Bandit, Cowboy & bsms...muddling through together - Page 60 - The Horse Forum
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post #591 of 1932 Old 11-06-2016, 04:02 PM
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Agreed! Maybe time for you to get that YouTube account so we can see slow-motion canter and good riding position. From what I've read, YouTube is so simple even a six-year-old can do it ... and, the article went on to say, "unfortunately, too many of them do."
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post #592 of 1932 Old 11-06-2016, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LlamaPacker View Post
Agreed!...so we can see slow-motion canter and good riding position...."
So much for good riding position... But I'm honest, I guess. And slow motion is VERY honest!


At least my legs are taking most of the shock, and not my butt and his back (directly). I think. I had a large Buck knife in my back pocket and forgot it was there, so I can't be sinking too far into the saddle...sure looks awful, though.

I do think these videos show a trot and canter in an easy to see way in terms of how the horse moves...
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Last edited by bsms; 11-06-2016 at 04:21 PM.
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post #593 of 1932 Old 11-06-2016, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Got a very short ride in on Bandit. I feel bad about my videos and I wanted to experiment with some things. His lip had scabbed over, so I took a chance on his new bit. Jeffers sent me the wrong one. I wanted the one with a knuckle in the middle with one joint, and they sent me the dogbone version with a roller. Said some bad words, then decided to keep it and try it.

The advantage to it can be seen in this photo. It will keep the mouthpiece crossing the tongue at 90 degrees and won't allow things to sag toward his teeth - which are just in front of his lip corner:



Just one ride, so too soon to say. But it looks promising. I've got about a half-wrinkle in Bandit's lip, but I might be able to drop it another hole without it sagging into his teeth. He seemed very relaxed in it, but like Mia, he has now been in a LOT of different bits.

I took the sheepskin off the saddle, dropped my stirrups two holes and tried how it felt. The sheepskin covers a multitude of sins. With bare, hard leather underneath...yeah, I slide more. The cantle curves around enough that the sides touch me where my buttocks meet my thighs. But because I have no more butt than Whinnie the Pooh had brain, there is then a big gap behind me - easily an inch, maybe more. So the saddle would be the right size if I could convince my fat to end its love affair with my belly button and migrate to where it would do me some good. Of course, after 58 years, I doubt my fat will pay any more attention to me now than it has during the previous 5+ decades....

In terms of position and motion, though, it is a mixed bag. I was trying to do a two point yesterday and stand in the stirrups. If that is my goal, I need to shorten my stirrups more so I can get further out of the saddle.

But it was and is easier to scoop my rear along and sit the canter with the longer leg - preferably a hole longer than what I used today. What I did yesterday results in my needing to poop or get off the pot - one of the other, but halfway in between allows me to do neither right.

But I tried something I hadn't tried before. I put my fingertips under the rear of the saddle tree (at a standstill), and tried to compare how the TREE was affected by my leaning back as far as I could, or as far forward without moving my hand. And the result was that the tips of the saddle tree may have moved 1/4" tops. I'd guess closer to 1/8". That would be in line with what the Nikkels say about a good saddle tree - that a cowboy can rope and haul cattle all day without needing a rear cinch. I suspect the results would be different with an English tree. Leaning forward DOES match my center of gravity to my horse's as he accelerates. But I don't think it is affecting the PSI under the saddle much, or the saddle balance much. The western rider can never get very far forward on a western tree, and the stirrups are hung on 3" leathers much further back. In fact, the rear edge of the leathers is almost centered on the tree:



This would also support why my horses often act indifferent to my position. If the tree fits, and the cinch is medium tight...maybe it just doesn't change things much. They KNOW I'm moving, but the tree might not be shifting enough for it to cause them a problem.

Hmmmm....more to think about.

Also, I did try cantering with my fingertips under the rear of the tree. All I learned was that it was a great way for me to look and feel like an idiot. It was so awkward that I didn't learn squat, other than that I was glad my wife didn't come out and take pictures.

What I'm leaning toward now is saying that I don't care about proper position. Maybe my compromise stirrup length is perfectly acceptable to my horse. Bandit didn't seem to mind it. It felt secure to me. And my hands were OK.

I realize I grossly overthink things, to the point of being hopelessly anal. But the mechanics of riding and how tack affects the mechanics of riding fascinates me. I'd love to try some of this with a pressure pad...except I've read that interpreting the results is tough. But it is frustrating. They can spend money to study rollkur on Warmbloods, but not to find out what happens when a 5 Ingredient Rider rides a Craigslist horse. I'd like to see a study:

The Effects of Six Riding Positions by Doofus Riders Riding a Craigslist Horses

That would be something that might apply to millions of horses. Rollkur? Who needs to study it? Isn't the Yuck Factor enough?

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post #594 of 1932 Old 11-06-2016, 10:33 PM
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bsms,

I watched about half that slo mo video of you posting the trot, and , guess what? to me, you aren't posting at all. you are sort of lalf seating it.


you are going up and down with every footfall. you are rising both on the right AND the left shoulder. I looked at this several times and it looks like rather than posting , you are just moving long sort of loosely and lightly standing in teh stirrup, absorbing the motion with slight up and down with every foot fall. I guess that is what you would call a half seat.


watch it. watch yourself rise and say, which shoulder is going forward as I go up? oh, the right one. ok . . .but then when you go up the next time, the left shoulder is going forward. it's double time of posting.
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post #595 of 1932 Old 11-06-2016, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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I wasn't trying to post. I wasn't trying to sit. I was trying to stay just out of the saddle. My main focus was my hands, and trying to keep Bandit going in the right direction without using much pressure on his face.

This is at 4:24 in the video. It is my lowest point to the saddle in that cycle:



About 2 seconds later, at the high point:



Enlarged like that, I don't think I was too far off at a trot. I'm not cycling very far down into the seat, nor very far out. My legs are doing OK as shock absorbers, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Ideally, my center of gravity would graph on a straight line, so that Bandit would not be wasting effort moving my weight in the vertical - but that goal is beyond me.

And Bandit is still too tense and stiff in the back. He will once in a while give me a nice jog, and sometimes he is much stiffer than in the video. Given his past experience being ridden at 30% or higher body weight, he used to automatically go to "steel I-beam" stiff. Now he is merely tense and hard. The goal is supple...but we both have challenges.

The cantering bothers me a lot more, but I haven't practiced it much and the lack of practice shows. On a straight line, I think I get in better synch with Bandit, but my cantering really needs work. I may press Trooper into service. He is less stiff at a canter. He needs the exercise, and unlike Bandit, he doesn't care how many laps we do. Bandit, OTOH, is not fond of arena work. I actually appreciate how patient he was yesterday and today. Like Mia, he just doesn't see much purpose in working hard to go in circles...

PS - I hate posting. I'd rather walk or stand than continually get in and out of a chair, and I feel the same way about posting a trot. If we went for miles, it might be different. But we rarely have more than 1/4 mile good for trotting at a time, and for that, I can stand. I don't mind a sitting trot, but Bandit protects his back, I think, and anything I can do to get off it seems worth a try.
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Last edited by bsms; 11-06-2016 at 11:30 PM.
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post #596 of 1932 Old 11-06-2016, 11:54 PM
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that explains it. I somehow, in my mixed up brain, thought you had said it was a video of you posting. my bad, mr.

I see exactly what you are talking about. I used to do that on Mac, the apaloosa I used to ride, because he had a short choppy trot that was easiest to sort of 'float' over it.


I think to be in that position, you have to be leaning a bit forward. it's not possible otherwise.
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post #597 of 1932 Old 11-06-2016, 11:55 PM
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Bandit would be an interesting horse to work with Harry Whitney. you might consider trailering him over to do a clinic at his Arizona ranch.
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post #598 of 1932 Old 11-07-2016, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
I see exactly what you are talking about. I used to do that on Mac, the apaloosa I used to ride, because he had a short choppy trot that was easiest to sort of 'float' over it.


I think to be in that position, you have to be leaning a bit forward. it's not possible otherwise.
Agree, I think of it as a very low two point. You're off the saddle but barely, and your weight goes up and down onto your thighs and down through your legs (but not onto your butt) with each stride.

I was just impressed at how nicely Bandit tracks up and how straight he travels at the trot. Each hind comes up equally into the heel of the footprint of the front hoof. He reaches very well and stays even around the bends. Really a nice, straight mover, uses his body well.

Your discussions are not helping me with my decision about getting another saddle. Why ARE english stirrups attached to the front of the tree? No wonder we always struggle with pressure there. Perhaps for a heavy two pointer and galloper like myself, it would be helpful to have the stirrups attached to the center of the tree to distribute the pressure and not unbalance the horse.
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post #599 of 1932 Old 11-07-2016, 09:35 AM
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You won't love it after you see it! This is cantering. I've got to say, watching myself in slow-motion is embarrassing. It is kind of scary. Every flaw in slooo-mooootioooon.
Thank you!

See I think this is awesome - just to be able to see the details of the movement and the riding in general. That said, I also can see how this would be a really nifty way to self-correct and pick at things if that's what floated your boat.
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post #600 of 1932 Old 11-07-2016, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
Bandit would be an interesting horse to work with Harry Whitney. you might consider trailering him over to do a clinic at his Arizona ranch.
I'd love to do that some day. If you will remember, at first I didn't like Harry Whitney and considered him too "zen" for my tastes. But over time, I've come to appreciate his way of thinking. I think sometimes we need to have certain experiences, or come to certain conclusions on our own, before we can understand what another person is really saying.

If I'm at A, and someone is teaching about D, it may make no sense. But if I've got A down, am thinking hard about B, and encountering something that is making me consider C, then the same passage can fill in the blanks and get my MIND to A, B, C & D. Unfortunately, my body may not be able to perform D. Or my mind may not be able to read the horse well enough to do D. But if I can grasp D, I can then work on it.

And a lot of times, I find my horse is already operating at E, and reaching back to me. But my horse may have physical limits too. Bandit can canter OK in our arena counter-clockwise, but he needs to take an egg-shaped circle. At the top of the egg, you could see how he falls into a trot and then resumes a canter coming out of it. And in the opposite direction, he takes a counter-canter.

I ought to do more arena work to loosen him up at a trot clockwise. Just as stiffness in MY body hampers MY riding, stiffness in Bandit's body hampers his ability to be ridden. I guess one advantage to taking Motrin before a ride is that I can understand when he is stiff, and not complain he is being rebellious or stubborn!

I think Harry Whitney allows for auditing. If so, I might try that first.

"He reaches very well and stays even around the bends. Really a nice, straight mover, uses his body well."

I was happy with his attitude. He was tense because we don't do this sort of thing often, and it was his first try in that sidepull (which I like a lot better than the first - softer rope and no knots on the bridge of his nose). He also doesn't like just going in circles. But he was willing enough..."If it matters to you, I guess I'll give it a shot" type of thing. Horses seem like very eager to cooperate creatures, which is why I don't understand the folks who think their horses spend their nights plotting to take over the world.

"Why ARE english stirrups attached to the front of the tree?"

Because there is no where else to put them. I think the question ought to be, "Why does the English saddle tree end at the stirrup bars?" Some folks are experimenting with flared ends to the English tree, but I think the English tree is fundamentally flawed. Suppose, instead of the front ending in a point, one placed a ball bearing at the point, and underneath had something similar to the front of a western tree, about the size of a persons hand, and rounded like the western one so the muscles could slide easily underneath. The ball bearing would automatically allow the front of the saddle to adjust to an angle it was resting on.

The English saddle panels now extend down the sides, forming an L. The Australian style never gained that downward panel - it just goes front to back. I think that L-shaped panel was added to help distribute weight toward the front, but a panel running nearly vertical on the side doesn't do that. It seems to me English saddle makers need to replace the "point" with a "palm".

When people talk about saddle fit, they discuss the spine and the ribs as if the bones carry the weight. But what bothers the horse, IMHO, is pressure against the muscle and skin. Heck, the front legs of the horse aren't even attached - if one looks at skeletons. The muscles in the shoulder bear all the weight of the horse's body, plus the rider. We are carried by muscle and skin, not by bones. So why would we EVER design a saddle tree with a front end like this:



I realize there are panels and flocking underneath. But when I tried my western saddle on a short wool pad, where the pad barely reached the front of the saddle, even THAT created a ridge of pressure in the front.

But a western saddle has a very wide twist, so to speak. Keeping lower leg contact is easy n my Australian saddle. Rarely happens with my western one. Which then raises the question: Why do so many people say they can ride a Western and English saddle the same? I try to, so I know it CAN be tried. But the western saddle does NOT fit me anything like the Australian (and English) one.

What I tried yesterday, leaning forward and back, has convinced me I can probably ride an adapted forward seat in my western saddle, and my horse won't care. As long as my center of gravity lines up with his, the saddle will take care of protecting his back. But I think this photo, probably taken around 1930, shows how a western saddle it designed to be ridden:



I would feel incredibly uncomfortable riding fast like this:


Emory Sager, of the Shoe Bar Ranch on "Old Blue", his "Wonder Horse", cutting out cattle from the herd. Shoe Bar Ranch, Texas, 1912

Erwin E. Smith Collection Guide | Collection Guide

Same guy here:



I don't have it in me to ride that way. But I'd also bet my horse wouldn't mind if I did. Almost all modern teaching is that the rider above is abusing his horse, but most modern teaching is rooted in the English saddle. I've only been able to find a handful of western riding books, and not a single one discusses western riding.

The guy I took lessons from at Utah State one quarter, who was an ex-cowboy, wrote a book. He did a cut & paste from a dressage manual. He included a cut & paste about how shoulder - hip - heel all need to be in a vertical line. Yet in a hundred photos of him riding in the book, the ONLY one where he obeyed that rule was the one taken to illustrate it!

I guess that is why I feel free to experiment with Mia and Bandit, and try to adapt the forward seat to my western saddle, while keeping my main goal - keeping the horse between me and the ground, even when the horse doesn't tell me what he is going to do - as my top priority.

I truly get frustrated when almost all the studies about weight and balance in riding are oriented to riding dressage with warmbloods. I know that is where the big bucks are available. But it would be soooo nice to see a study done of weight distribution, in motion, using a western saddle and multiple styles of riding. Which one IS best for the horse? Instead, we study rollkur...
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