Sunday, April 24, 2011

Preconceptions Make Translation Even More Difficult.

This week has been one in which I've had to step back and acknowledge that my own preconceptions are part of the problem in the dialog between dressage and western terminology.  I've had a hard time translating the focus of both the reining trainer and the "foundation" trainer on the shoulders of the horse, and as a result have had some preconceived ideas about what they were doing that were just  - well, wrong.

In all work we do with horses there are two factors involved in any signal we send to a horse - how strong, and how long.  This can vary widely depending on the horse and the desired result.  Demonstrations in the hundreds of training videos often exaggerate actions to make a point to the viewer without ever showing the "real" thing because it might be invisible or completely unnecessary at the moment the demonstrator wants to show it. So that is what I was seeing when I was told the horse had to lower the neck and get an arc in it's back or allow the rider to bring it's head around to perform a one rein stop. Exaggerations multiplied by hundreds of examples of poor copies. 
So here's a picture of Trent on Gambler.  Yes he did occasionally ask for more bend than this - but it was momentary.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Put into practice

In my introduction I mention that this is a journey and the kick off was when I decided to trade dressage lessons for starting a mustang under saddle.  So from here on out I plan to alternate the discussion from western and dressage and the WDAA with post on the progress of my "cowboys" and the horse in training.

So here's the cast of characters.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blow by Blow Comparison

It's been a busy  week. I've been in correspondence with Rod Miller and we've had some great conversations. Like me he is trying to build a reference tool that can help riders bridge the language gap between the western terms and dressage speak.

Several clinicians are giving clinics on cues and aids for Western Dressage. Now remember, the competitions are going to be judged by Dressage judges. So I think it will be a good exercise to go through some of the things said in these clinics and compare them with how that dressage judge is trained to judge. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Will western dressage speak the same language? Part 1

I mentioned in my first post that I was giving dressage lessons to a western trainer. I knew going in, and so did he, that one problem we were going to have was language. Dressage has centuries of written and verbal tradition.  Western riding has about 100 years, enough to develop it's own terms, and even more difficult, enough time to borrow words and assign different meanings to them. The biggest problem with both is that they are attempts to describe sensations.