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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Heey! :)

So i bought a jumping horse in September 2009. He's 13 years old now, and he's been jumping all his life. The owners before me had no interest in dressage, so they didnt really practise it on him, they just rode jumping-dressage (which is different).

These last few months i've been really training him to relax and take his head down, as he always had his head completely up, and would not relax untill he was tired, which isnt a good thing, since i cant keep ridding him untill he's tired everyday..!

I've been working from the ground alot too. So here he is now ;) Please, do critique and comment..!

I DO realize i lean too much back when i'm doing sitting trot.. :/

SEPTEMBER 2009 - this is how we was with me in walk, trot and gallop! And he would not relax.


VIDEO:
Topper: Dressur 20-02-2010 - HesteGalleri.dk
 

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He's looking far better well done!!!
Biggest thing I noticed critique wise was that you are riding 'backwards' with your hands. So you're pulling the reins back towards your torso, rather than riding your legs and seat towards your hands.

Try to carry your hands up and forward, and picture that you are riding your crutch up to meet your hands. It will help him to soften and it will be a much nicer picture.

Otherwise, looking good!
 

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I know ur just concentrating on your horse, but make sure to keep your legs back - I noticed they kept sliding forward.
Otherwise I thought you looked great!!! He seems to be learning really fast:)
Beautiful Horse!
 

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From the videos I have seen before and this one it appears the horse is just trying to do its best. It does not look to be a happy horse. The hands are still rigid and he is still stiff over the back. The riders legs are not steady

Your leg yield/half pass attemts shows this with the head going crooked ( the big problem with a horse with a blaze....easy to see crooked heads) on the first attempt, crooked on the others and pulling/holding the inside rein to pull the head in place in the last one.

The back up showed no softness or consideration that should be a part of a nicely trained horse, dressage or otherwise.

I would have liked to have seen the ONE rein release you gave to the horse as a reward near the end of the video to have been executed many many times throughout the entire ride but was dissappointed that it never came to be.
 

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very nice horse, he's come a long way. For keeping his head down, lower your hands and mabey start working towards a long and low. But I like his head frame however he does look like a coiled spring (very similar to my horse when she's hot)
Good luck! Hope this helped
 

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I agree with Kayty, I have found that this happens when the rider feels the horse will take off but you need to soffen because you are pulling him under the bit if you feel unsafe start slow just give him a little rain by moving you hand forward evey second stride and if hes a good boy give it to him for two strides and so on, that way if his good your hand will be soft it wont take long for him to pick up on this, also lengthen your stirip if you only doing flat, this will let you get a depper seat witch will help carm him.
P.S goole working on the bit this will halp, may people dont know why we wont to work on the bit or what the posion rally is.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks alot guys..)

Kayty: Yes I do have that problem, and I have to admit I dont find it comfortable either, and quite irritating.. :/ I do realize this though, and I am working on trying to bring my hand a little more forward. The only problem is, that then my contact loosens and he takes his head up, which means I have to give him longer reins, otherwise he flips out, which then leads him to speeding up, me pulling on the reins again to stop him up bringing them right back to my torso as instead of slowing down he lifts his neck/head... which is back at step one. :(

Spyder: I know its hard to see, but my contact is in fact ok soft and elastic. There are some times where i have to pull and harden a little bit, yes, where I feel he's running off, but otherwise I just move my fingers a little bit to soften it up, and keep it elastic. I was told not to let go of the reins or give him looser reins because that would mean that when I regain contact it will be "pulling" on his mouth, and since he can be afraid of the bit, it will only be more uncomfortable for him. I was told to hold a steady but light contact the whole time (which, again, I cant always keep because he starts running off -.- and I simply dont know what to do in that situation other than stop him with the reins). I try to make the reins longer sometimes (you cant see this in this videoclip, but i posted it in the other post) but he doesnt "follow the bit" down, he stays in the position and doesnt go more down with his head. And then he speeds up, which means again, i have to slow him down, which means that from a loose rein I'm have to pull on his mouth, let go, pull again, let go.. You see..? :/ Perhaps you could help me with that..?
 

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but he doesnt "follow the bit" down, he stays in the position and doesnt go more down with his head. And then he speeds up, which means again, i have to slow him down, which means that from a loose rein I'm have to pull on his mouth, let go, pull again, let go.. You see..? :/ Perhaps you could help me with that..?
A horse will only "follow the bit down" if he is first working correctly through his back and underneath himself. Although your horse's head frame is nicer than it was, he is not actually working his body the way he should which is why his head flies up and he starts to take off the second you let up on contact.

You need to lengthen your stirrups a few holes, learn to keep your leg steady and underneath you, and stop leaning back so far. Your hands need to come forward a bit (you can shorten your reins a little bit to do this if necessary).

Although contact on the outside rein needs to be maintained (though elastic), a horse who is really listening and moving through his back will allow you to give with your inside rein and will not speed up or lose correct impulsion. Once you get your horse to this point, you will be able to give with both reins, inch by inch, and feel him drop his head and move himself into a longer, lower frame seeking contact. Throughout this whole thing contact on the outside rein does need to be maintained. You should only give your horse as much rein as he will take. No extra.
 

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Haha. Oops. Totally forgot I still had that as my status. I've been over the mono for a few weeks now :]
 

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Discussion Starter #12
xeventer17: Thanks for the advice! :D That was what I was worried about, if he was using his back and body, because I wasnt sure as i couldnt see.. :/ To me, he seems to have a nice neck position, but i'm not sure if I was doing it the right way. It looked good but it didnt feel completely right.. I will try your advice too, and see if it helps over a period of time.. :)
 

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No problem :] It takes time and practice to learn what it feels and looks like to be riding a horse who is really using himself properly. Keep working as hard as you are and you'll get there!
 

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Spyder: I know its hard to see, but my contact is in fact ok soft and elastic. There are some times where i have to pull and harden a little bit, yes, where I feel he's running off, but otherwise I just move my fingers a little bit to soften it up, and keep it elastic. I was told not to let go of the reins or give him looser reins because that would mean that when I regain contact it will be "pulling" on his mouth, and since he can be afraid of the bit, it will only be more uncomfortable for him. I was told to hold a steady but light contact the whole time (which, again, I cant always keep because he starts running off -.- and I simply dont know what to do in that situation other than stop him with the reins). I try to make the reins longer sometimes (you cant see this in this videoclip, but i posted it in the other post) but he doesnt "follow the bit" down, he stays in the position and doesnt go more down with his head. And then he speeds up, which means again, i have to slow him down, which means that from a loose rein I'm have to pull on his mouth, let go, pull again, let go.. You see..? :/ Perhaps you could help me with that..?
A good rider can drop contact as a reward or to ease pressure and ONLY take back the rein until contact is felt again. There would be in fact no gaining of rein at all. That is what is called "feel" and only by dropping and re establishing contact can that feel ever be realized. Even constant light contact is wrong.

As far as him not stretching, my own horse will not stretch initially (partly because he is a stallion and partly because he has a cold back ) but I do NOT stop encouraging him. It happens,but just not right away.
 

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This is actually really an easy fix. Fix the rider and the horse will be fine.

What you're not understanding, OP, is that the horse lifting his head is his way of telling you, he's not engaged, period, end of story, which in turn means he's not forward. Rather than learn to ride his haunches, and do exercises that allow and show him how to move differently/better/correctly, you've forced his head down. He has now learned how to go behind the aids, evade contact, brace through his entire body AND STILL, he is hollow, trails his hocks etc.. You've simply compounded the problem and turned him into an equine pretzel.

He speeds up because of your posture. You sit too far back and too deep into his back, triggering the longissimuss dorci to contract, shorten, creating a hollow back.

You use the wrong muscles to stay in the saddle, often pinching the knee and lifting it thus also lifting your heel putting yourself is chairseat, which the horse must now fight on top of fighting your unforgiving hands that are in your lap. And no, you do not have a soft and elastic contact. Your contact is hard, abrupt, inconsistant and unforgiving.

You need to fix your position, first and foremost. Then you've got to learn to ride your horse's haunches and quit fixating on his head. Take off the martingale, quit jamming his chin on his chest and learn to give your horse a place to go, riding him FORWARD and UP. Once your horse is forward, which he is not in anyway shape or form, then his head will come down on it's own.

Of course he doesn't follow your hand down, he can't. He's not forward, he's not relaxed, he's not rhymic, he's not supple and he does not accept contact, therefore he is incapable of following the hand down.

Stop the lateral work, it's not helping at all and is just creating more crookedness because of your position...you lean in all your lateral work.

Go right back to the very basics and establish a forward thinking, forward moving horse. While doing that, find someone with an educated set of eyes to correct your position.

You've got a rider's body, you just need to learn to become aware of it, which muscles to use, and how to use them. You've got an extremely generaous horse with a lot of potential, stop blaming him for reflecting your poor positioning and riding.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Spyder: Unfortunately, I dont think I'm that good of a rider.. yet.. xD But i try.. Thanks again! :)

Mercedes: Ok, first of all, i just want to say, I'm not blaming my horse for anything! I am completely aware that the "wrong-doings" of the horse are my own fault, and that is infact why I made this post, because I'm scared of ruining him and I need help!
I only ride with a martingale when I jump, and I was infact going to practise over cavalettis that day, but since he was being nice (especially since it was the first day i rode with a saddle after a week) and my mum was there with a camera, I decided to do dressage instead. Otherwise, I never use a martingale!

And again, I know this is sounding like a whole big excuse, but i think i have a bad position because i dont sit very well in that saddle. My own saddle, is being fixed at the moment so I had to borrow one, and this one doesnt have any "knee supporters" (or however u call them) which is harder for me because I have such long legs, so my knees "fall" forward and out of the saddle, and are not positioned right. This makes me feel like I'm falling forward which makes me want to lean back more, which makes my position crap. I know my position is bad..! I can see it. But i think it's MUCH better in my own saddle, with the supporters.

For the last week, and possibly for the next 2 weeks, I will only be lunging and ridding without a saddle, until mine is done. (I'm not allowed to borrow that one too much, only while jumping, and in desperate situations). And when I ride without a saddle, I always practise the forward and down thing (like the drawn picture i posted), so perhaps this will be a good time to work on that.

However, I'm not disagreeing with you at all. What you are saying makes a lot of sense, and I will use your advice as much as possible! :) i also hope that you too will perhaps help me in future, as I am planning on posting another video in a few weeks or a couple of months with the new result (which I hope will be a good one).
 

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He doesn't need the martingale for jumping either. :wink: And really, if he struggles like this in his flatwork, should you even be jumping??

Yep, a saddle that does not fit the rider will be very difficult to maintain proper postion in.

I look forward to seeing your progression.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Mercedes: My trainer says I should jump with a martingale, so I do.. :O Perhaps I could try without one one day..? I dont know ;)
I bought him as a jumping horse, to compete in jumping competition and better myself, so yes, i do think I should be jumping..? He's an amazing jumper, and its going really well in jumping, I have no problems. So i see no reason that just because he's not perfect in the dressage yet, i shouldn't be jumping.. ;) Although I do see your point, but I just think this is a different situation..

And great, i look forward to hearing from you in future then.. x'D
 

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Dressage is, in fact, the basis of jumping.
What I see is a rider who is "holding" their horse in a position.
As a result, he's bracing and constantly going behind the bit.

What I would recommend is really push him forward and work towards pushing his ears away from you. I would really work him in a lower and longer frame. Until his back is swinging/free and he's accepting your contact in that lower frame, i would not do anything more advanced than basic w/t/c.

You're a good rider and it seems like you have good intentions for your horse!
The people on here, especially Mercedes, gave you awesome advice that I hope you will follow :)
 
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