What are you working on? - Page 17

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What are you working on?

This is a discussion on What are you working on? within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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        11-15-2012, 09:14 PM
    My appaloosa and I have recently gone looking for outside help, I ride a a stable where there is a large number of 11ish year old girls and 1 complete idiot. There is no-one who can ride my horse so I can see what he is doing!
    Magnum was dis'uniting and felt like he was dragging himself along with his shoulders. I sometimes felt like his hindquarters weren't even there!
    I met a lovely woman who had similar issues with her horse a number of years ago. She suggested I lunge him, let him develop his own balance and when he 'loses it' bring him back, relax his trot and try again. He has never had much balance or rhythm and always feels stiff. I was close to giving up on dressage and making him a trail horse.
    We started and he would dis-unite repeatedly, fall all over the place, run around with his head awkwardly in the air and I could see him 'wobbling' (leaning outside then inside) After three weeks of lunging and massaging his hindquarters, he rarely disunites on the lunge and his head is starting to come down. I got on him and went for a walk on the road yesterday and it was amazing, instead of ambling around on his shoulders, he felt like he was actually going somewhere, all of a sudden he had a drive from behind. I didn't even trot him, too scared I would ruin all the hard work we've put in. If anyone has any idea what im talking about, my descriptive skills have never been to crash hot, can anyone give any suggestions on what I should do next?
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        11-15-2012, 09:36 PM
    It is great to hear that you and your horse have much such great progress!

    I know how you feel not having people around to work with - up until this Monday, I have been agisting on a property on my own, for a number of years.
    It is SO helpful to have a pair of eyes on the ground, that know a bit about Dressage and how a horse should move - as a rider sometimes we get so used to something that our horse does, that we don't pick it up as a fault until someone else tells us.

    As for what you could do now, I would start working him in the arena again under saddle. Doing LOTS of trot work with millions of transitions, changers of rein, and a stack of leg yield and shoulder fore work on straight lines and circles. The more of this type of work you do with him, the more he will be balanced and supple enough to carry a canter.

    When you do go to ask for canter under saddle again, I would be standing off his back and staying on a nice wide 20m circle (or bigger if space permits) - avoid too many straight lines for now.
    A great way to set a horse up to canter on the correct lead, in balance, is to leg yield them into the canter transition.
    Trotting on a 20m circle, in a nice active, forward trot. Leg yield off our outside leg onto a 15-18m circle, then start to leg yield back out off your inside leg. When you get close to 20m, ask for canter, and only canter for 1/2 of a circle, before coming back to trot and repeating the exercise.
    Don't overdo the canter work at this point, just sprinkle it in here and there for 10-20m at a time. You don't want to canter a long distance and have your horse fall onto the forehand, thus losing balance and encouraging him to disunite.
        11-15-2012, 09:45 PM
    Yes, glad it's not just me! That's it! You get so used to it that you don't know! I went to a clinic and got told that my horse had serious forehand issues and that I should send him off to a trainer! I'm sorry, but I would rather have someone help me train my own horse rather than send him off and not know what they're doing with him! Anyway that's my tangent for the day.
    Thank you very much for your advice, during this trot work should I worry about where his head sits at all?
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        11-15-2012, 09:52 PM
    If he has 'serious forehand issues', I'd be working closely with a good Dressage trainer. Much of the disuniting in canter will be stemming from this - the more on the forehand a horse is, the more they lose balance and start to do 'funky' things with their paces! That's why its so important to learn how to ride a horse at least slightly off its forehand.

    At the moment, just forget that he has got a head. As long as it's not flinging around manicly, or dragging on the ground, then ignore it. Try riding with your pinkies hooked under the saddle cloth for a couple of weeks - this will stop you from being tempted to pull on the reins, and you will learn to use your seat and legs first.
        11-15-2012, 10:03 PM
    Sadly, there aren't any within an hour of where I live, and that big petrol costs if they'll even come at all. I learnt on a very well trained Arabian knabstrupper cross, and when I first got mags he had been bummed around by an inexperienced rider who really ruined him. I have tried lots if training methods and it doesn't seem to work, this lunging is the first thing that has worked for him. I rang a dressage trainer but she said he couldn't help me without seeing my horse... The lady who told me about the lunging has ridden medium, but had to retire her horse(30year old doing medium, an incredible horse if you ask me!) she has been talking about getting someone in to help her with her new horse, and if I could get to her place someone would come help the both of us. Hoping to organise that soon.

    Okay, thank you so much.
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        11-15-2012, 10:10 PM
    Excellent, it's a good start to have someone who has ridden to medium, able to supervise you. At least they will have an idea of how to ride a horse off the forehand and into the bridle. It will be great if you can share costs for a coach.
        11-15-2012, 10:18 PM
    Yes she's a great help but I only see her every second Sunday. I am hoping it works out for us both. Yeah, low income and three horses is NOT easy when it comes to getting coaching.
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        11-15-2012, 11:09 PM
    I know that feeling well. Fairly low income, 3 horses (thankfully only one in work, one retired and one only a 2 year old) plus the usual living expenses. Working my backside off to change career soon though, that will be a big pressure off if I manage to pull that off.
    I try to get a lesson at least once a week, but thankfully my coach is only 5 minutes up the road so she can either come and teach me on her way home, or I can just throw the float on and be at her place within 10minutes. Makes life much easier.
        11-15-2012, 11:14 PM
    Good luck with your career change! That must be fantastic!
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        11-15-2012, 11:25 PM
    It certainly is, but it's been a long and very tedious process. Now I'm just stuck here waiting and hoping like crazy that I get accepted through. I've been on dead set boring, beng you head on the keyboard type administration jobs for far too long!!!

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