Critique my horse and I? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 02-17-2014, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Critique my horse and I?

Any and all comments welcome. Don't be afraid to be harsh, I want to compete eventually lol

He's not the most forward horse, so any input on new techniques or exercises also appreciated!

Warm up - YouTube

"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." -- Albert Einstein
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post #2 of 21 Old 02-18-2014, 01:32 AM
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I'm not so good at critiquing videos, but I would say to work on your impulsion more. It looked to me like your horse was not responding to your canter cues. Use that whip to reinforce if you have to. And to me it also looked like he was breaking out of canter and you not asking for a downward transition. If that was the case, really urge him on to not break gait until you ask him to.

I like him though! He's cute!

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post #3 of 21 Old 02-18-2014, 02:08 AM
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I'm going to guess dressage is your goal, but if not, then my bad, lol.

The first thing I see, is so lazy! His hind end almost looks like it's stopping every stride anticipating to walk, then realizes "nope, not this stride!" and catches up. A good thing to work on in my opinion, is in-gait speed transitions, especially at shows its important to have immediate responses so you can fix problems before they tank your score. Say, during a shoulder in, he starts to get lazy and behind your leg; you want to be able to immediately lengthen his strides and make the judge think that was just one bad step at the beginning. So, in the trot, really push his trot to the max extension, really stretching his legs, then bring his back like a coiled spring to an exaggerated collected trot really activating his hind end, and send him back out, and repeat like he's an accordion. Make really extreme differences within the trot, and play with how long your in each speed. When he's really sharp, you can get him to the point where you can almost do a stride or two of each with smooth in-gait transitions (at the canter, push him to a real ground covering gallop, then back to cantering on the spot, no quitting! And repeat). Do this at all gaits, all the time, its real helpful with a lot of problems.

I'm not real sure what your goal is with cantering him for a few strides at a time, I think that makes his laziness worse. Other exercises, circles, leg yields, work on cleaner down transitions. Maybe some circles, starting with 20m and spiraling him down to 10m by pushing him away from your outside leg, spiraling back out to 20m pushing off the inside.

He looks pretty cute though, so fluffy compared to your profile picture! Good luck.
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post #4 of 21 Old 02-18-2014, 02:31 AM
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First thing is first - reflect on the training scale. Rhythm is the first step on the scale - rhythm means first of all is the horse going at a speed where he is balanced and can I set a metronome to his footfalls? Second of all is the gate pure - is there clear 4 beats in the walk, 2 in the trot and 3 in the canter with the trot and canter having a moment of suspension?
If you listen very closely in the video you can hear that the trot is not pure. His diagonal pairs are hitting at a very slightly different moment so instead of a clear 1-2-1-2-1-2 you hear badum-badum-badum-badum every step. In the canter, the lack of purity in the gait is even further evidenced because the gait becomes 4 beats almost immediately. The first canter is ok, but as he falls out of it - the rhythm is lost. This is all very characteristic of a horse who is unbalanced and overloading the front end. At this point, there is no reason to be thinking about impulsion, collection, transitions in the gait, moving up the training scale, etc.. until you really have your one rhythm and one trot/canter developed.
Your "one rhythm" is like pressing cruise control in your car. You set the speed and it is the horse's job to continue at that speed until you have made a change. Often times I see the rider trying to trot and canter for the horse - the horse knows these things! It is up to the rider only to guide the horse and ALWAYS the rider must give the horse a job. Right now, his job is to maintain his speed as you set it. No nagging, nothing. You put an aid on (a small aid, and remove it quickly that it becomes a VERY clear, but light, cue), and if there is no response he gets a light warming kick or tap from the leg. If he still does not move at that moment he needs to know that there is no option other than to move as quickly as his legs will carry him. Be prepared for him to leap forward - do NOT grab his mouth! And then praise him. If he falls out of the forward motion right away - repeat your "move NOW!" correction and praise again. He needs to understand that you set the speed, and he maintains it. Once this is established I think you will have a much easier time with the next two steps on the scale - suppleness/relaxation and contact. Which leads me to..

Your hands, they are quite busy. Along with your body. You are really trying to do all the work for your horse - stop this. He must go on his own from a small indication from you. No questions. Your only job at this point is to sit quietly on the horse and stay completely out of his way. Only once you can learn to sit on the horse and have absolutely ZERO influence on his way of going (ie staying out of the way of his natural movement) can you learn to influence his way of going in a correct and constructive manner. Right now, your goal is to ride the horse in such a way that he is moving in the same fashion as he moves at liberty. He must go when you ask, and stop when you ask, however his balance is completely up to him - and YOUR balance is completely your job! He is working very hard to keep his body under yours - do not make your balance HIS problem. If the horse were to completely disappear out from under you - you need to be able to land perfectly - not on your head or bum! He is doing MUCH of this for you and it is contributing quite a lot to his lack of forward motion - he is too concerned about keeping you in the tack and not focused on moving well.
I would also suggest a martingale, neck strap or bucking strap to hold onto with your hands until they learn to be steadier in preparation for the "contact" step on the scale.

Good luck!! I really like your horse and he tries very hard for you - you have to allow him to do his job and set him up for success :)
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post #5 of 21 Old 02-18-2014, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your comments, really appreaciated!

I also wanted to point out that this is absolutely the moat terrible part of our ride, it always is, the warm up. It seems that if we dont trot around the school a couple times as-is, we never develop a stretch and from there the working gaits. Would like to make this step much smaller, or even eliminate it over time.

I was cringing when i saw my hands! Geez, thats embarrassing - but better to find out than live in the dark.
Apparently when i think 'loose rein', i just throw my hands away :/
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post #6 of 21 Old 02-18-2014, 01:51 PM
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My riding doesn't allow me much room for critiquing anyone...but I think I'll bookmark this thread for future use for ~*~anebel~*~'s advice.
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post #7 of 21 Old 02-18-2014, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disastercupcake View Post
Thanks everyone for your comments, really appreaciated!

I also wanted to point out that this is absolutely the moat terrible part of our ride, it always is, the warm up. It seems that if we dont trot around the school a couple times as-is, we never develop a stretch and from there the working gaits. Would like to make this step much smaller, or even eliminate it over time.

I was cringing when i saw my hands! Geez, thats embarrassing - but better to find out than live in the dark.
Apparently when i think 'loose rein', i just throw my hands away :/
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I don't know why you'd want to eliminate the warm up. The warm up is mostly there for the horse. So, if it were me, I would ride him some on a very loose rein for a bit (not a dressage thing), especially since he's in an indoor arena and can't really "go" anywhere. I'd have him go around and just allow him to put his head anywhere he wanted to. and see if he could maybe allow himself to keep his head down, and trot out for a bit, and maybe you'd start to feel him want to blow, and his back feel looser and a bit of swing come into it. Then I'd work on having him continue in the rythmic trot, and work on aksing him to come to a contact with the bit, and lift up his head and trot there for a bit, then follow the bit back down again. the longitudinal stretch/compress was something my old teacher used to make us do on every warm up.
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post #8 of 21 Old 02-18-2014, 04:32 PM
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Oh gosh, my warm ups look terrible!! I basically let my horses flop around on a long rein and fly around the place!! However - they are balanced over their 4 legs and I am balanced in the tack - THIS is the key. The warm up will always look a little "bad", because it is a warm up! We can't expect the horse to come out of the stable at GP!
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post #9 of 21 Old 02-18-2014, 04:47 PM
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My horse pretty much looks exactly like yours in his movement and type. He is soo lazy in the ring. I don't do a ton of ringwork with him but it's always a struggle to keep him consistently going forward. I'm loving all of the advice that you're getting!
I found this video on youtube the other day and I really like it. The concepts are basic and if you watch the second video that she does with the same horse, the improvement is incredible.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll36NjnkeOY
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post #10 of 21 Old 02-18-2014, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
I don't know why you'd want to eliminate the warm up. The warm up is mostly there for the horse. So, if it were me, I would ride him some on a very loose rein for a bit (not a dressage thing), especially since he's in an indoor arena and can't really "go" anywhere. I'd have him go around and just allow him to put his head anywhere he wanted to. and see if he could maybe allow himself to keep his head down, and trot out for a bit, and maybe you'd start to feel him want to blow, and his back feel looser and a bit of swing come into it. Then I'd work on having him continue in the rythmic trot, and work on aksing him to come to a contact with the bit, and lift up his head and trot there for a bit, then follow the bit back down again. the longitudinal stretch/compress was something my old teacher used to make us do on every warm up.
Oh, sorry, I did not mean that I aim to eliminate the warm up at all, but to eliminate (or make smaller over time) the time it takes to develop good working gaits >.<
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"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." -- Albert Einstein
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