Monday, March 23, 2009

AIDS the substance (part 2) stop/start

It fascinates me that so few books give clear instructions for stopping and starting. Surely these are the two most important aids and all else is based on these. One writer who makes it very clear how simple and separate these aids should be is Kyra Kyrklund, for this reason I often recommend her book and I would urge everyone to read her thoughts on this subject.
Part of the reason that I'm writing all this is to clear my own mind, I think I know what I do when I'm riding but until I start to break it down then I can't be certain. To stop I use my hands, to go I use my legs. Always (at the beginning) separately and always aiming to get them to be the smallest/lightest possible to get a reaction. I recently read a lesson report from a friend and her trainer had suggested she ask very quietly the first time but to build it to *asking like you have PMT*, lol, but that's the rub isn't it? It's no good going through twenty different levels of asking, it has to be first discretely aided and then loudly but always being certain not to have even the tiniest opposing aid in place. What I mean by that is when you ask forwards in the early stages then you must never block with the hand, the horse must always sense that he can go forwards. Likewise when we aid for halt we must remove any thought of a driving leg. Later these two fundamental aids of hand and leg can be *played* together but not (for me) in these early stages.
Of course this work will have commenced, dismounted, at liberty, in-hand, on the lunge etc already with Chapiro I use the whip or my hand at the *g* spot where I will later use my leg and so it won't come as any surprise when this continues into his ridden work. On the ground we can use body language but this becomes pretty obsolete when we climb aboard, however it must be very important in building a trusting bond between horse and trainer.
In recent years I have *played* with the idea of clicker training, it doesn't change the methods but it offers a really accurate reward system and enables you, with some horses, to advance more quickly and avoid the *PMT* phase of aiding.
There is so much to say on this subject I think it will be rather a long project. Tomorrow perhaps I'll be able to talk about how I use my legs and hands, better ride and take some notes!!
Can anyone else recommend a good writer on stopping and starting? Think I may have to get a book list on here.


Di said...

Well, as you know, I think the racinet books have a lot to offer. Of course his philosophy is the same "Hand Without Legs, Legs Without Hand", being a separation of the aids. Also when we get the desired result there should be an immediate release of the aids. Kyra K advocates this as a releasing the contact by moving the hand forward, NOT by letting go of the reins. Racinet suggests that you DO NOT move the hands forward but let the reins slide between the fingers, which ties in with his suggestion of keeping a still hand but opening and closing the fingers( of course, I'm stating this in its simplest form). He also states the use of the seat and torso in addition.

trudi said...

mmm, I just didn't like his writing style, maybe it's better in French, not translated. Yes he seemed to be almost pure Baucher in some ways, although of course Baucher revises his thoughts somewhat in his second manner and suggests that the hand and leg be kept separate, having originally given us the idea of the effets d'ensemble (coordination of aids) but if I recall correctly he still believed the ultimate was to bring the two aids together in the finished product.

I like the idea for certain,of not giving the whole hand forward (which is what I learned years ago) and just allowing the fingers to *play* the reins. As you know this is a very new technique for me but I do like the idea of keeping the rein betweed thumb and forefinger and taking or releasing with the rest of the fingers. I'm not sure that it is particularly better for the horse but it seems to flow better and looks aesthetically more pleasing (to my eye) to the onlooker.
I think letting go of the reins as in descente de main requires a full *let go* of the rein, even for KK, but at the early stage I'm thinking of it just has to be a light release.

Have you got Karl's Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage Di? Got to get that, it's next on my list.

Di said...

Yes, Bauchers second manner is quite different from his first, didn't he have to adapt his riding style after an accident as he had very little strength in his legs? I've only read the Racinet book on Baucher though.LOL
Does Racinet suggest that a still hand with movement of just the fingers will enable a more immediate reease of the aids? So, it may be more beneficial for the horse?

No, I haven't got PK's book yet. I do want it though!

Claire said...

i need to get that book as well.

the thing is with al these books, one needs to reread them....

but you're right, along with all the other things that aren't taught properly by teachers, halt isn't...

but then a lot of instructors leeave people thinking that by hands, they mean hands.. when it's fingers

trudi said...

Yes Claire, I reckon fingers don't get enough credit, although when I see PK use the Fillis hold on double reins it's back to being *hand* again, lol.
Yes poor old Baucher had a chandelier fall on him didn't he? In Nelson's book (which I much prefer to Racinet's)she says that either Hotte or Decarpentry can't recall which (both students)said that Baucher was always growing his ideas and the leg without hand... was just an evolution that would have come about accident or not. Who knows? That's the rub for me, I love the paintings of Baucher, admire his position greatly but then you read that he was bent over, legs thrust horribly forward and so what's right? The paintings or the words? Blinking frustrating and it just makes me wonder about everything else. I suppose the answer is that we have to discover it for ourselves.
See Di, we do need a classical club over here, it would be great to meet up and discuss all this stuff, wouldn't it?

Di said...

"See Di, we do need a classical club over here, it would be great to meet up and discuss all this stuff, wouldn't it?"

Oh yes!!!

Di said...

"I suppose the answer is that we have to discover it for ourselves."

Exactly, that for me is the exciting(sometimes frustratin too) bit!!