Coming back into work - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 06-14-2015, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Coming back into work

Hi,

I want to know what you think. He's coming back into work after a few bumps along the way, so we're basically starting over rebuilding muscle an fitness.



I've ridden him a total of 10 times since getting a new saddle (and since basically a year) but I have been lunging him and working in hand except when I was sick and during winter break (I was out of country).

The only thing I can offer as fact is my stirrups are 61" long, I had to buy some just to try out my saddle before buying it and they were the only used ones I could find. Therefore they're wrapped once and therefore a half inch too short, at least. Yesterday I figured out I can still wrap them but put them down a hole and they're about the perfect length for me (took me awhile to figure that one out, haha!)

Before wrapping: He doesn't have the muscle for it and I was jamming my legs down (see the pommel hitting the crotch area?)



Go for it! We're focused on dressage (hence the arena and tack!)

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"

Last edited by jaydee; 06-15-2015 at 12:38 PM.
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post #2 of 19 Old 06-15-2015, 12:53 PM
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what do you mean by "wrapping"?

you look fine, riding well, especially considering your long illness.
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post #3 of 19 Old 06-15-2015, 04:02 PM
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I'll post more later, because I'm on my phone. The biggest thing I see, is that he moves pretty nice, but you're not containing the forward energy at all. He's moving forward freely and I'd like to see you pick up your reins and drive him more into the bridle with that energy. His trot looks best IMO when his legs are snapping forward a little bit, I'm sure you can feel when he gets a little floaty. That's the trot I'd aim for maintaining all the time, otherwise he's sort of just plodding along. I know he's coming back from a break, but you could ask more of him that just trotting around laps. Throw in more transitions, some lateral work, more circles, spirals, and I bet he would come together better. You're trying to build, so you need to challenge him with a little more lateral work (like someone trying to run a marathon, you wouldn't just jog for 10mins a day and expect to get muscles); he looks calm and ready to do more.
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post #4 of 19 Old 06-15-2015, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks SaraM! I'm so glad you critiqued, because I agree about the plodding. On the diagonals, I add more leg and click and I'd love for him to be like that always but he's so lazy since coming back into work. I am definitely working on it though! It'd be easier if I had a dressage whip still, but I know I can work without it.

Do you feel if we keep this up, we'd be ok to canter by the end of the month? I just want to make sure he has enough muscle/balance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
what do you mean by "wrapping"?

you look fine, riding well, especially considering your long illness.
Like you would for a child on regular stirrups... I can't find a picture but try and imagine when you go to shorten stirrups normally, you unbuckle them and then slide the buckle up to a different hole.

These stirrup leathers are really long so I have to take the excess leather (before buckling it) and wrap it through the iron once and then buckle it. It shortens the leather around 2 inches.

I would punch another hole but they are nylon lined :/ I've heard horror stories about losing their integrity if I punch holes (plus how would I... it seems like it'd be really hard)

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #5 of 19 Old 06-16-2015, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Bump,

So far I have ask for more forward, drive into the bridle as opposed to having a longer rein, to connect him

What else, is my posting ok or exaggerated? It's hard for me to tell when I ride him because it's been awhile and I don't have body awareness like I used to.

Does the saddle look ok on him?

Just any comment or constructive criticism you can offer is appreciated.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #6 of 19 Old 06-16-2015, 05:35 PM
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I’m a pretty busy person without a lot of time to do this and I apologize it got longer than I anticipated, I just like to explain why I'm suggesting what I am. I’d say for the most part you are doing a solid job of bringing him back into work, it takes time to develop the musculature but I find once the coordination is there it comes back pretty quickly. You’re doing a good job.

I agree with SaraM on a lot of it. He could be more forward, he needs to articulate his hind legs more and bring them underneath his body. Even in these early stages of conditioning it is better to ask for better quality work than quantity of work. I also would not forget the importance of riding the walk well. A lot of riders over look the walk, which I think is strange because the walk is IMO one of the most important gaits as it is easier to correct and pick up on various things happening than at the trot and canter, as it is a 4 beat gait you distinctly feel every leg in action and can correct it. A lot of riders lose the energy in the walk and quit riding but keep riding the walk (don't take a break because you are walking) and see how much it improves your trot and canter. It is also a great gait to test yourself and play with shoulder control, control of the haunches, how much bend you can get in a leg yield? how little can you do to get him to lengthen his stride? how little to shorten his stride? How little can I change my position to influence his balance yet how much to be effective? Those are a sample of the kinds of questions to ask yourself every ride and in every gait.

He appears stiffer traveling right and more supple traveling left but he has a tendency to go out through his right shoulder. This is a pretty normal crookedness, he just need to emphasize more bend through the rib cage and shoulders going right and traveling left you need to focus more on keeping that right or outside shoulder in line with the rest of his body (maybe add some shoulder fore this direction). Both directions I would like to see more bend through the rib cage to improve his balance, suppleness and straightness. I would definitely incorporate some leg yielding into your circles and while preparing your changes of direction to help with the bend to help him maintain his balance. Really pay attention to moving his shoulders through the changes of direction and to control his bend in the circles. Something I do with horses who struggle or don’t know how to move their shoulders is roll backs (this also loosens their shoulders and makes them more supple, plus more reactive to your thigh, knee and outside rein).

When traveling left especially because he likes to go out through his outside shoulder I would look over your outside shoulder (not your inside) which you have a tendency to do and this makes you crooked. Look over your outside shoulder to correct your position and help you ride a more accurate circle or figure (this also helps in leg yields). This may seem like a silly trick but it will help you align your shoulders and hips. I’d also play with how much you can influence his balance and move him based on how much weight you put into your inside or outside stirrup, see how much you can steer him just using your position and the weight in your seat bones. This doesn’t have to be perfect, just something to think about.

I agree with SaraM on adding more complicated figures. Challenge both of you, it is not too much to ask for some lateral work or to stay committed to your figures. Really pay attention to your circles and changes of direction to direct his balance. Leg yield a few steps out while on the circle and imagine his inside hind leg jumping into your outside rein as you capture it with your outside rein. If he falls through the outside shoulder use your knee and outside rein to direct his shoulder back in line.

The other thing is stay committed to your figures, if you’re going to do a circle, do a circle so you can get the most from the exercise and don’t care if it is going exactly as you want it to or not, ride the circle. I’m big about preparing for figures and paying attention to the shape, size and quality of your circles, that means leg yielding a few steps to maintain bend through the circle, paying attention to the position of the shoulders, maybe ride some shoulder fore and in to get the bend or exaggerate the bend a few strides.

Overall I have a nice impression and like what I see. You’re a pretty rider, I can tell you are still getting back into it but you’re on the right path you should be pleased with you both. He’s a cute horse and you seem to suit each other well.
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Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 06-16-2015 at 05:41 PM.
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post #7 of 19 Old 06-16-2015, 09:33 PM
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great post!
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post #8 of 19 Old 06-17-2015, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much!!! That's exactly what I was looking for, I know we've got our work cut out for us but for me, it's hard to tell what exactly I need to work on since we both have our flaws!

You are completely spot on about the issues going right (he likes to counter bend and even if warm up I'll flex him to the inside and do one step of correct leg yielding. He gets frustrated with more than that, because it's hard for me to communicate it properly plus it's hard for him (he's lazy!) But we will continue to work on that!

And yes, I have my crooked moments and I feel them but I can't figure out how to fix them if that makes sense, so your comment is going to help me visualize a solution and feel the difference between how I was VS how I should be.

I think this length of stirrup suits both of us right now, since I don't have the riding muscles I need to have a longer stretchier one, but you're right about asking for correct work from him versus lots of work.

We haven't cantered yet, because he doesn't have the muscle for it and I rather get our walk and trot pretty forward and fluid because I throw that in there, does that seem fair?

Ah yes, my figures! I was so focused on keeping the circle a circle that I forgot to actually ride the circle correctly! Thank you! I will definitely work on that too!

It tickles me fuzzy to hear from another rider that my horse and I are a good match :) I think so too, we challenge each other and I adore riding him.

I'm thrilled to share our progress with you and SaraM!

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #9 of 19 Old 06-24-2015, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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*****UPDATED VIDEO*****

I know we still aren't there, but I'm taking this as a good stepping stone to how we were. I also found some other leathers. They are like 2 holes short but they felt better to ride in. I'm going to sell the extra long ones and use that money to buy actual length stirrups, then eventually sell these on too.

But let me know what you think! I bought a dressage whip today :)

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"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"

Last edited by Foxhunter; 06-25-2015 at 02:56 AM.
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post #10 of 19 Old 06-25-2015, 01:41 PM
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Coming from me, so take this with a grain of salt:

But it looks like you are posting so hard! It looks tiring to me, and very forceful, almost too bouncy for the movement he's giving you. You could probably turn it down a notch or two and think about being softer with your tush.

But what do I know? LOL

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