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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yes! I had a great practice again AND got it on video, which I'm working on right now.
:)

But here are the details:
I rode with the martengale again, I loooove it and have it set so it only works when she gets all hot and bothered and morphs into a giraffe.
I worked a lot of seat and voice cues today - and had her rating when I would just say "eaaasy" (I came to the conclusion she's like on of Sherry Cervi's horses when she says "the more i pick, the hotter and he/she gets") so I really want to get to the point of riding her on the pattern with as much seat and voice as possible.

She was very relaxed the whole ride. Still has some issues with picking up her leads in warmup - she looooves to crossfire and have you any idea how hard it is to tell if your horse is cross firing when you are on it!? Hhahaha I had to lean over and try to see the shadow and it was interesting to say the least.

Heres a picture of how I like to see martengales adjusted... the way some people do it makes me cringe.



And she was STARVING after her ride. You'd swear she isnt on turnout all day and all night. (no wonder she has so much energy)

(Guilty face ^^^^)



And then back at the barn to unsaddle





 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I had to split the video into two parts - just too much good stuff for one video!!!

So here's the first part:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
And part two!!!

I know in the loping part she gets "hoppy" and its cause she wants to run and I'm telling her NO. Which she is getting better at handling instead of throwing a fit when I say "NO", she stopped and walked the pattern on a loose rein after! So it's ALL good.


The martengale pic got all messed up so here it is:
 

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Wow, you're so good that you can practice a day in the future and post it ahead of time! ......... You have July 13th as the practice date ........ that's tomorrow!! :wink:

Overall, yes, I do see some improvement in Squiggy. But I still see a lot of the same mistakes we talked about before (a lot of them the same mistakes I was making with Red and didn't realize it until someone pointed it out).

Bend, bend, bend, and some more bend!!! You always go STRAIGHT into your turns. Here's an example:



At this point of the turn, since she's still learning, she needs to have bend in her body.

I love this video of Dena Kirkpatrick because she has beautiful bend in her horses.


In another video of hers, compare her horse's position to Squiggy above. Squiggy is straight; Dena has bend.




Video that goes with that:



I'd also be tempted to try a German martingale on Squiggy.
Ed Wright German Martingale - The Tack Stop
I personally don't like running martingales at all. I don't think they help.

And really work on keeping Squiggy's hip INWARD when you initiate the turn. I do see you correcting her here and there, but you aren't consistent with it. So she is still swinging her butt OUT in the turn and not engaging it.

This screen shot doesn't capture it as much as the video, but she swings around the barrel big time on this one.




When she does that, circle that barrel again and again until she gives you a nice one. Then move on. I've a big fan of circling the barrel multiple times until your horse gives you what you want.

And exactly how many times did you do the pattern? I tried to kind of count and you must have done the pattern 15 to 20 times. That is WAY too much, in my opinion. You're going to sour her. At least mix it up and do some drills, or all rights, or all lefts, or work on pole bending, etc. Red would kill me if I took him through the pattern that many times on one occasion. Maybe 8 times was the very most I have ever worked the pattern with him.

I also see that Squiggy is starting to DIVE on you sometimes.


Getting her to bend and lift that inside shoulder as you approach your turn will help with her diving, and also circling the barrel several times will help her not to dive.

The important thing here is if they do a good job the first time, leave them alone. If Red gives me a good first barrel turn at the trot (for example) I do not make him circle it again. I let him move on. However, if he cuts his second barrel, I will circle it over and over until he gives me a good turn. But when he does give me a good one, I move onto the next barrel. Etc. So that might mean when I go to practice the barrels, we might walk it once, trot it once, lope it once, and then QUIT. If he did a good job at each gait and I didn't have to correct him, my reward to him is QUITTING because he did a good job.


Yes, I do see some improvement since the last video. She isn't throwing her head/nose as much (still some) but it is better. Again, I think a German martingale would work much better than a running martingale.

Make sure you keep that hip in.

Make sure you keep bend in her body the whole time and that shoulder up (use your inside leg to create the bend and keep the shoulder up). Circle the barrel multiple times when she doesn't keep her butt engaged.

And don't do the pattern 20 times in one practice. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh poo. The date on my laptop is wrong then :/
My biggest focus lately haa been her second barrel, because she was having the most issues with it.
I've been looking st german martangales and I'm not so sure about them. I guess I don't quite understand how they work so they scare me.
Looking back at the video and when you said ibgo straight into my turns, i know why. I keep her from turning until her hip is about at the barrel and don't ask for bend until then. It would make more sense if I asked for the bend, gave inside leg until jee hip was at the barrel and then asked for the turn.

I realize I did do the pattern a lot, but I've found with her, the more repititious I am, the better she is. If I quit when she does it good once or twice, then she always wants to quit and throws a fit when I ask for a bit more. In my experience with her, I'm better off releasing her rather than quitting and letting her walk trot or lope out, because she likes being forward and GOING. Shes a goofy horse like that ;)
 

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The german martingale is a great tool. For me, I leave it on the loosest ring and then cinch it down for ten minute or so, then let it out again. Ruger was one who was CONSTANTLY in it because he was a high headed son of a gun. Eventually he got to graduate out of it, but it took awhile.

How it works is when you pick up on the reins, the string through the bit tightens and adds more pressure to the horse to soften at the poll and put their head down. It picks up and "draws" them down, and makes it more difficult to go back up. If you ride light, you should be fine. Just know some horses might feel bound up about it at first, so make her give to it on the ground before you do anything else. And ALWAYS in a snaffle.



Have you ever put draw reins on Squiggy in the round pen? or tied her through the cinch D rings and up onto the horn? I do that with all colts, really gets them hunting the release and softening. They learn on their own that their head needs to be down.

If you tie the draw reins on your horn, then ask her to go around the round pen, she will learn to soften. Nothing too tight, just tight enough that she can't bring her head up but finds that natural softness.



Like that, but over the horn.

Or, if you choose to check them up through the D rings, (I personally do both) Then thread your split reins through on either side. Make it taught but not tooo tight.

Hard to find ANY pictures of that...But about this tight.



If you haven't done it before she might decide she wants to be stupid, throw herself around, just let her. She'll figure it out. Don't put too much pressure on her but still keep asking her to go forward.

I'm actually going to be doing this with two horses this weekend. If that doesn't make sense, I can take a video for you.

Definitely agree with Beau on the bend. Most of the problems you are having are consistent through the videos. Not enough bend, kicking hip, and diving in. Use your INSIDE leg. I need to find a video of that too. Inside leg says "Hey, look here, bend." They should curl around your inside leg. Your inside leg is gonna set them up for that turn. If you go in straight, they are stiff and are unable to set up for the turn and will blow out, raise their heads, etc. It will also take away the hip blowing once they soften to the inside.

I'm gonna share this picture of Selena again. Exaggerate the bend. Obviously they won't have this much when you're running mach 5, but do this practicing. See how soft and low headed she is? Also note how her hip is stepping in and not swinging out.



Look at this too. My inside leg was JUST going on her, and she was just turning her head to the left in preperation to turn a pole. Look at her hind leg, the inside one with the pink boot. Look how far under her that is.




Does that help at all?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I saw a how to on making your own german martengale, so I might give it a try. I looked at some on the weekend and they were priced stupidly for some leather and rings. LOL.

I've been using more inside leg lately and its starting to work the way its supposed to. She thought "oh crap, i gotta move away from that leg ASAP" VRRRROOOOOOM . But a lot of circling w/t into spirals and stuff with inside leg solid on her and outside leg bumping is working. The way I'm looking at that is that the inside leg is pushing her ribcage out and the outside leg is bumping her shoulders and hiney in, creating that "curl".

I have not used side reins on her, or draw reins. She gets really "accordion-ed" if I put too much pressure on her. She just bunches up and doesnt move out. I've been really pushing for moving out without her spazzing and launching around, and its working - thats why I've been back at working the pattern regularly. She is relaxed and I can now focus on something that isnt relaxing and freeing up a bit.
I might do a bit of it in accordance with our English rides, which I throw in and focus on her being round and giving me collection, extension, leg yeilds and stuff, so using draw reins as a warmup when lunging might be a good idea.
 

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I personally have had a lot of luck with the German Martingale. I use them for flat work and , Work at the Walk and trot and slow Canter.

As for Cross fireiing usually its because a horse need to develop the muscling to carry themselves appropriately. I would recommend spending some time working on circles at the walk and trot Varity the size from large to small and work on her getting to carry herself and not relying on you. I think that will help you bend and the dropping of the shoulder that you are feeling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I know her head is upitty, but I'm gauging things by how relaxed and soft she feels, not by where shes holding her head.
She is deffs much better with a martengale...
 

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Okay here we go, I'm just going through the video as I watch it...

She started to kick her hip a little in the beginning but it looks like you caught it on the backside of that first barrel at the trot which is good. You still came in a little too straight to the second, but circling it multiple times with that bend was good.

One thing I'm noticing big time is your hands are getting worse. Keep them low, spread apart, and don't drag your outside rein across her neck. That's going to make her drop her should and also cause for her blowing her hip out. Pull your outside rein just to your pommel and hold it there. Keep your inside hand low and to your pockets, and use your legs to hold her off the barrel. Right now it looks like your inside rein is being used to try and hold her off, which is making her bracey and is going to cause problems when you go faster. If she is trying to cut in on you, use your inside leg and counter arc her away from the barrel and leave it, or walk past the barrel to keep her stood up. Don't bring your hands up unless you wanna move them somewhere.

However, I do think that bend helped with her hip kicking. She did take a step out with her hip at the end of the second but it was in while you were circling which is improvement.

You can really see it on the third barrel first time through, you're not giving her the angle. Start bending her WAYYY out there, thirty feet out, halfway between the first and the second "tap tap" inside leg and bend her. Don't forget soften, bend is nothing without softening, but at this stage any little improvement is good.

On thing I'm noticing too is you are constantly on her face. Loosen your reins when she gives to you, relax a little, breathe her down if she gets hot on you. She's swishing her tail, chewing on the bit, and fighting you every step of the way because you're stressing her out. Don't pull so much, I think that would really settle her down. Just barely tighten your hand when you ask her to do something, and follow through with a gentle and then firmer and firmer pull if you need to. If you're always on her mouth, she'll never learn to soften up and come time to run barrels you'll have a lot of horse on your hands who doesn't know how to back off the bit...Which will be a lot of trouble.

The third time you went through, when you did your 360 around the first, she kicked her hip. She's kicking her hip almost every time at least one step..Which, granted, it's better than every single step that she used to do. You've gone from blowing her hip 95% of the time to only doing it about 75% of the time...But still, that's a good start, and I'm sure you'll get it down. Just think balanced thoughts. Imagine you're riding a third level dressage horse. Everything has to be right in place or they'll get in bad habits.

You really need to get this horse softening girl...The longer you wait and don't fuss over it, the worse she's going to get, and the harder it'll be to fix. Trust me, you NEED to have that button on her where she'll drop her head at the slight twitch of your finger. You'll never get her rounded up and driving from behind if you don't get her respecting the bit. Right now she's just kind of flipping you off, and since you use your hands a lot around the barrels that's not gonna help at all.

I would get off the pattern for awhile and ride like you're riding a reiner or a dressage horse. Just spend a couple weeks getting her broke, broke, broke. I know she's a hot horse, hard to handle, and very opinionated but you gotta get her going better soon or she's gonna get in bad habits you might not be able to fix.

I hope you don't think I'm being mean, that's just what I think...I don't wanna see you get in too big of trouble later on for not making the adjustments you need now.
 
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Think soft like this.

I mean, yeah, over exaggeration, but if you ride every day like you're trying to achieve that...Then I guarantee she'll get a lot better. I want you to notice the rider too, how quiet he rides and especially how low his hands are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Okay. So heres the thing.
I've spent many many hours riding like that, hands low, asking for her to be soft and blah blah blah. And all she does is gets bunched up like an accordion. I slide her rein and give her leg, but she just grabs the rein and the head goes UP. You have no idea how long I've spent on her back trying to get that to work, and its a fight every step of the way. I will maybe get a little of what I'm asking for at the end of a ride, but when i ask for it the next ride, its like starting over from square one.

I know everyone is going to say, "Oooh go get a trainer then."
Whats a trainer going to do? Try all of the things I've been told to try and have been working on over the past 3 years? Maybe strap some gadgets to her face and try then?

I'm at the point where I ask for a little, take what I get in terms of roundness and so on, and just go out and ride my horse.

I spend every other ride or so working on such things.

I realize my hands got a little UP and BUSY today, but I made the stupid mistake of trying to do my warm up out in the hay field and she was so intent on eating the hay that nothing was going to be working, so we started the whole ride over back at my "dirt" and by then, she was all hot and bothered and being a witch. Just another one of those days.

I dont even know. I can't get anything right lol.
 

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Have you tried maybe putting her in the round pen, giving her the loosest, draping rein you can, and just making her lope and lope and lope without ever once picking up your hand?

There's gotta be a way to get this horse relaxed. If she can't ever relax and chill out, then I don't know what you're gonna do...She's surely and athletic and talented animal you just gotta find it in there somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
I've tried the whole loping thing... and she'll just RUN. And I've tried running her out. Well I can't. She doesnt quit and then it takes a week to get running off of her mind.
Not going down that road again.

She has been relaxing quite well lately, well... as good as she's ever been I guess, that's why I've really been working the pattern consistently.

And then I have my mom barking in my ear to just go and run the pattern cause I've been "doing it slow for so long" and she doesnt understand no matter how much I explain it to her. She just thinks I have to go out and run the pattern 5 times and call it good for the day.
 

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I really think Squiggy and Red were twins separated at birth. They are so identical.

YES, GET A TRAINER.

I did. I realized that I needed help with Red (who was doing many of the exact same things Squiggy is doing). I tried and tried and tried to get him soft and get him bending and I couldn't do it. Sent him to a reining trainer for 30 days (with lessons for me included .... always have to train the rider too!) and Red is so amazing now. So now when he's not bending, it is MY fault and ME making an error; not him. I can get a beautiful bend in his body by picking up that inside rein and giving him some inside leg.

I also have a set of "tools" to bring that headset down naturally and get him relaxed. He really does have beautiful western pleasure gaits when he relaxes (evident of our show success this past weekend!).

He used to bolt horribly when he was spooked at something. He hasn't bolted once the entire year because, again, I've got a set of tools to quietly get his mind back on me.

I never knew "getting a trainer" would help so much. Even though I've already started him myself, I'm also going to send my 2-yr-old to her next spring, because I liked her so much. She is almost a two hour drive one-way, but I'm not going to let any Joe Schmo work on my horse. I need credentials.

I hate to say it, because you have been working so hard with Squiggy and trying so many things ..... but I agree with Sorrel. I think it is finally time you do get a trainer to help you teach Squiggy to soften and to bend and to relax. I did say it a while back already, but I do think you need to get her away from the barrels and focus on softening. You are not going to progress in barrels if you can't get her soft.

And you don't know what you don't know. Who knows; you might learn a thing or two from the trainer. There's no shame in learning new things!!!

It is time to enlist some training help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I don't know how many times I have to say the same thing. The only "trainers" around here willing to take horses in are young guys breaking colts. I rope with a guy who really knows his stuff but he doesn't want to take outside horses in and doesn't have time for my horse. I've hinted at it before at roping practice.

I could call a trainer or two farther away, but they don't do "lessons". And then I will have my parents barking in my ears about it and saying no. Especially now that I have schooling and stuff to pay for coming up. they dont believe in sending horses away unless its a tough one to get broke. Not a horse that isnt "soft enough". They complain about 80% of my training as it is. I have a hard enough time getting through that.

At this point in life, I have to learn how to do it myself.

Beau, I don't think Red and Squiggy are quite the same. Lol. Squiggy is a bit more of a firecracker.
 

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Although I know diddley squat about barrels, I do understand the frustrations of finding a trainer in SK here, BUT, if you can haul out even once a month to get some on the spot coaching it makes a huge difference. I was struggling on my own with Ben, and just taking a few lessons with Cassie made such a difference, just a reminder to lift a hand a little, or push a little harder now you really can't replace that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It's hard for you to find a trainer - and probably even harder for me. The only lessons around here are one girl giving little kids riding "lessons".

Anywho. Just got in from riding and focused on softness and bending and her leads at the end.
She IS soft. If I play the bit a little and bump with my leg, her head drops. Its not like she doesn't know all of that stuff.
 
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