Riding by the self-posture of the horse           Riding by the self-posture of the horse                      
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TRAINING PERIODS and particular riding lessons "INTERNET" by Jean-Yves Le Guillou

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An original method to educate the horses : Riding by self-posture of the horse

The self-posture of the horse

The methods permit to improve considerably the behaviour and to enlarge quickly the knowledge of any horse, for pleasure, for dressage or for jumping. Perturbed horses, undisciplined horses, return, smoothly, on the right track.

In order to describe the self-posture of the horse by direct intervention of the horseman or of the rider, and to give a first explanation, here is a small extract of Sensual riding by self-posture of the horse and comics.

A first approach of the self-posture of the horse, the rider should not require the horse to execute the movement, to take the posture, to do the gesture the rider wishes, but to put him in the situation that leads him, after a moment’s thought, to execute this movement, to take this posture, to do this gesture.

A set up system of closed ways leaving only a free way allows to get this result. When the horse enters into a forbidden way, he comes up against a barrier: palisade, wall, fence, wire (not electrified!), according to the indoor schools or the rings, hands of the horseman or of the rider (I use the term horseman for the instructor when he is working in hand, and the term rider when he is working mounted), body of the horseman, long crops. When the horse comes up against a barrier, he asks to himself questions and begins to look for a solution to the problem raised to him.

Two first examples, one concerning the backward movement, the other the shoulder in, that are, in my planning the second and the third of the approached exercises (the first one is the extremely slow-moving walk, also called counted walk).

Backward movement at the right hand

The closed ways : Backward movement at the right hand

  • The horse tries to go forward, he comes up against a barrier: the horseman or the rider closes his hands on the long reins or the reins = closed way.
  • The horse cannot make one’s way left, he sees the palisade or the wall or the fence or the wire, he sees the barrier = closed way.
  • The horse tries to go right, he comes up against a barrier: the body and the long crop, horizontal, of the horseman, the rider closes the left rein, or opens the right rein = closed way.

The free way:

  • The horse finds only one free way: the motion backward, the backward movement, by self-posture of the horse.

And it is only one aspect of the self-posture of the horse. In fact, the horse quickly begins to go back without any aid, he finds the right postures, below line tightened, upper line relaxed. He finds the backward movement a fundamental and essential gait that gives him muscle structure, balance (for collected gaits). On the contrary, the backward movement "torn away" by the strength of the horseman or the rider, is a noxious exercise, in the worst way.

Extremely slow-moving walk, two feelings, the legs of the rider are opened, because of the tension of the abdominals and the reduced base (diagonal movement of the horse’s legs, appearance of trot, but the four feet alight separately), that "inflate" the horse, and the lifted body of the rider because of the important thoracic flexion (3), backward movement, hand and aid of weight, the rider push down his weight into the stirrups when he asks for the backward movement (2) , backward movement, aid of weight kept, but "neither hand nor legs" = self-posture: below line tightened, upper line relaxed (1), self-posture: high degree collection in the piaffe and without the rider’s intervention, except the use of the reverse seat ("neither hand nor legs"), arched back (4 and 5).

The shoulder in from the left to the right                                            

The closed ways:

  • The horse (tail to the wall) tries to go backward, he comes up against a barrier: palisade, wall, fence, wire, long crop of the horseman, behind, legs of the rider = closed way.
  • The horse tries to go forward, he comes up against a barrier: the horseman or the rider closes his hands on the long reins or the reins = closed way.
  • The horse tries to move fore-quarters left, he comes up against a barrier: the body, the long crop of the horseman, the rider closes the right rein or open the left rein = closed way.
  • The horse tries to cut toward the outside track in order to walk in a straight line, he comes up against a barrier: the horseman opens the left long rein, the rider opens the left rein = closed way.

The open way:

  • The horse finds only one free way: this one of the side steps in shoulder in.

And it is only one aspect of the self-posture of the horse. In fact, the horse quickly begins to go in shoulder in without any aid, he finds the right postures, below line tightened, upper line relaxed. He goes to make the shoulder in a fundamental and essential gait that strengthens the base of the neck, gives him balance (for collected gaits). On the contrary, the shoulder in "torn away" by the strength of the horseman or the rider is a noxious exercise, in the worst way.

This technique of the "closed ways" leaving only a "free way" allows to avoid:

  • The "tugs" of the long reins or reins.
  • The "gesticulations" of the body of the rider.
  • The "knocks" of the long crop or of the crop.
  • The "knocks" of the heels or spurs of the rider.
  • In a word, an inelegant whole of gestures, of constraints, not favourable to the harmony, even leading to conflicts, and that can reach an intolerable degree of immorality when the rider "pulls up" and "uses too much leg(s)".

This technique of the "closed ways" leaving only a "free way" allows to progress quickly and in the right way:

  • The horse, after several attempts, finds the wished movement.
  • This approach is, from a pedagogical point of view, of an incredible superiority.
  • The horse becomes a thinking partner.
  • Even a joyful complicity is establishing between him and his instructor.
  • The instructor "fixes" the discovered movement. To do that, he uses a word (always the same!), he hastens to congratulate his pupil and to reward him when he enters in the free way.

This technique of the "closed ways" leaving only a "free way" allows to obtain:        Haut de page

  • The collaboration of the horse, a well-thought collaboration, freely agreed, generous.
  • The horse takes, by himself, by self-posture, the right postures, and does, thanks to given muscular and mental freedoms, by self-posture, the right movements.

Later, the instructor will raise to the horse an apparently insoluble problem: all the ways will be closed! The horse will discover … The piaffe!

Piaffe

I want to draw your attention on an important characteristic of the method: the piaffe is obtained very soon. Furthermore, it is constantly used in the planning to develop the muscles of the horse, to give him suppleness. It is also used in order to relax him before a new exercise or a difficult one. Therefore, it is necessary to use the piaffe for the education of all horses, for leisure, for dressage, for jumping. Consequently, in my method, the piaffe is a starting point and not a final and distant aim, obtained after numerous years of work, as in "dressage". This piaffe, "shy" in the beginning, is "heightened" by a systematic work of body building.

The antagonistic exercises and manipulations coupled together two by two is the great principle of the self-posture of the horse

Trot, flexing toward the breast, feeling, the lifted body of the rider, more intense than during the extremely slow-moving walk, because of the more intense thoracic flexion (1 and 2), heightening of the neck with the hand (without any strength, as far as the horse’s education allows!), bilateral reverse seat, the rider push down his weight into the ischia, lightly arched back (3), self-posture, passage, neither hand nor legs (4 and 5).
The flexing toward the breast, manipulation of the spine, asked by the rider, has nothing to do with the serious defective position of the head called "overbent".

The coupling two by two of the exercises and manipulations is the great principle of the self-posture of the horse.

In this book, Sensual riding by the self-posture of the horse in comics, we have studied the extremely slow-moving walk and the backward movement, the flexing toward the breast, several flexing of the spine, including cervical counter-flexing.

Il It is essential to couple together these exercises and manipulations: extremely slow-moving walk/ backward movement = high degree collection and even piaffe, flexing toward the breast/ heightening of the neck = cervical counter-flexing. In the equitation there is a lot of other antagonisms to couple two by two, but it is not the subject of this book. I have dealt at length with the self-posture in the other volumes, Riding by the self-posture of the horse and Work in hand by the self-posture of the horse, horseman at the haunch.

The release of the intervention, in particular of two antagonistic manipulations, and even the release of all aids, except the aid of weight, allows, by the self-posture of the horse, to obtain movements and airs.

Interest of the self-posture of the horse: Effectiveness and absence of conflict, here is the interest of the self-posture of the horse. If the rider tries to impose the right posture to a horse non-prepared to this posture, she (he) always gets a reaction in the opposite direction and gets all kinds of resistances. Concerning this question the horse is a great specialist … One example, the research of the position "in hand", flexed, without preparation, always gives a wrong posture. Even if the horse finally puts his head in a vertical posture, the base of the neck is not heightened at all. And very often, it is an endless fight between the rider who pushes with her (his) legs and the horse who pulls in order to lift his nose. Maximum heightening of the neck, without research of the position "in hand", flexed (at the beginning)/ flexing toward the breast are the antagonistic, regulator and extreme manipulations that leads the horse to find, by the self-posture, the correct position "in hand", when the vertical head is an element of the cervical counter-flexing.

The theory and practice of the self-posture of the horse are personal. A long experimentation allows me to maintain that it permits to solve with effectiveness, gentleness and elegance, most of equestrian problems.

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