At David's recco. on the esi forum, I read your blog about collection - I've also attended a talk you gave last spring at equineaffaire, and attended Dave's saddle-fitting seminar in ShadowHills CA in April, before we came east for the summer. Anyway I'm hoping you can answer this question for me (if it's answerable, in words): You say:"Collection to me is working from the back to the front of a horse. This when astride means I work from the center of the horse first when asking for it. By this I must be in a centered, balanced position with an open pelvis and ask the abdominal muscles to lift up to me through my pelvis and leg aids. This in turn raises the loins of the horse , engages the pelvis ,while opening up the hind quarters of the horse to reach well under its self, and raising the spine upward. This puts the horse in that desired weight bearing posture." I fully understand , and of course agree with, the philosophy - and the emotion, mental, and also physical preparation we need to give our horses. My question: When you say "ask the abdominal muscles to lift up to me through my pelvis and leg aids..." please, could you possibly say a little, just in practical terms, about what the pelvis and legs are actually doing? I mean if that's possible. Thank you.
I’ll do the best I can, it’s fun stuff and we just had a workshop this past weekend working on this very thing. In person it’s easier as I can point out the positive and negative results as they occur. Your pelvis should remain neutral doing nothing if it’s in the proper position it will be level and open. This means NO stirrup pressure. Stirrup pressure tells the spine to drop away. Heels should be level not down or up as these positions also tell the spine to drop away from your pelvis. If your horse responds well to leg aids I’ll roll my legs on to the horse abdominals ( not Lift or bend the legs upward or back or this shifts the riders pelvis). I softly flex my leg muscles in a feathering motion asking the horse to use its abdominals and lift up to my pelvis. It’s a small squeeze release motion of the legs. If the horse holds its abdominals then I make my legs aids quiet. If the horse does not sustain the body position I ask with the legs, then I again engage leg signals again and continue the process until the horse is clear that when I am on his back I want him to have more muscular tension on his underline than his top line all the time when I am on his back. When you can see a line of demarcation along the horses abdominals you know he is engaging his rear end. In my head I’m thinking the words “ too me , too me” This creates a pulling upward energy from my own body the horse hears my intent and raises to it. From astride one can feel the horse lift up to your pelvis and when your rhythm is in time with the horse it feels
like two toilet plungers stuck together, it’s a hooked together feeling and you flow together in every stride.
Not sure if this helps any but it is hard to describe the feel but easy to say the mechanical aids used to achieve something. Liz
An old quote of mine is : Don't humanize your horse,
and your horse will not horselize you!
Another great Quote not mine most are familiar with is:
We fear what we do not know.
It has been my experience that not truly finding a complete understanding what a horse is and what drives it's whole being in instincts, emotions, its purpose known to a horse as a specie and defined as a horse would define it, to you a human may be very different than what we as human have defined it. More often we have defined the horse in terms we understand and can accept but one that horse does not know and thinks very differently than we do.
So often we in what we are get in the way of seeing the horse as it truly is, be it fear, ego, narcissism, jealousy, competition, power, the need for control, so many of the things that drive humans that horses dont understand but are the recipients of in the way we treat, train and interact with them.
When one really learns to understand as best we can in what a horse really is and needs to be, then at that time the door to finding true horsemanship in it's completeness can actually be achieved but this is also a path in looking into our selves and seeing our own weaknesses, yet also learning of our own strengths .
When we see this and learn to see the horse, it will know you see it and accept it for what it is, and work with in those parameters.
The horse will then hear you, and give to you in all it is capable of understanding.
So my Final quote today many have heard me say so many times over the years:
It's not about me, it's about we, you and your horse!
Now the Wood Pile Gang has a one question quiz to help all on their understanding of defining what things truly are!
This is not a movie or video but a live on-line interactive presentation between all logged in at that time.This is as always with Dave not a selling of product session but one to empower all horse owners with knowledge. It's a great presentation and have your questions ready and notebooks on hand for note taking as the information is vast.
Also here is a link to a short video done for last years Iowa Horse fair that explains what the webinars will cover.
7 years ago a client purchased a RMH mare and foal , Monica being the Mare and Luke, 2 months old and had them shipped directly to me from WV. I was to do a riding evaluation and tune up the mare and teach the foal all the baby basic of being touched all over, pick up hooves to clean, tie, halter, lead , etc.
As you can see Baby Luke and I spent much time smoozing it up and I always called him Baby Luke and he is the foal in my Structure videos running around and sniffing up the camera.
Such fond times and memories for me and he is a grandson of RMH Buddy Roe who I had the honor of riding in a halter and lead rope in KY at Carl and Wanda's so long ago now and Buddy Roe has long passed now but Luke brought back so many fond memories as a foal of special days spent in the KY mountains with special folks for me.
I did a clinic recently in Watkins MN and Broken Wheel Farm and one of the participants came up to me and said," I have a horse you may remember". Well upon seeing him I did not and his now owner Dianne told me who he was and the work I had done with him as a foal, my heart just melted for the now big horse I knew as Baby Luke.
When calling home that evening to let Dave know I had arrived safe and well, I told him of Baby Luke and he asked if he remembered me, as it's common most horses I teach do but was sad to tell him that Baby Luke did not.
The next day during a wonderful clinic and during our ground work session as always I pulled out my bottle of lavender to help relax and introduce myself to the horses in a positive way, a tool I have used for over 16 years now. Wow that turned on the light bulb for Baby Luke as at that moment he remembered me!! It was hard to keep him away from me !
To see him so happy, healthy and well with his owner Dianne who did all his saddle work her self and do a great job, while give her new home work to advance his skills such as lateral work. He loved the new work and took to it right off , with my self to be able to ride him and experience him as an adult horse was one of those highlights that sticks for ever. He will always be Baby Luke to me and have a place in my heart!