This is the story of my quest to train my three Dales Ponies for classical dressage, primarily by using Alexandra Kurland's clicker training methods, with a touch of others such as Philippe Karl and Anja Beran thrown in. I turned to clicker training because I had come up against some issues that I didn't know how to fix and because I wanted to inspire them to become enthusiatic partners. Bella and Jack are all my own work and have never been ridden by anyone else.
Monday, 29 December 2008
Classical vs Classique = Splitter vs Lumper!
Bearing in mind that clicker training is all about being a 'splitter' not a 'lumper', what immediately struck me was that Christoph Hess is a self confessed 'lumper' and Philippe Karl is a self confessed 'splitter' (not that they used those terms). Christoph Hess accuses Philippe Karl of breaking the horse into separate parts and working on only one bit at a time, whereas he says that he looks at and works on the whole horse as an entity. Christoph Hess trains according to the German 'scales of training', concentrating on rhythm first and foremost.
Philippe Karl says that he works on the most sensitive part first - the mouth and contact with the bit (through flexions) - and gets that right before moving on and concentrating on another part of the horse. He says that concentrating on rhythm first is only possible with a horse born with perfect paces, and that the 'ordinary' or problem horse needs many hours of careful training to find it's rhythm (which has been my experience). He accuses the German system of having no answers to problems, except for telling students "That's not a dressage horse, get another horse". He says that if you have four Ferrari's in your garage you'll learn much less about mechanics and driving than if you have an old Volkswagen.
Christoph Hess says that if you work through the scales of training, and your horse has enough talent, which not many have, then you will arrive at Piaffe and Passage. Philippe Karl says that, with correct training, almost any horse can learn Piaffe and Passage, and if you start with a horse that has no trot, rather than a horse whose natural trot is half way to Passage anyway, then that really is training!
My overall impression, so far, is that, being a 'lumper' Christoph Hess is big on theory but short on solutions. Philippe Karl, as a 'splitter,' has a solution for every problem and a strategy for overcoming every shortfall, for every type of horse.
Having the equine equivalent of three Volkswagens in my stable, who had 'no trot' and two of whom are now just beginning Piaffe and Passage, I know who I find the most practical, inspiring and motivating, and his methods seem to me to be very comparable to 'Riding With The Clicker'!!
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- Classical vs Classique = Splitter vs Lumper!
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