Dressage Young Horse - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 18 Old 03-13-2015, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
I'd take all contact off his mouth until he learnt to pick himself up from between his front legs and get from being behind the bit - maybe work him bitless for a while to break the habit or old training he's had
I would also forget about sitting trot until your core strength is improved - in posting trot you'll have more power to push him forwards and upwards than you will leaning back 'water skiing'
I agree with this, I don't think you should sit the trot on any young horse for a pretty long time. You're teaching them to lift their back and be soft, but they often can't do that unless you give them the freedom of posting trot. Af the lower levels where you can choose to sit or post, Ive seen almost every judge say you should post. It's just good for young horses, shrug.


I disagree with your self critique that you need more haunches in; I think he frequently looks crooked through the neck like young horses love to do. He is twisting through the neck and looks like he needs more work on straightness. It seems like youngsters always go through that phase, I'd ride him with almost no bend to really work on that. Lateral work is great to train, but don't let him overbend there either.

If he wants to get behind the vertical, I would not try to correct it using the reins like you described. If he's trying to get behind the pressure, don't use more pressure to tell him to stop. I'd send him super forward, so forward that he has to push off the back end, every time he gets too low, super extension. Again, posting will help.

For you, you are a good rider but don't look at his head. You're better than that, look up and where you're going, stick your nose up a little if you want. When you look down, it rounds your shoulders and your spine slouches. Look at the Grand Prix riders during a passage, sit super tall and elegant, don't look at your horse, you know what he looks like :) Sitting taller will help strengthen his canter too, don't use your hands to lift him, resist with your core and sit tall to make him come back to you. The counter canter loop is a good tool for a young horse, keep doing those :)

For his confo critique, he's very pretty, very nice face. He not crazy downhill, you'll just have to keep that in mind while riding like you do. I'd be careful though that his saddle doesn't want to slide forward onto his shoulders because it already "angles" that way. My horse is the same way and I've found an anatomical girth helps keep his girth from pulling it forward. Maybe not an issue for you, just something to think about.
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post #12 of 18 Old 03-13-2015, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SaraM View Post
I agree with this, I don't think you should sit the trot on any young horse for a pretty long time. You're teaching them to lift their back and be soft, but they often can't do that unless you give them the freedom of posting trot. Af the lower levels where you can choose to sit or post, Ive seen almost every judge say you should post. It's just good for young horses, shrug.


I disagree with your self critique that you need more haunches in; I think he frequently looks crooked through the neck like young horses love to do. He is twisting through the neck and looks like he needs more work on straightness. It seems like youngsters always go through that phase, I'd ride him with almost no bend to really work on that. Lateral work is great to train, but don't let him overbend there either.

If he wants to get behind the vertical, I would not try to correct it using the reins like you described. If he's trying to get behind the pressure, don't use more pressure to tell him to stop. I'd send him super forward, so forward that he has to push off the back end, every time he gets too low, super extension. Again, posting will help.

For you, you are a good rider but don't look at his head. You're better than that, look up and where you're going, stick your nose up a little if you want. When you look down, it rounds your shoulders and your spine slouches. Look at the Grand Prix riders during a passage, sit super tall and elegant, don't look at your horse, you know what he looks like :) Sitting taller will help strengthen his canter too, don't use your hands to lift him, resist with your core and sit tall to make him come back to you. The counter canter loop is a good tool for a young horse, keep doing those :)

For his confo critique, he's very pretty, very nice face. He not crazy downhill, you'll just have to keep that in mind while riding like you do. I'd be careful though that his saddle doesn't want to slide forward onto his shoulders because it already "angles" that way. My horse is the same way and I've found an anatomical girth helps keep his girth from pulling it forward. Maybe not an issue for you, just something to think about.
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Thank you for the input and this was helpful. But haunches fore helps with straightness going right and shoulder fore help with straightness going left. I make the transition to canter with haunches fore so he picks up the correct lead, that works with him. I think the "tucking" will get better over time, it's already improved immensely. I think what I need to start doing is dropping the connection when he feels like he's tucking and make him use himself and not rely on me or my connection to always be there for him. Consistency might not be helpful with this horse. He does it because it's easier for him, I'm not using the bridle to put him there. If you rode him, you'd feel what I mean. And in the long and low you can tell I'm not riding the face. But I agree with the straightness issue, straightness has improved but isn't super.

I also post more than I sit, I sat for the video for the sake of getting him to sit more on his hind legs, he gets more on the forehand when I post. With the canter I bring him up using my core and seat with timed half halts in conjunction with the timing of the inside hind leg to try to capture the upward momentum.

However I disagree with running him off his legs because he gets more behind with more engagement and running his will send him more on the forehand. Shoulder in, haunches in, laterals he tucks more. He pushes off his hind end quite a lot, you can see by how much he over tracks and is quite round over his back and supple.

His canter is naturally downhill. On the lunge line it's pretty downhill, worse than on video. When I saw him free lunge I knew it would take a lot of work to fix the canter. It's not going to be an over night fix and I won't sacrifice the freedom of his back or shoulder. He has moments where he sits back but he lacks the strength to carry himself uphill consistently. That will take time. Right now it's training him to learn to be up. Shoulder in at the canter helps a lot as well as leg yields.

Also keep in mind I've ridden well over 70 different horses in the last few years. I'm not saying this to be like oh I know so much but to be like I've developed a few horses, this isn't my first rodeo so to speak lol but I haven't particularly had "behind the vertical" issues. I've done multiple young horses, re-trained tbs, retraining projects, quite a lot of rehab and my horses I rehabbed were successful. One I had was a young trakehner that had something wonky (some kind of calcification) and had soundness issues but I kept him sound. I re-trained a saddleseat horse for dressage who also had stifle issues for dressage and he learned to reach for the bit, rather than fearing it and actually learned to use his back. I used to ride 3-5 horses per day and was under a primary trainer but also cliniced with a wide variety of people. Ive had opportunities to ride school masters who did GP and so I have seen a lot of the "behind the scences" work that riders/trainers do. I have also ridden piaffe, passage, canter pirouettes, tempi changes, etc on schoolmasters. I've also done warmblood inspection with babies and mares. I've also worked with colts and stallions at home and some in Germany. I was a working student/groom, you don't make it without being a good horseman.

Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 03-13-2015 at 04:52 PM.
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post #13 of 18 Old 03-13-2015, 04:55 PM
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Wink

First of when you fix his forehand, you two make a beautiful pair. HE is QUITE a looker, OMHO!!
When your horse flexes it's really ok to have the nose slightly or somewhat in front of the vertical, as long as he is getting impulsion from the HQ's. You might try schooling with the reins between your index finger and thumb and follow the motion with your entire arm, a lot like driving. I have a feeling that your arms are a little heavy on his mouth.
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
...both of you are behind the vertical, and that at times, it looks as if you are in the "waterskier" position that is often seen in folks who ride in the so-called German style. this kind of taking the upper body back behind the vertical means that you are riding the back of the "wave" of his energy. he then counterbalances by leaning forward, and tucking under. it looks like you are balancing off each other in a bit of a push me/pull you sort of relation.
Wait a minute--I ride like that!!
Seriously, I'd like you to explain this more fully, please.

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post #14 of 18 Old 03-13-2015, 05:19 PM
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You don't have to run a horse off its legs to ride it forwards and upwards.
I find that riding shoulder and quarters 'fore' is more inclined to help a horse that rides too high to lower its head/neck so not sure how much it would help one that rides too low and behind the bit
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post #15 of 18 Old 03-14-2015, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you and I tried the driving reins exercise and that was really helpful, I lost quality of movement but it felt better as he was straighter and more balanced. He felt less behind the vertical, so I rode that feeling when I switched my reins back to normal. My hands and elbows are supple, not tense, I'm not an abrasive rider so I think it is something in my ring finger and riding the feeling of him being supple and through and thinking this feels nice and not thinking oh but he's behind the vertical. I knew but I figured we'd work it out with time as he gets stronger and more coordinated. Ive only had him for 2 months. And Id known a few horses who went like that and eventually grew out of it over time, their riders were never abrasive. I also took him over some fences to see if that would help. He's been taken over polls, cavaletti, lunged over fences, etc. He was unsure about it (to be expected) but I don't think he hated it. I used to event and I'm somewhat competent but I would never claim to be skilled. Just know how to see a distance, stay balanced, and not get in the way or get them in the mouth.

He is forward, I rarely have to ask him to slow down or move faster, size and rate of stride I can change. He is engaged behind. Shoulder fore and haunches fore I ride to improve straightness, coordination, balance and connection and also because dressage is a build up of gymnastic exercises to improve a horses way of going and conditioning them to eventually be able to ask for more difficult movements and them be almost easy because the pre-work is there. Those exercises IMO are essential to developing a horse in any discipline.

Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 03-14-2015 at 09:46 PM.
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post #16 of 18 Old 03-25-2015, 07:28 PM
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Nice young horse.
  1. Walk - nice
  2. trot - Behind the vertical (BTV) - some of that is balance, some could be corrected with better riding. If he were mine I'd work on building muscle (more transitions - LOTS of trot/halt - SQUARE halt - transition - making horse step underneath himself. That will develop his carrying muscles and give him what he needs to get off his forehand.
  3. Rider shouldn't sit trot (yet). your elbows are too rigid which encourages him to go BTV. You heels come up and that also help him fall on his forehand then he goes BTV to use your arms as balance.
  4. Canter - BTV again. BUT - he improved after you did a bit of counter canter (CC) - so along with transitions do more counter canter to build his muscles. After his CC his head/neck was up and he was no longer BTV!
  5. At canter riders (inside) leg gets behind the girth (not all the time - just something to watch out for).
  6. Rider also looks down at canter - which in turn encourages horse to go on forehand.
My Swedish mare liked to go on her forehand. So TONS of transitions (make certain he halts squarely with hind legs starting the halt not the reins) and tons of CC. You need to build his topline.

Once you've done that he'll still tend to go on forehand or BTV - there are a few times a word famous rider taught me to correct them BUT you need to fix what you've got first - then he'll come along.

Best of luck - beautiful horse. You'll make a nice team!

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post #17 of 18 Old 03-26-2015, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you this was helpful and a lot of it I'd say was a fair assessment.

I also wanted to add when this video was taken this horse had 7wks consistent work, as in 7wks ago we were figuring out steering, he was basically broke. The trainer who had him was very good but he wasn't a priority in her barn. I tend to put the vocabulary into a horse before I

I sat trot because he wasn't understanding what I was trying to tell him, so I sat to make it more clear and he moves better when I sit vs post. He doesn't lose the swing in his back. My sitting isn't that bad (I do have tendonitis in my hip flexors and a degenerative disk in my lower back) so I have a hard time being as relaxed and supple as I used to be. I still "bounce" with the movement but it's harder for me. It doesn't mean I can't, I just have some soft tissue damage I need to learn to work with better. I disagree my elbows are too rigid (I agree they could be better) but I didn't want to bring my elbows back either because I felt he'd go more "behind." I could have been better with my hands and not so consistent and made him get off the bit and let him come back on or a variety of different things.

What I've been doing to get him from behind the vertical and he'll do it even if I have the reins between my index finger and thumb, that's just him (I think he does it because of the power from his back end overwhelms his front end and he tucks to balance, lack of strength and coordination issue) but I've been taking him off the bit every time he starts tucking behind. I also tried riding him a bit more like an auction horse at the Verband and emphasizing he sit more. I've been using my thighs, core, and seat to kind of "pick him up" when I leg yield or use a lateral movement and kind of catch him when he's articulating his hind leg more to maintain that feeling (if that makes sense). I've also been carrying my hands higher and I kind of bump him occasionally, so he maintains the suppleness and doesn't use his underneck to keep up (this is recent, I don't think he would have handled it well 3wks ago) as he's gotten a lot stronger. Then he does long, low and deep because he can't maintain that for very long. He also does a little jumping to help with the canter.

I also do quite a bit with transitions but not necessarily to walk or halt very often, more from a working trot to shortened into a medium trot back to working and same with canter. I like this better than going to walk or halt because I want to develop and emphasize the push power right now, though we'll work more on direct transitions between gaits down the line (he usually stops square or pretty close to it). And then counter canter has come along quite well. He can pick up either lead based on what I ask and that makes me happy, he still needs quite a bit of help in the counter canter but it's definitely improved his canter. He's sitting more and feels a lot stronger. Still a LONG LONG way to go but it's improving.
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Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 03-26-2015 at 12:58 PM.
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post #18 of 18 Old 03-27-2015, 04:17 PM
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Loosen up on the reins!
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