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tpup 03-11-2011 07:37 PM

Please critique again - MUCH better video of Intro A practice!
Hi everyone! Had posted before but video wasn't great. This video is much better and up close and he had much more impulsion today vs. the other video/day.... We practiced again today and I took your comments to heart and hope we did better. Would love any and all thoughts. Our very first dressage Intro A schooling show is only a week away. My friend videotaped me (she shows training level right now). I know we cut off a corner before free walk at "H"...he kind of shuffled the turn. What am I doing right? Wrong? Need work on? Would love and and all feedback. Also would love thoughts on discipline - he was a H/J in his past....I think he is more geared for H/J vs. dressage but we are giving it a go and dressage is good training :) Thanks!

tinyliny 03-11-2011 07:58 PM

What a nice horse. Very honest fellow. You did darn well! Very appropriate for an Intro A. I think you will take a ribbon for sure! And your teacher is great!

Some points:

You started with a really nice forward trot and your first couple of turns you prepared and went into and out of the turn reallly well. The rythm was very good and relaxation evident (that is paramount at that level).

At the free walk, well when turning into it you are doing a pretty tight arc, so you need to prepare your horse better. AND if you pick him up a bit and bend him right before, he will go into the corner better. Is it is he fell in on his left shoulder and turned more like a swinging gate. Also, if you pick up the horse right before the free walk, then the change to a FREE walk will look more dramatic to the judge. YOu kind of compress his walk a little, get a bend , come around that corner and let it out, a little with each forward step.
Same thing when you turn for final approach down center line; more preperation and pick up.

Oh, and when you come out of your free walk, you are supposed to be in medium walk, right? It should look a little different than the free walk. Your walk after free walk looked a bit like a continueation of free walk.

YOU need to put more bend in your elbow. Since your elbow is locked, it cannot open and close and thus your hand goes up and down, on the end of your locked arm. Mean reins go up and down. Since the horse is moving, you need to have your hand stay still RELATIVE to the horse. That means that somewhere the motion must be absorbed. That is your elbow.
You have really good balance and I think you will be able to get this small improvement quite easily. One thing that helps is to attache a short piece of string to one of the D rings on the front of the saddle, and while you are trotting hold it in one hand such that it has no slack with your hand at the correct placement above the withers. As you post, you will not be able to raise that hand (and don't let it drop either). The other hand is free but you must keep it at the same level as the string guided hand. Feel the elbow angle open bigger and close to more acute.
This is a long term goal; quiet hands. It will come.

Good luck and I feel certain you will do very well. Horses usually have a lot more energy in the show ring than they do at home.

MyBoyPuck 03-11-2011 09:19 PM

The only thing that jumps out to me is your elbows are locked. Your reins go up and down as you post. As tiny said, a little more bend in elbows and allow them movement as your horse trots. Otherwise, it looks good.

Kayty 03-12-2011 06:17 PM

You got some great advice from tiny and also MBP about your elbows.

Just a quickie that I'd like to add - in the intro tests, accuracy plays a HUGE role in how the test will score. Don't throw away easy points, if you can get an extra mark for a movement because it's dead accurate, thats an extra mark up your sleeve for another movement that you may not do so well in.

So when you ride your figures, make sure you ride them EXACTLY! So your 20m circles need to touch the track at both sides, when you come around your corners, you have to be on the wall not almost on the quarters line before you go across the diagonal.
Really make sure you focus on keeping your ride accurate - a test can easily be won on accuracy marks.

Allison Finch 03-12-2011 07:22 PM

A duplicate of what I posted on your other thread of the same subject.

To offer some advise, You need to develop a better connection with your horse to better channel his balance and energy. However, until you learn to make your arms more fluid, you will not be able to do this. Your arms are too stiff and allow no absorption of the up and down movement of your rising trot seat. As a result, your hands bob up and down as you do your rising trot. Unlock those elbows and shoulders. As you rise, your elbows should open, allowing your hands to "drop" (not really, it just feels that way. They will actually stay in place) you lower into the saddle, your elbows should close. You see, your hands must be still and stay in the same place relative to the HORSE, not relative to your body...which is going up and down. Watch the video and see how your hands follow your movement, not the horse's.

Only when your hands can remain still, relative to the horse, can you apply the leg and move him into the bridle, catching the energy with an increased contact. Until you can do this and increase the energy level, it will be difficult to lighten him on his forehand.

I teach my students to change their posting diagonal the moment they start their change of rein across the diagonal. I do not want them to change posting diagonals at X. When you do this, you throw an inconsistent seat at them when you most want them to demonstrate their best consistent trot. By changing at the beginning of their trip across the diagonal, you keep the seat much more consistent and actually start the preparation to the new bend at the end of the diagonal. Remember, posting diagonals are a tool to increase the horse's bend. I was taught this early on by my German dressage coach.

Also, when beginning your free walk across the diagonal, wait until you leave the track before you allow the horse to stretch down. By allowing him to lower while turning out of the corner, you allowed him to dive onto his forehand.

I am not too familiar with the walk/trot tests, but I believe they need to be back in the medium walk at the end of the diagonal. You allowed him to coast through the corner still in free walk. Start regaining your contact well before the end of the diagonal (slowly) so that the horse is "back in the bridle" as soon as he regains the track.

You are riding a bit too much on your knees. As a result, your lower leg swings back from the knee, causing your upper body to become unbalanced and tilt forward. Let go with the knees and allow your leg to drape along the horse's sides. You leg wraps around the horse's barrel keeping fairly consistent contact throughout your whole leg.

WOW! This sounds like a lot of things going wrong. Not really! These are all things that one works on in the beginning and they are easy to fix. I really like you two and wish I could get my hands on you. I bet you two would be fun to work with as you both have plenty of inherent talent.
Have fun!!

Allison Finch 03-13-2011 12:19 PM

This is a copy of a post I sent to the OP after she contacted me. I thought it might help explain, better, what I was saying above.

Many times we are told to have "quiet hands". We translate it to mean our hands should never move them (relative to ourselves is how we apply it). Actually, we must keep our hands still relative to the horse. When a horse moves, the head and neck are in constant motion and our arms must be as well to absorb this movement.

A good way to get a feel of the arms need for flexibility is to have someone stand next to the horse's head, facing you. Have them hold a rein near to the bit. Then have them pull and release on the rein to simulate the horse's head "bobbing" while it moves. At first the rein will come across your hands resistance to moving at all, causing the reins to snap loose and tight. Then you must soften your whole arm so that it can move with the rein. Remember, you must keep a CONSTANT contact with the rein, not an inconsistent one.

Think of contact as a slight pull back on the rein. How much you need depends on what you need to do to contain the horse's energy. Let's say you need a half pound of "pull" on the rein. As the horse moves you need that same 1/2 pound at all times. If you need to half halt, you briefly add a couple of pounds and then go right back to your 1/2 pound while you register how the horse responded to your extra pounds (half halt).

Your ability to keep that steady, reliable contact through the reins is what it is all about. Try that exercise so that you can see how much your arms must move to keep those quiet hands (relative to the HORSE, now).


Kayty 03-13-2011 07:00 PM

Brilliant, brilliant, BRILLIANT posts Allison. I hope the OP takes something away and learns from them :)

tinyliny 03-13-2011 07:14 PM


Valentina 03-14-2011 05:02 PM

1. Open elbows as you rise, close as you sit = nice quiet hands (so horse will stop tossing head)
2. Do NOT lean forward - post straight up and down.
3. On corners push horse with inside leg (and hip) into outside rein.
4.) At all gaits (walk, trot) keep a steady rythmn - and forward is your friend.

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