The journey of improving myself as a rider and horse as a performer - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-01-2011, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Question The journey of improving myself as a rider and horse as a performer

Starts now.

I can only afford one dressage lesson a month for myself (which is pathetic really, i have to give 3 kids lessons to afford one dressage lesson for myself) so last night i got a dressage dvd and bid on a few via ebay.

When I'm not having a lesson i will start looking to these tapes for references.

My new horse "Tessa" i broke myself, and now we are 4 months into a partnership. Everything was going well until recently. She was always steady and relaxed at the trot, i was teaching her slowly over a course of a few weeks to start stretching into the bridle low, and one or 2 days a week then asking her for a round frame with more contact.

She was never a horse to pull but now she does badly, i feel like i am doing no good for her because when she fights me i get very un balanced and we end up butting heads. Actually in general i feel very un balanced on her. So today I'm going to the barn to try some stirrup less riding on my older, more advanced horse. And i think i will start making stirrup less riding a regular thing, since i cant ask her to be balanced if im not right?

And until i can get a lesson next week i will do mainly walking with Tessa. There's lots to practice at the walk!

Also, my goal with Tessa is to do dressage up to the highest level of her capability. While also showing in hunter jumpers & occasionally show jumping.
One day i want this horse to be able to do flying lead changes and carry herself correctly in harmony with me.
I might turn to some natural horsemanship methods for ground training, but i am dead set on using dressage to better us as hunters and jumpers.

Am i taking the right steps to better myself and my horse?
any exercise suggestions for ether of us?
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-01-2011, 02:31 PM
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I will be looking forward to hearing about how things go for you and Tessa. I am inspired by your farsighted goals. I guess I would onlly say that riding is a very "in the present" activity. So, try not to let your long distance vision have so much of your mental energy that you lose your connection to the very closest present moment, especially while oboard your horse.
If she is starting to lean on your hands, then stay there and think about what is going on there, why she is doing this and what part you have in the equation. I know, just kind of general advice. But when a person feels frustrated they can often miss the most obvious thing right in front of their noses, especially if they think that the goal isn't being reached.

Take some videos sometime, if you feel up to sharing with us. Would be fun to see how you guys are doing. Good luck!
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-01-2011, 09:28 PM
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You are on right track with lessons. If you can afford more (like getting money for the b-day or giving extra-lessons), definitely go for it. I know lessons with the good trainer are not cheap (I take lessons myself).

It's really hard to advice something, but when you take a lesson talk to the trainer in the end about your "homework" till the next one, and just keep practicing what you learned. It's much better to work on something correctly than do it incorrectly and then re-train the horse. And the most important thing: don't loose your patience, hope and expectations! Sometime it feels like everything is bad, horse doesn't listen, you don't know how to do things, etc. Just take a deep breath, leave it behind and keep practicing. Good luck!

P.S. Yes, books and tapes are helpful, so definitely go for it. However live trainer is definitely the biggest help out there in my experience.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-01-2011, 09:36 PM
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Have you read the second Centered Riding book by Sally Swift? There's a section in it that describes grounding or centering yourself. It has some illustrations and exercises that show how you can influence your body in a way where you could not be pulled forward if a mack truck tried to pull you out of the saddle. Obvious exaggeration there, but there are some very good insights in that book that will help with your overall balance.

And yes, you're certainly on the right track to bettering yourself as a rider. I also only have money to take a lesson every 6 weeks or so. I use the in between time to work on my homework. Luckily there's so many details to correct riding that it practically takes me the whole 6 weeks to perfect what I was supposed to be working on!

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-03-2011, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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Riding from today. I think i shouldn't have had her walk out of the leg yields, maybe had her stay in halt and then asked her to move out? I think she was behaving great in comparison to a few days back.
Dow do we look? I'm riding without stirrups for the next week or two. I think it's helping.
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-04-2011, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by ponyjocky View Post
‪Teaching turn on the forehand working on bending in a square‬‏ - YouTube

Riding from today. I think i shouldn't have had her walk out of the leg yields, maybe had her stay in halt and then asked her to move out? I think she was behaving great in comparison to a few days back.
Dow do we look? I'm riding without stirrups for the next week or two. I think it's helping.
A lot going on in this video you will need to correct.

First.... put your hands closer together.
Second ... IF you are going to do a turn, doing a partial turn is fine but make sure she is halted square before you start your movement.
Third.. in your general trotting try to keep a consistent contact.
Four.. needs support when you round the corners, she is losing her balance.
Five.... Before you consider the forehand turn, shoulder ins and shoulder fore might be a better place to start.
Six... Before EVERYTHING you need to get her listening and softer in the jaw and rounder before any of the above will turn out better.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-04-2011, 03:38 PM
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Agree with Spyder.
Would like to add: what you're doing is, from what I've learned around here, the NH way of starting: keeping a very "natural" way of going. But dressage training, I believe, starts with accepting the bit. I'm not real strong into the training pyramid, but until your horse accepts the bit, you don't have much conversation.

I'm much happier with a "heavy" horse. (I was thrilled when my own horse finally not only lost her fear of the bridle, but began to pull.) More and more impulsion, while not releasing the hold, will fix that. It's rather exhausting, but after a session or two, you won't have to "go for broke" any more.

What the NH riders also seem to ignore is the importance of stretching the topline. It seemed like too much of the time your horse was hollowing his back somewhat. You want to avoid that, teach him to carry your weight by lifting his back.

As Spyder wrote: Before EVERYTHING you need to get her listening and softer in the jaw and rounder before any of the above will turn out better.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-13-2011, 08:58 PM
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Everything spyder and Beling said and a few other things.

She seems to keep grabbing the bit away from you, she is exerting her control over how things are done. You need to get her rounder, more collected, supple, and you and she need to be "holding" the bit with a beautiful curve to her neck. In other words stop trotting until you can manage complete control and a beautiful collected walk, she needs to be aware of every little command you will give her.

Your legs, just because you are not using stirrups doesn't mean you can have it wobbling all over the place, heels down and leg back, bend your elbows too. Half halt when she is exerting her control, get her "under" you, more impulsion from behind less on the front it makes you and your horse unbalanced. She is hollow versus round, you want her rounded and soft.

Remember the best dressage riders make it look like they are doing nothing in the saddle, and that the horse is doing all the work.

Last edited by Katze; 08-13-2011 at 09:00 PM.
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