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kcooper
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 Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 06:05 pm
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Can someone recommend a thread, article or advice that addresses the force that objects like walls or fences give off, how it effects your horse and how to go about dealing with it?(maybe 'dealing with it' is not the right phrase?)
I am sure it has to do with where their Birdy is at as well as 'twirling'.
It is so much easier to make nice fluid, calm circles (of a larger diameter) out in an open field than it is in an arena and I am really trying to throw out all of my initial gut reaction to this object 'effect' and or 'affect' that comes from walls (or any object for that matter but I find mostly walls.) I have gotten my horses over 'the wall effect' in the past but I am sure it required them to 'fill in for me' by my using too much poorly timed force and not enough feel.
In case it matters to a responder.... I am not a dressage student and have done the majority of my riding on a loose rein (and whether I am right or wrong I mean 'loose contact' not 'no contact').
FYI, what happens to me in a larger circle that gets into close proximity of the fence is that the horse leans his shoulders into the circle.Probable the same thing has happended to everyone at some point.
Also, I have read the recommended articles in the Knowledge Base section as well at the Eclectic Horseman articles and I know I will be reading them many more times in the future. Thankfully not everything I need to address jumps out at me at once or I would go crazy!
Thanks so much
Kim

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 07:12 pm
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Kim, where did you hear about 'wall effect'? This is something I do speak about at most riding clinics, but so far as I know, you have never ridden with me.

To some extent, it seems to me from your post that you are merely bandying about some terms that you associate with me, i.e. "wall effect", "head twirling". The two have little to do with each other....so little that it makes me wonder whether you understand either one. Please write back here for clarification.

If you are looking for threads from me or anyone else, go to the Google home page, click on the hot link to "Advanced Search", and then enter your search term in the top white bar. In the bottom white bar, dub in our Forum address: http://esiforum.mywowbb.com, which will limit the search to just this Forum. -- Dr. Deb

kcooper
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 Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 01:24 am
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Hi Dr Deb,
No I have not attended one of you clinics yet. (Although I am attending one of Josh Nichols next week!).
I have never actually heard `wall effect`from anyone....I just know that walls seem to `repel` my horses and objects, like say a barrel, will `draw` them if you are working a circle around it.
I did get the `twirling`term from you (I would have used jaw flexion in the past).

I mentioned that I believed the answer to my question about how best to deal with the forces from the wall or fence that make your horse want to lean away from the wall and into the circle might have something to do with where their Birdie was at or have to do with `head twirling`.

Like I mentioned in the first post, I do not have a dressage background or a back ground in any other specific discipline for that matter (I barrel race) so I haven't copied anyone's vocabulary or catch phrases that I am aware of. I attended two clinics from a cutting horse trainer about 15 years ago and I attended a clinic in 2006 by a barrel racer who has been world champion many times over. That is the extent of my education from `experts` the rest has been self taught or learned from experience that my close group of friends have had or from books I have read.

In case you were curious about how I ended up here.... osteopathic treatments for my horse led me to a fellow that you know (D.E.), he put me onto Academic Education by General DeCarpentry and upon studying that book I decided that the way Decarpentry believed horses should carry themselves was the way I thought that they would be strongest, soundest and perform their best in the rodeo arena so when I saw your models and articles in Eclectic Horsemen and how similar they seemed (to me at least) to Decarpentry I wanted to come to this sight and learn more! Now maybe I am wrong about the similarities....but I know that the help I am looking for I wont find in modern dressage or reining.
I am aware and very greatfull that the knowledge that you share on this site doesn't just address the physical needs of the horse.
I am far too apprehensive about what I say to bandy a term around this forum! So I would not say anything with out giving the subject a considerable amount of thought.
I did search your site just now for 'wall effect' but didn't come up with anything that mentioned what I was talking about.

Ok I hope that was the clarification you were looking for and I hope I didnt add anything that you were not interested in finding out!
Thank You
Kim

Last edited on Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 01:27 am by kcooper

Indy
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 Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 02:21 am
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Kim,
I believe that what you are talking about was written about in "The Birdie Book" by Dr. Deb. I would have to go back and look at the book (it is a book on cd) but I believe it is discussed in the part that has photos of a rider on an arabian riding in a ring. I have read the Birdie Book several times now and learn something new every time I do.
Clara

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 07:07 am
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Dear Kim -- OK, thanks very much for the clarification. Sometimes, terms are just "in the air" -- almost inevitable in a way that a person would catch hold of them. Thus with "wall effect."

And Indy, you are correct, I do talk about this in "The Birdie Book", and maybe Kim would like to look at that.

Nonetheless I intend also to answer at least part of the question here. To be very clear, "wall effect" never draws a horse into the wall, or a barrel, or any other object; rather it repels the horse from it. It is as if the horse feels that there is a force-field emanating from the rail or the wall. This is why so many riders have trouble getting their horse to "go to the rail" at the ordinary type of horse show.

As to the barrel in a barrel race -- especially the first barrel -- yes indeed, the majority of horses do lean in toward the barrel. But this is the opposite of "wall effect". It is due to a more basic cause.

Let us, therefore, discuss the two different scenarios that each have their own separate cause. The cause of "wall effect" is not really that there is a force-field. Instead, it is caused by the horse's beliefs and feelings about the rail or wall. His own mother, you see, told him not to get near those things; especially, not to get his hips near those things, for fear of getting his hipbone hooked or perhaps a cut to the thigh.

Moreover, a horse's body, when seen from the top, is not shaped like an oval or a rectangle, but rather like an arrowhead. It is a long triangle, narrower in front but wider behind. What the horse therefore tries to do when he goes on the arena track, parallel to the wall, is he tries to keep the outside contour of his body parallel to the wall. However, because his body is triangular, this means that his midline is not parallel to the wall, but rather it will be angled so that the front end -- his head, neck, and the center of his chest -- is closer to the wall, while his tail will be farther away.

This orientation, along with the fact that he fears the wall in a way, will cause him to not want to curve his ribcage out toward the wall. He will, instead, curve it to the inside -- thus causing himself to move "wrongside out" with respect to the direction he's moving in the arena. By this I mean that the horse will have an anatomically left bend through the length of his spine when travelling to the right of the arena, and an anatomically right bend through the length of his spine when travelling to the left of the arena.

The net result is that the horse's ribcage will bulge toward the center of the arena. This means also that the horse will be carrying more weight upon the pair of feet that are toward the inside of the arena, i.e. on the right pair of feet if he's going to the right in the arena. This in turn will induce him to want to step a little bit to the right every time he takes a step, especially with the right hind leg. As this is a willy-nilly imitation of a leg-yield, pretty soon the rider finds that the horse has "faded" or "fallen in" off the track -- the horse will start cutting the corners in the arena, and she will have difficulty getting him to go out toward the track or the rail, because he will instead, so long as he turns right, keep trying to spiral in, so that he makes smaller and smaller circles.

There is a way to fix this completely. An expert rider can do it in about three seconds; students who are just learning may take a couple of weeks to get it put together the first time. After you learn it, however, it's easy -- like everything else about riding.

Now we need to talk about what the deal is with the barrel. There the situation seems to be the opposite; the horse "falls in" toward the barrel. The reason for this is that the rider actually, when there is no barrel around and she is "just practice riding", has the same problem as described above. In neither case does the rider understand how to make her horse carry himself, and her, straight. The barrel horse is "wrongside out" with respect to the track that goes around the barrel.

I've never seen a slow barrel horse. If all the barrel horses at the Oakdale Rodeo were lined up across a field and somebody shot off a gun and they all started and ran at top speed 1/4-mile to the opposite side of the field, they would all arrive within one body-length of each other, maybe less -- a matter of fractions of a second. But far more than this -- whole seconds, multiple seconds -- are lost when the horse goes around any of the barrels "wrongside out", because this forces the animal to have to cut a much wider circle around the barrel. Sometimes the wrongside-out horse even runs right past the first barrel.

What "crookedness" is, is explained in the "Lessons from Woody" and "True Collection" articles posted under the "Knowledge Base" section of our main website at http://www.equinestudies.org. I suggest that you download both these papers and study them -- that would be the first step. They explain what crookedness is, and the anatomical basis for that. Then they tell you how to fix it.

Briefly, you fix it by addressing the horse's inside hind leg. This is the beginning of the process of suppling, and the beginning of the process of straightening. Another word for this action is "untracking". Untracking is discussed in detail in my "Eclectic Horseman" series -- you might also want to look at that or subscribe to that. You'll need a subscription by this point that goes back about two years.

When you have read and studied these materials, you can write back in here, Kim, with any further questions you may have. As I mentioned, the solution to your problems is actually rather easy, but it's practically impossible if the person does not have the basic tools. That's what the articles give. You're correct to say that DeCarpentry is excellent, and that neither the typical barrel-race school nor the typical reining school will give you much help on this. Here is the solution you've been looking for -- just a little work on your part, and you'll have it in hand. -- Dr. Deb

 

kcooper
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 Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 06:56 pm
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Dr Deb - Thank You!
I am so glad to get the reasons for the "wall effect" rather than a band aid approach to dealing with it.

Question: Did his mother really teach him in some way to keep clear of such things? I ask specifically because we are expecting a foal in the next three weeks and while our pasture is huge and there are no trap corners and the wire is tight I have been fretting a bit about the barb wire which starts at the 2nd strand from the bottom, the bottom wire is thick smooth wire that is electrified. So I would be relieved to know that his mother (who is a smart old gal) would have a part in the education and it would not be learned completely by instinct or worse by trial and error.

After reading your reply above followed by Woody (again) you have cleared up some confusion I had regarding the HQ's. This confusion had been growing steadily the more I searched elsewhere for the answers.
I have always believed that the horse needed to take the shape of the circle with the head, shoulders and hips being square to the track. What I really had backwards in my brain and my feel was that I thought 'untracking' might be the same as or lead to 'dis engaging' of the HQ's when in fact the opposite is true, it is "The Masters Way' of engaging the HQ's!! And it makes perfect sense to me now that the inside hind must come and step under the navel because if the hips are square to the track you are on then that is the only place logically for it to go without having the HQ's derail themselves from the track. The result of the derailment for me anyways was that the horse quits propelling itself forward and dumps on his FQ's. I got in my head not that long ago that I maybe needed a bit of a "haunches in" to make perfect circles but I am glad to know that that is not the case.
(Have I grasped the concept correctly??)

As for the 'draw' to the barrel: that cleared up the minute I redirected my focus to where we were headed instead of the object we were headed around. Good horse/bad rider :)

Also, after re-reading "Woody" I realize that there are two reasons for our leaning, the lesser of the two being the wall effect. This 11 yr old running QH leans to the left. Prominent mostly at the lope. I have gotten him soft at the walk and trot to the left while the lope remains stiffer. Coincidentally the left fore is the hoof that is the most under run and contracted. I have also observed that there is this ever-so-slight straightness on the right side of the hoof on both hooves and as well there is an ever-so-slight flare to the left. This horse had 58 starts (a lot for a QH) on the track and they did not retire him because he wasn't winning or because he had gotten hurt, he was to old! So I am guessing that his left lean comes from years of racing counter clockwise around the track with the horse pushing onto the bit and leaning into the circle. I believe they lean in because this give them the vantage point to be the most aggressive with how far they reach with their inside fore leg??

If I have understood enough correctly so that I can progress into attempting to 'untrack' and actually truly engage the HQ's I was wondering if I was only to initiate it when I felt that the horse has leaned in or was going to lean in because we were approaching the point where he always does because of the wall effect??

Thanks again
Kim

Last edited on Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 07:17 pm by kcooper

kcooper
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 Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 07:16 pm
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I wanted to point out one other thing.
The pendulum effect in the horsemanship area that is due to the lack of a paradigm IS enough to make you want to throw your saddle and boots away and just have your horses as lawn ornaments!!
Since I saw that Dave Elliot is on your approved to mention list I thought I would share a story.
From the first day I took my horse to him I new that I was on the track to something better (and real) for my horse and us as a team. But a friend who went to see Dave told me that he told her that their riding was the cause of the horses physical problems and that all he could do was keep readjusting the poor horse until it was being ridden properly. On the surface being told 'you ride wrong' is insulting....but it is NOT more insulting that having a practitioner keep taking your money on your monthly maintenance visits!! Whether they are intending to hose you or not. I imagine they are just trying to make a living doing what they love but with out the proper education.
I now really have a feel for and a better understanding of Dr Debs strong opposition to the fancily marketed, pyramid scheme gurus.
While I haven't had the pleasure of being insulted about my riding I have had the displeasure of spending alot of money trying to fix the checkerboard of physical issue my poor kept having due to my ineptness or lack of influence by people who grasp the whole concept.
I relate this whole 'awakening' experience to one of those pictures that has the geometrical pattern of colours on it that you are supposed to stare at 'somehow' until a very detailed image of say a rhinoceros jumps right out at you like it was plainly there all along but you just didn't know how to screw your eyes to see it and then once you can do it is clear as a bell.

kcooper
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 Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 07:57 pm
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Dr Deb,
I thought I should mention that before I attepmt 'untracking' from the saddle I am on my way out of the house right now to first get it figured from the ground ONE STEP AT A TIME.
Kim

Blue Flame
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 Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 02:32 am
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Thank you for this thread. It is starting to dissipate the fog I've had about a seemingly contradictory statement made on DVD by a well known instructor from the UK.

While riding on the long side rail, she highlighted her use of the inside leg - mentioned about horses being wider at the back than at the front - then made the seemingly contradictory statement, "For there can be no straightness without bend".

What she didn't mention was the wall effect - and now I have read this thread, I'm finally beginning to understand what on earth she was on about :-)

Thanks,

Sandy

Last edited on Sat Jun 4th, 2011 02:33 am by Blue Flame

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 07:21 am
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Kim -- You may thank Blue Flame for a good comment here. Yes; when in the arena particularly, there can be no straightness without bend.

Kim, you are still completely mixed up. This is not unusual when someone is just beginning to get a concept straightened out in their mind, get the picture right. Let me take your posts one point at a time:

(1) Being told by an expert, such as Dave E. is (both a good osteopathic practitioner and quite a good rider and trainer) that "you ride wrong" is not an insult, and is never meant as an insult. It is, instead, just a fact. Immature people will often take being told "you ride wrong" as an insult, however -- that's because immature people are more interested in defending their little paper-sack of knowledge than they are in trading their paper sack up for the barn full of knowledge that is being offered to them by the expert. The way to begin that trade-up process is not necessarily to throw their paper sack away, but for the person to admit that it really does not cover all the bases. Immature people often can't bring themselves to admit this, however; instead, they have a little voice down inside of them that says: 'you can't tell me what to do', 'I paid for this with lessons or clinics with so-and-so and so it must be right', or 'I'll train my horse myself, thank-you-very-much.' But you understand, Kim, that there is such a thing as universal standards, and until and unless the person is willing to at least try to meet those standards, she will not only remain ineffective, she will also look like a total boob to everybody who does know about and adhere to the standards.

(2) As to your foal learning from its dam: of course the dam will do everything in her power to protect her foal. She will indeed tell the foal to stay away from the fence, and you will see her physically intervene, putting her body between the foal and the fence, so as to prevent the foal from getting close to the fence. Nevertheless, if it were my foal, I would go to any amount of expense to get rid of EVERY SINGLE BIT of barbed wire that would be anywhere that any of my horses could touch. Barbed wire, especially low to the ground, is extremely dangerous. Once a horse slashes a tendon or damn near cuts a hoof off because he's gotten tangled in it, are your apologies and regrets at that point going to do the horse any good? Or on a practical level -- you've paid good money for a stud fee and the vet care and feeding for the pregnant mare. Why would you put the foal's whole future at risk by placing it in an enclosure fenced with barbed wire?

(3) Your horse LEANS to the RIGHT and therefore prefers to TURN or BEND to the LEFT. The evidence you present for this is: (a) the left forefoot is the smaller and more contracted of the two, indicating that this is the foot the horse typically puts less weight upon. Therefore he puts more weight upon the right forefoot, that is to say, because he typically leans to the right. (b) The hoofs' upright walls are on the right side, the low-sloping or "flared" walls are on the left. This also indicates a right lean. Re-read Woody to review this material: when a horse bends to the left, he must lean to the right, meaning he puts more weight upon the right pair of feet.

(4) 'Disengaging the hindquarters' is the ignorant term used by one of the well-self-advertised horsemanship gurus. 'Disengagement' is an equivalent of untracking; in other words, the two words mean the same thing. They both mean that the inside hind leg steps (more or less deeply) under the body-shadow. The problem with the term 'disengagement' is that it was coined by the well-self-advertised man, a person who is utterly ignorant of the existing body of equestrian literature and of world standards of horsemanship. In other words, 'disengagement' is absolutely the wrong term, a very poor addition to the vocabulary, a word that is unnecessary and should not be used by anyone. The root reason for this is that the first author to write very clearly about untracking (Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere, an 18th-century French master) referred to the oblique step of the inside hind leg as either 'untracking' or 'engagement of the hindquarter'. His terminology has several centuries of priority. Thus, to untrack is to engage the hindquarter -- not disengage it. I would thus prefer to hear no one use the term 'disengagement' any longer, and I will continue to correct students' vocabulary and use of terminology every time they screw up on this, just as your High School English teacher corrected you every time you said, 'them boys is playing ball outside'.

(5) Haunches-in is an exercise which should be taught to every pleasure-riding horse, and that category would include barrel racing horses. However, you Kim are very far at the present time from being able to teach it cogently or use it correctly. This is because haunches-in belongs to Class III lateral work (half-pass family), whereas at the present time you are just beginning to get a handle on Class I lateral work (leg-yield family). As your grasp of untracking improves and your horse becomes able to untrack on the ground one step at a time, you can move into using untracking to produce the exercise called expanding the circle. It is by means of the correct execution of this exercise that the rider teaches the horse to carry itself straight, and also overcomes 'wall effect', and also gets their barrel horse to curve properly to the line upon which it is being ridden around the barrel. It is because the clinician whom Blue Flame saw understands this that she said, "there can be no straightness without bend."

(6) You have asked essentially, "when should I ask my horse to untrack." As you come to understand the saying, "there can be no straightness without bend," you will realize that the honest answer to the question is that there is no moment whatsoever when you are not asking one or the other of the horse's hind legs to untrack. However -- the 'asking' is not always, or not even usually, of a very great amount; it absolutely must be there, but the amount that the horse brings the inside hind leg in under the body-shadow often needs to be less than the width of a single hoof. Your job right now, Kim, is to learn how to do the following things:

               (a) Ride an accurate 10-M circle at a walk. This means you'll get so that you can ride a circle that is perfectly round, and also that you can ride it two or three times and, each time, go exactly over your same tracks without missing.

                (b) Produce this figure entirely from LIGHT touches with your legs, with very little use of the reins -- almost no pressure upon the reins. The bend is to be created by your legs asking the horse's inside hind leg to step under. The horse's bend 'unfurls' from the rear.

                 (c) Once you can ride an accurate 10-M circle at a walk, then to increase the depth of the horse's oblique step enough that the oblique step causes the animal to leg-yield outward while still moving forward in a curve, so that he "inflates" the 10-M circle to a 20-M circle.

                  (d) Do this and then change hind legs, so that if you began on the left hand/understepping left hind legs, you then change to the right hand because the right hind leg becomes the understepping leg. This should, at first, be done by 'drifting' as explained by Mike Schaffer in his EBook 'Riding in the Moment', or as explained by Buck Brannaman at every clinic and in 'The Eclectic Horseman' magazine. It is also explained in one of my 'How Horses Work' articles in the same magazine. Please avail yourself of these inexpensive resources.

(7) One last thought, Kim. Q: How many barrels are there in a barrel race?

Correct answer: there are ZERO barrels in a barrel race -- until you hit one. And the winner of the barrel race does not hit the barrel, does she? Therefore, the winner of the barrel race is doing one thing, and one thing only: riding the PATTERN while ignoring the barrels. And if the pattern curves, then your horse had better be able to curve, too. That's what untracking, leg-yielding, 'drifting', and circular figures are there to install. -- Dr. Deb

 

 

kcooper
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 Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 04:37 pm
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Dr Deb,

Thank You for clearing up 'dis engaging' vs 'untracking/engainging'. The last thing I want to do is 'dis engage' my horses hq's as far as circles or barrel work goes.



I actually down loaded the back issues to How Horses Work two weeks ago and have been practicing and then re reading. I ordered the Birdie Book at that time too but its not here yet. I would not waste you time or the other peoples time on this forum, it is very obvious by browsing old threads what you need to read to get yourself up to speed. Fully grasping the concepts might not be as obvious until you shed all that you thought you knew!



I just meant to say that I appreciate D.E. for telling a person plainly where the bear hides in the bush instead of saying "this is going to take a lot of visits but we should be able to make him better".

I think if I was really immature I wouldn't have dove into Academic Education and recognised it's significance!! But I do understand and try to first recognise and then fight the nature that a person has to try and protect and defend their little lump of knowledge. I was trying to say that it is hard because there are people who really seem to have what works....but in time you find that most only have what works on the surface because it is neatly marketed.



Ok, I just need two things cleared up if you don't mind.....



This past week I have been practicing untracking successfully on a 20m circle. Paying careful attention to the footfall of his inside hind and putting as little pressure as needed to step obliquely under himself just as he is lifting it of the ground for the step. But I was also twirling the head at the same time. It seemed quite easy for us and it felt great.



In your instructions to me specifically #6) b,c, and d ...... am I to understand that I attempt NO head twirling and get the bend in my horses body solely from my inside leg until further notice? or until I can make perfect 10m circle leg yielding to 20m perfect circles?

and lastly..

You say 'ride a circle that is perfectly round'.... I've got that part but as I have completed my circle and am looking at the last laps tracks ....I realise that the inside hind is going to be on a slightly (like a coupe of inches) larger diameter of a circle, am I to be concerned with what the outside hind does at all while I maintain that circle?

(I do realize when we are leg yielding to the larger circle that the ouside hind will be reaching)



I see that I am going to have to research about untracking more because I do not fully understand HOW getting the HQs to track slightly outside of the FQs creates engagement.

I ran at the provincial finals last year and got to watch nearly 400 barrel runs and the horses that kick their HQs to the outside of the track their FQs are on (and these are usually the people with tight tie downs on) loose their momentum and the horse has to quickly realign on the backside of the barrel to take off again.



Thank You for taking the time to straighten me out!! and I am sorry if I appear 'thick' in the head.
Kim

Last edited on Sat Jun 4th, 2011 04:41 pm by kcooper

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 07:58 pm
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Kim, by no means was I implying that you are immature. Those comments are intended to be of a general nature, a general observation about how the world is and how students can sometimes be.

As to untracking, you are still completely mixed up. Untracking does not cause the hindquarters to track a larger circle, or to track outside of, the forelimbs.

All it does is ask the inside hind leg to step under the body-shadow. This causes the distance between the footprints made by the two hind legs to become narrower. It also causes the horse to shift its weight from the inside half of its body to the outside half.

And yes, you can twirl the horse's head, as needed, during the execution of any maneuver whatsoever. The instructions intend merely to get you to use the least rein POSSIBLE.

You need to go up for a visit to Josh Nichol in Edmonton, as soon as possible. There all your questions would be answered, and your confusions cleared up. -- Dr. Deb

kcooper
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 Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 08:05 pm
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Yes!
Thank You!
I am seeing Josh this coming Tuesday for a week!
The distance between the back legs gets narrower, now I see. I also found some of the answers after reading How the Horse Works "Untracking" for yet another time

Thank You for your patience!

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 09:32 pm
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OK, Kim, that's really great. You will have lots of fun as well as learning! -- Dr. Deb

Blue Flame
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 Posted: Tue Jun 7th, 2011 11:24 am
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I have been reading through all the old posts in this forum and found the following posted by Dr. Deb on this page http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/forum1/238-2.html

DrDeb wrote:
. . . . 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! . . . .


So it is evident that we can use the wall effect to our advantage. This brings to mind something else the well known UK instructor I mentioned earlier elucidated on DVD . . . while teaching a horse to extend in the arena, she would time the request to extend so as to utilise the effect of space opening up in front of the horse, say from a circle in a corner opening out into the long diagonal. I have seen several other horsemen use the effect of corners or objects to their advantage as well where the wall effect helps make it more obvious to the horse what is being requested. For example, backing out of a corner along one side and turning the horse in the backup, so that its FQ had to pass between the rail and its HQ. I guess this makes it clear to the horse that in order to effect the turn it must first move its HQ away from the rail to make room for the FQ to come through. THis little exercise seemed to help the horse sit back on the HQ before swinging the FQ over. Then, as the FQ came through, the horse was asked to move out just as the space was opening up in front of it . . . so much going on in one seemingly simple manouvre - and wall effect being used to the great advantage of both the horse and rider.

One day, I had the opportunity to watch some barrel racing. I was lucky enough to be standing next to a very experienced horseman who talked me through the various aspects of it all, including how a horse that might look slower but makes tighter and more upright turns will actually be faster through the course. The main thing I noticed was that at the end of the arena, so that the horse was facing it as it crossed the finish line, was a huge wooden wall. I remember being impressed at the horses going from a full gallop into a very lively and straight backup and how the big wall might help with that aspect.

Somewhat similar to the huge wall, I have seen horsemen/instructors/clinicians have students ride to/at the tree. This seemed to work great for putting a stop on a horse, but I probably am missing the deeper meaning of this particular exercise.

I bet if we really think about it, we could realise just how much we might be fighting or using wall effect without being mindful of it. It goes to show how much we might use our environment to help set things up to make it easier for the horse to find 'it', whatever that may be.

Sandy

Last edited on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 11:28 am by Blue Flame


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