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ESI Q and A Forums > ESI Q and A Forum > Questions and discussions for the ESI Q and A Forum > Do sidereins, vienna reins or balancing reins ever have a place?

Do sidereins, vienna reins or balancing reins ever have a place?
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David Genadek
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 Posted: Wed Jun 11th, 2008 05:02 pm
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Pam wrote: The clinician you speak of (I have no clue who it is ) seems to underestimate his students.  If I were in the clinic and not told that he would like me to take off the martingale, and he let me flounder around, I would feel a great disservice had be done to me.  If your child insists on running across the street because he doesn't understand how it feels to get hit by a car, are you going to let him or her do that so they can figure it out by themselves?  Not me.  That would be learning in the school of hard knocks.  If a martingale is as bad as you say it is, wouldn't it be unsafe to allow people to ride in them, because of the inability to turn your horse and really feel what is going on?  Isn't that a major element to riding?  I think it is.  The third option is to redirect the child in such a way as to prevent it from running across the street while at the same time setting it up so the child eventually realizes that the cars are there and could harm him.  In so doing the teacher is giving the child the tools he needs to survive around cars anywhere  instead of just keeping him safe for the day.
"Give a man a fish you feed him for the day. Teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime."
David Genadek

lighthorse
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 Posted: Thu Jun 12th, 2008 02:55 am
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Refering to the geometry of the reins:  On an uneducated horse, if the pressure from the mouth to the rider's hands or the surcingle is above the lowest part of the vertabrae curve, the effect would be to shorten the neck, accordion the vertebrae, raise the head, and push down the base of the neck.  If the pull/pressure is below or equal at the lowest part of the vertebrae, the horse's head will lower, top line lengthen, base the neck can raise, allowing the poll to break over....thus the waterfall effect.

If the rider raises their hands breast level, or a little higher, the effect would be to raise the base of the neck....then the horse breaks at the poll, dropping it's head.

Both ways will raise the base of the neck allowing the rest of the horse to collect. The low pull sort of pushes the base of the neck up and the high pull raises the base of the neck first.

Is that on track?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Jun 20th, 2008 06:06 am
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Patti, go read my reply, where this discussion is continued, in "Sidepull vs. Snaffle Bit." You'll have to decide about my arrogance, or lack of it, sometime when you meet me! Cheers -- Dr. Deb

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Jun 20th, 2008 06:31 am
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For the students who are interested in learning how side reins and the deGogue work, and who replied previously to the "learning questions" asked:

Leah -- you are correct on the points you answered, as to how side reins are to be attached and WHY they should be attached in different configurations relative to the anatomy on different horses. Yes, the weaker the horse -- i.e. the less able he is to raise the base of his neck, or if asked to raise the base of the neck can only give a weak response -- then the side reins can be used to support him. To do this, they have to be attached so that the line of the rein cuts through or below the lowest neck vertebrae, which are usually C5-C6.

But interestingly, no matter how capable the horse becomes of raising the base of his neck, no matter how easily or readily he does it -- you STILL have to adjust the side reins in the same way, so that they cut no higher than through the lowest neck vertebrae. The difference is only that, relative to the surcingle, the line of the rein will be higher on a more highly trained horse -- of course, because the animal himself can carry and does carry the base of his neck higher.

Lighthorse, your reply was correct and insightful too, but from the above you will realize that it isn't the height of the rein adjustment itself that matters, but whether the horse can correctly respond to the reins however they may be adjusted. In other words, if the side reins are configured so that they cut ABOVE the lowest neck vertebrae, the horse can do nothing but "make like a vulture" -- instead of supporting the horse and assisting him in raising the base of the neck, as the side reins can do if adjusted correctly, if they are too high they merely compress the neck backwards. In that case, the poll will be too high, the horse will get over the bit, and the base of the neck will sink downward.

This discussion goes to highlight an age-old question which is frequently asked by students who ride in the "English" styles, as they achieve a certain degree of competency and begin to wonder when they are ever going to be able to get their horse into something that looks, from the outside, like "high collection". So the student asks, "when can I raise the poll?" or "when can I ask the horse to go with a higher poll?"

The answer to this, for my students particularly who are taught to see and value primarily the raising of the base of the neck, is that you can have the horse's poll as high as you like SO LONG AS that height does not cause the horse to drop the base of his neck. The moment the horse does that, his back will stiffen, his hindquarters will fall out behind, he'll go above or behind the bit, and the rider will lose the feel of the horse's feet through her hands.

So when we work our horses, a major objective is to induce them to make little efforts, with every step, to raise the base of the neck. The easiest way to do this is to have the horse "spilling over like a waterfall". It is easy for a horse to raise the base of its neck if its poll is, at the same time, free to drop forward and down. Reiner Klimke used to say that 99% of horses ought to be asked to move that way 99% of the time. Buck Brannaman says you should ask your horse for 'high' collection only briefly and only occasionally. You build high carriage one brick at a time, and you try very hard to avoid having any 'bricks' (like the 'brick' that is the base of the neck) fall out.

Now all that remains is to go back to the original Question 2, and talk about why the deGogue is the only correctly designed device. Side reins are OK and have a place; but the deGogue is better, and there's a reason for this. What is it, can you say? -- Dr. Deb

 

 

Leah
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 Posted: Sat Jun 21st, 2008 11:50 am
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OK I am going to take a try at this.

Because the rein goes over the head before attaching to the bit, when pressure is applie, it will not be a downward pressure that could cause the base of the neck to drop, rather will cause the poll to drop in a way that still allows the neck to raise.

It also seems to allow a stretching neck not a confining neck.

I am just looking at photos and trying to apply some logic as I have no idea! It certainly seems to connect to the poll pressure somehow.


DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Jun 21st, 2008 07:24 pm
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Basically correct, Leah. The deGogue is correctly designed because:

1. The root or base of the cables, being attached between the horse's forelimbs to the girth, cuts below the base of the neck. Thus, any tension that comes through these cables will not interfere with the animal's ability to raise the base of the neck, and may actually help the animal get the idea that this is what he is to do.

2. The device as a whole never blocks the animal's ability to stretch down and forward, especially, forward. This is where the deGogue is superior to side reins. Even "elastic" or "rubber doughnut" side reins are too restrictive. If we expect the horse to learn to "spill over like a waterfall," then he must be able to spill down and forward.

3. To use side reins and get good rather than icky results with them, a certain degree of expertise is required, i.e. you have to be able to judge, on a day-by-day and sometimes on a moment-by-moment basis, how long they should be set and how high they should be attached, so that they create the desired effect i.e. of inducing the horse to raise the base of its neck.

The deGogue also requires expertise, but not so much of this kind; the design only requires that it neither be grossly loose nor grossly tight. It does not, by the way, go "over" the poll; the cords pass through loops or pulleys that are usually set at about the level of the horse's browband. This puts them HIGHER than the joint between C2 and C3, preventing the device from teaching the horse (as the running martingale always does) to break in the wrong place of the neck.

Now, through your own investigations and thinking processes, you have discovered how side reins and the deGogue work. But finally here, I am going to repeat the most important instruction:

YOU DO NOT NEED THESE DEVICES AT ALL.

Anyone who knows how to lower the horse's head will never need any type of 'training rein' or 'developing rein'. So what I am saying is, for example, when I see Eyjolfur Isolfsson using a round-the-body developing rein (which is structured like a deGogue), or Tony Uytendaal or Robert Meyer attaches side reins to a school horse being ridden by someone who does not yet know how to coordinate the hand and seat, then I have no objection, for these men are experts whose choices of equipment are within the pale and whose knowledge of how to adjust the equipment is based on much experience.

For students, however, I don't want you using even the well-designed devices. Eyjolfur is perfectly capable of rounding up the horse without the device, and if their tack room burned down then Tony and Robert would get along just fine without side reins too. In other words, these people have the skills to be independent of devices. All students must gain the same skills, and should desire to.

Neither would anyone tell you that even the best-designed devices are without any disadvantages. For one thing, they're more dangerous; anytime you put straps or ropes on a horse, there is the potential for a wreck which is higher than if he merely had reins or a longeing cavesson on. For another thing, no 'developing' device really permits the horse to bend properly; you have to take the device off to school on bending and lateral suppling. In other words: you must know how to ride, you must have a developed feel.

So all the abovenamed people who sometimes use devices, also use them only a fraction of the time, and usually, only for a temporary period during the course of training. The devices, in other words, are used to induce the horse to round up or to raise the base of its neck. Once that penny has dropped, and the correct response is evident, then the device MUST come off anyway, so that the horse does it himself.

Now to that little question about how the person is to lower the horse's head, without the use of a device other than ordinary riding reins attached to either a non-leverage bit or a sidepull. Would those of you who are interested, please respond by answering the following question:

What are the two elements that go into lowering a horse's head? Hint: the first element, which is a physical response within the horse's body, PERMITS the head to drop. The second element, which is a physical law of life on earth, CAUSES the head to drop. When these two elements are both present, the head of any horse and every horse will drop. What are the two elements?

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Leah
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 Posted: Sat Jun 21st, 2008 09:36 pm
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Thanks Dr Deb!

I just wanted to give you a quick response assuring you I have no intention of using any devices like these-but I wanted to educate myself on the way they operate in any case.

Since getting my horses straight, reaching the inside hind leg under the navel and making sure they are trusting and soft and giving each one time to be ok and breathe, everyone is happy as a clam to drag a nose on the ground all loosey goosey.

The leg comes in and under, the ribs move over and voila the head just comes down.

Of course the ease of the response makes me feel pretty darn brilliant even though I know each one finds the comfort place on on his own. How I love Mike Schaffer's Natural Circle!

They have all learned to take little nibbles of grass even at the trot :-)

So to answer your question:

The physical element is: the horse is straight...or are you looking for more detail?

The physical law of life on earth is: relaxation, inner ok-ness?

I just LOVE how they SEEK straightness now-it literally is something they MUST have and want and don't like leaving. I find them holding it longer and hating when it goes away and even searching for its return even when I don't "ask."

And with this straightness you can see a peacefulness come all over them.

Amazing.

Pam
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 Posted: Sun Jun 22nd, 2008 02:45 am
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I'm guessing the two elements for lowering the horse's head are:

1)  release of the top line

2)  gravity

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jun 22nd, 2008 07:36 am
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Leah, those are good and thoughtful guesses, but it's Pam that has gotten the answer completely Right!

How simple!! All anyone ever has to do to get a horse to lower its head, is to teach it not to engage the muscles that raise its head! The animal need not use even a single muscle to LOWER its head -- if there is release of the muscles that raise the head, then the head will drop merely from gravity pulling it down.

So all the people who are focusing on LOWERING the head are totally, and almost laughably, barking up the wrong tree.

So....we have just two factors. And since gravity always operates, we don't have to worry about that part. The part we need to influence is release of the muscles of the topline.

'Release' means 'release to normal tonus' -- we don't want or need flaccidity, so what we always mean in this school by 'release' is, 'absence of any effort beyond that minimum needed to maintain posture and the normal expression of the gait requested.'

Now, this is very likely a review, but I think will be a good roundup of all that's been discussed in this thread. Anyone who wishes can have a go at these questions: 

1. What are the major techniques that we use to induce release?

2. State which zone of the axial body each major technique addresses.

3. Which is usually the most difficult zone of the axial body to release?

Helen
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 Posted: Sun Jun 22nd, 2008 09:11 am
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Really enjoying this thread, so I'll give this a go:

1. What are the major techniques that we use to induce release?
The two that occur to me are head and loin twirling. Head twirling, which causes the head to 'twirl' on a vertical axis, and loin twirling, which causes the horse to step under its belly with the inside hind leg.


2. State which zone of the axial body each major technique addresses.
Head twirling directly releases the poll, and the result of this travels down the spine and releases at the loin as well. Loin twirling releases the loins directly; I would guess but am not so sure that this also indirectly releases the poll?

3. Which is usually the most difficult zone of the axial body to release?
This one I'm not so sure on. Perhaps the neck, because so many horses have been trained to 'pry' upwards due to the incorrect use of some of the devices mentioned in this thread? But then again perhaps the back, the longissimus dorsi, because the reflex in horses as prey animals is to respond to something being on their backs by clamping down. I'm really not so sure though.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Jun 23rd, 2008 07:37 am
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Yes! Pretty much correct, Helen. To confirm:

The two major techniques, and the zones of the body they affect, are:

     a) head twirling (which initially and directly acts to release the muscles that brace the jaw-joints, tongue-joints, and poll-joint -- and whose 'indirect' effects eventually percolate all the way down the neck and back to affect the topline all the way to the loins);

     b) Loin twirling, also called 'untracking', 'stepping under the body-shadow with the inside hind leg', or (confusingly, among a certain group) 'disengagement' of the hindquarters. This acts to release the muscles of the topline that span the gap between the last rib and the hipbones. The effect penetrates the rear part of the longissimus dorsi (dorsally), the ilio-psoas complex (ventrally), and other local muscles (i.e. abdominal obliques and quadratus lumborum).

The most difficult zone of the axial body to release is the unsupported part, otherwise called the 'freespan', of the back or torso, i.e. the part between the withers zone and the pelvis. The difficulty in releasing it is due primarily to an unsolvable conundrum of riding, i.e. this is where the rider sits, and the very fact of the rider's presence upon this part of the back causes the horse to want to stiffen it in order to support the rider's weight and also due to the stimulation that any amount of poking or point-pressure may cause. We attempt to get rid of the latter factor by making sure our saddles fit well and that our riding technique is good, i.e. no bouncing, no sitting slopped over onto only one seatbone, etc. And of course, we do everything we can not to act like a predator, i.e. no grabbing or clutching.

But these efforts by themselves are not sufficient, because the horse is still aware he's got to carry a weight up there even if we are not scaring him and even if the weight fits him and rides on him comfortably. Thus, we must apply 'front end release' via head-twirling and 'back end release' via untracking until the penetration backwards of the former plus the penetration forwards of the latter begin to have their effect upon the center section of the horse's body, at which point this section will release too.

This is one of the essential insights of practicing the shoulder-in. You can positiopn the horse obliquely along the long side with head-to-the-school until you're blue in the face, but it ain't a shoulder-in until the horse releases his ribcage. And the more fully he releases the ribcage, the deeper the curve of his body can be and hence the more separation between the tracks, until it may go (in some horses) from three tracks to four, not due to overangling but simply to the horse completely giving itself to the rider.

This is the reason, if you read Nuno Oliveira, you'll hear him say he never practiced leg-yielding. In this, he is being a cagey old bird. You can watch videos of Nuno schooling horses at YouTube, and there you may think you are watching him do what are plainly leg-yields. But they aren't, because he is always asking (and often obtaining) that release through the midsection of the horse's body which, when it manifests, instantly transmutates any leg-yield into a shoulder-in.

All students should think deeply about this as they practice the crucially important quarter-turn which occurs every time they pass through a corner in the arena. This arc should never, but never, be sloppily or thoughtlessly executed....there is an opportunity there, that occurs nowhere else in the hall, because in the corner uniquely, the "pressure" of the rail or wall drops away....hence this is where the horse is likely first to get the idea that you want him to give his ribs to the outside. When you feel him do this, then the next step is to encourage him to "trust the rail" that is coming up -- trust that he's not going to be asked to rub on it or catch a rib on a protruding nail, so as to hurt himself; and also, to break through the illusion that every horse has that the rail is projecting a force-field. The horse must be willing to project his ribcage into that force-field. If the rider is unaware that all horses think there is a force-field coming out of every fence and every fencepost, of every kind, everywhere, then this memo may serve as notice!

Good work, readers and riders! -- Dr. Deb

christie
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 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2008 08:47 pm
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I think lots of us have questions about the gadgets Leah.

Especially when you are around the more 'successful' riders who are competing and looked up to and they use their gadgets and seem to do so gladly and without embarrassment. My opinion is that I think less of a person who needs to use them because I know everything can be done without them and why aren't you GOOD enough to not need them? You, the Dressage competition rider and you the one who can slide and spin.

I heard the Dressage lady at my barn say 'leverage is a girl's best friend'.(she only drags out the 'leverage' from time to time) This person happens to be the nicest person at the barn and I really like her and she loves her horses to pieces. So we think differently--on the one hand I think she's good enough to not need them, and she doesn't seem to think using them has anything to do with whether her own hands and abilities are good enough(??)

The reiner kid is gone now. She's obviously got talent and know how. When I see her warm up for a show in that contraption that runs from the girth under the belly to the bit or wherever it attaches too!...I wonder what she's thinking and wonder why this is not embarrassing to her. Like I say, I guess those who use gadgets don't see them as trying to make up for their own lack of ability but as a real necessity in horse training(?)

It annoys me because I know that these people I see are good enough to not need them and obviously those who use them don't see the using of them as meaning they are not good enough to get what they want without them.

I think I'm being redundant..

I got gravity right!!

I'm editing. This is timely about the corners. I've known that my horse has been 'looking out', she's very visual, when we get to certain corners in the arena and I was cantering the other day and decided that we are not bending correctly and I need to fix this, it certainly can't be good for her physically either.

Thanks for all the wonderful education on this site. 

 

 

 

 

Last edited on Sat Jun 28th, 2008 08:49 pm by christie

Pam
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 Posted: Sun Jun 29th, 2008 01:54 am
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Christie,  I was very relieved to hear that we really don't need these gadgets.  Our horses need us.  I think side reins are fine in the hands of very skilled people for specific reasons (like Dr. Deb mentioned) but have discovered my horse really just needs me to ride him correctly.  Number one thing being to help him release his top line and then I get to be lazy and let Gravity kick in!  I don't have to "lower his head or put him on the bit" he does these things himself because he is allowed to.  How natural is that?  I learned this by doing it wrong for so long and making so many mistakes, that's the funny part of it. But I get it with all my heart and soul now.  The more I learn about horsemanship, the more I realize things really are very simple.  But getting there is where it gets a little messy....Thanks for listening, Pam

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jun 29th, 2008 08:03 am
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Christie, even the most skillful person, even the most talented person, can be WEAK where it comes to independent thinking. People are taught as children to conform socially. The vast majority are extremely uncomfortable as adults if they're asked or required to do anything different than what they see their neighbors doing, or "what my daddy always did".

A very wise older colleague of mine once tried to explain this to me, because you better believe that this WEAKNESS observable in people -- WEAK to where they'll even hurt their animals if that's what the "social norm" calls for -- does bother me. It's difficult for me to understand it. My senior colleague said: "Debbie, you just don't understand how this works: there are two kinds of people, so far as what they do is concerned. There is one group, that learned to do whatever they're doing by being taught -- by logic and reason. And with that group, if they learned it by logic and reason, you can talk them into doing it a better way by using logic and reason.

"YOUR problem", he said to me, "is that you're assuming that everyone learns everything by logic and reason. But they don't. A lot of people learn to do what they do by AUTHORITY -- such as that's what their daddy always did, or that's what they learned at the Suchandso School of Riding, or that's what International Prizewinner Herr Hindender does. And if they learned it by authority, Deb, you can't talk them out of it with logic and reason. What you need in that case is a bigger club."

So Christie, and everybody else, here's my best advice -- you need to not care what anyone else is doing. You need to not be on a campaign. You need to not be trying to teach them anything, unless they have signed up ahead of time to be your students. They are not going to listen to you, I guarantee you, if they haven't signed up; and even if they HAVE signed up it isn't going to be that easy. But if you will admit it, you will find that 99% of them have not signed up, they have not given you PERMISSION to teach them.

And, unless you are very clearly more skillful and/or a greater prizewinner than they are themselves, your chances of having them sign up to be your student are going to be nil. Because they do not get their validation from logic and reason. They do not get their validation from you. They get it from the prize they won, or from associating themselves with Herr Hindender and basking in his reflected glow. This is because, in yielding to the societal pressure to give up their ability to think and act independently, they sacrifice all hope of having their OWN glow to bask in: in other words, they are utter and literal nobodies.

The only question that then remains, that will be worth your time to ask, is: who are YOU?

The only judge I pay any attention to is my horse. His opinion matters, and that will be expressed primarily by the level of his contented obedience. The only criterion that I pay any attention to is this: what in the last five minutes of my ride would I have kept? What in that same period would I like to see change? It is my responsibility to recognize that the only one in control of that is -- me.

There are some folks at my barn, too, Christie, that I rather enjoy. They're professional horsepeople too, and we have shared some similar experiences as it turns out. I've enjoyed getting to know them. They don't ride my way. They do look, and I can see them looking, when I am riding Ollie. Sometimes they even ask me a question about why I do some particular thing. And we do talk sometimes also about different approaches to common training problems, for example getting a horse to take his less-than-favorite lead, or which horse is the 'boss' in the pasture that all our horses share, etc. One of the people is younger and I will sometimes ask her how she did at the last show, and VERY slowly it has become possible for her to say 'well my filly blew a lead' or 'we need to do better in the pleasure class', and my replies to this are always rather on the philosophical than the practical end, because I think in her case it is thoughtfulness, rather than technique, that is actually the missing part.

But beyond this sort of subtlety, or you might say directness about my own philosophy, I make no effort to teach them, because they have not signed up. The only thing I can do for them really, is to set an example by my own practice of horsemanship, and if that's not sufficient, nothing else will ever be.

I'll tell you a quick story to illustrate this. At one stable where I used to board, the owner, who also functioned as the resident riding instructor, had really no qualifications beyond the fact that she owned the property. Oh, yes, she had 'certificates' from one or another place that offers them, but in 11 years of residence at that farm, I never saw this lady make one positive change in any horse -- i.e. teaching one to pick up its feet that didn't know how, overcoming a tendency to shy, barn-sourness, whirling when releasing to turnout, and other common problems ad nauseam. In particular, this lady did not understand how to longe a horse, either on the level of technique nor on the level of theoretically what are the important purposes for longeing.

As a result, none of her students knew or knows how to longe, either. So one day I was out on Painty Horse in the work arena, which was separated by two fences from the indoor hall (the covered arena at this place does not have side walls, just rail panels that form a fence). Inside the hall was a young teenaged girl with her longe strap and her long whip attempting to flog an Arabian mare into going around in a circle. The mare, an ex-halter horse, varied between whirling, snorting, and bolting. The child kept yanking on the longe while simultaneously waving her whip. Finally, with one more crack of the whip, the mare bolted straight away, the line got tangled around the child's arm, the mare yanked her off her feet, and then dragged her around the arena.

Not like she didn't deserve it really. However, what you really would have liked to have seen was me vaulting off my horse and clearing both those fences in about three seconds. When I got the mare stopped, and cleared the dirt out of the kid's mouth and helped her get up and shake off, I sent her to take the horse back to the stall and think it over again, and I also said, "you go see your teacher and you tell her all about how you think this happened."

Now this child's mother was standing right there the whole time. The parents are sometimes idiots: they think 'well horses are just that way, and my kid has to be tough enough to handle them.' What they don't realize is that it NEVER has to be that way -- at this farm, they were being given totally incompetent instruction, and yet they continued to pay for it, because they believe 'horses are just that way.'

Now all this time, Painty is just tooling around in the work pen where I left him, waiting for me to get back to him. So I said to the mother, 'come over here for a minute if you will, there is something I want to show you.' And she came.

Then I climbed back in the work pen, and I set Painty up off my right side, and I said to him, 'Painty would you please go out on the 20-meter circle to the right at a walk.' And he did -- I mean, totally at liberty, in a pen that is 200 ft. X 400 ft. And then after he was on the circle, I said to him, 'Painty if you would please trot the circle now.' And then 'canter the circle now.' And then, 'please come in to me.' And then 'now reverse and trot.' And 'canter left please.' And 'halt'. And then finally, 'walk in to me.'

And this lady watched all this. And I said to her at the end of it, 'See, there doesn't have to be any jerking on any line. And there doesn't have to be any whip at all. The horse just has to be TAUGHT what's expected, and set it up so he enjoys it -- his intelligence will take care of a lot of it.'

And do you know what the lady said to me? She said, "Well, that's all well and good Deb -- but we don't want a trick horse."

So this is my point: she is not capable. What the lady in the story is not capable of, specifically, is seeing any underlying principle. This is what horsemanship is: the body of underlying principles, that are related to the biology of the equine animal. So long as the person you are working with is tied to METHOD -- this method vs. that method, this 'seat' vs. that 'seat', this set of show rules vs. that set of show rules -- they will never grasp horsemanship.

At one's home barn, for this reason, I have learned that it is necessary to keep a polite distance, because until somebody else sees horsemanship just your way, and starts riding with the same teachers you do, they will (from their own point of view) just have to be polite to you, too, because just as much as you think they are doing it 'wrong', they also think you are doing it 'wrong'. And unless you happen to BE a bigger 'club', don't figure on converting them. -- Dr. Deb

 

christie
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 Posted: Sun Jun 29th, 2008 04:27 pm
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Deb, I'm reading your post and saying "yep, yep", I pretty much knew that your story at the end was not going to turn out good and I've learned not to try and convert others.  Although I think the 'by example' is getting to some people! Right now I keep in mind that you just never know how what you are doing is affecting someone else. I mean everything I see everybody else doing affects me. I see it and make a decision. Here are some things I've seen.

1. Having a horse live every day  in a box. Or choosing the 'box' with the attached 'box' for extra luxury(i.e....spoiled!)eyeroll.

2. People riding in gadgets. People being those who 'show' and win.

3. People who just get their horse out, saddle it up, ride, then leave.

4. Not much ability to communicate with the horse except when riding. 

5. Crosstieing

If you read anything about the law of attraction, it says that everything in life is just contrast and from that you are able to see what you don't want and choose what you do. Regarding #1, I choose pasture, no way would I ever choose the other, 2. No thanks to gadgets, 3. I can't imagine this one, however I do come close to that on days I'm really pressed for time and it stinks. , 4. Glad that I can and know it makes all the difference in the world in our relationship., 5. Don't do it, won't do it. I'm probably the only person in the whole barn that ties to 1 line in the washrack or just makes it her responsibility to stand there.  

I might have cared about changing people's mind about some things for the horses sakes, however I love my horse SO much, more and more every day, which didn't seem possible, that I focus on our relationship and improving my own horsemanship.

I can lead by example, by just being me.  I have had one of the kids gawk to me in amazement(did you know your horse is loose?) when I left the arena to retrieve something and my horse just stood right in the same spot saddled up and waited for me. She said her horse would have just ran off. That's because she doesn't try and communicate to have a relationship and just gets it out(of the luxury suite), rides and puts it away. I don't bother telling her any of this. We can only be an example and as I say, I love my horse so much that I don't really care to tell her any of this or convert her. :-) 

I've gotten comments, good ones, from people who I didn't even KNOW were watching me.  I've gotten wonderful comments about my 'Arab' and how neat she is. (which I'm so grateful for because my ex friend hated Arabs) I like to think that's mainly relationship based, but it's probably because they've seen me ride bareback and bridleless and when a horse will do that for you, then just seem 'neater' somehow :-)  

About the conforming mind.  I believe that the Dressage lady uses gadgets because she learned to do that from someone she really respects. What really gets me is that now every person and young horseperson that she comes into contact with her is going to learn to use them too..and then they will grow up thinking it must be right because this lady who shows and wins and is SOOOO nice can't be wrong! Now I can see in life where keeping an open mind is so important. So I don't just follow any so called 'expert' blindly. 

Another example of conformity are people that learn to be prejudice because their parents were that way and there is no way they can make the mental leap to change their thoughts and think differently than the main authority figures in their life. I also do some things with my horse because an authority figure says I should. You're included in that. It's gotten me far, farther than I would have ever gotten on my own.

Getting back to gadgets. I remember one night, no lie, it was a packed arena and there were about 7 horses, that includes my own. I made some crack to the other 'kid' at the barn who is my friend and was riding one of the dressage lady's horses that I felt naked. I was the ONLY person in that arena riding with no gadget. Sad. 


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