Video - Critique and tips?

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Video - Critique and tips?

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        01-13-2010, 04:06 PM
    Video - Critique and tips?

    I've been barrel racing and playdaying with my mare for about 6 years now and I think I've decided I'm pretty much done. It was fun but I want to continue where I left off in my english career and so here I am. I ride her english sporatically quite a bit but the past five weeks have been pretty much english only. I even took her out to a trainer for a lesson and that was a lot of fun! I do love dressage and I also enjoy jumping so I would probably go back into hunter/jumper or maybe even the eventing scene. I want to get some feedback from this video. Dakota has started carrying her head down and soft a little at a time instead of sticking her nose out against the bit. It feels like she is finally trying to work with the bit instead of against it. I have read tons about working a horse on the bit and I know that it comes from behind and up to the front and that there are a bunch of false frames out there. I know we aren't to that point (nor does she have the right muscles to carry herself that way) but would just like to see how we are doing through some experienced eyes. I'd really appreciate it!

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        01-13-2010, 07:36 PM
    One thing I notice right away is that you do not consistently ask her to keep her frame. There are some terrific moments when she does come into a nice frame but only for a few seconds. Then once she brings her head back up and sticks her nose out you wait for several strides before you ask her to come back down again. I'm not telling you that you need to hold her down in that frame all the time, but you do need to be more consistent about asking her to come round. Half halt, alternating reins (hold one rein still while "playing" with the other rein, then switch. Do not see saw back and forth), and ask her to come round while driving forward with your legs, once she comes round release the pressure to reward her for getting it right. If she doesn't come round, keep that pressure on until she does give, then reward instantly. If she goes right back up after you release, ask again. I'm not telling you to be mean, I'm telling you to be consistent. Tell her what you expect of her all the time, or else she will constantly seek out opportunities to be lazy (sticking her nose out and putting her head up).

    When you do ask her to come round you do a great job and she comes round very nicely. Just ask her more often. Your goal (especially if you want to ride dressage or eventing) is to have her round all the time. Start expecting more from her, she can do it, trust me. If you are worried about her not being strong enough to hold that position then start with short sessions of roundness and increase it slowly. I really don't think it is a huge problem to ask even a young horse to stay round every time you ride (I'm not talking about high collection, I'm talking about staying round). The more often you ride a horse round, the better they will get at it and the more fit they will get. When you are not working at her being round, see if you can instead get her to stretch really low at the walk and trot, on a loose rein. Do your very best to make sure her nose never pokes out while you are schooling her. Remember, schooling is a period to improve both your horse and yourself.

    Also, start asking her to be round in the canter too. Little outside rein flextions, used with some leg, going into the canter will help her to soften. Take baby steps. Just canter a few stride at first, even just one stride at a time! But as soon as that head goes up in the canter take her back to a trot and ask for roundness again. Go all the way back to a walk, or even a halt, if you have to to get her round. Start your schooling sessions with lots of walk trot transitions, and lots of circles of different sizes, do lots of leg yielding too. Throw in some good square halts and backs as well, this will also help her to come round. Ask and expect her to stay round in the halts and while she is backing (this all takes time and practice) Work up to lots of trot canter transitions. But ALWAYS keep roundness in mind. Trust me, a horse can stay round all the time if you just expect it to and stay consistent. It is the most amazing feeling when you achieve this. Though, there are always going to be days when they test you. Take those testing days as a positive experience, not a negative one. It is a chance to show the horse that you really mean what you said the last time you road them. Remember, though your hands are important for asking for roundness, the real key really is your legs. Eventually you will be able to get your horse to come round just by shifting your weight back and tapping your heels.

    Sorry if this is more info then you wanted. It's also not the best organized. Really, overall I like what I see. I see some great potential in both of you. I would not have taken this much time to write this if I did not think you could do it. Keep up the great work. Be consistent, set goal for each ride, and challenge yourself and your horse. That is how you will grow.


    P.S. One last thing (sorry, really I promise this is it). If you want to do well in eventing, really work hard on your dressage. That is were many eventing riders fall behind in the scores.
        01-13-2010, 10:12 PM
    Jubilee, I really really appreciate you taking the time for your response! You're right about consistancy. I was afraid of asking too much from her but I will try and ask her for more at a time as we progress. Thank you for all of the schooling tips. I will definitely remember what you suggested and try it all! Thanks for the great advice and I'm really glad you see our potential!
        01-14-2010, 05:50 PM
    Yeah, I think we're all guilty of being soft on our own horses. You are so close to being there, and I so applaud you for trying to do it all properly riding back to front. My first suggestion is, ask more of him. He looks like he's dying to please. I'm sure he'll oblige. Also, I think the missing piece for you is that he's a little behind your leg. Try to drive him up into the bit a little more. Transitions within the trot work very well. Maybe try something like working trot on the short side and then ask for some bigger steps down the long side and then back to working trot. Just a few big steps at a time so he doesn't lose his balance or confidence. Throw in some leg yields or circles to help him keep the outside rein established. The other exercise is to trot squares. It's just as it sounds. Straight line, balancing half halt, turn onto next straight line. This exercise really helps get the horse's hind legs under him. Keep up the good work.
        01-17-2010, 05:04 PM
    Thanks for everyone's advice. I have been working with her more and asking a little more each time and she has been doing great! She is improving a lot at the canter, too. Working on a lot of transitions, especially down. She has a great stop (when she's tuned in) because she was well trained to just stop from all gaits. So smooth canter to trot transitions, trot to walk, are a little weird for her since I'm not asking her to stop in her tracks everytime we're done with a gait. Thanks again for watchin the video. I wish I had another one to show the improvement!
        01-17-2010, 05:29 PM
    I just watched it again. Your inside shoulder is a little collapsed. Try shrugging it every few strides to loosen it up and then rotate it back to open it up. It might be causing a little stiffness in your horse. I also didn't notice the first time that you started with a leg yield. Great job! It totally gets the horse thinking inside rein - outside leg. I'd love to see your next video.
        01-18-2010, 07:21 AM
    I am so glad that you are already seeing some improvement! We would love to see another video whenever you get a chance to film one.

    In my opinion, downward transitions (especially from the canter to trot) are harder to keep smooth and correct than upward transitions. Just keep at it, I am sure you are doing great!

        01-23-2010, 01:55 AM
    Shoulders, got it! That is something I wouldn't have picked out myself, thanks!

    School has But I will come home and ride her as much as I can. I ended with a nice bareback ride before I had to go back. Did a little of all three gaits. I love being so close to her and she has really gotten a lot more responsive in the last few weeks. Yay!

    I'm taking a lesson every other week at a barn near campus. I'm hoping to advance more in my jumping and keep me riding under a watchful eye on some of her school masters. I rode this gigantic TB this week and wow, that was change! The jumps seemed like nothing with him. It was fun.

    When I get the chance to be videoed again it will go up probably the same day! Lol. Will keep working with her though, thanks for the input.

    Happy trails!

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