Cautiously optimistic...? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 26 Old 11-08-2014, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck View Post
Easy there, take a breath. I was just answering Golden Horse's question.
Don't worry, I swear I'm not biting your head off! I'm just making sure you understand that the saddle fits me well. I won't kill you,I promise. Its an easy mistake to make, and from looking at some of the pictures, I can see where you are coming from.
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post #22 of 26 Old 11-08-2014, 10:46 PM
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Ok, a few things I see. Your saddle does look too far forward, if you look at that first picture, it definitely looks in the way of his shoulder. I'm not saying it doesn't fit, it may have just been too far forward when you were putting it on that day.

Your sitting up straight, I like that, but you're rounding your shoulders too much. Bringing them back square would probably lift your hands like everyone's talking about.

I love the last two trot pictures, those look great, he looks very forward and supple, very straight through the bridle and really nice. But the first trot picture, he's definitely not; picture two is not 'ifv good' in my opinion, it looks like he's leaning forward through your hands and lazy through the trot. If I had to guess, I'd say the canter work gave him energy and improved his trot vastly to what we see in the last pictures. I think that's the case with most horses starting out, and if that's true, then canter first! Do whatever you normally do at the walk, then jump right into canter work and get that energy up right from the start before you start schooling trot work. I know people are all about 'warming up slowly', but theres a line between warming up / allowing your horse to be lazy for the first 20 mins (what if you go to a show and only have 15mins of warm up? Your horse might just say, nah I have ten more minutes before I absolutely have to work). You can't say 'Ok Diddly, I know I said it was ok to trot badly earlier, but now its different'. So make his trot like those last pictures all the time!

Ok, the canter looks forward, that's a good step. But, it looks like he's racing around and not bending that hind end for collection. The first step is forward, and I think you have that, so now its your job to get him to sit down and take more of that weight on the hind end WITHOUT losing that energy level. Its a delicate balance, you need that jump through the canter, keep that, but really sit up straight and make him collect it back. I'm sure your trainer can help with that feel. The second canter picture, he looks unbalanced again, but also looks counter bent or at least twisting through the neck. Transitions through the canter (collect, extend, collect, extend ) and canter shoulder in are great for building strength to sit at the canter. Its hard work, so take it slow.

He really looks so much better though, make him look like those last pictures all the time!
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post #23 of 26 Old 11-09-2014, 12:48 AM
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interesting idea to help a lazy horse at warm up by using canter first.
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post #24 of 26 Old 11-09-2014, 05:47 AM Thread Starter
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Wow Sara, thanks so much for all that info!!!
His back is very strange, and his saddle tends to slip forwards if I forget to tighten my girth enough... Which happened the day the pictures were taken :P

My instructor always uses the saying "to improve the trot, go into the canter" and you seem to abode by the same rules.
You are right that I can cantered before the second set of trot pictures, so that probably helped him :)

I unfortunately can't do any canter lateral work in that arena... The entire arena is essentially a constant curve and barely bigger than a 20 metre circle :( so lateral work, even in trot, is difficult. I can just about do some in walk, but he finds it so hard, and for learning they really need a nice big open space. I will have to wait until I find a field or an arena to ride in before practising.
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post #25 of 26 Old 11-09-2014, 11:59 AM
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I think most young horses get excited by the canter, so yeah it's a great tool to improve the gaits and really simple. If you have to ride in a small area right now, I'd work on the trot work first since you said that's also hard for him, you don't want to skip too many steps. You can do any lateral work on a 20m circle too, maybe you will need space to do them correctly, but literally anything can be done in that space. But it's difficult so start slow. Do some steps of shoulder in, then power up his trot again, a few more steps, forward power. Do shoulder in, switch to haunches in, switch bend to counter shoulders in, don't let his trot die ever. Work on extended trot, then collect him back into a real collected trot, transitions like that. Transitions of following th bit down in a stretch without dropping the back or balance, then bringing it back up, etc. Counter canter in small areas like that are great strength builders.

Basically, don't ever let yourself think you can't do that in a small area, your horse can do it, just ask him to.
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post #26 of 26 Old 11-09-2014, 12:26 PM
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Also, lateral work is more difficult at the walk. You're lacking impulsion, the most important part of lateral work, so yeah it's going to go wrong. There's more time between each stride to twist and do things wrong; that doesn't mean you should stop- it means you should do it at the trot or canter because it's easier for him, and drop back down to the walk once he understands and you have better quality of walk.
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