Is my horse collecting? *Videos*
 
 

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Is my horse collecting? *Videos*

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        01-02-2013, 06:47 PM
      #1
    Foal
    Is my horse collecting? *Videos*

    Hi alll :)
    I'd really like to hear what you think of my 4yr old paint mare and I. First, some background info -
    She was my first horse, I got her in May of 2010 as an unbroke 2-yr-old. I did basic things with her, like grooming, desensitizing, etc. and then we sent her to a trainer for a month to be green broke. When I got her back, I could walk and trot on her, and lope but I was too much a beginner to go that fast.
    She was perfect though, but then she started to realize that I really didn't know what I was doing, and she started bolting. She bolted several times with me, once we went down a steep hill and I had a bad fall. After that I was pretty scared to ride her, so she sat for a winter with hardly anything done to her.
    I took her to a nearby trainer and she said even she was scared on her, and she'd been riding for 20+ years. Her advice was to take her to an auction and they'd find us a new horse, and boy did we get close to selling her.

    I decided to keep trying, and that spring I sat on her for the first time in months - bareback - while my brother led me around the pen. I eventually got brave enough to start lunging her and gaining respect, and then riding her in the large arena. We did a ton of circles that first month, and I made absolute sure I'd be able to stop her if she tried bolting again.

    Wow, that was a lot. XD Anyways, Roxy has so much personality, she always makes me laugh after I've had a bad day.. sometimes it's like we can read each other's minds. ♥

    I taught her to lower her head on command last year, and this past summer I worked more on collection. Lately I've been wondering.. is she really collecting herself and engaging her hindquarters? Or is she merely lowering her head and slowing down?
    I can feel when she really does engage herself, but she's not completely consistent with that. I'm still learning how to tell myself, too!
    I've never used a tie/pull down, noseband, etc.

    So the first "song" is from this morning.. I have three coats on so I look like a poofball xD
    The next clips are from a few weeks ago, probably one of our best rides.
    The final few are from earlier this summer.. have we improved at all?

    I'm only able to ride once or twice a week now, due to weather..

    It took too long to upload here, so I uploaded to google docs -
    https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B0G...DBEd2ZYV25jZ2M

    Also, I'm starting English this spring (hopefully with the help of a trainer) and I'm not sure if I want to learn with her or with my other gelding.. do you think she'd do alright? Let me know on your thoughts! (on both of us!)

    Oh, and any tips for her canter? I try to sit deeply and collect her, but then my chair position gets way worse.
    Thanks! Critique me too ;)
    QHriderKE likes this.
         
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        01-02-2013, 09:38 PM
      #2
    Trained
    Actually, I think you might do better riding her english. You have a good feel for what you're looking for. Your position is decent and your hands are relatively quiet. You have enough "go" from behind in the later videos, but your horse seems reluctant to reach into the contact. I think she might be much more willing with a plain old snaffle bit instead of a leverage bit.

    By the way, if I had a field that large to ride in, nobody would ever see me again...we'd just be a trail of dust out in the distance.
         
        01-02-2013, 09:44 PM
      #3
    Foal
    Really? My hopes are to show her English someday, but I haven't found a good, used saddle within my budget yet.

    And yes, it's extremely fun to ride in (:
    Unfortunately I can only ride there after the harvest and in the winter, otherwise my dad has crops. But I sure love going for a gallop ♥
         
        01-02-2013, 09:55 PM
      #4
    Trained
    What a cute mare! And with a heck of a stop to her!

    I do think she is beginning to round her back and use her hindend...WHEN she lowers her head and keeps it down. The problem is, she's not keeping a consistent headset and everytime she raises her head back up, her back goes hollow. But, heres the kicker...The headset is supposed to come later, after collection is achieved.

    You'll get there! Especially with the guidance of a trainer. They are ever so helpful.

    Feel free to send your mare to me in Michigan.
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        01-02-2013, 10:30 PM
      #5
    Foal
    "I can feel when she really does engage herself, but she's not completely consistent with that. I'm still learning how to tell myself, too!"
    Good! It is REALLY normal for a horse not to be consistant with their engagement and collection, even well trained show horses arent engaged all the time. I think I read your mare was 4- so having said that you are doing well with her. If you feel like you need help don't be afraid to have an expieranced friend or trainer give you their oppinion or even get on her.

    Depending on what you want to do with her will depend on the HEADSET you want... I think you kinda are saying that when you talk about "lowering her head" vs collecting and engaging. If you are having a hard time getting her engaged and she feels like she's collected but she's "stuck" try using more leg. The key to getting and keeping a horse "packaged up" (think about it like a package with a ribbon holding everything in evenly- chin tucked in, butt under, bringing the back up, legs under, and your legs around her- all 6 sides of the package) is collection AND momentum... hope it helps! Good luck! Feel free to PM me if you have any questions
    pinkpony555 likes this.
         
        01-02-2013, 10:40 PM
      #6
    Trained
    Thorowgood T4 Standard All Purpose Saddle | Dover Saddlery

    Here's a nice cheap english saddle. It's wool flocked, deep seat, very sticky for people switching from the safety of western saddles and very well balanced. You can find these frequently in the closeout section of the Dover Saddlery catalog for $399. (might have gone up a little bit over the years) I really think you'll do very well with her english.
         
        01-02-2013, 10:49 PM
      #7
    Super Moderator
    Ok. I am glad you did not sell the mare. She has the look of a very nice all around partner for years of good fun. She's pretty well built, moves in a reasonably balanced way and seems really "honest". She shows up front what she's feeling. All really good qualities, and as you progress, and your video shows that you are indeed progressing, you will have a really enviable partnership with this mare. She could be your once in a livetime partner.

    She isn't a show stopper, but she has a lot of great qualities and her versatility is very valuable.

    I think it's good that you asked whether or not you are getting any real collection or is it just head lowering. Mostly what I see is you widening and lowering your hands and sometimes lightly snapping the reins to have her lower her head. So, your answer is you are getting head lowering, not collection.

    I'll tell you honestly, it's a very bad habit to start the little reins snappping that one sees a lot of WP riders do, incessantly, to the hrose. The horse gets irritated and starts coming behind the bit, becoming less honest to the leg and losing it's interest in moving forward. It gets all balled up and the forward gets killed. Don't do that to this lovely little girl.

    Keep your hands up and if she puts her head up , ask her to move forward more. Your hands can stay in a set position, and if she runs into them, so be it, but don't pull her back to her hind. You push her forward to your hand. So, your hand can set a limit, but it the horse should move forward to find that limit.
    And the "limit" as I am calling it, should not be rock hard nor "bopping". But rather kind of welcoming. So , when she comes to have contact with the bit, you kind of think, 'Oh, there you are! Ok, now stay with me . . " and you keep somewhat firm but not rigid, you move a little to allow the horse to breathe into the contact.
    To do that , you must raise your hands, put a bend in your elbow and think more about connecting your hands to your core and your seat.

    You are improving your seat noticeabley from old to newer videos. If you can relax your lower leg so that it falls against the side of the little mare, this will help you to have a more cohesive contact with your seatbones. I see too much space between your ankle and her sides. Your lower leg should be resting on her. When you are riding a seated canter, your lower leg isdn't really bearing your weight. Certainly not so much that it veers out from the horse's sides, and seeing that you are toeing outward a bit, it feels that you have too much push down into the stirrup. Push down into the stirrup means your seatbones come off the saddle.

    Try it. Sit in the saddle and push the stirrups down and away from you. Did you get lighter under your butt? Now, sitting ther with your leg draping down, just lift the ball of your foot up and off the stirrup so it's just hovering an eighth of an inch off the stirrup. Did your seatbones get heavier on the saddle?
    A good canter needs you to relax into the saddle, so let your legs also relax agina the horse's side. Let HER do the work.
         
        01-03-2013, 01:21 AM
      #8
    Yearling
    You can switch to a snaffle and still ride western. I ride my boy in a plain old snaffle and he does well in it :) you seem to be getting the right idea for sure! Just a work in progress!:) Your horse is much better at it then mine haha! And oh that field does look like so much fun!!! I love a nice big field to run through! :)
         
        01-03-2013, 09:53 PM
      #9
    Foal
    Tinyliny - I cannot thank you enough for that wonderful reply!

    And I am really glad I didn't sell her, I don't think I'll ever have the kind of connection I have with her with another horse. We've both come along ways, and I'm especially proud of her and how willing she is to learn!
    It took me only a few days to teach her to lower her head on command, and she learned it from the saddle within a few rides. I'm not saying she had it mastered (as you can see, we're still working on it xD) but I feel like she's definitely a quick leaner!

    And thank you for mentioning my snapping the reins! I try to be gentle - I go by start light, and if there's no response add a little more pressure. When she relaxes, she actually feels pretty soft-mouthed to me.
    Towards the end of our ride, if I've kept her in frame for a while, I'll ride her on a loose rein and she'll put her nose to the ground (well, almost xD) and go on like that willingly. I think you see a little bit if it in the videos? Anyways, I worried that she was learning to drop her shoulder and not support herself, but after watching a few dressage videos I realized what they started with was what she was doing, they just eventually worked the headset up until they could keep the rounded back consistently.

    Thank you everyone else as well! I've never had the benefit of having a regular trainer or someone experienced around the barn (I board at home) so this advice means a lot to me.
         
        01-03-2013, 10:16 PM
      #10
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kelseyxroxy    
    tinyliny - I cannot thank you enough for that wonderful reply!

    And I am really glad I didn't sell her, I don't think I'll ever have the kind of connection I have with her with another horse. We've both come along ways, and I'm especially proud of her and how willing she is to learn!
    It took me only a few days to teach her to lower her head on command, and she learned it from the saddle within a few rides. I'm not saying she had it mastered (as you can see, we're still working on it xD) but I feel like she's definitely a quick leaner!

    And thank you for mentioning my snapping the reins! I try to be gentle - I go by start light, and if there's no response add a little more pressure. When she relaxes, she actually feels pretty soft-mouthed to me.
    Towards the end of our ride, if I've kept her in frame for a while, I'll ride her on a loose rein and she'll put her nose to the ground (well, almost xD) and go on like that willingly. I think you see a little bit if it in the videos? Anyways, I worried that she was learning to drop her shoulder and not support herself, but after watching a few dressage videos I realized what they started with was what she was doing, they just eventually worked the headset up until they could keep the rounded back consistently.

    Thank you everyone else as well! I've never had the benefit of having a regular trainer or someone experienced around the barn (I board at home) so this advice means a lot to me.

    I am so glad you are building repoir and all with her . She is a fine little mare.

    Your description of dressage is how a person might perceive it if they were just watching a few videos and didn;t have a trainer. It's a bit on the simplified side. No matter. Each of us is on the spectrum of learning, and we can't be anywhere but where we are , at the time, without going through the steps to move on forward. I know a lot more than I did 10 years ago, but a LOT less than many people here, and WORLDS less than the folks who are out there competting at high levels in dressage.

    Watch more videos, read more and ride a lot. Try not to get too worried about her head position. If it's her getting tense that worries you, then think about bending her more than having her tip her head down. There's a difference between having a horse soft in the jaw so that there's a very slight bend to the inside, and a horse that has a stiff jaw but just flexs at the poll downward.

    In any case, I am rambling. For the time being, just work on keeping her working rythmically forward and don't allow her to come behind the bit.
    If you plan to ride two handed, you might prefer to ride in a snaffle (no shanks on it). I think your mare would be lovely in English tack.

    You should talk with a member her , QHRider (is that the right name?), who I think is doing some of what you are. She jsut has a bit more experience. (farther down that long line of learning)

    Cheers!
         

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