Monday, August 31, 2009

ending the day on a lovelier note, with Klimke and Ahlerich

Look at Ahlerich's floppy ears! That is a relaxed horse.


I'd like to add that part of the reason I posted all these videos is to offer an alternative view to the mainstream opinion that Gal's ride is what we who study dressage should emulate.

The other reason is that I want to make sure that anyone who reads here when I write about loving the study of dressage clearly understands what it is I'm studying. NOT what is being seen with Totilas. I want no association with that.

For me, it's about developing a relationship with the horse, and then working together to become balanced and light, with a mutual language that is invisible to anyone watching.

The definition of dressage in my experiential dictionary is a minute or so about a year and a half ago, when I was riding Keil Bay up the long side of our arena. It was chilly, but we were both warmed up and enjoying the warmth of the sun on our bodies as we worked. We were trotting, and as we came onto that long side, something clicked perfectly. He offered his back, and I received it with my seat. Suddenly the sitting trot was effortless.

About mid-way up the long side he slowed into passage. I didn't even realize what we were doing. All I knew was that suddenly we were in perfect harmony, and we seemed to be moving in slow motion.

We had stepped outside time, together, and entered Joy.

In the moment all I could think was that what was happening was so beautiful we had both acted together to purposefully make it last longer. It took what felt like a very long and very perfect time to get to the end of that long side, and when we did, the passage ended.

That's the dressage I'm studying. And in a competition, as an observer, I want to see some evidence that horse and rider have found the joy of harmony at home, in their quiet space, and that they have done it enough times together they can bring some shred of it to a competitive arena, to let all of us in on the secret.


ponymaid said...

Billie, unfortunately I never met the man but I am quite sure I would have liked him. The woman saw him give a clinic long ago and she reports that his emphasis was all about the horse and it's comfort level in doing it's job. A happy horse who, with the help of a compassionate human, understands and loves his work is a wonderous thing to see. I'm still very worried about donkey Rollkur - have you any news of this practice creeping into our world?

Grey Horse Matters said...

A lovely ride by a master. It's a shame that a lot of the older trainers are gone or retired. I have a feeling they would have never put up with the torturous practices being used on horses today.It may have even been considered unethical and a form of cheating not to mention debilitating to the horse. Thanks for showing us what a great ride looks like compared to the one yesterday that is a horrendous misuse of a horses talent.

I've never heard of donkey rollkur, why would anyone even consider doing this to donkeys?

billie said...

Sheaffer, thanks for the Woman's anecdote - I read that Klimke did indeed look at each horse and what the horse could comfortably accomplish when he trained/rode, as opposed to trying to push every horse for high scores on every movement.

What a concept!

I have a very nice mental image of someone attempting Rollkur on a donkey and getting a hoof to the nether regions. But as we both know, humans can be ridiculously ignorant and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that this is a new training technique for donkeys.

We have a wonderful donkey network though, with many photogenic advocates, so I expect we could do a decent job of stemming the tide.

billie said...

Glad you liked it, Arlene. I had to find something positive to end the day.

And I think Sheaffer is, as usual, one step ahead and already plotting to make sure donkeys everywhere are safe from this nightmarish training technique.

We both dream of hosting a Donkey Dressage Extravaganza some day, given the natural talents of donkeys to perform airs above the ground. :)

Michelle said...

Oohhh, I can't wait to get home and see all these videos! These computers at work won't let me access them. It is unfortunate that such a beautiful style of riding is so plagued by controversy. What a beautiful description of your ride -something we all aspire to.

billie said...

Thanks, Michelle. After writing that this a.m. I went out and told Keil Bay that whatever else happens in the world of dressage, he has given me a gift and I won't ever forget it.

He did his characteristic "yoga Bay" whole back stretch and yawned.

We are not into tension and stress on November Hill. :)