How much should I expect of her? How much roundness in the back? (Progress Q)
Genny's been a doll, I keep her fit year-round enough for 45 mins active trot not including the 15 min cool down and warm up, and at least able to go 10mins canter either side continuously on a good day--- hot and humid days of 90+ degrees are difficult for both of us, and I call quits at 5 min canter sets to keep her in a safe zone. Right now I'm shifting the sessions toward early morning/late evening to build her canter sets up. We're going for Novice Eventing, (the short type) and I'm a bit concerned with her back. We've been dealing with spasms and hock spavins, things have been getting better. Vets say she's good to go, no lameness, but when performance is crucial, I'm nit picky about the slightest bit of tension in her.
The times of the clips are in the video description. How does she look? The focus is balance and a relaxed back. I'm not sure how round I should expect her to be? Does this look a good outline for a novice getting show-ready? In the under-saddle videos, it might look like she prefers her head up... her neck is set low and long, she isn't supposed to have it that high. Having it at just that level tends to give her that ugly under-neck muscle. For her at this point, it's easier to suck away from my weight and use her neck to balance everything. I'm trying to get long and low. Forehandy movement isn't much an issue to me at this stage.
How's the impulsion? The clip in the roundpen was at the end of her session, cooling down, asking for shorter steps and frequent transitions to walk. She goes best if I ride very lightly, in half-seat or partially posting, it could be me but in a very active trot if I sit down with too much weight, she tenses up and goes stiff, popping me up no matter how relaxed my back is. Slower trot, she doesn't care so much; she'll settle long and low if I sit a slower, shorter-stepping trot.
It did, it helped the big idea to encourage my mare to stretch out whenever she can. I like an outside opinion on her progress though, to help me judge her.
Okay, I'm not an expert, but this is what I see.
First, I can't judge anything except when you're riding (rightside-up:-)). The lowering and stretching is primarily to strengthen the back while CARRYING a rider; so other work is irrelavent, in my opinion.
The end of the clip does not show any attempt to get your horse to stretch, or lengthen his topline (by lowing his neck and reaching for the bit). Your reins are too long. I wasn't sure if you knew about engaging your horse's back, which is why I posted the video.
I don't believe there's much impulsion. It's not wrong to ride a horse like that; but it's not "schooling dressage." With a horse having soundness issues, going slowly is best, but a shorter, more correct session will help her best.
You are perfectly right in seeking someone to watch and critique you. I hope you will find an instructor or groundperson to help. Best of luck!
I agree with Beling.
She doesn't appear to be rounding in any of the clips, and that is probably due to the lack of supple contact. Establish that contact and once she is seeking the contact, you can ask her to reach lower for it, and stretch that back into a rounder frame :)
She was doing good with stretching, then I couldn't ride her for a few days and I think that made her right hock sore, I tried some contact this week and she was tense and jiggy, so I think going back to jumping for a while will help. She still isn't too tolerant of more than minimal to moderate collecting exercises (asking for a shorter stride, downward transitions), she should be extra pleased to have this week set aside for jumping and sprinting. Now I'm wondering, am I just helping the development of the underside neck muscle when I let her carry her head like this...
The photo is her when she was about 7yo, the little sweetheart ;)
Her previous trainer/my first instructor had her ride as an Equitation mount for about 3 years and afterward for about 5 months trained her daily for Show Jumping, and she looked fantastic then, no underside neck muscle and real toned up. She didn't have hock problems then, though, so I think trying the same regime now wouldn't work like it did before. Anyway, I'm going to put more jumps into the sessions and cavalletti to let her work more independently to find the strides.
I've been riding some neighboring lesson horses and keep getting a new outlook on my mare; I really don't give her enough credit for traits like her flexibility and responsiveness.
Thanks for the opinions! As soon as the rain lets up around here I'll try getting a friend to record some clips of our riding. My next question would be how fast I should let her go for a working trot, that needs a video to be precise.
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