Lets have a more 'serious' discussion.

fairlady

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Lets talk SCHOOLING..........

WHY do we school our Horses, attempt to get them in an outline.....
this is sort of following on from the Rolkur thing, but not specifically about that, more day to day schooling and WHY we do it.

i.e. lets talk 'OUTLINE' What are YOUR reasons for getting your Horse in
an outline, is it for THEM or for YOU or because thats what the 'books' tell us we should be doing?
 

Esther.D

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My reasons for trying to get my riding cob into an outline is to help him carry me better, if he has a more rounded shape and his hocks under him then he is better able to carry a rider without risk of back problems in the longterm. It is like good posture in a person, it helps prevent injury. A horse without a rider doesn't need an outline as they have no weight on their back.

My reasons for working on an outline with my driving ponies is that it puts them in a better position to pull the vehicle and brake it (the breeching strap around their hind quarters acts as the brake going downhill).

So my reasons as basically physically for the horse. On a plus side for me (besides it looking nicer, but that is just cultural conditioning on my part) it also makes them softer and more flexible and therefore easier to control through a consistent contact and for them if they are rounded and their heads are fairly balanced and firm then they are less likely to jab themselves in the mouth by moving their head erratically.

eta - I don't do 'schooling' as such very often, I just keep up transitions etc out on a hack and asking for roundness.
 
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xJenniferx

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I started off when I bought Tyler thinking that I had to learn outline, lateral work, suppleness balance etc.

IT was drummed into me by an instructor that my ability to ride woudl be affected if I couldnt master some schooling. I have managed to get Tyler in an outline once and it required me doing transitions every letter. Other people can get on Tyler and he instantly responds. I know he can do it but its just that I cant. I can get nearly all schooling movements from him minus the outline lol.

I feel that people follow what they are told without,a s you are doing questioning it.

I have used free schooling/lunging alot and found that Tyler looks more secure when he is not in a perfect outline. I have decided that although I will take the occasional lessons to ensure that I am not hauling at his mouth or bouncing about on his back, I dont intend to try and follow strict schooling methods as they dont really suit Tyler and I or what we are doing (running round fields and pathways lol).

I will have a more thoughtful answer planned out for a further post, this is just an off the top of my head answer :p

Jen
x
 

Mary Poppins

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When I get my working correctly he is a pleasure to ride. He does what I want him to, is responsive and we both enjoy our sessions. I enjoy competing in dressage and like the challenge of showing off the best we can be. I'm not so concerned with having his head in the correct place, as that doesn't necessarily mean anything, but I enjoy trying to get him light and full of implusion. Good schooling also helps with our jumping because he is so much more obedient to my aids. And, it helps with control out hacking too. And, i actually enjoy it.
 
Y

Yann

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I school and ask my horses to work in an outline because it's good for them, builds them up athletically and makes them more responsive, and also good for me. It also keeps them supple, and also more evenly muscled as they can't unconsciously favour the same lead all the time. I do honestly think it makes them better to hack.

Although I've always been far more of a hacker than a schooler, since having a horse who is naturally supple finds working in self carriage relatively easy I've actually really begun to enjoy schooling for its own sake. The feeling of softness and lightness when it all comes together and you're floating along is a good one. Because of that I think my schooling sessions with my other horse, who isn't so naturally inclined improved a lot too, although she's not been up to school work recently.

I'm also really into the idea of working towards keeping the horse soft and light, it's only something I play at really, but simple things like not moving off from halt unless the horse is accepting the rein without bracing or leaning do seem to make a real difference. We're a long way from any kind of finished article, and given her age and my ineptitude probably never will be. I've also got one horse that struggles to canter well in the school, and one that's inclined not to stop once she starts, so we're not about to take the dressage world by storm either :D

Whilst Tess came as a finished article, Rio is all our own work, she had no idea about outline when she came, but in her schooling prime all it takes for her to soften to the contact is for you to sit up, pick up the reins and put your leg on and you're off :)
 
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eml

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mmm...depends what you mean by 'outline'?

If you look at old pictures from the 50's and 60s horses were ridden in a much longer shape than is currently fashionable. Robert Oliver caused mutterings a couple of years ago as his winning heavy weight was not working in todays dressage infuenced idea of outline.

I do however always work all horses forward from the leg, whether to a long low connection when hacking or hunting (cobbie is totally the wrong shape in her jaw to work anywhere near the vertical!!) or in what is the 'accepted' look of a modern outine in a well schooled and muscularly developed horse.
 

Trewsers

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WHY do we school our Horses, attempt to get them in an outline.....
this is sort of following on from the Rolkur thing, but not specifically about that, more day to day schooling and WHY we do it.

i.e. lets talk 'OUTLINE' What are YOUR reasons for getting your Horse in
an outline, is it for THEM or for YOU or because thats what the 'books' tell us we should be doing?


I long since gave up trying to get Storm into an "outline". The reasons for this were various. In the beginning I had some very misguided ideas about schooling and getting her into an outline. I am ashamed to say that because I listened to the wrong people I was one of those riders that forced and sawed on mouths.:eek: I am not proud of this and if I could have my time back I most certainly wouldn't have listened and wouldn't have tried it.

However, when she is working nicely in the school - and this can take some time to achieve, she does go into what you would call an outline. When this happens, her trot and canter feel so different, and the trot feels like we are floating.:D

I don't feel it necessary for me personally to always have this outline, but it is a nice thing to work towards. I will continue to do so, but its not really a priority and happy, relaxed rides are what it is all about for me. If we achieve an outline of sorts, and I feel that she is comfortable working that way then its all good.
 

learningcurve

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I never school my boy, don't think he has ever been schooled.
He has a low head carriage, unless there is a horse eating monster on the loose.

My daughter does have riding lessons on her pony, he is very forward and a bit fizzy.
Her RI said that is difficult for him to achieve an outline physically as he is long backed.
 

fairlady

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OK some really good answers, reason I am questioning it all is because as most of you already know I have 2 youngsters. Bertie the shetland is not
quite so much of a problem tbh, or I at least perceive it that way at the moment, because he will be lead rein for a very long time so NOBODY is gonna be dragging on his mouth, but he still needs to learn to work from behind to make it easier for him. Maybe lessons with my G.Daughter will be the way I go with him.

Sioned.....I am hopefully gonna back her next year, but then I need to think about which way I am going, what I want to achieve for both her and me.

First and foremost I want a HAPPY Horse, but that relates to them both, I have no great aspirations for the two of us apart from hacking and the odd pleasure ride tbh, maybe along the line pop the odd log etc., if we are out and about, intentionally of course, lol.

I am certainly NOT the best rider in the world, and hacking out with Cookster the other week made me realise how 'riding' unfit I am tbh. I have had a very 'green' horse before and did the lessons, the schooling, so I know what the
R.I.'s say I should be attempting to achieve, but I am questioning WHY??

I agree with the 'lightness' the 'acceptance of the bit' and tbh a well
mannered Horse who is accepting of what I am asking it to do, however I
am not so sure that the 'outline' 10 metre, 20 metre circles are the way I
want to go. I want a balanced Horse, of course, as you say to make it easier for her really as much as
anything. But I can't help questioning the reason we do some of the things we do do, so acceptingly because
an RI has told us thats the way we should be doing it. A couple of people have asked me 'are you gonna school yourself' or 'send her away'
tbh, I am undecided how much of the 'schooling' thing we are gonna be doing anyway...

Trewsers hits it on the nail for me, happy and relaxed Riding, both for me, but mainly Sioned, is what I think I will aim towards, with manners
and balance being our aim, with the majority of the work being done out and about hacking. I want her 'working' correctly to build muscle
where muscle should be, but don't necessarily want to be 'working' her, if that makes sense.
 
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Esther.D

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You see I was interpeting outline as a balanced and forward going horse, aiming towards self carriage, which you cannot do if something is not in an outline - if it is poking its nose or trailing its backend then it is not in an outline. I may not be interpreting this in the way some people interpret it though :confused:
 

fairlady

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LOL, Yes Esther, that is how I see it, however most people 'school' to attempt
to achieve that, and I probably went 'off track' a bit in saying that I am hoping to sort of achieve that but without spending HOURS schooling.

I see people working for hours schooling their horses and trying to achieve
the somewhat obligatory 'OUTLINE' then see them out and about with friends
for a hack, chatting, and its all gone to 'pot' anyway, lol.

But I agree we should all be working towards producing a well balanced and hopefully, forward going horse who is basically carrying itself happily and first and foremost, comfortably. I am just thinking that maybe I should be hacking her initially to see what her 'natural' carriage is like, once she has adjusted to the weight of a Rider, before doing any type of 'schooling' attempting to teach the carriage they (as in R.I.'s etc.,) say she should be in. lol, don't think I am explaining myself very well reading this back. Surely there are some Horses who once adjusted to carrying an
extra weight, i.e. Rider, will carry themselves quite comfortably in an outline that is more natural and comfortable for them, without us necessarily having to 'teach' that. IF we have to 'teach' it, is it natural? and if not is it Fair? I am hoping that makes more sense, lol.
 
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levi1739

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Lets talk SCHOOLING..........

WHY do we school our Horses, attempt to get them in an outline.....
this is sort of following on from the Rolkur thing, but not specifically about that, more day to day schooling and WHY we do it.

i.e. lets talk 'OUTLINE' What are YOUR reasons for getting your Horse in
an outline, is it for THEM or for YOU or because thats what the 'books' tell us we should be doing?



Ride your horse as softly as you can. Start with where YOU are and don't worry about others. Just get together with the horse in front of you and "try" your best with the horse.

I believe it takes many, many hours of riding to develop any control of seat and hands. There are a whole lot of pictures I see where it's obvious that what is considered "outline" is actually a rider balancing on the hands. Pulling on the mouth might be another way to describe this. It may look like "outline" but the lack of softness is apparent.

So don't do that, learn to ride with one rein as control, and enjoy the journey. Ride whatever dang size circles you want, and your horse want. Try to be light, forward, together and all that good stuff but don't fret on it.

Just ride, :)


Keep on, keepin on

Jack
 
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Yann

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I see people working for hours schooling their horses and trying to achieve
the somewhat obligatory 'OUTLINE' then see them out and about with friends
for a hack, chatting, and its all gone to 'pot' anyway, lol.

I don't personally see a conflict there, I wouldn't expect my horses to hack in an 'outline', for one thing it restricts their field of vision. There are still plenty of benefits in the way the horse carries itself and how responsive it is :)
 

Esther.D

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You see I would expect my horses to hack in my version of an outline - ie rounded and carrying themselves, but at all times this should be relaxed and without a strong contact. I agree with the longer rein and not overtly 'schooling' but my kind of outline I would expect for their own good. Like this
polo-2-at-viking1.jpg
here we were just out meandering around outside the ring at a local show and I always ride and drive with a light contact as you can see by the reins here, yet he was carrying himself well.

eta he was 22 in this pic and had been driven once in the last 6 months..but years of work went into his self carriage when he was younger, and none of it with a stronger contact than that.
 
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Nimbus65

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What i've noticed is that when a horse I am riding is in an outline, he is straight, balanced, light and generally just a pleasure to ride. That's the feeling I want - that lightness and balance between the two of us - the outline isn't the end goal it's just the shape the horse makes when he's working over his back, tracking up, carrying himself (and me) and I only get it when I'm taking responsibility for MY balance, light with aids, not interfering with the horse's way of going, allowing him through my seat.

N
 

fairlady

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Now 'THAT' Esther I can actually SEE;)

Although as you say in an 'outline' he looks both comfortable and 'natural':)

Also you say about 'self carriage' which I meant as 'natural' carriage. Now although you say lots of work went into that when he was younger it is
still obviously a carriage HE finds comfortable to work in because he has
naturally gone into that carriage after a period of time.

I too, would expect my Horse to hack in an outline, but a 'natural' outline and not the 'outline' we are sometimes guilty of forcing upon them
because we are 'taught' that IS the outline they should be in.
 

izzy18

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What i've noticed is that when a horse I am riding is in an outline, he is straight, balanced, light and generally just a pleasure to ride. That's the feeling I want - that lightness and balance between the two of us - the outline isn't the end goal it's just the shape the horse makes when he's working over his back, tracking up, carrying himself (and me) and I only get it when I'm taking responsibility for MY balance, light with aids, not interfering with the horse's way of going, allowing him through my seat.

N

I'm finding this thread really interesting. My RI at the RS where I ride regularly is just teaching us 'outline' and I've managed to get a few strides here and there, but I'm still very hit and miss, although I think my 'feel' for it is developing. Nimbus65's quote above really hit home with me though - when you do get it, it feels fabulous! I hadn't really thought about its actual benefit for the horse though :eek::eek: as I've been so busy focussing on what I need to do to get it and keep it - I feel bad now! Really enjoying everyone's comments on this subject, even though I'm pretty new to it myself.
 

Zingy

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I gave up trying to get an outline a long time ago, having figured out that trying inevitably leads to tension in both me and the horse and does more harm than good.

When I school I aim to get concentration, willingness, obedience and suppleness. I want transitions to happen exactly when I ask, I want impulsion and control in all paces, I want correct bend and so I do exercises that will help me achieve that. Getting those things and concentrating on them rather than where the horse's nose is gives me a far better result.

Even B, who isn't exactly designed with schooling and outlines in mind, comes into a really nice shape from doing that. And when he does, he's lighter, more responsive and easier to ride. He's also more comfortable, more springy and finds the work easier.

We do lots of hacking as well, where I tend to ride him very differently. Mainly out hacking he's on a long rein and has a lot more input into things. I still expect him to do what I ask, but I don't expect the same level of concentration from him.

I don't think that doing things differently is an issue at all, but I do think it's important to ride differently if that's what you are aiming for. So, for example, don't half heartedly ask for a contact - either ask properly, like when schooling, or don't. Half asking for a contact out hacking then backing down will give you far more problems in schooling than deliberately and intentionally hacking on a longer rein would do.
 
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