Jumper doing dressage - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 22 Old 11-14-2010, 03:50 PM
Green Broke
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Very nice horse! A pleasure to watch and I can see you have been working hard with him!

It is hard to tell because most of the time the video is from the side, but it looks like he might be tilting his head to the side. This could be why you are feeling the resistance to the left.

Do not worry about being slightly behind the vertical right now, it is only because he is fighting you and trying to avoid the contact.

i think it will get better as his back & neck muscles get stronger. I don't think a stronger bit is the answer, but rather do more transistions using your seat more than your hands. You must keep this horse busy to stop him from fighting you. Try more lateral movements, my favorite is a spiral in & out and 10 meter half-circles for change of direction. Build up to shoulder-in as soon as possible.

The lateral movements will help him to hold his frame. You do not want to get into a habit of fighting him for his head every ride! Ask nice then demand! It is not your job to hold up his head:)

He is a bit too much on the forehand, which is why he is leaning on you. Try some walk to canter work to help him use his back end more.

You two make a lovely pair & he has a lot of potential once you get him to work with you instead of against you!

I did not see the first video, but the second shows you are on the right tract and you look to be a very capable rider!
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post #12 of 22 Old 11-14-2010, 04:03 PM
Green Broke
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Watched it again & noticed something else, your stirrups are too short putting you in a chair seat & not allowing you to sit deep. Try bringing you legs back farther & longer will help the horse to work off his back. Also counter-canter on right lead will strengthen the left side. You may have to counter canter for two weeks until he has more strength.

He has big gaits but you seem very able to ride them! Keep up the good work & listen to your instructor, it takes time to develope the muscles correctly so the horse can carry himself in the right frame.
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post #13 of 22 Old 11-14-2010, 04:36 PM
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I do not have any experience in actual dressage, so I will leave that up to others. But I wanted to say I love your horse, and think he is a beautiful mover!
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post #14 of 22 Old 11-14-2010, 08:38 PM
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This horse is a very nice horse with above average movement. I hesitate to post a critique because the ones that have been posted have not been well-received. I hope you will read this with an open mind. This is backwards riding aka riding front to back vs. riding back to front. You are blocking this horse, who's back is naturally swingy, from coming through with your pulling/holding hands. The reason he tenses up when you shorten the reins is because you are stop allowing him to go over his back and stop the energy at the base of the neck. That is why his head is all over the place, because the energy from the hind end is not coming though and going all the way to the bit.

You have enough forward. You need to let him out and ride him to out the bit, allowing him to stretch into your hand. Try to keep your hands down, keeping the straight line from elbow to bit, and together. Put your elbows at your sides and try to keep them glued to your hip. When you move your hands apart and raise your arms away from your torso, you loose your position and end up getting handsy. There is too much tension in your forearms which is causing your wrists to break over. Your forearm should only be thought of as an extension of the rein and you ride from your elbows. The forearm belongs to the horse. Any action on the horse's mouth should be made from the elbow or flexing of the seat in a half halt not the hand.

Squeeze your shoulder blades together to give you a stronger position with your body. If you have to make an adjustment, do it just for a moment and then put your hands back to that neutral position. He is coming behind the bit because he is trying to avoid punishing hands thus dropping the contact/bit. It is not the feeling of "give that you want that will connect him through his body. It's only shorting the neck and causing him to break his neck at the 3rd vertebra.

You said he was previously a jumper which is hard on the body and he's at an age now that arthritis may be setting in. You say he is stiff left. That is because he is not stepping through well with his left hind leg. When he goes right, he is throws his haunches out, which causes the same thing to happen going the other direction. He is not stepping through with the left hind. You can see his obvious avoidance to step under when you change directions and also in the one halt. I would start doing some diagnostic work to find out if he is 100% comfortable in the work you are asking him to do.
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post #15 of 22 Old 11-14-2010, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Vicizmax View Post
I understand what you mean, but you can't ride a horse without using reins either - at least not this horse.
Well you have something to work towards. I can stop my horse without using ANY rein. I can also circle him and cut across the arena without any rein. It takes a LOT of leg, leg that I'm still trying to build up (and I'm with you, it is HARD!). Think about relaxing when you want a downward transition, not about pulling back. I had a trainer tell me about "energy levels" and it really helped. When you try to calm your "energy level" the horse feels it, and in response, slows down. I think that he will be a better horse when you start riding with more leg and less rein. It will take time, and you're working towards it. Good luck!
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post #16 of 22 Old 11-14-2010, 10:18 PM
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Hands are still too rough and you need to allow the aids to come through before deciding that you are going to intervene and just pull the horse into a halt. So what if a couple extra steps occur. Also if the head gots up it means you are not effective in your seat aids in maintaining the horse's body position.
I agree completely with Spyder - you are riding all hands, you are riding his face first instead of his hind end. Seat Into Legs Into Hands To Soften - go back to the Training Scale.

My post is pretty much going to repeat pretty much what Spyder has been saying - you must learn to ride seat first, hands last.

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post #17 of 22 Old 11-14-2010, 10:46 PM
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Using your seat and legs is what you work towards in dressage; it's the basis of all dressage. My OTTB is very goey and was messed up after being taught beautifully, but I can ride her without using the reins to communicate anything. I can ask for a sidepass, transitions, halts, turns, half-passes, lead changes, changes of direction, and changes in speed from her using just my legs and seat. She was messed up after getting in the wrong hands enough that i still am working hard with her to not brace against the bit like she's grown accustomed to, but she is a good dressage example because she can be ridden with my seat. When I ask for a turn I don't squeeze any rein, when I ask for a more energetic trot she doesn't get more rein; she is controlled by my seat, and that is what will help her become a good dressage horse in the future. Any top level dressage rider and horse should be able to perform a ride bridleless, and that goes for reining, Western Pleasure, Country English Pleasure, anything. The best do not need reins, and we strive to replicate their results without realizing the technique behind them!

Last edited by equiniphile; 11-14-2010 at 10:48 PM.
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post #18 of 22 Old 11-15-2010, 01:39 AM
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I think Equinesalways had the very best description of the problem and best suggestions for you to work toward.
I might try doing some work at the walk that will encourage bending; circles, circles counterbent, squares, transitions and work on encouraging him to stretch down.
I can see that he is a hard horse to ride. Someone said to lengthen your stirrups. UH oh, no, if anythingm shorten so that you can post over yourself. You are posting behind him a bit, kind of "waterskiing" . I can imagine how hard he is to ride with his one sided ness and his very forward movement. He is just running away from the bit and from the stress that anyone can see on YOUR face. I would look for ways to making the experience in dressage to be mentally engaging and fun for both of you. Otherwise, just do what he loves; jumping.
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post #19 of 22 Old 11-15-2010, 02:12 PM
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OP - take your bridle, put it on the floor and with you bare foot, stand on the bit. Now take th e reins in a good contact and start pulling every which way. Now do that for 45 minutes, every day, 3 days a week, for a year. Now can you see where your horse's head flinging and stiffness to the left comes from??

Grab mane with both hands and ride to the contact. Your hands should not move. Dressage is not, has never been and will never be about only the neck and head - it is first and foremost about the body - we ride the body.

Here is a video of a 3 year old stallion doing a demo - notice the riders hands are together, and the horse (surprise!) manages to be round, even in a scary situation.
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post #20 of 22 Old 11-17-2010, 08:03 PM
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Agreed with the others. My trainer periodically throughout my lessons will make me "give" my inside rein up completely. If the horse continues with the bend, I am doing it correctly. If it falls apart when I give my inside rein, I am riding too much with my hands. Dressage comes from the legs and hind end. and yes it is hard. I have a dressage horse that is very very difficult to ride. I used to ride like you, lots of hands, and preventing his natural "swing", my hands would even hurt after lessons. Now that I have learned more dressage and learned the correct way, I need spurs to ride him and my hands are very light. I've now learned that he requies ALOT of leg, even though he is a very hot horse. It is hard so don't try to make excuses, no one is getting on to you about it, simply pointed it out. you can't learn if you don't know what you are doing wrong. It took me over a year to learn to ride my horse.
When your riding him dressage, and you feel like you have a nice, correct bend, you can do a check. Briefly put your hands forward and give the reins a little, making the reins a little slack. If your horse continues on with the bend or reaches down for that contact again, you are doing it correctly, if he does not keep the bend, you are riding with too much hands and not enough leg.
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