Research Object Guérinière-Seat




For some months now I have used a slightly customized seat after Guérinière with some success. For this seat the rider's legs shall be held forwards, "before the horse" (Salomon de la Broue), and hold this place in most situations.

The rider's chin shall be held up and his thoracic spine pushed slightly forward, without too much pressing the shoulder-blades together in the back, fairly like a 100m sprinter trying to tear the finish tape as the winner.

Guérinière's basic stance furthermore contains an upright, over the withers held fist, in which the reins are led one-handed left on a sole curb-bit, with the upper rein between 4th and 5th finger and the lower rein running around the little finger.  The  thumb's nail is on top, the little finger at the bottom. This stance will be varied only minimally. For bending to the right the switch will be held across the horse's neck to the left side, to push the horse's head to the right. For bending to the left the switch will be held parallel to the right side of the hores's neck, to push the head to the left.

The rein-fist stands perpendicular, seen from the side as well as seen from the front, as if the rider would hold a whip upright in his rein-fist (although the feeling is a bit like tilted minimally to the left side when riding a straight Straight). The thumb always points to the front and lies parallel to the horse's spine column.

If the horse is  not educated very well and the right rein has to be held by the right hand separately sometimes, the switch-hand is positioned lower than the rein-hand, otherwise both hands are kept on the same height and near to each other. To train this special seat-balance, I use the lower switch-hand very often, even without leading the reins separately.

  For collection Guérinière lifts the rein-fist, and for advancing he lowers it.     


My customization is, that for advancing I will push the PIP-joint (joint between proximal and medial phalanx) of the rein-fist's little finger forwards (wich I call the "Pinky-Push") and by this tilt the rein-fist backwards (as if you want to touch the middle of your forehead with an imaginary switch held perpendicular in the rein-fist): in extreme the rider then can see the base-phalanxes of the second to fourth fingers (this in left bending is a challenge to achieve, even without pushing the little finger forward, as Andrade already wrote!). The result is a radial (to the radius bone) kink of the wrist.

 For collection however I will pull the little finger backwards to my belly and by this tilt the fist to the opposite direction through this motion: in extreme, the rider cannot see the nail of his thumb anymore (as if you would touch your horse with your imaginary  perpendicular held switch in the rein-fist right between the ears). This results in an ulnar (to the ell = ulna) kink of the wrist. The movement in the carpal-joint is similar to the one of the lower hand on the single paddle in a canoe during backwards paddeling,the resulting tension in the rider's back-muscles are similar, too. This movement I call "Pinky-Pull". 

In both cases the thumb will hold its place, building the rotating point.

The gaining in advancing happens very spontaneous: even while pushing forward the little finger it is already starting, continually like one would take pressure off a steel-spring! But the collection happens so softly, that I always need two or three steps to fully register ity.

The switch-hand is held on many of his pictures, with or without switch, in supination (supination is a palm held upwards [imagine eating soup out of your hand] ) (the opposite, holding the hand of the back upwards would be called “pronation”). A Pinky Push of the switch-hand is possible, too, but for that it has to give up the supination .


Part A of the research  would initially consist in confirming the following impressions I get: 


1. The advancing by the Pinky-Push is not due to bringing it's minimal weight to the forehand, rather it permits the rider's belly coming forward a little, reflexively resulting in a little pelvis-tilt forward.

2. The initiation of collection by the Pinky-Pull is mainly the result of the retraction of the rider's belly as a reflex on the pulling back of the little finger and the consecutive pelvis-tilt backwards.

3. Holding the switch hand in supination results in a little move backwards and a freeing of this side's shoulder, accompanied by an approaching of the rider's right upper-arm to his chest, restoring the equilibrium.

4. Pushing, with forwards held rider's legs, the forefeet down onto the stirrups lets the rider's heels rise up slightly and consecutively lightens the seat through taking the upper-legs' muscles away from the saddle, giving the horse's chest room to rotate freely (this must not be confused with simply pulling up the heels!).

Part B of the Research: If one or more of my assumptions in A will be confirmed by other riders, we would try to define the muscle-movement-chains of the rider's body triggered through these movements (here also orthopedics, physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors probably could contribute  a lot):

 Possibly it could be described like this: „The Pinky-Push (tilting of the fist for advancing)  leads, via a tensioning of the ulnar hand-abductors to a tilt of the shoulderblade into the ribs, with a straigtening of the thoracic spine and by this a hyperlordosing of the lumbar spine, which results in a forward tilt of the rider's pelvis: with naming all the involved muscles, their movements and possibly their opponents, too.

 Or for the pronation of the rider's switch hand: „The blocking of the rider's right shoulder through a pronated switch-hand is the result of a tightening of muscle X, which leads to holding fast the shoulder-joint Y and because of that, over a tightening of the right side long muscle of the rider's back to a lifting of his pelvis on the right and with this to a pushing over to the right the rider's body above his pelvis.“

If enough riders will have tested the seat and agree to my assumptions in A, I would be glad to build a discussion platform for everyone willing to contribute to B.

Dr. Daniel Ahlwes, Schimmerwald, July 2016

P.S.: Caution: with legs held forward, you should not use your spurs there: they likely will hit the unprotected horse's elbow bone (very painful!)



Reasons for using  Guérinière's  Basic-Seat:


I agree to the opinion that sees the curb as a most valuable instrument. Also I think the one-handed leading of the curb reins is for most occasions the optimum (I use the two-handed leading only in special exceptional cases). My two-month test with an academic hackamore showed a similar result, so one has to assume that cavemore and even the one-handed led cavecon will be possible, too.

If, while using the single-handed rein-leading one doesn't want to work with only one dominant rein, which touches the horse's neck only on one side (as seen in the Marc Aurel statue) , but wants  both reins to act with equal pressure on the horse's neck, this presets the only possible position for the rein-hand in the middle above the withers : with  Guérinière for the straight or bent straight: perpendicular in the middle above the withers, the thumb pointing forwards,  being parallel to the withers' length.

As now the middle over the withers is occupied already, we have to live with the fact that symmetry for the rider's upper body is impossible: we can only try to find a compensation somehow.

The stance of the rein-hand constitutes a minimal supination in the left hand: this effects the approaching of the left upper arm to the rider's chest, were it stays in a relative stable position.

Supinating the switch-hand compensates this not only through freeing the right shoulder, but also by the approach of the right biceps muscle to the rider's chest, thus offsetting the effect of the left hand's supination: now the rider is sitting straight again (but not symmetrically!).


 For turning the horse, the rein-fist will be tilted to the outside so that the thumb (pointing as always to the front) wanders outside with the fist's base staying fast on the spot. The resulting minimal difference of pressure of the reins on the horse's neck results in a prompt and  finely tunable turning!

 To support the right bending Gueriniere positions the switch supinatedly across the horse's neck and the reins to the left side, pushing the horse to the right. In the left bending, the switch is held supinatedly in a distance parallel to the horse's neck on it's right side,  pushing it's shoulder to the left.

My future plan for self-education (under occasional, regular supervision with the high-value help for self-help by  Marius Schneider, MAAR) is to train at first Guérinière's basic seat for some more months with the goal of riding at least a third of the time of each riding unit in an approximately good basic seat. Only then I will try to approach the extended seat of Guérinière:

Guérinière shows on many pictures another feature: to achieve a more pronounced right-bending of the horse's neck, he uses the little finger of the switch-hand to grab the right rein: so in effect he rides with separate reins!

For this Guérinière holds the switch—hand held a fists-height deeper than the left and keeps all the above mentioned features of his basic seat: he “simply” adds the grab of the right little finger into the right rein, which now runs considerably lower now than the left.

Doing that  the rider needs a very good command of the basic-seat and also of leading separately the curb-reins, as this very easily produces  a hard and unbalanced force on each rein!

If one calls his basic seat challenging already, reaching and holding for a certain time his extended seat deserves being called a little mastership, I would say! 

An intermediate effect is achieved by extending the rein-hand's little finger to the switch-side, pushing with it the rein more pronounced for bending.



Update August 2016:

Meanwhile I see the basic Guérinière Seat as a very reliable foundation of my riding seat, of which the most important pillars are my mostly forward held legs, the 10° supinated rein-hand and the 30-90° supinated switch-hand (the upright fist taken as the reference with 0°, from which up to 90° supination to one side and 90° pronation to the other side are possible). Sometimes still necessary bigger movements of the switch-hand can be leaned on these stable elements very precisely.

Most riders will have experienced frustrating situations through the non-reproduceabilty of certain effects on aids: if one, for example, leads the upper-arm of the switch-hand near the upper body, possibly a soft, prompt croupe-out to the opposite side is produced. Having performed this successfully 5 times, one is elated as seemingly a new aid is detected. Then sadly is doesn't work anymore over months !!

The reason lies, I see now, at least to a big part in the way of placing the upper arm to the chest: in pronation it has a different, sometimes even the opposite effect than doing it in supination!

Because of this I'm now trying to observe always which kind of rotation my lower arm is in: so the thrust of my switch, which I'm using as substitute for a sword/machete, at thistle-heads or bramble-twigs is getting a lot more precise and smoother in supination (like a forehand-hit in tennis or polo: in this movement the considerable capacity for outwards rotation in the shoulder joint enters the game,too!).

Also toucheés to the horse's hind on both sides I perform now only with a supinated switch-hand: if ,on the bent side, I do this around my belly to the opposite side, it will work only in this way: would I try it in pronation, my whole spine would contort and tact and movement of the horse be disturbed heavily.

This pronounced rotation of the upper body I use also as gymnasticication of my switch-hand shoulder, which comes forward more and easier (and as preparation for using an instrument on the "wrong" side, too!). One has to be careful, naturally, for the rein-hand not to leave it's place over the withers, which is not easy!

The last three sentences show, that I am also still inclined to the utility-riding! The Guérinière-seat meanwhile is pure "L'Art pour l'art". Here the nicest compliment might be, that Baron von Eisenberg (1748) sometime in the future could appreciate my style of riding like he did that of the riding master von Regenthal:" I have never seen a rider sitting more stiffly on his horse or using the advantages especially of the legs better than him! It was a real joy to see him ride,....!" (In the commentary to plate 37 here on page 76).


Update 2:



Gueriniere meanwhile was not as free in departing from the utility-riding as to abandon the right-hander-seat. Nowadays we are not so constrained anymore and allowed to use the left-hander seat, too,  with changing the rein- and the switch-hand.

With this change I can avoid the problems of grabbing the right rein with the right little finger (and thus avoid riding with separate reins), because with changing the reins to the right hand, its little finger becomes much more movable for bending the horse's neck to the right, and also the switch has not the limited range of being put across the horse's neck to the left, as it is used now fully parallel to the left side of the horse's neck to enhance the bending to the right.

This means, if we allow to change freely from right-hander to the left-hander seat on demand, it is possible to carry the switch on both hands on the outside of the horse, if necessary!

Update 15. September 2016:



Meanwhile I'm convinced that for riding one-handed this seat will become the new reference-seat in the academic art of riding, against which every other way will have to be measured.  Coarse, unprecise aids are discarded entirely, many aids are getting unvisible and the horse moves much more free and unconstrained: the horse's grace stays unperturbed!

Through the exactly defined basic-seat the beginner will advance much faster and the developed rider can lean at this structure changes/novelties with ease and evaluate their effects exactly.

Possibly we will reach the excellence of a Baron von Eisenberg or a Gueriniere soon and enable many more riders to execute beautiful schools in the air?



Update 26.Sept.:


By applying the Pinky-Push (= pushing forward the PIP-joint of the little finger of the rein-fist) the advancing of the horse gets immensely easier (if need be in combination with a little use of the switch), so that the rider's legs can distance themselves from the horse's belly evermore and ever longer and over time the rider's heels can stay turned away from the horse for ever longer time spans. The latter leads to a turning away of the calves' muscles and to an even easier advancing of the horse (a turning of the calves' muscle towards the horse's belly now occurs only for very short times, when necessary).

Pulling up slightly the rider's heels additionally  leads to a stiffening of his ankle- and knee-joints  and through that to a constant distance from his balls of foot to his buttocks (the rider is standing a tiny bit in the stirrups, comaparably to "sitting" on a swivel stool).

By this a bumping into the saddle is avoided and in trot and canter a constantly comfortable seat is achieved, regardless of possibly stiff horse-gaits or possibly steep fetlock joints. A "wiping out" of the saddle doesn`t occur anymore and the rider always sits on the very same place in/on the saddle. The suspension in the rider is located now evenly in his minimally giving ankle-, knee- and hip-joints and spine-column.


 Update 28. Sept. 2016: 

 Meanwhile  the similarities between the Gueriniere-seat, with it's supinated hands, and the Lotos-Seat in Yoga become apparent: The Lotos-Seat produces the best possible posture of the human spine-column for sitting for an extremely long time: The (here nearly maximal) supination of the hands leads to a retraction of the shoulders, an opening of the thorax to the front and through this to a physiologically correct position of the thoracic spine-column (kyphosis). The now correctly upright standing lumbar and thoracic parts of the  spine column allow the neck spine column the best position and so for the head to be held fatigue-free with an elevated chin.

Before my mostly pronated hands had led to a pulling-forward of my shoulders with a tightening of my chest, which produced an unphysiological kink of the throracic spine-column, a "bump" (hyperkyphosis), much like the undesired "false kink" in a horse's neck, and stopped here the swinging-through of my spine's movements: no wonder, that my head often wandered downwards: it didn't have a proper support by the badly placed spine column! My stance became a falling forward of my upper body, producing more weight on the forehand. Additionally this spine-column stance led to a tilting backwards of my pelvis, producing an unintended collection of the horse with a shortening of the stride of the hind-legs.

The Gueriniere-seat produces the opposite: through the slight supination of the rein-fist and the mostly even more supinated switch-hand the rider's shoulders retract, opening his chest and putting upright in a physiological way every part of the spine-column: one can hold his head upright fatigue-freely! The pelvis is put upright in a neutral way, producing neither collection nor advancing.


Update 19.Okt.2016:

Advancing now in big strides: after many years of stumbling around on the forehand, evry week now there is pronounced  advancement: if Paco has seemed to be reluctant  to move forward and had to be driven forward with my constantly tapping legs, now he and Picasso nearly always move forwards much more easily and in fresher tempo, only occasionally a slight use of the switch is necessary, when the Pinky-Push should not suffice. (Because of this retracting seat Picasso notably had developed the habit to start every canter in the Terre-a-Terre, from which I always had to push him forward into a proper field-canter!).

Now everything learned in the past is easily integrated and, for me also unbelievable: I'm able now to canter Paco on a saddle-pad without stirrups or reins, only with switch-steering and supinated hands  in the riding arena and on a circle canter calmly and evenly (hands-free, you could call it)!

For 10 days now I'm riding without spurs (for the first time ince 10 years!) and only now I notice, how much their use influenced negatively the rythm and the flowing movement of the horse.

To test the  instruction of Eisenberg for reaching a shoulder-in now I've added a cavecon to the curb again. Eisenberg pulls the inside Cavecon-rein (with loose hanging curb-reins) and by this brings the horse's head to the inside, then he pushes the inside rein to the outside of the withers (this way producing a "around itself bending rein"). If necessary, he uses the outside rein as a "from itself pushing away-rein", shoving neck and shoulders of the horse to the inside, if the seat aides alone are not sufficient. With supinated hands all this is astonishingly easy and precise to accomplish!

With  1:3 or 3:1 leading of the reins now the problem occurs that one has to decide: either to use the switch along the outside of the horse's neck, which makes the cavecon-rein on this side useless, or to use ths rein, which impairs the use of the switch.

The solution of this problem can be the use of the 0:4 or the 4:0 leading of the reins: with this the shoulder-in after Eisenberg is possible, too, and now the switch is fully operative additionally.

For straightening the horse in riding straight cross-country a wonderfully supporting lesson!


25.10.16. Discovery of the day: Blockades of the Pinky-Push found:

In the rein-leading 1:3 or 3:1 it was recommended always to lead the single rein of the switch hand between 4.and 5. finger. Today it has occured to me, that this effects a retraction of the rider's belly, exactly the opposite of the desired result of the pinky-push! If you want to avoid this, you must let the single rein run around the 5.finger, too! ( I have mused for a while why  in english-riding (with its mostly recommended holding upright of the rein-fists) no one ever had found out about the pinky-push: now we have  the answer!).

The pinky push of the rein-hand also gets more difficult with 3 reins in hand: now one has to push forward pronouncedly the 4th finger, too, for a good effect.

26.Okt.16: Two more Pinky-Push-blockades found:

If  you hold the switch (Fleck Dressage-Switch) like I always did before, holding the lower olive within the fist, the Pinky-Push is severely impaired: one has to hold the switch at the shaft between the two olives.

Also holding the thumb pressed against the switch's shaft is contraproductive in the same degree: you may lay your thumb only on top of the cavecon-rein!

Result: The switch wobbles a bit more in your hand, as you hold it like you would a bunch of flowers, but the advancing by applying the Pinky-Push now equally on both sides makes it more equal and more effective (although the switch approaches the rider's middle of his forehead somewhat more!).


Update 04. Nov.2016:


Among the Art-of-Riding depictions in the stair-turret of Rosenborg castle (all shown in Bent Branderup's "Royal Danois")  we find at least three pictures with a pinky push of the switch-hand:


Passetemps in the Terre-a-Terre,

Fanfaron in the Ballotade,

Pompeux in the Capriole.


The strongest, you could say the "Pinky Push Maximus" is used by his rider to effect the capriole of Pompeux. (Regrettably I'm still not advanced enough, to test it myself!).

So there probably is more than only a little bit of truth to Bent's assumption, that the danish horses of that time to no small part have been desired so much in all the world, because their riders could present them with this extraordinary brilliance! 

5.11.16.: Insight of the Day:

Even Pluvinel held his switch nearly always in the "Bouqet-Grip" (as one would hold a bunch of flowers).

The opposite, the "Rod-Fisher's Grip" (thumb standing upright against the rod's shaft to stabilize the throwing-out of the fishing-line) we riders often use, too, for stabilizing the switch in our hand.

As I found out on Okt. 26. the rod fisher's grip blocks the Pinky Push massively. Today I noticed that one can increase the force of the Pinky Push considerably by righting up the thumb behind the switch and pressing the thumb against the switch (towards the rider) from behind! 

After that I tried again the rod fisher's grip and found out, that pressing the thumb now against the switch to the front (away from the rider), tilts the rider's pelvis back (supporting collection).

So the Rosenborg depiction of the stallion Recompence suggests an initiation of collection in this moment, possibly starting a school-walk.

Also the levade of the stallion Mars is supported bis the rod-fisher's grip.

No wonder, that Paco in the beginning of canter always elvated himself Courbett-like (once he even jumped a Vienna-style courbette with me) and Picasso, too, always started a canter with a Terre-a-Terre: Not only had I been sittting heavily on the forehand throgh my pronated hands, I even pressed my thumb forcefully to the switch in the rod-fisher's grip!

Depicting the arstellungen mit Anglergriff im "Royal Danois": Svan, Mars, Imperator, Tyrk, Recompence.


31.11.2016: Tips for Co-Researchers:


Pinky-Push und Pinky-Pull: Biomechanical Relations

Those wanting to co-research the relations (the free I-Phone APP "Muskelapparat 3D Lite" is not bad) is better off understanding the following terms:

Abduktion: movement away from the body(-center),

Adduktion: movement towards the body(-center), as (in: Adverb)

antero- : towards the front,

retro-: towards the back,

carpi: belonging to the hand.

To fully understand the possible movements in the information of the IPhone-App one has to undertand the Neutral-Zero-Method (engl.Range of motion (or ROM)).

The Neutral-Zero-Method is used internationally to document impairments of joint moveability and describe them in degrees; the name refers to the reference model in which every joint has 0°.

Every deviation is noticed in plus- oder minus-degree numbers. If you look at the wikipedia picture, you will notice that the hands are depicted in full supination, despite the normal position is "along the trouser's seam". This unnatural reference-position is necessary to give the carpal-joint-movements an abduction and adduction.

(For the upright standing fist in the Gueriniere-Seat (basic position) the correct NN-description would be "-90° supination" or, seen from the other side,  "+90° pronation").

For us it it is much better to refer not to the NN-Refernce position, but to the normal position, which is the upright standing fist, from which a pronation of max. 90° to one side and a supination of max. 90° to the other sides are possibble, thus eliminating the use of minus degrees..

Example 1, rein-leading one-handed left: in riding a straight Straight without accelerating (rider's pelvis in mid-posture) the (left) rein-fist will be held in a supination of 10°, the (right) switch-hand in a supination of, say, 50°.

Example 2, rein-leading one-handed left: for advancing while riding a straight Straight with Pinky Push (rider's pelvis in forward tilt) both hands have to be held in 0° .

Example 3, rein-leading one-handed left: for turning the horse to the left, the rein-fist will attain for a few seconds a pronation of 80°.



At the moment I suspect the following relationships: the Pinky-Push is started by a radial kinking in the carpal joint (abduction of the hand) through the tightening of the radial hand-bending muscle and the radial hand-extension muscle  (musculus flexor carpi radialis und musculus extensor carpi radialis).

The desired masive conduction is reched by a strong tightening of their opponents: the ulnar hand-bending muscle and the  ulnar hand-extension muscle (musculus flexor carpi ulnaris und musculus extensor carpi ulnaris).

Through this reflectively a tensioning of the long head of the Triceps-muscle (M.triceps brachii) occurs, which leads to a forward-downward movement of the lower rim of the shoulderblade, which pushes ribcage and thoracic spine to the front.

The result is a flattening of the thoracic-spine's curve (>hypokyphosis), this in turn to a prounouncing of the rider's lumbar curve ( >hyperlordosis). This movement effects a tilting forward of the rider's pelvis which leads to an advancing of the horse.

(It is still unclear to me, if the m.subscapularis is involved or how the other relationships are.)

  The Pinky-Pull, the opposite movement with leading backwards the little finger to initiate the collection would lead then over the flattening the lumbar spine to the tilting back of the rider's pelvis. The reason for it's weaker impact might be that a retreating of the shoulder-blade produces much less force than a pushing forward into the ribs....

Update 22.12.16 and 04.02.17:


After successfully testing Eisenberg's way of inducing a shoulder-in and  including it sometimes in my aids repertoire, I tried next his way of croupe-in with an 80° angle to the wall: disappointingly this was not possible in a soft way and I had to give up this stressful project after 2 days.

         Reading up afterwards in Gueriniere's text, I found his sharp rebuke of this method, criticizing  with this also  very good riders as Pluvinel,  Newcastle(S.234), Eisenberg (S.38) and Ridinger! So even for these grandes of the art of riding sometimes we have to realize: "Nobody is perfect!". (See also Branderup/Kern p.73 [where his critique is interpreted only regarding the counter-shoulder-in = shoulder-out.). 

I was lucky, that I (in reality more my horses) had recognized very early on, how dangerous and harmful this lesson might become!

   Since then I'm using mostly the croupe-out and have begun to use Gueriniere's much  stronger "croupe-au-mure", which he calls a leg-yielding with the horses's head bent into the direction of movement,  with an 80° angle to the wall. In the longer, younger Picasso this is produced more or less easily, but with the older, shorter, strongbacked Paco it's considerably harder to achieve and maintain!     

This angle to the wall we are moving along could also be expressed in the angle to the wall we are moving towards, which is 10°. This 10°-angle appears everywhere with Guerieniere: he uses it in the traversale, in the Karree, the Demi-Volte and the pirouette, too.

The most important sign for a successful, healthy croup-au-mure, besides the maintaining of the ever steady angle to the wall, is a beautiful arc of the outer front leg over the inner one. Only then it reaches the exact point on the new line between hind and front leg.

Under no circumstances the inner front-leg should be permitted executing a wide, spectacular lunge step, as this brings the horse onto its shoulders and additionally often leads to a falling out of the hind, and thus to a falling apart of the horse. By this all the three most important goals of this lesson are missed: The higher erection of the forehand, the increased treading under of the hind legs and the preparation for a canter sideways in the same posture and angle.


After only 10 times I got the impression of a real improvement of the shoulder's lightness.

 Croupe-in along the wall I'm using only rarely now, and if, only with a distance of at least 1.5m to the wall, as de la Broue and Gueriniere just find acceptable (and only in exceptional horses).




Update 08.01.2017:


If the rider carries the Fleck Dressur Switch between the olives, a far too long protrusion of its end results; Gueriniere recommends the vanishing of the switch's end within the fist anyway. 

After changing to a natural switch today I noticed a possible blocking of the Pinky Push, which occurs when the switch ends centrally in the palm. If one wants to use the Pinky Push, the switch's end has to rest on the ball of the little finger!



28.Jan.2016:  400 years old confirmation discovered:

While browsing the de la Broue today I discovered that he (apparently as the only one of the old masters) described a direct correlation between a drawn-in belly and rolled in shoulders: the seat should be: 

"pushing the belly a bit forwards to avoid a vaulting of the shoulders" ("L'estomac un peu avancé pour ne paroistre avoir les epaules voultees").



Update 05.02.17:

Meanwhile it's become clear to me, that the reason for supinating the switch hand is not only to let the rider's belly come forward a little: a profit occurs also through the neutralisation of the switch hand's thumb: despite it is lying upright at the switches shaft as in the rod-fisher's grip, but it can in a supinated hand only press sideways, which doesn't have any effect on the position of the rider's belly. So nothing happens, if the rider gets rigid and presses his thumb against the switch!


Update 19.02.17:

Not only the the nearly maximal supination of the switch-hand is neutralizing the pressing-thumb: the same importance has a strong extension of the index-finger along the switch-shaft : So I assume that the extensor- or the flexing-tendon of the index finger  blocks the upper-arm muscle, which pulls the lower rim of the shoulder-blade forward (leading to a tilting back of the rider's pelvis).

Knowing this, the rider gets an exquisite additional incentive to observe the correct holding of the hand.

In my case the croup-au-mure to the left in the left-hander seat is especially hard: as most will do, I trained the Gueriniere-seat first in the right-hander seat, and only after some months in the left-hander seat, too, so the latter always remains a little weaker.

On top of that, Picasso's worse bending side is his left.

So here my seat is falling apart most easily and I get rigid which often causes the horse to go backwards in the croupe-au-mure. Here a pressing-thumb would disturb massively! Noticing this now, I will put the switch-hand so low that the experimentally sideways pressing of the thumb to the switch creates not the slightest muscle-tensioning in my back: then I will be able to correct the horse significantly better: a palpable lightening occurs!

Holding the switch-hand (now left) a fist's height lower and hooking in the left curb-rein to the little finger it acts now with a previously unknown lightness and precision and I'm able to lead this rein in the same easy, slightly hanging-through way as in riding one-handedly.

The same applies to the training of the pasege (see my commentary to Saunier on Fundstücke/Finds) on the carree on one hoof-beat at the turnarounds on the haunches in the corners, or at the demi-volte in the carree (volte in the volte).


Update 02.03.17: New terms necessary!

If the rider uses a non-symmetrical seat and also wants to change the way of seating intermittently, the terms "right" and "left" loose their definite meaning, at least if one doesn't want always have to add: "in the left-hander seat" or "in the right-hander seat".

Therefore now I am using the following definite terms:

  •  the "switch-hand" or " the "rein-hand";

  •  for the direction of riding in a manege: "riding on the rein-hand" / "riding on the switch-hand";

  •  for the reins: „switch-hand-rein" also: "switch-rein" / "rein-hand-rein";

  •  for the type of bending: "bent to the switch-hand" (with the switch held crosswise over the mane) / "bent to the rein-hand", also: "bent away from the switch-hand", both with the switch parallel to the horse's neck.

Saunier's hand-positioning deviates a little bit from Gueriniere's, the description thus would be:

  • Is the horse bent to the switch-side, the switch-hand always is kept lower then the rein-hand, to be able to grab the rein with the little finger should the need occur.

  • Is the horse bent to the rein-hand, the rein-hand is the one kept lower.

  • While riding a straight Straight without any bending, both hands are kept on the same height, near to each other.


Update 14.03.17: The "protruding lower neck" as a sign of quality with Gueriniere

Through my work in the Croup-au-mure I became suspicious of his many depictions with a so-called "protruding lower-neck". Up to today I had believed this to be a sure sign of a pushed-down back of the horse. We all know the pictures of horses with higly elevated forelegs and a dragging hind, the latter causing a tilting upwards of the horse's pelvis and with this a shoving back-out of the hind-legs, a lengthening of the horse producing a pushed-down back and kissing spines.Only with Gueriniere to the contrary the hindlegs are pushed forwards under the horse, the pelvis tilts down and so a vaulted-upwards back is produced: by this no pushed-down back occurs!

Here the ocurring visibility of the lower neck by taking backwards the upper neck with the horse's head means that the forehand is maximally erected, and the weight of the forehand is pushed to the hindlegs as much as possible: the forehand becomes free (of weight) and by this can move much more freely!

Seen in this light the depictions on my Finds-Page, it becomes clear that a slightly visible lower neck was proudly shown on the best horses of the times. And I always had belittled the riders on the Parthenonfreeze and interpreted those as fooling around youths with little equestrian education: far from it! These had been the best educated riders and horses of their time, showing them in a maximal collection and shortening with a maximally erected forehand!

Update 22.03.

During the last week my horses have corrected me by actually showing a sinking of their back as a result of a too far retracted neck and head: so I have to shrink the usefulness of my gradient of collection to a much shorter range, and for the near future have to call it only hypothetical again. If I find a suitable PC Softwaere showing the weight on each hoof and processing my gradient of collection in real-time, I hope to find out the exact borders of "Anti-Collection" (with shoving back of the hindlegs and the triving away of forelegs and hindlegs from each other, on one hand, and on the other the exact point of pushing back the  upper-neck of the horse too far. Until then I can rely only of the feeling in my seat again, hopefully telling me in time if one or the other occurs.


Maximally well erected forehand with a visible lower neck:

My impression is, that the old masters took back the upper neck only to the line perpendicular  to the axis of the horse's body, and thought only of more than this as harmful. So a visible lower neck should be judged a mistake only, if the upper neck is retracted behind this perpendicular line.












weggedrückter Rücken:

In the sketch by Pablo Picasso a pushed down back is produced through "Ant-Collection", wherein fore- and hindlegs are striving apart: a sinking back is the result, with a much reduced bearing-ability.





Too far retracted upper-neck:


With the Lecomte Hippolyt and in the east-indian school-halt we can see the second type of mistake in collection: the upper neck is retrated too much. 




The rider uses a  slight dorsal extension (over-extension to the back of the hand) in his free, right hand, while maintaining a slight bending of the elbow-joint (would the latter be fully extended, transmitting the tension to the rider's back muscles would be impossible and thus no driving impulse occur to the horse).This movement is similar to pushing a shopping trolley with the wrist, and here a similar tension of the rider's back-muscles as with the pinkypush appears, too.

Also he uses a (in respect to the pull of the one-sidedly dominant right rein) radially pulling of the rein-hand carpal-joint, which produces a stance similar to the one of the supinated switch-hand at pushing forward its little finger (should one be riding without reins, a full radial tilt of this joint would be possible).

The opposite, collection, is to be gained by flexion in the carpal-joint of the free hand and/or an ulnar tilt of the rein-hand.