Its Been a While [English Flatwork Video]
Once again I am here to see what I am doing wrong and need to be worked on.
I have moved stables to one that is closer to the show grounds (so I can eventually school there), has a trainer that I am working with, and lot of people to ride with. So this is the second week here and about my forth ride. Jake is still uptight, trying to figure out what he can get away with and if the gate is a place that means we are done with our ride. He also is having difficulty moving to a smaller, not symmetrical arena. It will be good in the long run for teaching him to not get so strung out.
I had just started doing cross rails after a long no jumping span that went from july-nov to work out some lamness and basic foundation issues. That was before I moved, which was going fantastic at the time. When I moved he got hot again and I've decided to keep postponing the jumping until he settles with his flatwork.
I have also start to change how I ride:
-Learning to grip with my calves instead of my knees. Its a workout for me, and I loose it about 3 minutes into the video. It seems to help keep my body still in the saddle.
-Get rid of my crotch hands, which Jake hates when I raise my hands and bring them together, so since he was feeling bleh since we moved I have been using lower, wider hands.
My saddle is too small, though I'm not sure by how much. I think it is a 17, does it look like I would need an 18? I am in the process of saddle shopping now but am having trouble figuring out a size.
He is stiff, it was morning and we have been having very very cold, damp nights. So even though its not shown he gets long warm-ups and cool downs.
Overall I was happy with the ride, he wasn't frustrated, I wasn't frustrated and he only broke a light sweat. Good ride.
Feel free to critique anything you see, good or bad, and give advice on how to fix it.
I think that was a good ride, too. I can see that he is tense. you ride very well and your lower leg looks quiet and solid. I see tension in your body, too, though and I think you may have been able to slow him down gradually by breathing a bit deeper and slower yourself, sitting more down onto his back (it looked like you were in half seat much of the time) and making yourself a bit "heavier" for him to anchor him a bit with your seat and your breath. He seems to want to run out from under himself a bit, but I really like the way he moves . He has good , rythmic drive from behind, which would be awesom in dressage. I really like him a lot!
You could take more advantage of this by encouraging him to reach down and forward. He is up and tense against the bit and hollowing out just abit, where as I think if he were able to reach down and out more, his back would start to swing more.
I would work at that at walk and trot, and at the canter, for a bit , let him go fast if he likes. I did miss yoiur warm up, as you said, so maybe you already did lots of long and low.
I think you , as a rider, looked very good.
I see HUGE improvement from the videos I saw a good while ago. You have done a really good job. The gait that I saw that was the most problematic, and probably the most difficult to improve, was the walk. He was moving somewhat laterally, which is a problem. You need to half halt, release, and repeat. He needs to slow down his rhythm so that he can move his legs in a purer four beat tempo.
In his trot work, he occasionally goes hollow. This was his attempt to "back out of the bridle" and go heavier on his forehand. Even though he can get hot, you need to urge him forward (carefully) to move him back into that bridle. This will encourage him to use his haunch a bit better, lightening his forehand. Since he is such a hot guy, you can use more seat to help influence his forward impulsion.
I remember how hollow he used to be!! He is starting to move into the bridle and use it nicely. He holds it for a bit and then backs out. Just keep urging him forward and let him know when he is doing a better job (this is SO important to encourage a horse, IMO).
His canter was a bit hot and hollow. Hollow means not enough haunch engagement. Even though the last thing you want to do is put your leg on a hot horse, that is what you need to do. He is too fast and tense. You need to half halt him, and then send him a release to help him relax. You will probably need to use a small half halt every other stride along with a slight squeeze with your leg. The leg says "go forward" the half halt says "but don't go faster". The release between every three or four half halts says "I am relaxed, so you can be too".
You and I have discussed this before and you have already used these tools to achieve excellent advances. Just keep up the good work.
Really start working on the walk, though. It is the easiest gait to mess up and the HARDEST to fix. Slow him down, give him release after half halt and use your seat to give him a definite four beat rhythm. Think of the horse's legs as if he was moving to a metronome. Resist with your seat so that he doesn't rush the walk so much. Your seat, at the walk was really stiff and "still" not helping with any relaxation or rhythm.
You need to unlock those elbows. This will allow you to raise your hands a tad. When you do this, you will be able to move with a much more consistent contact. I see a little bobbing of the reins from the stiff arms/hands. This will make Jake less likely to use the contact constructively.
As for the new facility, you just need to let him settle. It takes some horses longer than others. Don't accept "booger spots". If he has a place he doesn't want to go into, insist he does. Use your leg to push him toward the places he seeks to avoid.
His warm up was pretty much the same mind set as all of these clips. I just haven't been able to get him to relax yet. Before I moved he was working really well in a long and low. I'm hoping it will only take a week or so more to get it back. Thanks for the critique Tiny.
Well, he's an unusually nice horse and you just find that balance between letting him have so GO! and then getting him to trust that you really DO want him to stretch. There's a little bit of conflict between what your body is saing (being forward and a bit tense) and what your hands are saying. Try going more to each side of the extreme ; more cowpoke lazy riding from you at times, and try to sometimes let him move on the buckle, and then sometimes let him Whee! and go and open it up in front. Then he'll be happier about working for you in the gray area in between.
But, seriously, I think you 're doing really well.
I just read Allison's reply and I totally agree with the need to move the horse even more so he won't come behind the bridle. I forgot about that part. I dont' remember previous videos so can't make a comparison.
He wasn't being very sensitive today. I had to grab a dressage whip to get him to move off my leg. He was ignoring all my cues to get him to move up into the bridle. I barely had to tap him with it, which he would then respond off my leg too much, upset by me using the whip. He has been resisting actually working and picking himself up. Which I'm not sure how to really get him to push into it because, if I get too aggressive with getting him to move forward then he gets frustrated and his mind goes to mush, I might as well call it a day. He swings into hyper energy mode, and I would barely be able to get him to do anything other than jig. Trying to find that line is proving difficult.
I'll work on the half halts at the canter. I was just happy he wasn't pulling me into the speed increasing canter. He was staying somewhat consistent at that pace, which was hot and hollow. It had no fight to it, which I really liked.
As for booger spots. He doesn't have any area he doesn't want to go, but he has his hot spots where he starts to get up, hollow and speed up. Those right now are heading towards the gate and around the gate. If he's heading towards the gate, he wants to do it fast, and looks for a fight from me. He tries to fight any cue I give. He has no problem with leaving the gate, he relaxes and when not facing it and happily goes along till we are facing it again.
I'll work on bending the elbows too. :oops: I think that is one thing I have to be thinking, relax and bend, relax and bend....It feels so unnatural. Its also hard that Jake throws a small temper tantrum when I raise the hands at all. He gets tense, raises his head and hollows and will refuse to work on the bridle. :?
Thanks Allison. I'll try to keep the videos coming. =)
The first Critique I had asked for here in March :
How scary we were jumping (March):
A bad show, in which after with advice from people here, I stopped jumping and started retraining (July):
Then in August :
I'd kill for your seat. Your lower leg never moves and you're well into the tack at the canter. You're way above me in skill level. The only thing I can pick out is your contact. I bet if you super slo-motioned your arms, you would have some up/down movement rather than following forward/back motion. It's subtle, but might improve his suppleness to the bit if it were refined more. Love you horse. He looks like fun.
I actually went through the footage in slo-mo and you're right, at the trot I have my arms so locked that they rise and fall with my posting. I'm adding that to my list of things to think about when I ride.
Thank you. He's a fun and frustrating horse all at the same time nothing is easy, but he is the most honest horse I have ever come across. I was thinking about it today and he has never put me wrong. He has never dumped me, never done anything that would make me fall off and has saved my tosh more times then I can count. Unless he's going down too, he tries to keep me up. Never have just fallen off him, though I have took a fair share of tumbles with him. I sure love him though. :-)
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