Critique Bella - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-07-2011, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Critique Bella

Bella was being a tad difficult today, so she isn't normally pulling on the bit so much and or keeping her head that high, but she worked hard yesterday and was fantastic so i forgive her for being difficult today lol...anyway, this isn't me riding, it's a girl who leases the bay other bay horse in the ring(which is who i'm on, we like to switch horses sometimes lol) Bella does really well for Alexa and I like watching them work together
Alexa said she wouldn't mind critique but this is mostly for Bella. I normally ride her in THIS bit But when we started working with her she wasn't stopping very well at all so my riding instructor started using a D-ring low port with a curb chain. When we first used it it helped a lot with her pulling her head down(and throwing it up), but as you can see in the video she was doing it quite a bit today. she was actually doing much better by the time we videoed her, when i was on her i practically couldn't keep her head up.
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-10-2011, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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ok, watching it again, she looks pretty bad, i guess that's why no one commented lol...maybe this weekend i will get a better video, i'll record it since my riding instructor is technology challenged lol
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-11-2011, 10:49 PM
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A better quality vidoe will definitely get you more replies, it was out of focus, shaky and at some points dark. From what I can tell your mare was unfocused, tense and inverted. The canter looked more relaxed than the trot but she was still counterbent at least in parts? Hard to see, particularily on a phone.
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-11-2011, 11:07 PM
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The thing that stood out to me the most (like Rosie said) is the counter bending. She appears to even be throwing her shoulder in on the long rail.

I would work on a lot of circles/serpentines, making sure she's bending around your leg. I think this will also help her work from behind and eventually drop her head willingly. She doesn't "look" like she's pulling her head down, but evading the bit. Curb bits can encourage this as they encourage the horse to break over at the poll.
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-12-2011, 03:57 PM
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I noticed the counter bending, and she also seemed to rush into the canter. I would practice lots of transitions, and really try to almost 'bounce' her off your leg, if that makes sense? As in, walk, 3 strides of trot, 2 strides of walk, etc etc until she's active off your leg and not rushing forwards, it should almost feel like she bounces upwards rather than pulling forwards.
Hope that helped!
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-12-2011, 07:02 PM
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One thing I noticed (other than the counterbending) is a very inconsistant contact on the bit, this is a way for the horse to avoid coming over the back in through in the hind end. I would say to help fix this is the rider having a steadier contact on the rein, keep the outside rein steady and ask for the horse to bend and give in the jaw with the inside rein, release when the horse gives as a reward. Do a lot of "long and low" work to help stretch the topline out. On a good note she looks like she has pretty good rhythem, she has a good stride, cute mover, but like other posters said keep working on transitions! Overall I would just say she needs to strengthen her topline muscles!
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-12-2011, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, we switched her back to her original bit, which she doesn't pull as badly with, but her brakes still need some work. She had been out of work since November and we are just starting to bring her back into work, that was probably only her 5th ride doing more then a walk, so she is a bit out of shape. Last year we also had some trouble with upward and downward transitions so it is a spot we really need to work on. I'll get another video of Alexa riding her, Val(my trainer) took that last video and as she admits herself she is probably the worst person to ask to use a camera lol. Also Bella doesn't really like the other 2 horses so she was acting up a bit when they were too close, but she also doesn't like to be alone either, ugh mares! never happy are they
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-13-2011, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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OK, guys, I went out there today to ride her and I took a video of my riding instructor riding her. Please let me know what you think, we were working just walk and trot and trying to work on upward and downward transitions since she is especially difficult with downward.

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post #9 of 11 Old 05-13-2011, 09:01 PM
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She very clearly has a tendency to pull and bare down on the reins by curling herself in and driving onto the forehand. She appears to be relying on your instructor to hold her up.
Riding her with her poll up and slightly in front of the vertical, not allowing her to come lower and bare down will help to get her thinking 'up' rather than down and out. What she is doing here is not 'long and low' or wanting to stretch - she is pulling the reins out of the rider's hands and trying to pull down to evade.
My little WB gelding does exactly the same and it took me a good couple of months to consistently get him to stay up and think up rather than bare down.
These sort of horses you have to ride very tactfully, and think every step. You can't stop mid stride to celebrate when you get a couple of nice steps - you have to keep riding every step and be skilled and sensitive enough to feeling when she is about to bare down.
Use your legs to bring her up - by not allowing her to go all the way down, you have much more control. So the second you feel that she's wanting to dive, put your leg on and pick her up again.
In the downward transitions, this tendency to nose dive is going to be your worst enemy. I would bring her up even high, poll as the highest point and above the vertical, prepare your downward using half halts to rebalance her and encourage the hind quarters to step through, then ask for the transition with your seat only, and allow your reins. If you start making a grab for the reins to make the downward, you will enhance the diving problem.

Good luck with her, she's a nice little mare and I really think you'll be able to make something of her once she comes out of this evasion.
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-13-2011, 09:05 PM
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Really couldn't have said it better Kayty. You're always going to have to be mindful of your balance and not tipping forward or resting your hands on her neck. She is still swinging to the inside (counter bending) especially on downward transitions and that corner that your trainer noticed she was bouncier. You'll need to really pick of the inside rein and support with your inside leg. I'd be doing a lot of circles and transitions with her.
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