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riccil0ve 06-07-2009 12:43 AM

What to teach her next?
I have a 17 year old Paint mare that was basically western pleasure in breed shows until she was about 6, then pretty much sat in a pasture until two years ago when I got her. I was brought in to get her back in shape physically and mentally to be re-sold. A few months later, I bought her. =]

So ever since, I've been teaching her dressage. At least how to collect and bend and be straight and to do circles, etc etc. I'm nothing fancy, I don't go to shows, I don't even have a real arena, but I LOVE working with her. She's my greatest dancing partner.

As of now, she can walk, trot, and canter collected and extended, she is very much on the bit, even if she is heavy on the forehand, [we're working on it!] I taught her to side step, or half pass or whatever. She can move to the side, and remain mostly straight. After a while I started working on leg yields at the walk and she is doing gloriously. I started teaching her a haunches in and she took to it like a fish to water.

I was just wondering what other things we can work on. I know we can simply step it up and move on to the things we already know at a trot, but I'm thinking for further in the future, what are things I can eventually teach her? What goals can we strive for? And if you could also try and explain how to execute a particular move that would be great. Videos are nice to see the finished product, as well.

And just for fun, a few of my favorite pictures with my girl. =]]

Spyder 06-07-2009 01:17 AM

A video would be helpful.

riccil0ve 06-07-2009 01:37 AM

Of what? I just want to know things I can try and teach her.

riccil0ve 06-07-2009 02:12 AM

Well if it's really important... that's a link to a video critique I posted a week or so ago.

Spyder 06-07-2009 08:57 AM


Originally Posted by riccil0ve (Post 322444)
Of what? I just want to know things I can try and teach her.

The reason I asked was because you stated these in your original post.....

So ever since, I've been teaching her dressage.
At least how to collect and bend and be straight and to do circles,
As of now, she can walk, trot, and canter collected and extended
she is very much on the bit, even if she is heavy on the forehand,
I taught her to side step, or half pass or whatever.
She can move to the side, and remain mostly straight
I started working on leg yields at the walk and she is doing gloriously
I started teaching her a haunches in and she took to it like a fish to water.

I needed the videos to assess the level of dressage you have actually accomplished. First your horse has a very nice walk. The trot shows signs of something better here and there and the canter needs a great deal of work on.

So I will answer your question you have on this thread and also the critique you wanted on the other thread.

I saw no collection or extention in any of those videos and because of an inconsistant head carriage and collection is not possible to achieve at this point. You also cannot have true collection and be heavy on the forehand. The circles I saw were ok but at this point need a lot of work as the horse does not have true bend.

As far as the various moves you have taught her , she is not ready to do them with quality.

What you should work on is the three basic gaits. It appears to me from those videos that you are making a effort to keep the head down and still, but by dropping the hands low and wide you are in effect blocking her. The reins are way too long to achieve any contact other that allowing the horse to "hang" in the bridle and it is this that is one of the main reasons she is heavy in the forehand. She is not relaxed either. The horse does not stay where you think they should so the head carriage is inconsistant. The trot needs to be pushed out more but not in that long rein semi contact you have now but with a more secure contact from you. The canter is the gait that really needs work for it borders on 4 beat. It is also heavy on the forehand and the horse with that long rein contact is left hanging out there. Most of any impulsion you created is running right out the front door (head).

If you put the three gaits put together as a whole and entered a dressage competition you would be at training level at this point. Riders at this level are still working on getting the quality of their three main gaits up to par to be able to move to the next level.

Sixxofdiamonds 06-07-2009 09:49 AM

Ricci - I'm with you on this one, I'm trying to mess around with dressage on a born-and-bred western pleasure horse.

I will agree on the near 4-beat lope. It was really popular in the western ring for SO long (when Java was a 3 and 4 year old, we didn't place because he DIDN'T 4-beat) but then the AQHA came around where we're from and judges were supposed to judge the true gait of a lope. It might be a hard habit to break, I know a lot of people I showed with had a hard time not keeping their horses from 4-beating.

Good luck! Keep us posted!

riccil0ve 06-07-2009 10:27 AM

Hmm... well that's not really what I asked for. We are always working on improvement in everything, and I know she needs. Firstly, she is not built to carry her neck like this;

Therefore, she simply can't have that kind of impulsion or collection or anything. She isn't built to fully rock back on her haunches to utilize them properly. We do what we can. If she were younger and had a different kind of training from the beginning, it would be a different story. As it is, she now accepts contact on the reins, her trot is sit-able, and her canter is most definitely collected compared to the crap it was before.

I wish I had a video to do a before and after shot, but I don't. All I can say is she has improved so much in the time I have had her. I mean, improvement you wouldn't believe.

I've noticed everything else has gotten easier after we started working on these movements, it gets her more supple and responsive, and it works some muscles that both of us don't typically use. So isn't it also possible that doing something new, to try and work on something different will also improve her? If we are only doing things at the walk, I don't care. I'm not going to compete in anything except maybe a few schooling shows this summer, for fun.

Part of the reason I asked is because it has gotten so very hot recently [hot for here] and neither of us feel up to an intense schooling. So we've been doing leg yields, and haunches in, to challenge her mind and because it's simply to draining to start trotting around for long periods of time.

So I ask again, what are things we can try and work on? It's boring doing the same thing every time I ride. I can only ask for bend at the trot for so many days in a row before she loses it, and then takes a step backwards. Leg yields are encouraging her to use her hind end. As it is, we do at least 100 transitions a ride to also encourage her to get off the forehand, and it's made a big difference. I'm also hoping to buy poles and standards and doing some jumping this summer.

Oh, to sixxofdiamonds, you wouldn't believe how much better her canter is now. Her nose basically touched the ground when I first rode her and it was so ridiculously downhill I didn't know what to do with myself. I've never thought of it as 4-beated though. Occasionally she drags but for the most part, she is on top of it. Maybe it was just a bad canter day. She also had a tendency to crossfire tracking right, but she is balanced enough now that it isn't something she does much anymore.

Qtswede 06-07-2009 10:52 AM

I can't disagree with you more. She may not ever have that perfect warmblood arch to her neck, but she can collect, extend, and have plenty of impulsion. I know, because my BIG quarter mare can do all of that, and she works off her haunches every bit as well as the fore. When she gets frustrated with the other horses, she will (on her own) tuck her chin to her chest, arch up, and side pass. Every time I ask her to side pass, she doesn't just sidepass, she tucks in first - part of how I know she's going to do it LOL...She LOVES dressage, probably more than I do. We are still in training level, and will probably stay there for a while, as I dont have the time I'd like to really work her in that study. However, it can be done. Just stick to it. My suggestion would be to do some work on turning on the haunches if you want something different, in addition to working on the extended & collected trots. As my dressage friend loves to say though : without impulsion, you have NOTHING. And, please, don't stick it to not being of a certain breed being the cause of not getting a full collection, extention or impulsion. ANY horse can do at least lower level dressage with the proper training - after all that's what dressage is - training.

riccil0ve 06-07-2009 11:29 AM

She does tuck her nose in, she just doesn't have that arch. And she's had 15 years of SOLID WESTERN PLEASURE training, which is why it's so hard for her to use her body they way she should for dressage. I'm not saying a Paint or a QH or any stock breed can't excel in dressage, I know they can. I'm saying she isn't built to have that arch, because she's not, that part of her neck simply doesn't come up. She uses her hind end more and more each day, and the muscles in her haunches in incredible.

I'm asking for dressage movements we can try to work on. Is there anybody on here who will just answer my question?

~*~anebel~*~ 06-07-2009 12:41 PM

If your horse is heavy on the forehand, it is NOT collected, seeing as the definition of collection is a horse who is carrying more wieght on their hindlegs than on their forelegs.

Also, about whatever "arched neck" thing you are talking about, dressage is not bout framing the neck, dressage is about developing the horse. It really doesn't matter what your horse's neck looks like... if you actually look at the entire picture you can see a horse who is lifting the forehand with a head and neck in self carrigage, not simply a horse with his nose tucked in and an arched neck.

I agree with Spyder. Work on quality and doing things correctly before you begin teaching anything else.

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