Deep Thoughts; AKA Tiny's silly journal - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 20 Old 03-05-2013, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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Well, went out on Z again today. Riding him frequently is the only way I can gain, and maintain, enough condition to be able to ride him frequently. You know what I mean? It's just that he does take a fair amount of strength to ride, and if I dont' ride him regularly, I end up being perpetually struggling.

which makes me wonder how many folks are in that situation; they never get to ride enough to where it gets "easy". So, they think riding is hard.
I think I have never really been in a state of physical fitness as a rider that even comes near to that of folks that ride all the time. I would just love to be in the body of an Olympic dressage rider and get to feel what muscles they use, and how hard and all. I bet it'd be quite the education.

z was spunky today, but less dorky. He still gets really strong if we canter in the homeward direction, which we do. In general, the way home tends to be more uphill oriented, so naturally more comfy for faster gaits. We did some arena work and I was reminded how Z likes to fall into the circle . I got some canter departs, but they weren't really all that pretty. But, at least I got them and had him canter several times. Used to be that just one canter on him would scare the dickens out of me.

going home, we galloped up the dump trail and then took seveal other canters. the last hill, he galloped up and then crested the hill and just continued cantering down the trail. his ears were pricked forward and he was really game to go. I was just marginally comfortable with my seat and allowed him to canter on a bit, but had to ease him down because I cannot let him work himself up into a bolt for home.. I need to find a place that is open where I can let him really rip! I think I am nearly ready for that.

No deep thoughts today, just admitting that I had a great ride and that I rode well! I pat myself ont he back.
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post #12 of 20 Old 03-05-2013, 09:29 AM
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A great ride can really clear the cobwebs out of the brain! Glad you had a great day.
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post #13 of 20 Old 03-06-2013, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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somebody is actually reading this junk? I am amazed. and flattered. Thanks for your time and your encouragement. A good ride is the best medicine.
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post #14 of 20 Old 03-10-2013, 03:16 AM Thread Starter
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Rode today, yesterday and a day or two before that. I am trying so hard to build up the muscles needed to ride Z well.

The other day when we were riding, Z was being kind of anxious, as he's been quite a bit lately. He wants to run for home, so if I pick up a trot in the direction of home, he starts to hollow out and his trot footfalls become super heavy. It makes his trot all the harder to ride, and I noticed that I end up hollowing out MY back . I had heard one trainer describe how when horses hollow out the back like that, the rider struggles not to fall back into the "man trap" that the saddle becomes. I don't know about that, but I do find that posting is harder and I end up bumping down hard on Z's back and it hurts MY back (which now hurts me all the time).

So, the thought of how my back matches the horse's back in this hollowing out got me to thinking, "if I straighten my back and tuck my pelvis under, will it encourace him to match me?".
It did. Not making my back a "C", but taking out the curve that makes my butt pooch out backways. and then building the sense of connecting to my seat to my hands, and sure enough, Z kind of slowed and lifted his back a bit.
The only way for me to do this on Z when he is already moving really heavy and pounding along is for me to intensely engage my core and hold it for every stepfall. I have to really be like a tyrant to my body to keep it from returning to the hollowed out position.

Since I am trying to protect my lower back (which has some disk trouble, apparently) I have to really keep my pelvis tucked under so that my back is pretty straight. if I dont', and Z makes a sudden move, then I get pain in my back there.. I visualize my curved tailbone hooking forward as I roll the pelvis back a bit, almost like I hook it INTO Z's backbone.

Here's another wierd mental image I've been using lately. Since Z has been way more reactive lately; spooking at stumps and just being more worried, if he starts to raise his head and hollow out, I know he might dodge or prop or make a sudden movement that will hurt my back. So, to prepare me physically, and to help me not become too worried myself, I do the pelvis tuck described and I think of it as offering my CORE to him. I say to myself, "I'm here for you" , and that "I" is my pelvic core, which I project a bit more forward and ask him to come back to and feel of me there, to kind of hook into me there. This helps me to connect with him via seat, instead of getting nervous and hanging on to him with my hands more.
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post #15 of 20 Old 03-27-2013, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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So, your horse was "with you" today . . .

Some days your horse is more with you than other days. You’ll go out to get him and the way he is really looking to you for direction, and seeming to read your mind about how to go through the gate, to move off to one side or to leave the tasty tuft of grass. You say to yourself, “Gee, Z is really with me today” , and you feel so appreciative and loving and in awe of the perfectness of you horse.
Then, it hits you; it’s not so much that your horse is with you; it’s that you are with him! The truth is, that your horse is right there with you a whole lot more of the time than you realize. It’s just that since you are not with him, you think he is not with you. You don’t see every time he looks to you, or reacts with a defensive stiffen of his jaw, or he reaches forward with that questioning look, “Do you want me to come forward?”, so trusting and honest. You don’t notice him reaching out to and reacting to you because you are not WITH him. You are somewhere else, missing these many, many opportunities to answer your horse’s question, “Are you with me?”

As soon as you bring your gigantic and flighty human attention back from where ever it was talking to itself, or planning tonight’s dinner, or rehashing a spousal spat, or looking at the watch and wondering if there’s time for a ride. As soon as you draw inward to the circle that is filled by your horse and yourself, you get the awareness of the possibilities when your horse is with YOU and you are with HIM.
That’s the kind of day when progress is made.

I had that kind of a day with Z today. I almost kept up doing what I was doing too long, but I was smart enough to stop at a really good place. Z is such a willing horse that if I reward him for his willingness, I get many fold more back from him.

But conversely, if I try to make him move his feet somewhere before he is willing to do so, he gets a bit confused, or even resentful. I think a horse can often be resentful of you moving its feet when you don’t have his attention. On the other hand, if he is refusing to bring his attention away from something outside the paddock or such, and you have to get bigger than the draw of that attention, then the unpleasantness that the horse experiences by basically being “rudely” Interrupted, will make him more likely to remember that lesson and be less likely to move his attention off of the handler for very long or very hard. Hopefully, once that brisk lesson is learned, you can work softly enough to have him thinking about what you want (becoming willing) before you ask him to move his feet.

Today, when I realized this about Z, I really tried hard to remember to direct his thought before directing his feet. Man , what a great time we had!
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post #16 of 20 Old 03-30-2013, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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So, after having that marvelous day with Z doing ground work I rode him yesterday. we mostly just did some trail walking, with some trotting and a short bit of work at the canter in the arena.

I have a problem in my back that has been bothering me for nearly 4 years, but only mildly until this last year, when it's gotten worse. Anyway, the reason I mention it here is that the Physical therapist is having me work on engageing my ******* muscles as much as possible when walking, and naturally, for riding, too. I can't remember the name of the muscles, "tranverse" something or other.

Anyway, so as I keep myself focussed to keep those muscles engaged, I was also thinking about what I read in Mary Wanless's book about dressage that talked about "bearing down". It's kind of a pushing outward, so she says. I am trying to figure out how you can engage your core tranverse muscles , which is a pulling inward of the lower abs toward the inner spine, and at the same time bear down/out, as she advises. They seems contrary things.

What I discoverd is if by engageing the lower core muscles I kind of form a firm barrier that I then bear outward agains. kind of like pushing out agains a belt that is tightened around your waste, but the belt is your own muscles.
It's very hard to do. But, thinking about breathing down into my lower abdomin also helps, and I found that when I did this, that I think I was experiencing a true "deep" seat. For the first time. It takes constant physical work, yet one must not let that muscles engagement transfer to tight buttocks, or tight legs , or slumping over one's waste.
It's aalmost like my engaged lower abdominal muscles create a "halo" against which I fill up my core with air by breathing down into my lower abdomin (using her image of filling a lab flask that's wider at the bottom).
This was reeally revolutionary for me and took a lot of work to KEEP it, but man, I felt so , how shall I say, kind of plastered to my horse, and he seemed to appreciate the stability and solidness of this seat.

I really think that I want to learn to ride more WITH my seat. This will be my next "frontier".
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post #17 of 20 Old 04-01-2013, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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So , yesterday was Easter, and my lesson day! (haven't had a lesson in a LONG time!)

I rode Z down and met Julie, my trainer, at the big arena in the state park.

First we checked saddle fit, which was acceptable.
Then we worked on getting a good stop and a good back up, then lots and lots of walking and trotting and working on the leg yeild to help Z not collapse into the cirlce, as he is wont to do.

I insisted onkeeping my stirrups in the shorter position that I trail ride in, to help me protect my back, but when I look at the video, I can see that they do really look short. maybe i'll try the longer length again.

Anyway, see the videos makes me realize how really fat I've gotten. I tend to think of myself as I was 3 or 4 years ago, but the truth is, I am MUCH bigger. I find it really hard to watch myself . But, it's good for me because I can see that I really need to work on getting a more solid right leg, and better connection so that I can have a more quiet hand to mouth connection. I think I was riding with my reins consistently too long yesterday.

But, on the good side, Z has improved a lot since I first rode him 1.5 years ago. He doesn't fall into the circle nearly as much as he used to. He is much more supple, more forward and inbalance than he was.

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post #18 of 20 Old 04-01-2013, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
I offer his as a tidbit that might help someone who gets stuck in a rut of negative behavior with their horse. For example, the horse doesn't want to do something, they want it to do that, they have almost a tradition of fighting each other about it, the human getting annoyed and angry, the horse becoming tense and resistant and learning to really dislike going out with that human.

If we can stop in the middle of that loop of frustration and change the way we talk to ourselves in our brains (I am assuming that like me, you have a practiacally non-stop narrative in your head), we can possible change our whole approach. And if you've been doing the same old thing and getting the same old results, then only a change will get a change.

So, Say this to yourself when you want your horse to take a canter and he wont' "I am going to convince you to take that canter"
When he won't leave the barn, when he won't stop and stay stopped.
It's not that you'll necessarily change your actions, but if you keep focussed on your mission being to get the horse to think on doing what you want him to do, he likely carry it out better, and more on his own, and that's got to lighten things. So, it's a matter of perspective. Do you have to MAKE that darn , ornery stubborn critter do those things, or do you have to CONVINCE him to go do them himself.
Originally Posted by farmpony84 View Post
This should turn into an interesting discussion. I tend to agree with the "convincing' idea although I think there are horses that can be forced into doing things, mine is not one of them. He will do just about anything as long as I approach it right. Sometimes we'll try something new and he'll really argue about it, if I back up... Give him a few moments to process it, and come back... He'll do it, willingly.... If I force him, we hit a brick wall and things end up with us both angry and disgruntled.... I like the slower agreeable approach better....

I could use some advice from you girls. I just started working with a trainer and she is very good. I am just doing some homework by looking at your opinions on training.
Please read the thread on here " Me & Bo ", to see some short history.
My question is, if a horse decides that he is done, how do I convince him to do the exercise one more time, so that we can end on a positive note?

Even Jesus Loves horses, He is coming back on one.
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post #19 of 20 Old 04-06-2013, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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I am going off to your thread to take a look at that.

It's interesting that just today, when I was coming here to add some inane chatter about how my day went, and my most recent ride and such, that I see you quote me on that topic of convinceing the hrose.

And, today, I found myself several times in the position of trying to MAKE Z canter, when he did not want to, (he just wanted to take the fast run-out trot.) I did nt' try to convince him, I tried to force him, and we ended up disliking each other for a few minutes. That's the first time I've been frustrated with him in a long time.

So, seeing this again reminds me of my own words, which, I suppose, is the benefit of these journals that almost nobody but the author reads.
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post #20 of 20 Old 04-30-2013, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Haven't added anything to this thread in some time. So, here's an update.

I rode Z on last Friday and he was kind of a pill. It was my own fault. I didn't really have him mentally "with" me when we went out, so the whole ride he kept trying to go home at every intersection. Wehn I brought him up from the lower 40 i decided to ride him up, so I actually rode him bareback up with just the halter on. he kept trying to go back and join the herd, and when I popped him one with my heels, he give a tiny crow hop. I think he almost had it figured out that if he'd really argued with me, he could have won because being barebak with no bit meant I had not as much confidence or leverage. He was starteing to cue into that, and when he acted as if he was going to turn around (the herd was calling him) and just GO, i got off and worked him right there. But, I never got him to give up his desire to go there, and he rode out with a resentful attitude, which is rare for him.

So, today he also was kind of focussed on going home but more willing to listen and less resentful, if at all.
We only walked, for the most part, becuase I have a sore back rightnow.

anyway. here's the DEEP THOUGHT for today;

I was observing how when I ride my body often gets off center at times, like when turning him or leg yielding or such. I try too hard to affect him with my whole body and am really "noisy" and get all cattywampus. I lean over to one side, usually the right side, way too much and worst of all, my head is often crooked on the top of my neck. I started to realize that if I want him to flex at the jaw when I ask with that rein, but NOT twist his head, then I need to keep my head straight upright, and not twist MY HEAD.

So, I am riding with a new mantra "Straight up , straight up, straight up". meaning keep my head vertical, with the crown as the highest point.
AND, here's anohter thing,

in order to keep your body balanced over your horse, keep your HEAD OVER YOUR HORSE! Don't let it stray to one side. Keep it over the horse's center of gravity and the rest will be there, too.
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