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Riding Drafts
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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Pam
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Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
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 Posted: Wed Jul 16th, 2008 10:51 pm
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DD:  I haven't misunderstood a thing about you.  I have done as you have instructed in "your lessons" but I just won't let you govern who I am associated with - nothing personal, just practical.  If you don't think you are making your students dependant on you, think again.  You just don't charge money for the info - you make your money on your books and clinics.   Besides, there is nothing wrong with being somewhat dependant on others and there is nothing wrong with charging money for books, clinics, or riding instruction. 

You call me a cash cow "till the cows come home", but I can manage my money all by myself.....thank you.  

Well, I don't believe I have a right to do anything I want, but to say that is insisting on telling the instructor what I know, is quite a reach.  Sounds like the instructor might be taking something personal that is just practical.  I'm not sure what kind of instructors you've had in your life but it sounds like they were extremely unreasonable individuals because where else would you get the idea that you need to control what books we read and whom we take up with for instruction.   This is the ultimate in competitiveness.

Yes, my way and your way is incompatible because I will not give you control over me just to gain some knowledge and stay on your forum.  The information is out there, it's not like you invented horsemanship.  You are the one who is choosing to close the door here (because I can live with the conflict) - let's just make that crystal clear.  

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Jul 17th, 2008 07:41 am
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Pam, let's review the facts here:

1. I provide this Forum out of sheer generosity. I pay for it -- i.e. software and ISP and Internet connection and salary for our Webmaster to maintain it. At the same time, I don't get paid anything at all for the time I spend teaching students here.

2. You came here seeking information and advice from me, which was freely given.

3. When you received advice that you didn't like, you reacted with huffiness and cattiness.

4. A reaction like that is not a characteristic of a student. The only people that I can possibly teach are students, i.e., people who are willing to be taught.

5. "To be taught" means that the student does what the teacher suggests, if necessary changing what she has been doing before. This is important because unless the student does what she is told, she will never learn the concept or the technique herself.

6. A main object in all my teaching is to cause students to become fully independent, so that they gain full competency to train their own horses themselves.

7. The student is free at all times not to do what I suggest, but in that case, there has to be either a change in the student, whereby she becomes willing to do what is suggested -- or else a parting of the ways.

I can't put this any clearer, Pam. Your horse is your property, and you are certainly at liberty to do anything you want with it. But if you aren't willing or able to listen openheartedly to the teacher, then what teacher can teach you? You need to take a look at where all those pissy, catty feelings are coming from down inside of yourself -- and let them go.

You see, Pam, I'm here "for real" -- with a real commitment to helping YOU succeed. That means I can't lie to you by saying 'oh, well, martingales are just OK', when they're actually very harmful. I also can't let your tendency to whine go by: whether here, or in an actual riding lesson, your whininess and the immature need you have repeatedly expressed to have things 'your own way' are going to be mentioned until they disappear just as much as your martingale.

Why is this so necessary? Leonard, in his book "Mastery", talks about the need for the beginning student to submit, which means to set aside whatever objections, to set aside whatever the student thinks she already knows, and trust the teacher enough to follow directions to the letter. He tells a delightful story about a pair of highly-accomplished martial artists who came to his school -- one of whom was perfectly willing to submit, so much so that you would never have known that his skills were world-class; the other always (in big or small ways) showing off what he knew. I'll leave it to you to guess, Pam, which of these men succeeded in passing the highest requirements of Leonard's school.

So Pam, you can either get over your little snit, or you can go elsewhere for instruction -- the choice is totally yours, and I offer it with a smile. The world did not end for the show-off because he failed in Leonard's school. I'm sure he went elsewhere for instruction: and it's entirely possible that he eventually found release from being imprisoned in himself under some other teacher. -- Dr. Deb

 

gallopinggram
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 Posted: Tue Jul 29th, 2008 05:54 pm
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I don't know how this discussion got so weird, i was really hoping to get some insight into riding draft horses. . .

I recently (about a year ago) acquired a Belgian/Tb cross that had been used lightly as a foxhunter.  She is very attractive (TB head) and big bodied (Belgian), about 16.1.  She is very sweet and has nice gaits, and can jump.  I just want a pleasure horse to do some low level dressage and trails.  She is nice to work with (except for being a little spooky) and I have done a lot of groundwork with her.  Thanks for all the help in these forums, Dr. Deb.

My question is this. . .shortly after bringing her home, I started having health issues, then surgery, then winter came with not much riding time.  I have been trying to bring her back, but she has gained weight (on pasture and hay - she is an air fern type) and seems to be pretty out of shape.  She is pretty reluctant to canter, and if it happens, it is only for a few strides.  She is ridden about 3x a week, and so far it has been walking and trotting with lots of transitions.  At what point would I be able to tell if she is ready to be pushed into a canter?  Indeed, maybe she shouldn't be cantering at all?  Her body is pretty drafty.  I was hoping to pick up some insights from other draft breed owners.

leca
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 Posted: Tue Jul 29th, 2008 11:45 pm
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DD said earlier in this thread that cantering should be part of the daily routine.  Have a read of the first answer she posted.

Your cantering issue could be along the same line of problem that Joe was having with his horse.  Read the "bucking at canter departure" and try Dr Debs pec release instructions. 

Joe
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 Posted: Wed Jul 30th, 2008 02:15 am
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Indeed so.  Majid stopped bucking at the departure withing two days.

It is also possible that your animal is generally out of condition in the underline.  There are a couple of threads somewhere that give exercises for strengthening the lower portion of the "ring of muscles."  When we started reconditioning our 25 year old, we did those from the ground while leading him for about a month before we started riding again,  We also did quite a bit on the longe with transitions and a lot of cantering.

Joe

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Jul 30th, 2008 05:45 am
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Dear Galloping Gram: What will help you most is to obtain the back issue of "Equus Magazine" that contains the article entitled "Size Matters". In this article, I and several veterinarians comment on why massiveness/large size in riding horses is globally disadvantageous.

If your horse is heavier than 1,400 lbs., it is not in my book a riding horse at all. In other words, it is not suitable for riding. We do not normally ask draft horses to canter. They CAN canter, and sometimes they canter when at play; but never for long, and never very well. Thoroughbreds are the world's best canterers, along with Andalusians and American Saddlebreds.

If your horse is less massive than 1,400 lbs., to the degree that it is less massive, it should be possible for it to perform all gaits that are normal to the breed.

If it is reluctant to canter, you should investigate with your veterinarian whether the animal may be experiencing pains in its hocks. This sounds somewhat likely from your description.

However, if the vet gives the horse a clean bill of health, then by all means proceed with a sensible conditioning program.

I will also add that, the heavier the horse, the more important it is for the rider never to get tempted to use heavy aids. The heavier the horse, the more refined the aids should be. It is the rider's responsibility to lighten the horse, which means to cause it to move correctly, as well as to cause it to be responsive to the most minimal aid that is still a clear aid.

Hope this answers your questions. And yes, this thread did get wierd. That's what happens when we get immature people trying to correspond; we have to stop off temporarily in order to invite them to go satisfy themselves somewhere else. -- Dr. Deb

 

gallopinggram
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 Posted: Wed Jul 30th, 2008 03:53 pm
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Hi all and thanks DD, Joe and Ieca for your replies.

I am trying to find the Equus article, no success yet, but am very interested.  I have reread the bucking at canter thread with Joe's horse.  I often stretch out the forelegs after girthing, and sometimes stretch the back legs too.  She seems to be more happy when I do this.  Because of my own back issues, I don't always do the stretching.

Sophie (the tb/belgian mare) gets longed 1 or 2x a week.  She does canter on the lunge very nicely to the R - relaxed, sweepy canter.  To the left, she often cross canters or is unbalanced and rushy.  Sometimes she will get a nice canter to the L.  As I was reading DD's post about asking for the canter depart, it made sense that I need to really focus on what I am doing more when I ask for that canter depart.

We have xrayed her hocks, with no abnormalities.  The vet has not ruled out other problems however - right now we are trying to find out if it is a physical or training issue.  She is 16.1 h, and measures in at 1350 lbs with a weight tape.  She is very light to the aids, but does have more difficulty moving to the L, and will sometimes ignore my bending aids to the L. 

I will try to attach a picture - thanks again for the help!

Attachment: 100_1712.JPG (Downloaded 387 times)

Joe
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 Posted: Wed Jul 30th, 2008 04:17 pm
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She is a fine-looking animal.  She reminds me of tales from my Grandmother of riding on the back of a working Belgian named Easter.  I do mean "riding on the back," of Easter.  Grandma was a small adult, weighing 96 lbs when she got married.  She was a little girl when she used to climb aboard Easter.  She said it was kind of like sitting on a table. My other grandfather was the son of a big commercial horseshoer who did fire horses in Chicago, among other things.  As a five and six year old, Grandpa used to deliver the freshly-shod horses back to the firehouses and other owners.  He'd kind of do a running scramble up, and then ride through town on those big beasts like a mahout.  While he was in his late teens, his step mother sold the business out from under him when she was widowed, and he went on to other things.  However, to the end of his days he loved "work horses." as we always called drafters.  He could also get passionate about Morgans.

I personally like drafters very much, but even as a rather large adult, at 6' 5" and 223 lbs, I only ride them for the experience of it.  I was fooling around with a Pecheron at a living history event one time.  His head was so big, it felt like being next to a dinosaur. 

I am 54, but as a child was lucky enough to have lived for 7 years in a semi-rural area where horses were still used to mow grass and make hay.  Everyone had tractors, but found uses for the "work horses," too.   I used to run along next to the horse-drawn sickle bars as they sooshshooshshooshed through the grass.

Your mare could be stunning between the shafts of a nicely restored buggy, or a new Amish-made one.  None of my horses have a disposition conducive to driving, or I'd learn to do it.  It really looks like great fun.  For me it also brings back warm memories of a lost way of life the end of which I was priviledged to experience.

Cheers!

Joe

Joe
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 Posted: Wed Jul 30th, 2008 04:21 pm
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DD:

By no means disagreeing with your assessment of the best canterers, but our Arabs can also canter well.

J

cyndy
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 Posted: Wed Jul 30th, 2008 08:05 pm
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I noticed your horse's mane splits half way down the neck and lays on the other side. There is a theory of that indicating a crookedness in the back. I personally have noticed horses with a split like that were harder to get a canter. The theory goes that the twist will be the reverse image of where it splits starting from the tail back . That would indicate it being somewhere around the back of the saddle area on your horse. I do notice that after a horse has been gymnastically trained correctly, the mane lays better.  Now, I don't know about the theory, just what I have observed. And it is true the mane falls on the hollower side.  The answer would be the same as Dr Deb said anyway,~ correctly, gymnastically riding the horse. You certainly have fine observation skills!

And thanks DD for all your comments here, I have learned to check in with all the threads as they can go any direction!

christie
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 Posted: Thu Jul 31st, 2008 01:48 am
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Cyndy, my friends TWH had always had his mane going on each side. I have only known this horse for a year now, but sometime ago my friend just flipped it all to one side, combed it down, and it's been all on the same side since!

Maybe sometimes it just means the mane needs 'taming'? :-) I think my horse might have back issues but then her mane has always fallen all on the same side.

   

cyndy
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 Posted: Thu Jul 31st, 2008 02:29 am
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Ha, and sometimes it's just a bad hair day! Maybe the mane grew that way while the back was out of line? Then when the back corrected itself, the mane was still crooked and only needed trained back? It maybe would have grown straight eventually again on it's own. Then again, maybe people correct the manes all the time and it never shows? Or maybe the theory is all wrong and it really doesn't make any difference. I do know the four most crooked horses I had in my life had such a mane before they were trained right. And the most balanced horses I started with had a mane on one side. It could have just been a coincident. And maybe that's how people's theories start~ by just coincidence?

Incidentally, I do have a good trick for training a mane. Use "washable" Elmer's glue to "set" the hair over. Cheap and effective (teenagers use it all the time for their crazy hairdos)

gallopinggram
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 Posted: Thu Jul 31st, 2008 07:46 pm
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Cyndi,

You have definitely given me something to think about with her mane!  Yes, it splits a little past the middle, and yes we have been wondering if her back is sore - I never put the two together.  It does make sense to me that the horses mane would fall on the hollow side (at least at first before training).  Her mane will usually go that way if I let it.

Also Joe,  I live pretty close to Lancaster, PA, and get to see the "working" horses pretty often.  It is always amazing to see the 4 in hands, and sometimes more, working the fields.  The Amish usually use Belgians for this work, and you see tourists often stop along the road to take pictures of them.  The buggy horses are another sight however.  I always feel sorry for them, they get worked very hard and get used up pretty early in life.  They are mostly standardbreds and move at a very fast trot on the same roads that the cars are on.  Anway, I enjoyed your story about your grandparents - I am about your age, and my grandfather used horses on his farm until about the 1950's.

Linda

cyndy
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 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 12:22 pm
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I have been thinking more about this "mane" thing. It is true the neck is the horse's "balancing pole". This shows up in so many ways, from a dressage horse using it's back correctly in a training position in "long, low and  (head) out" to the incorrect "jack hammer" of the Western Pleasure horse's head that is too much on it's forehand. Now, if the back, or say a hock wasn't bending as much on one side, it would compromise the balance. It would be certainly cause the neck to "swing" down or sideways in just a bit of a deviation, causing a neck muscle to change on one side or another, thus causing the mane to fall differently. If I was to say, twist my neck ( or even walk crooked) always in a certain way, my ponytail would always swing that way more then the other way?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Aug 4th, 2008 05:42 pm
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Cyndy, sorry, I did mix you up with Christie. Christie, please go over to the thread started by Aficat and read my reply -- it relates directly to your query about cantering and otherwise how best to use your drafty horse.

And awp! It's Galloping gram's horse that is the drafty one. So please everybody go read it!! -- Dr. Deb


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