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At the Valencas Day 2 - Baucher and Pillars

7 years 4 months ago - 7 years 4 months ago #145 by iliane
Day two at the Valencas was again full of in formation and we learned more details about what we had started on day one. In hand, lunge, etc.

Master Luis Valenca also introduced the Pillars to us as well as Baucher flexions.

Here are my notes:

Position always before action! ~Luis & Filipa

An interesting little story from Luis Valenca explaining to a group of students about weight aid in the half pass:
They used to have a helper that tended to drink a bit too much. One afternoon as Luis was explaining to a group of students why they should put their weight to the inside in the half pass, Antonio wondered up already a bit too drunk to walk in a straight line. Antonio had a large wine bottle in his right hand and kept drifting to the right. As soon as he swapped the bottle into the left hand, he started drifting to the left.
So there you go... sit to the left your horse will drift to the left. If you want to half pass to the left but sit on the right your horse will have a hard time half passing to the left.
Your weight aid is always the first (physical) aid after your mental aids of getting ready for the next move (i.e. start thinking, planing, anticipating and visualizing your move before you ask the horse to do it).

Baucher Flexions:
This is a difficult subject to write and I'm not 100% sure that everything I got is correct of complete. It will probably still give you and idea of what the flexions are and what they are for. But please don't apply this at home unless you have somebody teach you and your horse directly. Also check out the Valencas if you want to learn more about the flexions: www.valencaequestriantours.com . You can also check out Bernard Sachse in France if you speak French.

According to Luis Valenca Baucher came up with his flexions because the change to mounted infantry (you ride to the battle field, get off and fight) from close order light cavalry (i.e. hand to hand combat on maneuverable horses). With that change the Anglo-arab was introduced into the cavalry and it was not as maneuverable and easy to ride but rather hot and able to cover big ground. Baucher's flexions helped those horses to gain more mobility.

The theory is that the relaxation of the jaw relaxes all of the horse.

According to Luis Valenca his Nuno Oliveira said about Luis using flexions

What you are doing it's not bad but the dressage it's not that.


Baucher is like Antibiotics. You use them three days to fix a problem and that's it.

So here are the flexions I remember from my notes:
Flexion 1. Make sure the horses ears are straight(i.e. he doesn't tilt his head),move the snaffle in his mouth, when the horse moves the tongue you give.

Felxion 2. Flip the snaffle rein to onto the nasal bone of the horse. Your pinky is on the horses nose your thumb points up (see picture below). Open and close your hand. This prepares the horse to be light and in position.

Flexion 3. Take the curb (while keeping the snaffle in your hand as explained in Flexion 2) with your fingerstoward his jaw, thumb towards his jowl. Be careful that you are not going to change his position and that you are not going to effect the pole. This flexion softens the underneck and extends the topline. Also still apply Flexion 2.
Luis points out here that he would not overlife the pole like Baucher teaches. He says that that causes the horse to obey more but us unnatural. He wants the pole in a high but natural position.

Flexion 4. Bend the horse 90 degree at the pole to left and then to right in this same position.

Here some more tips:
- Luis suggests to do the flexions when first moving to the double bridle.
- The flexions will develop the neck muscles.
- It will also help with horses that have strong neck muscles to make them more flexible.
- When you start the horse must stand square
- Vibrate the rein a bit if the horse resists.
- after the flexions they like to stretch down and usually that relaxes the back.
- to transfer the flexions to ridden work ask for the flexion while applying the spur lightly and move it against the direction of the coat at the girth. That will teach the horse to start flexing of the leg aid.

And here one final Baucher exercise: The isolation of the aids.
  • Horse with mounted rider.
  • Rider asks horse to step a few steps to the left with the haunches while keeping the front feet in place
  • Assistant can help from ground so horse understands easier what rider is asking for
  • Then rider asks for a few steps to the right.
  • Then to the left again
  • And back to the right
  • The horse will eventually learn to move only his hind quarters while keeping the front feet so long in place that they start to cross
  • This exercise is intended to help isolate the aids and to get control over each part of the horses body.
  • Below is a picture and a video of Luis doing the exercise with his famous stallion Sultao in Long lines.

Filipa Valenca: You know it's good when it looks easy.

Luis Valenca: The big teacher to the horse is the outside rein!.

~ Iliane

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