I'm sick of lessons and chasing some ideal in someone else's mind - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 59 Old 11-27-2016, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsef View Post
If I tried to adjust a horse before a jump, we would both fall flat on our face :)
But that's the point of all this stuff. So you don't fall on your face.
Quote:
I understand what you are saying about building back muscles and soundness - in theory. In practice I keep seeing these dressage horses break down. There is ALWAYS something wrong with them, at least the ones around me. I presume it's because they work much harder than my mare :)

Thanks.
Imagine an equal work load between a horse worked correctly and your horse. All other factors equal, who would be more comfortable and sound in the long run? Who'd get sore muscles quicker. They are probably ridden more and asked for more than your mare so they appear to be injured more.

I know tonnes of horses who competed heavily all their lives and are still sound for a hack and jump at age 25+.

I'm not saying one way or another regarding your lessons. The "I don't want to learn that because I don't understand it" way you're going about it is what gets me. I'm a theoretical perfectionist. I need to understand everything before I can judge a situation.

When I first started with my current trainer he cracked down on me and my outside rein. I didn't understand why I needed outside rein to turn a circle. I fought it mentally for a while before I finally understood the purpose. Learning that opened up so many more opportunities.

Just sayin'.
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post #22 of 59 Old 11-27-2016, 02:44 AM
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That's a lot of lessons. Drop down to one and spend the rest of the week having fun. Im a big fan of just getting out and into trouble :) I also do not see a poblem with you doing small jumps, especially if you enjoy it. If we always waited for the perfect circumstances we would never ride.
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post #23 of 59 Old 11-27-2016, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ApuetsoT View Post
But that's the point of all this stuff. So you don't fall on your face.


Imagine an equal work load between a horse worked correctly and your horse. All other factors equal, who would be more comfortable and sound in the long run? Who'd get sore muscles quicker. They are probably ridden more and asked for more than your mare so they appear to be injured more.

I know tonnes of horses who competed heavily all their lives and are still sound for a hack and jump at age 25+.

I'm not saying one way or another regarding your lessons. The "I don't want to learn that because I don't understand it" way you're going about it is what gets me. I'm a theoretical perfectionist. I need to understand everything before I can judge a situation.

When I first started with my current trainer he cracked down on me and my outside rein. I didn't understand why I needed outside rein to turn a circle. I fought it mentally for a while before I finally understood the purpose. Learning that opened up so many more opportunities.

Just sayin'.
That's the trouble with moaning, especially in writing - I exqdurated and it does come across one-sided :)


I really do understand what you are saying and I've been reading a lot about dressage over the years , and watching hours and hours of videos and I do understand what it is. I think I'm just burnt out at the moment and not seeing any progress. This might not be the best instructor and that might be a part of it. I really don't want to slander anyone online, even if it anonymous, so I'll just leave it at that.

Thank you for your advice :)

Edit: let's just say I don't agree with my instructor on order in which a horse should be trained. She insists on collection (or trying for it) but my mare wiggles all over the place if she is not going fast. Not just for me, but for my instructor as well. As far as I know, straightness should come before collection. If the mare is wiggling, I don't think she is ready for it and is avoiding it. And it's been like that for 3,4 months without much improvement. And it irritates me.

Last edited by Horsef; 11-27-2016 at 03:16 AM.
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post #24 of 59 Old 11-27-2016, 07:03 AM
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Here's the Dressage Training Pyramid. You really need to have EVERYTHING before you can have good Collection. The fact that your mare gets all wiggly and fights means she's not got rhythm or relaxation and isn't ready.

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post #25 of 59 Old 11-27-2016, 09:08 AM
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Trainers and instructors feel the necessity to push riders as far as they can go but when they are geared towards showing/competition they become blind to the student's desires. Every trainer/instructor is aware that their students abilities reflect on them so many push harder than they should. Also, there is big money in showing, many won't take on a student unless they pay for the showing too.
I've never heard of anyone taking 5 lessons a week and I think you are seeing by all these posts that this is not the norm.

Look around and figure out what it is you really want to do with your horse. What is fun to you? There is no right or wrong answer. Do you want to do some trail riding or even a few clinics or small open shows? Take the money you are spending on lessons get yourself a truck and trailer. You could join a horse club that puts on small shows and that also has organized trail rides. You'll meet a lot of nice people and have a wider network of knowledge than just one trainer, one barn.

As far as lessons, maybe you could reserve some lesson time (now and then) to learn more about horsemanship-everything else except riding including learning about how to handle health problems and injuries. Anything you don't feel confident about so that you can wean yourself away from this dependency or sense of obligation to this trainer.

Your instructor probably should have figured out by now that she's trying to push you into a more advanced riding experience than you are interested in. The great majority of my students have zero interest in the kinds of things your instructor is pushing you to do. They simply want to spend time with horses and become a competent, confident rider. Maybe it's time for a heart to heart. There is nothing wrong with admitting that "hey, this isn't fun anymore". Five serious lessons a week would burn most people out!
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post #26 of 59 Old 11-27-2016, 10:20 AM
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@ApuetsoT : "A horse who is ridden 'correctly', meaning they are bending and in balance, lifting their shoulder and using their butt to move will be sounder.

Otherwise horses will just pull themselves around by the front legs, the muscles through their back will be weaker which the rider then sits on. Horse's backs really aren't that well designed biomechanically to hold people, compared to other animals. They may lose balance when turning, increase their stress because they feel like they are falling. There is an increased chance they can take a misstep and hurt themselves. If they aren't taught how to be ridden comfortably, they will have no idea that the 'correct' way is better. Many times people think a horse's natural way of going is the best way because its natural, but that is often head up, back dropped, heavy steps, and doesn't translate well to adding a rider.
"

Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
...There are two ways a horse can turn - straight and leaning. If you get on all fours and try to turn "straight", you will shorten your strides, particularly on the inside. With your knees and palms following the same track around a turn, you will go slower - but the vertical axis of your body will remain straight up and down.

However, if you try to turn faster and tighter, you will not be able to remain "straight". You can initially lighten your front and shove your hands a little sideways, turning your front end faster. If you keep increasing the speed and tightness of turn, then you will need to drop down and shove hard sideways. The book that pointed this out to me was written by a professor of mechanical engineering who also enjoyed riding horses. He pointed out that barrel racing horses do not collect to turn because that would make the turns too slow. They lower at the withers, typically.



It is the equine equivalent of this:



This photo is over 100 years old, but it shows a balance very similar to a modern athlete, tilted below the hips and vertical above:



Left on their own, horses rarely turn straight. I suspect if you measured metabolic rate versus turning, one would find a straight turn costs more, and so does the digging in turn. The "Momma Bear" turn would be to lighten the front a little and shove a little sideways. We don't have to lighten our front end since we only have two feet, but humans almost never turn "straight" either. If you tied a rope to a pole, and jogged around the pole with your shoulders forming a straight line with the rope, that would be "straight". And if you had not trained to do it, you would find it hard to do well....
There is nothing WRONG with teaching a horse to turn "straight", but it is not a requirement for the horse's health. There is also no need to teach a horse to shift weight to its rear to 'balance' for longevity. The horse is well built for carrying more weight on the front end. Why? Because the front legs are not directly attached to the back. The weight on the rear end is carried in the hips and directly to the legs and ground. In the front, a cradle of muscle supports the weight of the horse and rider. If you wish to reduce peak impact - which is what is likely to damage bones and joints - supporting it in a cradle of elastic muscle makes more sense than transferring directly via bone.

With back muscles - they will develop more when ridden. And that will work fine, as a huge number of trail horses who were never ridden "collected" have demonstrated. A horse adjusts to increased weight by adjusting its stride, so that each foot stays on the ground a little longer. It also shortens its stride. It does not do so by rounding its back - something that is physically impossible for a horse to do to any significant degree.

None of this makes it wrong or bad to teach or compete in dressage. But the approach to riding used in dressage is not superior to other approaches and it does not improve longevity.

So what should you do, Horsef? Pretty much whatever you want. If you enjoy lessons and see value for what you do, continue. If they are not helping you or your horse do what you want to do with your horse, then drop the lessons. Or compromise, and cut back. It isn't a sin to ride horses and not take lessons.

My youngest daughter wanted to learn enough to trail ride. She had a wonderful instructor. I think she took lessons weekly for 1-1.5 years. Then the INSTRUCTOR said, "You're fully ready for trail riding. You don't need more lessons, just more riding on trails. If you ever want to do something else, try barrel racing or reining or WP or whatever, give me a call. Until then...have fun!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chasin Ponies View Post
...Look around and figure out what it is you really want to do with your horse. What is fun to you? There is no right or wrong answer. Do you want to do some trail riding or even a few clinics or small open shows? Take the money you are spending on lessons get yourself a truck and trailer. You could join a horse club that puts on small shows and that also has organized trail rides...
Exactly. Decide what motivates you and your horse to ride, and adjust to match THOSE goals. If you want to compete, or just enjoy Haute Ecole, take lessons in dressage. If you don't, then adjust any lessons you take to your goals. If that means no lessons, fine.

If your horse is too forward on the trail, fussing too much and being a nuisance, that is a separate issue. An open horizon affects a lot of horse different from an arena, and they need to learn a measure of calmness in the open. Post a thread and you can get advice on that issue.
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post #27 of 59 Old 11-27-2016, 12:33 PM
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@bsms

Ever hear the phrase "A horse has to be bent in order to be straight"? I means what it sounds like. Your horse will not be truly straight unless they are able to be bent.

Barrel racers aren't(or shouldn't be) throwing their horses at the cans however they want. Those horses still are stopped and told, "No, I want your shoulder over here, move like this". In order to be able to do that, the have to be schooled on the flat. It's not just a dressage thing. While a working cow horse may not have the same degree of formal schooling sessions, now I have never ridden one, but I would bet if you put your leg on one, it would move and if you asked it to flex it would flex. Jumpers will often go around their corners straight or slightly counter bend. They will also go around in a true bend. They can do that and not kill themselves over those heights is because of their flat schooling.

The average horse with average riding will be fine skipping down a trail however they want. My point is that there is a point to all this other stuff, not just to get ribbons.
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post #28 of 59 Old 11-27-2016, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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I am so confused with these two, the BO and the instructor. The BO was instructing me today (this never happens) and she's telling me to drop contact because my mare is leaning on the bit and to let her go fast if she wants to. I thought she was joking for a couple of minutes. Really... I'm speeachless. I have no idea who's right and what I should be doing. Whatever 😳
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post #29 of 59 Old 11-27-2016, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsef View Post
Rant ahead, turn away if you don't particularly enjoy reading a good moan :)

So, I've been riding for 4 years, bought my mare in spring this year. I'm taking 5 lessons a week. I don't particularly want to do anything with my horse other than spend time with her and ride. No competitions or shows, no goals other than not falling off. I've achieved my goal admirably, I haven't fallen off in a year :)

So, I'm not even sure what my instructor is trying to achieve. "Yes, you did turn but she wasn't bent". "See, now she's bent. Isn't that much better?". I couldn't see the difference. I mean, yes, I can see the physical difference but I just can't see the point. We turned just fine without bending. And we turned much more pleasantly , because I didn't have to think about half halting, knees, legs, head, shoulder, hand - I just turned my horse around without the whole production - and she turned. Good enough for me.

Same thing with speed. My mare is forward. And I like forward, that's why I bought her. My instructor has me working to slow her down. We slow her down. I don't like it. Plus, when she's going slowly she gets gate-sour and keeps wiggling and I keep having to correct her and it just irritates me to no end. "But she's not tracking from behind when she's going fast". I couldn't give a fly's whisker about where she's working from as long as we are moving, not prancing about and having to think about a million details to keep her prancing.

She keeps giving me these instructions and then telling me "See, so much better". Well, I usually see no difference. The horse is moving, I haven't fallen off either way.

I wanted to jump small jumps. "No, neither you nor the mare are ready". I jump them when she's not there without any trouble.

Sorry, I just had to get it out on here because my husband can't take any more horse talk :)

And another thing: all that bending and tracking from behind and my former western trail mare still goes much better over poles than hers. She's been riding him for six years, all pretty head and tucked tummy: "Whack, whack, whack". Maybe I should be giving her lessons. My mare goes over them nicely, no stumbling and whacking. Maybe because I'm not fussing so much :)
I would ditch your instructor to be honest. Its much more fun to do what you want to do and not have anyone tell you what to do. It sounds like you and your horse are fine without her.
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post #30 of 59 Old 11-27-2016, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsef View Post
I am so confused with these two, the BO and the instructor. The BO was instructing me today (this never happens) and she's telling me to drop contact because my mare is leaning on the bit and to let her go fast if she wants to. I thought she was joking for a couple of minutes. Really... I'm speeachless. I have no idea who's right and what I should be doing. Whatever ��
Sorry for the double post.

You do what you want to do. Find what works best for you and your horse on your own. Ignore everyone else unless you actually want their opinion.

Have a blessed day!
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