uselessness of video -- until the student's "eye" is far more developed, you will not be aware of what, specifically, to look AT or check for. And more, you will find that even as I continue to point out to you what to look "at" or check "for", you won't be able to actually SEE it in either regular-speed or even slo-mo video because your eye is not fast enough.

The one and only way for the student to learn gait is to begin with study of single, still frames; and from there proceed to sets of three or five or seven still frames, like an old-fashioned "film strip".

I began this way, back in the 1970's. I had very little money, but one day at a yard sale I came across an old 8 mm Bell & Howell camera-projector combo for $5. It was good because it did not run on batteries, nor either by electricity, but instead you wound it up with a crank!

Then I also, at another yard sale, found one of those old-fashioned office desks, a monstrous old thing made of oak, from the era of the manual typewriter. They used to make those desks with a hole in the top and then there was this kind of swinging truck or trap-door to which the typewriter was bolted. When you weren't using the typewriter the idea was that it would swing down beneath, and then there was a cover that fitted the hole exactly -- sewing machines used to be made this way, too.

So I used these parts to build myself a film analyzer. I went up to the museum and my buddy who ran the fossil prep lab took a piece of heavy glass, to the exact size of the hole in the desk, and used the air dent machine to smoke the glass for me. He also gave me a set of heavyweight lab slides, five or six of them because they do break, but they were needed to put into the camera between the film and the projection light so as to keep the film from burning.

And then I built myself a click-type foot switch, like a little mechanical finger mounted against the camera so that when I stepped on the switch, the camera would advance one frame at a time. I mounted the camera on the typewriter truck with the lens pointing upward at the underside of the smoked glass.

Then I got an animator's peg off a friend in the art department -- an animator's peg is a strip of plastic with three pegs sticking up, which will hold a sheet of smoked acetate or else tracing paper so that successive sheets register exactly.

Then I went to work, taking the camera out to every different stable and asking people if they would let me take a short film of their horse doing whatever -- there were lame ones, horses with wierd gaits, and horses with sort of normal ways of moving at walk, trot, canter, slow-gait and rack (no tolt -- there were not yet any Icelandic horses in Kansas at the time, and no paso gaits either, for the same reason).

I then had the films developed -- this was expensive so it took months to get done, because I could only afford to do about three reels per month. So as I got a developed reel, I would put it into the camera, clip it into its brackets pointing upward at the smoked glass, fix up the mechanical finger/foot switch, put a piece of tracing paper on the animator's peg, sharpen a pencil, and then I would trace the image of the first frame.

This required fast work because the projection light is quite hot -- so even with the extra glass slide in there, I only had maybe two minutes with each frame before the hot light would start to burn a hole in the film. Then I would advance to the next frame, and the next, and so on.

The result was a stack of perfectly accurate tracings which were projections, and thus much larger, than the tiny 8 mm frames. I then inked the tracings and each stack then represented the gait of that horse.

I did about 40 of these stacks, which took about two years to do. But in that time I developed a deadly accurate "eye".

Nowadays you would not need to go to such trouble; all you need is a digital camera that will take a short burst of video. Then you need Photoshop software installed on your mainframe, and a touch pad connected to the mainframe that has a pencil-type mouse that allows you to draw on-screen. You upload the series of still images one by one, being very careful to keep them in correct order, and you trace over each one using the "overlay" function in Photoshop. All nice and neat and on-screen, and no odor of burning acetate or danger that you're going to set your apartment on fire!

This is how you begin, and how you can best learn. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Jeannie
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 Posted: Sun Jan 31st, 2021 12:04 am
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Dr Deb, I was interested in your analysis of this photo of James Fillis, he is not interfering with the horse, in some of those old photos, the riders seemed to be experimenting with what horses could do.
Best, Jeannie

Attachment: FullSizeRender.jpeg (Downloaded 37 times)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jan 31st, 2021 07:16 am
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Jeanne, you may remember from replies in earlier threads that I am no great fan of Fillis. This is not because he lacked skill, but because he was so ungracious and egotistical; a womanizer and a manipulator who was 100% out for himself. We see such in the current regime as well; there are the truly great horsemen and women, and then there are the second-rate imitators. Such IMHO was Fillis, for there is not one word, not one technique in his book that did not come from the real master, Baucher. And yet throughout the book, Fillis mocks and deprecates Baucher, whom he had actually met, and who had done nothing but help him. Further, I have a hard time respecting anybody who says, as Fillis did, that he would "only bother working with top-class Thoroughbreds"; whereas every truly great master I have ever known or heard of, took pleasure in bringing out the best in second-class, mishandled, or mis-trained horses, often bringing them to championship level.

Now, that's an old and rather beat-up print that you have posted, so I've dubbed it out and fixed it so that an analysis can rightly be made of it. First off, we must be able to see the positions of all four feet, so where that is obscure in the original I have supplied it after examining the print at high power magnification in Photoshop to be sure I'm not making anything up.

The second thing that is absolutely crucial to any analysis, whether of conformation with the horse standing still, or whether of movement, is an accurate ground-line. One must know where "level" is -- otherwise there is no way to assess whether or how much the horse is tilted forward onto its forehand.

So having supplied a visible ground-line, we see that although Fillis' horse does not show "kinked" posture of the contacting forelimb, it is nonetheless somewhat on the forehand, as shown by the fact that the trot is not in two beats -- cannot be, because the forehand is spending more time on the ground than its diagonal partner behind. In film analysis, the time that any given limb spends against the ground is equivalent to the amount of weight upon that limb.

Otherwise, the horse looks pretty OK. Fillis is not interfering with him in front; however, he is also not doing anything with the reins to assist in raising the base of the neck. The "Baucher method two" approach taken by Fillis in the ground training has already taught the horse that it can raise the base of the neck, and you are absolutely right, Fillis and such contemporary Baucheristes as American Tom Bass and Frenchman Henri deBussigny were, like Baucher (and we need also to add, like Gueriniere and many others of the 18th century) inveterate experimenters who had no inhibitions whatsoever about trying out novel techniques and equipment.

Now, I don't want to give the ranch away so I will not post any photos of Tom Bass, but will happily say that this thread now becomes a great lead-in to the next issue of EQUUS Magazine (Spring, 2021) which should be out shortly and which carries Part 1 of a major research article by me on Tom Bass, who was the greatest American horseman of the latter part of the 19th century and first three decades of the 20th. Born a slave, Bass' father was his mother's white owner, and so Bass had to work in a world of overt white supremacy and throughout the worst of the Jim Crow era. Nonetheless at one time he was the best-known trainer in America, whose performances on the fabulous mare Belle Beach were estimated to have been seen by over one million people.

Hope you all subscribe -- cheers -- Dr. Deb

Attachment: Fillis groundline and hoofs for Forum1.jpg (Downloaded 36 times)

Jeannie
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 Posted: Sun Jan 31st, 2021 08:42 pm
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Thank you, Dr Deb, for correcting and analyzing the old photo. While not great riding, being too much on the forehand, it is not as injurious as what we currently see in competitive riding circles. It seems there has always been controversy in riding, past and present, egos overriding the health and welfare of the horse.

I was interested to hear Yo-Yo Ma explain that music is space, time and energy, and how applicable that is to riding, with the flow of weight determining how much space and time the horse has to arrange it's body correctly, and how energy affects the flow of weight.

I have read the book "Whisper on the Wind" about Tom Bass, and look forward to reading your articles about him in Equus magazine.

Best, Jeannie


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