Six Feet on the Ground

Kelo
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Six Feet on the Ground

Postby Kelo » Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:27 pm

My old man horse (23 this year!) has a young mind, but an old body. His mind desperately wants to do all the things,but despite our best attempts, his old body isn't quite up for anything but low level activities. And unfortunately I get bored by the purposeless riding he can do.

But I think I have found a compromise.....the North American Western Dressage Six Feet on the Ground program. All done in the comfort of our own backyard -- perfect!

NAWD is one of the startup western dressage groups (see,also, Western Dressage Assoc of America, the official WD group; and Cowboy Dressage as the other major WD groups). NAWD has a whole plethora of offerings, from western dressage to NAWD trail and NAWD 6FotG. It offers online tests and shows. (http://www.northamericanwesterndressage.org)

The 6FotG is groundwork, in a series of six increasingly complicated patterns.

The first test is done all at a walk, and includes walk, halt, circles, turns on the forehand, work from both sides of the horse, and longing small circles (at a walk).

So The Old Man has been getting out, dusted off, and we have been playing with the pattern. Back in the day, we both did showmanship, so those parts were easy. Off-side leading, longing, etc, though are new challenges for us.

It has been fun for both of us. Henry gets to "play" and get attention and treats, while I have appropriately small goals for us to focus on. I can't believe how fast he picked up some of the cues for the new behaviors! Yay!

But we still have stuff to work on....he lags on the off-lead circle, and you get bonus points for being able to do the pattern sans lead rope (we used to do tackless showmanship, so I bet we can do this tackless too). Perfect!

I am just really pleased with this.
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Walking a "longe" circle.
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orono
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby orono » Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:59 pm

Great update, sounds ideal for him! Keep us posted! :)
Last edited by orono on Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

bailey
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby bailey » Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:43 am

Thank you for posting this info and for showing that age doesn't have to stop us from doing what we love!

The calmer I am, the stronger I am.

PaulaO
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby PaulaO » Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:02 pm

Sounds like fun!

jeniferkey
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby jeniferkey » Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:23 pm

That is interesting.

Kelo
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby Kelo » Sat Jan 30, 2016 9:07 pm

Got the test back from the virtual show. The test is laid out just like a dressage test - movement scored to 10, with a comment, collectives and overall comments.

We got a 65%. I got knocked for my halts not being immobile (my ex-showmanship horse sets up every time, it is his job! :lol: ) and "needs more energy" comments on almost every moving movement. (Yip, he never moved fast even when he was young not to mention now :P :roll: ) but we got an 8 on our harmony (because you can see Henry's having fun! :D )

Anyway, I am still very pleased, we have a goal marker to improve off of now. Having fun playing a few minutes every day, lots of treats and attention for him. He loves it! Next virtual show is in March. Goals for me!

piedmontfields
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby piedmontfields » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:29 pm

I'm looking forward to your next update! How is Henry doing with his "homework"?

bailey
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby bailey » Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:25 am

Awesome!

The calmer I am, the stronger I am.

Kelo
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby Kelo » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:13 pm

He has been doing wonderfully. It makes me smile to see how excited he is to "work"; he always has his head over the fence waiting when I go to catch him. And the prospect of a "show" keeps me from making excuses not to practice (which he appreciates). So we spend a few minutes every day working, after I ride my other horse.

The next virtual show is this weekend -- just gotta video a test and submit it by Sunday. I tried to video our test last night, without any tack on (you get a couple bonus "harmony" points, and Henry is usually quite cooperative).

Henry cheerfully got through about 80 percent of the test, he's getting his halts sans fidgets -- we've been practicing those! -- and it's just really flowing. I'm all "Oh man, we are rockin this!!!" ....... when he decided it was a good time to celebrate by jumping around in happiness (Me: " :shock: :x :lol: "). Naughty old man horse! :lol: A combination of the spring weather and his arthritis meds kicking in, I suppose. 8-)

We're gonna try again tonight :roll: :lol: I may have to put a halter on him, though, he's a wild one! :twisted:

Kelo
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby Kelo » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:19 pm

Here is Henry at his typical energy level.

Incidentally, I was taking photos of my other horse who was wildly bucking, running and playing, then turned around to take this.

Henry is all "Huh, would you look at that." watching him. Maybe I should change his fake virtual show name to "Needs More Energy"? :lol:
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Last edited by Kelo on Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

Kelo
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby Kelo » Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:25 am

OK, got our March "show" done -- will report back in a few weeks how I scored.

This test required straight lines, halts, turn on the forehand, backing, sidepass and turn on the haunches. It's a little more difficult because it's almost all done on a straight line with the camera (judge) -- much like doing a whole test on the centerline! It's pretty dang obvious if you're crooked.

I tried it with and without a halter, but ultimately submitted the halter video.

In the halterless video, he was a little crooked in the backup and a lot crooked in the right sidepass. Hard to fix those without a stitch of tack on! So that will be our next goal -- to figure out how to get it done correctly without said tack. Just a matter of practice, I think. We got the lines, turns and left sidepass down pat.

In the meantime, here's stills from our halterless test. I guess I could post the whole video but not sure it's that fun to watch an old man horse :lol:
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Straightness!
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Sidepass - jealous Cowpony in background
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8.JPG
Enjoying each other - the whole point!
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piedmontfields
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby piedmontfields » Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:00 pm

Really fun update! Love the story of the harmonious practice followed by wild man "needs more energy." Keep on keeping on and enjoying.

Kelo
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby Kelo » Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:59 pm

So I got my scores back for my test. She gave me a 61% :evil:

I have watched the test again with the video in an attempt to learn, and I'm not sure I am comfortable with some of the scores and comments, or at least my understanding of what is expected. I understand that judging a judge's judging is a subjective and dangerous place to venture, but I will give just one example from this: The final maneuver in the test is -- literally -- only an immobile halt. As in, you've already halted from the previous maneuver (which is scored separately). This maneuver says "Have the horse stand quietly facing forward for 5-10 seconds. Salute." with the directive of "immobile horse". And so, if you watch the video, he is perfectly immobile for all 10 seconds. And we got a 6.5 with no comment -- that's barely adequate! I'm left feeling pretty frustrated -- what, exactly, do I have to do to get an 8 on that maneuver? Or a 10? Grrr. :x

So I've been trying to decide what to do. I'm still very happy with our solution to the REAL problem, which is finding the Old Man and me something fun to do. But I am not real pleased with spending $30 to enter the virtual show and getting this judging back -- there is only one person doing the judging, so if I enter again, it's the same person doing it. I'm wondering if I can still do the tests and score myself or find a friend to score us. At least then it would be cheaper or free while still accomplishing the mission.

demi
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby demi » Sat Apr 02, 2016 5:17 pm

I like what you are doing with your older guy, Kelo. Sorry you found the internet judging frustrating.

I have been riding Rocky as a "western dressage horse" a little bit and wish I would/could make more time to work at it. Now that spring is here and longer daylight hours, I think I can manage a few rides a week on her. And when the soloshot 3s become available maybe even post some videos.

Keep us informed of your progress.

kande50
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby kande50 » Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:48 am

Kelo wrote:
In the halterless video, he was a little crooked in the backup and a lot crooked in the right sidepass. Hard to fix those without a stitch of tack on! So that will be our next goal -- to figure out how to get it done correctly without said tack.


You may be able to shape it, step by step, with clicker training. And then, once he gets that only the straight steps get clicked, then you can try for 2 in a row, 3 in a row, etc.. It may seem like a slow way to do it at first, but if you're looking for very precise work, step by step is often the fastest way to do it.

It takes a certain amount of concentration to decide when to click, and to click precisely, so I find it easy to really get into it. And of course, the horses love it.

The scoring does sound frustrating. Is it possible that she got in a hurry to finish toward the end and that most of the test was scored fairly?

Kelo
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Re: Six Feet on the Ground

Postby Kelo » Mon Apr 04, 2016 1:28 pm

kande50 wrote:You may be able to shape it, step by step, with clicker training.

<snip>

The scoring does sound frustrating. Is it possible that she got in a hurry to finish toward the end and that most of the test was scored fairly?


Yeah, we have been clickering, and it's something we'll work on. :D Just not something we could get done for the video. Nice to have a small "problem" like this to tackle, as that's exactly the point. I do think it's funny how much he wants to work....no tack at all, and he'll just work with determination for all of the 20 min or so we do it (even if it's a little crooked!). Man does he love them alfalfa pellets! :lol:

I really, really hate to complain about judging, and hopefully I'm not being a bad sport. I'm just very frustrated with it. Reading over the test, I felt like maybe the judge is getting lost in middle-of-the-road land (5-7s), afraid to give out a 3 or an 8, you know what I mean? And how do you really learn from a test full of 6s with limited comments? She literally copy/pasted the exact same collective comments from the previous test I submitted about how he looks a little stiff and I should try massaging him. I mean....yes, he is stiff, but I assure you massaging him won't really help :lol:


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