I May Sound Crazy..
I have 13 days to prepare for an eventing derby. I haven't practiced seriously in MONTHS. But it is cheap, and I see it as practice. I think I'm entering novice. Last year I competed in pre-beginner, but I want a challenge this year. I could do beginner novice, but it has the same dressage test I did last year for pre-beginner, and I want to try a new test, so I can challenge me and my horse.
The XC and Show jumping course is combined, and is 2'11. My horse had a problem of rushing jumps, but I would really like to work on half halting him before the jump, and getting him to jump calmly on an actually course, with distractions.
1. If I do Novice, could I still do beginner novice at recognized shows, or actual 3 day events? I read somewhere you can still compete a level down from what you have shown.
2. If you have the capabilities to watch a youtube video, please watch my eventing derby from last year under HesUltimatelyFine. I'm mostly concerned about the dressage test, so could you point out what was wrong, and how to correct it? (I will probably post it under the riding critique section if you want to comment there)
3. My horse has a terrible time getting his left lead. If I canter to trot to canter him, and keep doing that to have him get it, he usually speeds up and loses his "partnership" with me. Would it be better to just chance his lead the first time, and lose the points of one movement, than to have a chance of ruining the rest of the test?
4. Any other advice?
Or is it bump?
-still not understanding forum chat-
Sorry but I'm not understanding this post
You cant do a dressage test on a horse that wont perform happily in a bit
You cant do a lead change unless the horse is on the bit and understands collection - though at that level you wouldn't be doing a flying change anyway
The organisers would usually state which test they want you to use so you need to request details- maybe its different in the US
You cant use a 'half halt' technique to check your horse as it approaches the fence if its not collected and on the bit as the idea is to shorten the stide without losing energy and impulsion
2ft11 may not sound very high in terms of a showjumping fence that will easily fall if you hit it but a solid fence wont give like that.
Unless you're horse is pretty fit you could be heading for a fall - 13 days isn't enough time to get to that level of fitness if you've not been working him consistently
Starter to Novice is a HUGE jump. Not only are the fences higher, but the courses are more technical and you need to be in complete control of your horse's stride to adjust to the distances.
I watched the video, and I don't think your dressage is up to Novice standards yet. Your horse is bent at the third vertebrae in parts of the test, and he doesn't bend throughout his body--in fact, he's counterbending throughout much of it. When you asked for the left lead canter, he rushed and was unbalanced through the transition, causing him to counterbend and pick up the right lead.
I would stick with Pre-BN or BN.
One of the big problems with the left lead in the video is because of the 6" deep mud where the transition was. I'm not really concerned about the length of the course since it is short, and doesn't have many techniqual parts. I've jumped up to 4ft with him, so height shouldn't matter. I'll probably end up doing beginner novice.
I'm specifically looking for advice on how to improve him.
I would skip the show and work on really conditioning your horse for eventing. start on the flat and get that all in order. Then you can work on XC and jumping.
Horses are likely to injure themselves if they aren't conditioned for something properly.
I posted this thread, purely for advice, not for discouragement against pushing for improvement.
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Go & do what you can, attendance needs to high at all events. Keeps shows going.
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As for the 4', if you were confidently and correctly jumping 4' you wouldn't be asking these questions. Having cleared 4' does not make one ready for any specific level.
You are fine at Pre BN or probably BN on this horse. You have a lot of good things in your riding, and you have a cute horse that looks to be the sort to teach you a lot and give you quality miles. You treat the horse well, and are looking to learn. Don't overdo it and wreck your horse's or your own confidence.
Okay, now to your riding. The biggest issue is that you are not using your leg. I noticed it in the first few moments of the vid. Your lower leg is not against the horse and doesn't DO anything. You can see this clearly at about 5:40. You are also in a slight chair seat. Your seat is good and quiet, but you aren't using it.
First, remember that the contact should be evenly distributed across the inside of your leg. Your lower leg needs to be ON the horse so that it CAN do something. Only then can it actually ask the horse to lift his back and step under himself and push forward. You need to get that sorted. In order to get your leg in the proper position, try a few exercises. First, try doing some two point. Notice how your leg slips back? That's where it should be all the time. Then try standing straight up with your crot.ch over the pommel as the horse walks and trots. You will need soft knees and serious leg strength to do it for any length. Again you will notice your lower leg sliding back. It is where it should be. Begin posting, keeping your lower leg back. And finally, the hardest but most effective of these exercises (do the others first!) is to do the alternating posting. Sit, stand, stand, sit, stand, stand. You are effectively switching diagonals by standing (not sitting) an extra beat. Then you switch right back the very next stride. It's tougher than it sounds! Once your leg is in place, THEN you can begin to learn to use it properly!
You will also notice how much core you use. Your posture is already good, but you will find as you use your core more, it will become even better. Your core is your support to steady your upper torso and to help you follow your horse's motion. You will use your seat more effectively once your core is strong.
In the meantime, the other big things to work on include geometry, left lead, overall balance, and bend.
You can always, always be accurate. You are not going fully to the rail, not going into your corners, not precise in your locations and shapes--these are easy fixes. The next is the bend. You want the horse's ribs bent around your inside leg and his topline to follow the shape of your track. So if you are on a circle you want the horse's spine to be lightly and evenly curved to the arc of the circle. This means you should barely be able to see the corner of the inside eye, but it also means the horse's ribs are to the outside. Remember that the head should be in line with the shoulders! This helps the horse balance, and it is a major reason for the struggles with the left lead.
Again, you have a solid seat and good posture, but your hands are a tad unsteady (very evident at the 4:00 mark). As your seat becomes more independent and your base and core stronger, this will take care of itself. However, you need to work on how to approach a fence. You tend to ride the horse's front end and not the back. This is evident at 4:13 when you start to jump, but the horse's back end isn't ready to do so. You don't have leg on and the horse is not pushing from behind. The front end has to stutter step and get in close to the fence to allow the hind end to catch up. This means you are ahead of the horse's motion and up over the fence before he leaves the ground--a serious fault because if the horse stops or stumbles, you are on the ground. Plus you make his job harder because instead of just hanging with him, you now make him push you up out of his way. You can get away with it over these teeny fences at the trot on an honest horse, but my mare would have you on your hiney faster than you can say Bob's your uncle. She taught me to correct this particular fault!
Putting your leg on will also allow you to keep your horse straighter. At about 4:30 or so he's a little wiggle worm--butt sliding left and right. Legs on pushing the horse straight forward and up into a soft, steady hand (and while unsteady, your hand is relatively soft) is the goal. In the meantime at least sending the horse forward and keeping his butt straight will help. He's honest and you do a good job keeping him from taking advantage of the wiggling, but best to nip it in the bud and just ride him straight, straight, straight. You already keep him from popping his shoulder out and tend to keep his nose forward. Now just straighten the bum! This will help your dressage--remember that bending issue? The two are related. Put your legs on, and you can start to control the horse's bum and body position, which will help your straightness, bend, and balance (and your geometry), which in turn will help your left lead. Legs on will help keep you from jumping ahead, keep your hands steady, and keep the horse moving forward and up. Are you sensing a pattern yet? ;)
If your horse has been in some work, jumping a bit, and feeling good, go for the BN. If the horse hasn't been in work, don't jump until you have built up fitness slowly over time.
Good luck and have fun!
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