Help me understand what on earth dd's talking about(7 Posts)
Dd (14) is obsessed with horses and riding - she works at the riding school she goes to at the weekend and in the holidays, has lessons two or three times a week and seems (to my uneducated eye) to be making lots of progress. She's jumping, doing dressage and x-country and the fizzier the pony, the happier she is to ride them. She would love to have her own horse but the logistics (we're in London) are just insurmountable sadly.
Neither dh nor I are horsey - I rode as a child but stopped when music took over and only got as far as cantering. When I pick dd up from the stables she's desperate to talk all about her day but most of the time I don't have a clue what she's on about - she's talking about outlines and falling in and things like that and I'm nodding and smiling to avoid saying something really stupid!
Is there a 'riding for dummies' guide which will let me sound a bit more knowledgeable?
I don't understand all the lingo and so bought some horse magazines. Unfortunately I didn't understand them either!!
So I got Pony magazine which is for children really but I have found it really useful as it uses simple terminology to explain things.
Can you ask your daughter to explain these terms to you, to learn with her? She may only be explaining them with a basic understanding - there's always more detail and refinement of training to learn about with horses
As well as googling, there YouTube and Wikipedia which should have some good detailed explanations and videos about terms.
In brief - An outline is generally used to describe when a horse is properly collected, collection is when a horse is in the correct frame or posture to use itself properly when being ridden.
if you as a human were to try and do a gymnastics routine with a slouched back and hunched shoulders, that wouldn't work and / or would be painful, so you stand straight, slightly bend your knees etc and use your body properly. Imagine trying to do it carrying someone else on your back, and you can only learn how to improve by the person you are carrying communicating through their weight, hands on reins to your head, and their feet, and you can probably start to appreciate why it is difficult and takes so long to train when riding a horse!
What your daughter is taking about are elements of dressage, (don't worry or be put off by the French terms, they are only used as that's where this method of riding was developed) Dressage only means 'to train', so being in an outline is where the rider has to train the horse to collect itself properly to do gymnastic movements as part of dressage (dressage movements are done for training or as part of a dressage test).
Falling is in where a horse, going around on a circle or corner, doesn't bend properly and go around the circle, but instead 'falls in' from the turn. This isn't good as its like not properly using yourself when doing a workout, you won't work out the right muscles or do the movement correctly.
A good resource I can recommend, perhaps for your daughter as well as you, is a website I am using to learn more about dressage, called straightnesstraining
I have read and followed the free e book, which explains dressage movements and why they are done. There is a lot of detail if you want to go in to it, but also gives you a basic overview of why horse training is important and what the movements are and how they are trained and ridden.
Also depending on where you are in London, you could look in to her getting a share. I had several when I was younger, which works brilliantly for a younger rider who wants more 1-1 riding without the responsibility
Falling in is motorbiking around a bend instead of keeping the body upright and bending (there's a separate argument about how much horses actually can bend but let's not start on that!)
The explanation I usually give novice riders about riding in an outline is roughly this (though longer):
Horses have evolved as grazing animals. Watch a horse moving around a field - it has its head down reaching for grass. As such it will carry around 60% of its weight on its front legs and the rest on its hind legs.
When you ride a horse, if it's carrying its weight like this "on its forehand" it's uncomfortable to ride and more difficult to control. Riders therefore train their horses to carry more and more weight on their hind legs, making them more comfortable and easier to control and manoeuvre.
If you watch this brief clip of Valegro you can see that his hindquarters are lower than his front end (withers).
Thus a horse "in an outline" is taking more weight on its hind legs. Think of it like pushing a wheel barrow rather than pulling it, or a rear wheel drive car. The horse's hind legs are its engine.
Collection is the end point of this but a horse can be in an outline without being collected so personally I would leave that out of the explanation (not something you need to worry about now OP but paces can be working, collected, medium or extended but all of those are in an outline, not just collected).
I second the idea to just ask your daughter. My mum used to bluff and pretend she knew more than she did, which resulted in typical teenage embarrassment from me. I'd have preferred it if she'd just admitted her ignorance.
Thank you all - I have sneaked a look at copies of dd's Pony magazine before but she's gone past that now (it was v helpful when she was learning to ride).
Sadly where we are at the moment there's nowhere that's near enough to make a share logistically feasible. We are hoping to move somewhere a little further out but when that is depends on lots of different factors...
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