Omar, you are right, I have been away all day, and only just back. PK's DVD's show a very different idea of long and low, in that the horse is not actually all that low, but more stretched out, with nose well in front of the vertical, which would account for the extension of the neck.
I have just today, been working with my solicitor and good friend Jill's new Oldenburger show jumper, Connie. The mare is a sweetheart, bred in the purple, only five years old, but heart like a lion and a hell of a jump. But, typically, she had been ridden in draw reins prior to Jill- who has had her only three weeks- and she wanted to work very long and low, and essentially curled back. She is a typically long backed warmblood, real quality though, and with an excellent walk and canter, and a more average show jumpers trot, at least, thats what Jill thought! She was also rather behind the leg, because she had been overworked in the school to try to get her ready to sell, and was patently switched off to schooling.
Jill is not only open minded, but has hands better than 90% of dressage riders, despite being very much the affiliated show jumper. But her other show jumper, KWPN Mikey, is doing rather well every time she does take him elementary dressage.
So I got on Connie, after Jill had ridden her for a bit, and immediately started to work her 'up'. She already started to lift in the KK Ultra, but I still felt she wanted to lean on the bit. Out came a pelham, and we popped in on her. I did a few flexions at the halt, and she immediately started to relax the lower jaw and poll. Tongue came over the bit a few times to begin with as it was a mullen mouth, but she soon forgot about it. Within literally about three minutes, she looked like a different horse. Poll as the highest point, face just about at the vertical and not behind it as before, she also became so much lighter to the leg.
Within a few more minutes, she was trotting completely differently, light in hand, carrying herself, really using her back end- Jill could hardly believe the difference. I barely had to use the leg any more. She became so much more attentive and alert, and she was a joy to ride. At the end we could let her stretch again, PK style, not head down to and almost inbetween the knees, which is where she had been to start with. How could she do anything other than pull herself along with her front legs in that position? Once her shoulders were up, the rest of her was free. Jill got back on and got some lovely work out of her, and was astonished at how little time it took to achieve it, and all with absolutely no force. She even began to realise that, ok the mare would never be a GP dressage horse, she wasnt bred for it, but with three very good correct paces, there is no reason why she couldnt at least get to advanced medium if Jill wanted to!
Will tell you more about how we did it later
- family dinner tonight, and parents eat early!