Quiet Riding

Horses and Riders Working in Harmony


Horses in the Fog

Flexion

[As additional resources, links to book reviews and book purchasing information can be found beneath the quotations when this information is available.]

Flexion – General

"Lateral movements are intended to increase the flexion of an individual leg...."

Eitan Beth-Halachmy, Cowboy Dressage
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"Engaging the hindquarters means flexing the lower back and bringing the pelvis under, forward and up."

Eitan Beth-Halachmy, Cowboy Dressage
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"Most people can't imagine the flexibility that's required for some maneuvers a horse needs to make. When they are working up the line beyond what that horse can understand, their presentations to the horse appear rough, and to a horse that's not prepared, they are rough."

Bill Dorrance and Leslie Desmond, True Horsemanship Through Feel
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"The poll is actually the top of the horse's skull....in common dressage usage, 'flexion at the poll' refers to the closing of the two joints immediately behind the poll."

Jane Savoie, Cross-Train Your Horse, Simple Dressage for Every Sport
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"Flexing the haunches: All the large joints of the hind leg flex in the supporting phase — this places the 'spring' under tension."

Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, Balancing Act
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"The power of the trunk flexors can only be developed through systematic, rhythmical forward riding."

Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, Balancing Act
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Flexion – Direct

"It is also taken for granted that the flexion [direct flexion] should never be made at a halt, when the horse is mounted, which is a most objectionable practice."

James Fillis, Breaking and Riding
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"I must explain, contrary to what is everywhere practised, that I begin the direct flexion while going forward."

James Fillis, Breaking and Riding
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"The word ramener, which is borrowed from Baucher, means nothing else than direct flexion."

James Fillis, Breaking and Riding
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"The ramener is only the first part of getting the horse in hand, and signifies that the horse's head is high, his head perpendicular, and that he champs and plays with his bit, when the rider feels it by means of the reins; but owing to deficient impulsion he is not light in hand. ...It is the first step towards perfect distribution of weight; collecting the horse is the second, as I have just said; and the rassembler is last."

James Fillis, Breaking and Riding
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"When the hind legs are well under the body, the croup is low, and consequently the forehand is high."

James Fillis, Breaking and Riding
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"The bending of the neck should bring the direction of the head near to, but not behind the perpendicular, which faulty position can be produced only when the neck is bent at a point too near the withers."

James Fillis, Breaking and Riding
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"A high position of the neck is the first condition of good equilibrium, and having obtained it, we should seek to give freedom to the hind quarters, while bringing them into action, and making the horse go freely forward, which we do by the flexions of the well-placed head, by the loosening of the jaw, and especially by the legs."

James Fillis, Breaking and Riding
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"Baucher's faulty flexion, which is in very common use to-day, is made at the withers instead of at the poll. It lowers the neck, and causes the horse to place the weight on his shoulders..."

James Fillis, Breaking and Riding
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"...in the classical school the acceptance of the bit and the position of the horse's head are not so much the core of the issue but the end result. The more the horse engages, the higher subsequently the raising of the poll, neck and wither. Only then will he be in a position to flex and soften down correctly."

Sylvia Loch, The Classical Rider
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"The undeniable truth, that it may involve years of patience and hard work to build up the muscles in the back and quarters through increased engagement of the hind end to produce proper rounding, is not always popular. What may be even less acceptable is that no horse can be forced to give his back if he does not want to. An illusion of rounding may indeed be achieved mechanically but lightness has also to involve a giving of his mind."

Sylvia Loch, The Classical Rider
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"Asking the horse to flex and soften to the bit through finger pressure alone, rather than the often crude movements so often seen, requires a higher all round standard of riding. In particular, it requires an understanding of how to use the upper body, as well as the seat and legs, to complement any rein aide."

Sylvia Loch, The Classical Rider
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"In their attempts to put the horse on the bit, too many people struggle or draw back with the hands and succeed merely in shortening the horse through the wither and neck because they forget to ride the horse off the leg."

Sylvia Loch, The Classical Rider
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"Forceful longitudinal flexion always, without exception, leads to cramping of the entire topline."

Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, Balancing Act
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"Forced longitudinal flexion of the horse is, in my view, a result of incorrect training of today's highly rideable young horses. This mechanized method of training leads to early injury."

Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, Balancing Act
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"A mechanical, extremely deep longitudinal flexion — regardless of whether it is done with or without draw reins — is the worst possible thing for the back and balance of the horse."

Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, Balancing Act
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Flexion – Lateral

"Lateral flexion that doesn't use flexion all along the horse's spine overlooks the full gymnastic benefit of lateral flexion to the horse's whole body."

Kathleen Schmitt, The Seamless Seat
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"We use lateral flexion to equalize the horse's development on both sides, with the aim of making it as ambidextrous as possible."

Kathleen Schmitt, The Seamless Seat
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"The real point of lateral flexion is to lengthen the outside of the horse's body evenly from hoof to nose."

Kathleen Schmitt, The Seamless Seat
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"Every corner is an exercise in bending and should be ridden carefully."

Mary Twelveponies, Everyday Training: Backyard Dressage
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