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Problems with Dressage Performances 2

The pages below are connected to a discussion group at a Polish web site. Just for you, Ania, I have made some pages with observations about the riding. You are correct in assuming that these riders do not show classical knowledge. And van Grunsven's horses are not perfect: something else is going on... a long story with an aggressive trainer, an ambitious national stud and a compliant FEI. Check out the Xenophon Society for a discussion.

If there is a gold star, there are some excellent features of the ride.

I am very concerned that these national riders do not have people who know enough not to place the saddle on the cartilage cap of the shoulder blade.

These are all beautiful horses, but the riding is problematic in most cases.

Many of these horses show undeveloped complexus group of muscles that should extend from just below the poll to the middle of the shoulder blade. This muscle group stabilizes the neck position that assists in raising the withers. Absence of complete development in this part of the neck indicates lack of stretching, forward work in training.

A surprising number of these horses are behind the aids. And in the lateral walk pictures (grayscale), the two legs on the same side should make a "vee" if the rhythm of the gait is correct.

Pirouettes need to be done without leaning. The horse also needs to carry the forelimbs more under the center of mass during rotation and to place each hind leg under its hip for efficient balance. The horse in pirouette is showing "too much sit" and too much bend in the neck. See Max in lower left at free longe for correct posture. Too much lowering of haunches makes the movement into the ancient rocking horse "terre á terre" where the hind legs are close together and the rhythm of canter is lost (see FEI rule on canter pirouettes).
<<---- My youngster Smoke 'n Mirrors in a correct free walk in the top frame. He is forward, down, out (FDO) in walk on free longe in the bottom frame. So you see with my horses, correct dressage can be taught on the free longe. My new mare Rosita is learning this FDO work and loves those free longe sessions.