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Author Topic: Racinet's thirty-five propositions... his view on counter canter  (Read 27334 times)

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Offline luckyrider

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Anyone familiar with these?  I picked up this book in French, and have read, digested and quickly translated proposition number one -- see below.  If this book exists in English please stop me now, but otherwise I will attempt one proposition at a time for my edification and others'. 

Having spent a weekend with Heather now, and of course seeing what she has been saying on so many of her posts, I am convinced that JC Racinet is just Heather's nom de plume.  She may correct me if she disagrees with any of this, but here goes...
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Thirty-five anarchic propositions for understanding equitation

1 Training a horse consists of eliminating the thrust of the hind legs and replacing it with traction

To understand equine locomotion, imagine yourself as a gondolier standing at the back of the gondola.  For the gondolier, the most efficient way to push off with his pole is to place it behind himself, quite close to his body, and use small backwards thrusts.  If he wants to accelerate, he will increase the energy in his thrusts until he has picked up speed, and then progressively he will reach further forward with his pole, dipping it into the water to seek the ground in front of himself.  He will avoid pulling abruptly on the pole until it swings back.  Of course pulling hard would be of some use, but the return on effort would be mediocre.  Once the pole is behind him he will push actively backwards to maintain his speed. 

Why, since the pole does not have any propulsive force until behind the gondolier’s body, does he now seek to place it far ahead of himself?  It’s a question of being able to control the boat at the new speed – were an obstacle to appear ahead, his only hope of slowing down is to place the pole obliquely forwards.  Were the obstacle to appear however whilst the gondolier were in the process of pushing out behind himself, he would have to 1) stop pushing, 2) reposition his pole towards the front, 3) resist the forwards momentum using the pole in order to slow down.  Whereas if the obstacle is seen while the pole is still in a forwards position, resistance can immediately be applied – less time is wasted. 

Let’s imagine that the gondolier needs to go as fast as possible whilst being ready to stop at very short notice.  He will be obliged to limit the phase where he pushes out behind himself but will confine his efforts to the phase where the pole is in front.  Now he has replaced thrust with traction.  For this traction to be efficient the gondolier will have to develop some impressive muscles. 

Now, should the gondolier want to go as fast as possible with no worries of potential hazards ahead, he will add a phase of “thrust” to his phase of “traction”. 

Let’s apply this to the horse’s locomotion, with the gondolier’s pole as the horse’s hind legs.  If the horse simply needs to move as fast as possible, his hind legs will pull while in the forwards phase of the swing and push while in the backwards phase.  These two phases, the pulling phase while the legs are still under the horse’s mass (traction) and the phase while they are behind the mass (thrust) will both have a locomotive effect and will work together.  A racehorse at full gallop will pass in one stride from hyper-engagement to total disengagement. 

A dressage horse on the other hand needs to be as agile as possible.  Speed is subjugated to the need to remain agile and therefore in balance.  The outline that reconciles the need for speed with the superior requirements of agility and balance is called collection.  Collection is charaterised by an elevation of the thoracic cage between the shoulders and a forwards tilt of the haunches.  This tilting of the haunches will limit the backwards thrust phase of the action of the hind legs.  Maintaining this tilt is the test of balance.  On the racecourse, the haunches tilt forwards and back.  In dressage, be the stride short or extended, the haunches are “locked” into the forwards tilt.  Put another way, the swing of the hind legs which makes up the horse’s “motor”, instead of being centred more or less behind the horse, are now centred more or less underneath the horse. 

The horse’s training will be aimed at helping him to maintain this forward tilt of the haunches while working.  Some breeds find this easier than others – Lipizzaners, the Iberian breeds and the American quarter horses. 

Contrary to popular belief, collection is not an artificial frame for the horse.  Jaime Jackson studied wild horses in the west of the USA over many months, and observed that, when on the alert, mustangs adopt this outline immediately and even maintain it over long gallops.  Collection is the posture the horse adopts when he needs to be ready for action.  It most certainly coincides with a rise in adrenaline levels, thus bringing heightened reflexes; it also supports the heart and allows for increased oxygenation of the muscles.  How right was the General Faverot de Kerbrech, more than a century ago, when he wrote that “collection awakens and excites the horse”.

Horses under saddle often lose their capacity for collection, unless they are startled and adopt this frame in spite of their rider.  When he is being ridden the horse loses part of its personality, but there is more to it – the weight of the rider overloads his front end and robs him of his balance.  Asked to go forwards, he will take the line of least resistance and pull himself around on his shoulders and push his hind legs out behind him. 

School work therefore seeks to teach the horse to lift himself up in front in order to carry the rider’s weight, and to tilt his haunches in order to keep his motor as much as possible underneath his body.  If we are successful, the horse loses his thrust and replaces it with traction.

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Just to whet your appetite, and to illustrate what I mean re Racinet and Heather possibly being the same person, proposition number 22 for instance states that "pushing to obtain impulsion kills impulsion"... oh and 13 says "when the cadence of a pace slows, the horse improves"


« Last Edit: January 16, 2008, 12:13:34 PM by luckyrider »
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Offline Kandi

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Re: Racinet's thirty-five propositions....
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2007, 05:39:37 PM »
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  • Ohhh, liking this....please keep going! :D
    Horse sense - something that horses have that stops them betting on humans.

    In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1100 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.
        - Anon

    location- Scotland

    lisaNW

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    Re: Racinet's thirty-five propositions....
    « Reply #2 on: November 26, 2007, 05:45:28 PM »
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  • Yep if we can't get it in English we need you to keep translating  ;) :D

    Lisa

    Offline Heather

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    Re: Racinet's thirty-five propositions....
    « Reply #3 on: November 26, 2007, 05:50:54 PM »
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  • I had an email from JC this morning, about to reply, and better add that he needs to translate this other book which I have never seen before. Thanks Steph, what brilliant analogies!!

    Heather

    Offline sbarron

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    Re: Racinet's thirty-five propositions....
    « Reply #4 on: November 26, 2007, 06:17:58 PM »
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  • Thank you!!!
    This is so great to have when the book is not easy to come by.
    Sarah

    Offline Fiona

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    Re: Racinet's thirty-five propositions....
    « Reply #5 on: November 26, 2007, 06:36:11 PM »
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  • Thank you, thank you!

    Keep going please, that is really fascinating.  :)

    Fiona

    Offline Heather

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    Re: Racinet's thirty-five propositions....
    « Reply #6 on: November 26, 2007, 07:05:11 PM »
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  • Should add 'brilliant translations/interpretations' to this having reread it, Steph! What a very clever man JC is, a thinker of rare calibre in the horse world! He is not getting any younger and is not very well, we need to ensure his knowledge is not lost. It is so sad to see the French denying and ignoring their own equestrian heritage :(- looks like it is other nations who will have to preserve it for them!

    Heather

    Offline Ali jo

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    Re: Racinet's thirty-five propositions....
    « Reply #7 on: November 26, 2007, 07:35:18 PM »
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  • Thankyou for doing the translation,

    really interesting, keep going, this is the sort of thing I really love the forum for, things we can learn from.

    Ali jo :)

    Offline Foxfold

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    Re: Racinet's thirty-five propositions....
    « Reply #8 on: November 26, 2007, 09:57:25 PM »
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  • Thankyou for that, I found it fascinating and informative.

    I know it's a lot to ask, but, could you translate some more?

    I love reading things like this, but alas, I can only read/speak English, so I can't even buy the book :'(

    I fully understand if it's going to be too much.

    But thanks anyway.

    Offline luckyrider

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    Re: Racinet's thirty-five propositions....
    « Reply #9 on: November 27, 2007, 09:22:13 AM »
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  • Guys, I will happily keep translating as time allows.  It is as good for me as it is for you... it makes me pay attention and I retain it more easily.  Here's some blurb from the back cover
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    JC Racinet's acidic writings continue to light up the French equestrian press.  He is now exiled in the US where he teaches riding in lightness, that is to say the beautiful riding of the latin tradition.  Author of several works that never fail to make a big noise in the small world of dressage, here JC Racinet takes his characteristic audacity a step further.  This book is a cry of revolt against modern german equitation which has succeeded in stamping FEI rules with its own standards.  "This way of riding is not bad because it is German" says Racinet.  "It is bad because it is bad".  Here he provides lengthy explanations and proposes a few antidotes.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I love it -- it is bad because it is bad.   

    More to come after the weekend.  Anyone moved to show their appreciation is welcome (but of course not obliged) to make a token donation to donkey fund of their choice!!!!  As I said this is as much for me as for anyone else.
    Shaking the tree in leafy Maisons-Laffitte

    Offline Harmony

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    Re: Racinet's thirty-five propositions....
    « Reply #10 on: November 27, 2007, 09:32:06 AM »
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  • Luckyrider - this is fantastic stuff. As Alijo said, it's access to this kind of discussion which sets EE apart. Please keep translating. If the burden gets too big, send me some of the French and I'll have a go too. More than appy to donate to the donkeys in return!

    Offline Heather

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    Re: Racinet's thirty-five propositions....
    « Reply #11 on: November 27, 2007, 10:24:09 AM »
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  • Susan Racinet (Mrs JC) has written back to me to talk about a potential clinic here in the UK.............anyone interested?

    Heather

    Offline bertie_m

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    Re: Racinet's thirty-five propositions....
    « Reply #12 on: November 27, 2007, 10:30:59 AM »
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  • Susan Racinet (Mrs JC) has written back to me to talk about a potential clinic here in the UK.............anyone interested?

    Heather

    Most definitely :D

    I'm not here ... I'm working, honestly  :-[

    Collector of mud-coloured hill ponies and thread killer extraordinaire

    Offline Foxfold

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    Re: Racinet's thirty-five propositions....
    « Reply #13 on: November 27, 2007, 10:31:39 AM »
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  • Yes please, I'll even travel for that one :P

    Would it be possible to arrange it in the 'centre' of the country so we all have a chance to get there? :bag:

    Or failing that, S.Yorks?
    I've got a spare bed or three :rofl:

    Offline Emma

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    Re: Racinet's thirty-five propositions....
    « Reply #14 on: November 27, 2007, 10:45:52 AM »
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  • Oh Yes definitely Heather - is there any way that we could combine this with the teachers convention as well ??  Just a thought...

    Em x

    PS Huge thanks to luckyrider for the translations - absolutely wonderful. x
    Emma Bailey
    EET - North West & West Midlands