Yep, there's improvement goin' on!
Hi Cinny's mom,
The video shows definite improvement and it's nice that you can both see and feel this yourself. The saddle looks to improve his comfort. Would be nice to see a closeup shot of it on his back, with him standing on level ground and squared up.
I agree that holding your hands open and low is a well known training technique to encourage the horse to reach forward and downward, into your hands/bit. The thing is that you have to work on "following" him down when he goes down. Don't just let him reach downward and then he hits the end of the bit and bounces back up. You have to maintain a soft, CONSTANT contact that will go forward with him as he reaches. It's tricky because once he's down there, you will have to continue posting and keeping a steady contact with his mouth for as long as he is down there. In a short time he will choose to come back up and you have to follow him back up. The neat thing about having your hands in this sort of low, and out to the side position is that you can shorten and lengthen your reins somewhat without actually sliding them along the rein. When you have your hands wide, the reins are effectively shortened (think of a triangle). This will be for when he raises his head and you must quickly shorten your rein in order to not loose the contact. If he puts his head up you follow and you might "tickle" the rein with your inside hand wherein he might react by reaching downward, you will have to bring your hands close together to effectively create longer reins to follow that downward reach. And agaign and again.
Actually, you are doing not a bad job there. I think you are catching on really fast and in awhile it will come easier.
Anothe rider talked about posting bigger. I agree. You need to encourage every bit of energy out of his trot and lifting more up./forward will encourage him.
What I see happening is that you are still just the tiniest bit "behind" his motion because your legs are still out in front of you in a bit of a chair seat, thus you are kind of "sucking" yourself up , instead of "lifting" yourself more straigtht upward off your ankle and thigh. Again, if Cinny disappeared from under you , you would be too far behind you own center of gravity to land standing and keep your balance.
You have to get those legs back under you a bit more. I might shorten my stirrups just ONE and really think about your heel seeking down/back toward Cinny's back feet. Think of his energy flowing through your lower abdomen into your hands. Let him come through you.
You might like to get yourself a pair of half chaps to protect your tender calves from the stirrup leather biting you in the trot. Also gives extra grip.
Once in awhile ask Cinny to trot vigorously forward on a loose, and I mean you hold the reins on the buckle, loose rein. You want to refresh his "forward". Too much focus on the bit and contact on the front end shuts down the rear end. Also, it feels good to the horse and establishes trust between you. Just drop the rein, hold the buckle and ask him to trot out. You can always just go briskly along the rail, since where he goes isn't as important as just giving him a break and moving him out again.
One last thing. You can do a ton of work with a horse merely at the walk. You just walk, encourage the stretching, do the loose rein, do turns , turns. Stops. Small circles what ever comes to mind and when you get something from him that feels GOOD. STOPPPPPP. Pet him, end the session.
The last place your horse is emotionally at the end of a work session is the most important of all the moments you had with him. If you got something good from him, take it and let that be enough for the day. One can't necesaarily do that every day, like when you have paid for an hour lesson or what, but when you can, Cinny will find training more rewarding.
Last edited by tinyliny; 09-12-2010 at 10:40 PM.