Lucky US - need input please
   

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Lucky US - need input please

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        09-26-2009, 08:36 PM
      #1
    Started
    Lucky US - need input please

    So I rode lucky today and heís been out of work for a few weeks b/c he cut his tongue. Of course his back has been his ongoing issue, but itís definitely getting better. Iím uploading video now for you to see, but in short hereís my observations and questions.

    Overall I have him going on a long rein and I notice heís behind the bit a lot despite the fact that I literally had no pressure on the reins, so iím wondering if thatís anticipation/pain from his tongue. Itís healed but lucky is a very sensitive and anxious horse so I think that may be it?

    That aside I also noticed that the more he stretched down and relaxed, heíd start to pick himself up better. He wasnít leaning on me but was ducking behind, until it seemed he stretched out and his back got looser (look later in the video).

    At one point to the right heís wagging his head and im trying to correct with my hands which is WRONG! I know! I stopped and he stopped - the right is his worse direction and I needed to get him to move off my leg better - again later in the video he seemed to do that.

    All in all iím happy that heís stretching through his back, relaxing (heís usually VERY anxious so we spent a lot of time just walking and settling) and starting to move forward and almost tracking up rather than his super-short hesitant trot. We still have a long ways to go though and iíd love some thoughts. My question is at what point do you think heíd be ready for a more traditional contact and start getting him to bring his head up? Just keep riding with more leg/less hand (i need more leg than I was using today and I need to make that a primary focus - more leg even though he feels forward, heís not truly engaged) and then as he gets stronger let him tell me? Iím not sure if I should try to get him to elevate his head as I add more leg or just let it come with time as he loosens and gains strength? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Vid in a minute, but still would love thoughts on what can help. :)
         
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        09-27-2009, 11:56 AM
      #2
    Started
    Video finally!

         
        09-27-2009, 12:33 PM
      #3
    Trained
    What a beautiful boy! And he sure does have a lovely forward, opened trot! Cept the behind bit thing, lol - which is totally understandable due to his past predicaments.

    Nelson does the same thing when I ride with too low of hands. I get a lovely, lovely forward trot from Nelson, meaning rhythmic but tracking up and under himself - but he goes behind on me.

    What fixes that, is picking up my hands and lifting him back up which leads to your question

    Quote:
    my question is at what point do you think he’d be ready for a more traditional contact and start getting him to bring his head up? Just keep riding with more leg/less hand (i need more leg than I was using today and I need to make that a primary focus - more leg even though he feels forward, he’s not truly engaged) and then as he gets stronger let him tell me? I’m not sure if I should try to get him to elevate his head as I add more leg or just let it come with time as he loosens and gains strength? Any input would be greatly appreciated.
    I will tell you what my coach told me. Nelson and I are in kinda the same boat as you two are.

    Nelson has had pretty much a year off. Give and take. He and I have gone through allot of trials and tribulations with people in our lives which prevented Nelson and I from being able to train and ride - but now that we are at a real facility and started back at square one under a very reputable coach, we are taking it 1 step at a time.

    My Coach wants no contact at all. Nelson has no body tone. No topline. No lung capacity. We are both out of shape. We are also dealing with back issues because of poor saddle fit *chiro, massage therapy and saddle searching*

    Anyways, to sum it up, we are both out of shape and are in desperate need to getting back to where we were last eventing season.

    What did my coach tell me? Hack. Hack, hack, hack, hack, hack. You know very well what many benefits come from hacking to help start the building blocks of obtaining a balanced, conditioned horse all round.

    During our lessons, once a week - he demands a long rein, with contact. You know what that means. Outside rein in contact with his mouth, inside rein slack and soft. Driving inside leg into that outside rein.

    Forward. Not speedy gonzalus forward, but rhytmic and controlled. Via seat into leg and into the outside rein *yadda yadda, you know this*

    When Nelson searches for the contact, which he does - keep things as they are with your seat and legs, soften your inside rein.

    When Nelson goes behind, use more seat, use more leg while lifting my outside rein up. When Nelson goes back to where he should be, soften again with lots of praise.

    Right now, I'm not allowed to carry my hands where they should be, I'm not allowed to shorten my reins.

    The key factor is, tracking up, lifting back into my seat and allowing him to reach down - but NOT under.

    We want the back end to build. We want the back to strengthen. We want the tracking up. We want our horses to open up, up front and move under themselves.

    The moment I try to collect Nelson up - we loose it. We loose the forward momentum. We loose the tracking up. We loose his back - it drops, his head throws up in the air and we have to start all over.

    Try to pick him up with he does go behind on you. Lift him up with your outside rein, see what happens.

    I think it'll take time. You are on the right track.
         
        09-27-2009, 02:35 PM
      #4
    Trained
    The reason your horse is BTV, is because your hands are always working backwards (and always working too).
    At the beginning, he is trying to bring his neck up into a good frame and carry himself better, but you immediately pull backwards, instead of applying more leg to get him to stretch and then giving when he reaches for the contact.
    Either get really disciplined about keeping your elbows glued to your hips and having your knuckles resting on his neck 100% of the time, or buy a bucking strap and hold onto it. You need to fix your hands and make them quiet before his is going to quietly stretch into your contact.
    Another thing that I'd like to say is it looks like you are chasing him quicker, instead of allowing his stride to get bigger. Don't post so quickly, or do a sitting trot. Your seat is constantly driving him in a really nagging way, and I think that is adding to his apprehensions.

    Good luck!
         
        09-27-2009, 04:35 PM
      #5
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    
    The reason your horse is BTV, is because your hands are always working backwards (and always working too).
    At the beginning, he is trying to bring his neck up into a good frame and carry himself better, but you immediately pull backwards, instead of applying more leg to get him to stretch and then giving when he reaches for the contact.
    Either get really disciplined about keeping your elbows glued to your hips and having your knuckles resting on his neck 100% of the time, or buy a bucking strap and hold onto it. You need to fix your hands and make them quiet before his is going to quietly stretch into your contact.
    Another thing that I'd like to say is it looks like you are chasing him quicker, instead of allowing his stride to get bigger. Don't post so quickly, or do a sitting trot. Your seat is constantly driving him in a really nagging way, and I think that is adding to his apprehensions.

    Good luck!
    actually, other than the one spot, my hands had no contact other than to keep the reins from being so long they were literally sloppy. At several points in the vid (idk if you can see or not) I actually open my fingers on the reins completely to show that he's staying behind the bit with 0 pressure on the reins at all. So making my hands quiet as you put it isn't going to do anything since other than the spot where I said I caught myself using my hands too much, they had no rein contact at all. You make it sound like i'm a novice when actually i'm a trainer and quite quiet with my hands, in this case (again other than the spot that I caught myself riding with my hands) i'm looking for input on how to drive him forward and I agree with MIE, I clearly need more leg. I just rewatched the video and other than the spot I mentioned, and when he's bracing and I use the inside rein's motion to move his head and release from bracing, I don't really see my hands moving much at all, and in most of the video, I have straight line elbow to bit with slack in the reins, elbows at my side. MIE (or anyone else) second opinion please?

    As for my seat driving him, I also completely disagree as my seat never made full contact with the saddle. He can't DO sitting trot due to a history of back injuries, and I literally spent more time out of the saddle than in it. So nope, sorry I am not driving him with my seat. I believe the issue is quite the contrary (as I shared this with a friend who is also a trainer) in that i'm not using my seat at all which is causing him to "look around" so to speak to find the rhythm from my seat - and my seat wasn't there. I'm going to be working on using my seat and riding deeper in the sitting part of the posting trot. Like I said it was b/c I was afraid to land on his back b/c of his past issues but I actually think itís doing more harm than good since iím not using my seat to help him relax at all. I think I was overcautious to the point that it became counterproductive if that makes sense. I can sit and use my seat on the downward part of the post deeply without being heavy or driving - which is what I think he needs and will make me more effective for him right now.
         
        09-27-2009, 04:45 PM
      #6
    Trained
    To each their own - I re watched the video and still stand by my statements.
    If you would like, I can go through the video, do screen shots and explain what I'm seeing.

    ETA: who do you ride with? You can PM me.
         
        09-27-2009, 04:48 PM
      #7
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MIEventer    
    What a beautiful boy! And he sure does have a lovely forward, opened trot! Cept the behind bit thing, lol - which is totally understandable due to his past predicaments.

    We want the back end to build. We want the back to strengthen. We want the tracking up. We want our horses to open up, up front and move under themselves.

    The moment I try to collect Nelson up - we loose it. We loose the forward momentum. We loose the tracking up. We loose his back - it drops, his head throws up in the air and we have to start all over.

    Try to pick him up with he does go behind on you. Lift him up with your outside rein, see what happens.

    I think it'll take time. You are on the right track.
    thank you to all of it - this is really helpful. I replied to the other post re: seat as i'm not driving with it, but actually not using it at all which is majorly incorrect and part of why I think he stayed behind.

    Unlike you and nelson, lucky has been out of work, but I have 6 horses as well as a barn full of client horses to train and ride and rescues to work with so i'm in shape while he (quite obviously) is not. In this case I think i'm being too overcautious which actually made his trot worse rather than better - and I can't use more leg PROPERLY unless I start riding him through my seat. It's funny b/c on other horses i'm so used to riding them together with a deeper seat, but in this case i'm so tentative b/c he's so anxious and he's had SO many MAJOR back issues. Oh and the recent gouging open of his tongue which imo is the biggest reason he's behind the bit.

    Just to give you an idea - 6 years ago sky (my rather large jumper) reared in the field and landed on top of lucky perpendicular to him with all four feet off the ground and his full 1300 pounds of body weight across lucky's back. that was major back injury #1, that took a year of rehabilitation.

    When coming back from that, he kicked out in his stall which had a back wall about 5' high, and somehow got his leg OVER the back wall (there was a manure belt behind it so that's why there was an additional wall there) and took off most of the skin and tendons on the front of his right hind leg, and damaged his hip and stifle somewhat. That was about another year off.

    When coming back from THAT, he was playing in the field and sky and him collided....again...which landed us back with a new chiro who was supposed to be the best of the best (worked on funny cide and smarty jones, etc.). Well the guy did too much too soon and lucky was great for one ride the day after til POW, hit a nerve and it was 100 times worse...*sigh* buck, throw out back and hips, aggravate shoulders....and you guessed it...more time off.

    Over the course of the next year and a half, we tried different turnouts (away from sky) and numerous chiros and massage therapists until we found ones that worked for lucky. B/c of his bad experiences he had started kicking out at massage therapists and chiros (there was a massage therapist that worked on him with the chiro that did too much and he created a bad association with both).

    Finally better! Yay! Start under saddle again....and winter comes, he's back out with sky and they play, slip, and SLAM into each other (well I should say sky into lucky) and result in tearing of the ligaments and tendons and connective tissue from back end of withers to middle of back - yeah where the saddle goes. Heat, swelling, the whole 9....yup another year.

    FINALLY better, sky has a new friend now (my clydesdale cross that's 2x his size and can take sky's antics and lucky now stands up for himself) and lucky is back in work...only BAM I twist my knee and wind up out for 4 mos. Great....and since lucky's so sensitive (and jumpy and spooky and anxious) I don't have a lot of people that can get on him so he's sound but gets more time off with some longe work while I heal. Finally we're both healed, and I longe him first to let him loosen and....somehow when walking to take the line off so I can get on he leans down to scratch his knee and somehow tangles himself in either the line or who knows, scares himself, spooks, pulls on the line or his reins and cuts his tongue severely. YAY (*sigh*) ANOTHER month off.

    And now this. So I hope that explains my oversensitivity at being too light on his back as well as why I literally had no rein contact and other than to correct him when bracing, I really didn't mess with his mouth at all. Oh and why I think the "tongue issue" is the biggest reason he's behind the bit - it's a month old and healed, but still a little tender, and add that to the fact that he's anxious about pain and well....

    Oh and yes I did separate him and sky multiple times, but both get depressed and go off their feed.....they came off the track together, and are very attached (though very destructive...) so i'm glad that sky has another friend to roughhouse with now that can take it and lucky and sky can still be friends with less injuries ;)
         
        09-27-2009, 06:40 PM
      #8
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    
    To each their own - I re watched the video and still stand by my statements.
    If you would like, I can go through the video, do screen shots and explain what I'm seeing.

    ETA: who do you ride with? You can PM me.
    if you look closely, there's slack in the reins at nearly all times and you can see them flapping, including multiple times when i've got no more than two fingers on each rein (i noted that early in the vid im trying to stop him wagging his head with incorrect rein use - I should have used leg - and I caught it and corrected, and other than that the only time I use the inside rein is on the circle when he'd collapse to the inside and brace on bit and inside leg, so used the inside rein motion to move his mouth then let go). He's a very fidgety horse, always mouthing the bit, tossing his head, etc. etc., shaking his head side to side, and so on. I also have NO weight on his back, so i'm def not chasing him b/c I didn't even touch the saddle with my seat on the down of the post. I DO need to start posting deeper though so that I can set rhythm with my seat and use my leg more effectively rather than posting more "up" with less effective leg and no seat contact. I wish I had vid of me on my other horses who don't have such a long history of pain and what not, so you can see that i'm not at all handsy or shallow with seat/leg.

    I'd still love another opinion of this b/c from all the people who have seen the video (over 10 people as I posted on another forum as well) you're the only one to make these observations re: chasing with seat and handsy riding. Everyone else saw lack of seat leg (agreed - I need to correct) and slack in reins and suggested picking up outside rein and/or just giving him time and riding him more forward with seat/leg to let him figure it out on his own and learn that there is no longer pain. He's so used to pain (see history above) and esp the last incident where he nearly severed his tongue would certainly be cause to go behind the bit, esp since prior to this he hadn't done that at all.

    I do my own training (as im a trainer obv) however I do believe even trainers need trainers, and I lesson with suellen "rosie" mally and bruce patti primarily. Rosie does gp dressage and bruce is an eventer with a deep foundation in dressage.
         
        09-27-2009, 06:58 PM
      #9
    Started
    Found more! These are a few days pre-tongue injury. Still behind bit somewhat but totally more relaxed in that regards than he was post-tongue injury!
    P1070750.flv video by CJ82Kitters - Photobucket
    P1070753.flv video by CJ82Kitters - Photobucket

    He's still behind the bit but less fidgety (since no tongue pain i'd assume?) and my hands are barely moving other than to pick him up - but I used inside rein - next time i'll try outside rein. I'm still not using my seat/leg though and have him almost stuck to my leg. (knee brace b/c I was just coming back from my knee injury and it shows :( )

    And here he is with a student of mine who rode him in April when he was first coming back into work and rushing and very tentative re: pain. He needed a few more chirp adjustments before he was in work again - which he got.


    Interesting in that when he was still backsore, he was less behind the vert which i'm thinking is b/c he was more forward. Thoughts? Yes, it's a rushed forward, not a correct forward, but would mean that if I rode more seat/leg as we've all agreed I need to do with him, that he'd bring himself up to balance and reach behind less. Thoughts thoughts anyone?
         
        09-27-2009, 07:02 PM
      #10
    Trained
    Riding with a slack rein does not mean you are not pulling back. Riding with a slack rein does not mean a horse doesn't feel your hands moving. As long as you are holding onto the reins, you have a contact with the horse's mouth and can therefore influence it, either positively or negatively.
    That's really nice that you train horses. My family friend's 19 year old daughter does too and she's managed to ruin a $90,000 imported young horse in 6 mos. I hope you're a better horse trainer than she is.
    If you'd like to continue arguing about how superior you are then you can PM me, and next time when you want to post a video and hear about how great you are - there is a video section. If you would like to accept that this is the internet and that people are entitled to their own opinions, especially when you post in the critique section, and that you can either take or leave those opinions w/o arguing with people you don't even know, then you can drop it.

    Thanks :)

    ETA: The first video is better, the second one posted, right at the beginning and at 0:07 you clearly move your hands down and back to correct the horse. This is not correct, you need to use leg and soften the hand.
         

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