I need WP tips!
I have been given the opportunity to show a super cute mare in a few local WP competitions. I've ridden her twice. She is very well trained, but after being bred twice she is very out of practice. We have a little over a week til the first show, so I am going to try and have several more practice rides in between!
By our second ride together, I feel like we were much better at the "jog." (The first ride had a LOT of TROTTING and by the end some jogging) We also practiced a lot of transitions from W/T and backing up. Things have cleaned up a bunch between those, but now the biggest obstacle is the CANTER!! She has very good departs, but they are fast. After a lap or two, we are at a slower pace, and I have felt a few of those peanut rolling lope strides in-between. For me, they honestly feel very strange! I am used to a VERY forward quarter pony and normally ride english. When her head goes down and she is going so slow, I feel like she is getting ready to stop. (I have to remind myself that slow in this case is a good thing... don't add too much leg, lol!)
I would love and appreciate any tips that anyone has to offer! What confuses me the most is headset and using the reins. At the jog, she drops her neck and I have a looser rein. For the canter, I shorten the reins and have been giving and taking with the reins to try and rate her speed. She is only straight reined, and responds moderately well to leg pressure. I feel like that with more riding practice she will become more receptive to leg and seat.
Anyways, below is a video taken from our second ride. Maybe I can update with more as we keep practicing!!
I apologize for the picture quality, it was from my cell. The main things are the headset (how can I improve it?) and rating the canter.
I could not really get much from the video, just too small. hopefully you can repost at another time, with better images.
One thing I could see, however, was that you had a fairly constant contact on the rein, or so it appeared. If you want her to give to the bit, make enough contact to get that, then give a loose rein. Don't stay half on half off.
Good luck, and give the mare some time to come back into condition. her need to hold her head where it is (a very natural position, btw) is due to not haveing the conditioning to hold it anywhere else and still have any impulsion at all.
That video is pretty small but what I did see was pretty good except your reins are too tight and your legs are not far enough back to help lift her rib cage. Good luck.
Thanks Tiny! The rein contact is really what confuses me the most. When riding her, I wasn't sure if I had too much or too little. At the trot, it seemed like she really wanted to lower her neck, so I would let the reins slide through my fingers. Then for the canter I felt as If I needed to shorten them back up a few inches.
Do you think I am doing okay for her fitness level? For both sessions we rode for around 45 minutes each. We started with walking, and then went on to trotting laps and circles, then jogging, and finishing with cantering. My goal is consistency, especially at first, and then maybe by the end of the show season being more polished.
The straight reined WP horse... I am sooo confused!! LOL
Well, rein contact is actually set by the horse, to a certain degree. Waht I mean is, you put some contact on, and the horse has the choice to either ignore it, lean harder on it, or react to it by coming off of it. So, he/she is setting the contact.
You decide waht you want, and don't give up til the horse gives you THAT. So , if you want the horse to flex a bit, you have contact for that, and when flexing happens, the horse has come off the contact. You tell the horse, "yep, that's what I wanted" by looseing the contact. Eventually, she will learn the "window" of freedom. If she keeps her head between this point and that, then you take no contact.
But even better for bringing her back into showing would be to just ride her forwaard a bit and not worry too much about the headset. She just needs to move forward and loosen up and build some muscle. What if you just spent a few days not really taking much contact, unless you needed to, and then released immeditately (practice sliding your hand up and down the rope reins to shorten and lengthen the contact and be sure you dont' lean forward when you slide your hands down). Get her moving out for a bit. she seems to have no umph right now, so putting emphasis on shutting down her front end will discourage any push from behind, since she has so little right now to begin with.
However, keep in mind, I dont' ride WP. So, my POV is maybe not in line with the WP trainers approach it.
I am on my phone, so will add more later.
Why is she in a snaffle? At least it looks like it from what I can see in the video. How old is she?
Everything in your position is pitching her forward and making her get quick. Sit down and back. Think about making the front part of your pelvic bones the farthest forward point of your body. Bring your upper body back and roll your shoulders back. Bring your leg back, open and relax your thigh, and quit breaking your ankles with your foot out. Put your weight in your heel, turn your toes to the outside, and put your entire leg and your foot against her.
Get off the rail for now. I'll give you some more info later.
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Here we are having some fun today...
We didn't really focus on slowing anything down, just a good warm up and canter with lots of circles, a short trail ride around the farm, and then played around with some drill team!
We are going to show for FUN! My position isn't perfect, but it works for me!!
Actually position does matter, it makes your aids more effective.
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