Sunday, 30 December 2007

Reading This Week - "Tug of War - Classical versus "modern" dressage"

While at Olympia I made sure I bought myself a nice stack of reading projects ;) At the moment I have a pleasure to be half way through a mega interesting book: "The Tug of War: Classical versus 'modern' dressage". It's a truly engaging read on various schooling methods, including currently debatable "rollkur" - or hyperflexion, and their influence on horse's health, development and athleticism. If I could I would buy lots of copies and gave it as presents to all my clients.

Tug of War: Classical Versus Modern Dressage


Beckz said...

Tell me what is the final say? I have read a lot on sustainable dressage about how bad it is, and I know there is supposed to be an article coming out on its benefits but is 2 years late.

Unknown said...

Well, the vet who wrote the book is definitely against it. He says that riding in such way "puts enormous tension on the upper neck muscles and ligament system, and the back via the supraspinous ligament. This does cause the back to raises but it is in an "overstretched" manner. Current research shows that horses moving with such a head-neck position demonstrate a very large amount of motion in their backs at the trot. It's dangerous to confuse this type of movement with the desired "swing" in the back just mentioned since an overstretched back is not relaxed during work." He also mentions that horses ridden in hyperflexion very often have flat back line and trailing, 'inactive' back legs and that he has seen horses performing the most difficult dressage tests without a slight trace of collection...(?). It would seem is is possible to train a horse non-classically and quickly to perform top movements without ever achieving collection (as it is understood by the German National Federation). There is obviously much more than the above in the book and if you can get hold of it then do - all the training is looked at from anatomical - physiological point of view (as oppose to only from results point of view).

The view that caught my attention was that the reason modern warmblood horses seem to tolerate, and even feel fairly content, with methods like rollkur/hyperflexion is their outstanding trainability, very good conformation and desire to please the rider.

Beckz said...

Wow that sounds extremely interesting. I have noticed the trailing back legs in modern dressage tests. Interesting about the warmbloods. I have ridden few true warmbloods, but NZ horses tend to still be a bit wild.

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