View Full Version : What is more important....

04-02-07, 12:32 AM
A horse that is straight or one that is supple and light and can bend but may not be completely straight all of the time?

"To practise equestrian art is to establish a conversation on a higher level with the horse; a dialogue of courtesy and finesse." Nuno Oliveira

04-02-07, 01:10 AM
Im not sure on this one, as both straightness and softness can be taught.... hmmmm. I would personally prefer a horse that is . straight

04-02-07, 01:37 AM
If you mean straight as in a bit stiff and unsupple then I would go with the supple and light one. I have 11 yo gelding who is very straight but stiff and is very awkward to bend and a bit heavy, he's a bit set in his ways, whereas my young mare is very supple, bendy and light, but not very straight, but I'm finding it easier to teach her to become straight whilst maintaining her suppleness, whereas its very hard getting my gelding to supple up and become light. If you know what I mean. Mandy

04-02-07, 03:51 AM
I would say straightness because it's the first thing we teach the horse, to go forward and straight, it's weight evenly balanced, accepting the bit and aids. In my experience I have found most 'supple, light' horses are experts at evasions and usually aren't bending correctly but are falling through the shoulder, or swinging quarters, or bending easily through neck but not through body. I guess sometimes this is a rider thing too though. I have found it is usually easier to achieve suppleness and bend progressively with a stiffer horse than it is to achieve straightness with a horse who is so supple that they have learned to wriggle out of the aids!

I just think 'forward and straight' is so important, once you are forward and straight you can work on bend and suppleness. I find usually horses who are not straight are also not forward.

It also depends what level of dressage you are talking about. At prelim - novice, maybe even elem, I would forgive a stiffer, but straight and forward horse, but at medium I would probably prefer to see a bendier horse... at this level both faults would be evident in some movements.

Great question!

04-02-07, 04:05 AM
Hi Bellestar hope you are well!

IMHO it is much more important to acheive suppleness and self-carridge first. A horse can be straight because he is not able to bend as he is so stiff in the body, if this is not addressed the horse will not pass Elementary level, he will not be able to do a lateral work in a decent way. A horse that is supple and then trained or ridden straight will be able to go a lot further. Look at the succesful German Training scale, Straightness is the second last element, suppleness and contact come long before this.

04-02-07, 04:47 AM
I'd prefer the bendy horse because how straight it is at any given time will be entirely up to the rider (and how straight THEY can ride), whereas a straight horse will not have as much to offer as the bendy horse.


"So let me get this straight. You want to fly on a magic carpet to see the King of the Potato People and plead with him for your freedom, and you're telling me you're completely sane?"

04-02-07, 04:55 AM
Ditto Werdun.
I can't stand stiff horses.
In my experience the only horses that can go truly straight are the flexible ones. Straightness without flexibility and agility can never be truly light.
I like to be able to move every 'corner' of a horse.

04-02-07, 07:41 AM
If you mean stiffness, that's never a good thing.
But a ' straight ' horse, eg one that tracks up properly with his hind following his front, whether on a straight line or round a corner, is far preferable to one that falls in or out, bends his neck but not his body, or even has a s-shape round a corner.
So I would prefer a straight horse. But depends what you def of straight is.

04-02-07, 09:39 AM
"A horse that is straight or one that is supple and light and can bend but may not be completely straight all of the time?"

A straight horse has to be supple and light..otherwise he just can't be straight.. A stiff horse may be figuratively straight on a straight line but not on a corner.. A horse with lots of bend may not be straight also. It all depends on those feet once again and the ability for the rider to control them ..if you have the feet the body and mind will follow.. JMHO!!! Not preaching to anybody!! ;-)

"Think right down to the ground" RH

04-02-07, 01:58 PM
What Reata said.

Horse can't be properly straight and be stiff at the same time. Horse can't be properly supple unless it's straight or it is actually evading.

05-02-07, 11:33 AM
Hi Talaki, Im great! Hope you're well also! Will catch up with you sometime soon Im sure.

Reata and Bats you are both saying that lightness and suppleness needs to come first then? Then straightness.

"To practise equestrian art is to establish a conversation on a higher level with the horse; a dialogue of courtesy and finesse." Nuno Oliveira

05-02-07, 12:42 PM
Forgive my memory, where on the training scale does it mention bend?

05-02-07, 02:58 PM
Sorry Bellestar - saying the opposite - first straightness. If the horse is truly straight and he stays straight around the corners - this means the inside hindleg tracks towards the inside front leg leading to a compression of the frame on the inside and a stretching of the frame on the outside and the horse becomes supple and flexible.

If he works to an even contact on both reins then when you let one hand go forward and the other keeps a steady contact the horse will stretch forward and down and to the inside thus becoming more supple.

If a horse resist and is difficult on one side I might work on suppleness and bend but only to the point of making the horse straight.

Straight and forward to the hand, inside leg engages inside hind leg which increases the bend through the body if that is required. If either hind leg will step through on demand and the horse accepts the bit then it is supple.

Lightness comes as a result of engagement and suppleness.