Training Philosophy Volitional Learning “Are you happy with your horse riding experience?” Preface Advanced Horsemanship Advanced Horsemanship 2 Advanced Horsemanship 3 Imitation verses Intelligence Reeducating Gestures verses Energy Creating a functional horse Reeducating a horse Less is Better Equine Anatomy verses Equine Anatomy A New Generation Of Riders False Practices False Practices 2 Sophisticated Equine Education Technical discussion with Leanne False practice 3 Wear and Tear oversimplifications Functional Anatomy Class-Sick The Miracles of the Science of Motion2 Xenophon 2014 The Science of Motion Work in Hand Gravity The rational for not touching the horses’ limbs Amazing Creatures Fundamental Difference The Heart of Science The Meaning of Life The Meaning Of Life part 2 The meaning of life PT3 Meaning of Life part 4 Meaning of life part 5 The Meaning of life 6 Quiet Legs The Root Cause The Source Meaning of life pt 7 Relaxation verses Decontraction The Tide Meaning of life pt 8 Mechano-responsiveness Mechano-responsiveness PT 3 Mechanoresponsiveness PT 4 Mechanoresponsiveness PT 5 Mechanoresponsiveness Pt 6 Mechanoresponsiveness PT 7 Mechanoresponsiveness PT 8 Mechanoresponsiveness PT 9 Mechanoresponsiveness PT 10 Mechanicalresponsiveness PT 11 Mechanoresponsiveness PT 12 Mechanoresponsiveness 13 Specialized Entheses Mechanoresponsiveness 14 Mechanoresponsiveness 15 Mechanoresponsiveness 16 Mechanoresponsiveness 17 Skipping Mechanoresponsiveness 18 Mechanoresposiveness 19 Mechanoresponsiveness 20 Mechno-responsiveness 21 Mechanoresponsiveness 22 Strategic-learning The Fake Line Mechnoresponsivenss 17 Simple Disobedience The Hen with the Golden Eggs Mechanoresponsiveness 23 Class Metronome Chocolate Mechno 24 Stamp Collecting Mechanoresponsivenes 25 Meaning of Life pt 9 Mechanoresponsiveness 26 Meaning of life 10 Meaning of life pt 11 Mechanoresponsiveness 28/Equitation & Science Mechanoresponsiveness 29 Meaning of life 12 Meaning of life 13 Mechanoresponsiveness 30 Mechanoresponsiveness 31 Meaning of life 15 Mechanoresponsiveness 32 Mechanoresponsiveness 33 Mechanoresponsiveness 34 Meaning of Life 17 Meaning of Life 18 Mechanoresponsivenss 35 Meaning Of Life 19

Meaning of life 18

New eyes

“The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” (Marcel Proust)


In the face of new knowledge, we have, in the equestrian world, the options of opening new eyes, or seeking new marketing of the same old thing. We can open new eyes to the partnership that the horse offers but that we never saw, because our eyes were only opened to the manipulation of reward and punishment, which,even if cleverly applied, is nothing more than obedience. Inherently, the horse is willing to entertain a genuine partnership; a partnership that would provide ease, effortlessness and soundness, but, looking at the horse through our myopic lens of self-importance; we have interpreted compliance as submission reducing the dialogue to a series of judgments. We have suited the horse intelligence to our beliefs. We have reinvented equine biomechanics to fit our opinions.


The horse does not submit; he survives, waiting for the emergence of our intelligence. Unfortunately, many horses wait all their life as the advent of our intelligence commences with our understanding of the physical demand and our ability of guiding the horse brain toward the optimum body coordination. As we deepen knowledge, the dialogue is about analyzing at the level of muscles, nervous system and other systems, why the horse reacts as he does and what insight would direct the horse brain toward adequate coordination of his physique. Obedience, judging the horse reaction in respect of what we think should be, has kept classical schools away from appreciating the horses at their full potential.


Either we further or we shatter the horse willingness. Most training psychologies shatter the horse initial disposition. A horse presents himself as he is; morphological flaw, muscle imbalance, memories, mental processing direct the horse's reactions. This is the reality that we have to work with. Judging the horse reaction in respect of what it should be is the failure of most schools of thoughts. “A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.” (Albert Einstein)


Our duty is finding where and how engaging the conversation. Sometime psychological or physiological detours are necessary. Atoll II for instance, was in intense revolt. He was indeed, in total panic, not processing at all. For this reason, all the usual principles of training psychology failed. He acted like nothing entered his brain. Of course, as behaviorist have the talent of accusing horses of their own problems, behaviors approaches declared him unfit and stupid. Inaptness to process was in fact a defense mechanism. Acting without thinking was his way to survive performances that he was athletic capable of, but did not have appropriated technique. Refusal was not in his mind, so he took off and used his reflexes to survive wide, high, or complex jumping combinations. We connected through intense conditioning as the intensity of his physical work interested his mind. Developing the power and fitness of an athlete already highly spirited and out of control was controversial.


Fitness and power produced calmness in action. He was like a type A personality trapped in a body not strong and fit enough to deal with his energy. Muscle power created calmness. I did not decide the approach without thinking. Many horses are nervous because they do not have the athletic ability to deal with their energy. They are underfed to keep them calm and they are anxious and uncomfortable and nervous because they are underfed. I feed him and conditioned him like for high level three-day event competition, even if at this time, he was not competing at advanced level. He was physically an incredible athlete. Sweat was his religion and when he started to sweat a lot, and me too, he started looking at me as a partner. From there, we were able to engage a conversation.


Atoll II was so intense, that, before I purchased him, he was never ridden during the week. He was trained at the lunge line. They only rode the week end him in the show and under drug. This is why I was able to buy him. A horse with such jumping capacities, Olympic level, would have been out of my finances if ridding him would have been easy. Atoll II was condemned because his intensity was not understood. “They condemn what they do not understand.” (Marcus Tulius Cicero,106-43 BC)  Atoll II was condemned for not fitting the “landscape” but no one looked at him with new eyes.


Like many athletes, Atoll II performed out of his talent in spite of his dysfunction. The physical discomfort resulting from the dysfunction, pushed him into frenzy. The recipe for calmness was developing an athleticism that could handle his energy. Traditional thinking goes the other way, healing through rest, standing before walk, walk before trot, trot before canter and so on. We know through science that cells specialize through stress, but we still apply rest over educated motion. “Experiments with cultured cells confirm that mechanical stresses can directly alter many cellular processes, including signal transduction, gene expression, growth, differentiation, and survival.”

As scientific research turns more and more toward computer models, dynamics thinking results in more realistic estimates of muscle forces than static optimization models, but we still resort to static therapies over educated motion.  “More sophisticated dynamic optimization models, as opposed to static optimizations that do not consider muscle properties, have not been used other than in research, presumably because more complicated calculations are required. However, they will result in more realistic estimates of muscle force.” (Liduin S. Meerrshoek and Anton J. van den Bogert. Mechanical Analysis of locomotion, 2003)   


Tensegrity, storage and return of elastic energy, mechanoregulation, are the new eye of equine athletic performances. Side reins, draw reins, inside leg outside reins, shifts of the rider’s weigh, stretching, releasing, relaxation, are old landscape. Adding a rubber rings to the side reins is like adding a rubber mushroom to the same old landscape. We need new eyes. Instead of regarding the rider position as a silhouette, the best definition of the rider’s position updated to actual knowledge is harmonized tensegrity. We need harmonizing our own tensegrity to the horse tensegrity. We need understanding storage and reuse of elastic energy and create situations, such as the horse natural cadence, allowing the systems to functions efficiently. Mechanoregulation occurs all the time and instead of applying aids and expecting response, our task as a rider is creating situations, such as cadence or specific body coordination, guiding the horse brain toward efficiency.


Efficiency is effortlessness and effortlessness is soundness. Tensegrity and elastic energy are major components of gaits and athletic performances. They are exposed by research studies but are not taught in academic equitation. “The muscular work of galloping in horses is halved by storing and returning elastic strain energy in spring-like muscle-tendon units.” (Alan M. Wilson, M. Polly McGulgan, Anne Su & Anton J. van den Bogertt, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cleveland Clinic Foundation - 2001) Tensegrity, elastic energy, mechanoregulation, are not part of the equestrian language because they cannot be stimulated through correct aids or achieved through submission. These fundamental components of gaits and athletic performances can only be influenced through the horse willingness, mental processing and therefore partnership with the horse’s intelligence.


“No one learns to make right decisions without being free to make wrong ones.” (Kenneth Sollitt) This is where the concept of submission condemns the horse to reflex reactions. Expecting superior performance demands teaching superior thinking. Paraphrasing Albert Einstein, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” Education is not teaching adduction of the right hind leg in response to the rider’s leg. Education is teaching the horse to optimally place the pelvis, through bending of the lumbar vertebrae and thoracic vertebrae, allowing adduction of the right hind legs without abnormal stress on the cruciate ligaments. Education is not teaching the flying change. Education is teaching the horse how to increase the decelerating phase of the hind legs during the stride preceding the change, preparing optimally his physique for the athletic demand of the performance. “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) 


This level of education is impossible following the principles of submission, reward and punishment, as well as simplistic and systematic progression such as the training pyramids. The training of the horse’s mind to think is a subtle combination of science, skill and intelligence.


The science is a sound understanding of fundamental principles such as tensegrity, storage and reuse of elastic energy. Elastic energy for instance is relatively easy to understand and above all to improve. Members of our IHTC course know about the “Pignot Jog.” The Pignot jog is a specific trot allowing the horse to explore, master, and further, a phenomenon referred to as the “stretch-shorten contraction.” This has nothing to do with stretching. The term stretch is in reference to a high-power muscle contraction name eccentric. Eccentric contraction is often called “active stretching” as the muscle contract while elongating. If the horse works at the proper cadence, balance, body coordination, the energy stored in the muscle during the eccentric contraction is immediately used in the following concentric contraction reducing the needed intensity of the concentric contraction. “The ability of the muscle-tendon units to recover elastic strain energy is apparently energetically so advantageous that the most economical stride frequency in running may be set by this key component alone.” (Paul C. LaStayo, PT, PhD. John M. Woolf, PT, MS, ATC. Michael D. Lewek, PT. Lynn Snyde-Mackler, PT, ScD. Trugo Relch, BS. Stan L. Lindstedt, PhD. Eccentric Muscle Contractions: Their contribution to injury, prevention, rehabilitation, and sport. Journal of Orthopaedic & sports physical therapy. 557-571. Volume 33, NUMBER 10, October 2003)


The skill is the capacity of creating the proper cadence, balance and body orchestration. The stretch-shorten contraction phenomenon can be created working in hand, at the lunge line, and/or riding. Of course, not every work in hand technique can lead the horse to efficient use of the stretch-shorten contraction. The techniques holding the horse between the reins and the whip are useless. There is a specific technique that we explain on the course, during clinics and lecture given all over the world. Same can be said for the lunge technique. The technique we promote is very specific using as many straight lines than circles. The riding also has to be updated to actual knowledge. Rushing the horse faster than his natural cadence, driving the horse onto the bit with the seat, do not permit efficient use of the stretch-shorten contraction phenomenon.


The intelligence. The stretch-shorten contraction phenomenon is an easy way to initiate the horse mind toward the realization that effortless result from efficiency.  The “Pignot jog,” which is the application of the stretch shorten contraction, is effortless, allowing the horse to trot with, ease, cadence, suspension and grace while producing less muscular effort. The horse mind became interested by the perspective of greater efficiency leading to ease and effortless ness. Once the same feeling of ease and effortlessness is associated with dressage movements, the horse’s mind start exploring coordination of the horse physique eminently efficient and therefore, far beyond the scope of natural reflexes. Mechanoregulation goes far beyond any possible influence of the rider. Only the horse mind can orchestrate the many systems involved in efficient locomotion and performances. “To understand this process of mechanoregulation, we must take into account that living organisms, such as man, are constructed from tiers of systems within a system within a system.”  (Christopher S. Chen and Donald E. Ingber. Tensegrity and mechanoregulation: from skeleton to cytoskeleton, 1999)


The horse mind is interested by ease and effortlessness and partner with the rider in the search for greater efficiency. The horse research demands the freedom of error. The horse will always initially process a solution protecting his actual muscle imbalance or other flaw. The reaction will be a compromise that the rider can analyze and decide which insight would likely guide the horse brain toward a more efficient solution. It is an intelligent discussion respecting and giving to the horse mental capacity of processing, the time to process and the freedom to process the wrong response. The rider does have the mental capacity of analysis using the horse errors to provide adequate insight.


It is a new eye that many will elect to close. Staying in the dark is the most efficient way to remain in the dark age.Jean Luc Cornille