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post #11 of 18 Old 04-02-2013, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Thank you so much for all the responses! I'm beginning to ride him much differently, it's been difficult as I have an injury that makes sinking into my heels and using my whole leg difficult but I'd say he's improved. Would you mind checking out a video of him trotting, and one of him cantering as well? While he doesn't have much impulsion at the trot, he seems calmer and like he has a rythym. I'm not extremely concerned, yet, on how he uses his hind end... because I know he tends to trail it... For now I just want consistent paces.
I haven't worked on the canter at all this past month. So yes, he is WAY unbalanced, and it still is a bit of a mess but not as bad as it once was. Any tips on how to even him out in canter circles? It will get easier once he's more muscled. Also, he gets very riled up once we start cantering, as you can see he is chomping at the bit... any advice?
Thanks!! I really appreciate it :)

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post #12 of 18 Old 04-02-2013, 11:58 PM
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Nope.. he's still not ready for more than a walk.

He is giraffing, evading the bit, you are pulling on him.... no.

He needs to walk, constructively (circles, figure eights, maybe leg yielding, halt to walk, walk to halt) using his hind end, with you not pulling on him or him pulling on you, and nice and relaxed.

WHEN he can walk nicely, then you try walk to trot transitions. If he throws his head up, start over from walk. If he's fine, bring him nicely back to walk and give him a nice long rein.

~~ Don't get me wrong, it is much better but I wouldn't accept his trot or canter.. he's all over the place IMOP.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"

Last edited by Skyseternalangel; 04-03-2013 at 12:01 AM.
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post #13 of 18 Old 04-03-2013, 12:16 AM
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You are being very rough on his mouth. He appears to be a sensitive horse that hasn't learned yet how to respond to pressure probably, but you are also being unfair to him. When he gets tense, you respond by getting tense, hard, and riding with a way to high, jerky hand. Because of this he evades the pressure by tensing further, trying to run away from the pain, and getting his head higher. Notice around 1:25 on the canter video the rein gets a little floppy for a second and he actually lowers his head a little. Again around 1:37 the rein gets soft and his neck relaxes (well, more so untenses a little) for a second. You're both fighting each other. Don't start the argument. If there's nothing to fight against he won't have much to argue with.

First you need to do lateral work with him. Leg yield, bending around corners and circles, shoulder in, shoulder out, leg yielding on circles. Then when he starts to give in his body you need to work on long and low. You need to be soft with your hand, softer than you think you should be and stop worrying about where his head is and trying to fix it with your hand. Head set isn't a goal you set out to achieve in riding. Where their head is, is a byproduct of how they're carrying themselves. You never control it with your hand. You control it with their body.

You need lessons with this horse. And not to canter until you have that trot 100%. You need to be able to control his pace with just your seat, faster and slower and have him respond without your hand coming into the equation. Think of your hands as side rein.. really loose, low side reins. Unmoving, but giving.
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post #14 of 18 Old 04-03-2013, 12:16 AM
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I think you have made progress at the trot, definitely.
there is still a lot of worry on his part , regarding the bit, and too much activity there on your part, but I see longer periods where he finds the sweet spot and you give him a steadier hand, and he seems to realize that things could be good there.

I agree that a lot more work at a walk where he finds that sweet spot, you get him accepting of the bit AND walking forward, and then give him a long rein and get him to stretch forward, then slowly pick him back up. When you can do that with him neither speeding up when you give him a longer rein, nor tensing up when you take back up the contact, that will be a big improvement. IT's kind of "accordianing" your horse.

At the canter, I appreciated that you got up and off his back and you rode him forward long enough that he started to lower his head. However, there was a whole long time where he went giraffing around, building up that neck muscle and learning to lean and fight the bit, and you responded by pulling downward with both hands.

better might be to use a lot more of ONE rein work, rather than both. If you can get lateral flexion, the horse will find it impossible to giraff his neck. When he speeds up, use the inside rein to make the circles much smaller. Don't panic, don't one rein stop him, just start him into a smaller circle. When he softens in the jaw and bends a bit, allow him to come back out on the larger circle (do this at trot). Use bending, one rein, and circles to slow him rather than clamping down with equal , downward pressure on the reins.
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post #15 of 18 Old 04-03-2013, 12:19 AM
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Just curious... what happens if you give him a completely lose rein when you're riding the trot and canter?

I agree that while his trot looks better (he has moments that are nice), he is not quite consistent and looks awful tense, still. I agree skyseternalangel about the constructive walking! And don't forget-- every time he feels "sloppy" or like he's tensing up, bring him back to a place where your movements are controlled and constructive like a nice solid walk. Focus on keeping your hands where they should be, and steady. :)

Last edited by existentialpony; 04-03-2013 at 12:25 AM.
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post #16 of 18 Old 04-03-2013, 12:23 AM
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Ooh!! At the end of the canter video, when you release the rein and let him stretch forward and down... I would strive to get that, on a loose rein, at the trot. And it might be difficult, but after giraffing his head all of the time I think he'll surprise you with how much he's willing to relax if you let him... just my opinion! I'm no trainer. ;)
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post #17 of 18 Old 04-03-2013, 12:31 AM
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I would stay away from the canter for right now.

Your lower leg position is good. You have a nice long stable leg. However, your hands leave a lot to be desired. You need to rest them into the horse's neck, or hold onto a strap until they can just be there and not worry about the head and you aren't using them for balance/speed control/steering. The main thing is that they are waaaay too far apart. Try to ride with your hands touching and think about pushing them forwards and away from the body. Once you ride like this and just simply ride the horse forward, he will bring his head down. If his head comes up think "rest the hands" and 99% of the time - the horse's head comes down.
You do need to get the horse moving off of your legs independently and accepting an aid. Start with a turn on the forehand, one step at a time, and then move to a leg yield. Then move to doing a spiral in/spiral out on a circle. Once you are comfortable with these exercises, then on the spiral in, spiral to the small circle, and leg yield out back to the large circle and bring your outside leg back to canter. Do not change anything else, do not pull, do not lean forward, just canter. If he doesn't canter from one simple aid, spiral back in (do not pull the horse up, just correct him by spiralling in - it will slow him down) and then spiral out and ask again. If the canter gets really out of control, spiral in and ask for a trot.
Focus really on pressing the hands forward and resting them, sitting up in your body and on your seat (ie do not perch forward or collapse your stomach) and think about pressing your stomach through your hands.

Good luck!
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post #18 of 18 Old 04-03-2013, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone!
I am beginning to lesson with him, and I have to say he's one of the most difficult horse I've ridden. I'm trying really hard to work on my hands, I know I stiffen up and I suspect it's mostly because I am working so hard to put everything together at once... I have to learn to let things fall into place nicely, and have patience. When he's wound up, he tends to bulge his neck out, completely ignore the reins (which I should NOT rely on, anyways), and trot right through me... I'm learning that to control this I have to slooooow my body, relax him with my seat. I have tried to work him on a long rein, he takes advantage of it and runs right through me. This is probably because we are both stiff and tense as it is, and he simply falls over himself. I'll definitely use a longer rein for now if I do canter, until I learn to be soft and supple with my hands. My body has come a long way, I just need to get my hands independent from my back (which I guess I'm trying to hold).
It's frustrating as I am trying so hard to be good for both of us... I think it is a matter of time for us to trust and relax with each other. I know this shouldn't make a difference, but I've only been riding about 3 or so months since I had my accident, I'm still trying to put myself together. ;)
Thanks again, very good advice and constructive criticism!
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