Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sezuan: New mental image of canter

Sezuan, a newly approved Danish Warmblood, received three tens and a 9.5 at the Danish stallion approval recently. Because I'm a Eurohorse junkie (watch a lot of videos) I was not wowed until I saw the canter. Man, check out this canter! Expressive, no? This may be my new mental image of the ideal canter.

Details on the stallion are available from this article.

On the subject of canter, Riley's canter is improving dramatically with a little trainer intervention.  Under the wing of our new trainer, I'm getting a good "feel" for how he should be going.  He'll be in a big name clinic in December, and I hope to get some insight on our progress.


  1. I have several questions about this - remember, I am a dressage know-nothing!
    1) In all that trotting in the first couple of minutes, is that supposed to be just "regular medium trot?" Because, holy cow, does that guy have a lot of extension. If that's not extended trot, I'd really like to see it!
    2) What exactly makes the canter so great? Again, I'm seeing TONS of extension - each stride is enormous for not actually going that fast - but is it the extravagance of movement that is so desirable? I can tell you I doubt I'd be able to sit very well to that... probably many people wouldn't.

    He's certainly a very striking, eye-catching individual with tons of presence. I'm just trying to understand what makes the canter so special, and I've always wondered about it when dressage horses are really flinging their front legs out at the trot but it's not called "extended" yet.

  2. I'm not getting a thrill up my leg over it, either.
    More, I'm disappointed at the over flexion at the end of the ride. Is THAT how he gets a down transition? I see his body settle, and the horse begins to settle, too, then sharply bends his nose inward throughout the transition. UGH.

  3. Yeah, I'm not sure I like how he is being ridden...the rider is holding him back (you often see him duck behind the bit, something all too common now in the dressage ring) and even in the canter he looks like he's being pushed into giving that really big stride but without the balance and suppleness of a canter with a true "sit"...look at the down transition from the canter to trot. Sloppy at best :/

    RiderWriter, when we see dressage horses "flinging" the toes at what modern dressage calls the extended trot, it's because the horse is being pushed forward into an unyielding hand, putting them on the forehand and preventing the natural rise of the back that you need for round (or collected) movement, creating that big show. It's become more popular in the international dressage ring to see horses with big, fancy movement, but their movement is neither functional nor biomechanically correct. Those big, fancy extended trots are the result of the horse being "pushed" forward, instead of doing the pushing himself.

    This link shows a really wonderful dressage rider, Mike Schaffer, training a horse at the canter. He's got a whole series of videos showing some very remarkable progress. Keep in mind, these are training videos, so they show everything, good and bad, progress and where the horse needs reminding of things, but there is some LOVELY canter here: check out around 4:20. Mike is soft, there is slack in the rein, and the horse is holding himself up and round. Beautiful picture, biomechanically correct and therapeutically sound.

  4. Big name clinic? the suspense is killing me! Man wish I could audit , , ,

  5. One other comment, DWB he is lovely, although I do agree somewhat with Abbie, I would like a bit more ground cover than such big up and down movement. Is this more about trend? I was blessed to ride a 6 yr old don shufro mare, she was so sweet and soft but solid despite the amount of power in her body, Amazing ride!

  6. I love your idea about a 'mental image canter' :). Impressive indeed! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Abbie, a former instructor from whom I learned a LOT called the push to an unyielding hand "toe flipping." I agree with you--I thought I saw the same thing and I am NOT a dressage-from-the-arena-seat expert.

    I'd like to see Sezuan at liberty or ridden by someone who doesn't ride him behind the vertical.

    I do agree, though, he is a very expressive mover and look forward to seeing him in the future. (I believe, Stacey, that you had videos of him prior, right? or maybe I spotted Sezuan on YouTube just "surfing through dressage videos" and he was one on the list of "option" on the right of my screen). At any rate, handsome!!

  8. I'm a dressage junkie i love it and i love the dressage riding, while its complicated and looks good i find it really enjoyable and did enjoy watching your video that you've posted. I think the canter could have been more loose and free and relaxed if that makes sense? But the big bold movements are becoming more and more popular :)

    Abbie I liked your video to and thought that the canter was amazing. so relaxed and calm and chilled out I loved it!

  9. While he does look like a true 'rocking horse canter' there is something there that I see in the rider. I just can't quite put my finger on it, but almost like he is leaning too far back (from the hips up) and the horses rear end isn't under him enough or something. It will be nice to see where this one goes and how he develops in the next few years. I can only imagine he would get better and better.


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