One of THOSE lessons -rant- - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-11-2013, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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One of THOSE lessons -rant-

So I was at riders club on Sunday and I'm really really not happy with the instructor. I've never had an instructor who I felt such disdain for, I've never second guessed an instructor so much.

So to begin with in the flat session she was REALLY focused on headset. I explained to her I'd not done a lot of dressage and quite frankly wasn't great at it. I actually understated my dressage.

So in my opinion when someone has said they don't do a lot of dressage you shouldn't expect them to keep their horses nose down for an hour and a half.
When asking for proper collection a horse that can tend to carry itself quite hollow can be using muscles that aren't often used. It's hard on them. Or at least that's what I've always gone with.

She had me maintain contact with my outside rein and fiddle with my inside. Lots of fiddling. What this created was Prin's nose down with a very flappy rein.
This seemed to be what the instructor was looking for. Can anyone explain this?
To me this is creating an avoidance of the bit, head down but no contact.
Plus how can I be expected to relay subtle commands when I'm fiddleing With the reins.

What do you guys think?

Then cross country was annoying! I'm really aware I'm about to sound like a brat!

We started out over grade 4/5 nice little warm ups. Popped over a 3 piece with a grade 3 element at the end and I got a little left behind. Nothing major in fact I did it with style, popped over again fine.
The instructor got a little nervous.

We went over to the dry water jump and I opted for the grade 3 again, she didn't specify, the only difference was a telegraph pole on top of the bank. Also it was a straight line rather than an angle. Nothing I haven't done before!

"oh you scared me coming up the big one, are you going to do that again?"
To which I replied, "yup it's a better line". She said nothing.

We then spent 5 mins going over a 30cm stick. Instructor was very focused on keeping the green ponies nose down over it.

We headed over to the tires and there were 2 sets, one buried up to the wall, the other standing normally. She refused to let me do the slightly larger jump until I'd done the first one fair enough. Then I went to go over the larger jump and her advice was " don't fall off".
Umm really?

So at the first approach prin's raced forward thrown in an extra stride and jumped a bit awkwardly. I brought her back around and slowed her down this time to a slow canter. Meanwhile the instructors standing by the jump clicking at my horse. Not impressed!

I landed and explained that I was purposefully slowing her down, so she didn't rush. I took her over another 4 times, maintaining the canter. I was happy she'd settled and I could follow her much better when she wasnt hooning.

Prin was a bit puffed unsurprisingly. However considering she's a fit hunter I wasn't worried.

Within a minute her breathing was normal.

We wandered back towards the arenas I thought we were looking for the next obstacles. Turns out we were heading in. We were out for half an hour.

So apparently my horse breathing heavily means it can't do anymore work, oh and we can't jump a full tire high.
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-11-2013, 11:02 PM
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I really liked the way you explained the lesson, your questions and issues with what went on there. I'm looking very forward to hearing what those with proper experience have to say about your lesson.

I'm feeling for you because from my very *uneducated* POV, it sounds to me like everything you explained was frustrating, as to the outsider, WAS FRUSTRATING, and you were correct in your assessments of what "didn't go as it should"; the need for additional information from the trainer re: the tremendous importance placed upon "headset" in a horse without having a built up musculature yet necessary to carry itself properly in good "non-hollow" form for longer periods of time.

I'm impressed, because it sounds like you were there, ready to work, and work HARD! You just weren't being given proper explanation for the training behind a lot of what they were asking for. Others??
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-11-2013, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Considering last time I was on a xc course it was an AMAZING clinic and we were jumping simple 1m obstacles. More complex at about 60cm. Hence the frustration
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-11-2013, 11:42 PM
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You need to talk with her. She may not realize you are frustrated.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-12-2013, 12:32 AM
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There shouldn't be any fiddling with the reins.

I've seen instructors tell their students to spreads their arms back to their knees and either seasaw with the reins or fiddle fiddle fiddle to get the head down. THIS KILLS ME.

Or I've seen instructors tell students that if they just kind of "tickle" the reins enough, they will get the head down. Still incorrect but not as nerve grating as the first.

When the horse is stepping through, ribcage flexed over your leg, motion and impulsion coming from the back end, listening and understanding the halfhalfs in your seat and leg, his head will settle down when you apply a positioning rein (your inside rein) and a half halt rein (outside rein).

When you rise, you position with the inside slightly. When you sit, you half halt with your outside rein. Your legs tell the horse which way to go, along with your seat and sometimes an adjustment in the reins. Your seat and legs also determine the horses rhythm, with the reins coming in last for fine tune or reinforcement.

The idea of the positioning rein is to bend the horse around your leg, which drives him forward and into the outside rein where he will meet the half halt, which will tell him what to do next depending on what your other aids are asking.

It's really quite complex and the pressures with leg, seat and rein differ with every stride and every direction and angle. Your weight aids are also considered.

But can you get a "proper headset" with holding the outside rein while fiddling with the inside? No. You'll get a fake headset.

You can not teach this in one lesson, especially with a horse and rider who have never done it before, or have the coordination and muscling (yet) to do this.

This is just a very small step to true collection. People believe that if the horses head is down, he is collected when really what they've achieved is a "round frame" if they are doing it correctly. People believe that if the horses stride slows, he is collected when really what they have achieved is a form of balance and rhythm.

Dressage is tricky and there's a reason why it takes people about 10 years of constant, correct, everyday study to get anywhere near where they want to be with it.

You can't teach that in a single lesson.

Sorry, I kind if went off on a rant there. I'm just a humble trail rider these days, but some things really just grind my gears.
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-12-2013, 12:53 AM
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Quote:
When you rise, you position with the inside slightly. When you sit, you half halt with your outside rein. Your legs tell the horse which way to go, along with your seat and sometimes an adjustment in the reins. Your seat and legs also determine the horses rhythm, with the reins coming in last for fine tune or reinforcement.

The idea of the positioning rein is to bend the horse around your leg, which drives him forward and into the outside rein where he will meet the half halt, which will tell him what to do next depending on what your other aids are asking.
Copperhead can I just say... this is exactly what my coach is trying to get me to practice on my own time and your little description made everything she's told me settle very nicely together. So thank you for that! It's a concept that's painfully difficult to describe, I think a lot of instructors have trouble with that.
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-12-2013, 01:39 AM
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Quote:
When you rise, you position with the inside slightly. When you sit, you half halt with your outside rein. Your legs tell the horse which way to go, along with your seat and sometimes an adjustment in the reins. Your seat and legs also determine the horses rhythm, with the reins coming in last for fine tune or reinforcement.

The idea of the positioning rein is to bend the horse around your leg, which drives him forward and into the outside rein where he will meet the half halt, which will tell him what to do next depending on what your other aids are asking.
Wanted to thank for this explanation, too. Just what I needed to understand the concept a bit more and put it in my training.
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-12-2013, 02:56 AM
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I don't know much about cross-country but the don't fall off comment was not what a good instructor would say. I do not ride dressage but I have attended a few clinics, and that is the wrong place to focus, as the above post explained so well, legs, body, seat, positions are first as they control the majority of what you want from a horse, the hands, the easiest part to learn if you got a good handle on the others, is the regulator for fine tuning. Sorry you didn't learn anything from this lesson other than to not attend anymore of her sessions.
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post #9 of 12 Old 06-12-2013, 04:00 AM
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I agree with Copperhead, no fiddling with the reins. You are correct in that to expect any horse to carry its head 'set' when it is not use to it, is incorrect.

Using the reins to get the dreaded headset will make most horses go hollow.

Sounds like the instructor had no bottle!
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-12-2013, 09:57 AM
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Every once in a while I remember my dressage days. It's very useful to have in training horses of any discipline. Glad some of you found my explanation helpful.

I'd also like to comment in the "no weight" in the bridle idea.

Usually when a horse has hit a certain level of dressage training (way far down the line) they will reach self carriage. Basically, you can drop the reins and the horse will automatically stay rounded and softened without contact from the hands. The horse is completely on the leg/seat/weight aids and you have no use for the reins. I've seen it done once with my instructor. She could do canter half pass while holding only the buckle of her reins and her horse was in complete self carriage.

This is an advanced step in the training tree.

However, there can be times where a horse is strong enough and on your aids enough to give you a stride or two of self carriage in the lower levels.

My horse will sometimes offer this for maybe half of a circle and then come back for guidence. It never lasts very long and I don't expect it to based on the fact that she is not muscled or developed for long term self carriage, and I'm not a dressage master. She's a western horse and I only do basic dressage on her for training purposes. The self carriage she gives me for a couple seconds every once in a while is an added bonus.

Expecting a horse who has very little dressage training to self carry their mass in a frame is asking a lot. It may have been self carriage, or the horse may have been evading the bit. I can't tell you without some kind if visual. But it is unusual for a horse to round, balance, straighten, lift, give proper impulsion, have proper contact, etc that it takes for self carriage, in one lesson when it's never done it before. Not impossible, just not probable unless you want to fry his brain.

I had the unfortunate experience of taking a dressage lesson from a woman who wanted collection in the first lesson on a horse who had never even been off the forehand. Needless to say I never went back.
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