We're Back to Work! Newbie to Dressage & Rehabbing Horse - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 07-19-2011, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Talking We're Back to Work! Newbie to Dressage & Rehabbing Horse

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't been here in ages... Tomorrow will be six months from Zee's suspensory tear! He's all clear to go back to work, and we've officially made the switch over to dressage :)

His custom saddle arrived last month! Sadly, it's been so hot, we haven't been able to ride as much as I would like. I've only been able to get ONE lesson in over the last month or so since Zee was cleared and we got the new saddle. I still have a LOT of work to do on my position, but I'm finding the vertical more often, and my shoulder, hip, heel line has improved now that we have a saddle that is properly balanced on him. I'm still working on my arms. They're not stick straight in front of me anymore, but my elbows are still turning out a bit.

The old man is STILL his usual slow as molasses self. But, again, I am seeing some definate improvements in his carriage, off the front end and using his hind end more than before. We still have a LOOOONG way to go, but I'm happy with small and steady progress!

Critique away!!


Kelly
I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted.
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-19-2011, 12:00 PM
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Well I'm not the best about critiquing horses, so I'm not going to say much about that. Your position is fairly solid although there is room for improvement. Nice leg/hip position and I like the way you hold your shoulders. There are a few things that I'd like to point out, however.

At the trot:
What I can see is that your heel needs to come down. I'd like to see you be a little softer with your hands, and bend at the elbows a tiny bit so that you do not pull on his mouth every time you rise out of the saddle. Stay a little lower to the saddle and use your heel and legs to absorb the motion instead of your upper body. I'm not completely sure, but it kind of looks like you are pinching a bit with your knees, so watch out for that.

At the canter:
You seem to be using your body to absorb the motion instead of your legs and your core. Stretch your heels dooown and absorb the canter with your legs. Although you are riding in full seat I'd like to see you roll your hips forwards and quiet your seat. Make sure you are always on your seat bones and not too far back. Try to keep your upper body more still. You can lower your hands a little and make sure your reins are even. And again with the knee pinching. If I were you, I'd practice riding in half-seat and see what that does for you.

I'm hoping I covered everything. Sorry if I'm coming off as a little harsh; you are getting there. You're a good rider, there are just a few little thing you need to work on.
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-19-2011, 12:39 PM
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I like your over all position. If you pause the video at any point mostly there is a straight line from shoulder to hip to heel. Your arms are a little stiff, pulling on his mouth a little at the trot. Like the other person said, bend your elbows.
CANTER: You look like you're pushing him on with your seat which I did alot, rididng slow, lazy horses that don't want to go. Try to keep your upper body still, without being like a log absorb his motion.
Good position overall

Horsework before homework
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-19-2011, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! I completely agree with everything that's been said. When I stopped riding all those years ago, I had been doing jumpers for quite some time. Even in hunters for the last year or two since I got back to riding, it was way too easy to just go around in a modified two point. Getting used to actually sitting in the saddle is a very big change, especially at the canter AND in a new dressage saddle! And yes, I do want to push him on almost every stride. Leg, seat, leg, seat. He is quite the slug, although I know the quieter I am, the better he carries himself and is less likely to break. It's quite the struggle with myself to STOP pushing and kicking every single stride!!

Kelly
I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-19-2011, 12:54 PM
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I can see a very obvious change from your hunt seat style. Quite remarkable. I thought the above posters covered everything very well. I , too , noticed your heel coming up at the trot. Probably due to having to put on a lot of leg. You can try raising the stirrup just one notch to see if that helps you get down in your heel more.

Oh, yeah, I just remembered. Don't look so far into your turns. Another remnant of hunter riding. It will cause you to imperceptably lean in that way. Look between your horse's ears or just over his inside ear.

I wish I coulde have seen some walk work. Maybe in time you will be able to work on Zee's flexibility and suppleness in his neck. I remember you said he resents too much contact but if he were more supple in the neck he would be better able to flex to the rein contact and carry his neck a bit more.

He and you look very attuned to each other and he looks really healthy.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-19-2011, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Tiny! Wow, you do remember!! Big change from hunt seat and I can't believe how much more difficult! I do find it hard to think about full seat while still keeping my weight in my heels. You'll also see my heel come up at lot when I'm putting my leg on him. He is still pretty stiff in the neck, but he is starting to accept light, steady contact. I do spend more time focusing on getting his hiney moving before taking more contact, but I'm hoping that once we can start simple lateral work (next week or so) that I can ask for more contact and more push from behind.

Kelly
I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-19-2011, 08:32 PM
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You might want to try switching to a loose ring bit instead of the D-ring you're using. The loose ring tends to encourage a softer jaw in most horses. You might make more progress getting his butt moving if he knows there will be a softer bit waiting there for him. Not that the D-ring is harsh, but the O-ring is preferred by a lot of horses who tend to brace against other bits.

Also, I would stay off the rail and work in more large circles and serpentines. The one time I saw him start to reach for the contact was when you were changing direction and came across the diagonal. Circles and changes of direction help the horse find the outside rein because it uses natural bend.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-19-2011, 09:06 PM
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definitely stay off the rail. The rail is your worst enemy to be honest, there's not a whole lot you can do there, just as MBP stated you want to take full advantage of the whole arena.

Your friends are circles, lateral work, figure 8's and the list goes on. Do not get into the habit of staying on the rail.

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post #9 of 11 Old 07-19-2011, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!! Great advice... I noticed a few rides ago that he is definitely easier to keep on the aids when we're off the rail, especially at the canter. He doesn't seem to want to break as often and seems to pay more attention when we're off the rail.

I'm currently in the market for a new bit, but not sure what to get. I tried him in a french link loose ring and he was not happy with it at all! Wouldn't move up into the bridle and ended up in a bucking frenzy. I tried another french link eggbutt, and he wouldn't bend or react to my hand at all. So, I went back to the regular eggbutt snaffle. Loose ring non-french link are hard to find!!

Kelly
I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-19-2011, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zimpatico View Post
Thank you Tiny! Wow, you do remember!! Big change from hunt seat and I can't believe how much more difficult! I do find it hard to think about full seat while still keeping my weight in my heels. You'll also see my heel come up at lot when I'm putting my leg on him. He is still pretty stiff in the neck, but he is starting to accept light, steady contact. I do spend more time focusing on getting his hiney moving before taking more contact, but I'm hoping that once we can start simple lateral work (next week or so) that I can ask for more contact and more push from behind.


That makes total sense.
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