Chazot 73



“It takes two years to learn to speak and sixty to learn to keep quiet.”  Ernest Hemingway

I guess politicians never learned to keep quiet. Between the lines, Hemingway emphasizes the value of listening, the intelligence of thinking before talking and in many instances, the choice of not talking when the other is not willing to think.

We do that all the time. We could try to teach our riders, we could try to tell them that our physique is not properly coordinate for the demand but we don’t because in their mind, they know all. He told me one day, “In the equestrian world. it takes two or five years to know the name of everything. This is why so many teach or train or comment after a few years of riding and one or two blue ribbons. They don’t know enough to know that it takes sixty years or more to understand and apply the underlying biomechanics factors.” In the mind of shallow riders, the equestrian art is the art of making us do it. They are too superficial to distinguish abuse from art. Shallow riders justify abusing us pretending that we have naturally the reflexes to carry efficiently a rider and perform athletic endeavor. This convenient hypocrisy allows superficial riders to graduate as masters 

In his mind, the true art of riding is the art of keeping us sound and rendering the performances effortless. He would consider his riding technique as well as his training approach as a complete failure if he had to inject our hocks. He would, if he had to, but there is no need of injecting to repair damages because he teaches us to properly develop and coordinate our physique for the athletic demand of the move. James Rooney stated that the kinematics abnormality was there first. He corrects the kinematics abnormality before the kinematics abnormality creates pathological damages. Shallow masters blame our difficulties on our behaviors and/or, lack of talent. They touch our legs with a whip because they are incapable to coordinate our physique for the athletic demand of the performance. They create a gesture mimicking what should be instead, the recoil of an elastic strain energy store in our tendons, aponeurosis and muscles during the previous sequence of the stride. The fundamental reason for their incapacity to efficiently prepare our physique for the effort is that they never learned to keep quiet. They never give us the time to process. They confuse us adding more stimulus because in their mind we just obey. They talk so much that they never have the opportunity to listen.

The fundamental principle of his teaching and riding is giving us the time and the opportunity to process. He keeps quiet and let us think. This pertinent psychology is based on advanced understanding of our physiology, neurophysiology and mental capacities. We are constructed of systems within a system within a system. You as riders, cans only influence superficial systems. Soundness, elegance, class in the execution of the performance, demands that we optimally coordinate our deeper systems. We have the mental capacity to refine our body coordination beyond natural reflexes if our mind is trained to explore further in search of ease and effortlessness. We don’t need your judgement, we need your capacity of analysis. We are simultaneously influenced by contradictory impulses. Our most basic impulse is executing the move protecting our actual muscle imbalance, morphological flaw or other issue. A more elaborated impulse makes us look for greater efficiency, ease, effortlessness. Our initial impulse that we can regard as “error,” tell you where is our mind and how is our body coordination at this instant. If you have enough knowledge of the athletic demand of the performance, you can analyze our error and guide us, through appropriated insights, toward the proper coordination. The process includes errors and your guidance directing our mental processing toward the most efficient body coordination. At the contrary, if all you know is how the movement is supposed to look like, you apply what you believe is the correct aids, and expect that we will obey. What you don’t say but that us horses can read between the lines is that you expect that we compensate for your ignorance figuring the most appropriated body coordination.

You just have to look at the evolution of knowledge to realize that the equitation of the correct aids does not give us any chance to express the full scale of our talent and remain sound. At the eighteenth century, Masters regarded the flying change as a difficult movements, they prepared their horses for the move using the balance of the airs above the ground and our ancestors had great difficulties performing the movement. At the end of the nineteenth century, François Baucher understood that the athletic demand of the flying change required a more horizontal balance and our ancestors were more comfortable executing the move. Baucher was in fact the first master performing the tempi changes. In nineteen ninety, Nancy Deuel completed a kinematics study on the flying change, observing that independently of the school of thoughts, the horses gaining the higher score for their flying change, prepared the performance increasing, during the stride preceding the change, the duration of their hind legs ground contact. “Preceding a lead change, the higher-scoring horses increased their contact duration of the hindlimbs and decreased the length of step and time between forelimb impacts to prepare to execute the lead change in the succeeding airborne phase.” (N. R. Deuel, PhD: J. Park, PhD, 1990)

Nancy recorded the horses along the dressage ring of the Seoul Olympics, Within the same period of time, studies demonstrated that the support phase of the hind as well as front legs was divided in two consecutive phases, The decelerating phase and the pushing phase. During the decelerating phase, from impact to almost half of the stride, the alighting hind leg resists gravity and inertia while storing elastic strain energy stored in the tendons, muscles and aponeurosis. This energy is then reused during the following propulsive phase. In order to improve their balance for the flying change, gifted horses increase, during the stride preceding the flying change, the decelerating activity of both hind legs. His approach to the flying change is not making us repeating the flying change, but instead educating and coordinating our body for the athletic demand of the move. He teaches us to increase the duration of our hind legs decelerating phase. It is a process that commences with sophisticated education of our back muscles. We all are amazed of how easy is the execution of the flying change when he feels that we are athletically coordinated for the performance and he ask us to perform the move. Caesar told us that his previous rider spent hours of lessons working on the timing of the proper aids, but as he was crooked in his thoracolumbar column, Caesar never figured how the execute the move. Caesar added, “they lose time and money focusing on the timing of the proper aids but never considered the dysfunction of my thoracolumbar spine.” Caesar plays with the flying change regularly in turn out because he corrected Caesar back muscles imbalance. One morning, Caesar executed two flying changes in my direction, halted to see if I was impressed and said, “I am glad that, in spite of the resistance, he persisted.”