Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Haute Ecole
May 13, 2011 11:19 AM   Subscribe

Dressage by Clémence Faivre
posted by Lanark (35 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
And the bridle's off! Wow.

Ooh, now she's off the horse.

Gorgeous!

Signed,
Apparently Still Thirteen at Heart
posted by little cow make small moo at 11:42 AM on May 13, 2011


While I can appreciate the skill and patience of the trainer, I cannot help but wonder if the horse enjoys this business. It seems too much like subjugation. I have the same feeling when I see dogs slavishly trained to perfect obedience. I like my animals to have a little independence of character (which is why my dog is badly behaved).
posted by binturong at 11:43 AM on May 13, 2011


wonderful horses, and she is really good at it, but the editing and music made it impossible for me to see any of the videos to the end. Can't someone tell these horse people they don't need all the fluff?
posted by mumimor at 11:43 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I cannot help but wonder if the horse enjoys this business.
It does, and so would your dog. Animals who are forced to work don't look happy
posted by mumimor at 11:44 AM on May 13, 2011


I came in to make the opposite comment to binturong. I used to rodeo a bit and my horse loved barrel-riding, you can tell at a glance whether the horse is having fun or not. However, I'm ignorant about dressage. Do the judges notice the horse's demeanor in any repeatable way, or give points for it, or anything like that?
posted by jet_silver at 11:46 AM on May 13, 2011


Holy crap, so that's dressage? There are some 14 yr old girls I need to go back in time and apologize to.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:47 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Amazing. No bridle, flying lead changes - yup, I'm right back to being 13 again as well.

Maybe I should go visit my sister-in-law today: she works right down the road from me, runs her own stable. I want to go pet some horses, even if I can't ride them (the ones she has are mostly too expensive for me to ride).
posted by rtha at 11:52 AM on May 13, 2011


That was just magnificent. Thank you.
posted by Ahab at 11:52 AM on May 13, 2011


binturong: Many animals, especially (for example) a well-bred and well-trained dressage horse, are very happy following instructions and earning praise/reward, and are only made distressed and lonely by 'independence' and a lack of direction or work to do. Herding dogs are another good example of this.
posted by Drexen at 11:52 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Horses are herd animals. They are quite happy to have a competent leader. My daughter rides dressage, but not quite at this level. Probably never at this level.
posted by COD at 11:54 AM on May 13, 2011


When the native Americans saw Europeans on horseback they at first thought that they were a single creature, not two. When you look at skills such as these and consider that the Spanish horsemen would have practised such skills for their whole life, the natives' misconception is completely reasonable.
posted by Authorized User at 11:55 AM on May 13, 2011


Prancing With The Stars!
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:58 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do the judges notice the horse's demeanor in any repeatable way, or give points for it, or anything like that?

I would assume this was just an exhibition, but yes. In judged dressage "disobedience" by the horse will cost you points.
posted by COD at 12:01 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fake. Robot.
posted by stbalbach at 12:06 PM on May 13, 2011


Do the judges notice the horse's demeanor in any repeatable way, or give points for it, or anything like that?

I would assume this was just an exhibition, but yes. In judged dressage "disobedience" by the horse will cost you points.


Also, they give overall points for appearance/style, and a horses that moves freely and is visibly "happy" is favored.
posted by mumimor at 12:06 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


which is why my dog is badly behaved

Bad behavior in dogs can many times mean that they are unhappy. Ironically, many types of dogs - ones like boxers, shepherds, retrievers, etc. need a strong leader and tasks to do for them to be happy.

Forced servitude is different for non-pack animals. Like, you'd never see a cat doing this. Feel bad for "trained" lions, but not these particular horses. That one doing crazy shit up there is most certainly happier than you or me. Feel bad about horses that are neglected and have a small field. They're social animals that want stuff to do, just like people.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:20 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"but the editing and music made it impossible for me to see any of the videos to the end."

The editing (or perhaps live TD in the case of the arena piece) is just atrocious. You never really get to see the action clearly as the view is snatched away just as the eye becomes accustomed to the shot.

Reminds me of the exasperating experience of watching a televised fireworks display when they are switching cameras that are trying to follow the fireworks. The viewer never gets a sense of the whole.
posted by bz at 12:25 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks so much for this cool post!

What I loved most were the moments when it became obvious how much she adored her horse -- maybe because it diminished the slight (and, I think, ill-founded*) instinct to feel bad for a horse trained to perform such contortions with slavish obedience.

* I gather that for most domesticated pack animals, training is a great, enjoyable activity that works their brains in a pleasurable way. Certainly it works that way for my dog, who obviously adores the sessions I spend with him.
posted by artemisia at 12:27 PM on May 13, 2011


Part of my reaction to this was, "Clever Hans" because that is one smart horse.

Horses are very, very smart animals1. I learned to ride as an adult after listening for quite sometime to my girlfriend talking about horses at the stable she went to. So when I started out, I already knew the tricks the horses played on noobs. That's right. The horses damn sure know when there is a noob on board.

There was one named Cruise Control, who if he thought he had a noob on him, would start going backwards. I knew ahead of time that if your established yourself well and whacked him with the crop once, if he started to be a butt head, all you had to do was put the crop in his peripheral vision. Cruise Control was a real shit when you were starting out, but when you learned to canter, his gait was terrific.

Kojak could also detect noobs, mostly because he had double reins, which can be a real surprise if you've never held them before, but once you did, it was soo easy to communicate half halts and get terrific control over his gait.

1Although I never figured out why they're so terrified of deer
posted by plinth at 12:31 PM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


My inner 14 year old is quite pleased with this.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:52 PM on May 13, 2011


Hunting dogs must be trained for their own safety. The need for instant obedience is understandable when you remember that people are using live ammunition around them,
posted by Cranberry at 1:06 PM on May 13, 2011


A lot of apologizing for supposed-adolescence in here. This was never my world, and I never wanted it to be my world. I think it's beautiful though. You don't have to apologize for appreciating a breathtaking performance.
posted by gilrain at 1:18 PM on May 13, 2011


Very lovely. Horses really are amazing animals. I wish the rider had foregone the corset/half-skirt outfit though; I kept finding myself distracted by it when I wanted to be paying attention to the horse, who was gorgeous. I did appreciate the moments of affection, though, since it's so different from the stoic men that you usually see (with Lippizaners) doing this sort of thing.
posted by ashirys at 2:08 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The overwrought music, and drama did not enhance this for me, but th ehorse is talented and beautifully trained.
posted by theora55 at 2:55 PM on May 13, 2011


Although I never figured out why they're so terrified of deer

Lack of exposure? I live in rural Pennsylvania, where there are state forests chock full of deer. My horse lives here, too, and she is mostly nonplussed by deer. Horses with less deer-exposure probably take deer more seriously.
posted by which_chick at 3:05 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I found it extremely interesting to note the change in Gotan's head and tail carriage once she took the bridle off. Yeah, he was a trifle less polished in moving, but suddenly his head is up and his tail is not swishing.
posted by winna at 4:21 PM on May 13, 2011


Apropos of nearly nothing, one of my most inexplicable recent fascinations is with horse gaits, particularly tolting and a little racking and foxtrot. I forget where I found out that they even existed, but once a month or so I'll spend an hour or two on Youtube watching different people zooming their horses around in front of a camera.
posted by rhizome at 11:27 PM on May 13, 2011


I have mixed feelings about this - more specifically, the performance in the first link. The way that she presents her horse is amazing, and goes a long way in promoting dressage to a wider audience. They've obviously worked hard together over a long period of time. But there's so much bling, in the music, lighting, costume, the emphasis on huge steps and airs above the ground. Obviously, there's always been a strong theatrical aspect to dressage and I do appreciate the exuberance, but a simple schooling session or a well-executed test has a quiet poetry that I also appreciate. (Disclaimer: I'm a novice rider and have much to learn about dressage and horses more generally).
posted by GeorgeBickham at 12:09 AM on May 14, 2011


Some pictures of Gotan
posted by Lanark at 2:44 AM on May 14, 2011


Lack of exposure?
Not these horses - rural NJ. They saw deer all the time. And spooked all the time.
posted by plinth at 3:36 AM on May 14, 2011


Nitpick warning: This is not true dressage. What she is doing is riding high school movements, exhibition style. Her seat is excellent, the horse's training is excellent, but she's not using a double bridle. Instead, she's using a curb only, which is never supposed to be the main source of communication in dressage. This is crowd pleasing stuff, but is no less valid than any other discipline.

For those who think the horse is being coerced - hardly. It's either a Lusitano or Andalusian. These breeds are bred for this kind of expression. The Iberian breeds are known for flashiness with a high degree of athleticism. Their most popular use is for the bull ring. They wow the crowds while staying out of reach of the bull that they are working. Similar to how an American quarter horse cuts a cow out of the herd.

This is garrocha. Vaqueros train their horses this way to sort bulls in the field.

Gotan has a very thick neck, indicitive of being a stallion, so he's going to stick his head out at liberty. Collection is suppling the horse's neck and causing the poll to flex in a manner to encourage engagement of the hindquaters. When they are at liberty, they are going to relax and stretch out.

This dressage freestyle by Andreas Helgstrand on Blue Hors Matine is widely considered by the dressage world to be the best example of a relaxed and happy horse, doing what they love. Don't let her tail fool you. She's not grinding it. Instead, it's flagged out behind her, swishing in time to her tempo. Look at those ears. They're floppy and out to the side, a sure sign of a relaxed horse. Her feet hit the ground in time to the beat because she knows her timing.

I apologize for the meandering post that is an attempt to address some of the comments in the thread.
posted by UnoriginalUser at 11:15 AM on May 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Amazing.
posted by nickyskye at 12:55 PM on May 14, 2011


a relaxed and happy horse

It's like her whole body is grinning. What a fantastic performance!
posted by rtha at 1:06 PM on May 14, 2011


Andreas Helgstrand on Blue Hors Matine

That passage! That is just unbelievable, it gave me a lump in my throat, that is beyond amazing.
posted by biscotti at 5:28 PM on May 14, 2011


Sadly, that horse has passed on.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:49 PM on May 14, 2011


« Older "It's...it's across the entire horizon." Inside a...   |   "A few years from now, an hour... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments