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Posts Tagged ‘Tug of War’

Look at this image. Can you spot the differences between the horse on the left and the horse on the right?

bend

 

Which one is a horse that is bending correctly?

If you guessed the horse on the right is bending correctly, you were right!

The horse on the left shows how in an incorrectly bent horse, the vertebral column kinks to the inside in front of the horse’s shoulder. This gives the illusion of bend to the inexperienced eye.

“Never bend the neck more than you can bend the trunk of the horse,” says Dr. med. vet. Gerd Heuschmann in his book COLLECTION OR CONTORTION? “All additional important elements of bend derive from this maxim. Only a neck that ‘grows with stability out of the shoulder’ and is stabilized by the muscles in front of the shoulder can contribute its important part to the correct bend of the trunk. If a horse has an unstable, loose, ‘wobbly neck’ in front of the withers, he can’t be ridden in the proper balance, nor can he bend, straighten, or collect. Only well-developed pushing power helps the horse’s neck become stable on its axis…. To this end, it is explicitly required to regularly ride transitions from working trot to medium trot in the horse’s first year under saddle. On the other hand, suppleness of the inside trunk and the inside hind leg leads to the development of carrying power and correct bend of the neck. Said another way, the initial bending work and the required stability of the neck promote flexibility of the hindquarters. The neck must be seen as a stable component of the body that is securely attached to the horse’s trunk. Bend runs linearly and evenly through the whole trunk from the poll to the sacrum.”

COLLECTION OR CONTORTION? is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to download a free chapter.

GOODBADBEND

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small company based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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TSB 30th Anniversary2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of CENTERED RIDING, the now classic text by Sally Swift. CENTERED RIDING, the book, has sold over half-a-million copies worldwide and has been published in 16 languages. For many horse people—across riding disciplines and state lines and national borders—it changed the way practical riding instruction could be disseminated, marking the first contemporary “how-to-ride” text that moved away from the formal riding books of the classical masters. The book went on to inspire an international organization devoted to riding instruction that continues to flourish today.

CENTERED RIDING was the first “horse book” published by Trafalgar Square Books—we are a small business housed on a working cattle and horse farm, tucked well away from main thoroughfares in the idyllic hills of rural Vermont. In the years following CENTERED RIDING’s release, TSB has focused on the acquisition and publication of books and DVDs on horses, horse care, and riding with one mission—for the good of the horse—in mind.

Since CENTERED RIDING, many TSB books have become bestsellers across riding disciplines, including:

GETTING IN TTOUCH (1995), which helped launch the phenomenal career of renowned animal behaviorist and horse trainer Linda Tellington-Jones.

THAT WINNING FEELING! (1997) by Jane Savoie, which was one of the first sport psychology books specifically for riders.

YOGA FOR EQUESTRIANS (2000) by Linda Benedik and Veronica Wirth, which introduced the idea of cross-training the rider for better riding performance.

BOMBPROOF YOUR HORSE (2004), a book that enabled mounted police officer Sgt. Rick Pelicano to show everyday riders how to make their horses safe in any situation.

CLINTON ANDERSON’S DOWNUNDER HORSEMANSHIP (2004), which introduced the Australian horseman’s method to readers at the dawn of his meteoric success.

TUG OF WAR: CLASSICAL VERSUS “MODERN” DRESSAGE (2007) by Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, which made public the controversial “Rollkur” practices that had dressage circles in turmoil all over the globe.

 

Click image to see a short video featuring some of our bestselling books and DVDs.

Click image to see a short video featuring some of our bestselling books and DVDs.

 

TSB now also distributes hundreds of educational DVDs for equestrians and is the exclusive North American distributor for PferdiaTV of Germany. TSB worked side-by-side with Cedar Creek Productions and Director Cindy Meehl to produce the international smash 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN (2012)—a seven-disc DVD set of instructional footage obtained during the making of the award-winning documentary film BUCK.

Since the publication of CENTERED RIDING by Sally Swift 30 years ago, TSB has published and/or distributed over 600 books and DVDs, regularly releasing 12 to 15 new equine titles each year.

Help us celebrate 30 years of CENTERED RIDING and publishing “for the good of the horse”! Take 30% off all CENTERED RIDING books and DVDs during the entire month of November, and tag your favorite CENTERED RIDING tip or personal CENTERED RIDING “aha” moment #CenteredRiding30.

 

30%offgraphic

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

 

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We’re happy to have TSB author, translator, and Masterson Method Practitioner Coralie Hughes discuss the idea of “balance” in the horse, providing insight and ideas from her experiences at a clinic with Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, as well as in her work with Jim Masterson and the Masterson Method of Equine Bodywork. Coralie and Jim’s new book THE DRESSAGE HORSE OPTIMIZED is due out in June 2015. CLICK HERE to add your name to the wait list to be notified as soon as its available!

Coralie Hughes and Jim Masterson discussing the painted horse from their new book THE DRESSAGE HORSE OPTIMIZED.

Coralie Hughes and Jim Masterson discussing the painted horse from their new book THE DRESSAGE HORSE OPTIMIZED.

Having translated his book BALANCING ACT from German to English, I felt I understood Gerd Heuschmann’s equestrian philosophy pretty well. Attending a recent riding clinic of his and listening as he taught dressage riders of all levels to Grand Prix was still an extraordinary experience for me, both from the perspective of being a dressage rider myself and being a Masterson Method practitioner.

If you haven’t yet encountered Dr. Heuschmann of Germany, he is an accomplished dressage rider and trainer, a veterinarian and the individual who led the international charge against Rollkur (a flawed training practice used in all disciplines, English and Western, that brings the horse’s nose to the chest in the mistaken notion that the poll and the back will release, while actually accomplishing the opposite). Dr. Heuschmann is also a fan of the Masterson Method and loves to watch the horses release as Jim works.

To Dr. Heuschmann, what he does in his clinics is balance horses. He teaches the riders to ride with the sensitivity of seat and hand that allows the horse to free his back and poll. If the horse is ridden at the tempo and rhythm that is most comfortable for that horse (“Every horse is a song and we must find the melody”) and the back is free, full utilization of the hind end in his work is possible. If hand, seat, or leg transmits negative tension to the horse, then tension develops in the poll and transfers to the back and to the hindquarters.

During the clinic, Dr. Heuschmann identified common riding errors, especially in the use of the hands, that cause increased poll tension, inhibit the movement of the corresponding hind leg, and negatively impact the back. Such a horse is imbalanced in his movement and the dressage goals of impulsion, straightness, and “throughness” are impossible to achieve. There is a kink or block in the energy transfer through the body of the horse.

But even the best-ridden horse is going to develop negative tension in his body as a result of his efforts to please his rider and just simply as a result of repetitive motion. Over time, the muscles lose the ability to fully contract and fully relax, and the muscle chains of the body become unbalanced. As a Masterson Method practitioner, it is commonplace to feel the tight and locked poll, the stiff back, and the shoulders and haunches that have only limited range of motion. It is also commonplace to be able to restore range of motion and release restriction in the body of the horse through Masterson Method bodywork.

Click the image to join the wait list.

Click the image to join the wait list.

With the Masterson Method, we have recently taken it a huge step further. With the painted horse project that yielded the DRESSAGE MOVEMENTS REVEALED DVD SET and now the book THE DRESSAGE HORSE OPTIMIZED, we studied the biomechanics of the dressage horse so that dressage riders, and we Masterson Method practitioners, would be better able to understand how the horse uses his body in his work. The better we understand how the horse must use his body to perform movements of upper level dressage, the better a rider understands how to be in sync with the horse and not against his motion, and the better a Masterson Method practitioner understands why certain muscle groups are involved when a dressage trainer is having given training issues. Bodywork can often feel like a “hide-and-go-seek” effort. Through the work we did with DRESSAGE MOVEMENTS REVEALED and THE DRESSAGE HORSE OPTIMIZED, we have gained an understanding that removes a lot of the mystery when horses can’t perform as well as they used to, barring a frank veterinary cause.

Since completing the research and work related to this new book, co-authored with Jim Masterson, I find in my Masterson Method practice that I better understand horses of all equestrian disciplines. The reiner that is having trouble in a spin reminds me of the front end of the dressage horse’s half-pass. The jumper that can’t use his back or flex his lumbosacral joint or use his gluteals in a good push off, is a dressage horse that is too locked up to collect properly or has lost his extended trot.

The musculoskeletal system of the horse allows for a limited set of movements of his body parts. Because the dressage horse is asked to perform the greatest range of different movements, understanding how the dressage horse uses his body can be a springboard for understanding any equestrian discipline as a bodyworker.

Betsy Steiner on Bacchus from THE DRESSAGE HORSE OPTIMIZED.

Betsy Steiner on Bacchus from THE DRESSAGE HORSE OPTIMIZED.

Most equestrians are trying their best to be good riders. But as one of the old dressage masters said, “A lifetime isn’t long enough to learn to ride a horse.” With the Masterson Method we can help the aspiring rider travel the long, often frustrating but also joyous journey of learning to ride by rebalancing the musculoskeletal system of the horse through regular bodywork. In essence, we are giving the rider a new “blank slate” for his or her continued efforts to learn to ride this most noble of creatures.

It’s all about balance… from Dr. Heuschmann’s ground-breaking work about how to ride a horse in balance, to the Masterson Method’s rebalancing of muscle systems through release of tension. For every horse of any discipline, it is a question of balance in how the horse is using his body, or the lack thereof.

The DRESSAGE MOVEMENTS REVEALED DVD SET and THE DRESSAGE HORSE OPTIMIZED BOOK are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

For information about Masterson Method courses, seminars, and workshops visit www.mastersonmethod.com.

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“In the mid-2000s the German veterinarian Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, working with German Olympic dressage champion Klaus Balkenhol, created headlines when they publicized the findings of Heuschmann’s anatomical and biomechanical studies of hyperflexion,” writes Jennifer Bryant in “Rollkur: Dressage’s Dirty Word,” a recent article on TheHorse.com. “Heuschmann said that hyperflexion not only fails to develop the proper musculature for upper-level dressage, but the exaggerated flexion can also restrict the horse’s airway. Heuschmann published a book, Tug of War: Classical Versus ‘Modern’ Dressage, detailing his findings and arguing against the practice of hyperflexion.”

According to Bryant, “Some dressage enthusiasts remain convinced that rollkur still occurs. During the dressage competition at the 2012 London Olympic Games, some photos circulated on the Internet, appearing to show Swedish competitor Patrik Kittel on Scandic riding in a hyperflexed position. Online forums and the FEI’s Facebook page, among others, were barraged with expressions of outrage and accusations that the FEI was failing to enforce Annex XIII of the Stewards Manual.”

Dr. Heuschmann agrees that, despite the online uproar, there continues to be a troubling acceptance of certain training techniques amongst those who ride, train, and show horses. Heuschmann says this is not only an international issue, but a local one, and not only a dressage issue, but one that is relevant to the show jumping community and those who participate in competitive Western sports, namely reining.

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Heuschmann’s new book BALANCING ACT: THE HORSE IN SPORT–AN IRRECONCILABLE CONFLICT? is his attempt to keep equestrians around the world focused on the problems at hand, while at the same time offering well-researched, fair, and proven techniques for retraining:

-the tense horse,

-the rein-lame horse,

-the horse with gait deviations, and

-the hyperflexed horse, among others.

BALANCING ACT is available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

CLICK HERE NOW TO ORDER YOUR COPY OF BALANCING ACT TODAY

And check out the complete article about the debate involving the 2012 Olympics by Jennifer Bryant on TheHorse.com.

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Just in and already flying out the door, THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE is a horse book like no other. We’re all human; we’re all fragile; we all succumb to temptation at one time or another. But the question of the hour is can we look at ourselves in the mirror and say we are the best rider we can be? Can we look our horse in the eye and say we are the best friend and partner we can be?

We all fall from grace. There is no question of that. But have we the will to face our inner demons, acknowledge our faults, learn from our mistakes, and ride better in the end because of it?

THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE offers an earnest testimony to the faults most often found in the dressage world, how to identify them, how to conquer them, and in the end, how to rise above our very humanity and meet the horse on the honored plain he inhabits…within our power, and yet forever and always more powerful, true, and honest.

Order your copy of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

What readers are already saying about THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE:

“A book that touches raw nerves yet leaves you with great hope for redemption. I know I will be a more just rider from here on in.”

“If you ride you will find yourself saying, ‘Amen, brother.'”

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE NOW

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The London Book Fair–this year running from April 11-13–is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film, and digital channels.It takes place every spring in the world’s premier publishing capital, London, England, and Trafalgar Square Books always attends with the intent to promote its “stable” of top equestrian authors to foreign publishers from around the globe. (TSB also attends the Frankfurt Book Fair, held in the fall in Frankfurt, Germany, every year.)

We take great pride in the books we publish at TSB, and think our authors share the best horse-related material in the most innovative ways, which means maybe equestrians in other countries would benefit from having the books available in their native languages. Many of our books are available in multiple languages and in dozens of countries–for example, CENTERED RIDING by Sally Swift has been translated into 15 different languages and has sold over 800,000 copies worldwide.

Rights sales such as these are made possible by sending a TSB representative to the London and Frankfurt Book Fairs, where we can engage other publishers in person and encourage them to check out our authors, even before their books are published in English.

International book fairs also give us the opportunity to peruse what riders and trainers in other countries are doing, and often we find a terrific book that we know would benefit English-speaking equestrians. In these cases, we arrange for translation of the work, and publish it under the TSB imprint. Bestsellers of books originally published in another language include TUG OF WAR by Dr. Gerd Heuschmann and DRESSAGE SCHOOL by Britta Schoeffmann.

We look forward to continuing to be part of the effort to share the very best in horse-related books and DVDs worldwide!

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