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What's a girl to do..collection
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christie
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 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 05:06 am
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I have been riding my horse for several years, on a loose rein.

I have your true collection article, Birdie book, and have looked through past posts. Also studied any other thing I have found about this subject. I recently purchased 2 books by Jane Savoie called cross training.

When I read what you write Dr. Deb, I get the feeling that what everyone does is 'wrong' in regards to how they go about getting their horse to carry a rider in the state that is the best for the horse physically. 

In fact, it makes me feel like I should not even try, as I will just get it wrong.

Even though I have much more to say, I'll probably just be rambling on and on. I think you get the gist of this post. I am trying to now ride my horse in a way that is best for her physically(which I gather collected is best..), but just feel totally confused about how to go about it and get the feeling that what everyone else is doing, from reiners to 'tv' trainers is wrong.  So if the world is doing it wrong...thinking that feels so disheartening.

I'm wanting to show the horse I am riding, she is an Arab that is a bit butt high, not sure how that should fit into my strategy. She is 14.

I'm editing trying to think of what you might want to know. What I have been doing is trying to get her soft (but then what does that mean exactly?) on the bit, however I'm reading that that does not connect to the backend..ok, I'm stopping now! :-)

 


Attachment: perfectly clean.jpg (Downloaded 488 times)

Last edited on Fri Aug 1st, 2008 05:10 am by christie

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 09:00 am
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Christie, help me out here a little bit if you will, by answering a somewhat personal question. How old are you? -- Dr. Deb

christie
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 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 01:41 pm
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BTW, I didn't mean that I want to 'show' as in take my horse to horse shows, I meant just show a picture.

I will be 41 in a month.

rifruffian
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 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 05:58 pm
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Hey, I like the look of your compact horse; very similar in appearance to the horse my partner rides. They go to endurance meets and thoroughly enjoy it, by and large they do very well together. Sounds like you're suffering from information overload.......maybe try  more time with horse, less time on internet?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 07:28 pm
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OK, Christie, fair enough and thank you for giving your age. You see, I thought I might have been working with a teenager, in which case the style of answer would need to be somewhat different. Since you are an adult, we may conclude that you are not "having hormones" but are merely discouraged. So Rifruffian is giving a good prescription: more time doing something enjoyable with horse, less time on Internet, and I will only add -- when discouraged, there are three little words to always keep in mind:  "just...start....over".

In your above post, and I think (if I recall right) in some other recent post by you, you are telling me that you ride on a "loose" rein. In the other post that I'm remembering, you are asking about a "draping" rein, and the way that was phrased it sounded to me like you don't know the difference between a loose rein and a draping rein.

So here's a series of surprises:
  • A loose rein is not desirable and is not what you should try to ride on.
  • A loose rein is not the opposite of "contact".
  • Continuous backward traction upon the reins, whether the amount of traction is large or small, kills true contact.
  • True contact has nothing to do with the amount of pressure felt either by your hands, or by the horse's mouth.
  • Draping reins can only be achieved, or will only result, after the student understands how to establish true contact.
Here is a series of truisms:
  • True contact means connection with the horse.
  • True contact is primarily about energy flow within the reins -- as if the reins were hoses rather than straps.
  • Energy flow within the reins MUST ALWAYS be from the rider to the horse.
  • When energy flow within the reins flows from the rider to the horse, that does not necessarily mean that the reins themselves get longer, and they certainly do not become "loose".
  • "Loose" reins are reins so long that they exceed the rider's ability to generate energy and flow it up into the reins.
  • "Tight" reins are reins held so firmly that they choke off the energy flow, and may also be painful to the horse, making him want to escape rather than seek.
  • The rider OFFERS contact and the horse GOES TO contact. You can rephrase this: the rider OFFERS connection and the horse SEEKS the same connection.
  • Some horses, that have become resigned to being ridden with continuous backward traction in the reins, when offered contact do not seek it. Such horses have to be re-educated by a rider who knows how to get the horse to start hunting up that feel again.
  • Draping reins are a side effect of the posture offered by the horse. The rider causes the horse, or cajoles him, into using his "ring of muscles" to round up or collect. This is the posture that causes draping reins.
Here is a brief and effective definition of collection:
  1. Collection starts from, and is always primarily the product of, coiling the horse's loins.
  2. Collection is continued (almost simultaneously) when the coiling of the loins causes the horse to arch the freespan of its back.
  3. Collection is completed when (again, almost simultaneously) the above two actions assist the horse in raising the BASE of its neck.
Christie, here's the mental picture. If you were to mount a trained horse with a friendly disposition, you could have dressmakers' tapes instead of reins. If you then took all the slack out of both reins, just so that you could feel the horse's tongue, the tapes would allow you to see exactly how many inches of rein there were between the bit-rings and your hands.

If you then touched the horse with the calves of your legs (remember I said he was a finished horse), the animal would instantly begin to round up.

As he rounded up, you would not move your hands, you would not take up the rein, and you would not feed out any rein. You would just wait and see what the horse was showing you.

As he rounded up and collected more and more, the base of his neck would rise. His head would then become fully vertical, and more importantly, he would arch his neck along with rounding his loins and back.

When the horse did this, given that you did not move your hands or change their position on the tapes, the reins would become draping but NOT "slack".

The reason they would not be slack is that, presumably, when you first adjusted them "straight" they were short enough that you could fill them with life and feel. We know this because you could feel the horse's tongue.

After they become draping, you will still be able to feel the horse's tongue. The connection between you and him will still be there, and that connection is one of the important channels of communication between you.

So you never change the length of the reins on a finished horse. You offer him contact and he seeks contact. In rounding up, he does not "drop the bit".

Notice that nowhere in this description have I said anything about an amount of pressure that should or should not be there in either your hands or in the horse's mouth. This is a question asked all the time by beginners who are at the stage in their riding that you are at, Christie. True contact is the same as the contact that exists between your arm and your torso. How much pressure does your body exert to hold your arm on?

That's a question that is, of course, impossible to answer, not so much on technical grounds but because the questioner is thinking in the wrong terms. Do not think in terms of pressure; think in terms of connection, communication, and energy flow.

Now as I look at your horse, I see lots of nice things but also a rather "soft" or saggy back, and a somewhat unfit underline. Your saddle will fit better, and your riding will go better, if you get about putting the horse over some cavalletti, learning to back her up correctly, perform leg-yields and turns on the forehand, and transitions, that are the basic repetory by which all horses, everywhere, become capable of carrying a rider in collection. -- Dr. Deb

 

 

 

 

 

Brenton Ross Matthews
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 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 11:25 pm
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Dr Deb--that is the best post anyone has ever written--thankyou.

 I have made a copy for myself !

Brenton

christie
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 Posted: Sat Aug 2nd, 2008 06:08 am
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rifruffian wrote: Hey, I like the look of your compact horse; very similar in appearance to the horse my partner rides. They go to endurance meets and thoroughly enjoy it, by and large they do very well together. Sounds like you're suffering from information overload.......maybe try  more time with horse, less time on internet?

Thanks, I think she's downright adorable and then some!

I've been spending all day, every day, with my horse :-)

christie
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 Posted: Sat Aug 2nd, 2008 06:18 am
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I am home late and will study your post tomorrow at the barn Dr. Deb. Like I said to Rifruffian, I'm at the barn all day, I actually have a couple months off from work.  I do this so I can spend all the time I want at the barn. So lots more horse time than computer time. 

I would be interested to hear your description of how to do a proper back up.  I agree about the back and the underline. She's a little bit plumper now too so that doesn't help.

I was actually doing complete forehand turns today. I do transitions every day. Cavalletti...  I have been riding her up the manure pile(mixed with shavings) for something different to do, will this help? Pushing herself uphill? I think she enjoys standing at the top feeling 'tall'!

Cavelletti every day? How high and how long?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Aug 2nd, 2008 08:14 am
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OK, Christie, I put some of those things in there as a kind of way of seeing which of them you'd bite on, like tasty bait. I mean things like transitions, backing, cavalletti.

Actually these things are the very basic elements of horsemanship, without a knowledge of which you will not be able to make much progress. Neither you nor anyone else. You have to have the bricks in hand before you can build the house.

Without a knowledge of these basics, riding safely is a matter of just sheer luck or Providence (and don't we all know that God loves neophytes). Riding effectively is hit-or-miss, because you never really are sure why something worked or how to get it to happen again. And over time, the whole thing tends to degenerate into just petting and grooming rather than progress in engendering the kind of motivation and clarity in the horse that make for satisfying and pleasurable rides that literally sparkle.

I also want now to pick up on something from your previous "discouraged" post. One of the things that is bothering you, from what you say, is that you are not hearing from me what you hear from most other riders or instructors. That's absolutely correct.

There's a reason for it, too, and this is it: horsemanship nearly died in this country between WWI and 1965. This was the time of the rise of the automobile and of power tractors on farms, and it was during this period that the population of horses in the U.S. reached all-time low numbers. Many of the older generation of good horsemen died without passing their knowledge on to younger people, because very few of the people who were young at that time saw any future in being horse professionals or having horse knowledge.

During this same period of time, we saw the establishment of most of the breed registries that exist today (most breeds did not exist "on paper" until after 1940), and also the rise of horse showing in the form we are familiar with today (prior to that time there were relatively few horse shows and almost no breed shows).

All of this set the stage for rampant abuse, much of which stemmed from plain ignorance. During this time (photos document it) we see people beginning with the weighted shoes, the tail-sets, the martingales, and the patent "developers" and bits. Riders were taught to pose on horseback. The art of quality saddlemaking nearly died. Cheap teaching tricks were used to get riders over fences -- never mind whether they could ride a curving line or rate a horse. Some western trainers got big press in the national magazines for openly advocating very rough methods.

It was all of this that prompted our elderly teacher to come out of seclusion and teach a wider group of students (he had been teaching a few people since the 1930's). His greatest student was, and remains, Ray Hunt, but there were a number of us younger people who also greatly benefited, and who carry on this style of horsemanship today -- an "attitude and approach" as it says at the top of our Home Page, that puts the horse first and that assumes that the horse is sensitive, intelligent, and capable of being educated if only the owner will go about presenting things in a way that the horse can understand.

Our teacher was the "deepest" horseman I ever met or heard of, and his line of thought in this area is documentably unique in history. It is "deep work" or "deep understanding" from which true control of the horse ultimately comes. It is this kind of insight that empowers "....true unity and willing communication between horse and human".

So, to tie this up, Christie, what I am telling you is that what you commonly hear is merely common. This is where "developing your filters" as Dave G. mentioned becomes a priority. All students, no matter where they finally land, have to decide who to listen to and who not to listen to. So here we are in the Forum; have you not read some of the other threads? Have you been impressed that I, and some of the other folks here, know whereof they speak? Ahh -- or perhaps you have not. This is exactly what I said to Pam, if you read some of the threads where she got bothered and left. It is no different for any person: you MUST decide. You cannot listen to all advice, because much of it is going to conflict, and some of it will cripple you or your horse. You cannot have it all ways, your own way, or just any way. You cannot "quilt" your horsemanship together by taking a little bit from one place and a little bit from a different place. You have to decide. And the heck of it is, as Ray Hunt says, "the thing you needed to know first is always the thing you learn last."

Now, what I want you to do before we go into any of the "basic bricks" that I mentioned above, is to use the search function at the top of this Forum to look up the following key words:
  • backing or backing up
  • cavalletti or cavalletto
  • teaching a horse to go downhill
  • transitions
  • collection
I also want you to download and study the following articles in "Knowledge Base":
  • Lessons from Woody
  • True Collection
And I would love it if you purchased some of the "Inner Horseman" back issues, in which we cover a wide variety of basic horsemanship topics. Particularly in the early issues, I give you old Forum threads where people ask these same questions and I answer them. I have been answering the same basic questions for thirty years, Christie, and it isn't because people have been too deaf to hear me. Rather, it's because new people enter the world of horsemanship every year -- people just like yourself. They might enter at the time they purchase their horse, or they might, like you, have already owned their horse for some time before it dawns on them that horsemanship might be something they'd like to master, something that could benefit their horse, something that might make the whole experience ten times or a hundred times more enjoyable, just as master joinery makes a Victorian home or a Lincolnesque or an Antebellum mansion more enjoyable to be in than a shack. For the common standard of horsemanship in our country remains abysmal, and this is exactly why I founded the Institute with its motto "fostering higher education in horsemanship". -- Dr. Deb

 

hurleycane
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 Posted: Sat Aug 2nd, 2008 01:37 pm
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My God, Dr Deb.  It is without apology that I tell you this.  In my endeavors to ride the good ride I have had some wonderful moments that made me want for more.  I have had and still do have great horsemen that observe and teach me more than I have ever thought possible to learn.  I have been wowed by what some can accomplish.  But never in my life have I ever read works such as yours that introduce me to such fantastic possibilities that each time I peak in to this forum I find I am covered head to to with goose bumps and end up reading each last line through tears!!! 

We are all so blessed! 

Pam
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 Posted: Sat Aug 2nd, 2008 07:06 pm
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DrDeb wrote:

So, to tie this up, Christie, what I am telling you is that what you commonly hear is merely common. This is where "developing your filters" as Dave G. mentioned becomes a priority. All students, no matter where they finally land, have to decide who to listen to and who not to listen to. So here we are in the Forum; have you not read some of the other threads? Have you been impressed that I, and some of the other folks here, know whereof they speak? Ahh -- or perhaps you have not. This is exactly what I said to Pam, if you read some of the threads where she got bothered and left. It is no different for any person: you MUST decide. You cannot listen to all advice, because much of it is going to conflict, and some of it will cripple you or your horse. You cannot have it all ways, your own way, or just any way. You cannot "quilt" your horsemanship together by taking a little bit from one place and a little bit from a different place. You have to decide. And the heck of it is, as Ray Hunt says, "the thing you needed to know first is always the thing you learn last."


Geeze DD:   I left the forum because you are an Irrational Hormonal Bitch....and  I would never want to be like you.....horsemanship aside! 

 


Pam
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 Posted: Sat Aug 2nd, 2008 07:07 pm
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Oh Yeah, The last thing I learned about you was the first thing I needed to know!  Ray Hunt is surely right about that.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Aug 2nd, 2008 07:08 pm
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Good to see you're still reading the Forum, Pam. Hang in there. -- Dr. Deb

Helen
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 Posted: Sun Aug 3rd, 2008 10:25 am
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Wow, Pam, I am shocked. In the past I have really enjoyed reading your posts and was sad to see your argument with DD... but there comes a line when insults show more about the one who says them than about the one they are said to. You just crossed that line.

hurleycane
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 Posted: Sun Aug 3rd, 2008 01:47 pm
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And I think this is what Dr Deb picked up on in Pam's posts.  I do not believe that someone can write as well and effectively as Dr Deb does without having a good sense of all that the written word conveys and implies.

What heartens me most is the intent of Dr Deb's reply continues to "teach" the reluctant and struggling student.  

If a good purpose leads us, it invariably pulls us up no matter how troubled the path. 


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