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Tension, lose it through work or before?

Tension, lose it through work or before?

Postby Trudi » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:56 pm

This is something that has been bugging me for a long time. Should we try to achieve calm before the work or can the work help us to achieve it?
I really believe that gymnastic training can aid relaxation in a horse, I don't think many would disagree with that. Recently I watched a lovely horse being nicely worked but with quite a bit of teeth grinding during the process. The work wasn't excessive for the horse but it was in a strange situation away from home, it did spoil the performance for me but I've seen worse at competitions.
So should we aim for relaxation first or through the work? I have thoughts myself but wondered what others felt. For example are the Olympic horses just so cool that they cope or do they get worked in such a way that the tension is mostly eradicated or maybe even hidden?

A video of one of the greats, Nuno Oliveira shows a fairly tense horse but he rides some extremely exacting movements, does it improve the tension do you think? How do those of you with 'spicy' horses tackle the tension?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=Tfi ... =endscreen

and :blink: why can't I embed it.
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Re: Tension, lose it through work or before?

Postby Chevalblanc » Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:03 am

You often hear professional riders saying that their horses perform better when they are on edge, so I guess for high performance tension is a good thing.......not something I'd want in mine though :shock: Which is why I have such laid back types.......although they do have their moments and when they do, I reckon taking the out for a hack/walk is the best way to get rid of it.
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Re: Tension, lose it through work or before?

Postby Bonbon » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:58 am

The horse looks tense to me, it's obviously trained to a high level, but the whole thing looks like an exercise in technique rather showing the horse in all it's grace and beauty. Even though it's doing exacting movements, it doesn't look like it's working within its capabilities, it looks too hectic and spoils the vid for me.
I know Iberian horses have a different movement to a wb, but It looks too fast - I've been told that a lot of these old Nuno films are often too fast when converted to new media, and you tube seems to speed vids up a little too, so perhaps the vid's giving a false representation, I don't know.
I aim ( lol) for relaxation before work,mobilizing and relaxing the horse's jaw at halt before moving. It's not easy to keep this relaxation in movement, but can be regained by correct work and exercises, and over time, the relaxation at halt is sustained into movement, so, for me, it's both.
As you know Trudi, Remy's hardly a hot type, so can't really comment on that! :lol:
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Re: Tension, lose it through work or before?

Postby JennieF » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:36 am

Bonbon wrote:I aim ( lol) for relaxation before work,mobilizing and relaxing the horse's jaw at halt before moving. It's not easy to keep this relaxation in movement, but can be regained by correct work and exercises, and over time, the relaxation at halt is sustained into movement


Thats exactly what I am aiming for with Bandit - easier said than done though !!!!! but we did make some progress yesterday, so I guess it will take time, unfortunately I dont think he was ever taught how to react to the bit properly so there is a lot of resistance to be un-done ......
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Re: Tension, lose it through work or before?

Postby Trudi » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:18 pm

Helen, yes I agree that's something I've heard said a few times about competition horses and it makes sense although I think I'd prefer to steer away from that thin line between brilliance and tension, good job I'm not competitive :lol: but seriously it seems a bit unfair on the horse.

Di I agree with everything you wrote, I don't like much of NO's work on camera although I've seen some stunning stills. His seat and legs, as always, impress me as does the kind of inner peace that he has. Personally I wouldn't get on such a tense horse to begin with and would work for much more relaxation beforehand but that's partly why I'm asking the question. Am I too fussy? Well I don't think so because through tension you can end up giving the opposite signals to the horse but otoh I end up taking forever to do anything because I want it to be right :roll:

Jennie, I am always amazed when people bung a bit in and wonder why the horse is resistant to it without having had any instructions on how to behave in it. Lucky Bandit that he has you to teach him :thumbup:
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Re: Tension, lose it through work or before?

Postby HighJinx » Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:33 pm

Well with Jinx, she looses tension through work, a bit of forward trot usually goes a long way to settle her. I would love for her to learn not to be tense in the first place but we do usually end a session pretty chilled out.
In an ideal world I wouldnt get on her when she is stressing but in reality I dont think we would be getting anywhere like that and although I have lots of time and there is no rush she still needs to learn to ultimately be a safe horse to ride.

Not too keen on the idea of tension giving them a competitive edge, more likely gastric ulcers :?

edited for spelling :doh:
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