Senior progress thread?

Topic for older horses and older riders
demi
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Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue May 23, 2017 2:11 pm

Anyone interested in a Senior goals/progress thread like the one on the dressage training thread? Any ideas on how to start it? Maybe not even have goals, just progress reports?

I'll start by saying my 14 year old mare bucked my 64 yr old body off yesterday and my plan for moving ahead will be to go back to where I was the day before it happened. Lots of lunge days. Long rein, mostly walk with lots of circles around me and a little trot. I was at a point where I felt I had her trust and I just pushed her too hard yesterday and she let me know. This morning when I went to feed, she let me hold her head and stroke her, relaxing to the point of almost closing her eyes. She basically still trusts me and I need to never take her to the point where she starts to gets nervous. I need to not care about making progress, but just enjoy what I have.

So maybe not even a progress thread. Maybe just a report threat? I would like to report back after I longe her today.

I still want to get my SS3 for videoing. I like working on my balance and position even if just on 20m circles. I would probably be quite active on a Senior riding thread....

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Tue May 23, 2017 2:44 pm

demi wrote:Anyone interested in a Senior goals/progress thread like the one on the dressage training thread? Any ideas on how to start it? Maybe not even have goals, just progress reports?


I'm here, although I never know where I am so just respond to whichever posts I happen to read that interest me. But I definitely belong on a senior progress thread, because other seniors are the only ones who understand why senior progress is what it is.

My goal is to get out there and ride my horse, which I failed miserably at last winter (first time I didn't ride much over the winter), but am doing better at getting out there in the good weather. In fact, I'm on my way out there right now, and will report back if anything earth shattering (hopefully not literally) happens!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Josette » Tue May 23, 2017 2:48 pm

I'll join you. I'm not competitive but ride because it makes me feel good mentally and emotionally. Sometimes afterwards my body does complain though. As I've previously mentioned my guy came with some mental training baggage. Fortunately being 14.2 hands I don't get as frightened as if he were much larger - then I would have some fear issues. But a smaller horse can still dump a rider and I know that. He is the first horse I've owned who I have dismounted from when he had a mental meltdown and I feared he might dump me. So my progress and challenges are sometimes overcoming tension issues and trust. He is so much better than when we started but I know he may always have a "spark" and I need to be alert. This is huge difference from my TB I lost who took care of me - super laid back where I've had a dog hanging onto his tail and he kept on walking. :)

Right now we had heavy rains yesterday and I need the grounds to dry out a bit more. My trails may be slick and ring too mushy. Last week we had 3 crazy days spiked into the 90's then 25-30 degree drop. No wonder pony can't decide whether to completely shed out or not. :roll:

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Tue May 23, 2017 3:13 pm

I'm back in the saddle. Both my horse I am were out of work for a little more than 5 months. It is amazing to me that I have been able to bring this old duo back.

I had my vet here recently and he looked at my guy on the lunge and said he looks the same as he did 10 years ago. He was amazed. I have to say though that my horse has never had a signficant injury or time off. He has stayed sound for me all these years. Yes, he has his things that get maintenance, but he has never needed bute or any pain killer. He has a congental stifle bone cyst that I keep maintained with regular irap.

I now have 31 rides in him. I'm not going as slowly as I feel I should because, let's face it, time is something I don't have a lot of. I'm not overworking or pushing him either, but ideally I would have liked to walk only for a month and then trot for a month, etc. etc. Walking in the indoor is no fun.

When I first got on him, I was shaky. I still don't feel well and am suffering from chronic UTI. I'm on prophylatic abx probably forever and I think I live with a low grade infection. My weak right leg really hurt when riding him.

Fortunately my horse has never bucked with or without me on him. He might bolt and swerve if he hears a noise that scares him, but that isn't common.

I have just started to canter a long side and a half. I might do a couple steps of leg yield. I'm not doing any movement yet. Just enjoying the ride as best I can.

At some point I'll post a pic. I don't spend much time grooming myself or him, so it's not going to be a pretty picture like we see on the other forum.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Josette » Tue May 23, 2017 4:03 pm

musical comedy wrote: At some point I'll post a pic. I don't spend much time grooming myself or him, so it's not going to be a pretty picture like we see on the other forum.


LOL! That's the advantage of riding alone at home - no one sees what I look like or the pony mane is standing straight UP! I did recently purchase tall brown boots as I figure they will be my last pair and I splurged. :)

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue May 23, 2017 5:05 pm

Yay! 4 players so far.
My pics definitely won't be pretty either as I usually ride in jeans and cowboy boots. I do use dressage tack at least 8-)

I just cleaned stalls and am getting ready to work Emma. My ribs are bruised and I have a bump on my forehead but I had my helmet on as always. I'll be able to longe just fine. And have thought about what Josette said about having a routine and sticking to it. Having the routine is not a problem but sticking to it is another story. I must keep in mind that if I want to continue riding I need to put safety above all else...even a lovely trot lengthening.

MC I am glad you're riding again and am amazed you're cantering already.

I like Josette's approach and am encouraged that she's chipping away at it even with a frisky sort of pony.

Kande your perseverance is admirable and I'm glad to have your contributions.

I am rambling a bit....maybe the knock on my head! But am somewhat considering trying dressage on my little mare Rocky again. I have done quite a bit with her but she just doesn't feel as good to me as Emma. Rocky is so quick and short backed (and downhill) that staying balanced on her is a never ending project. Where as Emma is so comfortable and easy to balance on. That's how I got into trouble yesterday. The trot felt so so nice that I pushed for more...too soon.

As far as I'm concerned any contributions to this thread are great. Even just thinking about getting on a horse is a post-worthy contribution!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Tue May 23, 2017 5:40 pm

Josette wrote:He is the first horse I've owned who I have dismounted from when he had a mental meltdown and I feared he might dump me. So my progress and challenges are sometimes overcoming tension issues and trust.


I think getting off is sometimes the smartest choice for both of us. :-)

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Sue B » Wed May 24, 2017 2:46 pm

I'm probably too young to be here as I am not 60 yet, but the more the merrier. :P A recap for those who may/may not know...I have Rudy, a 12yr old TB I purchased as an unbroke, recently gelded coming 6yr old who is now 2nd/3rd lvl, and Tio, a coming 6yr old Belgian warmblood I purchased as a 2yr old and could now maybe make it through an Intro level test. I am 56 and plan on riding until i am 106!

Josette, my Rudy is only 15.3hh (maybe 16) and is very short-coupled so he almost feels pony sized, especially compared to my previous horses that were 17hh. He is my heart horse and I know he would never try to hurt me; nonetheless, there have been times I've had to hop off because he'd lost his mind and I couldn't get it back. Fortunately, it happens less than once a year, but I feel no shame in baling out rather than risking getting hurt. When a horse loses control of himself you are at risk simply because he/she has "forgotten" you're up there! Once I am on the ground, next to him, he can see me and he respects my personal space so he is no longer a danger to me.

Demi, it is great to hear that you had a nice head-hug from Emma. I hope your ribs heal quickly. hang in there!

MC, it has been fun having you back on the boards and great to hear you can canter already.

Kande, keep persevering and riding with your chest up, shoulders back! :lol:

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Wed May 24, 2017 3:16 pm

When horses are truly scared and 'lose it', it does become a safety situation. My horse's worst thing is his reaction to noise. It can't be fixed. He does this if he is alone and hears the noise. He will bolt. He's smart enough not to lose his mind and hurt himself, but he could hurt me if I was on his back when this happens. The last time was about 3 years ago when walking on a loose rein during warmup walk, snow came off the roof and he bolted and turned. I came off. It took me 13 days before I could ride again. Thus, I am afraid to ride him out of the ring for fear he will hear a noise, bolt, and take me into a ground hog hole or under a tree. I really really do not want to fall off at this point. I have osteopenia and I do not need a broken hip.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Josette » Wed May 24, 2017 3:55 pm

Yes, I knew for those mental fear reactions that my pony completely forgot I was on him. His being 14.2 was in my favor to get off quick. I would have lost confidence to continue riding him if he were a large horse. So far, this has happened 3 times in the 5 years I've owned him but I believe he will always be capable of it like MC described. He will be age 17 in June and it seems like a long journey but I think we have finally clicked together.

I had a good ride yesterday and tried to repeat the lesson Gwen posted. My goals are simple to just get ON and ride whenever the weather is cooperative. :) I've had my share of serious health issues with breast cancer - did the lumpectomy, chemo, radiation treatments plus AI medication. Now I'm dealing with all the side effects of heart murmur, hypothyroid and osteopenia. So, I treat each day as a gift that I'm still vertical and breathing and I force my butt to get outside. The sun just came out but the next few days predict rain again - so I have to get a ride in today. On those days that my body feels stiff and uncooperative I just do long walks on my trail loop which helps loosen my hips and back. Riding is my therapy to try to stay sane and healthy. 8-)

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Wed May 24, 2017 4:15 pm

Sue B wrote:Kande, keep persevering and riding with your chest up, shoulders back! :lol:


I think I might have forgotten to do that today, although I did catch myself curling down more than usual, and of course, it was going to the left when I was trying to get him to ly over to the wall more. It's as if my whole body wants to go in the direction I want him to go, and if my focus is on the outside front then that's where my body goes.

I could try to focus on the inside hind, but that's how I developed my wandering inside leg.

I did develop a new strategy for my leg yields, though. Instead of thinking sideways I'm trying to think of pushing the outside shoulder out and forward with my inside leg, because that helps me keep my inside leg more forward at the girth and think about sustaining the energy in a forward direction instead of just being obsessed with getting sideways. Paula's directions also helped with that when she said to go for 3 strides of ly and then go straight on the circle again.

I agree that the more the merrier, and I too, remember thinking that maybe I' was getting too old to be starting youngsters way back when I was 49 and got bucked off my mule and landed hard. But as I found out, I didn't really need to quit riding youngsters, but just needed to figure out how to keep them calmer so they didn't feel the need to buck.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Srhorselady » Wed May 24, 2017 5:22 pm

Ok. Count me in! I read the training thread but I don't have any goals for myself or my horses although I'd like to improve. I'm 66 and ride several senior horses. I started riding in my 30s and never progressed very far although I've had a fair amount of instruction and have well trained horses. I'm probably a training/first level rider who can do a few higher level movements by staying out of the way of my horses who know how to do them! Physically I creak and ache and am a little stiff but otherwise ok, but have some issues because the 2 horses I ride the most are tall (16.3+) and wide. I'm no longer quite 5 foot. Sometimes it's hard to stretch! The other 2 riding horses are shorter (15.1) but one is currently rehabbing and the other doesn't need the additional exercise. So I ride the big guys. It's starting to get warm here (100F+) so it is getting hard to motivate myself to ride. Especially after doing horse chores.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Wed May 24, 2017 8:49 pm

Srhorselady wrote:It's starting to get warm here (100F+) so it is getting hard to motivate myself to ride. Especially after doing horse chores.


I try to minimize the chores when I want to ride, because 90% of what I fiddle around with in the barn is non-essential and I know it.

So if I want to ride in the morning before it gets hot I do as much as I can the night before, and then I go out and throw some hay around so the ones I want to ride are ready to go when I get back from my mother's. (She's 92 and almost blind so she can't manage the insulin shot that her little dog needs, so I have to go do that first thing.)

But the weather here has been just about perfect for a couple weeks now, so I haven't had to rush in the mornings to get out there before it gets hot. Cold I don't mind, but I don't function well in the heat. Or more accurately, I don't function at all in the heat.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Wed May 24, 2017 9:46 pm

Glad to see so much senior activity!!

SueB glad you're here! I wish I was only 56!! I've been following your progress on the training forum. I hope you ride till your 106 :lol:
I could still get off a horse fairly quickly when I was 56 and got a 3 yr old when I was 57. I was riding and working out somewhat regularly but somehow my knees and hips started getting stiff anyway. I am not able to hop off a horse any more and an emergency dismount is out of the question...I just try not to get myself into any situation where I need to get off quickly.

Josette, my mare that i got as a three yr old is only 14.2 and that was a big part of why I got her. I like her littleness! but I don't hop off her anymore either. As you mentioned, a little horse can still unload a rider, so I am still very careful with her. I always where my helmet and I don't ride her if the weather is really bad, etc. Gosh, you've been through a lot of health issues. I love your attitude about riding.

SRhorselady, glad you're here. Wow! you ride some big horses. I can relate about the heat although we are still in the 80's here.

Kande, I've finally reached a point where I don't fiddle around much with non essential stuff in the barn anymore. I'll pick a day every so often and just play out there all day, but mainly I keep barn stuff really simple. I spent some time putting things in order just to simplify and there is probably more I can do. I only have 3 horses so that helps.

MC, are you going to get a Soloshot3? I know the thing about feeling rushed and tense when the DH videos me (i think that was you that said that somewhere). Mine is like have a 6 yr old video. There was a vid somewhere where a woman did have her 6 yr old video her. He was talking throughout the ride and his comments were hysterical...

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Wed May 24, 2017 10:35 pm

So I have had a couple of days to think about how to proceed with Emma. I re-read(again)my training notes since January and think I'll just continue with the program I had her on. I probably won't ride for a while because my ribs are still very sore and I don't want to be protecting myself when I get back on.

I realized upon reading my notes that I did exactly what I was afraid I would do. I rushed things. I had had her on a mostly "longeing" program through the winter to try to get her to relax on a longer rein. It was working well at walk and trot. I didn't canter on the longe much, but when I did, it was better, but still was mostly getting wild and frantic after a circle or two. (She has some issues that I've described on the dressage training forum, and I know now that this is going to take some time.) So, in April I added some mounted walk/trot on the longer rein, but still did the long rein longe routine most days. By May I had just barely established a lovely contact in the new longer rein under saddle and was trying to balance the riding days with equal or more longeing days. Plus, when I did ride, I had planned to keep it VERY simple to let the rein length and contact solidify. Well, for three weeks before the buck off, I started riding a lot more and longeing a lot less. And then on Monday right before the bucking episode, the trot felt SO GOOD, I asked for a lengthing...that was too much.

I made a mistake but I think the answer is to just get back with the program and then be much more careful!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Wed May 24, 2017 10:56 pm

First, to SueB. I think it is amazing that you took a recently gelded unbroken ottb and brought it along to where he is today. That is a huge deal imo.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Wed May 24, 2017 11:23 pm

demi wrote:So I have had a couple of days to think about how to proceed with Emma. I re-read(again)my training notes since January and think I'll just continue with the program I had her on. I probably won't ride for a while because my ribs are still very sore and I don't want to be protecting myself when I get back on.
Once I hurt my ribs falling off. I wrapped elastic tape around myself, and that really kept them from hurting when I rode. Mine hurt when I breathed and especially if I had to sneeze or cough.

About the Soloshot, the answer is "no", I won't be getting one. We originally had purchased one when they first offered the reduced price if we paid in advance. Once I figured out that Solshot kept pushing the delivery date ahead I lost confidence in them. Now, I think perhaps I am better off not seeing myself on video. Ignorance is bliss sometimes. If I were showing or trying to advance my training, then video would be good. Right now, I'm just trying to keep myself and my horse in exercise and trying to enjoy riding as best I can.

By the way, what does it mean to 'hop off' that you say you can't do? Is it different than the ordinary way we dismount?

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Thu May 25, 2017 12:41 am

I totally get the ignorance is bliss thing. I havent really wanted to see myself on vid for the last few years but I figured that by the time the SS3 comes out I'll have gotten myself in shape. At least that's my fantasy haha

Hopping off a horse. I guess I've just used that expression since I was a kid and we used to get on and off fast. Like when a horse hasn't learned to stand for mounting or dismounting and you get on and off so fast they don't have time to move much. Not anymore.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Josette » Thu May 25, 2017 1:43 am

Well I managed a ride today but yesterday was better IMO. Today I was a bit stiffer and should have spent more time suppling both of us. I tried some canter again (I stay on a 20M circle) which is improving but then the trot work got tense. I cannot get distracted when he starts to lean because it turns into hanging - a technique he uses to make me hold him up. I need to be more alert when he starts so I can immediately interrupt and correct that behavior without going halfway around the ring. Again, I must remember to sit up straight and shoulders back or he seems to go on his forehand. So rider errors too. Now rain for next few days and part of the weekend so no rides for a while. I hope we do not get another sudden heat wave again. I much prefer the moderate temperatures.

I'll have to get DH out to take some pics or a video. Like you MC, he makes me rushed like I have to immediately perform and then I'm horrified when I see what I look like. If I cut across the front lawn I can check myself out in the garage windows LOL.

Sue B - I agree about training an unbroke late gelded OTOB. WOW! I've only dealt with slightly naughty or poor training with horses I've owned. When Chisamba has described some seriously scary incidents with Deneb being so unpredictable at times. My pony seems like he is simply naughty and evasive for me. So I better start to ride him smarter. Chisamba - I'm also looking forward to hearing about your clinic. Enjoy it!
Demi - take it easy until you feel better. I do wonder about cantering on the lunge to help Emma learn to balance herself. My guy was such a freight train cantering under saddle because he was a strong leaner. My instructor lunged him with some sort of sliding side reins which he was unable to lean on. I don't know what kind but they were not the typical donut or elastic stationary reins. She is not available anymore but I'm hoping I can get her out to see us ride as it's been a while.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sat May 27, 2017 12:50 am

Josette, I did try sliding sidereins on Emma initially and may go back to them. I think you're right about cantering her on the lunge to learn (re-learn) balance. She can balance (sort of)at canter on the lunge with short sidereins, but the short sidereins cause her to be tense. With longer sidereins, like "on the buckle" long, she gets frantic and runs helter skelter, bucking. I experimented a lot with finding a reinlength that was somewhere in the middle. What I found was that the necessary reinlength to keep her relaxed enough to work "through", is too long to keep her from going bonkers at canter on the lunge. Its a fine line.

I rode her for several months on a short rein (Kande mentioned at the time that maybe she wasn't ready for a short rein) and while I kept my hands forward, I couldn't get a steady connection. The thing is, she tried to buck several times with me back when I rode with the shorter reins, but because the reins were short, I was able to pull her up within one or two bucks, before she got up enough momentum to unload me.

Soooo, I am still thinking through this. I did allow her to canter on the lunge immediately after she bucked me off, and I let her go helter skelter. She was already a bit tired from the bucking espisode with me on, and she quit bucking on the lunge after several circles. There was a discussion somewhere (dressage training forum) about whether or not to let a horse buck on the longe and I usually don't allow it. With Emma, she would just get more and more worked up so I felt it was counter productive to allow it. Strangely, I've lunged her twice (long rein) since she bucked me off (three times including that day) and she didn't buck at canter. I didn't ask for the canter but allowed it when she offered it, as has been our more recent routine.

I have a lot to try to sort out and I appreciate the thoughts from you all. I find it as difficult to write it out comprehensibly as it is to just think about it, but the exercise of trying to explain it helps me to think about it more clearly. So thanks to anyone who is bearing with me :)

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Josette » Sat May 27, 2017 1:15 am

I wonder why she is bucking because it sounds like she does it too often. Is this naughty behavior because she doesn't want to be ridden or a pain trigger?
Some will buck if they haven't had enough paddock time - so they are letting off steam. But then it should be get down to work mode. I certainly agree it is not a good idea to ride with long reins as she is inclined to buck. You are at a disadvantage to pull her up.

Whatever technique you described when you "lunged her (long rein) and she didn't buck at canter" - I would pursue it. IMO she needs to canter and mentally get past whatever is triggering her - plus you are safe on the ground as an observer. For your safety, I'd keep working her from the ground including canter until she becomes cooperative and doesn't act up. Better to push her "buttons" from the ground then under saddle to see how she reacts. Only then when she becomes more "honest" would I attempt getting back on - AND only after I've lunged her first to take any edge off. Take your time to decide if you want to try her again US. Good Luck!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Josette » Sat May 27, 2017 1:22 am

I just want to mention to be careful about any side reins being too long. That thought is making me nervous about her getting a foot over a rein when she is bucking / acting up. Too short is probably making her panic because of balance. We don't know what her mental baggage is at this point....

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Sat May 27, 2017 11:06 am

Josette wrote:I wonder why she is bucking because it sounds like she does it too often. Is this naughty behavior because she doesn't want to be ridden or a pain trigger?
If she were mine, and if I wanted to continue putting effort into her, I would get a good work up by a top sport horse vet. I remember that your vet is the same vet as Emma's previous owner. He should have know if she had physical issues prior.
This is the 4th level video of Emma on 11/15, which isn't that much before you bought her. (If you wonder how I found it, I follow warmbloods-for-sale daily and other sales sites).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mxop0fRJcM
She is being ridden in good contact. The canter is just fine, including the changes. What has happened between then and when you bought her that requires going back to basics again? She did have a break in her show schedule between 2012 and 2015. Perhaps something happened then, she was rested, and then brought out in 2015 for a brief bit before she started to have issues again. I would be wanted to look at a back problem (like kissing spine) or maybe cervical or S/I.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Sat May 27, 2017 11:09 am

demi wrote:I have a lot to try to sort out and I appreciate the thoughts from you all. I find it as difficult to write it out comprehensibly as it is to just think about it, but the exercise of trying to explain it helps me to think about it more clearly. So thanks to anyone who is bearing with me :)


I think that discussing theories is a big part of the fun of working with horses, and my own thoughts on Emma is that rein length may not be the problem so much as her frame of mind is?

MC also makes a good point about the possibility of a pain issue.

If it was me I'd go back to the beginning, as if I was just starting her, and retrain her with the emphasis on calm. You may not get very far (by some measures) because she could be suffering from a form of horsie ptsd from her previous life, or physical issues. But personally, I'd just find it a lot more rewarding to get really good, calm work that might not be perceived by some as getting very far, than risk trying to get more gee whiz work with a horse who didn't seem to be ready for it.

It also sounds like when you ride with a short rein it's not a short, taut rein, but just a hands forward short rein with soft, gentle contact so you're ready to stop her if she loses it?

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Sat May 27, 2017 11:56 am

kande50 wrote:If it was me I'd go back to the beginning, as if I was just starting her, and retrain her with the emphasis on calm. You may not get very far (by some measures) because she could be suffering from a form of horsie ptsd from her previous life, or physical issues.

Why would you do this rather than get the vet workup? I think Demi has already put in a sufficient amount of time doing things slowly. She has never pushed the horse and the horse is living on a nice farm in a non stressful situation. There is no good reason for bucking and tenseness unless that is the horse's nature, and that kind of horse is not fun to ride for most of us.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Josette » Sat May 27, 2017 12:22 pm

MC - you made some excellent observations that make sense. I agree that something may have happened in those years off and could be the reason for this behavior. Emma looks like a sweet horse and lovely in that video. She is trying to communicate something when she reacts by bucking....

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Sat May 27, 2017 12:46 pm

musical comedy wrote:Why would you do this rather than get the vet workup? I think Demi has already put in a sufficient amount of time doing things slowly. She has never pushed the horse and the horse is living on a nice farm in a non stressful situation. There is no good reason for bucking and tenseness unless that is the horse's nature, and that kind of horse is not fun to ride for most of us.


I'd get the vet workup first of course, and then depending on what I found would go way back to the beginning to try to find out what makes her tense.

And after seeing the 4th level test, I can see why she might have horsie ptsd, because my take on her is that she's a sensitive mare that got pushed way too hard and her stress levels were probably through the roof. So now, all it takes is a little pushing and kaboom, flashback to what she suffered and here we are.

What I think happens is that as long as we can keep their stress reactions suppressed then it can appear, to some anyway, that they're calm enough, But then when they do go over threshold there's so much tension built up that the reaction is much bigger than it would have been if their reactions hadn't been suppressed up until the point where they can no longer control them.

No horse wants to buck, because bucking with a rider is so punishing for them, which is why they don't buck unless we take then so far out of their comfort zones that they feel they have no choice. In fact, I think bucking is often a panic reaction. What they want to do is escape from an intolerable situation, but if they already feel that that isn't an option for them (because they've been blocked from escaping before), or they feel too blocked to try to escape, that's when we get bucking or rearing instead.
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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Sat May 27, 2017 12:48 pm

Kande I do not think there is anything at all in that test to indicate the mare was pushed too hard.

Josette wrote:MC - you made some excellent observations that make sense. I agree that something may have happened in those years off and could be the reason for this behavior. Emma looks like a sweet horse and lovely in that video. She is trying to communicate something when she reacts by bucking....
Also, sometimes horses are ok on the lunge, but in pain with the rider. Two horses come to mind here. Remember a poster named DressageArt? She had a mare that was doing really well and schooling fei. One day the mare fell with her. Long story short, they found a chip in her neck that pressed on her spine (I forget the details). She went through a lot trying to get that mare sound. It was a sad story. Another story was a good friend of mine that had a show hunter she owned since a foal. All of a sudden the horse started bucking. She sent him to her trainer and he bucked off the trainer and broke trainer's arm. Subsquent radiographs showed he had a cracked wither. How that happened, who knows. She moved away and I lost touch with her, so don't know if he recovered or not.

And then there was our poster Silk (I think it was her) that found all sorts of problems on her horse's when they did the dissection.

I have a great relationship with my vet of many years. Sometimes with some horses, rather than go through expensive diagnostics, we try some treatments first. For example, do some back injections with shock wave and see how that does. Or do some mesotherapy. Or do an S/I injection.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sat May 27, 2017 1:37 pm

goods thought from ALL and thanks so much as this is helping me work through a rough patch.

MC, that video was published in 2015 but that wasn't when the vid was taken. I went through a lot of sleuthing before I bought her, but I don't want to bring the former owner and trainer into a public discussion. They are good people and both competent horsewomen. I do need to point out that the vid at 4th level was NOT taken in 2015, it was just published on youtube in 2015. I think it was taken in 2012 and a lot can happen in that amount of time. There was a break in her showing record, as MC points out, between 2012 and 2015. It's reasonable to think that something may have been going on. She has only shown 8 times total. Her last show was in 2015, 3 months before i bought her. Her scores at 4th level at that time were 55.6% and then 48.2%. Not indicative of a horse of her capablity. She was being shown by a very skilled and competent trainer. Something was going on at that time. The trainer and owner showed absolutely the right concern for the well being of Emma and had a complete vet workup done. Trainer thought the problem was her back, owner thought it was her hocks. I talked at length with the vet who happens to my vet, too. He said he could find nothing physically wrong. Not back, not hocks. I won't go into more detail here. That vet still sees her on a regular basis.

MC, i agree that there is nothing in that 4th level test that indicates she was being pushed too hard, but the woman I bought her from even felt that she was doing PSG at 7 yrs old (with a previous previous owner) and she felt it was way too much for her. Also, Emma has given lots of indication that she was pushed too hard, too soon. All stuff I've mentioned several times already. She is terrified of the whip. She couldnt longe on a long rein without going berserk. She gets very tense and excited if I ask, even very gently and briefly, for the kind of contact you would expect a 4th level/PSG horse should be able to handle. She gets really spooky only if I push her. If she is tack up she goes crazy if I try to fly spray her, but if she is untacked fly spray is no problem.

Thinking through this again, I am leaning heavily toward Kande's advice. She seems very content, no indication of pain doing walk and trot. She even does a nice canter on occasion. The problem rears it's ugly head when I push for more than she offers. This and the above make me think I just need to take time. Get her back to where we were right before the buck off. And then be very careful, and don't push. Just allow. Not a plan for someone who wants to be competitive or for a pro. But just right for little old me, I think.

I love her way of moving and I thought her early vids at 4th and 3rd were just lovely. That's why I though she was worth buying. I want to keep trying to regain that Emma. I just need to remember as Josette points out: Safety first. Also, I want to keep her happy so NO pushing. And also always look for signs of pain.

Heavy sigh.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sat May 27, 2017 2:08 pm

musical comedy wrote:
And then there was our poster Silk (I think it was her) that found all sorts of problems on her horse's when they did the dissection.



Yes, MC, it was Silk and I have kept her story close in mind. I think this kind of thing goes on way more than we realize, and I am glad she brought it to our attention. My heart goes out to her.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Sat May 27, 2017 2:34 pm

demi wrote:MC, i agree that there is nothing in that 4th level test that indicates she was being pushed too hard


Except for the indications that the contact is very firm on both snaffle and curb (there are times I'm pretty sure I can see the reins pressed into the rigid muscles of her overflexed neck), and the constant spurring. Some horses can take quite a bit of this kind of riding, but the IMO, the more sensitive ones just simply can't take it, and will eventually find ways to escape it even when those ways are short lived and provoke even stronger efforts to regain control.

Horses have no choice when they just simply can't take any more of it.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Sat May 27, 2017 2:52 pm

demi wrote: Trainer thought the problem was her back, owner thought it was her hocks. I talked at length with the vet who happens to my vet, too. He said he could find nothing physically wrong. Not back, not hocks. I won't go into more detail here. That vet still sees her on a regular basis.
A couple more questions. You can't see a problem in the back without at least xrays and preferably a bone scan. Did this vet do those? I'm guessing he did not. With back problems, specifically something like kissing spine, the pain may not be constant. The horse moves a certain way and that causes the nerve pain. After a while, some horses anticipate the pain.

Hocks don't cause the kind of problems Emma has. Stifle problems could, but you'd see more of a visable hitch with that.

I am assuming you did not do a PPE on this mare and get X-rays, etc. Did you ride her before you bought her or just buy off video? Did you know she wouldn't tolerate a whip when you bought her?

I think it's fine if someone enjoys bringing them back to the beginning and even staying there. I just don't understand the apparent reluctance to investigate a physical issue.

I have another story :D My neighbor neighbor friend is an fei rider and has two fei horses. She was saying that one of them was acting nqr at the canter. She had the vet out the other day for routine work and had him look at the horse. Low suspensory strain on both hind legs found on ultra-sound. Rest and ice for two weeks and then re-evaluate. Could be off for months and who knows if he'll get back to the level he was. The thing is that a lot of riders would have ignored this or given a short rest and then back to work. Yes, a short rest will 'temporarily' result in the horse being ok for a while, only later to break down. Call me frivolous, but I have the vet here for every little thing and do whatever diagnostics are available to make sure I am not not riding a horse and making a problem worse. I also sometimes get a second or third vet opinion. It's not that I don't trust my vet, but they are not infallible and I know that from experience.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sat May 27, 2017 3:28 pm

Ok MC, you have convinced me to get another vet opinion. I didnt have a ppe done because my vet had already done a thorough exam. I am not positive, but I think he exrayed the back. He said there was more he could have done to look at the back but he didn't think it was necessary at the time. That was then, this is now. Now may be the time to look more closely.

Here is where the reluctance to investigate further comes from: I don't want to hear bad news, but that is NO EXCUSE. But I also don't like putting horses through extensive exploratory medical testing because I went through that with Demi and it was very hard on her and did no good in the end. It still brings me to tears to think about her suffering.

I have to get myself in the right emotional state first, and it isnt like she is in any pain at the moment. But, I will prepare to have another opinion...thanks for bearing with me.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Sat May 27, 2017 3:58 pm

musical comedy wrote: Call me frivolous, but I have the vet here for every little thing and do whatever diagnostics are available to make sure I am not not riding a horse and making a problem worse. I also sometimes get a second or third vet opinion. It's not that I don't trust my vet, but they are not infallible and I know that from experience.


Truer words were never spoken. MC, you've worked so much with vets that you're probably an excellent resource when it comes to trying to decide what to look at next. I love all the experiences you've had with following others' experiences too, as that's how I prefer to learn about all the ways that this project can go wrong (rather than from my own).

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Sat May 27, 2017 4:04 pm

musical comedy wrote:I think it's fine if someone enjoys bringing them back to the beginning and even staying there. I just don't understand the apparent reluctance to investigate a physical issue.


It's also a good way to help find the problems so we know more about where to start with the diagnostics. Unless of course, one wants to skip right to an mri, or something like that? But like Demi, I'm not willing to do a lot of diagnostics on my horses unless I'm pretty sure I'm looking in the right places in the right ways, because taking my horses to the clinic can be highly traumatic for them, and some come back in worse shape (behaviorly) than when they went.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Sat May 27, 2017 4:09 pm

demi wrote:Here is where the reluctance to investigate further comes from: I don't want to hear bad news, but that is NO EXCUSE.
This may surprise you, but I am like that too! I should lunge every now and then to see how my horse is going, but I don't want to know. I do want to know, but I don't want to know. Demi you understand that.
But I also don't like putting horses through extensive exploratory medical testing because I went through that with Demi and it was very hard on her and did no good in the end. It still brings me to tears to think about her suffering.
I feel that way about putting a mare through months of laminitis treatment only to end badly. The things I have suggested for Emma are not things that would cause her any discomfort or distress. You could just start with a neck and back X-ray. They will lightly sedate her if that is necessary for her to relax, and that's it. I they find anything, chances are great that you can treat it with injections, so long as you are not opposed to them. Emma is a beautiful mover and she is worth whatever you can afford to make sure she is as comfortable as can be.

My horse has a congental bone cyst on his right stifle. We didn't discover it until about 3 years ago. (duh, see vets aren't perfect). Now he gets IRAP reguarly and he is doing wonderful. Had I not treated that stifle, he would probably be lame now from inflammation and retired. All the people that are so against joint injections are not doing their horses any favor continuing to work them without medical help. (Not talking about anyone on this forum; just some people that are so opposed to them.)

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Sat May 27, 2017 4:13 pm

Kande, one doesn't need to take a horse to a clinic for most things unless they live out in the boondocks. I'm lucky I'm in a horse area. All vets here have the digital X-ray machine and ultrasound in their truck. A bone scan or MRI, yes, you'd need to go to a clinic. I even hate to go to the clinic and it's only 2 miles from me. They make me lunge in this cement court yard and there is no fence. Should my horse escape, then he could run down on the road. I'm always nervous there. I have taken other horses there and they were basket cases. There is so much go on. So yeah, it's stress for some horses.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Mon May 29, 2017 1:19 am

I'm still really sore from Monday's rodeo. It's a constant reminder that older bodies really are less resilient. I've longed Emma three times since Monday and she is right back to where she was before the incident. Actually, better in that toward the end of each session I gently asked for canter and she didn't go berserk. The canter was a very nice working canter and it looked like something that I wanted to ride. I only let her go for maybe 1 1/2 20m circles and we did both directions each time. Only once did she "scoot" in the canter but even then it was only for a couple of strides. I am really happy with this.

I am not going to think about getting back on her yet. I plan to take her in to the vet to check for kissing spine. After looking into it I think it's a possibility. TB's are among the more susceptible and her dam is half TB out of well known racing blood (I'm thinking Native Dancer but can't remember for sure and my ribs say they don't want me to get up and go look). She also was very crabby about getting girthed up when I first got her even though I never cinch up quickly or tight. She got over that in a few months when she started to trust me. One other thing, while never really high headed, she did resist rein contact by lifting her head, and went through a brief phase of head flipping, which also went away when she started to trust me.

I still plan to continue with the program we were on minus the under saddle. I was, and will still be working toward getting her relaxed enough on the longe to canter with looped reins :shock: (sorry MC ;)). I've also been re-reading Podhajsky's "My Horses My Teachers" as he talks quite a bit about retraining and also about using longeing in retraining.

I don't want to have any compulsion about getting back on. I am getting Rocky going again so that when I feel physically able to ride safely again I'll start back on her. I think that will help me stay in riding shape (well, riding shape for an old lady, anyway!) and will also ease the pressure to get back on Emma too soon.It will be a good way to get my confidence back.

How's everyone else doing? Sounds like SrHorselady, Josette, and I all may eventually get SS3's. I applaud your efforts on your own very clever method of videoing, Kande, but that's way to complicated for me. I can't even imagine figuring something like that out.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Josette » Mon May 29, 2017 12:31 pm

Demi - I like your plan and already it sounds like you are observing some "calmer" canter on the lunge. I'd continue this process until she is "confirmed" to canter several times around in both directions relaxed and obedient. Plus - what will she eventually do if she has any contact with the bit? I don't mean short side reins but ones with less dangle. So another thing to observe is how she might react when she feels the bit during a gait transition. So lots more lunging and observations with you safely on the ground.

Kande - I give you lots of credit for having the patience to rig up multiple cameras. I don't even remember to recharge my new iPhone because I rarely use it except to snap some pictures. I seem to have an aversion using phones and computer technology maybe due to excess use at work. Years ago, when i worked evening shift at the hospital - the phones rang non-stop with constant interruptions. So I avoid phones unless I need them - sounds crazy I know. :roll:

Well I had a yucky ride Saturday when DH tried to get some video. I was tense trying to hurry and that was reflected in the ride. I reverted back to my poor posture and pony was resistant. But I took those observations to make corrections yesterday and focused on being relaxed and doing my warmup before any canter. This is basically the routine I saw in Gwen's lesson with some serpentine added to get him/me even in both reins. I kept remembering to sit up, shoulders back with slightly shorter reins to get that comfortable balanced "centered" position. If I tip forward posting then pony goes on forehand - so I must sit up straight and relax. We had a much better ride and he has some nice canter transitions compared to the day before. This is the type of ride I hope to attain each time - but I must work to be consistent in myself to correct those old habits. The blame is on me now because my pony will reflect me. So I must keep my mind engaged like a giant monitor of sensors to check position, posture, hands and confirming feedback from pony. This is not easy but it is rewarding when I get it right. :)

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Mon May 29, 2017 2:22 pm

demi wrote:I still plan to continue with the program we were on minus the under saddle. I was, and will still be working toward getting her relaxed enough on the longe to canter with looped reins :shock: (sorry MC ;)).


I think that the ability to wtc on a loose rein is a good test of whether or not the horse is calm enough, and as long as we're able to do that then it doesn't much matter if we want to ride with a shorter or longer rein.

But if a horse is less than calm, I don't think trying to contain him using the aids works all that well, and can backfire by allowing us to suppress his reactions enough to take him much further out of his comfort zone. And then, if we misjudge how far we can push him, we may get exactly the reactions we were hoping to suppress, but they'll just be ten times bigger than they would have been if we'd listened to him when he first started saying, "this isn't working for me".

I don't want to have any compulsion about getting back on. I am getting Rocky going again so that when I feel physically able to ride safely again I'll start back on her. I think that will help me stay in riding shape (well, riding shape for an old lady, anyway!) and will also ease the pressure to get back on Emma too soon.It will be a good way to get my confidence back.


There are definitely advantages to being able to keep spare horses around. My plan has always been to go back to my older, calmer horses if things didn't work out with Sting, and I had a strong suspicion that if I did get dumped and got hurt badly enough that I wouldn't ever want to get back on him again.

Now I think I've probably had enough good rides on him that I could overcome any bad ones, but I too, would certainly give it plenty of time and thought before I got back on again.

The way I look at riding now is that life is way too good to mess it up by taking foolish risks with horses, so it's way more important to listen when they try to tell me they're not having a good time.

I applaud your efforts on your own very clever method of videoing, Kande, but that's way to complicated for me. I can't even imagine figuring something like that out.


Agree that you really have to be interested in it to be willing to spend the time it takes to set up a low cost, functional system. Sometimes it makes a lot more sense to just buy it all set up and ready to go.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Mon May 29, 2017 2:39 pm

Josette wrote:I don't even remember to recharge my new iPhone because I rarely use it except to snap some pictures. I seem to have an aversion using phones and computer technology maybe due to excess use at work. Years ago, when i worked evening shift at the hospital - the phones rang non-stop with constant interruptions. So I avoid phones unless I need them - sounds crazy I know. :roll:


I had a cell phone for several years and almost never used it so got rid of it, because it was more trouble to keep track of where it was and when it needed recharging than it was worth.

I have a much harder time misplacing my computers, and always have at least one desktop set up that doesn't need to be recharged before I can use it. :-)

This is not easy but it is rewarding when I get it right. :)


I've found this, too. I don't need to get something earth shattering to feel good about it, and am just as invigorated when I remember to sit up straighter more often during a ride as I used to be when I found the right spots for an entire jumping round, or got my changes when I asked for them. It took quite a bit of 20/20 hindsight before I realized that I was way too focused in the gee whiz stuff back then, which was probably mostly crap because I was always trying to get too much, too soon.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Mon May 29, 2017 7:37 pm

kande50 wrote:I think that the ability to wtc on a loose rein is a good test of whether or not the horse is calm enough

I cannot ride my horse canter on a loose rein. Maybe one of those riders with a strong core could, but I'll never know.
He does not want to carry naturally. He never did, but now with age it is even worse. Keeping him together at canter with half
halts is taxing. What he would do at the canter with looped reins is drop his head down low, get strung out, and probably stop from loss of balance.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Mon May 29, 2017 7:47 pm

musical comedy wrote:What he would do at the canter with looped reins is drop his head down low, get strung out, and probably stop from loss of balance.


What about at the walk and trot?

Maybe your horse was trained in such a way that the contact became part of the aid for go? It is perfectly possible to train horses that way, so that part of, or even the entire aid for go requires picking up the contact. I've ridden horses that are trained that way and I found that I could put all kinds of seat and leg on them, but unless I picked up a contact first they had no idea what I wanted them to do. :-)

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Mon May 29, 2017 8:08 pm

kande50 wrote:
musical comedy wrote:What he would do at the canter with looped reins is drop his head down low, get strung out, and probably stop from loss of balance.


What about at the walk and trot?

Maybe your horse was trained in such a way that the contact became part of the aid for go? It is perfectly possible to train horses that way, so that part of, or even the entire aid for go requires picking up the contact. I've ridden horses that are trained that way and I found that I could put all kinds of seat and leg on them, but unless I picked up a contact first they had no idea what I wanted them to do. :-)
At the walk, slipping the reins to the buckle he drops down low. At the trot, he would go neck straight out level. I think in my case you may be correct Kande. I think the horse may associate dropped reins with a break where he can drop his head low. However, even on contact, at the canter, he wants to be heavy on the forehand. His hind end is so huge, muscled, and powerful and it is considerably higher than his low withers. Canter is difficult for us. Yet, I can do a lot of the canter movements half-ways decently.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Mon May 29, 2017 9:08 pm

musical comedy wrote: Canter is difficult for us. Yet, I can do a lot of the canter movements half-ways decently.


It looks like he has a high enough neck set though, so that helps. But yes, downhill does present its challenges.

OTOH, whenever anything is difficult to sustain it does provide a much better workout for the rider, too.

Whenever I'm feeling extra ambitious I do more cantering because it's a lot more work for me than trotting, which may be a good part of the reason why I'd much rather trot than canter?

And re: the other thread and lordosis, my back is never going to be straight again, either. But I do have a very flexible lower back, which I think allows me to balance the upper, rounded part of my body over my seat. Or at least I feel balanced. Not straight, but still balanced.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Mon May 29, 2017 10:02 pm

Rocky is built down hill so I can relate to MC. The actual measurement is less than an inch but she has a bit of the bulldog quarter horse conformation that adds to being on the forehand. She is quick and little so forward isn't a problem. One of my problems with her is that I can't just be happy when she give me 15 minutes of good, uphill(uphill for a lower level horse, that is) work and I end up nagging her. This is a problem that that I can fix if I really work at it. Now that Emma is out of service for a while, I might start to appreciate Rocky more...Actually, I already have started to appreciate her more. When I was doing the slinky circle I used Rock a bit and she was kinda fun. I think the long break from dressage may have been good for her and our relationship.

It's nice to have the activity on this forum.

More later

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Mon May 29, 2017 10:38 pm

kande50 wrote:It looks like he has a high enough neck set though, so that helps. But yes, downhill does present its challenges.

Yes, he has a good neck set on high enough on the shoulders.
OTOH, whenever anything is difficult to sustain it does provide a much better workout for the rider, too.
True. When I was riding with trainers, I would be totally wiped out after a lesson. Now, I take a lot of short breaks.
Whenever I'm feeling extra ambitious I do more cantering because it's a lot more work for me than trotting, which may be a good part of the reason why I'd much rather trot than canter?
Yes, me too, but it has to be sitting trot.
And re: the other thread and lordosis, my back is never going to be straight again, either. But I do have a very flexible lower back, which I think allows me to balance the upper, rounded part of my body over my seat. Or at least I feel balanced. Not straight, but still balanced.
I can't say if my back is flexible or not, but I can say that I have never had any back pain. That's shocking considering the lordosis and how long I've been riding. My hips are tight and stiff though and I think my days of extended trot are long over. One thing I really struggle with is posting trot. My conformation makes it very difficult. I will never understand why so many people think sitting trot is difficult.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Mon May 29, 2017 10:42 pm

demi wrote:One of my problems with her is that I can't just be happy when she give me 15 minutes of good, uphill(uphill for a lower level horse, that is) work and I end up nagging her.
That's a fault of mine as well, but I'm trying hard to correct it. I've said so many times before that ignorance is bliss. My most happy riding days were when I was unaware of faults. If I had a horse like Rocky, I would be out hacking. We have so many trails here, hunter paces, etc. that I would enjoy going on. And don't laugh...I would consider Western Dressage.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Tue May 30, 2017 9:44 am

demi wrote:One of my problems with her is that I can't just be happy when she give me 15 minutes of good, uphill(uphill for a lower level horse, that is) work and I end up nagging her.


Learning to clicker training completely cured me of that, because it's so much about breaking things down into small bits of behavior. And of course, I couldn't nag, because I had to wait for my horse to offer a beginning behavior so that I could then shape it into the behavior I wanted, which couldn't have been more effective for breaking the nagging habit.

Something that did happen to me though, was that I got so into getting things perfect that I didn't want to move on, because I knew that adding more would temporarily decrease the quality of what I had (which happens with pressure and release, too) so I became loathe to try to add more because I was so into what I already had. :-)

That's where taking longer training breaks really helped me, because when I started up again I was much more likely to be ready to start working on progressing rather than just maintaining.

kande50
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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Tue May 30, 2017 9:58 am

musical comedy wrote: Yes, me too, but it has to be sitting trot.


When I first got into dressage I was really into sitting and preferred to sit, but at some point, which was probably when I started riding Sting, I started posting again and have never gone back to sitting much. I love to post though, so have no motivation to get him collected enough so that I could sit his trot.

I can't say if my back is flexible or not, but I can say that I have never had any back pain. That's shocking considering the lordosis and how long I've been riding.


I've never had back pain either, and am still quite flexible because I have so little muscle left compared to what I had. But I think what I've lost the most of is endurance.

I will never understand why so many people think sitting trot is difficult.


I think it's because their horses aren't actually collected, because a collected horse (even one that isn't as flexible and fluid as he could be) is very easy to sit. In fact, on the rare occasions when I've sat on horses who could collect, I just naturally chose to sit because the balance just seemed all wrong for posting.


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