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Old 8th September 2009
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Default Do you know Dr. Gerd Heuschmann or Philippe Karl?

I have an interest in if you know something about Gerd Heuschman the vet and his Book or DVD "Stimmen der Pferde" maybe it is called in english voices of/for horses?
I ask because Iīm enquiring how you educate your horses.
In germany here is a rough conversation about the "Rollkur" I donīt know if you have your own words for that. Mostly german or riders of the netherlands do this. It is when you put the horse head on its chest. It looks horrible and is cruelty to animals so do I think.
Is it in England (or better UK) a problem, too?
Have you heard about Philippe Karl? A french rider ( le cadre noir or how itīs called)who charges the german FN (the riding foundation) that they educate incorrectly and horse would suffer of this.
I have here in this forum not one pic seen which is like a "rollkur" but maybe you know something about it or have seen the eyes of such a poor horse which has to walk in that position.
Philippe Karl is maybe known by someone of you? - What do you think of him and his way of riding?
Are you riding a lot dressage or is England more a show jumping nation?
What is your opinion?
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Last edited by Ussiarella; 8th September 2009 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 8th September 2009
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Default Re: Do you know Dr. Gerd Heuschmann or Philippe Karl?

I hadn't heard of them but I've just googled them now !

(rollkuer, rolkur or roll cure) or training "deep", "round", "LDR" (Low, deep, round)

I have seen some pics and it looks awful! I've never seen anyone riding their horses in that position. It looks totally unnatural and is probably very painful for the horse.
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Old 8th September 2009
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Default Re: Do you know Dr. Gerd Heuschmann or Philippe Karl?

I don't know a lot about this, but from what I do know of Rollkur, I totally disagree with it. I think it is also called hyperflexion here, but I might be mixing my terms up. I think it is cruel to make an animal hold itself like that. Its a good topic for debate though. I don't think there are many people on EW just now who are really into their dressage. Though I think Lorraine is!
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Old 8th September 2009
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Default Re: Do you know Dr. Gerd Heuschmann or Philippe Karl?

I have read Heuschmann's book Tug of war: classical vs modern dressage. His arguements against rollkur (hyperflexion) from a biomechanical point of view are compelling.
Yes, forcing the head in rollkur manner will raise the back but the resulting tension will manifest elsewhere in the animal and this can be especially apparent in the lost of symmetry in the gaits. More worrying are the long term physical and psychological effects on the horse subjected to these type of training methods.
Sadly judges at the highest level are giving high marks to horses that are not working correctly, instead favouring flashy and extravagant movement over technically correct.

I'm currently reading Philippe Karl's twisted truths of modern dressage.
Here he is describing how the classical works of old have, over the years, become misinterpreted and wrongly applied. He compliments this with the correct reasoning which he backs up, in my belief with logical reasons based on the physical and mental nature of the horse.
I'm a scientist by trade and in my very nature. As a result I find it easy to subscribe to Karl's ideas of using the horses own body and balance to great effect. Like all classicists his holy grail is lightness and relaxation - without these we can't have sustainable dressage where the horse's natural beauty is not only enhanced whilst retaining its purity, but also given longevity through correct gymnastic training. Shortcuts are not an option.


Xenephon spoke the truth hundreds of years ago when he is reputed to have said " nothing forced or misunderstood can ever be beautiful". i believe this stands true to this day.

Now, if only I could learn the feel to apply all these theories! There lies my challenge!
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Old 8th September 2009
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Default Re: Do you know Dr. Gerd Heuschmann or Philippe Karl?

@Bek B
Yes I agree to your post itīs very good! Thanks for it!
I believe in Xenophon, too. In Germany we have an organisation called Xenophon with its own teachers. Force is never away to act with a horse and it doesnīt matter if you are sitting on its back or if you work in hand with a horse.
I must say I have never read about Philippe Karl just heard about him. I have seen the DVD of Heuschmann and I think just like in the book he explains very clearly the effects of wrong treatment. It was horrible shocking for me. Iīm interested in Philippe Karl maybe he has the right ways to ride a horse...

@Susan
Hyperflexion, yes, now I know, sometimes we have the same words in german and english *lol* we say hyperflexion, too, but I forgot the word, thanks a lot and Iīm interested what Lorraine will say

@Tracy J
Yes it is very awful, the poor horses!
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Old 9th September 2009
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Default Re: Do you know Dr. Gerd Heuschmann or Philippe Karl?

Am not familiar with Dr Gerd Heuschmann or Philippe Karl but have seen and heard of rollkur/hyperflexion on the web and agree with the others that it seems extreme and forced. Personally I have difficulty in seeing exactly what it achieves.

The horse is overbent in the extreme in the top half of its neck, and if trained to work a rollkur outline, I can't see how this benefits when you come to do a dressage test and want the horse to hold it's neck higher and head vertical.

To force a horse creates tension and that is the one thing you don't want and rollkur certainly looks like it is forced, rather than encouraged. From what I've seen and heard rollkur isn't simply that the horse is put in that outline for a couple of minutes to stretch muscles and encourage flexibility but is made to work in this outline for long periods and in most, if not all, pictures I've seen the horse is showing resistence with an open mouth.

You want a neck that is well muscled, soft and flexible, not one that is hard and resistent and in most pictures of rollkur I've seen the horse's neck isn't actually well muscled and the neck looks tense.

What I also don't like is that rollkur seems to give working "long and low"/“long, low and round” a bad name because people confuse these terms with rollkur. To my mind working long, low and round is about encouraging a horse to stretch its neck low from the wither down, gently and evenly arched over the top of the neck with the nose tucked in slightly (more pointing towards its knees than its chest), whilst holding itself in self carriage and not relying on the riders hands to hold it up and balance it. The neck position is encouraged not forced. Also with the horse stretching more forwards in the front, the horse has to learn to take more weight behind whilst working long, low and round to keep in balance or it will fall on the forehand. This is not the same as rollkur where the horse is relying (forced to be held) on the rider’s hands to carry itself in that position, isn't evenly bent through the neck but the bottom half of its neck is straight and the top half of it's neck and it's head/neck area extremely bent and isn’t being allowed to fully stretch its neck.

Working a horse for short periods with its neck in different positions will help to muscle the neck and enable it to become flexible, as well as helping it to balance and take more weight behind. This can be achieved with working long and low, long low and round, inside and outside flexion but all alternated and for short periods. Forcing a horse to hold it's head/neck in one position does not help to make the neck well muscled throughout or flexible.

Mr Tibbs sucks himself in with his neck when he’s tense - he puts himself in almost a rollkur position although he holds his neck higher than the rollkur pictures I've seen but he bends evenly in a full arch right over the top of his neck and holds his chin in his chest – I can give with my hands and his neck stays where it is when he's like this and only when he relaxes does his head come out of his chest. He can do this (of his own accord) because his neck is well muscled and flexible, he isn’t forced into this position in an attempt to make his neck muscled and flexible!
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