Goals and Progress May/June 2017

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Dresseur
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Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Dresseur » Mon May 01, 2017 2:35 pm

This year seems to be trucking right along, and since it's May, I figured I'd start us off.

I'm continuing to learn as much as I can about riding at the FEI level and what it takes in terms of precision, power, and feel. However, I have 2 fairly specific goals.
1. Pirouettes. I was disappointed to see that most of my piri pictures look like rearing at this point. :shock: :oops: So, the game plan is to ride long side to demi volte so that I don't get it in my head that I have to "stop" and "turn" at a specific spot in the arena. The issue is that I'm still allowing the canter to slow too much in the collection and then that allows Gala to stargaze as she slowly comes around. The amount of drive needed up and through a pirouette is surprising to me, but this demi-volte exercise is allowing me to get the right feeling of the mechanics of it, without drilling bad pirouette after bad pirouette.

2. Flying changes. I'm still hit or miss on these. Again, it's finding the right canter for the different changes and of course, straightness. I have to figure out what I'm doing that sends her and I into an odd pretzel shape and destroys the changes. Andrea thinks that I instinctively feel when it's not right, so I start to twist out of desperation. So, I'm back on quarterline, looking in the mirrors. However, for some reason, I feel like I can't see properly into the mirrors. So, I wasn't catching where and how in her body she was getting crooked. For some reason, as I was turning onto quarterline for another pass, I happened to see that our track had us straight, straight and then diving off to the left. So, I watch carefully, and much to my surprise, she was straight, change and then the haunches snuck slightly left. The next stride, another inch to the left and so on. So, I'm feeling that and in order to correct it, I'm bringing her shoulders back in line with the haunches, which is making us veer left. So, with that adjustment, I was able to get some very expressive changes on my hip, in the proper count. So, this is going to be a long haul of nuance work, but I'm excited!

For Miro, we're just keeping on, keeping on. One big goal... he needs to lose weight. He suddenly, and I mean suddenly blew up on the spring grass, so he's been cut to a handful of grain and I'm starting to see a difference. In the work, he's doing everything right, including trail riding (although water is a challenge :roll: :lol: ). But, I'm very happy with the quality and feel and that I'm consistently able to ride his neck out. His lengthenings are incredibly impressive in terms of reach, right now, he can't really hold the balance up, so he gets a bit down in the neck, but I have no doubt that as he gets stronger, the balance will change. He's still struggling with the haunches in at the trot on the left rein, but in the canter, he's figured it out and is doing SI, HI, HP to counter canter in the canter. Trot is SI, HI, SI-R, and baby HP with the HI on the left being the weakest. It's interesting to me that he has zero issue with SI - R. The walk piri's are good at this point, I catch zero tension from him in the schooling at home, so I feel like we've met that goal from the last 2 months. And, because it's been a while since I've shared M pics, here he is!


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Tuddy
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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Tuddy » Mon May 01, 2017 4:05 pm

Finally get to have a goal! Lol!

I am taking my coming 6 year old Canadian to a horsemanship clinic this weekend. He is green as a John Deere tractor so this will be a good way for him to get exposed to travelling and acting like an adult.

On the search for a new coach for us as well.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Gwen » Tue May 02, 2017 2:05 am

Miro looks fabulous!

Good luck with the clinic and the trainer search tuddy, would love to hear about how the clinic goes!

We're off to an inauspicious start to May/June, as my 5yo daughter, after a night of high fever and vomiting, tested positive for the flu this morning. We're all vaccinated so hopefully she will only be down for 3-5 days instead of 7-10, but it means, minimally, a week home with her (I don't want to expose her babysitters), and a lot of time spent crossing my fingers that I don't follow suit!

Callie will get training rides, but she's not exactly the one who needs the training in this partnership... I have a schooling show to try 2-3 for the first time on the 13th, and I have yet to even ride the test through in a correctly sized arena! Oh well, that's what schooling shows are for, I guess.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby StraightForward » Tue May 02, 2017 2:53 am

I'm looking forward to the next two months. Things to focus on:

Kyra: in our lesson this weekend, I was challenged to get her more evenly out to the right rein. Last fall I was doing lots of LY right to help with that, but sort of forgot about it when I started riding her again this spring. We'll continue to work on being forward and supple, and work lengthenings into each ride.

Annabelle: for the next few weeks, it will mostly be groundwork with her while we get her more even in the pelvis and travelling more correctly. I might ride W/T once or twice a week once the weather calms down. She gets a little nutty when it's cold and windy like tonight. For June, I'm planning to take her to the trail horse challenge and do the in-hand course just for fun. It's also a rare opportunity to ride at this particular arena, and there's a lot going on, so it will be good exposure. Through the month we'll probably just be working on the very basics of steering, going forward and taking a bit of contact.
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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby demi » Tue May 02, 2017 4:23 am

Lovely pictures, Dresseur! and thanks for sharing your progress in such clear detail.
Tuddy, be careful and have fun at your clinic.
Gwen, have fun at your schooling show. I wish I was ready for a schooling show! I hope you give us a report.
Straighforward, it's so nice you and Kyra's mom are able to help each other out. It's a great deal for both of you and Miss Kyra.

I have no goals but have made some progress with Emma. I have established a good rein length and am being careful to keep it.
For the time being, I am no longer trying to get her to accept the dressage whip and, I have to really concentrate on balancing my seat, legs and hands in order to keep the energy without a whip. It's not easy! Here are some things I am keeping in mind:

My body has to be quite relaxed for her to feel my seatbones, and the seatbones have to be in exactly the right spot. If they are just a tiny bit too far forward, or a tiny bit too far back, they are ineffective if I need to drive her. And I have to use just my core to place the seatbones because if I use my legs, for seatbone placement, they become ineffective for driving.

Since she needs my body to be relaxed (any random tension and she reacts by becoming tense herself) I have to focus my mind when I'm using my core so that I don't engage the core for too long, but instead, use it and then go back to neutral quickly. Same thing with my legs. Use them and then go right back to neutral.

The work, both mounted and in hand, is very simple right now so that I can do the above. I'm not too good at walking and chewing gum at the same time. I need to stay simple and remember how we got to where we are at the moment. It took three months of ground work to get the the rides I am having now. I worked her 16 times in April and it was a mix of riding and ground work. I'd much rather ride than do the ground work so I have to police myself to not slip away from the ground work and go back to all riding too soon. I am monitoring this on my barn calendar.

Tomorrow I will do ground work because I rode her today. The next time I ride, I will put a mark where I am currently holding the reins so I don't shorten them too soon. More policing of myself! this is where the discipline comes in for me. I am going to put my silver Sharpie on the breakfast table right now so I don't forget to mark those reins.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Flight » Tue May 02, 2017 8:07 am

I've got a few competitions coming up and I'm a bit torn between thinking of that saying "what's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result", and just keeping on chipping away at it.

I've been going through a process with my horse and instructor and I think today we've reached the next step which will help me progress, more about riding collection but I'm really at a level I've never been before and it's hard to get it right. I'm going to have to do a "before" and "after (or during)" video though, just to remember that we are moving on.
I watched my tests from a couple of weeks ago, and I was a bit disappointed with our scores, but apart from some obvious mistakes I don't think I'm going to improve much with my current ability. If that makes sense? I can see why we score average marks, but I"m not sure how I can generally improve everything overall.

Dresseur, awesome pics and impressive that you have your young horse looking so good. LOL I can understand about the weight gain, having a friesian cross that now gains weight so quickly with green grass, it's hard to feed for energy but not for a belly! Pirouettes are definitely going to be my weak point. I may have to find a schoolmaster and ride a few to understand them better. But I have been working on our walk piros as you suggested, and at home they are much better. At comps - not so much yet.

Tuddy - have a great time at your clinic! Gwen, hope no one else gets the flu and good luck at your show. I ride in a small arena and then I get in a full sized one and suddenly there's this huge diagonal to get across!
Straightforward - I'll be interested to hear how the trail horse challenge goes. Demi - good things to think about in my own riding too.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Chisamba » Tue May 02, 2017 3:26 pm

So my first ride on Kimba in may I was not feeling very healthy, coughing etc, so I just jumped on bareback and rode fairly quietly. It is very interesting to have the direct contact feeling with her back, and her balance . I liked the feel of her back and her degree of relaxation in the work. I felt we were having a very nice ride, however, when i looked at photos, it seemed that she was a bit crest high and not quite reaching to the bridle.

Image

So i tip toe along the razors edge in opinion about the feel, and the technically "correct" poll height.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Moutaineer » Wed May 03, 2017 3:05 am

I actually rode for the first time tonight since Walker kicked the heck out of me at the start of last month. I had my SI and piriformis injected last week, so I'm starting to feel a little less beat up. The unbending Friesian is still unbending, but I will hop on him a couple of times a week and see if I can make a difference. If I can't, well, it's all experience and makes me appreciate my own lovely horse even more.

This weekend I have to pull on my big girl breeches and deal with Walker. He's been out in the back 40 since our little incident, and we both need to get over it and he needs to become not feral and I need to get back my confidence in him.

Laddie had his stem cell harvest last week, and will get his first treatment next Tuesday. Then 3 more about 2 weeks apart He is hand walking for 15 minutes a day, being a total gentleman, walking like a big cat as if there was nothing wrong... I suspect the vet will want to up the exercise quotient after next week's visit. We shall see.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby mari » Thu May 04, 2017 5:08 am

Awesome updates everyone!

Chisamba - isn't it amazing what riding bareback can teach us? I'm not brave enough to canter bareback, but every few weeks (pre stupid neck injury) I hopped on bareback and did a lot of walk and trot work, and as much lateral work as I could. It really makes it very clear where you want to pretzel and shift your weight to when you are trying to apply an aid.

My neck is slooooooooowly but surely getting better. I had my first dressage lesson in months last week, and it went pretty well. Can't sit the trot, and sitting the canter for more than a circle is tough, but baby steps. My instructor will keep competing him for most of this year, I'm guessing.

Odin had his last 90cm jumping show this past weekend, moving up to 1m next show, yay! He placed in the competition class (5th). My jumping instructor just rides him once or twice the week before a show for prep. I do all of the rest, even in my broken state :D So I'm very very pleased, especially with the feedback from both instructors that the work I put in really pays off, as he requires minimal prep and he is a joy to ride in both disciplines. Be still my heart... :D

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Rosie B » Thu May 04, 2017 10:16 am

We're off to an inauspicious start because Bliss has been off with an abscess for two weeks now. BUT this morning we have some clear drainage so I'm optimistic we'll be back at it soon.

Goals for May/June:
* ride at least three times a week
* do hillwork at least four times
* learn to sit the new big trot
* learn to ride him in the new big trot with the new uphill balance without letting him curl
* be disciplined about schooling the lateral work. Ride him forward and OUT if he starts to get stuck or loses rhythm.

Hoping by the end of the two months the lateral work will be more consolidated and closer to show ready.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby piedmontfields » Fri May 05, 2017 2:26 pm

I have been terribly sick for almost 2 months (flare of a chronic disease), so not much progress has been happening lately after a very good winter work season.

At this point, my goals are:
1. Get well enough to get back to work! (all I have been able to manage in the last weeks is light hacking)
2. Return to chipping away on my 2017 goal of becoming comfortable with all of 3rd, including prompt changes. Use poles on the rail to help.

This is a really lovely time of year here but I haven't made much of it yet. I am so grateful for Emi's good temper. She seems to know when I am extra weak and just can't handle much. And on stronger days, she is ready to go! Walking up and down hills is keeping her in decent shape. Hopefully stronger days are ahead for me.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Sue B » Fri May 05, 2017 3:21 pm

Mari, gorgeous picture. I can see why you are so proud of your pony! 8-) 8-)

I am still slogging away at improving my seat as I prepare to venture into 3rd lvl land with Rudy. Dresseur, I use your pictures and commentary as an aide to that end so please keep it coming.

So I rode Wed evening, out and about as well as in the arena, and did my usual without stirrups,etc. My legs were really stiff feeling when I first got on and it took quite awhile to release all the tightness, but instead of pushing through, I stayed in walk and allowed myself the time to adjust. I think the problem was that my back was acting up a bit and needed time to re-align. (I went steelhead fishing last week and tweaked my back at the T/L junction netting for my son.) In walk, I ride through cavelletti set 9' apart until Rudy's walk remains forward and unchanged in tempo and forward stretch as well as doing easy lateral movements and such. When he is consistent then we go into trot work as well as some t-h-rb-t as I am working on getting him to take clear "marching" steps backwards instead of dragging his feet. This rb work is preparation for piaffe in my mind but also ensures a horse that is balanced and forward. Cool thing that happened while we were working in trot is that I gave a little hh with my seat and he immediately "sat" more and became more cadenced. It was a real live "upper" level response to a subtle hh, his first ever, and I believe a new understanding clicked in his brain regarding this whole dressage thing. He repeated this in the canter, darn near cantering in place for a couple strides and then powering into a beautiful medium, all the while completely focused. I had to be careful to listen and send him out before he tired so that he doesn't lose the joy in discovering all the cool things his body can do. :lol: I really, really wanted to work on flying changes, but that would have been too much. Gosh I love this silly horse.

Tio (the green bean) was also rockin' it Wednesday night. Our work is much more basic...like go forward and use your big 'ol butt when I put my leg on stuff. I have to work him first on the lunge to remind him what his job is and then work in short bursts from the saddle in order to encourage his laid back wb mind to put real effort out. Our achievement that evening was to get t-w-t transitions without him dumping down on his forehand. They got so good that we ended on an absolutely perfect square halt. He was all set to lift off into the walk again (or maybe even trot) so I think I surprised him when I dropped the reins, patted him and hopped off. He looked quite pleased with himself as we sauntered out of the arena.

Btw, I do quite a bit of cavelletti work with him too but at the trot or sometimes canter, because he likes to treat them as a bounce grid. Jumping is his reward for working on dressage. Canter is now his reward for working in the trot too.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Chisamba » Sat May 06, 2017 12:23 am

I accidentally put this in last months goals, so i am copying it to here, my apologies to those who read it twice.

In keeping with setting goals and looking ahead, I renewed my USEF membership, and planned which shows I would like to attend. One in June, one in July and one in September.

I am taking nine horses and clients to a schooling show this weekend, but decided trying to ride myself while coaching was not going to be fair to my clients or my horse. Subsequently one of my adults was sharing her daughter aged Ottb, so I offered the ride on Kimba to her. Hopefully its a good warm up show for Kimba.

It's slated to be raining, which can be a challenge but we are pressing on.

Luck to us!

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Chisamba » Sat May 06, 2017 12:27 am

Mari, Odin looks like he will have no problem doing the 1m division.

Rosie, I hope Bliss's foot heals rapidly, once it opens usually they get sound fairly quickly.

Dresseur, Miro is filling out nicely.

Straightforward: How is Annabelle now?

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Imperini » Sat May 06, 2017 10:03 pm

Odin is so handsome, of course I'm a bit partial to the dotted ones too :D Hope your neck continues to feel better mari

Miro is looking less like a youngster and more filled out and grown up, it's lovely watching you two progress Dresseur

For Pal and myself we've had some really lovely work the last couple of weeks. It's funny how a "bad" ride sort of clarified things for me and pointed us back in the right direction. I set up my phone at the start of my ride today to take some video and was so excited to see how we looked because the end of the ride felt wonderful and then I went to shut off the camera and it turns out I ran out of space after 15 minutes so it's all walking except about 1 minute at the end.. go figure :lol: I will get some decent video one of these days I'm sure. The good news is I think my leg looks to be in a much better position and more solid in this video (for our whole minute of trot) than it did in the last video I took.

For this set of goals I'm going to focus on my position mostly. I believe I've found what works for us as far as a warm up which is a lot of transitions and getting her to respond to the lightest possible aid without hesitation then once we've established that I'm asking quietly instead of loud but still expect a prompt response then we move on. I think that's always going to be a part of how we have to work together so that's no longer going to be part of my goals posts, it's just a given.

So for me:
Spend at least a little bit of time in two point every ride to hopefully help with my tendency to draw my legs up and use my heel to ask for anything.
Work on staying relaxed through my shoulders (they're where I hold a lot of tension even when I'm not riding so I'm going to be working on it all the time) and keeping my arms soft and following.
Incorporate stretches and strength building into my routine on days that I don't ride, which on a typical week will be three days (and ride four)
Finally to keep things interesting for the lovely Paloma at least one ride per week must be something other than flat work in the arena whether it's a hack, pole work, or whatever just something different to shake it up a bit.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby StraightForward » Sat May 06, 2017 11:59 pm

Mari, I just love Odin. What a fancy jumper he is. I hope you're able to ride him more and more and continue to heal.

Imperini - sounds like you're making great progress with Pal. I've done the same thing when trying to video myself. :lol: I really hope the SoloShot 3 is available at some point this summer.

Chisamba wrote:
Straightforward: How is Annabelle now?


I've been calling her Anna Bananas because he likes to spook, buck and bolt on the lunge when the weather is wacky. Hopefully in a week or two she'll start getting turned out daily with the herd and get her yahoos out when I'm not trying to teach her something. She had bodywork again on Friday and her S/I was a lot better, and we found tightness in her hamstring this time around. Her pelvis is more level than before, but it's going to take time. Her previous owner started her, then sent her off for 90 days last year, and talked about how hard the trainer works them, so I suspect she built up a pretty big imbalance trying to keep up with the workload she was totally unprepared for. As long as I keep reminding her, she will move evenly, but wants to move short, especially on the LH when she gets the chance.

Yesterday I went out and visited Pickle. She has made a ton of progress in the last month, and I'm cautiously optimistic. Annabelle is a lovely mare, but I took Pickle out to groom her and just felt "yes, this is MY horse," so I came home and did up my budget, and decided that I can keep her in training and board the other two as long as she is continuing to progress. Yesterday she was falling asleep wearing a tarp, then it blew off and she got her leg stuck in it, but just backed up a big, stopped, thought and got herself out of it instead of freaking, which was great to see. Next month I'll probably start trying to go out and work with her once a week or so and see how I feel about it.
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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby khall » Sun May 07, 2017 2:34 am

dresseur, mari, chisamba great pics! Mari you are brave to be jumping that's some big push your guy has!!l

Sf that is exciting about pickles, I hope she continues to make good choices in her work. I have ones that will kick up with wacky weather too. Why I like my solid nose piece lunge caveson:)

Impernini interesting on two point. One way I have worked to get me more plugged in feeling and longer leg is to change posting diagonals every other stride. I have only done light seat (not even 2 point) in canter on Rip last month when I was still riding him. That was great fun and I felt his back really soften.

Sue B, so happy you can finally ride with some regularity!! Good for Tio and Rudy for coming back into work for you.

piedmont I am sorry you have been sick. Feel better soon!

Rosie good luck with your nice guy, i know you will do well with him.

Mountaineer thank goodness Laddie is being a good boy about everything, I hope you can get somewhere with the friesian. Can be interesting riding someone else's horses, makes you appreciate your own for sure!

Tuddy have fun with your clinic and Gwen good luck at your show!

Goals for me this time is to get back on my mare Gaila, hoping to get my filly back into work some have to wait until vet checks out her splint and gives me the go ahead. This stuff with Rip had just really knocked the wind out of my sails so I just stepped back and have not been working horses at all. I have started a new thread on Rip please take a peak, have some news on that front.

I really need to get back in the saddle before my trip! A friend and I leave May 26 for Spain on an equitour to go ride PREs for a week. We get 3 hours of instruction a day on trained horses (not GP but FEI training) our last day we get a lesson with Raphael Soto. We also get a day trip to the school at Jerez. Really looking forward to it.

Hope all can meet and exceed our goals!

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Dresseur » Sun May 07, 2017 2:20 pm

This weekend marked the meeting of a goal that I didn't think was possible. I am proud to say that I am now a USDF bronze AND SILVER medalist! The test was of course not mistake free, but I rode my breeches off and we pulled it off. It was so interesting because the last two rides, I've been managing Gala charging ahead of me and being a bit flat in all of the gaits, so I've been working at feeling when the trot and canter have enough energy, but are too flat and big vs when it feels up and light, but is actually lacking in energy and feels a bit hovery. The line is thin. So to fix the energy but too big/flat, I've been doing lots of transitions from trot/hat and specifically halting before corners and then moving off in a lively trot. In the canter, I've been working on canter/canter on the spot to liven things up. And, I will say that on Gala, the line is even thinner from activity to big/flat because of the way that she's built - which is rather downhill with a short, very upright neck. So, to get her light in the shoulders, but not pecking in the canter is difficult. She is extremely flexible in the LS joint, which makes it very, very easy for her to come much too far under behind, which causes triangulation - which means that while she looks like a bouncing ball of lightness, she's actually on her forehand.

In any case, in warmup, I had the game plan to do the transitions as I've been doing them, but I quickly felt that she actually wanted to hover a bit, and she was anticipating the transitions and getting hovery behind, so, not enough activity to keep her driving up and light. When this happens, transitions from anything extended or anything where the power is ramped up gets accompanied by a head flip because then any rein action is just rein action and hand riding, vs accessing her hinds and having the hand modulate the power. So, I changed the plan and started driving her a bit more, with short spurts of lengthenings and THEN started in on the transitions. In the canter, I really needed to push, because the story was the same, get a bit slow behind and triangulate - and when that happens, she becomes very unsteady in the head carriage and she comes down in the shoulder. So, each short side, I asked for a mini-lengthening to see if there was a response. Andrea was very happy with the results of the warmup when she came back from coaching her other students who were riding earlier.

So, test time, the centerline, halt/salute was excellent, and the trot work had a very nice quality and feel to it. The canter started out excellent, and then as the movements came quicker and quicker, it started to get too big, but this time, I wasn't able to fix it fast enough. The first piri was good, then second was good and then I didn't get her back to me enough to not have the change at C quite on my time, which meant that I had zero time to organize for the line of 4's. I KNEW that I needed to drive her up, but I didn't manage the half-halts well enough to keep the canter up. So the 4s were a bit of a hot mess, and then the 3's started out good, and then I just let the canter get too big and rangy through the line, so I missed the last change. I did go for a huge canter extension, and while she didn't steal the change from me, it needed to be a clearer transition to collection before the change. The final halt/salute I received an 8 on. If there is one thing Andrea teaches, it's how to ride a centerline! lol.

The freestyle also went well, I was in first with a score of 69+, and I almost pulled off the canter half-pass right, right piri, line of 4's, I just missed the timing on the last change. BUT, I rode it successfully in warmup, so, it CAN be done!! She choreographed one hell of a test, with a huge difficulty for someone just figuring this stuff out lol.

All in all, I'm incredibly happy. I still feel like a monkey gyrating wildly, but in the videos, I hardly look like I'm moving so, it's one of those things that what it feels like, does NOT match what it looks like. The plan now is go back, continue to find the holes in my riding, and keep tearing apart the basics and aim for I-1. Either at the very end of this year, or early next year.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby demi » Sun May 07, 2017 3:56 pm

Wonderful news!! Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us especially giving really helpful descriptions of the work you're doing. Great job!!!

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby StraightForward » Sun May 07, 2017 5:55 pm

Congratulations, Dresseur!
The UDBB member known as AQHA Hunter

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Gwen » Sun May 07, 2017 9:29 pm

Wow, everyone, it looks like it's been an eventful first week for all! Jingles and congratulations and good lucks all around, wherever appropriate!

Got back in the saddle today, was able to join a fix-a-test at my barn, which was nice to do before the show this weekend. We were in the dreaded (by Callie) outdoor arena with (the horror) people in the judges box. :roll: It was... fine. She's been better (even on previous rides out there this year), but she's also been a LOT worse, so I guess I'll take it.

Big weak spots are (as expected) canter-walk/walk-canters, and losing impulsion and suppleness in the lateral work as she gazed in horror at (and at one point slammed on the breaks and flew backwards from) the dreaded woods. But we got through it, twice.

I'm a little at a loss as to how to handle this going forward. Last year I spent a solid month going out there every day, and while we had better and worse days the behavior never really improved. At shows away from home she's fine - gets tense and nervous, but is happy to trust me for the most part and gets it together. We have enough shows at our barn that I could get all my regionals scores without leaving the property, assuming we can get through a test spook free!

I'm frustrated, honestly - we've come such a long way, and we're a much better team now, but days like this just make me tired. With Training and First, you have enough time to get the suppleness back when the tension creeps in, but now, not so much. On the other hand, it was super cold and windy today, and she's been on grass this week for the first time since the winter, so none of the behavior is particularly surprising. She always goes a little nuts when she gets back on grass.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby greenholmeshandy » Sun May 07, 2017 10:23 pm

Congrats dressuer and every one else who is progressing. We are also slowly progressing at my snail pace rate of "getting it". A few weekends back we tried a new to us venue. Very busy working in arena by the lorry park, competition arena was outside reached via road crossing then through a very busy stable yard . Husband and child came along. Husband was pleased I had washed pony as he was concerned that dressage being top show pony looked a bit grubby at last show and happily brushed out her mane. This resulted in a near stop in intro test when pony spotted her hairdresser by the arena fence line!

I was very pleased with pony we got 68.48 % intro (walk trot) and 66.05% prelim (includes canter work), despite wrong leggin left canter so got a well deserved 4 for that, and some nice comments. The more important bit was comments that needed a more positive contact and losing supleness at times. Plus fell onto forehand a few times in prelim. Test.

Discussed with instructor but had a dire lesson including pony falling out so badly in 20 metre circle right canter I nearly lost my knee cap on a fence post. Was convinced it was my riding but instructor got on and had only marginally better results. We think pony had come into season, she is a bit secretive about this but was spotted passionately grooming a gelding and is a bit bitey to girth up.

I had another competition the following weekend and contemplated with drawing. Had a good think at work the next day and the light dawned that instructor just sits there quietly asking for canter, whereas if I don't get canter as soon as I give the canter aid I kind of go argh, panic, kick, wiggle arms and pony goes oh my goodness this is horrible scramble run off on forehand. I have also revised I squeeze each stride so if I keep my legs still Pony thinks this is the downward transition aid. So I womened up, got on after work, walked up pony with circles, leg yields, lots of walk trot transitions. Quietly asked for canter, got nothing, quietly asked again, got canter, took legs of and said keep cantering and she did . Did it several times either rein then worked on canter 20 metre circles at a, c and b and e, finished on a nice canter and big hugs to pony.

Went to competition at the weekend at crossword which has a lovely working in arena and a super scary in door competition arena a bit like a hybrid between a greenhouse and a space station with high winds helpfully going woooo and vibrating the roof . Husband was working night before so just had child as crew.

Arrived late and through this discovered pony is much better with 15 to 20 mins working in rather than the usual hour long one. I concentrated on supplying movements and forwarded Ness in warm up and got a startling (for me) 73.47 for intro test coming 2nd, with some very pleasing 8 and 8.5 for fiddly bits like 2 x 1/2 10 from e to x to b metre circles in trot and for transition sections. I did the prelim. Test and we got mainly 7s with some 6.5s for canter transitions, did lose some marks for an aberrant freestyle moment where I turned late after a marker as had gone into a happy trance and crooked halt as I was thinking about how dim I was so 67.88% . The bit that delighted me was that these were the first tests where we had no adverse comments about tension or contact plus complements nice downward transitions so I think we are progressing.

This makes me sound like I focus on just the competition, in fact I really love schooling now so the competition is feedback on the schooling (though I do like a frilly!). I'm slowly remembering dressage lessons I had 20 years ago before I got my last horse and side tracked into endurance. I doubt pony will become a high level dressage performer as her paces plus me limit her. But she is so kind I am learning so much riding her.

Current aim is to work on more bounce ( suspension) in her stride and also to stretch (extension), so worked with trot and canter cavellettis last lesson which was an eye opener for me. Basically I learnt not to fiddle, not to shorten rein as going up to poles, to look up and ignore poles, leave pony to sort herself out and just use legs for added impulsion if needed. It was interesting to get the feel of bounce in each stride over cavelletis, then to try and maintain it around the rest of the arena and keep looking up and not at ponys head as I ride which I now realise is a dreadful habit I have developed.

I am hoping to have a bash at an affiliated show next and start jumping as well. I have been warned that my marks will drop in affiliated as certain overall percentages = qualifying for regional champs but I think it would be a new challenge and maybe the feedback will provide more food for thought.

Anyway I always feel a bit odd putting my posts on these threads as for some strange reason I always seem to follow up dressuers. But maybe posts contrast rider who really gets it (dressuer) to rider who is slowly getting it (me) might help others at the start of their journeys to also post.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Flight » Sun May 07, 2017 11:23 pm

Great report Dresseur and congrats!!! Will you share any vids? I would love to see them.

Gwen, it's hard when spookiness gets in the way. That's why I ended up doing a year of horsemanship stuff with my big horse just addressing that. Some horses are just more like it than others too.
Greenholmeshandy- nice scores!! I think these threads show that everyone is trying and everyone has things they have to work on :)

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Moutaineer » Mon May 08, 2017 4:32 am

Gwen, what happens when someone else rides her? My horses feed off my insecurities.

GHH, eh, we all put our breeches on one leg at a time. It sounds like you are doing pretty well, so enjoy the heck out of this moment!

I'm getting my big spotty guy back into work. Just tooling around walking and trotting up and down hills this week. I may take him down to the barn to play in the big arena next weekend and see if we have a canter. I think we will. He feels really sound and his brain is in a good place. I stopped dressage training with him two years ago because we were struggling so hard with the canter, and his SI and various other things were giving him grief.

He's been turned out on my big hill with some trail riding thrown in for the duration, and I'm hoping/feeling that whatever was troubling him has healed. He's forward and willing and free in his movement and just more cheerful to ride and handle. I've also radically changed his diet recently, since he and I had our little altercation last month. He's been out in the back 40 on the grass hay and water diet and lost quite a bit of weight (he was a fatso, he really needed to.) However, his topline is now a little embarrassing. I need to get a handle on enough but not too much protein and how to deliver it, so he looks and feels good but isn't amped up.

It'll be interesting to see what he can do. He's old enough to order himself a drink in a bar now, so we aren't planning on FEI, but it'll do him good and it will teach me how much I've learned in the last couple of years, too.

And, I love riding the old fool.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby kande50 » Mon May 08, 2017 7:58 am

Gwen wrote:
I'm frustrated, honestly - we've come such a long way, and we're a much better team now, but days like this just make me tired.


One of my instructors used to say that a big part of showing was just getting to the show, but with some horses I think the biggest part of showing is getting and keeping them calm enough at a show to be able to even come close to being able to do what they can do at home (or when they're calmer).

I think it's also one of the reason that some competitors pick their shows, and avoid those venues that are just too much for their horse.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Gwen » Mon May 08, 2017 11:13 am

Mountaineer, she's still worried and would spook if she could, but my trainer is much quicker than she is (and than I am!) so she doesn't really get the chance to act on her fears. :lol: I'm not saying I stay totally relaxed, but I am significantly better than I used to be, and can honestly say that at this point it is her fear and not mine.

I think a big problem is that she gets behind my leg - she likes to do that generally, and if she is worried it's much worse. It's like she needs to feel like she is keeping plenty in reserve in case she needs to make a break for it. :lol: One thing I do that my trainer definitely doesn't is to allow that, especially after a bolt, because it gives me the illusion that if she's slower, she won't take off. In reality, she is much more likely to take off if I'm thinking "slow down" vs "go on". I think I forgot that over the winter. I did remember that my reins needed to be short so my hands could be forward - a backward hand in this context definitely makes her more upset, so I'm happy that I maintained that. I just needed to follow it up with more insistence on forward into that contact.

Going to try again today, but with forward forward forward in my mind.

There is also a feeling she gives me in the good moments/on good days where she's pushing into the contact, putting herself in my hands, when she does that I know she's going to be fine. When she's about to take off she goes light and hollow. The problem is she can go from the first to the second so damn fast!!

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby kande50 » Mon May 08, 2017 12:10 pm

Gwen wrote:The problem is she can go from the first to the second so damn fast!!


Exactly! :-)

And when I watch them at liberty, if they're worried about a new environment they tend to take off at a fast gallop and do a couple of fast loops first thing, which I think may be so that they're moving fast enough to escape if a predator jumps out?

So when I turn mine out in the pasture they'll run first, and then they may stop and stare at anything that concerns them.

So *IF* I was a heckuva rider and could actually ride them through that without hanging on their mouths, I'd just let my horses go on when we first entered an unfamiliar environment.

But since I'm not that rider, and can't put my hands forward when my horse spooks, I take the opposite approach and start at the safe end and then gradually widen the work area as they become accustomed to the new environment.

IOW, I think the solution to the problem is different for different riders, and trying to take advice from a better rider if we're not at the same level can be a big mistake. And not all trainers get that, and think because it works for them they need to teach that to their students and then they'll be better riders for it. Or at least the ones that survive will be better riders for it.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby cb06 » Mon May 08, 2017 1:48 pm

My goals this year are to get to some licensed shows and not puke. (lofty, I know).

A lot of the focus is on the horse, but this, really, is about the rider (me). The horse is a direct reflection of me and after a few schooling shows last year and 2 licensed show now, that connection could not be more evident. If I ride nervous and hesitant, he is a decent enough fellow to babysit me and I get a lot of 'go more forward' type comments from the judge and crappy scores. If I ride too aggressively or spastic or inconsistent, my horse gets cranky and fussy and we get crappy scores. If I ride even fairly competently and confidently, well, scores improve...funny how that works. ;)

We have access to good training, I ride o.k. at home, but I don't ride the same at shows and I need to improve that. My first licensed dressage show (EVER!? :shock: ) a few weeks ago I was quite a ball of nerves. I could not feel my legs, I was tense, I could NOT sit the trot, couldn't make corrections on the fly, just RIDE. After the first test I swore up and down to my 'pit crew' friends that I had left out a whole section of the trot work because I truly don't remember a THING about doing it...ugh. :roll: Anyway, evidently I did do it, and we lived and my scores were high 50s...we (I) could do better.
This past weekend we tried again and I'm happy to report a marked improvement all around...I"m hoping this trend continues.
61.5% at Third-3 (3rd place) and 60.3% at Third-2 (4th place)...judging was consistently conservative all weekend and that is fine...but I got my 3rd level scores for a Bronze medal!! (now just have to go get the 1st and 2nd level scores...).
Very happy and I guess my point is, for me, this is 10% about the horse and 90% about my riding/fitness/applying what I know/improving my mental game...
Here is my baby sitter
Image

More of my 'wild' Saddlebred waiting for his class...(it was cold and windy and yes, his eyes ARE closed).
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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Gwen » Mon May 08, 2017 1:54 pm

Yes, certainly countless issues have been magically resolved by becoming a better rider. :lol: I think I need to think of this as learning how to ride her, and what she needs from me, in this context. And the only way to do it is to keep riding her in this context.

I think I need to focus more intensely on the moments when she WANTS to peace out, but stays with me instead. I think if I am only allowing myself to notice the good moments, the softening, any level of obedience through the scary corner, it will be easier to build on than when I just notice and anticipate her fear.

My trainer said a thing once that I am constantly forgetting and re-remembering, when she was teaching someone on a horse who had just had a bit of a meltdown. When they had recovered, she said "Good. Now ride him like he's the best horse you've ever ridden. Hold no grudges, anticipate no issues." She also manages to create a bubble of certainty around herself and the horse when she is riding, where even if she decides a current approach isn't working, while she's trying it she is totally committed. I'm going to try to keep this in mind today.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby cb06 » Mon May 08, 2017 2:05 pm

Gwen wrote:"Good. Now ride him like he's the best horse you've ever ridden. Hold no grudges,..."


I love it! ...and that is great advice!

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Gwen » Mon May 08, 2017 2:09 pm

Congratulations cb06, and what wonderful photos! You guys look fantastic! I've definitely had that "I have no legs, where are my legs!" feeling, it's QUITE disconcerting. :lol:

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Dresseur » Mon May 08, 2017 2:17 pm

cb06, I recognize those showgrounds! I was there on Sat - I wish I would have known you were there, I'd have introduced myself. That is so awesome, and as a fellow nervous competitor I can commiserate with the "no puking" mantra. This is the first show that I wasn't dry heaving in the trailer before I got on lol!

For something fun, here is my 4th Level MFS from Sat. You can see my panic and twist moment in the changes, and I pushed her too big and flat and then dropped her on her head in the trot extensions, and the canter needed a touch more energy, especially before the 2nd pirouette and, also, that first halt. ugh! Was much better in the PSG lol.
https://youtu.be/KaOatpmZul4

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby musical comedy » Mon May 08, 2017 2:28 pm

CB06, didn't you ride under the same judge both tests? I don't think that counts as two scores, but I could be wrong.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby cb06 » Mon May 08, 2017 2:37 pm

musical comedy wrote:CB06, didn't you ride under the same judge both tests? I don't think that counts as two scores, but I could be wrong.

Oh crud, MC, I think you are right. I thought they used different judges for the 2 levels (evidently not)....we have more shows in the works this year, so hopefully it will pan out! Lol! 8-)

Thanks for commiserating Dresseur, and nice MF! (yes, same place!..I was only there Sunday morning...when it felt like it was going to snow :lol: )

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Dresseur » Mon May 08, 2017 2:42 pm

Saturday was cold and rainy!! And the wind!! eek! I was very happy to be able to ride indoors, but my friend Nikki was not so lucky, she had to ride her first test outside - but was able to find a window in the rain. I felt like it was April, not May lol

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby demi » Tue May 09, 2017 1:12 am

Congrats to all who are showing and thanks for the reports. The pictures are super! We have a nice group of horses and riders. For those with sick or injured horses, I am thinking positive thoughts for healing and resolution...

I marked my reins last week so that I have a baseline rein length. The length she is happy with is longer than last fall, but I am very pleased with the steadiness of contact. Today I had wanted to try the "slinky circle" LY on a circle exercise from the other thread, but decided to wait until this new steady contact is confirmed before adding anything new. Right now it is just walk and trot circles, 3 loop serpentines (20 X 40 m arena), a few changes of direction across the diagonal, and some walk halt transitions. No lateral work. Even though I thought I was going slowly with her last fall, I can now see that I was doing way too much.

Tomorrow will be a lunge day and I will continue to do about half lungeing and half ridden work.

Emma seems to be very happy with this program. Today was really windy but she was attentive and relaxed.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby khall » Tue May 09, 2017 1:47 am

cb so happy to see you out and about with your nice guy. I remember when you first got him, I liked him then. I rode one very similar in build and disposition and always loved that horse. I ended up pairing him with a rider who had totally lost her confidence and for 3 yrs she learned what it was like to ride a horse that took care of you. She had to retire him last year at 26 or so due to lameness but thankfully we found another horse that is just as nice. These type of horses really are worth their weight in gold and yes a good ASB is hard to beat in my book.

So cool dresseur!! What fun you get to have, I hope the dry heaving goes away.

I have never had show nerves to that extent but I do identify with cb, feeling like I am frozen up there and not remembering anything about the test! What helped me oddly enough was riding as a demo rider multiple times with the likes of Jane Savoie, Sue Blinks and Cathy Connely. I gave up the nerves after that!! Really I just decided it was not worth it anymore. I did this to enjoy my horses not to get nervous and scared.

chisamba question for you, does your abs and glutes hurt after riding bareback? Mine scream at me after riding bareback!

Good luck all who are showing. Doubt I will get anywhere near a show ring for a long time unless a miracle happens with Rip. His sister has so much trouble with ulcers (hauling and staying overnight away gets her going) I doubt I will try much with her unless local I can haul to same day. So will have to wait for my filly to get to that point, she is much better mentally than Gaila is. Though I guess I could get the old gal Rip's dam out, she is great to take out and about.

Good riding all!!

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby mari » Tue May 09, 2017 6:07 am

Imperini wrote:
So for me:
Spend at least a little bit of time in two point every ride to hopefully help with my tendency to draw my legs up and use my heel to ask for anything.
Work on staying relaxed through my shoulders (they're where I hold a lot of tension even when I'm not riding so I'm going to be working on it all the time) and keeping my arms soft and following.


On the two point - one thing that has really helped my lower leg position is to do a million c/t/c transitions in two point. In the down transition, it is important to close your knee, sink into your heel, and use your core to keep from tipping forward when they gear down. In the up transition, focus on keeping your leg long, and applying a definite leg aid. Resist the urge to sit in the saddle to give the aid.

For tense shoulders, a poster on here once gave a great tip. Make two or three markers on the arena wall your check point (e.g. A, C and B). Then every time you pass this check point, think "wiggle shoulders to relax". This means that it will be a conscious proper correction for yourself, and it is a quicker path to improving your position than trying to remember it all the time during a ride ;)
The aim of argument or of discussion should not be victory, but progress. ~ Joseph Joubert

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Chisamba » Tue May 09, 2017 1:37 pm

khall wrote:
chisamba question for you, does your abs and glutes hurt after riding bareback? Mine scream at me after riding bareback!
Good riding all!!


I actually think I use my hamstring more, perhaps not having the support of the stirrup, but not in particular abs or glutes. I come home looking very hairy though, lol. The more collected work I do, the more I tire my abs.

I love to read how busy everyone has been, showing, riding, etc. I learn a little from everyone. I am glad I am not the only person who gets show nerves, or rides defensively.

Jingles for all those working through health issues, be they horse or riders.

I too like the quote about holding no grudges. I suppose riding defensively is holding a grudge in a way.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby kande50 » Tue May 09, 2017 2:03 pm

Chisamba wrote:
I suppose riding defensively is holding a grudge in a way.


Or maybe it's just being realistic about how horses are, without blaming the horse or expecting him to take responsibility for keeping his rider in the saddle? A grudge, to me, implies ill will, while riding defensively seems more about taking responsibility for one's own safety

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby piedmontfields » Tue May 09, 2017 2:05 pm

Well done, everyone, with progress and insights and a special well done to those showing and to dresseur for her new medal! Also glad to hear that Mountaineer is back on the post-reform school Mr Spotty. He is soooo handsome (right up there with Mr. Odin). Jingles for continued healing for the well-behaved Laddie.

My not so big news is that I am feeling healthy enough to be able to do 20-30 minutes of dressage-like work now in trot and canter. Of course, then I am wasted! Yesterday, miss mare and I returned to the basic work of trot shoulder-in on a circle to 3 strides collected canter to s-i. We were both like WHOA---this is work! But she was seriously sitting (kind of shocking to see that in the mirror) and gave some very good efforts in both trot and canter.

I do laugh at what a different creature my mare is from her eventing barn neighbors. She looks like a brick *#@ house body builder with rippling muscles. It is also funny how through the warm-up she changes from 1. dumpy kid's/old lady pony to 2. slow western pleasure horse to 3. willingly forward on the bit horse to 4. canter changes everything horse who warms up with half passes and plies to 4. I can sit and reach and do stuff like a real dressage horse. I've always heard that a horse "warms up through the levels" but let's just say it is particularly dramatic with this girl! If you see us on minute 10, we don't look like much. :-D

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Gwen » Tue May 09, 2017 2:20 pm

Khall I still can't believe that your filly is old enough to start, time flies!!

Yesterday was pretty good - two bolts (or maybe just big scoots? Not sure what language to use for these) and a whole lot of tension, but we worked through it. Certainly not our best work, but we got to a point where I could soften in the scary corner pretty consistently without ending up with an escape attempt.

I was able to get a GoPro video, which was largely useless when we were at the other end of the arena, but gave some helpful glimpses of things going well and things to improve. The things I want to spend some serious time on are controlling the right side of the body - I'm losing the shoulder to the outside tracking left, and the haunches to the outside tracking right, which mean she is out of balance both directions and unable to soften through her body into the bend, and is also better able to slip out of my aids and book for home. She is built downhill, so helping her get and maintain an uphill balance has always been challenging, but is more challenging when she is tense and crooked!

My hands are also bouncing in the half halts when she's tense and not giving me the response I want. I need to find a way to be strong enough to get her attention in those moments without getting stiff in the contact, since that CERTAINLY isn't going to help. :roll:

Some video grabs of the highs and lows...

The first bolt attempt - the scary corner is behind her, the GoPro is in the judges box:

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This was the first moment of take off, I managed to put hands forward shortly after this and we were back in trot by the corner. The second bolt took a lot longer to get back because I lost total control of the right shoulder (we were tracking left), and my position went to hell. It happened on the long side so don't really have good footage.

Some better moments:

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So I think the first step is to master helping her find bend and balance when she is scared, learn to soften my contact while maintaining that, and then I'd like to be able to push for more impulsion and energy. It's funny that she can FEEL like she's a bomb about to go off, but she LOOKS quite flat - it just reinforces for me the idea that brilliance requires relaxation.

RE: riding defensively - I think it depends on the way the individual rides defensively - I think (?) you can be prepared for sh*t to go down without necessarily communicating with your body "HOLY CRAP SH*T IS GOING TO GO DOWN" (aka fetal position, deathgrip on the reins) - I used to ride more in the latter mode, but am getting better about being prepared while staying as soft as I can, but it takes a lot of focus and courage when I can feel her wanting to go boom.

We were practicing the 1-3 stretchy circle, which happens in the scariest (for Callie) part of the arena. My trainer said "let her stretch, ride her forward and keep the bend, but just be smart about it and pick her up early." :lol:

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby demi » Tue May 09, 2017 2:40 pm

great pictures Gwen. Callie looks athletic!

I agree that "riding defensively" depends on the way the individual rides defensively. When I'm "riding defensively" it isn't quite a fetal position/deathgrip thing, but more like "horse you'd better not do anything!!" and there is tension in my hands, seat, legs and voice (in that order, too!). So for me defensive riding is NOT a good thing.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby demi » Tue May 09, 2017 2:41 pm

Piedmont fields, glad you are feeling better. Also hope to see Kyra's mom back soon!

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby demi » Tue May 09, 2017 2:49 pm

kande50 wrote:
Chisamba wrote:
I suppose riding defensively is holding a grudge in a way.


Or maybe it's just being realistic about how horses are, without blaming the horse or expecting him to take responsibility for keeping his rider in the saddle? [url]A grudge, to me, implies ill will, while riding defensively seems more about taking responsibility for one's own safety[/url]


"Taking responsibility for one's own safety" for me is just riding cautiously. Riding defensively too me, Is restrictive for the horse, it is not having any giving quality in my riding, in a way, holding a grudge...

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby kande50 » Tue May 09, 2017 3:14 pm

demi wrote:
"Taking responsibility for one's own safety" for me is just riding cautiously. Riding defensively too me, Is restrictive for the horse, it is not having any giving quality in my riding, in a way, holding a grudge...


True. There are many ways to ride cautiously without even picking up the reins, but riding defensively does most often seem to be about trying to use the hands, and maybe other aids, to prevent the horse from reacting.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Chisamba » Tue May 09, 2017 8:23 pm

Today I made my tired self ride my girls. However, respecting my degree of exhaustion made me decide, before getting on, to stop and profusely praise a good response. A tractor was moving a noisy metal container past the barn. Kimba remained relaxed and on the aids. I halted, dropped the reins and made a big fuss of scratching her neck saying good girl. After one or two interruptions to stop and praise, Kimba began to look for the positive. It was enlightening. Adding more positive input created a very cooperative relationship for both of us. We were able to really correct some fundamental difficulties with supple self carriage. By asking for less I was able to find more.

So then I tried the same on Deneb, who found the experience nerve wracking and confusing and simply preferred the security of always being in a light but definite outside rein. Deneb is my bolter, and for her, she likes the reassuring connection. When she has a moment I have to be very self disciplined and simply reaffirm connection into the outside rein, sometimes contact us enough, sometimes shoulder fore is better and at times shoulder in us essential.

Acacia loves the loose rein and by the time I rode her I was on my sixth ride, and last night at work I had bowel emissions to clean, was vomited on, and then finally attacked by the one healthy individual in the house because she felt she wasn't getting enough attention.

So I started the day cleaning stalls in a Zombie like state. So Acacia and I bummed around on a loose rein and I couldn't be bothered to stop her when she shied. Did the. Loose rein make her shy less? No. Every single time she walked past the newly painted jump she inverted and scooted. Twenty minutes later she finally walked past without changing tempo. I stopped, praised her profusely and got off.

Evening chores then 5 hours sleep before night shift. Thank goodness this is my last overnight for the week.

Anyway, my self lesson. 3 horses, three different needs. It's what makes riding interesting, yes?

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Gwen » Wed May 10, 2017 12:03 am

I'm glad you were able to have good rides after such a challenging night, and I'm glad you are almost done with them for the week!

Had a jump lesson with my trainer today for the first time with Callie, and I. NEED. MORE. OF. THAT. Oh my goodness. So, so fun!! And the biggest thing for me was learning a better way to deal with Callie taking off - my instinct, when she takes off, is to want to bring her all the way back to a halt, and then start over. Losing control makes me want to go all the way over to having hyper-control. But I had the most marvelous moment where we were cantering, she inverted and took off, and I just did some quick, upwards half half/release, and she CAME BACK!! We were still moving at the same velocity, but instead of inverted and scrambling, she was suddenly round and bouncing, and I didn't have to start all over to get it!

All we did was trot and canter some poles, and trot some cross rails (picking up canter over them), and it was marvelous. I think we both had a good time, I think being asked to canter around with me off her back and to think about getting us over poles and cross rails was scary/exciting at first, but she really started to relax and bounce and look for what was next by the end!

I had been feeling pretty down about the taking off and spookiness, but now I feel like I have a whole other way to manage it, and I'm just ecstatic. My trainer had been trying to get me to do and understand this yesterday, but I needed the new context to really grok it.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby piedmontfields » Wed May 10, 2017 1:14 am

That sounds really good and useful, Gwen! I loved your photos. Callie looks like a powerhouse.

The jump/forward over obstacle training is so useful. When I saw Callie's scoot photo, I did think "I'd be sending her way way forward for that!" But as Kande pointed out, you need to be comfortable to do this. It really is a huge shift for managing energy.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby svvdressage » Wed May 10, 2017 2:01 am

My goals for May and June are to improve and ask for more collection and not do as much dressage :o I took my guy to an open schooling show 2 weeks ago and did crossrails (attempted might be a better word) and some rail classes. It did his brain so much good! He was much happier afterwards. This weekend my trainer was here and I finally got to watch a video of me riding him. My trainer is always yelling at me to collect more, but I felt like I was in pirouette canter all the time, after watching the video I can see he is no where near that collected and I really need to ask him to sit way more. We also need to work on the changes. They have totally gone down the drain. The new goal is to do quiet changes of direction with out really asking for changes, if they happen great! if not no big deal. The changes were where his brain got fried so my trainer really stressed that he has to gain trust in me.
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