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equiniphile 12-21-2010 01:18 PM

Dressage critique on Molly
8 Attachment(s)
I was wondering what you guys think of her, we worked a LOT yesterday on collecting her up and letting her come to the bit, slowing her down through my seat, etc, in the arena. At the end of our session she was slow trotting with a gorgeous headset on a rein with barely any contact. She was great! Today my friend came over so we took them through the woods to the back fields so I could work a bit with her in a big flat space. All through the woods she was giving me a great headset with me barely having to ask, but it wasn't too great when we got to the fields, she kept tossing her head and trying to get back to the barn, silly girl. I know my stirrups are too short, I noticed that but was too lazy to change them once we were on trail. I worked on getting rid of my piano hands for good, I tend to use them as leverage and as a result I lean forward, lose my seat, and Molly speeds up, so today I focused on ditching the piano hands!! We worked with both sitting and rising trot, and lots and lots of transitions. Tear us apart! I'm posting the good and the bad so you can see how she throws her head lately when she doesn't get her when i make her stand and wait, or ask her to go on the vertical and collect up. I don't take lessons but am hoping to start this winter. (Molly's the bay, btw)

tinyliny 12-21-2010 01:49 PM

Hello Equiniphile,

YOu asked for a critique, right? Is so, here goes;

I appreciate that you are working on getting rid of piano hands. I still see them , however. It's not just a matter of having your thumbs on top. You see, the reason one is asked to keep their thumbs on top is that it rotate the forearm upward and thus encourages the elbow to stay down, against the side of the body, where it needs to be to keep the horse connected to your core.

Your elbows are still not connected to your core, so this would be my major point of advice; to think about riding from your core. Think less about your hands and more about you coming TO your hands, especially in sitting trot. This will help your hands to stay in the same position relative to the horse. It's important that they stay in the same spot and you move toward them. You kind of advance your core to your hands with each stride. Of course, you will need to be very loose in your elbows to allow your hands to float in the same spot relative to the horse.
So, also , please raise your hands slightly and bring them closer together.
There was a moment at about 1:51 in the first video when I saw you sitting nicely and your horse came to you nicely.

This being said, in all honesty, I would not try to work on dressage stuff in a snowy field. Your horse needs a free head to be able to move it this way and that in order to keep her balance. If you want to do work in the snow, then put a huge loop in the reins and work solely on YOUR seat.

I thought it was cute how Arthur was so anxious to keep up with HOlly.

equiniphile 12-21-2010 01:54 PM

Thanks so much, TL!

Now that you point it out, I completely see how my elbows just don't stick to my sides. I could never pinpoint what looked off before, now I see it! Thank you :D. This is why I need to start lessons, lol! I grew up Western and need a ton of work in the English world.

I like that spot too around 1:51; I printscreened it and used it as my avatar :D

tinyliny 12-21-2010 02:00 PM

Another thing I noticed was one time you held the reins in one hand and suddenly your posture went lovely. That's the old Western training. So, work on your seat riding one handed, but change the hand holding the rein without changing your seat.
Here's another bit of advice (I just can't resist). Don't try to get your horse "on the bit" by pulling her down. I see this a ton and I've done it a ton;
Your horse is running with her head in the air, so you open your hands and pulldownward. This brings the bit down harshly on the bars of her mouth.
Rather, if she lifts her head, you too lift your hands and do a tiny "tickle" with your inside rein and when she gives at the poll, you give. After a bit, she will lower her head and you follow into that nuetral place.

There is a time and a place for openning the hands and riding in that "driving a wheelbarrow" position. This can be used to encourage the horse to reach down and go long and low, but not as an antidote to her raising her head.

Cheers, I am off to the barn . We have a very rare sunny day!

HorseOfCourse 12-21-2010 02:02 PM

So I'm pretty sure that I heard Arthur say that he needed to come live with me. You wouldn't want to upset him, would you?
Posted via Mobile Device

equiniphile 12-21-2010 02:30 PM

Thanks again TL, I'll definitely keep that in mind and try it later tonight or tomorrow. Molly's off-track trainer, who trained her right off the track, sold her to someone who was to use her as a broodmare but instead ruined her lovely under saddle demeaner by doing things like kicking her when she misbehaved, which caused her to become an absolute lunatic whenever she felt any leg pressure. That owner sold her to Lindsay, who eventually got scared of her OTTBness, and she sold her to me. When I bought her she had NO slow canter, just trot to gallop, and you had to ride her completely from your seat because she exploded with leg aids. Through a YouTube video, I traced her off-track trainer because of Molly's unique face and leg markings, and she offered to retrain her at no cost but the price of board because of how dissapointed she was in Alicia for ruining her. After two months at the trainer she came home to me, and she's been improving ever since. Jenni (trainer) told me that to get her headset, I need to stop her, then ask for her to give by squeezing alternately, then move off when she gave me her head. It works sometimes but the method you suggested might work better; I'll give it a shot. I need her to be on the vertical, though, because when she's not her head flies up in the air and she avoids the bit, hollows her back out, and is not real fun to ride.

LOL Horseofcourse, never! My mom bought him 20 years ago for $900 and he's the best horse in the world :lol:. He's super smooth! I'll never find another horse like him. He's in great shape, though, so if he lives another 10, 15 years, who knows--he could be a third generation horse!

After these videos were filmed, we were going to head back and I was trying a half-pass on Molly, and all the sudden she exploded out of nowhere, jumped sideways, I lost my stirrups, and she took of galloping. I hung on with my legs and it was all I could do to keep pressure on the inside rein so she was going in a circle at least and not just running towards nowhere. She took another lurch sideways at a gallop, and I fell onto her neck, completely off the saddle and holding on to her mane and the reins for dear life. I thought she was going to do a face-dive, we were so low to the ground, with me still on her neck at a breakneck gallop! After a minute or two I took the inside rein and circled her slowly in until she was forced to slow down....didn't want to attempt a one-rein stop, in fear of falling off! Eventually I got her to stop, slid back into the saddle, and we went home. My mom and friend said they had no idea how I stayed on....wish they had gotten it on video LOL! That's the closest I've come to falling off in a few years. After that she walked home like a perfect mare. Just thought I'd share!

Amlalriiee 12-21-2010 04:53 PM

I'm looking at the still shots and your leg position is good and nicely in line, but looks uncomfortable...maybe it'd be more natural if you lengthened your stirrups a hole or two?

equiniphile 12-21-2010 05:25 PM

Thanks Amlalriiee, I think I posted that I think they were too long....I was just too lazy to adjust them once I got in the saddle :lol:

Amlalriiee 12-21-2010 05:29 PM

OH sorry, you did state that you knew they were short....I missed that somehow!!!

equiniphile 12-21-2010 05:30 PM

That's alright :)

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