Joined: 26-July 03
Member No.: 653
What kind of performance area does this movement suggest? Is this the type of movement suitable for dressage? Or does it suggest that the horse might be better suited to some other endeavor? As always, I'm trying to learn.
Hi Nancy, those are fab photos of a horse enjoying it's self he / she does seem to be using ones hind legs well with real drive in the hocks, how ever it is hard to judge a horse who is in longer grass Do you have any other photo you could share with the horse more relaxed ?? I think that may give a better picture...
Joined: 30-June 05
Member No.: 2557
What a beautiful horse!
A horse capable of engaging its hocks to the extent that she is in these photos, I would recommend dressage, although it would be sad to pull down that head. Still I guess for her own good she will have to come under control.
I would read up on dressage a fair bit before training her. Best you do it yourself so that you know what is happening to her. I hate the idea of a curb in such a sweet mouth, too. but I guess if you are going to get serious eventually she will have to.
Joined: 28-November 04
Member No.: 1983
Hi! This horse seems to be very avtive with its hindlegs, but more in the way of pushing than carrying. For Dressage you would wish the horse reaching more under its body with its hindlegs, especially when carrying the head so high. This horse might show a nice extended trot, but might have difficulties when it comes to collection, furthermore it could be that when working it with a lower head, that it puts too much weight on the shoulders. But that´s just from the photos, basically every horse can be trained for dressage (there is a phrase: "dressage exists for the horse, not the horse for dressage"), a suiting temperament is often more important than the constitution of its body and the natural movements. @Eternal Strangers Mum: Don´t worry, one doesn´t need a curb to ride dressage, I would even say one shouldn´t need (at least until reaching a certain level of education) Janina
This is a lovely horse but a horse trotting through high grass can't be judged. Naturally he would move quite different on another ground. I have seen horses stepping with high knee action through high grass that would trot very flat at any other ground.
Thanks for all your comments. Yes, I agree that it is impossible to judge in high grass, though where she was in the first pic, the grass was really not so high and very sparse. This filly was tired (after a 9 hour ride in a trailer) when these photos were taken. She just naturally fires up and they were taken in about a 5 minute period. A friend of mine was delivering horses and they stretched their legs at my place. Of all the places she could go in the paddock (many of which were BARE!), of course, she went straight for the high grass near the fence!)
When she ISN'T tired, the filly bows her neck and trots just like you see in these pics - only with more lift from the front and push from the rear - will have to see if someone can get video. Believe me, she doesn't need high grass to trot.
Joined: 21-March 03
Member No.: 192
Dear Nancy thanks for these lovely photos but Paelmchen is correct. In german we would say" Pferd rennt mit weggedrueckten ruecken". meaning the horse is not moving through its back, so essential for any diszipline. However, this can be changed, once udner saddle.
to the other posters, a curb bit has only one function" to lower the hocks during well advanced movements". It takes a good 18 months to gymnastizise the hocks to bend properly so that the curb bit becomes and aid, not a punishment.
All horses can be trained in dressage, dressage the womb of all equine diziplines, but it depends on the horses ability, talent and attitude to reach over the 3rd or even 4th level. Only few can go to the Grand Prix, executed properly. Its like the ballerinas, only one is the prima ballerina.
Dressage, a gymnastizising exercise, is to make the horse go in balance in all gaites, become supple and obidient, work from behind through the back, through the neck into the riders hands. When we speak of power from behind, look at a bow an errow, this is how the hindquarters should act, shoot forward, lifting the front with enormous strides.
Paelmchen can vie a photo of what I mean.
But one can already see how a horse moves, when at liberty, if it pushes, or carries, or sort of disconnects neck and head from the rest of the body, making the back concave instead of convex. We also call this then a "tight back" like an ironing board, very hard to sit and the horse to be controlled.
This is why many of us stress, test the horse under saddle and many a surprise could come about.
I love to see this lovely horse under saddle, and it most likely will do very well.
Joined: 26-July 03
Member No.: 653
Thanks, Tracy - this horse pictured is a yearling straight Egyptian filly, and she has not been trained or conditioned for any discipline - I'm told she's just been out in the pasture, growing up. I guess I should have mentioned that to begin with, as I agree - from what I've read and observed, that the kind of MUSCLE development necessary for a horse to successfully perform actual dressage movements at any level must come from conditioning and training. I would think that one could hardly expect a yearling to "collect" herself - though perhaps I am wrong -which is why I ask these questions
I appreciate all the highly qualified responses from dressage riders, but I'm starting to infer that it is quite impossible for even a highly skilled dressage rider to recognize what kind of movement one should look for in a future dressage prospect. Is that accurate? If not, what does one look for in a yearling or two year old?
All of the things mentioned so far in regards to this filly are things that would have to be done or recognized AFTER she is under saddle. For example, the way I am understanding this, a horse must be TAUGHT the kind of collection we see exhibited by dressage horses under saddle...is that right?
I guess my question is, for those of you who compete in dressage, do you have to wait until a horse is started under saddle to be able to decide whether or not the horse is a good dressage prospect? At what AGE can you tell - or can you tell at a young age or before a horse is under saddle?
Roland, Authentic Ibn Nawal is very beautiful, but I would love to see photos of him when he was a young horse - before he had been conditioned and before he had developed more mature muscling. Interestingly enough though, this filly moves almost exactly like what I see in Authentic Ibn Nawal's video, except that when she is not tired, she looks to be more "under herself" in the back. I hope I can get hold of some video of her moving. She really covers some ground!
The filly in the photos will probably never be shown in dressage, but I am just curious about what constitutes a good dressage prospect and how old a horse has to be before one can have an idea what performance arena would best suit it. Also, I remember someone saying in a previous discussion that any bend at the knee was wasted motion in a dressage horse.
Very interesting dialogue - which I always enjoy and try to learn from.
Joined: 21-March 03
Member No.: 192
you can tell on a yearling what possibly to expect. When under saddle, an exerienced and good rider can tell within a few days what is there or not. Good Muscle system is born on most of the horses, not all, development of it comes through work, like in people.
Conformation tell us most of the time what a horse could or could not do. There is a "Pusher" and there is a "carrier". Talent and attitude under saddle also makes a difference.
When you look even at a youngster, when in flight from the in between the ears to the tail it should be one round line, like a bow. All this has nothing to do if the horse will become a dressage horse or not, because all do up to a certain level. Even draft horses are taught certain movements while in harness.
A horse which eventually can not sit down on its hocks, (proper bend) and propell forward, could hardly execute an extension, being the highes form of collection. this means, the horse collects itself from behind, sets the hindquarters well under to elevate the front in huge strides.This you can see even in foals. Just foalding the hocks without power to extend those hindlegs well forward and under, it is only giving an illusion.
NOw, let's take your beautiful filly. Once under saddle, and the rider feels the horse, trains it properly, such person can tell you and you could see it yourself, if indeed the horse is a candidate for more.
Have you ever watched a team of horses pulling a waggon? This is what I mean.
Let us know how your filly will turn out and I wish it and you only the best of luck. You never know, you might have a great competitor growing up.
Joined: 21-July 05
From: Victoria, Australia
Member No.: 2611
Nancy, I would hardly consider myself an expert here, but I am a rider that trains along dressage lines, so from my point of view, I will share with you what I look for in a saddle horse - not going under saddle.
In terms of the horse going over the back, this can be difficult to assess in young arabs at liberty, as they often have the tendency to carry the head high, hollowing the back. They will from time to time however collect themselves up to some degree and give you a glimpse of it if you are observant and watching them for long enough! What I look for is:
Free moving shoulder with good "reach" out in front, and the appearance of being light in front; Hocks that reach well underneath, as opposed to trailing out behind. I personally don't like the type of hock action that lifts high up before coming through underneath, and I don't like a lot of high knee action up in front, but I don't want "flat" action either - a happy medium! I like to see a horse that "sits" when it goes into the trot or canter, taking weight behind, freeing up the forehand. When the horse is trotting out in the paddock, I like to see "air" underneath, with good suspension, as opposed to more of a "running". I also like to see very even gaits. I think you can tell alot about the horse before it is broken with its natural movement. All horses can be trained along dressage principals, and certainly some horses movements can be improved to some degree. The training is all about refining the movements and partnership between horse and rider. I guess once you have broken the horse in, what you will be able to assess more thoroughly is not just the ability to produce the quality of movement required for a top class dressage prospect, but also the mental attitude of the horse, and how well you "click" as a team. No good having a horse with exceptional movement, that isn't prepared to work with the rider, or they don't get on, and in the same way, a horse that has good movement (without being exceptional) that tries its' heart out for its' rider will do well. I guess what I'm saying is that you can certainly assess a young horses potential, but the final decisions on just what your aiming for should be left until you know how the horse goes under saddle.
Couple of pics of my mare taken last season at her first show under saddle. Ended up Supreme ridden purebred, plus a swag of other champs and awards. She competed at the Nationals in her first season ending up with top 10 under saddle, top 10 hunter and 3rd overall in both Novice and Elementary dressage - third time ever competing in dressage! She is also a multi champ in halter and was Reserve National Champ Mare (Amatuer owner division) in halter the previou year!
Joined: 18-March 03
From: Vale View, Toowoomba, Australia
Member No.: 117
Kaz : although it would be sad to pull down that head. uhmmm, this statement is sad. IF the individual horse is trained correctly then there would be no need at all for their head to be pull down ! A working dressage horse works from the hindquarter. The hindquarter engages, the trunk/body lifts which in turn lifts the base of the neck which in turn allows the top end of the neck to curve and therefore head to be held comfortably. Hands holding full contact lightly encourages the position – they do not hold the head down nor to they pull the head down.
Nancy : If not, what does one look for in a yearling or two year old? …guess my question is, for those of you who compete in dressage, do you have to wait until a horse is started under saddle to be able to decide whether or not the horse is a good dressage prospect? At what AGE can you tell - or can you tell at a young age or before a horse is under saddle? I remember someone saying in a previous discussion that any bend at the knee was wasted motion in a dressage horse.
Usually, it is possible to tell at that age if the physique/conformation could cope with dressage. However, putting it all together (mind, tenacity / attitude and conformation) has to wait until they are under saddle with a sensitive rider who knows how to ride ie partner an equine. I’m much in agreement with Hansi’s statement: Conformation tell us most of the time what a horse could or could not do. There is a "Pusher" and there is a "carrier". Talent and attitude under saddle also makes a difference. Knowing how to differentiate between the pusher (feminine) and the carrier (masculine) is the key. It really is all about understanding conformational issues and in the most part it incorporates BALANCE – with both horse and rider conformationally. Willingness and attitude play a big part and, more than likely, these are the components which could carry a lesser balanced individual(s) in good stead. Training can make (and break) an individual. There are many compensations – no one equine is perfect. Some are better than others for doing a particular task ~ horses for courses. Don’t begrudge a pusher/feminine build in an Arabian and alternatively, a person who likes a carrier/masculine build in an Arabian shouldn’t begrudge the pusher/feminine counterpart – they both have played their role in producing other breeds for which a focus has been found ~ horses for courses.
Too much of anything is too much. Knee action (the ability to lift the knee high-ish) is needed in the collected such as trot movements (piaffe and passage) but then in balance, a length of stride is needed for the extended movements Its not easy but once you have the key worked out then the other issues tend to come as logical conclusions / alternatives along with compensations (Nature’s compensations).
Nancy your photos are gorgeous though, as mentioned, some video or even similar styled photos with this filly’s legs in the different stride positions would be helpful for analysis. As well as out of such a beautiful grassy paddock!
Joined: 30-June 05
Member No.: 2557
My point in "pulling her head down" was in regard to the freedom the little filly has, with no bit in her mouth trotting around "struttin' her stuff" and just having fun. We might like riding our horses and think a bit in the mouth is okay, but really metal bits are a pain. I haven't got a solution for the problem, but just love seeing the fun and almost laughter in that filly in the photos and thinking about collection and pulling her head down for that. I know about engaging the back and all that.