Although I am still nowhere near the level I want to be at one day, the only true training satisfaction for me comes from schooling the horses in that correct way.
The reason I am mentioning it is the mad ginger creature I am riding at the moment. That little mare really makes me think how important relaxation is in the training process. The mare is so tense and stressy that it is impossible to do any positive work with her.
Considering that the muscle must be relaxed to be conditioned effectively and that horses only truly learn when mentally relaxed it seems Dr. Klimke may have been right putting Losgelassenheit (Relaxation/Suppleness) above Rhythm on the Scales Of Training.
Vid. Relaxing the Mad Ginger Mare
She has a rather thick jowl and her salivary glands/parotid glands are large (basically look like constant puffiness behind the rim of the jowls) - the way she carries her neck means that when she flexes at the poll they must be getting uncomfortably squeezed. This might be partly because of her conformation but most likely from pulling on the reins which brings her jaws against her neck (the problem is she is so incredibly strong that when she was ridden by teenagers the only way to stop her for them was to keep pulling).
All this considering, for now I would like to get to the point when she consistently carries her neck lower with an angle between her jowl and the throat open. Once her topline gets stonger and lifts the atlas joint she should be able to carry her head cleaner off her neck. Without this she is just working like a camel, bulging her very strong underneck muscles and powering forwards like a little train. Hopefully once she relaxes she will start taking reins forwards in transitions rather than come back onto rider and behind the vertical. I try not to pull at all and give her time when asking for halts and downwards transitions by just passively resisting through my seat and hands. She did some pretty good halt transitions with this method (taking the reins forwards and down).
I reckon the biggest challenge will be to break the pattern of her behaviour as when she "panics" or start "running" her brain seems to switch off...
The mare has an amazing engine but it's almost like putting a F1 cylinders into a Renault Clio = control problems!
I am hoping that by showing her the way to relax and control her own power I will be able to direct her energy in a much more positive way.