A Matter of Horse

All things Equine, all over the world.

Facebook Pinterest Twitter

Straightness

Straightness

Postby Trudi » Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:17 pm

What does straight mean in terms of horses. Can they be straight? Why should they be straight? How do we get them straight? What causes crookedness?
I love Seunig's words which he uses to describe a line drawing of a perfectly straight horse in his book,
''The horse is 'straight' (his inverted commas) on a straight line, which otherwise only exists in a text book and in the imagination of theoreticians''
Image
User avatar
Trudi
 
Posts: 5118
Images: 4
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:47 pm
Location: Exmoor

Share On:

Share on Facebook Facebook Share on Twitter Twitter

Re: Straightness

Postby littlewhitehorse » Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:31 pm

:hmmm: That's me thinking about this...
User avatar
littlewhitehorse
 
Posts: 2975
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Lot, SW France

Re: Straightness

Postby Chevalblanc » Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:37 pm

So can a horse ever be truly straight, given that they, like us, are never 100% symmetrical and always seem to have a "better" side, i.e. are left or right sided?
Helen

ImageImageImageImageImage
User avatar
Chevalblanc
 
Posts: 7295
Images: 103
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:00 pm
Location: Gloucestershire, UK

Re: Straightness

Postby spottygiraffe » Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:08 am

Chevalblanc wrote:So can a horse ever be truly straight, given that they, like us, are never 100% symmetrical and always seem to have a "better" side, i.e. are left or right sided?

Exactly -and are we wrong to strive for it in that case? It's an interesting thought. I think accepted wisdom is to work the horse more on their 'bad' side, but perhaps that's not really the correct thing to do. Maybe we embrace their natural strengths and weaknesses more.
Sarah x

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage
User avatar
spottygiraffe
 
Posts: 5294
Images: 6
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:56 am
Location: Montauban, SW France

Re: Straightness

Postby poneysPie » Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:12 pm

Trudi wrote:No don't :shutup: Nicky, I'm intrigued as I read often on ID the judges saying keep them straight but I wouldn't know how to get them 'straight' without bending. Perhaps there is straight and 'straight', in that straight just means point them in a straight line and 'straight' means each hind pushing equally and symmetry replacing asymmetry through gymnastic training


I think what the ID judges mean when they say to keep them straight is to have the shoulders "straight" in front of the hind end. Personally I would take it to mean not falling in/out or in through the shoulders or the quarters.

As we were discussing isolating and controlling the shoulder the other day with Ali (in order for Sky to learn to balance both herself & a rider) I just assumed that this is what Ali was referring to when she said needed to work on getting her going forwards and straight hence why I said about keeping the head and neck directly in front of the body (to keep the shoulders "straight")

To me the shoulder control would be the first steps to straightness and this can be done both on a bend and in a straight line. The "straight" meaning each hind pushing equally and symmetry replacing asymmetry through gymnastic training" would come later after the horse's attention had been brought to each hind and he had learnt how too use them.

Interestingly the last time Liz was here I asked if we could do some lateral work and was told "No" :eek: Apparently the next step was to take up to trot the work we had previously done in walk (shoulder control, hind end control then finally putting it all together and asking him to engage his Rectus Abdominus Muscle). I argued that lateral work (i.e shoulder/quarters in) would help him to be straight and engage himself to which I was told " yes it does but there's no point doing any of that till he has learnt to balance himself properly" which makes sense but goes against everything I have been taught before. :confused:

spottygiraffe wrote:
Chevalblanc wrote:So can a horse ever be truly straight, given that they, like us, are never 100% symmetrical and always seem to have a "better" side, i.e. are left or right sided?

Exactly -and are we wrong to strive for it in that case? It's an interesting thought. I think accepted wisdom is to work the horse more on their 'bad' side, but perhaps that's not really the correct thing to do. Maybe we embrace their natural strengths and weaknesses more.


I believe with proper training they can become as near as dammed to truly straight. However i'm sure that just like a human athlete who trains to be able to use both sides of their body equally their will also be a slightly stronger side. I think it's natural to assume that we need to work more on their "bad" side, Sarah but a little birdie told me that to build proper musculature both sides should be worked equally.

I think crookedness is caused by imbalance which can also be caused by poor confirmation.
“Ask often; be content with little, praise a great deal.” (Nuno Oliveira)
User avatar
poneysPie
 
Posts: 1051
Images: 3
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:27 am

Re: Straightness

Postby Trudi » Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:43 pm

littlewhitehorse wrote::hmmm: That's me thinking about this...

Your considered opinions are always worth waiting for Sheila.

Chevalblanc wrote:So can a horse ever be truly straight, given that they, like us, are never 100% symmetrical and always seem to have a "better" side, i.e. are left or right sided

I don't think they can Helen, it's probably a question of relative straightness.

spottygiraffe wrote: I think accepted wisdom is to work the horse more on their 'bad' side, but perhaps that's not really the correct thing to do. Maybe we embrace their natural strengths and weaknesses more.

When I was young this was definitely pushed as the way to train out crookedness but I think now we know a lot more it is generally accepted that it is better to train more equally on both sides.

poneysPie wrote:I think what the ID judges mean when they say to keep them straight is to have the shoulders "straight" in front of the hind end. Personally I would take it to mean not falling in/out or in through the shoulders or the quarters.


I think they do Nicky and lack of straightness ie crookedness will manifest itself in falling out of or on to a shoulder/quarter.

poneysPie wrote:As we were discussing isolating and controlling the shoulder the other day with Ali (in order for Sky to learn to balance both herself & a rider) I just assumed that this is what Ali was referring to when she said needed to work on getting her going forwards and straight hence why I said about keeping the head and neck directly in front of the body (to keep the shoulders "straight")

The trouble for me is that I can't see how you can put the head and neck straight in front of the body if it is crooked because the pushing power of one hind will keep unbalancing and lose the straightness. So while you can keep the head and neck straight in halt perhaps it is a different matter in motion which is where you need to learn to control the shoulder which in my book equates to very basic lateral bending whether on a straight line or on a curve.

Perhaps we are agreeing because you seem to be saying the same thing but just saying it differently, I was perhaps misunderstanding what you were saying to Ali as she has a way to go before understanding all the nuances of controlling the shoulders. Mind you I would say that applies to many adults too so I'm not suggesting she can't; just hasn't yet got her head around it yet. I often write on tests where the judge has asked for straightness for them to control the o/s shoulder by bringing it a little fore but I am aware that many people don't actually understand how to do this or in fact how easy it is.

I'm a bit confused that shoulder control and 1/4 control isn't lateral work, my poor old brain :random:

One final thought before my head explodes. If a horse has been trained by someone who is themselves asymmetrical (which would be everyone I know but thinking about someone perhaps disabled) the horse will build it's balance and straightness specifically to carry that person so it won't be straight for someone riding it who is closer to being symmetrical themselves. So when is straight really straight :wink:
Image
User avatar
Trudi
 
Posts: 5118
Images: 4
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:47 pm
Location: Exmoor

Re: Straightness

Postby glenatron » Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:51 pm

Part of my definition of straightness is that my horse is moving along the line that I am directing them on with their whole body, we can be straight on a circle or on serpentines if their body is moving smoothly and following their nose.

Obviously they can't be totally straight like a plank, that would be a physical impossibility, but I can be more or less straight in how I sit and the same is absolutely true of my horses. I figure if I can help them move with as much straightness as possible - on straight lines and circles - that is going to help them be physically more comfortable carrying me around, especially if I can sit properly straight myself, which I sometimes can.
glenatron
 

Re: Straightness

Postby fabikat » Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:15 pm

Just popped in to say I am enjoying this thread :thumbup:

Straightness in my mind is when the horse can move forwards either on a straight line on on a curve without weighting the shoulders and/or the legs unevenly.

Need to go back and digest everyone elses thoughts.....
katy x
User avatar
fabikat
 
Posts: 1533
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:27 pm
Location: sevilla, southern spain

Re: Straightness

Postby poneysPie » Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:40 pm

The trouble for me is that I can't see how you can put the head and neck straight in front of the body if it is crooked because the pushing power of one hind will keep unbalancing and lose the straightness. So while you can keep the head and neck straight in halt perhaps it is a different matter in motion which is where you need to learn to control the shoulder which in my book equates to very basic lateral bending whether on a straight line or on a curve.

Perhaps we are agreeing because you seem to be saying the same thing but just saying it differently, I was perhaps misunderstanding what you were saying to Ali as she has a way to go before understanding all the nuances of controlling the shoulders. Mind you I would say that applies to many adults too so I'm not suggesting she can't; just hasn't yet got her head around it yet. I often write on tests where the judge has asked for straightness for them to control the o/s shoulder by bringing it a little fore but I am aware that many people don't actually understand how to do this or in fact how easy it is.


I think we are saying the same thing here Trudie. I was rerfering to keeping the head and neck straight with having the effect of controlling the shoulder. A client said to me she had difficulty feeling when the shoulder was escaping and she asked me if I had any tips on how to tell if when the shoulder was falling in/out. I told her riding was hard work and there were no "handy tips" she just had to learn to feel it but I was advised by a higher source :notworthy: that keeping the head & neck straight, keeps the shoulder straight and I suppose it does when one thinks about it so I just thought this might be easier for Ali to understand/apply.



I'm a bit confused that shoulder control and 1/4 control isn't lateral work, my poor old brain :random:


Been mulling over this one and I think that although it is technically lateral work, the adjustment one needs to make to the shoulders & then then 1/4s to achieve initial "starightness" is so minimal that's it's not classed as SI or QI which is what we generally understand when we speak about "lateral work".

One final thought before my head explodes. If a horse has been trained by someone who is themselves asymmetrical (which would be everyone I know but thinking about someone perhaps disabled) the horse will build it's balance and straightness specifically to carry that person so it won't be straight for someone riding it who is closer to being symmetrical themselves. So when is straight really straight :wink:


Oh yes definitely, the horse will only be as straight/balanced as his rider allows him to be. Typical example, one of my ladies was worried about her saddle fit so I had her take various photos, one one of which was of the horses back from behind and above. I could see the horse had a bit of atrophy near his withers on the near side. Next time I saw the lady ride Liz was with me and she pointed out that she was sitting crooked in her left hip, something I had missed previously :oops:
“Ask often; be content with little, praise a great deal.” (Nuno Oliveira)
User avatar
poneysPie
 
Posts: 1051
Images: 3
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:27 am

Re: Straightness

Postby Trudi » Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:11 am

poneysPie wrote:I was advised by a higher source :notworthy: that keeping the head & neck straight, keeps the shoulder straight and I suppose it does when one thinks about it so I just thought this might be easier for Ali to understand/apply.



Yes as I said it keeps the shoulders straight but the shoulders aren't the only part of the equation so that as soon as you put it into motion the 1/4's pushing power being inequal will push the shoulders out of line. I think a lot of riders and trainers make minor corrections all the time and don't realise that they are.

poneysPie wrote: Typical example, one of my ladies was worried about her saddle fit so I had her take various photos, one one of which was of the horses back from behind and above. I could see the horse had a bit of atrophy near his withers on the near side. Next time I saw the lady ride Liz was with me and she pointed out that she was sitting crooked in her left hip, something I had missed previously :oops:


You can often miss things if something else seems more obvious, the better you train the eye the easier it becomes to see the root cause of something. Many years ago on BD training courses I sat with other newbies as well as seasoned judges and we would assess every horse in a couple of classes so maybe 30/40 in a training session and sometimes the 'old' eyes didn't pick stuff up either...we're all human. It terrified me at first in case I was wrong but literally you each took a movement in turn, as it happened in the test, and gave a mark and said what you saw. I used to be known as very picky for folks sitting straight in the old EE forum days, sadly it seemed to die a death after the head girl stopped being interested.
Image
User avatar
Trudi
 
Posts: 5118
Images: 4
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:47 pm
Location: Exmoor

Next

Return to Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest