Critique Gracie's Training Progress

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Critique Gracie's Training Progress

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    02-26-2009, 08:28 PM
Critique Gracie's Training Progress

These are pictures from ride six, (aka tonight) of Gracie's official training program! Gracie is ridden with my trainer five times a week, (this is week two) and I coordinate my schedule around my trainer's so that she warms her up, and then I do the rest of the hour. It's working out lovely. ;) Please DO NOT CRITIQUE THE RIDER- that's my trainer, not me. And Grace was a tad off today because her knocked her front tendon on Monday or Tuesday, and after lots of cold hosing and err.. plah-...plah...(the clay stuff that takes out the heat ;P) so we just rode for a half hour today, if anyone can really tell. (She was never lame on it, but it just swelled a little on the first day)

And if you don't know her, Gracie is a four year old OTTB, (she'll be 5 soon!) and again, this is her second week of training.

Video from tonight!

Before my camera died on Sunday-

...and now these are from tonight.

And I asked my trainer for a picture of us. She looks like a little race pony. ;3

And I couldn't resist!


Evil parrot face!

Oh, and I'm in the process of looking for a figure-8 bridle for that open mouth of hers. And a new bit because even though I love french-links, I hate loose rings!

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    02-26-2009, 09:08 PM
No critique from me other than it looks like she's behind the bit in some of the pictures, but seeing as she's only 2 weeks into her training that's fair enough, she' still learning.
As for the bit, if you like french-links but don't like loose ring snaffles maybe you could try her in this:
5" S/S D Ring Sweet Iron Copper Lozenge Snaffle - eBay Bits, Equipment, Horse Riding, Sport. (end time 27-Mar-09 12:05:48 AEDST)
It's what I have on my ottb and he goes well in it.
    02-26-2009, 09:52 PM
Take a look at the 'false headset' post. That's what's happening here--and why she is constantly behind the vertical.
Week 2 of her training, she should not have 'a head set'. Headset doesn't come from the reins, it comes from proper work, and months--if not years--down the road.
She looks like she's just putting around... needs more impulsion, and less contact so the energy works through her back and up, not through her back and down.
    02-27-2009, 10:45 AM
I agree with the other posters, she looks behind in all the pics (I can't watch the video right now, im out of bandwith for the month). You need to push her forward and not worry about where her head is, it will come naturally when she has the muscle to carry herself.
    02-27-2009, 11:15 AM
I quite like her. It's not at all uncommon for young horses - especially ottbs- to duck behind the bit to try to find their balance. They have to learn to trust the bit, and I find that racehorses, over any other type of horse need to learn that its ok to soften their mouths. Your trainer doesn't appear to be holding her there, so I wouldn't be concerned too much about it. Just be aware that if she does duck behind the bit, ask with leg, and don't start fiddling around with your hands.
She does need more impulsion though, and more swing through her hind end. If she's good with it, start introducing caveltti work to her, little trot poles would help her enormously.
    02-27-2009, 06:35 PM
Just because a horse is green doesn't mean it should be tense. In order for a horse to hold it's head behind the vertical, it has to tighten muscles in it's jaw. It's a sign of tension. First step in dressage... relaxation!

OTTBs won't tuck their head if you don't ask them to have a 'headset'. Ask them to go long and low, and then they will find the contact themselves.
    02-27-2009, 11:47 PM
Thanks for the replies!

I'm aware of Gracie being behind the bit, and she's not a hot horse so I was expecting someone mentioning that she needs more impulsion. As for the forced head set, I don't think that's what my trainer is focusing on if it appears she is. Gracie is unbalanced, (a lot more so two weeks ago- I feel a huge difference in her gaits) and we've been focusing on outside aids with inside aids for flexion, and to keep her from falling in. We also try to entice her to use her back and not be (all strung out like) a "banana", if you've heard that imagery before.

Today I rode her for the entire lesson, (I can't remember if I mentioned that my trainer usually warms her up) and we worked over poles and cross rails at the end. (There's a schooling jumper show on Sunday and I'm taking her in the 12'' class ;3) Oh, and I forgot to mention, when Gracie first came to my barn a few months ago, the lady I bought her from, (aka another trainer) solidly rode her in draw reins for the first couple weeks of her re-training. Could this be another reason for her being over the bit?
    02-28-2009, 01:19 AM
Originally Posted by kerplop    
Thanks for the replies!

Oh, and I forgot to mention, when Gracie first came to my barn a few months ago, the lady I bought her from, (aka another trainer) solidly rode her in draw reins for the first couple weeks of her re-training. Could this be another reason for her being over the bit?
I'd say that the draw reins would have a lot to do with the way she's carrying her head and neck in these photos.

I think if you continue on the way you're going, she will gradually develop the muscle and balance to be able to carry herself a bit better. The one thing all young horses need is plenty of time, and transitions will help a lot. She looks like a real sweetheart
    03-01-2009, 03:10 AM
She really needs more impulsion, otherwise she will continually balance herself on the reins.

Both you and your trainer need to work on tracking up, and getting her to work from behind, not her shoulders.

Lots of transitions up and down will really help with this.

Mostly likely as a result of being ridden in draw reins she has sadly learned to balance herself using the reins so your task of shifting her balance will be even greater, but for such a young horse in the early stages of her training, its not impossible.

She really is a lovely girl!

Good luck :)
    03-02-2009, 03:05 PM
She looks great for such a short time in training ...

It seems like you are on the right track and I second what others have said... keep up the work and I like what you trainer is doing with her. OTTB's need lots of love and time but they are more then willing to learn :)

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