View Full Version : Finally Had Another Lesson - TONS of Pics

Jul. 26, 2009, 05:34 PM
So I had a lesson today. First one in... 2 months? Maybe more? I dont remember. But anyways, I was so excited. Layla has been doing fantastic. I started her on a new HA supplement as well as the E-Se-Mag supplement 3 weeks ago. She is SO relaxed and feels like a little spring board. The canter is getting very nice.

Anyways, hubby was the wonderful man he is and took some pics. Unfortunately, a lot of the pics were not timed right and they look awful. Usually he gets quite a few decent pics but oh well. As most of you know, Im not scared to post the good and the bad.

Anyways, todays focus was getting her unlocked on the left side and to use both hind equally and really stepping under with the inside hind (mostly doing the square exercises, etc).

It was 92+ with high humidity and no breeze and my lesson was at 1:30. So yes, it was hot. But we took lots of breaks and had a good ride.

Now for some pics.

Warm up.. I have found just letting her go as she pleases to loosen up has been the best thing lately for her but I do like the hock action




Picking her up a bit.. today she was a little tight on the right side so she was resistant with left flexion but she did work out of it - I find that it mostly comes from her right side of her neck and her left stifle.. probably a chicken-egg thing

Warmup canter.. yay my hands are in my lap!

Working on the square - it was more about being accurate than moving out and having a lot of impulsion today

Oh and of course avoiding the dreaded head tilt - which I scare away with my chicken wing


yay left hind!

Doing some square corners in the RL canter... notice me bracing my right arm and her being locked up... wonder why..

And then I gave and softened my arms and wow.. look! lol

You can see this is very tough for her but she is SUCH a trier! Her right hock has a decent sized bone spavin so its physically hard for her to really articulate and step under fully with it but look at her stepping!

And now she says - this is hard! I need to stretch!

Working on softening to the left again



Trainer and I then discussed Laylas difficulty with the right lead canter and esp the corners. I felt it was mostly due to me locking my right arm and scrunching my right leg up, though it was tough for her I was making it harder - so then we tried again and I actually MOVED my arm and lengthened my right leg and she found it easier.


Yay for pony and my right leg is long and hands are up - that is very mentally taxing for me

Layla agrees

Its going to be a little tough to find the happy medium in my upper body position but its getting better

I know this is the down part of the canter but Im so proud of my long right leg and my hands are up.. gotta work on the shoulders and elbows but one step at a time

Im starting to lose my seat a bit (its hard!) but shes coming up very nicely

Trainer mentioned that we were getting moments of some 2nd level canter... is this what that is getting close to? I havent really studied the 2nd level stuff yet.. I guess I need to.

To the left, her stifle is the weak area, so she evades using it by tilting her head and loading her shoulder. It has been a long struggle to fix this, esp as we moved up to 1st level and had to do 15m canter circles - thats where it rears its ugly head. Today we had VERY nice left lead canter and no head tilt!


Theres my left chicken wing


This would be the classic moment when she would be tilting and then I end up contorting my body trying to pull her back around - but we arent!

Her left stifle was a little catchy today because she was working really hard but I thought these were some interesting pics... you can see it get stuck and I believe she overcompensates with her neck muscles because of her stifle - but then you will see a pic of her flinging her head which I think was to unlock the muscles and the next stride she looks so amazing so... anyways I just thought it was cool to see what happens when I feel that.





Shes like "whew thats better" and Im like "here work it out"

And Im also like "right, check, gotta get hands UP!"

Mucho better

After downward transition


Shes a touch deep here but she was trying to tilt and I kept her from doing it

And thats it. Yes, lots of pics, but I think its nice when you can show beginning to end and the progress. This wasnt the most amazing majikal ride ever but I feel like we accomplished a lot and I was able to make mental notes of things I need to work on.

Jul. 26, 2009, 05:41 PM
Nice pics. I don't want to turn this into a helmet thread, but I'm sorry, I just don't understand why you don't wear a helmet. I don't care if it's 100 degrees out--there are vented helmets out there. The majority of my falls have been doing flat work, not jumping, and if I didn't have a helmet on I would probably have some major brain damage. Although maybe the choice not to wear a helmet is a form of Darwinism.

Jul. 26, 2009, 05:44 PM
I do wear my helmet generally. And the days I dont (which this was the first day in over a year that I havent); well Im an adult and that is my decision. I do appreciate your concern but really, I think that dead horse has been beaten enough. Thanks! :)

ETA, while the majority of your falls may have been while doing flat work - all of mine were while jumping except when I was 13 and rode a horse that hadnt been ridden in a year and I broke my femur, nothing a helmet could have done. I am NOT discounting the value of a helmet but REALLY...

Jul. 26, 2009, 05:53 PM
Although maybe the choice not to wear a helmet is a form of Darwinism.

Hahaha! :lol: Thats so funny! However I do agree that the "dead horse" has been hit enough about the helmet topic. If were over 18 I think we have the right to choose whether or not we wear a helmet. If you dont like it, hey at least your head will not be the one bleeding out if you fall and hit yourself on a rock.

And to the OP I think that your horse looks very good. He or She (i forgot) is very cute.

Jul. 26, 2009, 05:59 PM
Hahaha! :lol: Thats so funny! However I do agree that the "dead horse" has been hit enough about the helmet topic. If were over 18 I think we have the right to choose whether or not we wear a helmet. If you dont like it, hey at least your head will not be the one bleeding out if you fall and hit yourself on a rock.

And to the OP I think that your horse looks very good. He or She (i forgot) is very cute.

Yeah, I know the OP can decide not to wear a helmet. Her choice. It just surprises me though when people post pics like that (i.e. no helmet) because it almost invites that kind of criticism!

Jul. 26, 2009, 07:49 PM
KrazyTB mare; great lesson !

Both of you worked hard and hope you got a shower after that !!!!

Snoball 1
Jul. 26, 2009, 10:22 PM
Thank you so much for posting such wonderful detailed photos ! Very insightful !
I have an 8 yr old gelding First level, schooling Second, with stifle/hock issues.
I have so many of the same habits you have, so seeing these "frame by frame" shots are just great visuals to help click in my mind- aha ! "that's what's happening when the horse is reacting this way" moment....

I think you and your mare are doing a very lovely job.

I think the helmet thing is your business, we are adults, and it's what we feel comfortable doing. Honestly, if we really wanted to be safe when riding we would all wear Kevlar Body Vests, but guess what we don't. I've seen far more serious injuries to the back, shoulder, collar bone and arms, so go figure.

So yes, I agree that it is taking a risk, but then so is walking down a flight of stairs :o

keep up the good work, and postings !

Jul. 26, 2009, 11:06 PM
Thanks guys.

sno - I have found that pretty much 24/7 turn out, frequent exercise, and for my mare, an HA supplement have kept her hocks and stifles in pretty good shape. If I keep her inside a stall for more than like 3-4 hrs, she gets really stiff and her stifles catch a lot. Trotting poles helps as well (I live in Fla and hills are like nonexistant).

Im glad the step by step photos helped. It was helpful to me too to see them. I had an idea of what happened by feeling it but it was good to see the head fling was really to release that muscle.

And I dont mind comments about the helmet, but I think like one sentance is more than enough. Making snide comments about darwinism doesnt help get the point across.

Jul. 27, 2009, 12:28 AM
Looking Good!!!!!!!! Nice job with her. She is just ALL legs!!!! I love the long legs :)

Anyways... I will say that I think you should focus on raising your hands!! She looks great in the ones where you raise them and it creates a better straight line to the bit. And I'm saying this mostly cause my trainer called me out on it and it's amazing the difference it makes for Fleck. ;)

And yep.. .we have those tilting issues too. Soooooo frustrating!!
But you guys are looking great!

Jul. 27, 2009, 10:21 AM
Yeah, I know the OP can decide not to wear a helmet. Her choice. It just surprises me though when people post pics like that (i.e. no helmet) because it almost invites that kind of criticism!

Some of us do NOT own vented helmets :eek: - my helmet is black and solid as I've owned it for over 20 years. :yes: So I only wear it at shows, although switching to top hat now. :cool:

Krazy - Nice pics - she's coming along VERY well. Are you showing first now? Cuase at least 1 canter picture shows a VERY nice flow over her topline (neck arched and head in correct position and up withOUT being braced) which is heading towards second level. Nice job!
Second level she needs to carry herself more - so when she does start the 'carry' you will feel her shoulders come up as she steps more underneath herself.

Movin Artfully
Jul. 27, 2009, 10:30 AM
Great series of photos! Really shows a progression- and you obviously are putting a ton of thought into you and your horse's improvment! :yes:

Jul. 27, 2009, 11:07 AM
And I dont mind comments about the helmet, but I think like one sentance is more than enough. Making snide comments about darwinism doesnt help get the point across.

Isn't that the truth? Why be insulting about it? It's not anyone's head but your own. I really hate when people make those kinds of comments. It's obvious you know how to ride, know what you're doing, it's your choice to wear a helmet or not.

Very nice pics. She's a pretty girl.

Snoball 1
Jul. 27, 2009, 12:49 PM
I just had a great lesson this morning. I tried to visualize keeping my arms softly at sides, wrist straight, thumbs on top, long legs, etc... having your commentary in my mind.

Starting setting up haunches-in -straighten into canter departs...

I actually grew up in Jacksonville, lived many years in Ocala, then married and moved to New England.
I'm lucky, I have my horse at home so I am able to have 24/7 turn out, which is very rare here for the horses to get more than a couple of hours a day. I wouldn't stand for that !
We actually have flatter terrain than we did in Ocala(go figure) but I take advantage of tons of cavelletti and any small inclines . We Blistered my guys stifles this year, and I have to say, that has made the biggest improvement of anything . He is also on 200mg HA, 10,000 Glucosamine daily.

Stay cool

Jul. 27, 2009, 01:51 PM
Thats great! We discussed blistering her stifles but it isnt an every day thing. It really appears when shes working super hard or if shes had time off due to weather. If I can keep her in a consistant program (and when you have 8 days satraight of rain, its hard) shes generally ok. Since putting her on this new HA supplement, I think shes finding it easier to actually move and possibly moving more than her muscles are ready for.

Thanks guys! :)

JackSprats Mom
Jul. 27, 2009, 11:41 PM
Nice to see someone brave enough to post 'real' photo's.....she's looking great by the way.

You have some of the same issues I dealt with (like the head tilting, now resolved thank God) plus I too like to have my hands in my lap (a REALLY bad habit for me).

Well done!

Jul. 28, 2009, 09:54 AM
Very helpful photos for those of us that are learning at the low levels still. Really pretty mare and nice riding! Keep up the good work! I love TBs.

see u at x
Jul. 28, 2009, 12:13 PM
I so loved seeing these pictures and the progression of your ride. You posted the good and bad that comes along with basically every riding lesson. What a nice mare...I love that she tries so hard. You both look really good and you should be proud of yourselves for a lot of reasons. Thank you for posting this! :)

Jul. 28, 2009, 01:38 PM
It's always great to see pictures of you and Layla. Thanks for taking the time to post them... she looks great as always and your hard work is evident :)

Jul. 28, 2009, 03:35 PM
Thanks guys! I appreciate it.


Jul. 28, 2009, 05:40 PM
Please post pictures the next time you take lessons so we can enjoy your progress and "little victories." I need to get my hubby to shoot some photos sometime, I never think to ask him.

Jul. 28, 2009, 06:07 PM
Honestly, if we really wanted to be safe when riding we would all wear Kevlar Body Vests, but guess what we don't.

If we REALLY wanted to be safe, we wouldn't ride at all :D

The helmet thing... it's a personal choice. Like riding is. Some people think we're all nuts for riding these enormous, unpredictable, hoof- and tooth-bearing, fire-breathing beasts in the first place!

OP: your mare is really lovely, wow. Great job both of you!

Jul. 28, 2009, 08:45 PM
I liked your position in the last right lead canter pics. Good job.:)

Jul. 28, 2009, 10:03 PM
Thanks guys.

Lark, thats a great thing! I was trying SO hard in the last right lead canter to sit evenly, get my right leg down and under me, and lift my hands and follow her.