01-13-2010, 08:36 PM
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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.