Sammy now?

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Sammy now?

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    09-02-2011, 05:11 AM
Green Broke
Sammy now?

Ok I was wanting some opinions on Sammy. Just ignore me if you can. I want to know if he is looking any better when I ride him or not? My riding looks bad in all the pictures I promise we usually don't look like that, at least not anymore. My family doesn't like to stick around for long so we only have pictures while we are warming up. The pictures go from oldest to most recent, from top to bottom. The last two are from today and he hadn't been ridden in a couple of weeks and was being silly and trying to go back to his buddies. In one of the pictures we are having a little talk about whether we are stopping or not. Also does his neck look better or worse? I don't really know but I thought his neck looked too muscled on the bottom and not enough on top when I first got him but now I'm not sure. I now he has lost some muscle. Thanks for any opinions.
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    09-02-2011, 10:13 AM
Green Broke
I know you said not to critique your riding, but it is difficult to just critique the horse and NOT the rider when the rider totally influences how the horse moves and acts. In this case the horse would move much better if you, as the rider, sat up straighter and helped drive him forward.

I like him better in the top two photos than later. Part of that is that this horse needs to carry a certain amount of weight to look good. He has gone from being a tad over conditioned to being under conditioned. See the lines along the buttocks from the top of rump running along to above the musles and tendons along the back of the gaskin? That line separates the semimembranous and semitendonosus musles and old tymers called those lines "poor lines" meaning the horse needs more groceries.

Some horses carry this line and are not "poor" but others, like this boy, do not look well when poor lines are showing.

Notice as well that in the top photos while the horse is not balanced and "poking his nose out" he does not look too bad. His neck looks normal but untrained. In the lower photos he has actually developed a Ewe Neck and is thin enough to show how long his back is and what may or may not be a "hunter's bump" on the top of croup.

What I am seeing here is a fairly untrained horse that is a pretty good boy in the top two photos that is developing over time into a horse that hollows his back and uses the muscles on the underside of his neck in the later photos.. IOW's he is developing exactly opposite of what you want to see!

Part of the reason for this is his rider who is using hands to make the horse into a frame and not using her body and legs to drive the horse forward and then slightly resist with the hands to get the horse under himself behind.

It also appears, from the musculature of the horse, that he is not doing any trotting up hills or over caveletti with a long rein, allowing him to stretch his top line and tuck his abdominal muscles. This work requires the rider to stand slightly in her stirrups and lean slightly forward giving the horse rein so he can stretch his top line. The horse is not being used so that he can access his 'elastic ring' of muscles.

The conformation of the horse is not helping either. He has a high butt and a long back.. both work against getting him round and working off his hind quarters. That being said there are many horses with long backs and high butts that do.. so training can over come a lot.

Beyond that the rider needs to get her elbows in close to her sides and to have a deeper heel and seat, sit up straight and try to roll her thigh into the horse better. This will not be easy for this rider, but is doable with practice.

Again, I know you did not want the riding critiqued, but the riding is what makes the horse move or train like he is, so it is impossible to speak to the horse without speaking to the riding.

Here is an article I recommend you read. I think it will help you understand what you need to try for with your horse. I have put a lot here and it is not easy to understand from the written word on a forum (especially the words I write!).
Riding the "Elastic Ring" of the rib cage
    09-02-2011, 05:40 PM
Green Broke
Thanks I will read the article. Its ok when I said don't critique the rider I meant don't just critique me, I wanted it focused on the horse and if I was influencing that obviously was going to need mentioning. If that makes sense.

About the weight thing he has recently gotten sick and went off his food. He will look better soon though with the green grass coming through and what I am feeding him. I also haven't had much time to do any work with him during winter but now that spring is here I plan to do a lot more work with him.

I really wish I could get pictures or a video of a whole ride because all of these are from the first 10-15minutes if that. I'm not going to say I don't ride like that because I obviously do sometimes. But as the ride progresses we both relax more and just about all or the ride he is working on a loose rein. We have just managed to start bending in circles not leaning in and he has recently started to stretch down instead of sticking his head straight up in the air.

My riding definitely need work and I am working on it, I suppose I would be seen as a beginner rider.

I hope this hasn't come up as a list of excuses it wasn't intended that way. I just wanted to explain.
    09-03-2011, 04:43 AM
I would not call you a begiinner rider at all. YOU seem pretty solid in your seat and are consistent in all the pictures. I know what Elana is saying, though I didn't know that thing about the muscles. What you are looking for is for this horse to raise the lower part of his neck. The neck has two curves in it; one that curves out and downward from the shoulder blades, and one that curves up and over torward the poll. YOu want to try to bring the lower curing arc more upward, in effect flattening it out. YOur horse has by its' conformation a larger, more pronounced downward curving arc to the first curve of his neck. So, it's harder for him to lift this up higher between his shoulder blades.

A way to help him is to ride him in the long and low frame. There are many explanations on this on the forum and in horse books. But basically, you get him to reach forward , lowering the upper curve of his neck, while lifting the lower curve. So you ask him to reach his face downward and outward so that he is infront of the vertical. AND aske him to step into the contact, which you will maintain in your hand. If he steps up to the contact and you are a bit firm about it, he will have to "step through" the reins, thereby kind of arching upward with his shoulders and the part of his neck that comes out of the shoulders. But you have to be able to follow the mouth down, maintain the contact there (sometimes holding your hands out as if driving a wheelbarrow helps) and put some umph into his step. Not faster, but more push.

A ton of this sort of work and that described by Elana will help.
    09-03-2011, 04:56 AM
Green Broke
Thanks if I get time to ride tomorrow I will definitely keep all of this in mind and work on it. I've always thought of myself as a beginner, only recently I feel I have progressed a lot. I don't like thinking I am better then I really am.
    09-03-2011, 08:03 AM
Green Broke
Ultimately, if you get your horse working his "elastic ring" he will lose a lot of the musculature on the underside of his neck and show more muscle along the top. There will be less hollow triangle between the two and his neck will "turn over." His neck was relatively normal for a green horse in the top images but in the lower images he actully has his neck showing a build up of muscle where you do not want it.

YOU are not a beginner rider at all. You can do a few things to be better. The thing is a good rider is not necessarily a horse trainer. I have ridden MILES and never placed higher than 2nd place in an equitation class. I am not the prettiest rider. I spent most of my riding miles on the backs of horses training them. This means that my riding aids are often a bit exaggerated (what you need on a green horse or one you are training).

Every once in awhile I would have the pleasure of getting on a highly trained horse and my exaggerated aids got me something way more than I was looking for in response. I quickly rode those horses better because I COULD. They needed the lightest touch (and the ones I trained got that way but then got sold).

I will never forget the first time I rode a previously trainer horse that I asked for flying changes every stride. The first time was NOT pretty.. he did them but was so "high" that it was rough. Next time was very pretty as I only needed to touch him.. not physically 'lift' him like a horse that was learning to do this.

With this horse Sammy you need to learn how to ride him to train him.. and if you do that and get his "ring" working you will then have that horse you just touch and he responds.
    09-03-2011, 05:42 PM
Green Broke
Thanks for the info. I never thought of Sammy as a green horse being 12 years old and ridden a lot I am assuming. Though my instructor did describe him as cowboy broke. If that makes sense. :)
    09-03-2011, 07:27 PM
Green Broke
Most of the horses I have ridden in my life were not really more than rideable.. regardless of their age. I call horses like this green. It isn't the AGE and EXPERIENCE that makes a horse "un green." It is the education received.

Putting it another way.. if you are 40 and never learned something.. or only have a cursory knowledge of the thing.. then you are not an expert at it. Same for horses..

..and just like a horse's education, human edcuation is never done.
    09-03-2011, 09:29 PM
Green Broke
Oh ok I never thought of it like that.

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