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Amlalriiee 03-06-2011 10:21 PM

Videos to critique-groundwork and riding both!
Okay, here's my original thread that the riding videos were on. I got one very good critique, but wanted to link back to it because I didn't get a critique on the second video yet, and more eyes would be good, too!
I wanted to link to that also to allow original comments and discussions to be a starting point.

This video is me doing groundwork with Mackenzie...I lost her attention a few times(spooking/talking to barn buddies) and she seems to follow pretty far behind at times. I'm not sure if that means anything...anyway. First half is me having her follow me/stay with me..."joining up" I guess? The second half is free lunging. Any critique on her motion, or how I can help her would be great.

TinyLiny: If you see this, I was wondering if the video where I kept her mostly at a walk was any better?

tinyliny 03-07-2011 01:54 AM

I watched most of the free play video, not all.
It's obvious that you two have a very good relationship. I couldn't get my horse to do that, no way. I need a round pen to keep him. He'd head out to the herd if I was in the open with him.

Your mare likes you, so she chooses to stay with you.

I liked pretty much all of what I saw. A couple of minor things:
A few times she got kind of close on you and had her shoulder kind of bent into you. Not so much being aggressive, but a bit overly familiar and cuddly for me, But the video isn't that clear, so the actual distance between you two is hard to estimate.

When you were playing with her and she was following you, there were times when you made changes that were kind of abrupt. That isn't always such a bad thing, especially if her attention is wandering. But you can make it a smoother dance if you use the shifting fore and aft of the upper body as a precue to the change that is coming in your feet (stop/start). She will really cue into that shift of your weight through the upper body and be more ready to stop, than be surprised by it.

When you turn right or left, you can bend your body in the direction of your movement and it kind of "sucks" her along. So, for example, if you are facing her and you want to suck her to back up, you bend your abdomin away from her and step backward. pushing her away from you, push your abdomin into her and stand up straighter.

Try running with her and exaggerating your high steps, see if she will copy you and Piafe or Passage next to you. maybe she can be taught to Spanish walk next to you. People do it, though don't ask me how the do it.

Also, don't just have her follow you. Once you feel your connection is good and she is followoing well, try moving her away from you and then trying to draw her right back. So, move her shoulders away, but then step back and draw her back , then turn that into a change of direction or a half circle.
Practice pushing her just enough backward so that you see her shift her weight onto her back feet, but NOT step backward. Then when she is weighted on her back feet, ask her to step her outside forefoot over then the inside fore over. Turn on the haunches.

Work in this way, having her weight her hind end in preperation for unweighting the front will be really beneficial when you are under saddle.

That's all I can think of. You are just an adorable pair and a lot of fun to watch. Looks cold!

Amlalriiee 03-07-2011 06:21 PM

You are correct that she got too close a few times. She usually does respect my space, but when in a scary situation, and sometimes while playing, she'll lack that courtesy. Usually she is reminded with a push to the neck or shoulder to get her back out of my space. I will definitely try exaggerating my upper body and see how that works as far as cuing her ahead of time. I think we do need a bit more practice before I can push her away and pull her back in, but I'll keep that in mind and definitely give it a try!

I started doing this "free play" with her on accident one day when I noticed that she was following me around. It seemed like a good bonding exercise, so I've continued with it. It's really the only groundwork that I actually enjoy, so I want to put it to work for me!

Do you think this could work to teach sidepass/leg yield as well?? I like your idea for turn on the haunches, how would this differ for turn on the forehand? (weight forward, cue back feet over? or does the weight stay back?) My last question, I swear; how do you cue a specific foot? That probably sounds really silly, do you pick it up with your hand? tap it with a crop/rope? I honestly don't know....


tinyliny 03-08-2011 12:01 AM

Oh. turn on the forehand. I think the weigth is on the forehand. So, I guess you'd be doing the looking around your horse and "pushing" on her hind quarters to have them step over. Honestly, I don't know. I am not really adept at free play, you could teach me how it's done.

As for moving ONE foot. This is definitely a good excerisize to work on.
Start doing it with her online, not free. You basically LOOk at the foot you want to move and apply pressure.
However, paramount to having success is understanding whether or not your horse physically CAN move the foot you have chosen to move.
You can't pick a foot to move back (for example) if that foot is currently bearing the most weight. Remember, and this is REALLY important for on ground and in saddle work, You horse cannot move a foot that is carrying the weight at that time. Horse must shift the weight OFF that foot onto the neighboring foot in order for it to be able to move that first foot.

So, lets say your are facing your horse and you want them to step away from you to the side, getting into position for them to walk forward on a lunging circle around you. You want the horse to step her front/left foot out to her left (your right). you will want to rock her back so that her weight shift onto her front right foot and back feet. You bend her nose to her left ever so slightly and put a backward feel on the lead line and you kind of look at the foot where you want the weight to go. When you feel her rock back onto the right foot, freeing up her left (not off the ground, but just not carrying the majority of front foot weight), THEN you look at the foot you want to move and project your energy and a feel in the line out to your horse's leftside. Watch that front left foot and by gosh! it WILL step out to her side. Immedialtely stop all pressure and let her stand. That's it! That's all you do.
very simple. Do this left , right fore and back. pretty soon, you will be able to accuratel predict which foot she MUST move next according to how her weight is currently positioned. Four footed locomotion is interesting. Get to know it as if it was you walking/moving.


Amlalriiee 03-08-2011 06:38 PM

Okay...I feel like a dummy...but WHAT?!?! haha

So, first I make sure weight is off of the foot that I want to move. Then, I look at that foot and apply pressure how? Do you mean pushing on her, or wiggling the lead rope? Pulling on the lead rope? Just boring my eyes into her feet?

Forgive my lack of knowledge here, I can't honestly say I know the first thing about that particular exercise...will definitely try it next time though!

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