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post #1 of 6 Old 02-25-2010, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2007
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This is Chloe and I doing schooling dressage! We've both come a long way and I'm very proud of her, but there's still plenty of room for improvement.
What I personally see:
-I need to get my hands out of my lap, lol.
-I should work on getting her more responsive with my leg so i can keep it quieter.

I don't know if you can tell, but six months ago, her right lead was an absolute disaster!
She felt a lot more forward than what I'm seeing. Should she have more impulsion? She was breathing hard... and that's saying something considering she's a very, very fit and young thoroughbred.
anyways, here's the video!
I can grab some video stills if anybody wants them. I just think a video provides a better example of how we really are.

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post #2 of 6 Old 02-25-2010, 10:48 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Manitoba, Canada
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I noticed a couple things, first - sit back. Rock right back on your butt, as if you're sitting on the "pockets" of your pants. You're leaning forward when you post to her trot and it's throwing your legs WAY back. I think if you sit up and back, your legs will automatically fall into the spot they're supposed to be. Also, loosen up your hips at the canter and really try to stay with her. You'd have it for 2-3 strides, lose it, get it back and so on. Your rhythm seems solid at the trot but on the canter, I can't tell if you're ahead or behind but you're not quite in sync. You can really tell how much work you've put into Chloe though, she looks awesome! She could have a little more umph to her canter, but her trot was nice and forward. Often on a big horse like her, you feel like you're covering more ground than you actually are! Keep up the good work though and I'm sure you'll do amazing with her!

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post #3 of 6 Old 02-25-2010, 10:54 PM
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This is a good frame, energy, and swing for this green (to dressage) horse.

You tend to draw up your right leg/side and clamp on with the back of your thigh. When this happens it triggers other things to happen in your body. Your right seat bone detaches from the saddle and floats back. In reaction to that, your left seat bone ends up moving foward, taking more weight causing you to sit off to the outside (left).

To correct this, think about keeping your right side, from shoulder to heel, long and relaxed. When you use your leg to aid the horse, focus on using your calf and not your heel. Physically pull the muscle on the back of your thigh off the saddle so you can ride correctly off the inside of your thing instead. You must turn in the WHOLE leg. Also, do the fluffing exercise where you hold your leg, either one or both, up off the saddle for a moment and then let it fall back down naturally. You can do this in all gaits with or without stirrups.

Sometimes your seat bones end up pointing backwards instead of curled underneath you pointing forwards which inhibits the forward movement that you are trying to correct by adding more leg. Bring your shoulders back over your seat and think about posting your hips forward towards your hands instead of up into the air. Not bigger, just forward and back instead of up and down.

All in all, very good. Just minor adjustments.
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-26-2010, 02:33 AM
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Location: Australia
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Very good posts above. You are are very unbalanced in the saddle, which will make it much harder for your mare to keep herself balanced upright and off the forehand.
As the above posters said, sit back on your seat bones more, so that you have a 'triangle' or contact on the saddle. Your two seat bones, and you pubic bone, should have your weight evenly distributer over them.
Keep your shoulders back and then really work on relaxing your thigh/knee to allow the lower leg to come more under your centre of gravity and stabilise to become more effective. At the moment the lower leg is almost totally ineffective and is just 'waving in the wind' so to speak. You really need to loosen that upper leg to get a steady lower leg, I'm sure you will find that she is much more responsive once you make this change ;)

Our upper body's carry the bulk of our weight, and so when you are leaning forward and tipping onto your pubic bone, you are inadvertently pushing weight down onto the horses shoulders, which in turn creates a horse that is on the forehand. It is very difficult for a horse to come off the forehand and begin to come over its back when the rider is pressing their weight onto it's shoulders.
Your mare is a VERY good horse as she's not falling on her face. So once you can get yourself into an upright, balanced position, just imagine how much nicer she will be

Your trot also seems to fall apart a bit after the canter. This is because in canter she is not going forwards at all, and you are blocking her through your pelvis, so when she comes back to trot she is already unbalanced and on the forehand.
I recommend that you do millions of trot-canter-trot transitions once you've fixed your position, in order to get her hind legs more active and really working her back muscles. In canter, try to ride 'into' her rather than just sitting on top of her. If you can picture your seat being connected to her, think that your seat is your accelerator and brake rolled into one. Push into her to stay with her movement and have control of it. You need to be in control of the speed of the canter by using your seat, so really try to sit into her and drive rather than being a passenger and having nothing but rein to try and steady her.
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-26-2010, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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thank you!
Everything makes total sense. I feel like now that Chloe is starting to "outshine" me, which used to not be the case, my flaws are becoming much much much more obvious.

Originally Posted by equinesalways View Post

You tend to draw up your right leg/side and clamp on with the back of your thigh. When this happens it triggers other things to happen in your body. Your right seat bone detaches from the saddle and floats back. In reaction to that, your left seat bone ends up moving foward, taking more weight causing you to sit off to the outside (left).
That was so helpful; i agree!

Any thoughts on Chloe?
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-26-2010, 09:40 PM
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If she has a good sense of forward instilled you can begin shortening and lengthening the frame which is the introduction to collection. The most important thing when doing these exercises is to always keep the shoulders straight in front of the hindquarters. The second is to teach the horse to respond to the half halt.

First we ask the horse to push. He must raise his shoulders up by powering from behind. The horse moves forward and well over his back. He is soft and even into both reins. Begin this exercise on the circle so the horse is loading the inside hind leg going each direction.

Then we ask the horse to carry more for a brief moment. Horse's do not know what a half halt is so you must teach them the proper response. Half halt with your seat by sitting up tall, squeezing your shoulder blades together, and closing your thigh. If you do not get a response add the closing of the hand. If you get nothing still, drop down a gait. When you get the correct response, reward the horse verbally and go back to a neutral position with your body and reins without dropping the horse. The horse will not be able to carry itself with these shorter strides for long without loosing the energy and balance. The moment before this happens you must go back to the pushing phase.

You go back and forth between the two to build strength in the hind leg increasing the time she can carry. This is how you develop more energy in the working trot and a proper lengthening as describe for first level.

On a quick note about keeping the horse straight, a good test is to ride in counter-flexion keeping the shoulders moving directly in front of the hind end and then back to proper flexion without the shoulder falling in or out. You can try this on the circle or on the quarter line.

Beginning lateral work now is also a good way to progress. Begin with leg yields and some shoulder fore. Shoulder fore right will be the most difficult for her to do, so reward her for her effort even if it is little and not as good as the other side. These exercises will also improve you connection from your inside leg to the outside rein which will be the most important thing in your climb up the levels. All dressage riders are constantly improving the connection which is the basis of how we communicate with the horse.
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