Coming back into work - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 19 Old 06-25-2015, 01:44 PM
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I think the new stirrup length is too short by one hole. when you sit, the angle behind your knee is too tight.

just thought I'd add, since you are getting all this criticism, that I've seen your riding videos over the years, and you've improved so very much. the time you did in NZ really made a huge improvement. If I had a horse, you could ride him any day of the week!
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post #12 of 19 Old 06-25-2015, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Yes QHRider, they're too short haha! So I'm basically being sprung up due to not only his impulsion but the spring of my knee/thigh angle, lol!

Aww thanks tinyliny!!! My trainer in NZ made me the rider I am today, and I know I still have a long way to go (both Sky and I) but truly I have so much more confidence even

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #13 of 19 Old 06-25-2015, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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How does Sky look? I think he looks better but still not round and through.. we had a lot of contact though as he doesn't have as much muscle to keep round by himself so I'm hoping with more fitness and transitions (his walk to trot transitions are great! Trot to walk take 5 minutes because I'm trying to ride him down into it instead of jerk him off balance... any tips there?)

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #14 of 19 Old 06-27-2015, 01:58 AM Thread Starter
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Bump? :/ Should I just continue to add leg and half halt to rebalance, work on transitions and do figures?

He's still not round, and he probably doesn't have the strength to be round... but I'm not sure what I can do make this less frustrating for him.

I do need to get proper stirrups though..

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #15 of 19 Old 07-16-2015, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Update on the trot, it's a short video and happens after we do a little cantering (to make him happy)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdPxPAtDp8Q

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #16 of 19 Old 07-20-2015, 09:21 PM
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I’ve been watching you for a little while but unfortunately have had a lot on my plate and no time to write anything. I watched your latest video to give you the fairest assessment I can.

One of the first things I noticed in most of your videos is you’re tight in your hips and thighs, your hips are contracted to suck your femur and knees to the saddle (this I think is why your leg was swinging so much), not that it was bad but it can be quieter by you allowing yourself to relax into your seat and move with the horse. Don’t force your seat to move, just follow. You shove a little in the walk and I think it is because he is not forward enough in his walk and so you compensate with your seat to try to get him to step up but he’s not responding. I would ask for a bigger walk with your leg and reinforce with your whip if he doesn’t respond to a bigger aid (minimal use of whip, whip is just reinforcement to help the horse understand what is expected). Or you can alternate the use of each leg with the swing of his barrel left leg, right leg with the swing to accentuate his walk and insist he take a bigger step and listen. At this point communicate with leg first and let your hips follow. This will be more productive. Anytime you apply an aid, expect a reaction. If he doesn’t react, reinforce your expected reaction but be fair. If he isn’t getting something take a step back go back to walk and see where the miscommunication began.

I think some basic work in turns on the forehand and leg yielding will help you get the connection of his inside hind leg into your outside rein and get him to really round around your inside leg. You may have to accentuate a bit to get him to mold around your leg and step under with his inside hind leg and allow himself to be in the outside rein. It will really help you to keep your elbows at your side with your shoulders down and back, when you put your elbows so far in front of you it’s hard to keep your position and stay connected through your whole body (you should feel the connection in your whole arms and into your shoulders and back). I’d also keep your outside hand lower than your inside one for a little bit to help you control the outside shoulder more effectively (really make sure the outside rein is low by his wither in transitions, this will really help you). Having the outside rein lower will help you so he doesn’t fall out through the outside shoulder when you’re asking him to mold around your inside leg and step under with his hind leg, in the sit phase of post or downward phase sitting is when you half halt on the outside rein and keep the connection in it no matter the fuss (occasionally give the inside rein completely to make him seek the outside) and emphasize the bend comes from your inside leg and not your inside hand. Sometimes it helps to think when you want to use your inside reins you use your inside leg. You may also need to help guide his shoulder in with your outside knee, inside shoulder forward or think shoulder fore if his shoulder is going out while you're trying to get him to use his inside hind leg. You may have to exaggerate how much bend you want or sometimes have a little feel of the inside rein (simply lifting the inside rein up or squeezing your fingers and releasing) to remind him to bend his whole body but do not drop the connection of the outside rein and do not lift the outside rein up, keep it at his wither. If he doesn’t understand this at canter, go to trot and if he doesn’t understand it at trot go to walk and accentuate what your inside leg and outside rein mean. To do this you can do turn on forehand squares leg yielding to each corner of the square than accentuate the turn on the forehand and once he gets it let him out.

In your transitions you really need to keep your connection, think elbows at my sides, shoulder down and back, outside rein low. Leg yield out into the transition hold a second as he starts to transition give both reins and send the horse to the bridle in your downward. A few times you let your reins to long and lost the connection, start long and low with feeling the horse pushing towards your hand but not leaning (add leg if he leans and put the reins forward a second) and say no you have to carry yourself, having a rein that is too long won’t engage his back. You still need a connection in long and low. This is the same for both upward and downward transitions, you should not hold back in a downward transition but sending them into your hand and them listening to your position and body. To transition down I use my back and seat and close my thigh for a moment, hold the connection for a second by closing my fingers, leg yield 1 step and give the reins expecting the horse to reach into the bridle

Be definite in your circle shape and size, make it consistent. Put him on a 20m circle. Sometimes put him on a 10-12m and leg yield out to a 20 and leg yield back in to help you with the bend. Expect him to bend around your inside leg and feel him reach into the outside rein. Ideally you should be able to throw away your inside rein and he'll still be round and balanced. Tips for leg yield, step a little into the stirrup of the direction you are traveling, look to your destination slightly and add leg as you feel his rib cage push into your leg. Add whip if he doesn’t respond to your leg.

I’ll give you a visual. I wish I could put you on my baby horse to demonstrate. If I ask my horse for a leg yield I put him in shoulder fore and accentuate his haunches travel almost more than his front end. In my head if I leg yield from centerline to quarter line his haunches shoulder touch quarter line before his shoulder. My goal in the leg yield is not to get from point to point but that he steps under himself and uses his body correctly. I can feel a big difference in his back and can really feel him stretch into the bridle after a leg yield. I can feel his legs are that much more engaged as he connects his whole body with mine. In shoulder in I can completely throw away my inside rein and he will still be in the connection, still in shoulder in because it is my inside leg that becomes the new inside rein and tells him to round through his rib cage and my outside rein half halt (again just closing my fingers and releasing) catches the outside hind leg and keeps him in balance. He knows the degree of bend from my position and how much outside rein I use.

I know this was long but I hope some of it made sense, I try to be detailed because I don't know what will make sense or not and I don't know how you think or understand material but I hope this was at least helpful.
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post #17 of 19 Old 07-21-2015, 02:31 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanteDressageNerd View Post
Iíve been watching you for a little while but unfortunately have had a lot on my plate and no time to write anything. I watched your latest video to give you the fairest assessment I can.

One of the first things I noticed in most of your videos is youíre tight in your hips and thighs, your hips are contracted to suck your femur and knees to the saddle (this I think is why your leg was swinging so much), not that it was bad but it can be quieter by you allowing yourself to relax into your seat and move with the horse. Donít force your seat to move, just follow. You shove a little in the walk and I think it is because he is not forward enough in his walk and so you compensate with your seat to try to get him to step up but heís not responding. I would ask for a bigger walk with your leg and reinforce with your whip if he doesnít respond to a bigger aid (minimal use of whip, whip is just reinforcement to help the horse understand what is expected). Or you can alternate the use of each leg with the swing of his barrel left leg, right leg with the swing to accentuate his walk and insist he take a bigger step and listen. At this point communicate with leg first and let your hips follow. This will be more productive. Anytime you apply an aid, expect a reaction. If he doesnít react, reinforce your expected reaction but be fair. If he isnít getting something take a step back go back to walk and see where the miscommunication began.

I think some basic work in turns on the forehand and leg yielding will help you get the connection of his inside hind leg into your outside rein and get him to really round around your inside leg. You may have to accentuate a bit to get him to mold around your leg and step under with his inside hind leg and allow himself to be in the outside rein. It will really help you to keep your elbows at your side with your shoulders down and back, when you put your elbows so far in front of you itís hard to keep your position and stay connected through your whole body (you should feel the connection in your whole arms and into your shoulders and back). Iíd also keep your outside hand lower than your inside one for a little bit to help you control the outside shoulder more effectively (really make sure the outside rein is low by his wither in transitions, this will really help you). Having the outside rein lower will help you so he doesnít fall out through the outside shoulder when youíre asking him to mold around your inside leg and step under with his hind leg, in the sit phase of post or downward phase sitting is when you half halt on the outside rein and keep the connection in it no matter the fuss (occasionally give the inside rein completely to make him seek the outside) and emphasize the bend comes from your inside leg and not your inside hand. Sometimes it helps to think when you want to use your inside reins you use your inside leg. You may also need to help guide his shoulder in with your outside knee, inside shoulder forward or think shoulder fore if his shoulder is going out while you're trying to get him to use his inside hind leg. You may have to exaggerate how much bend you want or sometimes have a little feel of the inside rein (simply lifting the inside rein up or squeezing your fingers and releasing) to remind him to bend his whole body but do not drop the connection of the outside rein and do not lift the outside rein up, keep it at his wither. If he doesnít understand this at canter, go to trot and if he doesnít understand it at trot go to walk and accentuate what your inside leg and outside rein mean. To do this you can do turn on forehand squares leg yielding to each corner of the square than accentuate the turn on the forehand and once he gets it let him out.

In your transitions you really need to keep your connection, think elbows at my sides, shoulder down and back, outside rein low. Leg yield out into the transition hold a second as he starts to transition give both reins and send the horse to the bridle in your downward. A few times you let your reins to long and lost the connection, start long and low with feeling the horse pushing towards your hand but not leaning (add leg if he leans and put the reins forward a second) and say no you have to carry yourself, having a rein that is too long wonít engage his back. You still need a connection in long and low. This is the same for both upward and downward transitions, you should not hold back in a downward transition but sending them into your hand and them listening to your position and body. To transition down I use my back and seat and close my thigh for a moment, hold the connection for a second by closing my fingers, leg yield 1 step and give the reins expecting the horse to reach into the bridle

Be definite in your circle shape and size, make it consistent. Put him on a 20m circle. Sometimes put him on a 10-12m and leg yield out to a 20 and leg yield back in to help you with the bend. Expect him to bend around your inside leg and feel him reach into the outside rein. Ideally you should be able to throw away your inside rein and he'll still be round and balanced. Tips for leg yield, step a little into the stirrup of the direction you are traveling, look to your destination slightly and add leg as you feel his rib cage push into your leg. Add whip if he doesnít respond to your leg.

Iíll give you a visual. I wish I could put you on my baby horse to demonstrate. If I ask my horse for a leg yield I put him in shoulder fore and accentuate his haunches travel almost more than his front end. In my head if I leg yield from centerline to quarter line his haunches shoulder touch quarter line before his shoulder. My goal in the leg yield is not to get from point to point but that he steps under himself and uses his body correctly. I can feel a big difference in his back and can really feel him stretch into the bridle after a leg yield. I can feel his legs are that much more engaged as he connects his whole body with mine. In shoulder in I can completely throw away my inside rein and he will still be in the connection, still in shoulder in because it is my inside leg that becomes the new inside rein and tells him to round through his rib cage and my outside rein half halt (again just closing my fingers and releasing) catches the outside hind leg and keeps him in balance. He knows the degree of bend from my position and how much outside rein I use.

I know this was long but I hope some of it made sense, I try to be detailed because I don't know what will make sense or not and I don't know how you think or understand material but I hope this was at least helpful.
No all of that was extremely helpful, especially about compensating with my seat. You are spot on and I knew about it in the back of my mind but I was in denial. I have the weakest legs on the planet so riding with a whip definitely is in my future until he learns to listen to my aids.

I love the leg yield tips, I will have to try them! He's notorious for cheating by just shoving his shoulders in one direction. Love the leg yield circle idea, and turns on the forehand to get him using his rear.

I definitely struggle with keeping him connected.. he always reverts to his old way which is responsible for the musculature of his neck: upside down and bulky on the bottom... so my main focus is just to get him to stay soft which sometimes I end up throwing away contact and any chance of staying connected.

I hope to ride him this week and I'll try to video with incorporating some of the tips you provided... by arms never used to be that stretched out but lately I think I have lost the feel of good contact. And I need to figure out my seat issues...

Again, thank you

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #18 of 19 Old 07-24-2015, 12:44 AM
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No problem. I'm glad it was helpful.

The other thing I think helps with keeping the connection is to keep your elbows at your side and remember not to let your rein longer or pull back when he evades, always push him forward into it to make up for the slack in the connection. You can also shorten your reins to get a feel of his mouth but don't brace. Always forward into the connection.

I think of it like breaking down for baby horses, when you're teaching them to steer or move their shoulders. To teach them to turn left I keep my outside rein, step into to my left stirrup and kick with my right leg to teach them to turn left so they learn to move off of my position and balance based on where I place my position. I teach leg yield by building on turns on the forehand first, so they learn their hind end moves (it connects better to improving the leg yield). And for shoulder mobility I actually teach them by spins I step into my the stirrup of whatever direction I am traveling have my whip in my outside hand and lay it on their shoulder whenever I want them to move off of my knee. So they learn both their shoulders and haunches are maneuverable. I also play with their rate and size of stride, so they learn how to be adjustable.

Also remember a rider cannot out muscle a horse, strength is not going to be how you get your reaction but having an expectation everytime you apply an aid. Sometimes you need to be a little more assertive and get their attention and make them respond, sometimes you have to be strong so you can be light but if you are strong it’s never constant, always aid on and aid off and always trying for the softer aid. As strong as necessary, as light as possible. A lot of dressage is teaching a horse to react.

And all of it just takes time, Rome wasn’t built in a day nor was any dressage horse or rider who ever lived and we’re all on a learning curve and constantly learning better and better ways to do something as we develop throughout our lives. But just thought this may be something to think about too. Again good luck!
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post #19 of 19 Old 07-31-2015, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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HI Dante,

I have not been able to ride Sky since that video! It's been way too hot, so until I do I won't be able to work on any of your awesome tips on improving our riding

Hopefully soon!
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"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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