When, many moons ago, Rudolf appeared with some regularity for a group of us in the United States, he began to bring with him two items that were useful and that we could not find locally. These were the Schultheis-designed Fleck whip, and small cans of a mysterious substance to be daubed on boots. He also brought his saddle and some gloves.
(On the export side, he always took back several pairs of deerskin gloves, which he said at the time were far superior to the ones he could get in Germany. I believe this is called “balance of trade.”)
The Germans, by the way, are also one of the main importers of the American Quarter horse.
Apparently, some of them just want to have a nice walk in the woods, and at times find warmbloods challenging.
Go figure. Er, so do we. . .
But, back to the tools of the trade!
A Fleck Whip of the Schultheis Model
A rubber band of the Peacock style usually used on safety stirrups, in this case wrapped double or triple mid line in the balance point of your whip. I am going to write a whole post on the correct use of the whip, but for now, this is the one you want for dressage.
And of course Body Glide, which I have told you about, ad nauseum, in another post.
I can hear you clamoring: WHAT is the stuff in the orange can?
Okay, I will tell you, and sadly it is now sold in plastic tins; but here is the scoop: Guter Sitz Durch: it is glue.
Well, adhesive really. (Translation, Better Sit by–meaning: sit better by using this!)
Ever heard the phrases, “Sit like glue?” “Sit tight?” You got it. But, take heed, it is not used on your butt, but very sparingly on the inner side of your unpolished boot to create a very slightly tacky feel. Works by far the best when using a saddle with a flap strap. But on any saddle, use too much and you will never do a flying change (or canter transition) again. It’s that good. But, not as good as a product that we Americans produce and one of my riding students found an “off label use” for.
Here is the story. I had a riding student once who had a background playing college football. Played in the Rose Bowl, I believe. And one time when I was off in Germany, having abandoned the whole tribe to do something or other–ride?–he started to think. And he was a good thinker, and the more he thought about trying to sit better, the more excited he became about an idea and eventually headed off to the local purveyor of football things and bought himself a can of the spray adhesive that the folks designated to catch the ball spray on their gloves.
Not telling his wife, he crept guiltily off to the barn, where, before mounting, he generously sprayed the inside of his boots. Then, leaning over (I am sure with a sly grin), he equally generously sprayed his leather riding breeches, the interior of his thigh up through the crotch, around the butt, and down the other side.
He then hopped on his horse and had what he reported was “the ride of my life.” Sitting was not an issue. He felt powerful and in control–finally. Problem solved. He was in, as he later put it, “sticky butt heaven.”
Then, with thoughts of reuse and patent rights, he attempted to dismount.
And suddenly, as if in some grim Norwegian fairly tale, he understood that he could not get off.
Moral of story: Never mind American ingenuity, sometimes more is not better; and when I say use a little Guter Sitz on the interior of your boot, I am really quite serious about it. A can should last you roughly the rest of your life.
You can get one here: http://www.foxyhorseandhound.com/index.php
As well as a good whip, rubber ring for it, and excellent tack cleaning products like Bienenwachs.
I’ll fill you in on the darned whip use another time.