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Asking and getting more forward energy, stretch and motion

This is a discussion on Asking and getting more forward energy, stretch and motion within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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        07-11-2013, 09:38 AM
      #11
    Super Moderator
    The more variations you can throw in the better - make them think. I bought some bright orange cones from Home Depot and use them to 'bend' around. I also make a 'square' with ground poles and ask for a halt inside and then turn around at different degrees each time and walk back out in another direction or walk just the two front legs over ground pole and either back up over it or sidepass along it
    Anything I can think of really to make them use their brains even if it seems a bit stupid
    My first attempt at walking her over a pole resulted in a vertical take off which my husband said was pretty impressive!!!
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        07-11-2013, 10:54 AM
      #12
    Weanling
    10 meter circles are your friend. When he takes his focus off you, immediately send him into a 10 meter circle, ask for his back with your legs and seat. Encourage him forward and make sure you are re-balancing him with lots of half-halts.

    Also, make sure you keep this kind of monotonous work interesting by changing it up a lot. If he is smart as a whip - I am sure he will become easily bored with the same routines.

    Also, I would try doing work over ground poles to keep his "head in the game".
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        07-11-2013, 10:56 AM
      #13
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jaydee    
    The more variations you can throw in the better - make them think. I bought some bright orange cones from Home Depot and use them to 'bend' around. I also make a 'square' with ground poles and ask for a halt inside and then turn around at different degrees each time and walk back out in another direction or walk just the two front legs over ground pole and either back up over it or sidepass along it
    Anything I can think of really to make them use their brains even if it seems a bit stupid
    My first attempt at walking her over a pole resulted in a vertical take off which my husband said was pretty impressive!!!
    These are fantastic ideas. Cones are wonderful. Set them up in a diamond shape, and ride a circle around them, thinking of riding more of a square in your turns, turning him with your outside rein.
         
        07-11-2013, 11:24 AM
      #14
    Green Broke
    Cones are a good idea! I don't know why I didn't think of that.
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        07-11-2013, 11:53 AM
      #15
    Super Moderator
    They can also keep a horse amused too. Jazzie let herself on to the ménage yesterday and decided to move them around a bit - If the battery hadn't gone flat in the camera I'd have got some great shots of her walking around with it in her mouth!!!
    Please don't look at the weeds - its either really hot here or pouring with rain/thunder & lightning - that's my excuse anyway
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        07-11-2013, 12:02 PM
      #16
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jaydee    
    They can also keep a horse amused too. Jazzie let herself on to the ménage yesterday and decided to move them around a bit - If the battery hadn't gone flat in the camera I'd have got some great shots of her walking around with it in her mouth!!!
    Please don't look at the weeds - its either really hot here or pouring with rain/thunder & lightning - that's my excuse anyway
    I am SO insanely jealous that you get to look outside and see your ponies - right in your own backyard. I live in the concrete jungle they call a city.
         
        07-11-2013, 02:32 PM
      #17
    Super Moderator
    I lived in London for a few years when I was young, it all seemed very exciting to start with but the novelty soon wore off and I got very homesick. I used to look longingly at the Household Cavalry horses and police horses riding past and get an urge to knock them off the saddle and ride off into the horizon!!!
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        07-16-2013, 11:41 AM
      #18
    Yearling
    My Arab sounds a lot like yours with his wiggly neck and tendency to balk and gawk. Keeping him focused, forward and with contact is key. In lessons we have been doing some exercises that really help him stay soft, supple and working.

    First, if you feel he is about to spook or gawk, ask for bend away from the source while leg yielding toward it. This means a really strong inside leg, outside rein with lots of forward. If necessary, use a crop to reenforce the forward movement. Basically, the second you feel your horse say, "I'm scared", you respond, "Lets get to work".

    As for exercises, we have been doing lots of 10, 15 and 20 m circles with many changes in direction, gait and speed. I find this really helps my guy to focus on me snd he becomes wonderfully soft, supple snd responsive with these. Here are 3 patterns I have found really helpful to get my horse to respond better with suppleness and forward.

    1. 10 m circles - lots of direction changes for suppleness.
    Proceed down the center line trotting from A and do a 10 m circle right through F back to A.
    Continue down A and change the bend to prepare another 10 m circle left through K.
    Continue down A, change the bend and circle right 10 m at B then left, 10 m at E.
    Continue to C and circle right 10 m at M and then left 10 m at H.
    Track left in extended trot H to K ( push for forward here).
    Turn up at A and repeat the pattern.

    2. 20m circles at A and C with extension and forward down the long sides.
    You can out in some canter / trot or walk / trot transitions on the circle as well.

    3. 10 m circles up the centreline alternating directions.
    Trot through C on the right rein and circle right 10 m (to the quarter line) then trot left 10 m to X. At X, circle right 10 m to quarter line, then circle left 10 m through A. Be sure to straighten and deliberately change the bend each time between direction changes. It is fast, so your cues have to be very timely and precise.

    You can revise this by leg yielding out to 15m circles on either side of X.

    Rather than using poles, or pilons to intentionally go over and around, I would place a few items in the riding space and simply have your horse work with the scary objects present. Focus on having your horse stay responsive and working despite the objects. There are always poles, jumps and pilons out of the way, but in the arena where work. My guy has learned to deal with these distractions and listen to my cues very well. He has translated this to the trail also. Rather than balk at new objects (like he used to) he looks for my cue to put him back in focus.
         
        07-22-2013, 05:17 PM
      #19
    Green Broke
    Thank you everyone.

    Progress has been slow with the heat, but it's been there! I've raised the bar in terms of his attention span and have been asking/insisting that he give me his full attention even when walking. Before, I had been letting him look around and as long as he kept his feet moving how and where I wanted, allowed the looking. Now, none of that.

    The little bugger is amazingly, impressively wiggly when he has a mind to be. I find myself wishing I could figure out the "canter sidepass" button. The gear's installed but I don't know how to cue it without dropping something that makes him to EEK.
         
        07-26-2013, 08:49 AM
      #20
    Green Broke
    Still working on this. Need to figure out a better way to ask him for long and low. He still struggles with it(when I got him, he didn't do long and low at all so there's definite improvement!).

    We struggle a bit with keeping contact since he tends to suck back and tilt sideways or up. I ask for more forward when he does this but we have mixed success.

    Considering getting the 101 dressage exercises app. The book costs about the same though. Haven't decided either way.
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