I really want to tell you about this clinic without saying negative things about the riders, but unfortunately I cannot. It was clear that the riders all regularly practice German style, LDR (low, deep, round), riding, which is completely the opposite of French classical dressage in many ways. Colonel Carde couldn't quite hide that he felt frustrated and sad about that. He spent quite a bit of time getting the riders to lift their horses' heads and rebalance over the hindquarters, and when he told the riders to let the horses stretch it was extremely difficult to get them to loosen their death grip on the reins so the horses could do so.
BUT- there was an upside to this. Because the horses all started out overbent and dragging around on their forehands you could see an immense difference in the way the horses moved once they'd lifted their head and shoulders and rebalanced over their hindquarters. All of a sudden they had elevation! and suspension! It was beautiful to see.
|Lift the shoulders
|Balance the horse
|and STRETCH down
- riders should have soft, elastic, permanent contact
- you should ride several different exercises with the horse in different frames, don't obsess over a single exercise and frame or the horse will get bored and stiff
- activity + balance = submission
- without lateral flexion, the horse cannot bend
- to balance, maintain the flexion with the inside rein and raise the outside rein to move the shoulders
- the more we collect the more we stretch
- stretch, Stretch, STRETCH
*Let me know if you'd like me to expand on any of these themes*
I'll end this post with a story: At one point the horse and rider in my pictures were standing at the halt while listening to Carde. The horse was standing with his forehead pointing straight down to the ground with his chin practically on his chest. Carde walked over to the horse and gently lifted his head. "Head up," he said, "is a knight going to heaven."
"Head down is a slave going to hell."