Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Poll and Why It's Important

Per the Classical Dressage Masters --

"Every horse has only one appropriate head and neck position for riding with respect to his conformation into which he has to be brought and in which he has to be worked. In other words, it can never be arbitrary. It is determined by the poll, whose position is limited to a very small space, if not merely a point, in terms of its height. The rider has to search for it. He has found it by keeping the neck in the same place, or by raising or lowering it, when he feels that the reins affect the entire horse, including the back and hindquarters, through the poll and the steady neck. This point in terms of the poll height has not been found yet as long as the horse yields to the reins only or even partially in the neck and evades with his neck." (Adolph Kästner, 1876)

"Without correct poll flexion, without perfect coordination of the seat, the posture, the rider’s guidance and all aids, without precise and tactful guidance of the hand above the middle of the horse, rein contact is impossible. For, in the case of incorrect flexions, the horse either leans onto the inside rein while freeing himself from the outside rein, or he steps behind the inside rein while leaning onto the outside one, or he leans against both reins, or he stays behind both of them." (Adolph Kästner, 1876)

 "No matter how much or how little the horse’s head and neck position needs to be adjusted, the rider must take care from the moment of the first mounting that he assigns the correct position to the poll, because it is only from this position alone that the entire horse can and must be addressed, if one wants to be successful. Through the correct position of the head and neck the rider obtains the feel of the entire horse in his hand and seat, so that he is able to make all the necessary improvements that the horse is capable of executing. It is only through this feel that the good, beautiful and uninterrupted, correct position of the head and neck can be achieved in which the rest of the horse’s body closely participates as well. The same goes for collection and obedience." (Adolph Kästner, 1876)

The original posts by Adolph Kästner were posted to the Ritter Dressage Facebook page. Ritter Dressage is the collaborative effort of Dr. Thomas Ritter and his wife, Shana Ritter. 
"We started the website, ClassicalDressage.com, in 1998, with its related Discussion Groups and other forums, with the intent purpose of preserving and promoting Classical Dressage in North America. Since that time, Ritter Dressage has gone through numerous expansions and transormations, which included an extensive clinic schedule that spanned over North American with the inclusion of Europe, a successful Lipizzan breeding operation, USDF and FEI Dressage Competition and Competitive Coaching, and Twice yearly Performance Exhibitions for the General Public, and publication of an extensive list of articles and other works.  
 In 2010, Thomas and Shana shut down their North American operations and relocated to Germany. Shortly thereafter welcomed the publication of Thomas' first book, "Klassisches Reiten auf Grundlage der Biomechanik" available in German with an English translation expected to be released in North America in the near future. In the meantime, we have been featured in several large Expert Forum Expositions in Germany and will be featured in Equitana in March 2012, as well as an extensive European clinic tour. Thomas' next book which features the training of the horse at the Longrein will be released in Spring 2012.

Thomas and Shana are building a homebase in Germany for North American riders to "land" and launch their European competition aspirations or simply to devote themselves exclusively towards their training education. We have also established contacts throughout Germany for the purchase of Dressage horses of various price ranges, and are available to facilitate in the purchase and importation of horses for North American riders. We can help North American buyers bridge the language barrier (Thomas is fluent in German and English) and stress of traveling in a foreign country (we can pick you up at the airport, show you around, make introductions with breeders and horse sellers, and facilitate negotiations, as well as coordinate details for the veterinary examinations and shipping specifics even after you have returned home). We have the unique advantage that we have contacts and extensive knowledge of both Warmbloods and Baroque Horses. 
Email ritter@artisticdressage.com

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