Trot/Canter Work on Ollie (dressage) "training level"
So I got some pictures from the ride I had the other day!
Katy on here suggested I keep up with my trantions to help him sit more and free up his shoulders as well as do some spiraling in and out work of which I did today on the lunge line and I could tell at the end it really helped him get looser and open up his stride.
I'm hoping to get to ride in a couple clinics in early spring and go to our first couple schooling shows in the spring :)
We will only be showing in training level since it will be first show season :)
My stirrups are a couple holes too long in these photos do I wasn't able to keep my weight in my heels as well as I normally do.
I actually like the length of your stirrups here. What I don't like is how much you are standing in them, and how much you are relying on the horse's mouth to stay in the tack.
If it were up to me, you wouldn't have stirrups. 10 minutes to get the horse warmed up in a rising trot and then the rest of the time those babies would be crossed over the neck. In an ideal world you wouldn't get reins either, but I know not everyone has someone to lunge them every day. A bucking strap would, however, suffice. Just hold onto both it and your reins to help steady your hands and keep you from pulling on the horse's mouth.
The two big things that are going to help you, along with riding stirrupless, are to think about turning your whole leg in from the hip. Right now your knees are stuck out, your heels are digging into the horse and your entire lower leg is completely uncontrollable in the independent way we need to have it in dressage. When the leg is correctly draped around the horse, the only weight in the stirrup is the "dead" weight of the leg. We do not push into the stirrup, as then we can become unseated and unbalanced, as you are in the above pictures. The other thing that will help you is to think about almost leaning back. Focus on opening your chest up to the sky, and tilting your pelvis such that it is level. As you are now, your pelvis is tipped too far forward. Think that there is a glass of water in your pelvis, and as you tip too far forward, you are spilling water. If the horse disappeared from under you, you'd smack yourself in the thighs not having reins to pull on anymore, and then fall smack onto your front.
The horse is unable to improve his way of going until you fix these fundamental flaws in your riding position. You must learn to balance yourself before you can ask the horse to balance. If you have ever given a child a ride on your shoulders, you will be able to relate to how your horse is feeling. If the child is sitting quietly and in balance, you are able to carry him easily, but if the child is very active and pointing and moving and pulling on your hair, it is very difficult to carry him, let alone focus on your own way of going.
I have joint/nerve issues with my hips and my right knee :( one big reason for my closed hips, it sometimes locks and will cause me to pinch with my knees, my right more then left.
Before I start no stirrup work, iv done a little but it can cause numbness through my right hip down my leg, are there exercises I can do with my body to help warm up and stretch them out?
I was in a car accident last march and did a lot of damage on my body and have been thinking about starting to do massage therapy to get more blood flow and relaxe the muscles more, ESP during these colder months!
I like this shot the best:
I don't have a lot of advice, 'cause as I said, you are at a place where I am not further along than you. One thing I notice with Ollie is that he seems quite braced in his neck. It just looks very straight and stiff, right up to the poll area, where it breaks. it's good that he is not breaking several vertebrae back, but laterally, it looks very stiff.
I wonder if working some on jaw flexions would help loosen him. And maybe some old fashioned , cowboy style disengagement of the hind quarters.
For the jaw flexions, there is some info about it on Phillipe Karl's books. He uses flexions on the ground, with the horse in the bridle. and same thing from the saddle.
and as for disengaging the hindquarters, this should start with the hrose
1. flexing in the jaw/poll,
2. following the bit around so there is bending in the neck, actually overbending. be sure that the horse's head does not tilt ( meaning he rotates his head so that his chin comes upward while his ears go off to the opposite side) the face should stay as vertical as possible, even as the head comes around toward the horse's hip.
3. the horse should stop stepping around in a circle, front legs become still and inside back hind steps under, so that hindquarter "disengage " from the "track" of pushing that they normally are following , as the push the horse forward.
So much easier to DO than to READ.
but, it can soften a horse a lot; through the jaw, the neck and the torso and hip.
I would not do it endlessly, as it can frustrate a horse that is trainded to go forward, but one can do it to soften the hrose and remind them to follow the rein and to flex to the inside on the circle. (flex with the jaw to the inside such that you see the jowl kind of tucked into the neck)
ETA I know Phillipe Karl is thought to be a wierdo by some, but the flexions I am talking about are not "his" but come from very old excersizes from classical French school, I believe.
Tiny thank you, I do a lot of bending and straightening and change of direction to help supple him.
I should have mentioned this was his 2nd ride back after 3 weeks off :(
So he was very forward and I think I was not prepared for that but doing my best to mentally to tell myself relaxe, breath, relax lol
I think Anabel's comments were great; so detailed and so astute in her observations. She has a world of experience in dressage that I do not.
Tiny, the picture you selected shows a perching rider who is using the bit for balance. The last trot picture is showing the rider in a more effective position and the horse becomes less strung out and better able to carry himself in a balanced way. From that position, there is a starting point.
KS you might benefit from a different saddle. I have not been in a car accident, however if sitting correctly on the fork of a saddle with a too narrow twist, I also lose feeling in my legs. A well fitted saddle for the rider goes a long way. You might also try sitting further towards the pommel. While massage may help, it is likely also that the muscle tissue on your one side has been weakened. Lifting weights and working with a physio and personal trainer might be the best to help you get even. I know my riding and the evenness in my body has improved greatly with general conditioning and with leaps and bounds since I started powerlifting. Weight lifting is a great way to increase coordination, strength, balance, muscle tone, bone density, etc. But clear it with a Dr. and physio first.
We cannot expect our horses to be even if we are not even. We can't expect them to balance and be in self carriage when we rely on the bit to be balanced and cannot be in self carriage ourselves.
And on the subject of PK, tread carefully around that man and his methods. The method you describe is from Baucher, the original proponent of Rolkur. Which as I recall you are usually quick to condemn, tiny. Be very careful manipulating only the head without a leg on, and even more cautious suggesting it to others. Most of the problem with an advanced method like LDR is its use by folks who have no idea what they are doing. They put the cart before the horse, so to speak. Do not focus on the head. With correct training it will come. The horse is only braced in the neck from the rider pulling, nothing more, and pulling more will not fix it. Just because someone took time to write it in a book does not make it a catch all for every situation. Nor useful for most horses.
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These pictures are really interesting. Simply by looking at the area of the back before the croup, you can tell at which points the horse is using himself correctly versus falling on the forehand or being restricted a tad by the reins. In some of the pics I see your elbows behind the plumb line which suggest they are not hanging at your sides relaxed but instead have tension in them and it is translating to your horse's mouth. Your horse is wanting to stretch forward a tad and use himself, so really think about softening your elbows and giving him a more spongy contact. I'm no dressage expert, but that's what I see.
As for you, even without a car accident, my hips always start out really tight too. I took some yoga on horseback lessons and learned some really helpful in saddle stretches to help with it. Assuming you horse is the type who initially warms up calmly at the walk on a loose rein, try some of these with you legs out of the stirrups.
1. Grab one leg by the ankle and bend it as far as you're comfortable with to stretch out the front of your thigh. Repeat on each side a few times.
2. Same exercise only with hand just above knee. This time, instead of bend the leg, pull the whole thing back to help open up the hip sockets.
3. Pedal a bicycle forwards and then backwards, (assuming your saddle flaps aren't the type that lock you into place)
4. Lift both legs off the saddle so you're sitting just on your seat bones, then alternate one on, one off, etc.
5. When you ready to start riding, take you hand and turn your thighs inward by pulling the "meat" of you inner thigh toward the back until the leg is positioned properly in the saddle. If your hips are as bad as mine, you will have to continually repeat this step until someday (still waiting) it becomes muscle memory.
Hope that helps. Beautiful horse.
I had a bad accident a few years ago and broke my back, my hip, and my arm. I spent 4 months in a body cast, and by the time they let me out of it, I was a mess. It took a lot of time to rebuild the muscles, and relearn how to use my body.
Physical therapy helped a little, but I found Yoga helped the most. Yoga focused on stretching the body, strengthening the core muscles, and teaching me how to use my body equally again. Plus, the yoga helped take away the pain for a while each session. It was very helpful!
The other suggestion I have... be patient with yourself, and never allow your current limitations to become a "I can't". Find another way. It takes some experimenting sometimes, but eventually you'll find a combination of tools that will help you achieve your goals.
Thanks guys! I will try those exersises!
Saddle wise, itsmy trainers (havent been able to get a lesson in for awhile) but she lets me barrow her saddle, its way to big for me but it is all I have beisdes my jump saddle but i might just go to riding in that as my hips are more relaxed in it. I will just have to focus way more on sitting straighter them going into my jumper postion LOL
I am hopfully getting my new dressage saddle after christmas but beofre febuary when shows start! I will be getting a Keiffer, rode in my friends for a clinic andit really helped me stay put and my lower leg was way better.
after this week and depending on the new job schedual I just got I will be asking for lesson next week I hope and after a few more weeksof solid 4 days of weekof riding I iwll be able to get pictures againand hope to see and feel an imporvement!
As for my numbness I get it alot when I am sitting down, somtime down my right arm randomly. Its gotten better since March but it comes and goes.
I will look into Yoga and see if any friends want to try it with me!
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