Archive for December, 2011

Philippe Karl’s letter to Michel Henriquet regarding low hands.


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Everyone knows that dressage judging is subjective, but what that exactly entails seems to be a little foggy. When you scribe, you continually hear judges worrying over whether the horses are in the right order, or not. Did you know that your judge runs over to the score postings between classes, just like you? It’s not a job to envy. They have to try and remember what they gave that horse two or three horses ago who was just a little better than this horse. It’s stressful work. There isn’t an objective standard. A dressage test is simply too complicated for that to work. Whether or not this system is acceptable to the competitors, however, depends on the judge and what they value in a ride. Snazzy gaits are great, but they won’t give you balance, bend and cadence.

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It’s like baking bread.  You can’t say the crust does the work of holding in the bread.  There’s also a complex inner structure that’s elastic yet strong to keep the form solid.  The inner tension is far more important during the early stages of devolpment/baking.  Once the loaf has conformed to the shape dictated by the inner structure, the crust can firm up and become what it was intended to be. 

Neither rein should be used to pull.  It’s all about positioning.  Put the rein where it needs to be and let the position of it position the horse.  It’s really that simple.

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