Staying Straight on a 20 meter & help with the little things

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Staying Straight on a 20 meter & help with the little things

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    09-05-2012, 12:57 PM
Green Broke
Talking Staying Straight on a 20 meter & help with the little things

Ollie and I have been progressing amazing, still no luck on finding the right dressage saddle, soon I hope.

I have been having some difficulty keeping him straight and round on a 20 meter. Its getting better for sure but I love to ride with to much inside rein!!
I started riding with little baby spurs cause I was kicking to much and it does help keep him coming around and get him to keep his belly lifted when he starts to peter out in the canter.

Once I get him on the aids and forward (really getting his rhythm down) in the trot I just have to remember chest open, relaxed arms, weight down through my heels and sometimes look to the outside as I can tilt my head inwards and it throws us off balance (such a mind over matter issue, but improved tremendously)

Yesterday was the best canter we had going clockwise. I was very pleased, then did some leg yields and he really stepped under a few times but really had to half halt with my core to help him not take it into a faster trot. Would love some canter exercises to help him balance better.

I found that he does great when he as two things to do on either side of the arena. My ride a couple days ago we rode through a grid and then I had him really come back and use his hind end and make me turn him with my seat and legs not that inside rein (it has a mind of its own I swear!) to do a shallow loop or leg yield to the rail (I switched off every time so he wasn't expecting what to do. Three weeks ago I couldnt have done that!

So I would love some more exercises like that. Been making him stay active in the hind end through downward transitions, yesterday he really caught on and got very proud of himself.

He gets new shoes this week and next week we have a two day dressage clinic I'm hoping to get tons of pictures and video!!
Here re a couple cute pictures till then!
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File Type: jpg good head shot.jpg (39.5 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg ollie 9.3.12.jpg (42.9 KB, 44 views)
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    09-05-2012, 02:19 PM
He has a very kind eye. I have no exercises to recommend for you, because I know zip about dressage. But I just had to comment on this handsome man.
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    09-05-2012, 02:20 PM
Green Broke
Thank you!
He's a doll!
    09-05-2012, 03:45 PM
Green Broke
Have you tried serpentines? These can keep him (and you) thinking because you are changing the circles with 2-3 straight strides between them. The other thing I liked were spirals in and out. I used to look to the center of the circle (serpentine, figure 8, spirals, or circles). This helped me to keep the distance the same from the center and to think about engaging the horse.

Spurs are fine. Don't keep them on him with constant pressure or he will learn to ignore them. You want to train him to respond to the lightest pressure possible. I also have used a dressage whip in each hand along with spurs.

The other thing you can try is turning using an indirect rein. When working dressage movements this can help set the horse up for things such as a half pass or shoulder in..

If he is learning you also need to remember this is physically hard for him to do. You well need to ride him well (as you are noting) and you need to realize that he needs to build up the proper muscles so he is capable of maintaining the balance and drive from behind and weight shift to the rear.
    09-05-2012, 05:12 PM
Ride a square or diamond figure instead of a circle. This will get you focussed on your reference points, and you'll concentrate on straightness. Gradually round out the edges until you are on a 20m circle.
Also remember that on a 20m circle there is very little bend. Only as much as the line of the circle, the horses's body and neck are nearly straight, with a touch of inside flexion.
And I'm glad that you're aware of your inside rein as this is BAD!!! Pulling the inside rein will put too much bend in the neck, thus dropping the outside shoulder, falling in on the inside shoulder, blocking the inside hind and making the the hind quarters step sideways.
Really try to fix that as it will be a big issue for you later if you don't sort it out now. Try holding onto the velcro strap at the front of the saddle cloth, or onto a monkey strap on your saddle. Just something to limit your range of movement in that hand. I often ride with both hands hooked onto the velcro, just to test my seat and the stillness of my hands. Every time you feel a pull on your hands, you know that they're not as quiet as you initially thought.

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