Goals and Progress May/June 2017

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Chisamba
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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Chisamba » Tue May 16, 2017 9:24 pm

Flight, it's easy to be critical of judges but in this Instance I have no emotional attachment, so trying to be objective I found the comments on both tests unhelpful and repetitive. I see things you can work on, but none of those were mentioned ;)

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby musical comedy » Tue May 16, 2017 9:41 pm

Flight's judges were a lot more stingy then some of the ones we get here.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Sue B » Tue May 16, 2017 10:00 pm

Lovely test on your "advanced" horse, Flight. From the comments written into your video, I got a judge who is not a fan of your horse's gaits and who does not award very nice movements nor significantly ding "bad" movements. It would be interesting to me to know how others scored in your class. I personally find it frustrating to ride before a judge who has no range, but that's just me. I have to wonder what it would have taken to get an 8 on those fc's and halts for instance. I hope I can give as solid a test on Rudy one day, as you rode at that show. In the pouring rain no less! :mrgreen:

Moutainer, it is my belief that if you are going to canter him (on the lunge or under saddle), keep the canter sessions very short at first, as in just a few strides and ease back to trot. When Tio was struggling to master his suddenly grown/changed body I did very short canter sets but lots of transitions up and down. It took quite awhile until I could get him to canter a full circle comfortably, the next circles came much more quickly. The other thing that helped was cavelletti on the lunge, first 1 every 1/2 circle, and later set 9' apart in a straight line. Tio loves to jump and so trotting over cavelletti would often send him into a canter. Even now, there's a good chance that he will go through the 9' spacing as a bounce in canter instead of trot, either way he does them so nicely that I really don't mind.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Gwen » Tue May 16, 2017 10:29 pm

Sue B wrote: I have to wonder what it would have taken to get an 8 on those fc's and halts for instance. I hope I can give as solid a test on Rudy one day, as you rode at that show. In the pouring rain no less! :mrgreen:

.



100% agree with this.

Currently riding an endorphin high after a jump lesson where we warmed up on our wide open unfenced gallop track!!! We definitely had some... let's call them "hand gallops" :lol: but by the third time around we had both relaxed enough for some round bouncing canter. I could feel us trusting each other more with every stride, and I think we're both really enjoying the break in routine.

I had forgotten or never known how different it is to have a horse acting up under you when you are in short stirrups and half seat, there's a lot less turbulence that way!

At this rate we'll be cantering in the cross country field in a week or two!

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Flight » Wed May 17, 2017 12:06 am

It's hard when there's no range of marks, because it just gives the message that I'm overall poor, and then it's hard to know how to fix it all.
Chisamba, feel free to say what you think needs work, I'm open to any suggestions.
I think the marks are ok, I did get to speak to the judge (little black horse) and he is one of our higher level judges and he gave me some good pointers. I think for our flying changes, they are still a bit stiff looking, and that's why they don't score higher? But I'm not too worried about them yet, I'm still amazed we have them at all!
Also his halts, he's doing the friesian in the paddock halts, with the chest out and head up. They are a bit abrupt I noticed, I've aimed for taking more time and more softly forward into them.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Chisamba » Wed May 17, 2017 5:10 am

My drama queen had a very dramatic moment. We were doing some shoulder fore to encourage a less wriggle neck. Deneb has a long pliable neck which she can curl or tip or even somehow S. I have been asking her to connect from rib to nose in a consistent arc with doing shoulder fore, less than shoulder in because too much is too easy and less is more.

Well I am not certain what I did to overload her psyche, but she flung her head and attempted to leave the indoor through the mirror.

She has before pinned her ears at herself in the mirror and we had the bolting incident. Anyway. I honestly did not expect her to fling us into the mirror. She surprises me at times with a sudden over reaction. She had been quite relaxed. I am sure I should be better at expecting the unexpected with her.

The positive is when she hit solid she sort of buckled in her knees like she was going to go down. I don't think I had time to really react, except to yell, and she sort of righted the ship, leveled back and went forward into the outside rein. Her propensity to run into things is disturbing, but her ability to right the ship without hurting us us comforting.

Next positive, did not feel that life sucking fear. We just reorganized and went back to work, I went back to circles to work on the outside rein connection, and built back to shoulder fore.

Ultimately a good ride.

On the negative, the mirror is irrevocably broken. They are old mirrors and not safe, so I thing I must remove the side ones and attempt to replace them with the unbreakable kind. Sigh.

With Kimba I had the advantage of a fresh raked arena so worked on straight lines on the centerline and diagonals. On looking at my tracks, there is a small indent to the right after the halt. Suggestions to improve straightness from the halt?

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby kande50 » Wed May 17, 2017 9:28 am

Flight wrote:It's hard when there's no range of marks, because it just gives the message that I'm overall poor, and then it's hard to know how to fix it all.


I used to hate 5-6-7's too, but now, if I was showing, and especially if I was showing above training level, I'd be grateful to be earning 6's and 7's. So instead of thinking overall poor, maybe think overall pretty good?

But I'm not too worried about them yet, I'm still amazed we have them at all!


Really! Just getting them is an accomplishment, and 7's on them is even better.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby StraightForward » Wed May 17, 2017 1:31 pm

Thank you for sharing your videos Flight, especially with the scores and comments!

I agree with Kande, that the 6's and 7's are not "poor." I notice that he did give you a 4.5 for that late change, so if you were doing poorly, there would have been more of those. It seemed silly that he was asking for more uphill from your first level horse. The level of engagement seemed appropriate for him in my view.

I am currently in a holding pattern. Annabelle presented with an abscessed jaw and 103.8 temp on Monday night. Vet suspects strangles, so we are awaiting lab results that should come in tonight. They lanced the abscess yesterday and scoped her and her guttoral pouches are perfect, so if it is strangles, it's pretty minor. Her temp has come down, she's eating, drinking and "very energetic" according to the vet. So no going out to ride Kyra due to contamination concerns, and if it's strangles, I won't be able to go see Pickle until July or so either. Boo. But at least it is not severe, and I'm crossing fingers that no other horses at the barn get it.

Last week I figured out that my eventing saddle did not fit her at all; the tree angle was OK, but it is overall too wide and kept popping up onto her shoulder on the lunge. It was a bit better with my Saddle Right pad, but still not satisfactory for riding. I'd located a nice Albion SL in a TB tree, but now with the impending vet bill, I've opted for an A/P Wintec to hold us over. Hopefully June will be a better month and we can get to working under saddle.
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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby piedmontfields » Wed May 17, 2017 1:38 pm

Flight, thanks for sharing your video and progress! Lots of good things are in evidence, especially given your warm-up description, and the areas needing work look very much within reach for improvement. I admit to being influenced by US judge Janet Foy on how to show mediums and extensions---she offers a lot of useful tips. I do think the canter vs trot comment is spot on. I love the quiet, obedient changes. Now that you've achieved that, you get to explore developing more engaged/uphill/expressive changes. :-D

On "engagement", have you ever heard the expression a horse can never be too through or too engaged?! It is something we all want more of lol.

Chisamba, I'm glad just the mirror was broken.

Jingles for Annabelle.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby StraightForward » Wed May 17, 2017 2:12 pm

Yikes Chisamba, glad you and Deneb are OK. :eek:
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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Moutaineer » Wed May 17, 2017 4:14 pm

Chisamba, I'm sure you've thought about this, but that kind of out of the blue reaction makes me think sudden sharp pain.

I wonder if she's got something going on in her neck?

I'm very glad neither of you got seriously hurt.

(We put the Mylar mirrors in our indoor at the barn. They are great and "unbreakable" and while no mirror is cheap, they weren't completely horrific.)

Well, bugger, Straightforward. Jingling for not strangles, it's such a pain in the butt.

Flight, I am looking forward to a quiet half hour when I can sit and look at your videos and digest without being interrupted every 5 minutes.

It is snowing here this week. Walker's continued rehabilitation is on hold until the weekend. Laddie (finally) get's his first stem cell injection tomorrow.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Sue B » Wed May 17, 2017 4:52 pm

Yup, sideways snow started last night. Welcome to Spring! :lol:

Chisamba, I too thought of pain, like one of those sudden shooting kind of pain? Even my beloved Rudy went straight up in a show one time because the saddle was hurting him. It was the w-c after the free walk in 2nd 1, and when he came back down he stepped right into canter like the awesome boy he is. We finished the test with no further issues, but I could tell he was shook up and hurting. He had never reared before and hasn't since, so I must have provoked a sudden intense pain when I used my right seat bone to ask for canter. Saddle fitter did an emergency refit so I could finish the show and I kept my seat as forward and light as I could just in case. (Some might question my judgement, but I needed to get him back in the arena so he wouldn't associate pain/distress with showing. He was indeed apprehensive as we trotted down the center line, but quickly settled into doing a very nice, relaxed test. I would not have proceeded if the saddle fitter hadn't been able to fix the problem.)

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby cb06 » Wed May 17, 2017 4:57 pm

I was thinking the same thing Mountaineer. But, I have also had a similar reaction from a sudden reflection of sun off an indoor mirror or momentary blinding from a random sunspot filtering into the indoor early/late in the day. I was taking a lesson recently and cantering a 10 m circle out from the wall, came around to the last stride before the wall and late day sun coming into indoor windows momentarily blinded my horse and he took a sudden canter stride up the wall. Seemed scary, but he was perfectly fine in the next stride and we cantered on, which made me suspect it was just a sudden sun blinding.

I love the pics and videos. Nice job Flight, I thought that was also a solid test.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Ryeissa » Wed May 17, 2017 9:23 pm

Gwen- you both look great! very focused
Khall-- SO HAPPY FOR YOU ! that is a super update.

so proof I ride
https://youtu.be/WWA1DvoZJtU
somewhere between intro and second! ha!
I need to get a saddle fitting, it's throwing off my balance just enough even with a half pad. I have a jump saddle too, but I am not as comfortable so we do simpler things in that. I've been riding outside!

I will have more goals in June, right now it's focusing on just riding and maintaining.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Gwen » Wed May 17, 2017 11:51 pm

I can't believe you guys are still having snow! And Chisamba I'm glad you are both ok, how scary.

Thank you Ryeissa! And it was fun to see your pony again, I liked the walk haunches in work, I should do some of that with Callie to help her figure out to keep stepping under in the turn on the haunches...

In other news - an illustrated example of why we need cross training! Video stills showing our standard dressage canter vs jumping canter:

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IMG_5383.JPG (90.4 KiB) Viewed 7777 times


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IMG_5382.JPG (110.33 KiB) Viewed 7777 times


More of number two please!! I'm not sure I can generate that kind of increase in sit and push without a jump coming up in front of us, but I am going to try to remember the feel and do my best. If nothing else, the sitting and pushing from the jumping should translate eventually. Have to get a real jumps saddle soon...
Last edited by Gwen on Thu May 18, 2017 12:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Flight » Thu May 18, 2017 12:19 am

Now that I've watched my vids a few times, I can see where both come on the forehand, and I can feel when it happens more now. Especially the little black one in his mediums. I rode both of them more up and open and really concentrating on the balance. I think the judges have done the right thing for me!
Chisamba, how scary with the mirror! I'm good at being crooked, and my instructor has me think shoulder fore to whatever the crooked side is, so maybe as you come out, think SF right?? (assuming it's the quarters making the indent right).

Ryeissa, looking good.Such a cute horse.

Gwen, yes interesting getting the impulsion when you jump and trying to persuade them to think the same when it's just flatwork. Nice pics!

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Chisamba » Thu May 18, 2017 1:01 am

Well i decided, entries done for the Bachinger clinic,
and one day of the three day show.

I hope i get to see you Gwen, i am only showing sunday. if i can just ride as if i am not at a show.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Chisamba » Thu May 18, 2017 1:11 am

Moutaineer wrote:Chisamba, I'm sure you've thought about this, but that kind of out of the blue reaction makes me think sudden sharp pain.

I wonder if she's got something going on in her neck?



and Sue B:

Deneb is very expressive. If she is in pain, she is quite willing to share that information. When she filled out and her saddle was a bit tight, she told me right away, with little shrugs, humps of the back. She has always been very very reactive to sound. and, as cb60 suggested, also to fleeting vision things. She has run into the wall with me before, once when a dog ran in the door of the indoor, and once when some one started a weed wacker outside the indoor. She uses her neck very ably when not in the bridle. I am fairly sure there is nothing wrong with her neck. I will however, not rule out the possibility of pain. This mare has been very very reactive since she was a filly. She will react bigger than any of the horses in the field she is with, and continue to react when they have all settled. She tends to be less reactive, NOW, when she is being handled, as she seems to have learned to trust me. We have had a few experiences in the training of her that had me quite scared of her. i experimented with multiple means of getting her calm, longing, long lining, the recommended wet blankets, and finally realized that very slow, lots of walking, and fundamentals keep her sane. She is by far the prettiest and most talented horse i own, but i do not know if i will ever have the guts to take her out to a show.

Poor Kimba is a bit of a sausage, built downhill, was laminitic when i got her, which has now stabilized, and not very glamorous in her gaits, but I enjoy her brain more and feel more safe on her.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Moutaineer » Thu May 18, 2017 2:17 am

Chisamba, it's so hard when they are talented and scary! You just be careful now.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby StraightForward » Thu May 18, 2017 3:02 am

Moutaineer wrote:Well, bugger, Straightforward. Jingling for not strangles, it's such a pain in the butt.


WE DO NOT HAVE STRANGLES!!! So there's a goal achieved: avoid infectious diseases. :lol: I don't know what caused the abscess, and I know it's going to put a dent in my bank account, but I am SO RELIEVED. Annabelle came home tonight and was calling to everyone in between snarfing hay.

Gwen - wow, that is a difference in canter. It's great that you're having fun with the jumping. I found it helped Maya, my appy that could not canter at all when I got her, and just getting in a 2-point and getting her to move out, or doing some canter cavaletti during a dressage session had a similar effect.
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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Rosie B » Thu May 18, 2017 12:40 pm

WOW - so much happening with all of you!

Flight - I really really enjoyed watching your test with Ding. To my eye, it looked fluid and harmonious. It was a pleasure to watch, and you guys made it look easy and fun. Even in the pouring rain! If you're concerned about being on the right track, go back and watch some of your test videos with Ding from 2 years ago. You've made huge and incredible progress and you should be very proud. :)

Gwen - I also enjoyed your video. I remember when you posted a test video several years ago - I think it was training level maybe? And I remember thinking that you guys are going to well together. You've come a long way together and you're going to go a lot further yet.

Rye - nice to see video of you guys. :) I loved the activity in the haunches in work. I struggle with that so it was lovely to see. :)

Dresseur - as always your photos are gorgeous. Miro is developing so well and you should be very proud of the work you are doing both with him and with Gala. :)

khall - I am so incredibly happy for you that you are back in the saddle with Rip!!!!!!!!!

Chisamba - glad you guys are not hurt!! That would have scared the bejebus out of me.

Straightforward - Yay for it not being strangles!! Fingers crossed for a quick recovery.

svdressage - your new boy is stunning. I can't wait to see more of him.

Mountaineer and Sue B - I don't know how you guys deal with all the snow! am so glad our weather has turned around. We are having a (relative) heat wave here. The high today is supposed to be 26 degrees! (almost 80 degrees for you folks south of the border).

Bliss has recovered from the abscess and I got some video yesterday. Just chipping away at the basics - forward and straight without letting him curl or fall behind the vertical or behind the leg. I am still not in riding shape and still can't sit the bigger trot. It should come quickly though... I just need consistent time in the saddle which I haven't had yet this year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAzQ47m ... e=youtu.be

Comments welcome! I know there's a lot to work on but would appreciate some fresh eyes. :)

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Ryeissa » Thu May 18, 2017 1:47 pm

thanks all, I do a ton of HI and SI to encourage the outside rein activation and engage. My horse riot tends to get very quick in stride, drop his sternum, and not stay "under the seat". Slow, step, slow, step, slow, step.
https://youtu.be/cLyMJ7l2M1g
(Don't like the trot at the end, but this was a big achievement here to get bend/turn). I'm riding in a jump saddle here.
https://youtu.be/DK7Pkaorf_0
this is the video with the work prior that showed how I used HI/SI/HP to control the horse to setup for TOH, a few steps at end. My horse has to be managed in all the directions, so we can't just setup in HI and stay there, for example. He is very wiggly and supple.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Dresseur » Thu May 18, 2017 2:16 pm

Ok Flight, I finally had time to watch your video. You and your horse absolutely belong at that level, the judge was perhaps not very generous. That being said, I'm going to give you some very specific feedback based on what I'm learning about riding upper level tests and training for upper levels. I can absolutely see where you need to have more engagement, especially as you keep moving up the levels. Everything is a bit on the shoulder. The trot down centerline was lovely, but the "proof in the pudding" the halt, came in well, but then as he landed, he rocked forward over his shoulder and as a result, the move off lost some of that lovely balance. I would make sure that you keep driving the haunches under - trot/halt, trot/halt, trot/halt and make the move off's very snappy so that he learns to keep himself engaged. This will do wonders in the overall training.

Then, I would think about riding your corners as the first movement - NOT the medium or extension. If you watch your corner, he leans down and the connection disappears, which makes that medium less connected, which makes it conservative. So, I would start incorporating halts BEFORE the corners - this is something that I had to do with Gala as she wants to do the same thing - float through the corner and then the resulting movement after that is flat with the haunches not providing enough carry or thrust.

The medium trot slows after X, which makes the transition against your hand and the movement just peters out. So, I would ride a lengthening to X, then push to a medium after X and then school transitions after the medium. Make sure that he doesn't fall onto the shoulders. But, the idea is to make him keep trying rather than fading down to your collected trot and to get the hind legs more involved.

Shoulder in's, they just need to be driven more from behind - so, lateral work always "takes a little off the top", which is why you need to use the short sides to refresh the gait. I would do shoulder in, 10 meter circle, really drive the circle around and go right back into shoulder in to again, keep the hind leg carrying the shoulders up out of the way. What that does is shift the drive leg from the inside hind to the outside, make sure it's a quick response. That will also help keep the bend and positioning. Especially as you move into the half pass where he wants to fall down and lengthen the frame. A lot of that is because he's not quick off that outside leg... I would try the exercise with Miro, very responsive leg yields off the wall to get him to pay a bit more attention there, then school the hp with the same level of response and memorize that feel. Another tip, aim his ears to the letter you are going for - you should be able to sight the letter through his ears. You did a great job rebalancing him for the extension - but same thing, he just petered out around x and the rhythm broke apart.

The walk piris are much improved from a stepping under standpoint - I don't know that I would worry about the short in the neck comment quite yet.

The canter overall, push him up from behind, he looks like he just needs a bit more activity and to push the shoulders out of the way by flexing a bit more in the hips. That is why you are getting the "more uphill" comments. So, if you push the canter, and he goes no where, get a response. Keep half halting upward, but you will need to push the hind under with your back. That doesn't mean make it big and long, but he needs to carry and come a bit more uphill as the training progresses. I'll see if I have a video of me working on that with M. Again, you belong at that level and you both can absolutely can go further. I hope that this helps!!!

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Ryeissa » Thu May 18, 2017 2:21 pm

Dresseur- thanks for that- I'm teetering on the edge of this level too so it's helpful.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby khall » Thu May 18, 2017 4:08 pm

Flight I really liked your 4th level test and I agree with dresseur's assessment of the engagement issue. I though would approach asking engagement a bit differently than pushing with the seat and back. While keeping my alignment and my own self carriage I then "fluff" with the calf to ask for the hind legs to stay more active. I spent a long time with Rip (who is not the most naturally active hind leg kind of horse) reinforcing the reaction to light aids. So I would ask with light aid and if I did not get the response would back it up with the whip (I think I remember you saying you did something similar with Ding not that long ago) That way when I use my calves in a light manner then I can get the activity from behind without risking pushing the horse onto the front end by pushing more forward with seat and back. I want to increase engagement then increase scope.

I heard "activate the hind leg" from Mark quite a bit. One very interesting exercise Mark had me do to activate Rip in HP, was to canter then transition to trot and HP. Of course we all know canter activates the trot, so used that to improve the HP and wow what a difference. I don't want to end up working harder than my horses do (which Rip would be happy for me to do!) so I have had to teach him to be lighter to the aids and have more activity behind than is what his natural tendencies are. As for you big guy, I thought he was right on the money for a 1st level test. He has a nicely active hind leg and a lovely canter. HIs walk is a bit restricted but that is probably from his breeding.

Gwen wow that is a difference in the canter! Do you think it is from the light seat? I felt something similar when doing light seat with Rip in March (not something I had done before with him).

chisamba glad you and Deneb are ok, that is scary she will run into things when she checks out.

Rosie that is one big trot! Nice to see Bliss back with you.

Rye you know I have always liked Riot, such a work horse.

SF glad you dodged the strangles scare. Whew!

Mountaineer and Sue B Hope you catch a weather break soon! We can send yo some of our heat from here. 90+ and humid. gnats are terrible here. Horrid creatures.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Dresseur » Thu May 18, 2017 4:37 pm

Khall, I 100% agree with this:
I spent a long time with Rip (who is not the most naturally active hind leg kind of horse) reinforcing the reaction to light aids. So I would ask with light aid and if I did not get the response would back it up with the whip (I think I remember you saying you did something similar with Ding not that long ago) That way when I use my calves in a light manner then I can get the activity from behind without risking pushing the horse onto the front end by pushing more forward with seat and back. I want to increase engagement then increase scope."


So, interesting discussion point - and why I was saying "push" with the seat and back. I think that YES, there needs to be a more active response in Dingaling. However, you can have an incredibly active hind leg, but still have the topline, especially the loin/ls area be very stiff. What I see in Flight's horse is that he's not really flexing in the hip, so, even if activity is increased, he won't come under and carry the shoulders up and out of the way (the "make the shoulders light, not the mouth idea") Gala is the master at this, she gets crazy activity behind, BUT, it goes up and down, and the balance stays on the shoulder (think triangulating within the gaits), so, I have to encourage her to bring the hind under and be a bit more flexible. The converse of this is when she gets incredibly far under with a TON of flexing, BUT it stays slow behind. Both instances create a horse that is on the shoulder, not in self carriage.

So, to some degree, this is a feel thing - so, if Flight gets on and asks for a response, and activity increases, but the balance doesn't change, she has to address the engagement. If the engagement increases, but the activity is slow - she has to address the activity. But, if there is ZERO response. Then that has to be addressed first. And of course, you can't just swing the horse under more or ask for more activity without upward half halts to channel the energy.

I also want to be clear - when I say push, I'm not talking about shoving my seat in the saddle, scrubbing it with my hips, or gyrating etc. It's very subtle and has to do with the increased muscle tone of the back, particularly the lats and the core working together. Assuming the rider's hips mirror the horse's hips, I can swing my hips to maintain a baseline canter, and my back is "soft" (assuming shoulders back, good alignment etc.) Or, I can swing my seat with a more engaged core to start to pull the hips of the horse along with me, and the biggest "push" - I can swing my hips with very firm shoulders (arms are not part of this - they stay soft and independent with upward hh) and a very firm core with some tone to my thigh to anchor me a bit more, and I can "drag" the hips of the horse forward) This is a few strides and you don't see the rider doing anything if they are good at the technique, you just see the balance of the horse change.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Chisamba » Thu May 18, 2017 4:44 pm

I have a personal distaste for the term "drive" and driven, which term Dresseur seems very fond of. I prefer to think in terms of balance and engagement. I feel like we are probably after the same goal, we just think about it differently.

Like Khall, I have found that people often actually put the horse on the forehand by trying to drive the hind end using a strong seat achieving the opposite of balance by raising the forehand with a dropped back.

I do agree that your horses is not sustaining uphill balance in corners and transitions. It shows when he gets btv with his nose.

I think "needs more engagement" is the cheap lazy covers everything comment when judging. It's an easy blanket statement Jmho.

In flights case I see an over active leg with inadequate response. I would like to see a lighter seat and more elastic response to leg aids, and more forward balance chest to nose between the exercises.

It's why Gwen's canter has more jump approaching the jump. Lightness of seat allowing bascule to nose forward but still round top line.

I feel like it's the Holy grail of dressage.

I am always looking for it lol.

I am sorry Dresseur, but driving the hind leg has crank and spank associations for me from a German cavalry instructor I had in my youth.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby khall » Thu May 18, 2017 4:51 pm

Dresseur yes interesting discussion re engagement and activity. (BTW I really liked your FS video you shared, some nice work there!)
So I guess the question for Flight will be: will increasing the activity of the hind legs lighten Dingaling in the shoulders? I totally agree with you Dresseur on rider position being key here. We as riders have to have our own self carriage so our horses can carry themselves. I guess the only difference I have found and I have said this before in other goals threads is: I found Rip would lower behind when I asked for increased activity behind and lightened my hand just a bit. Usually by lowering them. I found if I kept my hands too high then he would roll over the bit and lose his self carriage.

As you say it is all about feel. As riders we should be bold in our riding, willing to step out of our comfort zone. See what reaction we get to our actions.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Sue B » Thu May 18, 2017 5:07 pm

Chisamba, I related that story about Rudy because, like Deneb, he tends to be a very emotional horse who is quick to protest if something causes him discomfort. Unlike Deneb, he has a very strong sense of self-preservation so I never have to worry about being slammed into any rigid object. I admire your persistence and patience with Deneb and It seems to be paying off in that she was able to refocus.

Flight, with my Rudy, I know (from video) that when I get a feeling of the horse getting wider at the base of his ginormous withers in addition to that lifting feeling in front of the withers, then my horse is truly engaging/using his hind end. It takes a great deal of focus on my part, however, to keep that feeling all the way through the halt or any downward transition. I think I get it by lightening my seat a touch, sitting as far forward in the saddle that I can and kind of standing over my feet. When I get it right, he sucks me up into the pommel and I can sit his extended trot without issue or hh towards passage, but I can't do any of it in a show yet. Like I said before, this stuff is HARD. :lol:

Weather and work has kept me out of the saddle these last few days, but last I rode, the boys were very fun and responsive--even Tio. Mother's day i wasted 2 hours playing with them--it was delightful.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Ryeissa » Thu May 18, 2017 8:09 pm

- taking 70% weight in my thigh and 30% ankle
--make contact with the saddle in the "triangle" and have my seat neutral ("zipper up!)
-turn my thigh in which connects my pelvis to the saddle
-Don't get the horse so forward he walks "over his balance point" and drops his sternum
-elbows at my side, engage my sternum, fill out my lower back

this is what helps me get good contact and thoroughness

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby musical comedy » Thu May 18, 2017 8:09 pm

Flight's horse is not doing 4th Level. She is doing Medium 4.1 (Australia Test) http://www.dressage.net.au/austest14/EA ... 0144.2.pdf
Would be about equal to our 3rd level. Thus, lesser engagement required than a 4th.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Dresseur » Thu May 18, 2017 8:25 pm

You are correct, of course, mc!

And Chisamba, no offense taken. I wish I could find a better word than push and drive- they do have negative connotations. And, because of our conversations, I'm confident that we are after the same thing. But I agree, I felt there was enough activity, if not too much. And yes- engagement is a catch-all term that I feel needs specificity attached to what exactly one is trying to solve.

And, food for thought. In Gwen's horse, is it the lighter seat giving the horse's back room to move, or is it the release in the hand that is allowing for that beautifulbascule and moment of self carriage. Probably both!
Last edited by Dresseur on Thu May 18, 2017 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Ryeissa » Thu May 18, 2017 8:33 pm

Dresseur wrote:
I also want to be clear - when I say push, I'm not talking about shoving my seat in the saddle, scrubbing it with my hips, or gyrating etc. It's very subtle and has to do with the increased muscle tone of the back, particularly the lats and the core working together. Assuming the rider's hips mirror the horse's hips, I can swing my hips to maintain a baseline canter, and my back is "soft" (assuming shoulders back, good alignment etc.) Or, I can swing my seat with a more engaged core to start to pull the hips of the horse along with me, and the biggest "push" - I can swing my hips with very firm shoulders (arms are not part of this - they stay soft and independent with upward hh) and a very firm core with some tone to my thigh to anchor me a bit more, and I can "drag" the hips of the horse forward) This is a few strides and you don't see the rider doing anything if they are good at the technique, you just see the balance of the horse change.


I get what you are saying here. Do you fill your lumbars? so if someone put their hand on the small of the back, you would push the hand AWAY from your body? I find this really helps my horses' engagement and balance. So many times we are taught to work on the font abs, chest u, shoulders back but the back stays hollow/weak

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Dresseur » Thu May 18, 2017 8:40 pm

Ryeissa, no, I wouldn't be pushing a hand away from the small of my back- the energy goes forward. There are actually no little muscles in the small of the back- it's all the larger muscles of the lats and obliques that connect there. So, when I engage the core (low pelvic muscles) and press my shoulder blades down and in (lats) it firms up the low back. (If you engage ONLY the core- then riders will tend to hunch the shoulders forward as the abs do all the work- that also rounds the low back and then I would be pushing your hand away.) Then I press forward with that solid unit. So, if I stood between two sliding barn doors- I'd be lined up and pressed nose, sternum and crotch to the door in front of me. Then I press forward as one piece so the door in front slides away from me- if you disconnect- your shoulders or hips will send the door behind you backwards- if it was a horse, you would be driving the back down. I find that it's about the intention of forward energy that they respond to and the degrees of firmness in your muscle tones provides the clarity or extra boost or support.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Ryeissa » Thu May 18, 2017 8:54 pm

Dresseur wrote:Ryeissa, no, I wouldn't be pushing a hand away from the small of my back- the energy goes forward. There are actually no little muscles in the small of the back- it's all the larger muscles of the lats and obliques that connect there. So, when I engage the core (low pelvic muscles) and press my shoulder blades down and in (lats) it firms up the low back. (If you engage ONLY the core- then riders will tend to hunch the shoulders forward as the abs do all the work- that also rounds the low back and then I would be pushing your hand away.) Then I press forward with that solid unit. So, if I stood between two sliding barn doors- I'd be lined up and pressed nose, sternum and crotch to the door in front of me. Then I press forward as one piece so the door in front slides away from me- if you disconnect- your shoulders or hips will send the door behind you backwards- if it was a horse, you would be driving the back down. I find that it's about the intention of forward energy that they respond to and the degrees of firmness in your muscle tones provides the clarity or extra boost or support.


Ok, I find that this creates space in my core and it anchors the back, I have a problem with arching my back and tipping my pelvis, so this brings all of my core into alignment. Remember my other post about riding with a light/not driving seat, where I carry my own weight but also "plug in".

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Dresseur » Thu May 18, 2017 9:10 pm

Anchoring the back would be a good description. For me, if I rounding the small of my back or have the feeling of being able to push a hand away, that's the kiss of death and I become the hunchback of Notre Dame- but I'm very, very long from hip to bottom rib, so different descriptions work for different people.
Last edited by Dresseur on Fri May 19, 2017 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Dresseur » Thu May 18, 2017 9:48 pm

Flight, on Norsey, he's a bit more naturally uphill, and I for one think that the balance is appropriate to his level. The judges will always want more uphill. What I think is missing, or at least, what can be improved on is that he looks loose in a way that is not necessarily conducive to the uphill balance and developing carrying power. I think that's where you are getting the bobbles from. Again, I would be doing lots of transitions to bring his ends together - obviously not by pulling him together up front, but by getting him to carry a bit more behind and create a more definite connection that you can adjust him from. For the record, the last halt was lovely. It just needs to get a bit sharper to keep making him stronger.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Gwen » Thu May 18, 2017 10:10 pm

Interesting discussion!

Ah, engaging the back muscles, that clicked something for me - I think I have been over engaging the front because I definitely round forward in the lengthens/mediums for example, trying to get the forward with my core. Ill try focusing on the back more, see what happens.

What I want to know is how to keep the bascule and rounded self carriage for more than a stride or two without losing the energy "out the front door" and having her end up on her forehand again, in the absence of a jump. I find the subtleties of rein contact in the canter very challenging, it's a lot of movement, and it's very difficult to catch and recycle the energy while maintaining a soft following elbow. I am having moments now of softness in my arms I've never felt before, thanks to the jumping, and it seems to make it SO much easier for Callie, poor thing.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Dresseur » Thu May 18, 2017 10:28 pm

I hear you on that Gwen, I struggle with it to. For me the big change has been to get my elbows a bit in front of me and ride up to the hand. (You may want to think about keeping a bend to your elbow to achieve this- canter pic had much less bend in elbows compared to jump pic). Then it's quick hh, making sure you release. But, the other concept is "holding the horse on your back" and that's the strong lats/shoulders and core that I keep taking about. Then, your arms can be independent, but you can still create an elastic boundary.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby musical comedy » Thu May 18, 2017 10:54 pm

Dresseur wrote: elbows a bit in front of me and ride up to the hand. (You may want to think about keeping a bend to your elbow to achieve this- canter pic had much less bend in elbows compared to jump pic). Then it's quick hh, making sure you release. But, the other concept is "holding the horse on your back" and that's the strong lats/shoulders and core that I keep taking about. Then, your arms can be independent, but you can still create an elastic boundary.
Putting feelings into words is difficult. Also, even on this forum of camaraderie, everyone isn't on the same page of what they view as correct or what they want to achieve. What I see most that I'd like to change are these floppy looking reins in the name of soft contact where there is not a true elastic connection. With a nice horse, you can progress without it, be at some point you will get stuck (you=general you).

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Dresseur » Thu May 18, 2017 11:07 pm

You are so right. And, everyone has different tendencies or the way they are built causes certain tendencies. That's why I do think it's important for instructors to articulate in many different ways, and to get on and do "feel" checks to see if what they are looking at jives with what they are seeing.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Gwen » Thu May 18, 2017 11:57 pm

Yes, I noticed the change in elbow bend versus the dressage pic - I think that's where I'm feeling the moments of what I think is true soft contact - I think I'm finally learning to really bend the elbows in a freer way. I do feel a big difference in her when I can manage it, I just can't quite figure out how to do it while also finishing a half halt, for example.

Just for fun, here's the jumping clip:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=S7maEE37VGk

I don't think I stopped smiling at any point in the lesson. So FUUUUN!!! How cute is my pony hopping over these teeny tiny things?! :lol:

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby khall » Fri May 19, 2017 12:43 am

MC I am confused, are you saying Flight is riding with floppy reins? Because I do not see that at all. I don't think most who contribute to these threads think that floppy reins are correct or useful in development of the horse. What I see in many dressage horses both in local competition and international competition is too much compression in the neck which leads to having to "drive" the horse more and all the issues with riding a horse in compression. What I find in riding is that if I ride with too high of hand, the horse (at least Rip will) will roll up where if I lower my hand allowing for a titch longer neck (like Gwen's canter photos) the horse can then come up in the front and deeper behind when I activate the hind legs.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby kande50 » Fri May 19, 2017 10:01 am

musical comedy wrote:What I see most that I'd like to change are these floppy looking reins in the name of soft contact where there is not a true elastic connection. With a nice horse, you can progress without it, be at some point you will get stuck (you=general you).


OTOH, I think anyone can do what I decided to do and put off taking up a steady contact while they work on 1) developing their own skills and understanding of what they're trying to accomplish, and 2) developing better balance from working on all those patterns and figures.

The big advantage to doing it that way, IMO, is that then when we do want to finally start developing the contact it's much easier, because we're both further along in our development and haven't made the mistake of riding against the bit, so don't have to undo that, along with all the defensive bracing.

I think that either way can work, and which works best probably depends on what the horse might be best suited for, but mostly, what the rider's primary goals happen to be.

But then, I'm a huge advocate for very soft, light contact until riders understand what the contact should feel like, and are able to do their part to develop it.

Back years ago, when I was taking lessons and going to clinics, I think the questions I heard most often from students were about what the contact should feel like. And I think that was because we all suspected that we were riding with a stronger contact than we should have been (understatement of the year), but just didn't know.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby musical comedy » Fri May 19, 2017 10:33 am

khall wrote:MC I am confused, are you saying Flight is riding with floppy reins? Because I do not see that at all.
No.
I don't think most who contribute to these threads think that floppy reins are correct or useful in development of the horse.
Floppy was a poor choice of words. I sent you a PM. This thread is about goals, and probably a new thread should be initiated to talk about contact. Didn't we have one of those, that got taken off course. :D
What I see in many dressage horses both in local competition and international competition is too much compression in the neck which leads to having to "drive" the horse more and all the issues with riding a horse in compression.
I don't see that. Again, as I said, we all have different views, and see things differently. If our preferred style meets our goals without causing pain or soundness issues to our horse, than it is the right style for us.
What I find in riding is that if I ride with too high of hand, the horse (at least Rip will) will roll up where if I lower my hand allowing for a titch longer neck (like Gwen's canter photos) the horse can then come up in the front and deeper behind when I activate the hind legs.
I find that true that a higher hand can result in the horse dropping down. Novices make the mistake of trying to get the head to lower by riding with the hands too low. I think Gwen's pony is bordering on being too open in the throat in the dressage canter pic. It's not over the back, connected, and supple looking. For jumping it's fine. While everyone wants engagement and and uphill moving horse, for me it doesn't trump connection and suppleness.

kande60 wrote:OTOH, I think anyone can do what I decided to do and put off taking up a steady contact while they work on 1) developing their own skills and understanding of what they're trying to accomplish, and 2) developing better balance from working on all those patterns and figures.

How many decades do you think that should take?

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby kande50 » Fri May 19, 2017 12:26 pm

musical comedy wrote:How many decades do you think that should take?


I'd say probably at least 10, and if we really wanted to get good at it maybe 500?

So much about progress depends on the resources that one has, and how many of those resources they're willing and/or able to put into getting to where they want to go.

I also think it depends on what one decides they want when it comes to quality vs quantity, because they tend to be mutually exclusive when graphed against time.

Not that everyone doesn't want more faster, and of course everyone wants both quality and quantity right now, but that's not the way this project works (nor would it be worth putting all these resources into if it was).

So to get back to goals and progress, I want to be able to ride a good 20 meter circle anywhere, and I want to be able to do it the first time I lay one out.

Just coming back to the 20 meter circles for the slinky project makes it clear just how difficult that can be, and how many layers there are to just that one simple exercise. Before I counted strides and just wanted to get the same number on the same track. But now, years later, I want to be able to keep the same amount of weight on each hoof, which means that not only does the bend need to stay the same, but everything else has to be right too, including staying on the outside rein.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Ryeissa » Fri May 19, 2017 9:41 pm

Oh! I love the jumps Gwen. Riot is a very good jumper and i am having friends help me with him.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Flight » Sat May 20, 2017 12:25 am

Thanks Dresseur! I'm not sure how to do all the quoting in my reply but I'll try and respond to a few things. Thanks so much for all of this.
I've tried the snappy halts/trots, but I think I might be a bit too abrupt with it, because he halts sharply with his head up and then it'ts a hollow departure. So, I'll try them again but a bit slower and tactfully to keep the balance and keep him calmer. But yes I certainly can see and feel what you are describing!
Now that you mentioned it, I can feel that drop down he does in the corners and even watching the vid I can see myself just sailing around those corners.
I have a much smaller arena and that might be partially the problem with having to do a mediums at competitions, those diagonals are so much further! But I did that exercise even in my little arena and it will help as I can feel him back off when we get into that second half.
Same with the SI exercises and the leg yielding, will definitely be doing all of that.
Walk piris are improving, but I still don't enjoy those bloody things!
Canter - my instructor has started saying the same thing, I need to start closing him up now, not so long and strung out.

Chisamba, yes he definitely needs to be more responsive to my leg. Have sorted that out again with the thwacky whip! In that test, it truly felt that he would've just stoped completely if I had stopped pushing him so much. Big example of training issues that become obvious when you show. y
Sue B, interesting that you get a good result from lightening your seat, I have been told previously to think of dropping my heels down, which would deepen the seat? But if you come down heavy on their backs,I would think it would be harder for them to engage?
Khall, I will think of lightening my hands when I ask for more activity, see what happens.
I've probably missed people, I'm just about to go and have an xc lesson, so rushing a bit here, but thanks for everyone's input!! Appreciate it.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Dresseur » Sat May 20, 2017 1:22 pm

Kande, I tend to agree with this:
I also think it depends on what one decides they want when it comes to quality vs quantity, because they tend to be mutually exclusive when graphed against time.


I sort of agree with this:
So much about progress depends on the resources that one has, and how many of those resources they're willing and/or able to put into getting to where they want to go.


So, progress in my mind, at this point, quality vs quantity is very important. It is how my coach is approaching making a GP rider of me. A woman who was an intern at the farm, who now lives there, was at a similar ability level to me. She is following the quantity vs quality path - I watch her drill movement after movement with poor quality and while she was able to manage to get her scores for silver, the horse has not improved, the horse has bouts of unexplained lameness, and other than improvements that come from riding every day, she has not made noticeable improvements in her ability to train or to increase the quality of those movements. Meanwhile, I'm making huge gains in my riding and training abilities off of one lesson a week - where we focus on doing the movements a few times - but everything, and I mean EVERYTHING comes down to baseline quality. So, I find that to be endlessly fascinating.

In regards to resources, yes. If you don't have access to an upper level horse, it is difficult, to say the least, to feel the end goal. I recognize that. I recognize that I've been given the opportunity of a lifetime to ride this particular horse and learn from her. BUT, I worked my butt off for years, on horses that were not inclined to want to cooperate, and I asked questions, I read books, saved for 7 years for a dream horse and dedicated as much as I could to fulfill a dream, often at the expense of other things and people in my life - so, while I'm not rich, and didn't have a ton of resources, I aligned myself with someone who I thought was doing things the correct way, and she decided that she wanted to pay forward her opportunities, I happened to be the one she chose. So, to some degree, it's not about the resources you have, it's what you are willing to do to create inroads to resources, and then it's a bit of luck.

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Re: Goals and Progress May/June 2017

Postby Imperini » Sat May 20, 2017 2:29 pm

Thanks for sharing the videos it's great to see people in action! I'm hoping for some of my own video that's not just a phone propped up on the wall in the near future. There are far more educated eyes than mine around here so I'll leave the commenting to them but it's definitely been interesting and informative to read the comments.

Paloma and I had a lesson yesterday with a different instructor and oh my goodness it was amazing and pretty timely considering my goals for this thread. She watched me walk around while we chatted so she could get a feel of where we were and where we want to go and noticed an issue I've been having recently with drifting to the outside, so much so I usually end up outside the boundaries of the sand ring. At that point she had me stop to talk about why that was happening then she physically adjusted my legs which immediately impacted my whole leg and seat so much so I had to drop my stirrups a hole. Then we went back to walk again and poof my drifting to the outside issue was gone like it never even existed with the added bonus of "power steering" and a much freer and more relaxed horse. It was almost hard to believe the difference in P's way of going though it definitely makes sense as what she did was rotated my leg to relax the upper leg to get rid of pinching and keep the lower leg wrapped around the horse. I'm still a bit tight through the upper leg just because my hip area is so tight in general but I have been keeping up with my stretches and exercise goals (woohoo!) and I do think it's slowly improving.

I had recently been thinking about how of all the horses I've ridden throughout the years she seems to reflect my riding the most. With this lesson it's really solidified how much she reflects her rider and how responsive she is capable of being when I make things short and clear. That was the last thread's goal.. I seem to catch up with my goals after each thread except somehow I'm catching on early for this one. I'm sure I'll still struggle with getting my body to cooperate sometimes but knowing how it should feel is a good start.

The two point I do think was doing good things for us but it may have just been because of how tight I was in my upper leg and seat it was a big relief for poor Pal and helped me relax my leg down so I'll probably continue with it for some but perhaps not for all rides, it really depends on how things feel I think.


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