Author Topic: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- UPDATE!!  (Read 30165 times)

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abi king

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!!
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2007, 09:21:01 AM »
I'm reading Philippe Karl's book on Long Reining, and he includes a chapter on 'equine gymnastics' which is fascinating. In it he seems to be quite pro some use of  'long and low', for ALL horses, in the early part of training. He doesn't call it long and low, but the drawings accompanying the text show that that is what he is doing. The bold parts are my emphasis.

He says:

" If the horse arches the neck forwards and downwards so as to produce a significant prolongation of the back, the face approaching the vertical, then the mastoido-humerals (ligament along underside of neck) pull the head downwards by flexing the poll slightly. The splenius muscles (along upper neck) extend and do not resist the elementary bringing to hand.......

The horse's center of gravity comes forwards and downwards. This is a balance favourable to the development of the gaits, an attitude which serves to strengthen the natural impulsion of the horse and make him light on his legs, with a great economy of means..........

The spinal ligament is stretched and pulls on the processes of the vertabrae running up the base of the neck and stretching the dorso-lumbar region...the ilio spinals lengthen...it prepares him by encouraging a frame that will enable him to carry a rider without contracting his back......

The arching of the dorso-lumbar complex eases the work of the abdominal muscles and thus the engagement of the hind legs. When in motion this largely compensates for the imbalance caused by the lowering of the head. Stretching the neck prevents the horse from hollowing the back even in the sustained development of the gaits, and this fits logically into a plan for the mastery of impulsion leading to the study of collection ....
just as a wooden rod is easier to bend the greater it's length, the lengthening of the spine increases the lateral flexiblity of the whole horse....."

He concludes:
"Practice with the neck extended is indispensible for all horses.....It facillitates the progressive study of bringing in hand.....It stretches and sets up backs whcih are long , weak or loose, and lengthens and supples short backs as well as stiff ones. It takes the weight off weak hocks and strengthens the hindquarters before putting weight on it."

I don't know if he has changed his opinion., but his videos show him promoting the same work.

I believe the problem with long and low is that many people don't perform it correctly, and do it for too long,  so that they end up as you decribe Heather. But to dismiss it altogether seems a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

Offline luckyrider

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!!
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2007, 10:02:45 AM »
Fascinating discussion.  One question for Heather, how on earth do you find time to do all the reading and then condense hundreds of years of thinking and experiences for us in such a digestible format? 
Shaking the tree in leafy Maisons-Laffitte

Offline Heather

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!!
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2007, 10:09:32 AM »
I dont dismiss it altogether, Abi- as you will see, we use it at the end of a session, to stretch, rather than at the begining, but with many of the Iberians, you have to be VERY careful not to injure the pelvis which is just not set on to work long and low. I think I caused Rei's pelvis to go out, by working him long and low, and I, at least,  do know how to do it correctly, having worked warmbloods in this way for years.

With Coronel, for instance, who had been worked with his head up his backside, the last thing he needed was to work long and low, and working him 'up' changed his whole movement as well as his musculature. Will try to do some before and after pics of him next week.

Jolene, Racinets books are still about on amazon.com, and also several other US sites. You at least, are able to get him to do clinics over there, and also his best student, Susan Norman does a lot of clinics in the US. I am thinking of getting either one of them over next year. JC is getting on in years now, and may not want to travel all this way to clinic.

Heather

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!!
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2007, 10:25:38 AM »
Thank you Heather , for clearing a few more of the bushes on the path to enlightenment!

But now for the HOW???!! Where do we learn the exercises and techniques required to get the pelvis to tilt? Are the Racinet books the place to look?? Will we learn about this on the EET course?

I do hope the answers are at least yes, in part...

abi king

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!!
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2007, 10:34:35 AM »
Heather, do you mean that PK's use of what is effectively 'long and low' is an adoption of German School thinking into French equitation? Yet he is very French School/Baucherist in so many ways?

He definately thinks that this working with extension of the neck/back is important, not just for stretching after work as you suggest.

He says:
" The extension of the muscles of the top-line is an indispensible condition for putting the horse in balance"

"In the context of the modern saddle horse (without sacrificing either the study of collection, or sporting aims such as jumping), the rider must not exclusivley practice:the systematic raising of the head and neck which results in a hollow back; or the bringing of the hocks under the body, for this is incompatible with the natural development of the gaits and the initial aid to impulsion."

Are you meaning that you disgree with this approach now generally, or just for breeds with the 'Baroque' confirmation?

And are you suggesting that the pelvis of the Iberian is actually 'set on ' at a different angle, compared to other breeds, rather than the ability to 'sit' being a function of a shorter back?

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2007, 12:04:51 PM »
Since joining this forum I've discovered how much I don't know!

Been riding for years, not had lessons for about 9 years (with the exception of my 2 recent ones with Becky) but I've been thinking about all the lessons I had when I started riding and the amount of money I've ploughed into my riding with various instructors and learned squat diddly!

Thanks Heather! 
I'm Scottish but live in Cornwall/England

lisaNW

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2007, 02:04:10 PM »
Quote
just as a wooden rod is easier to bend the greater it's length, the lengthening of the spine increases the lateral flexiblity of the whole horse....."

Was really interested in this quote because isn't that essentially the opposite to what Appytoquarter psted from the book  'correct movement in horses' by Gabriele and Klaus Schoneich?

Quote
They argue that crookedness is a major contributor to lamenesses and chronic problems in horses and that riding a crooked horse forward creates even more issues.  They believe horses should be ridden in their most economical gait, straightened and only then can they achieve an upward swinging back.

This made a lot of sense to me, having a generally warped mare  ::).  I was having diffficulty getting her to trot around corners because it was almost as thought she just thought she couldn't manage it, but I've been able to do corners turns and circles in trot since trying out Heather's suggestions.  I'm not saying she is fine and everthing is sorted, but in a shorter, balanced frame she feels far more even, so I would like to think this would help her build up her musculature more evenly before asking her to extend her stride length. 

This is all a new approach for me, so I'm just piecing together info which seems to fit, but I might be adding 2 and 2 and getting  6 or 7, so very interested to keep this dicsussion going!

Lisa.

Offline Camacoona

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!!
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2007, 05:21:43 PM »
So many revolutions, it really had a revolution whirling in my mind.  It does take me bck to my CRC judge training with Sylvia, where she discussed that tracking up was over rated and it had to be the flexion of the joints of the hind legs that was important.

I recently had a lesson with Ketchup, we were working on  half passes in trot and then canter.  Riding instructor wanted her to step forward with the hindleg to carry, (when I think about it she wanted her hindleg to swing forward and under, and didn't mention flexion of the joints which is the basis for collection.) at least now I know why I struggled to keep her up and soft, RI suggested riding her more stretched and lower, but Ketch foud it rather hard in that frame.

Abi King, Have you seen Philippe Karl's DVD's, I think his use of the extended neck is really quite different.  the neck is long but not as low as generally seen in the German system.. I think anyway.

Omar

Omar EET4 AEEHT Cumbria (the wild northwest!)

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!!
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2007, 05:35:50 PM »
very interesting discussion, especially with Heather's usual aplomb for disseminating theory and idea into digestible knowledge!!

have come across a place in Asheville. NC... run by a student of JCR and also hosts clinics with the man himself... looks interesting.  will share info as found...
Virginia, USA

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abi king

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!!
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2007, 05:57:36 PM »
LisaNW - from what I understand from the book (obviously i can't speak for PK) he says that in a shorter frame, the horse is actually LESS balanced, which is logical when you think about it. He uses pictures of bicycles as an example - so the long base of a tandem (equivalent to a long and low frame) is good for balance but bad for quick manoeuverability, the shorter base of a single bike (as the horse progresses in collection through collected trot and passage) has a gain in manoeuverability, but less balance, and a unicycle (like the horse in piaffer, pirouette, or pesade) has very unstable balance but excellent manoeuverability.

So this would seem to suggest that your horse might corner more easily in a shorter frame, NOT because she is more balanced but because she is more manoueverable??

Abi King, Have you seen Philippe Karl's DVD's, I think his use of the extended neck is really quite different.  the neck is long but not as low as generally seen in the German system.. I think anyway.



Hi Omar, I've only seen the first PK DVD, and I agree PK definately does not seem to advocate the kind of 'peanut rolling' that some people seem to think equates to long and low. But I don't believe that is correct use of long and low. We shouldn't criticise a method because people do it incorrectly! That's the fault of the people using it, not a fault with the method per se. The diagrams in PK's book show the poll at the level of the wither. He doesn't call it long and low, he calls it 'breaking' in places, but obviously the books are translated, so that can make some of the terminolgy a bit strange!


What I'm understanding him to say is that the extension of the neck and longer frame is necessary in the early stages of training or re-training (what he calls initiation), but then the horse goes through the progression of gradual 'bringing to hand', raising the base of the neck, engaging the hind quarters, lifting the forehand (consolidation) and ultimate advanced collection (he calls perfectionment) where the airs are possible.

Offline Heather

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!!
« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2007, 06:00:19 PM »
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!

Heather

Offline Heather

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!!
« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2007, 06:05:21 PM »
I do not see how you can have manouevrablity without balance, Abi! Balance to me also implies remaining perpendicular to the ground, in the case of a horse, and Lisa's mare is not only bending correctly now, but also upright in relation to the ground. She was terribly on her forehand and therefore also able to dump Lisa with her ability to buck! Now, she is not even able to buck, and being the extremely intelligent and actually rather talented mare that she is, the more you give her to think about, the more she will work. She switches off very easily, but doing the slow, and collected work, she did not find it easy and really had to concentrate. Once she got the hang of it, she looked very pleased with herself and was totally willing to cooperate. April has had something of a reputation, as a number of members will recall. She is going to be a very good horse indeed, now that Lisa and she are building a partnership.

You really need to read JCs books to understand the biomechanics Abi- I dont think I have done a very good job of explaining it, by the look of it!

Heather

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!!
« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2007, 06:08:15 PM »
Abi, you will find that the 'peanut rolling' long and low, is by far the common use and perception of it, not the PK version, which I have no problem with. Anja Beran uses very much the same method, but again, only in short bursts, not as a method in itself, unless the three days I was there were unusual. Laura, any comments on this, as you were there for six months!



Heather

lisaNW

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!
« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2007, 06:20:58 PM »
Quite interesting that PK uses that analogy and I can see the manouevrability bit for sure.  But April is balanced on the long sides too, which she definitely wasn't before. To the point that I felt like I was on a rough sea whereas now it's just an amazing feeling, in sitting trot and rising.  I've battled with this for some time, feeling that I ought to be keeping her in a lower outline, yet also seeing on the long reins that she went better when she was more up in front, and then panicking because she probably wouldn't track up if I did that etc. etc.  - actually she's still stepping under pretty well as well as getting hock flexion. 

Ooh gotta dash & see if how much too long a 17" Fhoenix is for a pony on my yard...! Back later, so please write some more!! ;)

Lisa




 


abi king

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Re: French Equitation, vv Modern competition methods- the New French Revolution!!
« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2007, 07:26:37 PM »

I do not see how you can have manouevrablity without balance, Abi! Balance to me also implies remaining perpendicular to the ground, in the case of a horse

You really need to read JCs books to understand the biomechanics Abi- I dont think I have done a very good job of explaining it, by the look of it!
Heather

I have one of Racinet's books - Another Horsemanship, which I enjoyed, but I've found PK's book really informative on the biomechanics.

The balance vs manoueverability he describes is completely logical and biomechanical - the shorter the frame/base, the less the balance naturally. Stand on two legs you will balance more easily than if you stand on one leg. What I think he is saying is that with training, horses LEARN to balance in a shorter frame, just as someone can learn to balance on a unicycle, but when you first get on it you will probably fall off. But you'd need to learn to ride a bike in the first place, before you could even consider getting on a unicycle. So it is with horses - they need to re-establish their balance which is thrown off by having a rider on their back, and PK seems to say this needs to be done in a longer frame at first. THEN, they can work towards collection.