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
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
Backward movement at the right
The closed ways
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
Later, the instructor will raise
to the horse an apparently insoluble problem: all the ways will
be closed! The horse will discover … The 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
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).
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
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
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.