The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

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piedmontfields
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The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby piedmontfields » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:23 am

Now that I am happily back in the saddle, I've been thinking a lot about how my horse has evolved since I got her 3.5 years ago.

-She is much more consistent in the connection, vs. coming and going in the contact within a gait and between gaits
-She is much straighter (not GP straight, but nothing like training level straight which is what she used to be)
-She is much more able to engage and power up in trot (it was always easier in canter, but that gait has also improved)
-She is much more relaxed in her work, and accepting of change and transitions within and between gaits and movements

While we are not where I hoped to be by the time she reached age 15, she is doing well! And still teaching me loads. :D

How about you and your horse(s)?

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby redsoxluvr » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:10 am

The more I ride, the less I realize I know. Just when I think I have things figured out, I realize that there are 100 more things that I need to learn.

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby khall » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:08 pm

Well I bred and raised Rip, he is a 2006 model. He has gone from quite the punk to a fun horse to ride and is developing nicely in his training. I put the double bridle back on him yesterday (now that our health issues seem to be taken care of) because he is going so well and with good engagement, collection in our work in the snaffle.

Some of our biggest challenges were: he could be a big spook (has put me on the ground with his 180's more than any other horse I have ridden) we seem to have worked that out for the most part now. We both trust each other more.
He wanted to take over the left rein in trot and especially in canter, NOT FUN! Now not an issue.
Canter was iffy for awhile on him. Not his best gait. Now his canter is fabulous. He is very evenly developed on both reins/leads and shows really nice engagement and collection in it. The piaffe/half steps has done wonders this year for his canter.
As a young horse he was a bear to work in hand. Often I would just use my caveson to do so. He was overbearing, dominant and a total and complete punk. Now he is a joy with all the lateral work done easily in walk and trot, great trot, halt, RB, trot, half steps. Just fabulous to work in hand now.
Rip and I have come a long way baby! So many thanks and so many tears missing Mark. Mark's training was instrumental in getting us to this point. I am so thankful to Mark for this and proud of my orange boy, he has taught me so much these last years.

Here Rip is yesterday in his double (cheek piece is out because he was chewing the bits) sporting his new bling brow band:)
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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby Ryeissa » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:23 pm

I've had Riot for 5v yrs, In that time I wouldn't say I abandoned my classical dressage (german) theory. However, I have learned to apply it differently. Yes, the training scale is still gospel. but I've learned so much about biomechanics that make proper balance/tempo/rhythm possible.
I have also become a MUCH quieter rider, leg leg leg forward did nothing to help me, and harmed my work. Now I think about getting the front of the horse out of the way so the back can come through before adding power.

Addressing asymmetries in both of us, really fixing it, don't just tell me not to sit to the right but describe how it feels when I sit level and what muscles to use.....

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby DJR » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:05 am

I've owned Jet since Apr 2009. He came to me as a newly backed rising-4-yr-old and could barely canter much less travel straight. Since then, I've moved up to Third Level and have taken him from a horse who couldn't canter well to a horse who is nailing more flying changes than not now! That's our biggest achievement to date.

And, I backed Panache 3 years ago. Now he's solid First Level and had more scores in the 70s this year than in the 60s (and none below that). He's schooling all of the Second Level movements and we just recently started with flying changes.

For me, since finding my FEI instructor, I've become better at:
-understanding back-to-front riding, and applying it
-riding with forward, quiet, soft hands with an elastic contact
-nagging less, energizing more
-using the movements to improve the horse (rather than riding the movements so that I could get around my next dressage test at a show)

I *just* got back from a fabulous weekend watching Carl Hester work with a range of horses from 4 yr olds to GP. Talk about inspiring! The best part was how it confirmed that I'm on the right track with my instructor. There was nothing new, but incredibly inspiring & motivating. His wealth of knowledge and his ability to improve every single horse was second to none. Loved it!
formerly known as "Deanna" on UDBB -- and prior to that, as "DJD".

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby mari » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:02 am

In the last 5 years I've evolved from being a passenger to being very aware of what/how I'm teaching my horse. Because I started as a greenie on a greenie, our progress has been snail-like, with lots of challenges. But it has been such a huge learning curve for me.

Odin is currently competing 2nd level with my instructor, hoping to move up to 3rd next year. She competes him, with one or two prep rides for herself before a show. I do all the other rides. My ruptured disk in my neck is so much better, but I'm still not able to sit the trot for extended periods of time, so competing is not really on the table for me at the moment. So I'm really really proud of what I've managed to produce with my spotted monster.

My biggest change as rider came when we moved up to 2nd level. The discipline and rigor we needed for this level was such a steep and effective learning curve for me, and as a result for Odin as well. I have to be so aware of what I train him to do, and how I go about it. I am also more comfortable on insisting on quality work from him, and he is so much more responsive and trainable when I am very firm and focused with what I want. He is a give-a-finger-and-he-will-take-your-arm kind of horse, so for us very strict discipline on my side, and submission on his side, was one of our greatest breakthroughs.
The aim of argument or of discussion should not be victory, but progress. ~ Joseph Joubert

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby piedmontfields » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:16 pm

I'm really enjoying these reflections--thank you! Also I somehow missed that Rip is a beautiful *chestnut*! Very handsome.

DJR, what a fantastic opportunity to watch Hester! (esp. after your recent Clarke clinic) I will echo your comment about using movements to improve the horse. I'm a lot clearer about how to do this (which tools/movements/exercises to use at which moment) and trust my decisions a lot more than I used to. Our vocabulary is a lot bigger...

Mari, it is amazing what you have accomplished while dealing with health challenges. As someone with a rather submissive/obedient-type horse, I have to say that gaining obedience from your fellow sounds like a huge achievement.

Rye, I cannot believe you've had Riot 5 years! Wow!! Time flies. Glad the journey keeps getting better for you.

Redsoxluvr, the complexity (and simplicity lol!) of dressage training is a huge part of the appeal to me. As some people say, "dressage is simple, it is just not easy!"

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby Chisamba » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:32 am

Well I have had metamorphic changes in training. I was quite a stickler for certain premises that I have realized are simply not always true.

1) every horse can go well in an egg butt snaffle and if it doesn't, training is at fault.

Metamorphed into, some horses just do not like a snaffle and there us no harm in trying multiple different mouthpieces to find one your horse likes.

2) poll high IFV is the best way to balance a horse

Acacia might have taught me the most here. If she is ridden up and out she scrambles for balance, loses gait clarity and has such a difficult time with balance. I was at a clinic with Andreas Hausberger and he surprised me by having me ride her rounder and it was amazing how much she improved, however I keep reverting to riding her up and she just doesn't have the conformation to be able to use her back and carry behind when she is up according to my previously indoctrinated ideal.

So listen to and watch your horse, different conformation does better in different positions.

I have others but it's taken a life time to learn and I don't want to bore you by taking a life time to tell.

As for Kimba, she was obese, with laminitis in both front feet and abscesses. Despite this it took four hours for seven of us to catch her as she hadn't been haltered since weaning. I used to have to sedate her to get her feet trimmed. She was also a pacer.

Now she can half pass in all three gaits, is sound, easy to catch and pretty well mannered. We still have difficulty with extended trot but I hope to develop that along with flying changes next year.

If I let others ride her they complain about how much focus, abdominal engagement attention to detail and consistency it requires.

This puts to death my final indoctrinated ideal. Dressage makes horses easier to ride. In truth the more trained a horse is to ride, the better a rider you have to be to enjoy it.

So these are my boring thoughts your question prompted in me.

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby piedmontfields » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:16 pm

Chisamba wrote: This puts to death my final indoctrinated ideal. Dressage makes horses easier to ride. In truth the more trained a horse is to ride, the better a rider you have to be to enjoy it.


That is so true!

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby Moutaineer » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:55 pm

Chisamba, a very nice lady in our barn who has been a pretty good hunter rider all her life and now wants to learn dressage went yesterday to try out a lovely upper level schoolmaster mare.

She had a fabulous time once she got over being intimidated by the size of the movement, but was somewhat confounded by how hard it was to be as focused and precise as she needed to be in order for the horse to respond to her aids.

(I'm hoping this will be a match for her, as she'd be a great home for a really nice horse.)

And yes, I agree with you. We need to listen to and observe what actually works best for the horse rather than impose our beliefs on it.

Other than that, I'm finding it hard to respond to this post as I'm rehabbing at the moment and feel like I've gone backwards rather than forwards. But this too shall pass. And it's not wasted time. I'm working on my seat and position and my hands, because I think I've lost focus on improving the quality of these things in the whole picture of "doing dressage." At the trot, it's been more survival than equitation, but it's getting better the more we can do because he gets less frustrated and more tired so I can focus more on me rather than not having him come uncorked.

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby Tsavo » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:25 pm

The most valuable things I have discovered are expecting forward as a default and understanding the equivalence between correct down hill work and collection.

My goal is to get the pyramid (not including collection) in the first 10 minutes so I can progress my horse. With help from my trainer I was able to accomplish the warm up in the 10 minutes. It was mainly a focus on focus that helped me here. ☺

Less successfully, I was working on laying the groundwork for FCs after starting this work with my trainer during lessons.
We were at a point where I had him straight enough and jumping enough that he was offering changes but only in front. So obviously that needed more work. Depending on whether I can recover my horse, I may have to pick this up with my next horse.
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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby demi » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:37 pm

piedmontfields wrote:
Chisamba wrote: This puts to death my final indoctrinated ideal. Dressage makes horses easier to ride. In truth the more trained a horse is to ride, the better a rider you have to be to enjoy it.


That is so true!


For me, this isn't so straightforward. I do believe that dressage makes some horses easier to ride, but a lot depends on the particular horse, and the particular trainer. In the 90's I had a horse in partial training with a GP trainer in CA (she was also an R judge). I got to ride several of her horses. I rode a GP OTTB gelding, a GP warmblood stallion, and a PSG warmblood/TB mare. The GP horses were very difficult for me to ride and the trainer said "the problem with me" was that I didn't have strong enough legs...The PSG mare was very hot and sensitive and I found her much easier to ride. Still, it was not easy to keep her in front of the vertical but with concentration I could do it. Trainer again said I didnt use enough let, but she liked the way the mare went for me enough to let me ride her a lot.

This trainer was a stickler for seat and I very much appreciated that. She lunged me on my own horse 3X a week for 3 months. I had strong feelings that this wasn't good for my horse but I put my trust in the trainer and kept my mouth shut. My boy was short, 15 hh, but built like a tank with heavy bone so I kept that in mind when I worried about all the lunging, figuring he could handle it. And in the long run, it didn't hurt him physically. I loved what she did for my seat, and wish I had learned my seat from her when I was a kid, instead of in my late 30's.

Still, I had serious issues with the way she trained and I left after a year. I then took my horse to another GP trainer (also very experienced and a breeder as well as an international judge) and got to ride a few of his horses. None were tecnically FEI level horses, but they were close, and VERY easy to ride. All of them went so easily off the leg that at I had to concentrate not to use too MUCH leg!! I didn't stay with him long because we moved to Texas shortly after I started training with him.

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby khall » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:55 pm

I agree demi that is about the individual horses whether they are not "easy" to ride more than the training.

I find lighter more forward horses so much easier to ride, yet I ride my WBs that aren't so forward. I do feel that training should make them go better for their riders but not necessarily easier to ride for just anybody. Rip is a good case for this! He is an easy ride for me now, not "physical" at all yet there is no way on God's green Earth I would put just anybody on him! He would suss out any weaknesses in them and have a field day:)

The gray gelding I liked so much in Spain IMO was an easy ride because of his sensitivity, was right up my alley, but in no way would many AAs have been able to ride him. He required a very stable seat and steady clear aids, yet I fell in love with him because of that! Made me ride so much better.

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby piedmontfields » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:01 pm

Demi and khall, I think you are actually both agreeing with the point of Chisamba's remark, which is that one needs to be an educated, aware rider to enjoy a more trained horse (I think you both are/were that kind of rider--even if you didn't think so at the time).

Khall, the grey you enjoyed in Spain sounded totally like my type of ride. BTW, there is a very cute reasonably priced ~6 yr old palomino Lusitano gelding for sale near me that needs a rider like you :-) I wish I were in the market!

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby Ryeissa » Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:55 pm

I know, 5 years! Amazing.... I'm not always showing progression outward, but I have really changed as a rider through this process=particularly the use of straightness (I have a much more detailed understanding of the anatomy of a straight horse/rider, and how to use movements to get straightness).

My horse is very very sensitive, so the seat/hand/leg ratio is the hardest thing to do, even with my experience. A little bit in one direction is not enough, but a tad more is too much. Trainer said I get a razor's edge of "the just right" area.

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby khall » Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:52 pm

Yep I think so too piedmont, more educated horse=more buttons=need clearer aids and steady seat to ride them!

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby Ryeissa » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:11 pm

khall wrote:Yep I think so too piedmont, more educated horse=more buttons=need clearer aids and steady seat to ride them!


I would agree, though for me my horse is not at a high level, but I think the demands on me as a rider are more now that I have trained into him an increased sensitivity/reactivity (in a good way) on top of the innate sensitivity my horse came with.

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby exvet » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:47 am

Well my one horse can now canter and hold the canter............that pretty much says it all. He now has muscle and though we're far from the pinnacle of where dressage can take him, it's definitely made him a more sound and athletic animal. Myself, well, I shudder to think of how bad my position has become or what other bad habits have creeped in but I hope to soon get back to taking regular lessons. We continue to work on straightness; but, the good news is that I can feel far more than I use to and make adjustments to facilitate my critter in staying straight whether he likes or not LOL. My other one, well, he is progressing slowly but far, far better than all of those before him. He now is moving forward easily, into the hand and from the get go he uses his hind end to lift himself into the next gait. I dare say that this one is the one. I just feel like lightening is going to strike at any moment. Until it does I'm going to continue to work him in hand, work him lightly under saddle and hit the trails soon to build is stamina and muscle. Next year I might have a real dressage horse....

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby demi » Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:09 pm

piedmontfields wrote:Demi and khall, I think you are actually both agreeing with the point of Chisamba's remark, which is that one needs to be an educated, aware rider to enjoy a more trained horse (I think you both are/were that kind of rider--even if you didn't think so at the time).


I think you're right, Piedmont.

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby demi » Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:21 pm

I was evolving as and amateur trainer for years, but then I started devolving :cry: My position has deteriorated quite a bit over the last several years and I have reverted to some bad habits. Not riding regularly, not riding with a trainer, and just getting older has taken a toll. But at least I am aware of the situation and am trying to figure out new ways to get back into the groove.

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby ElaPe » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:41 pm

Me and my wielkopolski (Polish warmblood) mare Negocjacja's (born 2003) evolvement - from training level to third level
Attachments
Comparison - canter.jpg
Comparison - canter.jpg (58.54 KiB) Viewed 2959 times
Comparison - trot.jpg
Comparison - trot.jpg (116.81 KiB) Viewed 3031 times
Comparison -  extended trot.jpg
Comparison - extended trot.jpg (81.38 KiB) Viewed 3031 times
Last edited by ElaPe on Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby Sue B » Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:16 pm

Great job ElaP, thank you for sharing pictures.

As a rider/trainer of my own horses I have evolved to have almost limitless patience. By my late 20's early 30's, I had already learned that the bigger hurry one is in the slower the horse is to respond appropriately. I used that knowledge in all areas of my life and continue to do so today--I even raised my kid with that philosophy and so far he has turned out ok. ;) I just completed the first phase of the L program, and while I do not agree with everything that was said, I can honestly say that after 40 some years doing this dressage stuff, I have a pretty good eye and a decent knowledge base with a good understand of why we train the way we do. My seat has evolved to be way more effective and (in my own head at least) quieter. I think it all goes back to patience, though. Sometimes slow and steady really does win the race.

Horsewise, Tio has evolved from a "kick ride," stick-in-the-mud warmblood baby, to a forward thinking, free-flowing TB cross. He is still a long ways from being a dressage horse, but I don't care. He's fun to ride now and that's all that matters to me.

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby Moutaineer » Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:39 pm

Elape, very interesting to really see the progression in a number of gaits like that. Thank you! (Very nice, by the way.)

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby piedmontfields » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:00 pm

Elape, your photos are great! It is super to see the development in photos. Did anything surprise you along the way?

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby mld02004 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:58 am

I used to think I was riding with fairly independent hands, but not until recent breakthroughs with core strength have I been able to really ride back to front with enough collection for third level. The amount of physical strength required for putting oneself in “self carriage” is much larger than I anticipated. When I am solid and quiet with my position, the connection becomes solid.
I’ve also found that my mare is very sensitive to everything, including tack. I used to think that little things like pads or girths wouldn’t make a tremendous difference, but with this horse they do. If she likes something, stick with it. If the connection is cruddy, check tack fit. I also misjudged the effect of riding in a saddle that didn’t work very well for me— they call it saddle fitting hell for a reason—and not just for the horse!

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby ElaPe » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:05 am

piedmontfields wrote:Elape, your photos are great! It is super to see the development in photos. Did anything surprise you along the way?


Thank you!

What surprised me along the way was how true is all what great old masters and renowned present-time trainers have written and advised in their teachings. First and foremost the good, old pyramide of training: if one sincerely and correctly follows the pyramide, things will just happen almost automatically.

All in all it is not worth it to choose any of these self-appointed modern gurus claiming to have "their own system" as there are really no "his/her/my system" - everything has already been said and tested by generations of gifted horsemen and "my system" is only better or less better compilation of someone else's systems.

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Re: The big picture: How has your training or your horse evolved?

Postby piedmontfields » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:28 pm

ElaPe wrote: What surprised me along the way was how true is all what great old masters and renowned present-time trainers have written and advised in their teachings. First and foremost the good, old pyramide of training: if one sincerely and correctly follows the pyramide, things will just happen almost automatically.


Thanks for sharing that. I totally agree--that "stuff" really works!!! :D


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