Get me out of training level!

A forum for discussion of training in dressage
Xanthoria
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Get me out of training level!

Postby Xanthoria » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:00 pm

I've been reading a lot of threads about people circling the drain at training level forever (nothing wrong with that!), and I have to say that what with One Thing and Another I have been in that circle for years. Horse hates dressage, trainer woes, other horse goes lame, trainer passes away ( :( ) relentless, expensive horse health issues, horse passes away, new horse is only 6 months old...

Well now I have a sound 5 yr old with a great mind who tries very hard and solid gaits. I started him myself very slowly and he's coming right along. I have a new trainer who travels over an hour each way to our barn about 3x a month max. I live right by the barn and go every day without fail, riding 5 days a week. I have a new trailer and horse will get on it (yeah!) and I consider myself at the Conscious Incompetence level of training, which is better than the unconscious one...

Due to the sight of an upcoming Large Number birthday in 4 yrs, I would like to set a realistic, achievable goal to get out of training level in that time. I was thinking maybe 2nd level. I have never shown at that level: as an adult, Training eventing (almost 1st) was the highest due to above excuses. I am pretty sure horse could be showing 1st be end of year with a pro ride: he's a good boy.

However, I'm reading threads that say "you can't get past 1st and make the vast leap to 2nd without having a horse in full training, at least 1-2 lessons a week, and access to schoolmasters"

I'm open to sending horse off for training, but current trainer has v small private place so not sure he could go to her. I'm open to trailering out to lessons. I've asked trainer if we can set goals to get me out showing this year at little stuff and start the path. But I don't want to waste $ if it's universally acknowledged that it's not realistic.

Is everything I have read on the internet true? :mrgreen:

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby DJR » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:38 pm

Xanthoria wrote:However, I'm reading threads that say "you can't get past 1st and make the vast leap to 2nd without having a horse in full training, at least 1-2 lessons a week, and access to schoolmasters"

...

Is everything I have read on the internet true? :mrgreen:


Not for me!

I have done all the training on my Friesian/Perch. Sure it's taken longer than if he was ridden regularly by a pro, but we are now showing at Third Level (he's now rising 13 yrs old) after having won the provincial championship for Second Level, First Level, and Training Level. I ride on average 3x weekly (more in summer, less in winter), and I get lessons once a month from an FEI instructor who comes to my neck of the woods only that often (she is otherwise a 4-hr drive away). My horse has never been in professional training (i.e., having a pro ride/train him regularly). I've presented him in clinics in front of Stephen Clarke and Tom Dvorak, and get consistent thumbs-up for our progress ("you're on the right path" and similar positive comments).

I backed & trained my younger horse, Panache, as well. Apart from having a pro restart him as a rising 4-yr-old (because that was the spring after I adopted my daughter so my time was at a premium), I've put all of his training on him. He was Reserve Champ for First level provincially last year, and was Training Level champ the year before. He is schooling all Second Level movements now with only me on his back, riding as I said above only 3x per week on average.

Both horses are currently fat & fuzzy and haven't been ridden since early December due to a combination of: work demands, wretched cold temperatures, and no indoor arena. They'll be brought back into condition in March hopefully and we'll go from there.

Anyway, I'm no pro. I'm at best an ammy adult who loves riding and struggles with my own limitations, but I just keep showing up, entering shows, and doing my best.

So I say DO IT. Yes, the jump to Second Level is real and needs to be tackled with care & consideration in terms of training, fitness, etc., but it isn't a barrier for ammy adults. Have fun!
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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Moutaineer » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:06 pm

Oh, of course you can do it!

Can you sit the trot?

Yes? Go show first level. See what the judge has to say. Work on the not so good things. Go show it again.

Once you've done this a few times, move on to the next step. Can you counter canter and do a simple change, and shoulder in?

Yes? Go show 2nd level.

You are a competent horsewoman with tons of experience. You just need to go do it.

A few lessons or a clinic with the "right" trainer are more use than grinding away every week with someone who is not progressing your skills.

And come play in the "goals" thread.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Ponichiwa » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:13 pm

The schoolmaster + full training + lessons route helps a lot, for sure, but it's not mandatory to get above 2nd-- as DJD clearly illustrates above.

Riding the movements on a schoolmaster helps you develop feel. Full training helps your horse connect the dots. Taking frequent lessons helps you maintain your momentum and reinforce that you and your horse are on the right path (or stop you before you go too far in the wrong direction). But you don't necessarily need all three of those in order to progress.

I found that the hardest thing about progressing up the levels is just keeping my own standards and level of accountability high. That means paying attention to the details of how my horse is accepting my aids at any time and testing the boundaries all the time to expand your range of options. I run through a position checklist every 6-10 strides to ensure that I'm not inadvertently setting my horse up to fail. And that means even after a long day/week/month at work I go out and school instead of succumbing to the siren song of an(other) easy hack day (work in progress here...).

But the real trap I see other amateurs fall into (and that I've fallen into before) is backing off the work load when things don't feel easy. I've never had a horse progress linearly; there's days or weeks that feel like everything is wrong and that I've destroyed the quality of XYZ thing. That's where trusty eyes on the ground can help you maintain your conviction that where you're headed is still the right way (or redirect you if necessary). 2nd highlights straightness issues and can require building up quite a bit of strength on the weak side (and the weak side may change from week to week) of the horse, which isn't always sunshine and rainbows. You have to be fair, but be consistent in your expectations. Take breaks, reward good work, but keep up high standards of what kind of canter transition is actually acceptable (for example).

On the topic of showing-- it's actually a bit easier to preserve a decent 60+ % score at 2nd level vs. 1st or TL just because there are so many movements that you can blow one entirely (been there) and still not torpedo your whole score. That's not to say that the tests themselves are easier; just that the way they're scored is more forgiving of showmanship mistakes and allow you some recovery space. Not so in Training Level!

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby StraightForward » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:35 pm

I'm in a very similar situation, Xan! I haven't had quite as tough of a string of luck, but it has been a rough road over the last decade hindering my progress.

I have a coming 5 year old now myself (well, two actually), and I don't want to just putz at training and first forever. My strategy is to consistently focus on developing a third-level horse, not making a perfect first-level horse before thinking of the second and third-level movements. That doesn't mean don't focus on basics, but I'm looking at them a little differently than the progression in the movements by test levels. So even though my horse isn't ready to show at training level just yet, we are doing a lot of lateral work in walk, trotting half-voltes and even introducing a little rein-back. At least for this horse, this approach has straightened her a lot, and the basics are improving without drilling 20 meter circles. I might be deluded, but my hope is that the jump to second level will not be as steep with this approach because my horse will already be comfortable with doing shoulder-in and the quick transitions will be par for the course. This is counter to what I frequently see with riders stuck at first level who just drill the trot and canter work and leg yields, but are not developing the horse further through riding additional lateral movements and more difficult transitions.
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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Xanthoria » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:49 pm

Hey I just read the test for the first time in forever and looked at some vids and I could go out and do a pretty good imitation of a 1st level test tomorrow, no sitting required! :shock:

As for 2nd, I can do a counter canter (by mistake), a simple change, and sometimes when I ask for leg yield I get shoulder in. IT'S ON! :mrgreen: (j/k)

But seriously. Horse can do some things really well, and others are just hideous - trot halt, yes. Walk halt? More dribble than Lionel Messi. Walk to canter departs? Really nice if I set him up right! Canter to walk? Oh please. No chance. Rein back? He has shivers so that's very hit or miss. Lengthened strides? Just starting that and he has a lot of strengthening to do - he's immature for a 5 yr old so we have a stumpy jog to prepare, and a sort of run right now.

OK, well this is refreshing. Funnily I told a friend to get out a do a 1st level test last year when trainer was sorta holding her back. And I told her she needs to just get out and do it and see what happens. And she did, and it was great. I could take my own advice...

Need to find some schooling shows and get out and show training level soon...

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Chancellor » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:23 pm

It's not like you will be beheaded if you don't do well at a level. You have nothing to lose by seeing what you can do.
Even if some of the movements are not quite right you could still get a decent score.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Xanthoria » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:31 pm

Chancellor I will be pilloried! Mocked! People will point and throw damp sponge cakes at my head and the jam will get on my white breeks!

God it's awful living in my head... :lol:

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby DJR » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:49 pm

I still vividly remember my first time down centerline of a Second Level test. I felt like a complete imposter, sure that I'd be "found out" that I was thoroughly out of my element and ill-equipped to manage. The weather that day didn't help: blustery, rainy, crappy in general. It was enough to stress about remembering the actual test (Second level has a lot more going on than First/Training level!), let alone executing it.

When I halted & saluted at the end, I thought "what was I so worried about?" No one was laughing at me (or if they were, not where I could see them), and I think I got a 63%. And that was before I met my beloved FEI instructor who repaired many of our basic training holes subsequently (still a work in progress, of course).

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Chisamba » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:57 pm

I think you can but you should be prepared to take a few miss steps and wipe the jam off your breeches and kick on.

It usually takes me two years at second and about one for each other level, so I tell people patience and persistence helps.

To me some things are actually easier at third.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Flight » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:49 pm

I hope that's not true because I'm about to have a go at Advanced (4th?? level) on a horse I broke in myself and have lessons on maybe once a fortnight/three weeks on average :lol: :lol:

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Rosie B » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:07 pm

There are lots of reasons why some people get out of training level and some people don't. Trainers and schoolmasters and lessons are only part of it. They're not the complete picture. Some people manage to go far without those things and others get nowhere even with them.

In my opinion, there are two big factors that influence someone's ability to progress.
1) Dedication/Discipline. You need to be dedicated to riding regularly, to improving, to identifying where you need to work on yourself and to what your horse needs to work on and then working on those things. Dedicated to figuring out why something isn't working and finding different solutions and exercises to help solve your problems. Dedicated to expanding your knowledge, understanding, and experience, so that you can be a better rider tomorrow. And you need to be disciplined to do the hard things, to go to the difficult places, and to effect the change you need to make your horse go better.

2) Accepting responsibility for your role as your horse's trainer. That doesn't mean moping about how your horse would go better with a better rider. That can be said of all horses. It means realistically assessing your riding abilities and limitations and understanding how that and what you choose to do while riding impacts your horse and your progression. It's accepting that if you allow your horse to do a poor transition, you are TRAINING him that poor transitions are allowed. Poor transitions aren't allowed, so don't ride them poorly. If your horse is stalling in leg yield, WHY? Figure it out. That's your job as trainer. Experiment until you have an answer.

I know I said two, but there's a third one that's also important... so:
3) Continuously testing responses while riding. What happens if you put your leg on? Does he go forward? If not, he SHOULD so make him. What happens if you ask him to come back. Does he? Will he go forward again? Can you do a transition to canter right now? Can you walk now? Can you circle now? Will he do a step of leg yield now? Will he go straight now? Will he go forward again? Will he softly flex to the outside? Will he softly flex to the inside? Will he trot now? Will he do all of these things willingly and with no shred of tension or resistance? If not repeat and see if you can get a better response. If you think that response was good, can it be better? Try it again. This is especially true of transitions. Transitions are the bread and butter of dressage. If you think you got a good transition, I guarantee you, you can still get a better one. So ride a better one next time.

Of course, in addition to those things, you also need regular access to good instruction. Some people can stay on the straight and narrow with a month between lessons. Some people can't. Find what works for you and stick to it.

Full disclosure: I haven't gotten very far. The highest I've shown is third level and not particularly well. My current horse and I are schooling second level pretty solidly and have only had a handful of lessons over the years (10 to be exact). I bought him as a 2 yo and broke him myself and I fully intend to get him to at least PSG. He'll be 8 in April and is behind in his training because I've had 2 kids and he's had a few winters off.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Dresseur » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:49 pm

There are some excellent points here and Rosie's post is really spot on. So, I don't really have anything to add other than some points about actually showing.

You can absolutely do T, 1 and 2nd levels or more without a horse in full training, and things do not need to be perfect. What does help is to have some instruction on ring craft and of course, making sure that the lateral movements are correct for second level. Know the requirements of the levels/tests. Also, accuracy is huge - know the geometry, find out what your horse does well and capitalize on those things, especially at 2nd level. Basically - if your horse doesn't have a great lengthening, pick up your 5 or 6 and move on. Don't blow your horse out of the water looking for the 7 or 8 that is not feasible for your horse. Doing so blows the next 2 movements usually because then the horse is tense and rushing or against the hand etc. But, ANYONE can get an 8 or more on a centerline halt. So, pay attention to those "gimme" scores.

Another thing, don't feel that you have to do each test at each level- pick the tests that flow the nicest for your horse. Second level is tough - the judges are looking at increased collection and accuracy in transitions. That is one where it helps to have eyes on the ground so that you can find the holes and work on them. That may be a regular instructor or a fix-a-test. In any case - if you've never ridden in more collected gaits, this is where a schoolmaster or an instructor, even once a month can help. I say go for it! It sounds like you have a solid citizen on your hands and there's no reason not to!

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby khall » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:30 am

Absolutely no reason why you cannot do this, especially if you have some good help training wise. A good minded horse IMO is the biggest help in your journey.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Flight » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:48 am

I think you just need to be a bit obsessed with dressage. That gives you the determination to keep chipping away at your riding, reading/watching/learning etc.
I have friends who do dressage but stay in the lower levels and they just don’t have the level of obsession that I do.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby LeoApp » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:40 pm

YOU CAN DO EEET!!

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Xanthoria » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:11 pm


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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby tlkidding » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:56 pm

Do EEETTTTT!

Since my horse was backed by a trainer, I think I've had a trainer sit on him to school him like 3 times. He's 14 and we're schooling all of the GP.

Work with a trainer who knows how to teach, not train a horse. Since they are not sitting on the horse, they have to teach you the rider how to train the horse. Some trainers can't describe that very well. I work with an eventing trainer who's never ridden any of the GP work but he can teach, and he can watch and diagnose. Work with a trainer who is helping you train the horse, not helping you do the movements in the test.

I'm someone who looks ahead, reads, and watches things and the starts trying them out. I started almost all of the movements for the "next level" outside of lessons, or asked specifically in a lesson to help me start with X (HP, piaffe, etc.). You need a trainer who is filling in the holes you don't realize you have and holding your feet to the fire about the training scale and quality of training you are doing. You don't have to wait until you are 100% ready to do a good shoulder in to start training the shoulder in if you are riding 5 days a week on your own. Everything is built up gradually with a smaller degree of difficulty at first, then adding more bend, more expression, more roundness, etc.

If you want to go up the levels, keep your 2nd level goal in mind, but work on developing an FEI horse for the future...and I'd start playing with the changes as soon as you can do the shallow loop counter canter with a decently straight and obedient horse.

And set smaller goals - has the horse been to a show yet? Start with a schooling show this spring and ride a number of tests. Then have some recognized shows on the schedule for late summer at Training and First. Then hammer on the 2nd level strength and suppleness over the winter, expecting to take 2 years to feel successful showing at 2nd.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby mld02004 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:12 pm

Started in TL, now coming out at third 5 years later on my Anglo Arab. I have an excellent instructor, but I have done all the riding myself—horse was TL when I bought her. Horse has never been in training. I’ve put a flying change on, play with canter pirouette, etc. I am I guess what some would call a backyard rider with a grass arena to boot.

I have 4 of 6 scores for my bronze. I have been riding since I was young, but doing dressage for maybe 12 years. I spent a lot of time not progressing due to unsuitable horse and mediocre instruction.

It’s mostly dedication imo. And access to excellent instruction. I also am constantly watching videos and reading, and always trying to learn as much as I can. I’ll be honest, I was really stuck at second for awhile, it took a lot of determination to finally get those scores. It’s one thing to school a certain level at home, whole nother at a recognized show, especially on a smaller moving horse.

If you are determined and keep at it anything is possible!

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby piedmontfields » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:14 pm

Lots of great advice on this thread. Of course you can do it, OP!

Frankly, with a nicely moving horse and decent rider + a horse who is comfortable at shows, 1st is a fine early point of entry.

Like some others, I would recommend that 2nd not be the "goal" but rather a way station along the way to developing an FEI horse (or at least a nearly PSG horse). Go ahead and plan/train for more. You will be most successful showing 2nd after you are well beyond it in schooling.
Last edited by piedmontfields on Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Xanthoria » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:48 pm

Yes piedmont - so... I'll need to be schooling 3rd to show 2nd... 4 years might not be enough! :lol:

OK well I have done some more research, refreshing my brain on the movements and looking at youtube videos. I watched a very nice first level rated test with judge comments on it, and felt sorry for the rider being judged harshly IMO. Then I realized it was a TL test, and was :shock:

Yeah, there's a vast range of quality and judging between different regions, and schooling and recognized....

I added a sheet to my training spreadsheet with all the movements for TL and 1st, and marked each for how embarrassed I would be to try them in public. :lol: I don't even like people watching my lessons at home. I guess it's good practice. I found some schooling shows to go to, and I believe I have a passable outfit for both of us.

Then I had a lesson and got homework. Baby horse has graduated from basic steering and faulty brakes, to accepting side-reins-like hands and turning off seat/leg, to me needing to follow him everywhere when he tries different head positions. So, my work is cut out for me. 2 weeks until next lesson!

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby piedmontfields » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:50 pm

Awe, come on. You will likely be surprised with your behemoth's talent...and your own. Schooling shows are a great way to assess how training is going, and are good for getting young horses out and about.

Yes, you are in a much more competitive region than some, but I don't know if you're interested in showing for ribbons or for scores/feedback.

If you can tactfully sit the trot and canter, you are already well beyond what I see from people who are forever at training level. Personally, I consider 2nd level skills to be what I expect of a trained horse. So it is not that big of a deal.

It is just hard to look beautiful doing second with a horse whose training is not much beyond that level (So consequently, it is hard to win ribbons in 2nd compared to training/first---hence the advice I've heard from experienced folks is that the easiest way to put in a great 2nd level test is to ride a PSG horse). Many pros skip competing in 2nd for just that reason. They don't skip the training required---just the showing! Many professionals show a young horse in training/1st very briefly (enough to show them the ropes and maybe do some regionals for the owner) and then don't show again until 3rd (when horsie is schooling 4th/PSG).

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Xanthoria » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:56 pm

Ain't gonna lie - I do like me a ribbon! :lol:

However, my plan for the year is to go out with an EXTREMELY low bar: stay inside the ring, roughly follow the movements at Intro, don't fall off. By the end of the year I imagine having done 4-5 shows and having got horse's head in the game in the ring at TL. So I'll be competing against myself, on a per judge basis (ie if I can I'll show in front of the judge multiple times to see trends and progress)

Maybe with the exodus from first to third I can capitalize on small classes at 2nd and make a killing! BAHAHAHA! :lol:

Or yes, maybe I'll mooch around intro / TL for a season, put him under wraps and BURST onto the scene at 3rd in 2020 like a DIVA and get ALL teh ribbinz! YAS!

Yah OK, back to reality. Watch for me stumbling around the rinky-dink small court soon! I'll do everything I can to preserve the anonymity of my trainer so she can show her face at the feedstore again in this century, and hope my horse's breeder has enough good wine on hand that her regrets for selling me the beast can be sufficiently drowned each day. :oops:

Updates to come soon I hope!

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Moutaineer » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:15 pm

I rather enjoyed second level once I got over the "big step up" factor. Which is probably just as well, as after last year's injury fiasco I expect I will be showing it again this year at least for the first half of the season--which is all of 3 months long here and doesn't start until June, so I've got a bit of time.

Xan, your horse is very green, but obviously talented, so getting him some miles at the lower levels should be pretty straightforward. You have a goal to work towards, which if you are anything like me, means you will actually approach your work with more focus and a clearer idea of what you are trying to do, which isn't ever a bad thing.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby cb06 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:00 pm

You can definitely do it! Every horse/rider struggles has strengths and weaknesses. Ride the test(s) at home to get a good feel for where you both might struggle. Get a friend to video if possible (so enlightening!). Practice or get lessons and focus on some of the weak spots, confirm the strengths and...yes, kick-on! You are out making progress! ..it is what we all aspire to do.
If you wait for 'perfect' you will wait forever...ride.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby lorilu » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:24 pm

I finally made the leap about 4 years ago and am now competing 4th. I have a great trainer and a very kind horse helped me move to Second and another horse is teaching me now (first horse did not/could not was ruined for) changes.
A few years a go I wrote an article for our club NL called "ride for the future". Everything you do now at TL/1st should be setting him up for success as you move ahead. Don't see LY and canter loops as an end in themselves. They teach important skills if done correctly with an eye to the future!!
For me, the hardest thing to learn was:
In TL you can go around like a hunter on the FH. Even somewhat in First if your horse is balanced.
However, to succeed at Second, YOU HAVE TO HAVE him off the FH and have some COLLECTION. You cannot do a quality simple change (C-W-C) without collection. You cannot do quality SI without collection. You will have better halts with some collection. etc etc etc.
RIde him forward. Balance him. RIde into the OS rein.

You can do it. If I could anyone can!

And BTW, the hardest thing for ME continues to be body control/sitting the trot/ being balanced L/R. Pilates and yoga have helped immensely.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Xanthoria » Tue May 22, 2018 12:04 am

This just in: I have entered a rinky-dink schooling show this weekend - TL 1 and 2.

It will be me against a horde of children. I WILL BEAT THEM!!!! :o :lol: :twisted:

Reality check: they will crush me. But is OK - I have cunning plan: am setting a nice low baseline to improve on. In fact, the worse we do, the more improvement we can show next time!

My trainer does not show. Hubby will come and probably listen to the baseball the entire time while I am frothing at the mouth as if it is the Olympics and we are 2 percentage points from a gold medal. Horse will ignore everything I do and focus on The Bushes and The Judge's Lair, as I will be frozen in panic for the first test, and over ride the second like a stripper who wants to find out if her pole is gold leaf or solid. I will not tell anyone else in case they come and watch = kiss of death. They will find out anyway and come = kisses of death for everyone. Hubby will take lots of pics of horse pooping, or shaking his head, or falling asleep at X, and none of the one moment when he looks nice. I won't braid. I will wish I had. I will clean my tack. I will wish I hadn't.

I CAN'T WAIT. :?

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Tsavo » Tue May 22, 2018 1:02 am

Things you need to get under your belt to hit your goal:

1. focus on the known unknowns
2. find out the unknown unknowns

A good rule of thumb is there are at least 10 unknown unknowns for every known unknown.

Many people can get from training to first with some help. But being proficient at first is not going to help getting to second without serious focus and feel. Nobody is born knowing and few are able to guess the feel of a second level horse if they are at first. It is not obvious horses can move that way until you ride it. The training levels are a continuum for the HORSE. They are NOT a continuum for the rider. The skill of teaching collecting is something that has to be learned in some way. It is easier to ride collection than teach it to a horse in my opinion.

Most importantly, don't beat yourself up. This thing defeats many.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby piedmontfields » Tue May 22, 2018 1:28 pm

Have a great time at the schooling show. Remember, looking fabulous always makes you a winner :-D

Also--remember that most horses lose about 30% of their training when performing at a show (and don't worry--everyone else's horses do, too).

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Flight » Tue May 22, 2018 2:07 pm

Lol! I know those feelings and love how you put it. Have a great time and can’t wait to hear how it goes - with pics please :)

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Kelo » Tue May 22, 2018 2:28 pm

Xan....

I am an amateur rider with a classic-built 15hh Quarter Horse. You can't miss us at the dressage shows. :lol:

I had never ridden dressage before, and he certainly hadn't had an English saddle swung up on him. He lives at home. I am the only one that rides him. We have learned together. Together he and I started at Training Level and have competed relatively successfully (scores up to 68%) through Intermediare 1, and we are currently schooling Grand Prix.

He has had an actual educated dressage rider sit on him just a handful of times in all these years. The rest was done with just lessons -- which averages to about 2 per month.

It is hard. It is really hard. There are a lot of internet desk jockeys that would rip us apart -- I make mistakes, he makes mistakes, I learn, he forgives me, we make a step forward in progress. But you can still see the mistakes in us. But then again, there is a lot we're doing right, too. For freak's sake, my Cowpony is doing 1's and piaffe and passage. Sometimes crappily, sometimes well. But we're doing them and getting better.

How many times in my career have people told me what we couldn't do -- QHs can't do dressage, you'll never get to 2d level, you'll sure never get past 3d level with that horse, you got a 59% on that FEI test and you should be ashamed, whatever. Everyone always has an opinion.

But the greatest answer I ever got to the question "How far can I go in this sport?" was from an instructor who smiled at me and said "How far do you THINK you can go?"

There is always, always, always hope. Enjoy your horse. Enjoy the ride. Push your boundaries and just see what you can do. Don't let anyone EVER tell you that you can't. Only you and your horse can decide that.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby piedmontfields » Tue May 22, 2018 4:07 pm

Kelo wrote: But the greatest answer I ever got to the question "How far can I go in this sport?" was from an instructor who smiled at me and said "How far do you THINK you can go?"

There is always, always, always hope. Enjoy your horse. Enjoy the ride. Push your boundaries and just see what you can do. Don't let anyone EVER tell you that you can't. Only you and your horse can decide that.


As always, wonderful wisdom from Kelo (and Matt). Thanks for sharing these words!

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby LeoApp » Fri May 25, 2018 5:09 pm

Good luck Xan!!

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Xanthoria » Mon May 28, 2018 7:02 am

We haz ribbinz!!!

Baby Brontosaurus was a pillock, as we say in the U.K. ;) He regressed to barely started level - no steering or brakes, and rigid with tension. Mega spooks. Head slinging. Such fun!

The judging was, shall we say “optimistic”?

He got a 68.4 on training 1 and he was completely daft: spooking and swerving with his head in the air! I was just laughing the whole ride - it was truly catastrophic. But we got 2nd, which was weird. Out of 4.

Then we went and rested for 30 mins. When I got back in he was a bit better for the 2nd test (training 2) - he started listening and we and get this: we got 1st place with 74.6%! But really I think the judge just loved him - she asked for a video and a price! I didn’t tell her about his shivers which doubtless would kill a sale but she seemed pretty interested in buying him which was nice.

Scores ranged from 4 (broke in canter) to 9(!) and she was pretty darn generous but it was a boost I needed, as I was ready to quietly leave him in an available stall and sneak off home without him...

I’m pretty sure if he’d behaved as he does at home she’d have given him 90%... :shock: :lol:

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby StraightForward » Mon May 28, 2018 8:23 pm

Well done Xan! The first one is under his girth and your belt, pillock or not. Amazing scores too!
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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby demi » Mon May 28, 2018 8:42 pm

Congratulations Xan! Thanks for sharing

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Flight » Tue May 29, 2018 1:36 am

Congrats Xan! Great scores and love the report :D

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby piedmontfields » Tue May 29, 2018 2:37 pm

Great report! Congrats to the baby Bronto on his ribbons :-)

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby piedmontfields » Tue May 29, 2018 2:37 pm

Great report! Congrats to the baby Bronto on his ribbons :-)

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby LeoApp » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:25 pm

Go you!!

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby khall » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:31 pm

Good job Baby Bronto and Xan! Sounds like lots of fun was had.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Xanthoria » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:04 am

Show number 2: complete.
TL 1: 74%, first out of 3. TL 2: 71%, 2nd our of 3.

Again, generous judging! But he was so much better. Except for the 3s on disunited canters. But 8s for impulsion - miraculous!

He trailered very badly tho - pawing and sweaty. Got to find him a pal.

3 more TL shows this year at same place. I can’t believe he’ll be ready for 1st next year... maybe the year after unless I get some real help. 3.5 more years until Big Number Birthday and goal of 2nd level... :shock: :? ;)

Image

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby piedmontfields » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:43 pm

I think you are well on your way out of training level!! Well done. I bet with time and patience the trailering challenge will ease.

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Moutaineer » Tue Jul 24, 2018 6:35 pm

Agree with Piedmont.

Doooo eeeeet!!!!

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Flight » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:39 pm

Yes, sounds like you've nailed TL! Looking good :)

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby StraightForward » Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:10 am

You are crushing TL, so why not aim for first next year? Our top score is 63% so far, but I'm still shooting for first next year. What's the worst that can happen? :P
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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Xanthoria » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:03 pm

Oh you GUYS! No but really, the scores are so inflated - at a rated show I'd be pulverized! :shock:

Last night I was just trying to get the darn horse to do a walk/halt that didn't end in him literally hauling me out of the saddle due to sheer inertia dragging his giant head forwards (I'll make a thread about that...) and he has no lengthening whatsoever. A balanced 10m circle? Yes. Free walk? More like wobbly meander. And obvs specific lead canter or even not disunited is hit or miss (or miss-miss-hit)...

But hey, if I never show rated why in the heck not just keep going to the rinkydink schooling shows and getting outlandish scores for mediocre work? :mrgreen: :twisted: :? :mrgreen:

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Rosie B » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:49 pm

Or better yet you could NOT show at all but continue to progress in your schooling and delightedly tell all and sundry that you are schooling 2nd/3rd/4th, etc!!!! :mrgreen: :lol: :mrgreen: :lol: :roll: :mrgreen:

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Xanthoria » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:08 pm

Genius Rosie! I know people who do this - in fact, I could go so far as to say I am already schooling 2nd when I ask Bronto to back up to close the gate!

Wow, this could save me a remarkable amount of money... :shock: :mrgreen:

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Re: Get me out of training level!

Postby Ponichiwa » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:28 pm

Rosie B wrote:Or better yet you could NOT show at all but continue to progress in your schooling and delightedly tell all and sundry that you are schooling 2nd/3rd/4th, etc!!!! :mrgreen: :lol: :mrgreen: :lol: :roll: :mrgreen:


Uh... this hits a bit close to home. But think of the cost savings on shows!


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