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*Liz*
Oct. 1, 2009, 07:59 PM
I'll try to keep this as brief as possible. I'm primarily a h/j rider who has recently started investing in some dressage lessons to help develop my 5 y.o mare's flatwork. She's doing great about coming up and staying off her forehand, but is having some resistance to bending correctly and stepping under with her inside hind.

In an effort to avoid bending with her body and/or stepping under herself, she will go through bouts of tempi changes, half-passing, leg-yielding, and the occasional 1/2 pirouette or few strides of piaffe.

The tempis are the most 'impressive' as she will perform up to about 8 in a row while on a circle! And I do mean real tempi's, not 1's or 2's, she's changing each and every stride. And then sometimes she'll just change her hind, but it's usually full clean changes. (Additional info: she practically had her changes when I bought her, and has had solid lead changes on cue for over a year.)

I know she is young and still figuring out what is being asked of her, but does this say something about a future in the dressage ring? She's a super athletic mare and I have high hopes for her in the hunter or jumper rings, but now I wonder if she's telling me her real talent is in the dressage ring?

Does anybody have experience with their youngsters displaying upper level movements? Does this mean anything?

pluvinel
Oct. 1, 2009, 08:45 PM
A young horse is like raw clay.....to be molded into whatever discipline. I have bought 2 horses before they were backed because mother nature endowed them with incredible athleticism. They were pretty awesome to watch in liberty. Gallop to halt perfectly square every time. Effortless flying changes at changes of direction. My philosophy is to start with the raw material that is in your favor. This one sounds great.

During one horse shopping adventure, I saw one horse who only cross cantered.....I had driven 3 hrs in the pouring rain to see this horse....how did I tell the owner I had seen enough after 5 minutes? Crossed that one off my list quick.

Another adventure led me to a "brand name" WB breeding farm, where I was shown a horse who only trotted....and when asked to canter (in the indoor) as he approached a corner, he was so unbalanced, he could not make the turn without breaking into a trot.....crossed that one off the list too.

stolensilver
Oct. 1, 2009, 08:59 PM
I'm not quite sure how to reply here. That your horse can do these things and is offering them is great. She sounds athletic and as if she has quick back legs, essential in a dressage horse.

What I'm not so sure how to phrase is why is she offering these movements? While it is very common for horses to offer tempi changes when they are learning canter pirouettes because that work is so hard I wonder why this horse is doing quite so much dancing around when being asked to do what sounds like basic level dressage? I think it could be her way of saying she doesn't understand +/- a comment on the amount of pressure she feels she is being put under. That last sentence has been written carefully. She may in truth be under very little pressure but from her point of view it is so much that she is boiling up and fizzing over.

If she were mine I would spend time trying to figure out what makes her squirt off into tempi changes or wriggle sideways into unrequested lateral work. You'll learn more about how she ticks by analysing her responses. Once you find out what makes her fizzy try to avoid doing that. Ask her the same question in a different way otherwise you run the risk of ending up with a disobedient horse who cannot canter a 20m circle without throwing in unrequested changes and, believe me, that is a right royal PITA!!

Gry2Yng
Oct. 1, 2009, 09:05 PM
I'm not quite sure how to reply here. That your horse can do these things and is offering them is great. She sounds athletic and as if she has quick back legs, essential in a dressage horse.

What I'm not so sure how to phrase is why is she offering these movements? While it is very common for horses to offer tempi changes when they are learning canter pirouettes because that work is so hard I wonder why this horse is doing quite so much dancing around when being asked to do what sounds like basic level dressage? I think it could be her way of saying she doesn't understand +/- a comment on the amount of pressure she feels she is being put under. That last sentence has been written carefully. She may in truth be under very little pressure but from her point of view it is so much that she is boiling up and fizzing over.

If she were mine I would spend time trying to figure out what makes her squirt off into tempi changes or wriggle sideways into unrequested lateral work. You'll learn more about how she ticks by analysing her responses. Once you find out what makes her fizzy try to avoid doing that. Ask her the same question in a different way otherwise you run the risk of ending up with a disobedient horse who cannot canter a 20m circle without throwing in unrequested changes and, believe me, that is a right royal PITA!!


Excellent advice. this thread could be a bit of fun. What the OP describes is also a royal PITA when trying to strike off into a canter to begin a show jumping round, or while trying to walk from the warm up to the start box. Athletic yes.

Equibrit
Oct. 1, 2009, 09:06 PM
You must be sitting funny !

J-Lu
Oct. 1, 2009, 09:26 PM
I'll try to keep this as brief as possible. I'm primarily a h/j rider who has recently started investing in some dressage lessons to help develop my 5 y.o mare's flatwork. She's doing great about coming up and staying off her forehand, but is having some resistance to bending correctly and stepping under with her inside hind.

In an effort to avoid bending with her body and/or stepping under herself, she will go through bouts of tempi changes, half-passing, leg-yielding, and the occasional 1/2 pirouette or few strides of passage.

The tempis are the most 'impressive' as she will perform up to about 8 in a row while on a circle! And I do mean real tempi's, not 1's or 2's, she's changing each and every stride. And then sometimes she'll just change her hind, but it's usually full clean changes. (Additional info: she practically had her changes when I bought her, and has had solid lead changes on cue for over a year.)

I know she is young and still figuring out what is being asked of her, but does this say something about a future in the dressage ring? She's a super athletic mare and I have high hopes for her in the hunter or jumper rings, but now I wonder if she's telling me her real talent is in the dressage ring?

Does anybody have experience with their youngsters displaying upper level movements? Does this mean anything?

Actually, what you state is not abnormal for a horse who has talent for dressage and for jumping. However, you hit the nail on the head with your own words.

It is not unusual for an athletic horse to break into tempi changes (which are just changes at every "X" stride), even one-tempis. But as you note, it is resistance to truly stepping under with the inside hind leg. My own horse does tempis as an evasion so she doesn't have to repeatedly weight the same inside hind leg. She did tempis in a half-pass at a show (I have it on video). WHile an amazing feat it is a total evasion to work. It is also a nuissance because it means she is not listening to the seat. Thus, I don't accept that from her. I don't tell her it is wrong but i say "no, how pleasant but that is not what I am asking for now". Also, dressage tempis at the high levels requires much more than simply flipping leads every stride. It takes alot of collection, strength and jump. Sometimes, horses might offer tempis as an evasion but don't want to be told to do tempis correctly. Does that make sense? SO your horse might just be a nimble, balanced athlete (good for you!) not a dressage wannabe.

Similarly, my horse passaged as a young horse. While pleasant, it was an evasion to truly using her back in a forward trot. It was a lofty trot but it was not a truly correct passage because she wasn't nearly strong enough to carry a passage until years later. I never told her she was wrong, I told her that it was nice but not what I am looking for. Her whole life she passaged as an evasion to work and can do a passage half-pass in her sleep...but it's usually not what I'm asking for and is a cheat. I can't reward a cheat but don't want to punish that, either.

Usually, building strength so the horse is more capable of stepping under and balancing behind fixes these kinds of evasions. Just be patient and kind and correct in your training.

If you are a hunter/jumper, she's telling you that she can do lead changes without losing a smidge of balance and that she's capable of great adjustability within her stride...two things that are very important in the hunter ring. How is her form over fences? Dressage is the foundation of a great hunter and jumper round - you can likely utilize her great balance and adjustability to create a spectacular round if that is what you want to do with her. :)

*Liz*
Oct. 1, 2009, 09:27 PM
Perhaps I didn't word myself clearly, but I'll try again. She's usually quite obedient and at least tries to do what she is told. I am a moderately experienced amateur (showed successfully 4'3'' jumpers) and both my trainer and I are having the same issues.

(Preface: I hope I'm explaining myself correctly, if I'm not, please forgive me and I'll try again.) What usually sets off the tempis is her reaction to the outside leg. When she isn't bending through her body correctly, and you move your outside leg back to move her hindquarters in, she thinks lead change. Prior to my dressage lessons, outside leg back cued for a walk to canter transition, and for lead changes. Now I'm learning it needs to do a LOT more than just that, and she's not totally comfortable with that concept yet. She's usually go around for a bit, then resits (= upper level moves), then give up and does what basic thing she was being asked for. Then she may protest again 10 minutes later before giving in and simply bending and using herself correctly. This has been her deal for about a month now.

I know it's mostly a function of time and repetition. She just doesn't understand what she's being asked to do yet. Is that any clearer?

Edit: And in my original post, I meant paiffe - not passage, sorry.

More edit: Her form o/f is good, but she goes to crap between the fences - falls on her forehand, leans on my inside aids. So we've backed way off on jumping and really stepped up the dressage work, lightly incorporating trot/canter poles and small fences (usually under 2'.)

J-Lu
Oct. 1, 2009, 09:40 PM
Hey Liz,

As a dressage rider, I have noticed that some horses get mighty confused with the outside leg. Haunches in? Pick up canter? Change leads? Ack! my current horse is very smart and anticipates ALOT - I have had to be very clear with her aids to prevent her from anticipating and throwing in movements.

I ask for a canter depart and tempis MORE with my inside seat bone and hip and less with my outside leg moving back in order to distinguish a canter depart and change from putting the haunches in. It made sense for the horses I've ridden. I put my outside leg back slightly to activate that outside leg but not as much as what I'd do to move the haunches is. I also do something slightly different with rein pressure.

My point is that clear cues for each thing you want is the key to making a smart and talented horse understand what you want.

J-Lu
Oct. 1, 2009, 09:45 PM
There are lots of dressage-y exercises you can do in between fences. You can set up fences that can only be taken if she jumps fence 1, leg yeilds over, and then jumps jump 2 then leg yields back in order to make jump 3. Or you could put trot or canter poles in between fences. Or ask her to halt, back up, and then go forward to the next jump. Each of these things is very difficult for her to do if she's leaning on your hands or on her forehand. Get creative! Make patterns that are difficult for her to do unless she's balanced. She'll learn that between fences she has to pay attention and balance as much as she does over fences.

Gry2Yng
Oct. 1, 2009, 09:46 PM
You asked if your horse is "telling" you that her real talent is in the dressage ring. The answer you got is, hard to tell, what she is displaying is an evasion. An athletic horse has the ability to achieve success in any of the three disciplines. It has been said of my OTTB who is an CCI** event horse (who has always show a preoccupation with "upper level" movements when he is asked to do anything difficult or when he gets excited) "What a waste, he could have been an FEI dressage horse." Let me tell you, it was nothing short of life threatening to teach him flying changes, despite the fact that he offers one tempis before every stadium round. He also does an amazing "piaffe" in the start box - but I would never survive the training to make him do it on command. Oh, and he uses his neck and back like a hunter, even over solid obstacles, but you can't lunge him long enough to make him slow off the ground. So, I think we understand you, the answer is, your horse is athletic. Right now she is avoiding work. Hard to say if she would be a good dressage horse, depends on whether she can get over herself cause good dressage horses don't get to give their rider the bird in front of a judge.

ETA: Sorry, *successful* dressage horses don't get to give their rider the bird.

slc2
Oct. 1, 2009, 09:47 PM
I would be concerned that the aids are unclear or the horse feels too confined, is stiff somewhere, not moving forward. I would be concerned if a horse was not staying on one lead, and not just trotting when asked. I would consider that something was wrong. Horses shouldn't be doing those things til their muscles are ready through several years of progressive training.

*Liz*
Oct. 1, 2009, 09:56 PM
J-Lu: We're actually working those exercises in my lessons, and they really seem to be helpful, frustrating though they may be! ;)

Gry2Yng: She is certainly quiet and responsive enough to do the dressage on cue and correctly, and she can carry herself in a nice uphill dressage frame (though at the moment her hind end is weak), so I don't think that's the issue.

I realize what she's doing right now is her form of evasion - that word was escaping me while I was writing my original post. The interesting aspect (to me) is that in avoidance of a simple concept she reacts by doing something that takes much MORE energy and effort. I've owned horses for over a decade, been riding for more than 15 years, and I've never had a horse do something MORE complicated than what was asked as an evasion tactic.

Gry2Yng
Oct. 1, 2009, 10:05 PM
I realize what she's doing right now is her form of evasion - that word was escaping me while I was writing my original post. The interesting aspect (to me) is that in avoidance of a simple concept she reacts by doing something that takes much MORE energy and effort. I've owned horses for over a decade, been riding for more than 15 years, and I've never had a horse do something MORE complicated than what was asked as an evasion tactic.

I can introduce you to several who actually do the more difficult thing - in theory(if they aren't doing the movement correctly it is hard to say if it is more difficult) - than what is being asked. :D What their brain and body define as "easier" is probably not the same as our definition. Or else they have an alternative goal. In the case of the above referenced OTTB (and others that I have known) anything that they find "restrictive" or makes them feel claustrophobic results in the small tour/temper tantrum.

Quest52
Oct. 1, 2009, 10:15 PM
think of it as when a child throws a tantrum. Its much more difficult to throw yourself on the floor and flail about than it would be to go along with whatever is being asked of them.

Same thing here.

The guy that is my current partner in crime has one rank attitude, and some decent athleticism. To date we have done 1/2 steps, pieffe and kicked a hole in the wall. He's 4... and throwing little kid tantrums that usually clue me in to back off and do something very easy for him.

Great your horse has the ability... but I would be careful to encourage any of it.

Hampton Bay
Oct. 1, 2009, 10:20 PM
...The interesting aspect (to me) is that in avoidance of a simple concept she reacts by doing something that takes much MORE energy and effort. I've owned horses for over a decade, been riding for more than 15 years, and I've never had a horse do something MORE complicated than what was asked as an evasion tactic.

Welcome to the world of hot, sensitive mares :D

My mare did some of the same things your mare is doing now in her early efforts to avoid the simple requests (such as putting your leg on while still having a contact with the reins, or asking for a halt when she does not feel so inclined to halt).

But there is much much more to making it as an upper-level dressage horse than just the ability to do those movements as an evasion. On one hand, you know she CAN do them (even if not completely correct). But on the other hand, she needs to have the brain and ability to stay sound in heavy work if she is to make it to GP.

You won't know if you don't try though!

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Oct. 1, 2009, 10:28 PM
One way which might help you to evaluate her possible futures is to think of what balance she is displaying instead of what "movements." If she is really willing to shift her weight back onto her hocks and get freer in front, that might point you down a different path than if she frequently avoids loading one hind leg by swapping leads....

Not saying she is or isn't doing anything noteworthy, just that "carrying power" receives a lot of attention if dressage. Ease of swapping leads on command is a big point too, of course....

Tiki
Oct. 2, 2009, 08:51 AM
These are not upper level movements in a young horse, they are evasions because the horse is uncomfortable and/or resistant in what you are asking.

goeslikestink
Oct. 2, 2009, 10:07 AM
I'm not quite sure how to reply here. That your horse can do these things and is offering them is great. She sounds athletic and as if she has quick back legs, essential in a dressage horse.

What I'm not so sure how to phrase is why is she offering these movements? While it is very common for horses to offer tempi changes when they are learning canter pirouettes because that work is so hard I wonder why this horse is doing quite so much dancing around when being asked to do what sounds like basic level dressage? I think it could be her way of saying she doesn't understand +/- a comment on the amount of pressure she feels she is being put under. That last sentence has been written carefully. She may in truth be under very little pressure but from her point of view it is so much that she is boiling up and fizzing over.

If she were mine I would spend time trying to figure out what makes her squirt off into tempi changes or wriggle sideways into unrequested lateral work. You'll learn more about how she ticks by analysing her responses. Once you find out what makes her fizzy try to avoid doing that. Ask her the same question in a different way otherwise you run the risk of ending up with a disobedient horse who cannot canter a 20m circle without throwing in unrequested changes and, believe me, that is a right royal PITA!!

good post

goeslikestink
Oct. 2, 2009, 10:26 AM
read this post http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=225681
and this one

http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=226077

http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=225797

http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=226045

all these above links are rider errors same as your is but diffferent sernerios

read my helpful links pages and pay perticular attention to page one and all links

you can not ask a horse to pefrom xyz if you havent got his full attention
and you can not expect him to perfrom the moves if your not giving him the right aids and signals at the right time - timming is important

hes not what i call a clockwork horse that knows his job and more likely the horses types you have been used to that do it for you at click of a button hes baby and hes trying to understand what your asking but he doesnt thats becuase your letting antispate your moves and hes guessing
and being honest -

you have a smart good horse now if you want a prtnership to work then you need to change your thinking plan - and get him balanced properly before you attempt the upper movements
so if i was you i would go right back to baiscs and stay there till hes ready and your ready to educated him further - hes 5 not 10
he needs to delvelope and use himself properly and as for jumping mate if he cant do flat work on the ground then how do you expect him to do it in the air over jumps

CatOnLap
Oct. 2, 2009, 10:39 AM
Does your mare have the athleticism and talent for upper level dressage? So it would seem. The ability to balance oneself under a rider and perform clean multiple changes without having the work of early dressage, takes some inborn talent!

Does she have the mind for dressage?
That remains to be seen. Part of the "talent" for a dressage horse is not getting all hot and fizzy and confused in the show ring. I mean, for a jumper, you can just take that energy and run and jump it away and it's probably a boon. In dressage, unless she can also contain herself and listen to the rider, it can be a nuisance. But training helps that in most cases, specially if the horse has a good basic work ethic and is not just inventing evasions to amuse herself.

Does she have the correct early training for dressage? Forgive me for repeating the obvious, but it really doesn't sound like it. A horse properly forward to the aides and connected, even in the early years of training, cannot just pop off into tempis and lateral work, as delightful as it sounds. Get to work on the basics and report back on how its going in a few months!

Shrunk "N" Da Wash
Oct. 2, 2009, 10:54 AM
Is she doing piaffe or pisaffe?

Perhaps these outburst show she has some talent for dressage physically... But I would call these movements, evasions rather then her offering you upper level movements. If you ask for her to bend and she wiggles her way out of it with "half-pass", "leg-yeilds", ect that is unacceptable. It may be impressive but it is not correct.
She sounds like an athletic horse but her mind doesn't sound that great. Does she have the talent for upper levels? Maybe... Time will tell. :winkgrin:

CatOnLap
Oct. 2, 2009, 11:16 AM
Is she doing piaffe or pisaffe?

Isn't that pronounced "Pee Off?"

We used to call that particular movement "anxiety on the spot". :lol:

mp
Oct. 2, 2009, 12:28 PM
I'm not quite sure how to reply here. That your horse can do these things and is offering them is great. She sounds athletic and as if she has quick back legs, essential in a dressage horse.

What I'm not so sure how to phrase is why is she offering these movements? While it is very common for horses to offer tempi changes when they are learning canter pirouettes because that work is so hard I wonder why this horse is doing quite so much dancing around when being asked to do what sounds like basic level dressage? I think it could be her way of saying she doesn't understand +/- a comment on the amount of pressure she feels she is being put under. That last sentence has been written carefully. She may in truth be under very little pressure but from her point of view it is so much that she is boiling up and fizzing over.

If she were mine I would spend time trying to figure out what makes her squirt off into tempi changes or wriggle sideways into unrequested lateral work. You'll learn more about how she ticks by analysing her responses. Once you find out what makes her fizzy try to avoid doing that. Ask her the same question in a different way otherwise you run the risk of ending up with a disobedient horse who cannot canter a 20m circle without throwing in unrequested changes and, believe me, that is a right royal PITA!!

Very insightful post.

OP, you've got the raw, physical material. It's the mind you need to get now.

*Liz*
Oct. 2, 2009, 02:24 PM
Thanks for all the insight everyone.

I think some people are confuse, aside from lead changes (standard and necessary in the h/j world) I am not asking for any upper level moves yet, just the basics - stay off the forehand, engage the inside hind, bend through the entire body, and because she's stiff through her body - shoulders-in and haunches-in at the walk and trot, some leg-yielding here and there.

She has been started well, but we do have some training hole that need to be filled in - hence us dropping back to the basics and dressage. She's coming along nicely, and slowly seems to be getting the ideas, but she's an intelligent 5 y.o WB who's not yet convinced the 'new' way of going is better than her old way of going. I'm sure she will get it, it's just going to take more time and consistency.

When she is evasive, we usually try to ignore her antics and continue asking for whatever we were until she does as she is told. We don't encourage the tempis or any other movement that was not asked for in any way, just ride her through, balance her, and settle her mind, then reward her when she is correct.

And I think I am still unclear on my dressage definitions, she doesn't do any very collected, very extended, or cadenced trot, but she does on a very rare occasion do a few strides of super collected, cadenced canter - like for a pirouette, but on a straight line where she'll canter virtually in place. It feels like all the impulsion just goes up instead of forward. Is that a piaffe? or am I confused on my terminology? (Sorry if these are dumb questions, but I'm really trying to expand my dressage education :) )

Shrunk "N" Da Wash
Oct. 2, 2009, 03:43 PM
Piaffe is a super collected trot
Heres a video of it trained in hand : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUoKtanhOXM T

Sandy M
Oct. 2, 2009, 04:01 PM
My long-since retired horse, who got to 2nd level/schooling third, Piaffed and Passaged the first time he saw cattle. After that they became a non-issue. He also Piaffed and passaged whenever he saw mules and/or pigs - he never "outgrew" that. LOL

Did he ever passage or piaffe as a result of schooling? Not really. We got some half-steps and the beginnings of Passage eventually, but as someone mentioned above, having the physical talent for upper level work is only part of the equation. While my guy probably did have the mental part, and while he absolutely did passage and piaffe in excited moments on occasion, he wasn't physically up to it by the time I was ready to ride it/teach it.

I can remember a Pan Am and Olympic Team rider of some years past who had a horse whose gaits were not remarkable, but he really had the MIND for dressage and did brilliant passage and piaffe.

goeslikestink
Oct. 2, 2009, 04:40 PM
Thanks for all the insight everyone.

I think some people are confuse, aside from lead changes (standard and necessary in the h/j world) I am not asking for any upper level moves yet, just the basics - stay off the forehand, engage the inside hind, bend through the entire body, and because she's stiff through her body - shoulders-in and haunches-in at the walk and trot, some leg-yielding here and there.

iam not confused as what your asking of her basic work first

like getting her striaght and forwards lenthening
and shortening her strides using the half halt stride so she working from but to poll to a relaxed yaw with you working from an indenpendant seat secure leg and light hands

the halt halt stride is your matey -- and is used in all dispilines if your trainer cannot show you or tell you how to do that then change your trianer as this is a basic movement and one the 1st to educated the horse on the way to upper levels

you need to use the half halts stride in all your transitions as she doesnt know how to and you havent mentioned it at all then start her off with the half halt working from walk to halt
then once mastered work up gears using all the walk paces - free walk medium walk and extended walk - then mix with all trot paces ie medium working and extended then add the canter and counter canter - as this is a young horse always go large before trying to go smaller it will help her and you always work in a square areana rahter than a round one so you can use the full lenght and width of the school
on page one of my helpful links pages i explain how to do the half halt stride
with youngsters or new horses always do any movement or new movement in walk its easier for the horse to learn


She has been started well, but we do have some training hole that need to be filled in - hence us dropping back to the basics and dressage. She's coming along nicely, and slowly seems to be getting the ideas, but she's an intelligent 5 y.o WB who's not yet convinced the 'new' way of going is better than her old way of going. I'm sure she will get it, it's just going to take more time and consistency.

i doubt it -- as you have addvasion problems so you must go back to basics if you want this horse of the forehand do the above and she will


When she is evasive, we usually try to ignore her antics and continue asking for whatever we were until she does as she is told. We don't encourage the tempis or any other movement that was not asked for in any way, just ride her through, balance her, and settle her mind, then reward her when she is correct.

late signals or bad timming or incorrect signals will do that to ahorse that doesnt know what your asking



And I think I am still unclear on my dressage definitions, she doesn't do any very collected, very extended, or cadenced trot, but she does on a very rare occasion do a few strides of super collected, cadenced canter - like for a pirouette, but on a straight line where she'll canter virtually in place. It feels like all the impulsion just goes up instead of forward. Is that a piaffe? or am I confused on my terminology? (Sorry if these are dumb questions, but I'm really trying to expand my dressage education :) )



have you ever heard the saying dont run before you can walk

the horse isnt collected and is unbalanced - you have to work on the walk and trot before the canter - and any upper movements thats why you have holes in your work

you horse isnt balanced and racing as in rushing and disunited -- legs 11 as shes young
so work on her walk with the half halt stride to get her off the forehand and to get her attention dot attempt to jump her until you have done the basic flat work

her jumping wont be any good as you have no control of her direction and the distances and strides would be out, as you need your half halt to use as a check for take or landing
you need to learn your strides between the jumps as in lots of ground poles and grid work
then small course of jumps - again if one cant jump small it isnt likely to jump bigger and one jump doesnt do it --

and check your position and stirrups length again all explained on helpful links pages
as if you havent got the right position then you will be heavy in the reins and she will again advade you

i have being doing youngster since the year dot -- you mare isnt listening becuase your rushing her -- so dont time and patience will give you a better horse

pluvinel
Oct. 2, 2009, 07:41 PM
These are not upper level movements in a young horse, they are evasions because the horse is uncomfortable and/or resistant in what you are asking.

Evasions, true....but better if the horse be athletic, than a klutz. If athletic, that energy can be channelled into productive work. Nothing finer than a hot athletic horse. If a klutz, you're on the negative side of the number line before you start. Very difficult to overcome a naturally endowed "klutz factor."

The more important question is whether the horse has a mind to accept training or whether it is a "ditz." A goodmind in an athletic horse is fabulous.

"Evasions" are a matter of perspective or frame of reference. Horses are generally generous (with a few notable execptions.) Looking at things from the horse's point of view, the horse might simply be telling the rider the work is physically too demanding, that the rider is doing too much and putting the horse off balance or that the horse is just simply confused about what is being asked.

slc2
Oct. 2, 2009, 08:02 PM
"Evasions are a matter of perspective."

I wouldn't call it a 'matter of perspective'. I'd call it a misapprehension. I think that the wrong attitude tward this problem comes out of a lack of understanding that's born of inexperience and kind of a feeling that this is correct work, and also that it is just that easy to produce upper level movements. Just sit there and they will just pop out of baby horse like Medusa from the forehead of Zeus, surprise! No work! Just...surprise!

I think only an inexperienced trainer believes anything good can come of a horse being out of control, tense and off balance. That's what these things come from. A horse unable to hang onto his lead, accept a contact and canter without swapping leads again and again, has a problem, not 'talent'. A horse that trots in place (with a young horse it is not a piaffe, it is trotting in place) because it has the SAME problem, cannot accept a contact, also has a problem. Both problems are the same problem. And they are problems, not positive things.

I watched a 'great' trainer years ago, demonstrate to us a piaffe on a just broke, 2 1/2 year old horse.

Basically it worked like this.

He drove the horse crazy, and we watched.

Quite a few people ooh'd and ahhh'd. I'm sure they thought it was brilliant.

*Liz*
Oct. 2, 2009, 08:59 PM
Okay, so the consensus seems to be that this doesn't really mean or say anything about her future - just her form of evasion. Thanks for the all the input.

J-Lu
Oct. 2, 2009, 10:22 PM
Okay, so the consensus seems to be that this doesn't really mean or say anything about her future - just her form of evasion. Thanks for the all the input.

NO!!! It means that you have an athletic horse with a mind for work! Yes, they are evasions...so is bucking and rearing and bolting. Your horse has managed to channel her evasions into more tricky footwork rather than flat out bad behavior. She's avoiding weighting her hind end by doing tempis rather than kicking out at your leg or bolting (like many other horses would choose). That says alot about her mind - she tries. Same thing with the piaffe. I used to ride a TB mare who would piaffe in the trailer, piaffe in the start box, etc. She COULD (an occasionally did) channel her energy elsewhere but she was a willing partner who at least contained her energy in a trot on the spot. She turned out to be a horse who could sit...lucky me.

Every competitor wants an athletic horse. So work with the one you have and learn how to hone that energy. Thats what separates the RIDERS from the passengers. :)

Hampton Bay
Oct. 2, 2009, 11:42 PM
I agree with J-Lu. It means you have an athletic horse who just isn't there mentally yet. The question is can you get a good control over her brain, and will she stay sound.

My mare is very much the same way as it sounds like yours is. When I started teaching her haunches-in to the right, she didn't quite get the whole concept of moving while trotting with the haunches in. So she instead decided to piaffe with the haunches in. The mare has a lot of ability to sit, but just gets confused when learning new things. Though to give her credit, I am teaching her while figuring it out on my own.

And I would MUCH rather have a horse who offers these kinds of evasions than one who bucks, rears, bolts, or just mentally shuts down. They are all going to be confused from time to time. And maybe you really aren't pushing your mare, but she is somehow confused and frustrated. Learn to work with it and you may very well have a nice horse.

The fact that she CAN do these things is good. Some of them really can't get out of their own way.

Sabine
Oct. 3, 2009, 02:01 AM
Liz- just a small word of advice- if she's only 5 and hasn't been overworked or been in a unpro- environment as far as her coming along- from out of the pasture- I would strongly advise a very good vet for the sacrum. The behavior you describe can also be caused by a chiro issue and/or some very old pasture issue that makes her very tight in the rear..thus causing her to fire off these 'very nice' training routines that are really evasions, borne of discomfort or just a 'slightly strange feeling' - being a mare and sensitive- I would not consider that as uncommon.

*Liz*
Oct. 3, 2009, 06:20 AM
Again, thanks. We will continue to work the dressage - heavily until the basics are really there, and then I'll go back to playing it by ear to listen to which ring she wants to show in.

I do think she'll get there mentally. The 5th year always seems to be a tricky one - I just about hated my now 10 y.o gelding his entire 5 y.o year, and then suddenly one day things clicked and he went on to show A/O jumpers and is now being leased and doing dressage successfully with a junior.

I have not had a chiro out to look at her, though she has seen my acupuncturist a few times. I was actually talking to my trainer the other day to see if we can find someone to do a equine sports massage plus stretching for her. I'm not sure there's any real issue to be found, but I am all about doing whatever I can to make her job easier for her.

asanders
Oct. 3, 2009, 10:13 AM
I'm know your question was with regards to the horse, and the replies thus far have focused mainly in that direction, unless telling you how you were allowing for evasions.

I'm not sure I will get this clearly put but, I think you have a language barrier that is not all on the horses side. Good on you for knowing that all good hunters must leg yield, bend, collect, extend, and change gait when asked. You say your mare needs work in some areas. How you go about getting that could be called dressage (well, by definition it is dressage), but it sounds like you have an idea I've seen in H/J riders (some quite successful) that this is somehow 'different' or outside of normal H/J training.

What is your experience with H/J that DO bend, leg yield, collect extend, etc. correctly on course/in the ring? Are you comfortable and confident in getting the desired responses on those horses? What about 'classical' dressage? Do you feel comfortable/confident asking a well trained dressage mount for a respectable test and getting it? Do you feel like you were speaking two different languages --or was it really all just HORSE, although you might have SAID slightly different things? eta, I believe you should always be trying to speak horse, not some dialect.

Example: There is a simple enough basis in asking a horse to leg yield; move away from my leg pressure while continuing in the frame of my other instructions. For a Hunter that might include relaxed easy frame, for a Jumper, please be alert and paying close attention to pace --a big fence is ahead. For a dressage test it could be during just about any other combination of requests (kind of the point of Dressage capital D I think; as the levels increase so do the combinations).

How does this relate to your mare? Often, evasions come as much from errors in the 'everything else I was telling you' part of things as the specific request the horse is evading. I think you are concentrating on a particular "Dressage" aid, and not riding the rest of the ride. Consider how many things you are actually trying to do at the same time (what gait, what frame, what direction of movement, etc.). If it is too complicated to get across, simplify it (which may be what GLS was getting at).

It may or may not make a difference what you real purpose is. Whether improving her H/J performance, or adding classical dressage to her repertoire.

I hope that made sense. I do not feel that I was very clear...

slc2
Oct. 3, 2009, 01:43 PM
'Evasions' and confused reactions are just the horse saying how he is being ridden incorrectly or unclearly. The horse does need to 'first things first' and learn the basic things before doing piaffe and one tempe changes, a young horse needs to have a happy time with simple, straightforward aids to do simple straightforward things.

Kyzteke
Oct. 3, 2009, 01:59 PM
J-Lu:
I realize what she's doing right now is her form of evasion - that word was escaping me while I was writing my original post. The interesting aspect (to me) is that in avoidance of a simple concept she reacts by doing something that takes much MORE energy and effort. I've owned horses for over a decade, been riding for more than 15 years, and I've never had a horse do something MORE complicated than what was asked as an evasion tactic.

I think this is what people are trying to tell you -- for your horse the tempi's are NOT more difficult.

Perhaps according to a human's training scale they are, but not for all horses and certainly (it would seem) not for yours.

Sometimes I wonder if these super athletic horses are more difficult to train than the less talented ones -- I remember an interview with Lisa Wilcox where she called Royal Diamond "Einstein" and said she had to be very careful when riding him because he was SO athletic he would offer all sorts of so-called higher level stuff at the drop of a hat. :lol:

slc2
Oct. 3, 2009, 02:16 PM
I think an athletic or sensitive horse is far harder in some ways to train, and far easier in others.

A very quiet, slightly dull, not so sensitive, not so responsive horse is great for a person to learn on. And the person might be 'learning' all the way up to GP with him. The horse might only be relatively quiet compared to an elite horse, there might be various gradations of this.

I think a quieter sort of horse tends to not piaffe, to not do one tempe changes if the rider is unclear, tense or incorrect. I think the quieter horse tends to simply do something that's less effort, such as when the rider asks for a canter without the correct aids he may simply trot, or walk, rather than doing 80 1 tempe changes.

Lendon Gray wrote in one article that her first schoolmaster, Ludmilla, I think, quietly reared/performed a levade, when she asked the horse to do something. I think this is what it is, the horse is just showing a problem with the riding.

I think the more sensitive or energetic horse, when he's confused or tense, tends to do things that are more vigorous, more dramatic.

goeslikestink
Oct. 3, 2009, 04:25 PM
urm - are you wearing spurs when asking --

BayHorseUK
Oct. 3, 2009, 06:17 PM
I've owned horses for over a decade, been riding for more than 15 years, and I've never had a horse do something MORE complicated than what was asked as an evasion tactic.

It's quite common actually, particularly for the more sensitive types. From your description she brings to mind most of the hot blooded intelligent mares I've ever schooled - they are clever, reactive and quite content to expend energy to make a point.

I think all the posts here answer your question remarkably well. Bottom line is, you are clearly impressed (and probably rightfully so) with your mare's possible potential, so keep on enjoying it. However, to be blunt, if you have any real aspirations to upper level dressage you need to redefine what "basic dressage" means.... forget about engagement and bend right now, and shoulder-in/haunchers-in because she's simply not at that stage yet. First get relaxation and looseness, and get these VERY well established or it will haunt you for a looong time to come. It's cool you've got one that shows some aptitude for the work, so be careful not to enjoy that so much that you overlook the more important training principles. Good luck to you!

slc2
Oct. 3, 2009, 07:45 PM
"forget about engagement and bend right now"

I think that's going too far. These are basic things.

Piaffing
Oct. 3, 2009, 07:53 PM
When the horse offers you more than what you want take it, keep asking for the movement they just offered. Do a transition or ride out of it, then huge praise. Then continue with what you were originally asking for. The one thing you don't want to do it discipline the horse for something that would be asked for at a later time.

J-Lu
Oct. 3, 2009, 08:36 PM
"forget about engagement and bend right now"

I think that's going too far. These are basic things.

not for a training level/first level horse. I believe that is where the OPs horse is at.

Renascence
Oct. 3, 2009, 09:58 PM
I believe you said you are taking the dressage because she goes on her forehand between jumps. Also she does not like to bend and weight her inside hind leg, and will offer up some more extreme movements instead. These can be signs of weakness and or pain, and not just lack of training. It sounds like she could still be young and weak and physically undeveloped since she is only 5. I would have a chiro look her back over and would work on strengthening work or just doing less if that back and joints are still developing and growing.

goeslikestink
Oct. 4, 2009, 03:45 AM
I believe you said you are taking the dressage because she goes on her forehand between jumps. Also she does not like to bend and weight her inside hind leg, and will offer up some more extreme movements instead. These can be signs of weakness and or pain, and not just lack of training. It sounds like she could still be young and weak and physically undeveloped since she is only 5. I would have a chiro look her back over and would work on strengthening work or just doing less if that back and joints are still developing and growing.

tthats j-lu point and mine you work the horse and balance it 1st

how can one expect a horse to jump if it hasnt had the flat work in
getting of the forehand means laods and loads of transitions using the half halt stride and shortening and llenghtening her paces so she learns to use herhelf and get her hinds underneath her - as the power comes from the butt not the front

goeslikestink
Oct. 4, 2009, 04:00 AM
this is what you said ----I am a moderately experienced amateur (showed successfully 4'3'' jumpers) and both my trainer and I are having the same issues.

its not going to be fixed as your both doing the same thing to the horse

if your trianer cant tell you how to use or perform or show you the half halt stride then shes not worth a light
the half halt stride is a direct signal to inform in the horse something going to change
ie from a collected pace to a faster pace and visa versa

the horse isnt collected and is unbalanced and for her to jump later in life
then she has to be balanced -

and she can only get balanced by working on the flat as in schooling the half halt stride is used in all disiplines its your freind of a pace the same way trot is


your being defensive rather than listen to what needed to make you and your horse a better partnership with out your horse you cant do zilch -

shes good and honest and trying to do what your asking - but has confused signals
for exsample your asking with your legs but stopping her in your hands

thats a cufused signal so horse will do xyz to advade that signal as its a doubt a doubt or confused signals ina horses mind are fear factors 1st is to flee 2nd is to 2advade if of a restrcited nature ie on the lunge or ridden and will perfrom xyz
as j-lu described -- same as buck or rear but its movements instead


so you need to re address at what you and your trianer are both doing worng which is making the horse do xyz

people are so quick to blame the horse and its themsleves that are cuasing the problem but wont admit that or be honest withthemselves often happens

BayHorseUK
Oct. 4, 2009, 04:31 AM
not for a training level/first level horse. I believe that is where the OPs horse is at.

hmm, perhaps... but generally if I have a training/first level horse that I can't consistently keep my leg on without it sidling away or overreacting then I personally think its time to re-evaluate. There's a big difference between a steady elastic contact and basic straightness vs. lifting the forehand and building up athleticism. Quite possible I've misinterpreted what's being done when this behaviour occurs. Over the years I've simply seen far too many cases of the early stages of connection and true forward (tension free with relaxation of back and joints) being neglected. I also tend to agree with goeslike when she says that the horse is confused, though I would add that it may not necessarily be down to the riding but could also simply be too much being asked too soon for a horse that tends to overthink things. But then, what do I know? ;)

slc2
Oct. 4, 2009, 04:42 AM
I don't know what kind of 'bending' is not appropriate for a training level horse or even a just broke horse. In all my life, never heard a trainer or clinician shout out, 'No Bending! He's only training level!'. The bending is very slight, because the horse is on large circles at that point in his training.

'Engagement', even though it is a rudimentary type (use the hind legs actively, going forward, to develop 'thrusting power' is what the training level directive is), is all a part of the first phase of training. No, it isn't about collection yet, but even at the lowest levels, the horse is learning to swing his hind legs and back and go forward. 'Thrusting power' is Part One of Engagement.

It's not clear the 'half halt stride' is going to keep a youngster from swapping leads over and over or piaffing. In fact it may be the effort to DO the 'half halt stride' that is causing the problem.

Normally, these things are signs that the horse is too much in the hand, too excited, stiffening up and not being through its neck and back.

And in fact, normally, the 'ones' and the 'piaffe' aren't 'ones' and 'piaffe' at all. They are 'horse getting too backed up and tense in the canter' and 'horse getting too backed up and tense in the trot work'.

I think in the jumpers what they call 'winding up' or 'tightening up' the horse, unfortunate terms, and not a rough or forceful process usually - one puts the horse on a more upright neck position, shorter rein and a contact, and attempts to 'compress' him and gather his hind legs under him - it's not as forceful as it sounds, but it involves something like the collection the dressage riders do.

The horse might just not be ready to be 'tightened up'. A lot of youngsters are very weak muscled in the back and need to be ridden in a different way.

These folks are jumper amateur and a jumper trainer. The horse is probably very excited, tense and confused by the work. Can be as simple as not enough work, or other people jumping big stuff in the ring while he's getting schooled, or too much grain.

BayHorseUK
Oct. 4, 2009, 04:55 AM
SLC I think you are deliberately misinterpreting. To be clear to the OP, I never said "no bending"... this disagreement-for-disagreement's sake is just plain silly. :lol:

goeslikestink
Oct. 4, 2009, 05:00 AM
I don't know what kind of 'bending' is not appropriate for a training level horse or even a just broke horse. In all my life, never heard a trainer or clinician shout out, 'No Bending! He's only training level!'. The bending is very slight, because the horse is on large circles at that point in his training.

'Engagement', even though it is a rudimentary type (use the hind legs actively, going forward, to develop 'thrusting power' is what the training level directive is), is all a part of the first phase of training. No, it isn't about collection yet, but even at the lowest levels, the horse is learning to swing his hind legs and back and go forward. 'Thrusting power' is Part One of Engagement.

It's not clear the 'half halt stride' is going to keep a youngster from swapping leads over and over or piaffing. In fact it may be the effort to DO the 'half halt stride' that is causing the problem.

Normally, these things are signs that the horse is too much in the hand, too excited, stiffening up and not being through its neck and back.

And in fact, normally, the 'ones' and the 'piaffe' aren't 'ones' and 'piaffe' at all. They are 'horse getting too backed up and tense in the canter' and 'horse getting too backed up and tense in the trot work'.

I think in the jumpers what they call 'winding up' or 'tightening up' the horse, unfortunate terms, and not a rough or forceful process usually - one puts the horse on a more upright neck position, shorter rein and a contact, and attempts to 'compress' him and gather his hind legs under him - it's not as forceful as it sounds, but it involves something like the collection the dressage riders do.

The horse might just not be ready to be 'tightened up'. A lot of youngsters are very weak muscled in the back and need to be ridden in a different way.

These folks are jumper amateur and a jumper trainer. The horse is probably very excited, tense and confused by the work. Can be as simple as not enough work, or other people jumping big stuff in the ring while he's getting schooled, or too much grain.



its not doing the the half halt stride and informing the horse that something going to change
is the problem as none are doing it to the horse in other words the horse is taking them and they arent riding the horse as no clear signal of direction given

not once has this basic pace or signal been mentioned yet its one that use in all paces and baisc movements which ifone cant perform the basics how does one peformed upper levels if one has got hte basic foundation of flat work in -

slc2
Oct. 4, 2009, 05:31 AM
"I never said "no bending"."

It doesn't matter who said it. I am not arguing with a person, I am disagreeing with a statement.

Someone, however, did state it. I cut and pasted. From this thread. And J-Lu backed it up, and wrote, 'not for a training/first level horse'.

Engagement in the sense of a great deal of collection, is not expected from an average first level horse or a training level. But starting to swing the hind legs and the back is.

'Engagement' means bending the joints of the hind legs. When the horse develops 'thrusting power' in working gaits, he bends the joints of his hind legs more. But when he carries more with his hind legs, and sits on his hind quarter, and starts to develop self carriage, he is going to the next step, and the next kind of engagement - collection, carrying, instead of just thrusting forward, bending the joints, yes, but more bending in the hips, so that the whole 'assembly' is moved foward, more under him, allowing him to carry. Without that first rudimentary bending of the hind leg joints, he would not be able to go to the second step.

And when a horse is swapping leads and doing the 'pisaffe' (love it) it IS 'anxiety on the spot'. It isn't really either movement. It's holding back and not going forward.

I think just about everyone's hope, when they see that, is 'Good Golly! I've got a Grand Prix horse! Phone the press!'

It's a common mistake people make.

Look, guys, we ALL love our horses and think each one of them is the best horse in the world. It's easy to watch them and get carried away, and to misinterpret things.

When a lower level horse does not move forward in the trot, when a lower level horse does not stay on one lead, it is NOT a sign that the horse is 'uber talented'. The advanced dressage work just isn't that simple that one just sits around and it happens without any schooling. It is a sign of confusion and lack of forward. The training and first level horse's training is about creating thrusting power. That means going forward.

When you can't keep a horse going forward, that isn't collection.

When your horse goes up and down on the spot, and you can't send him forward, that isn't piaffe.

When your horse does an over cadenced working trot, that isn't a passage.

When you can't get your horse on the correct lead, that isn't a counter canter.

When you can't KEEP your horse on the correct lead over and over, that isn't tempe changes.

Bending? Bending is a part of every training and first level horse's work.

It's not a huge amount of bending when doing 20 m circles, but to be honest, I can't imagine not bending a training level horse, either.

egontoast
Oct. 4, 2009, 05:45 AM
To the OP- so now you know-

NEVER come to the dressage forum and suggest that your horse is offering any dressage movements. You will get the canned rant every time. You'll even have the same person post repeatedly on your thread telling you just how WRONG it is in case you missed it the first time.

No video is needed, it's all there like a movie to be embellished in the imagination.

It's always nice to know a horse can do clean changes. Trick is getting them not to do them when you don't want them.

If you really want an assessment of your horse's aptitude for dressage, get a knowledgeable trainer to have a look. This is not a good way to get an assessment of your horse.

*Liz*
Oct. 4, 2009, 07:56 AM
I hardly to know to respond.
egontoast - obviously I was not aware that this was a poor choice of subject matter, I was honestly looking for some insight.

I'll respond generally here:
My horse and I are well-schooled on half-halts - we know them and use them appropriately.

We know how to lengthen and collect.

Engagement is an absolute must with this horse - if she's not going forward I have nothing. It's the number 1 rule in my rides - keep the mare moving forward, no sucking back, no lolly-gagging.

These are only issues sometimes, not all the time; I can and do have entire rides where she never once swaps out on me or does anything she is not asked for.

The mare is sensitive, but not hot and not quick - more of the hunter-type mentality than jumper-type.

Yes, I'm wearing spurs (1/4" tom thumb) and she goes about the same with no spur, my TTs, small POW, small roller spurs - I'm pretty sure the spur isn't the issue.

She acts the same whether in my jumping saddle, my dressage saddle, or various others.

She wears a KK ultra bit.

She eats 1.5 scoops Ultium 2x per day, maybe 6-8+ flakes of peanut/coastal hay per day, and gets about 12 hours of turnout nightly in a good sized paddock with a couple of fillies.

I confused my terminology, my apologies, - she's NOT doing any collected or cadenced trot like piaffe or passage.

I am working with a dressage trainer.

I'm quite pleased with how she's coming along. She's picking up on lots of good, correct new concepts. Her way of going and muscle tone has dramatically improved since we began our dressage lessons. She's listening and responding better to my leg than ever before. I am very happy with my trainer and my mare; though we are in a bit of a rough patch right now, I know that once she learns what we're asking and once she builds up some more strength - the rides will get much smoother.

Instead of training advice, I was more looking for insight on what, if anything, her form of evasion meant in terms of her future. Nothing more, nothing less.

slc2
Oct. 4, 2009, 08:12 AM
Sounds like you're doing a really good job with your horse.

I did emphasize, more for others than for you, that the issues described aren't really 'ones' or 'piaffe', they are things the horse is doing instead of what he should be doing. Yes, I do run into the occasional trainer that can make use of these things, but not many.

I was at the barn one day when a young horse 'offered' what the rider was sure was a 'passage'. Not only did she 'take it', she encouraged it. She proudly 'passaged' around the ring, over and over, smiling at us all. Several people teared up, one told me the horse would be an Olympic champion some day. I'm sure she thought it was a great sign of the future.

The trainer, an experienced FEI rider who had brought her own horse herself to GP and national awards, walked in, stared with a horrified look, and quietly said, 'Please stop doing that right now'. Then she explained to the rider it was NOT a passage, but a hovering working trot.

And oh YES. There were very loud voiced people in the barn who called the trainer, 'mean' and a 'party pooper', even some who wanted to take the rider aside and tell her to ditch that trainer and go on her own, she OBVIOUSLY was very able to take the horse to GP herself, such a talented animal! The trainer was just trying to keep the student dependent on her! The trainer was just being nasty! It was a BEAUTIFUL PASSAGE! And just a five year old! What talent! What a future!

The only problem was they were wrong, and the trainer was right.

Horses don't skip things. They never do. The muscles have to gradually be developed and suppled before the work is going to be correct. No matter how well bred, how well conformed, how great a mover, how famous a daddy, 'They all got to be rode'...and trained. It simply takes time to develop the basis for that advanced work.

I'm not suggesting training should take forever or that skilled trainers don't take less time than less skilled ones. Only that if the work is going to be correct it requires the progression.

I don't think the evasions really mean anything in terms of the horse's future. All sorts of things go on in training, it's important not to get too excited either way about them. And no, actually, the 'more talented' horse isn't always the one that's swapping leads every stride instead of cantering. It is, usually, the one that's more tense and nervous. And he MAY be talented...only the future, brought out step by step, can tell that.

Issuees with leads are very common even during very skilled training. The youngster learning counter canter tries to get back on the other lead, proper counter cantering is hard, but also perhaps the rider isn't clear. The youngster learning collected flying lead changes starts going 'Change Happy' and changes every time the rider sneezes. The more along horse things the aids for pirouette are confusing so HE goes change happy too. They also pick up a canter instead of half passing or doing haunches in, and stand up instead of halting, and kick out with one hind leg instead of engaging it.

Top trainers like Kyra Kyrkland write in their books about having horses offer movements and developing that. Unfortunately, people use those statements to assume that every single time the horse loses its canter lead or doesn't go forward, that they are doing a fab job and bringing out GP work.

Of course there are exceptions. When my horse came down the long side and wanted to go into an extended trot out of exhuberance, I went with it. But again, too much of this, and you then wind up with the opposite problem. Changes are the one place where I usually disagree with people here who get excited when the horse unexpectedly changes leads. All I feel encouraging that leads to, is confusion on the horse's part. Ultimately his training is plagued by 'what IS the change aid anyway?'

The top 20 or 30 or so riders in the world, all of who have brought dozens of horses to the international elite level (not just GP, but also the elite level), can do this and succeed. They also have the horse ready to do Grand Prix at a show at 7 1/2 or so. That means at five, the horses can easily do all of the Five Year Old tests well enough to win at the World Young Horse Championships. I'm sorry to say what works for them doesn't usually work for the amateur, their horses aren't at the same point at five as ours are, and they simply ride better than us. I know a trainer who takes horses that are eight and nine, never having done ANY level of anything, and have them doing two tempe changes in six months. If most people tried that, they'd have a huge mess on their hands.

But does 's***' happen? Sure it does. Even to the best. Which is why I would not suggest you run to a bb. Your trainer, if you've chosen well, you and she can work this out. All it requires is time and work.

Reiner Klimke wrote in detail that he had a problem with his world champion Ahlerich in the pirouettes that really worried him for a time. That the horse had weak back muscles and needed more time in working gaits. Even the best have things they wonder about and work on.

Five is a tough age with training a dressage horse. They now know basically what the training is about, and they start getting stronger and more balanced, and they start finding the rider's weaknesses, and the training is starting to address THEIR weaknesses. The five and six year old years are probably the most difficult part of the training. The kindergarten school suddenly is starting to look a little bit like grad school, even for the most patient, kind rider.

Most people don't really 100% go there. They are more refining their training at training level or first level, rather than meeting up with the key 'five and six year old' issues - starting collection, what does contact really mean, evening up contact by evening up the hind legs, improving straightness, developing impulsion and increasing bending, engagement and everything else.

It just isn't the easiest stage of training. It's where the poopie starts to hit the fan. Expect problems, trust your trainer and yourself and your horse - don't worry.

stolensilver
Oct. 4, 2009, 08:26 AM
Instead of training advice, I was more looking for insight on what, if anything, her form of evasion meant in terms of her future. Nothing more, nothing less.

As someone who has stayed out of the majority of this thread may I offer my advice on this part of your post? Your horse is telling you she is confused, mostly between going and whoa-ing and her temperament is such that she'll go rather than shut down when she's anxious hence the cantering on the spot.

In terms of her future this is something that you must address now. Cantering on the spot will be a big problem to you in the hunter ring so you need to learn what situations tend to provoke it and have an ultra reliable set of responses to stop it before it happens.

Somehow, somewhere you are blocking your horse, giving her energy nowhere to go. You might have ridden a hundred horses and had no problems but for this horse at this stage in her training something in your seat/ your hands/ your legs is preventing the forwards. Can you work out what the difference is between the days when she does it and the days when she doesn't? The behaviour you describe is a response to stress. I know you are not trying to stress her or doing anything that you think might make her upset. Problem is that she is stressed and acting out as such.

So your homework is to decipher your mare's psyche. Find out how she ticks. She is, without doubt, sensitive. Perhaps for her a normal aid appears as if you are shouting at her? Whatever it is you must find it and change it before you can progress her training be that as a dressage horse or as a hunter.

goeslikestink
Oct. 4, 2009, 01:06 PM
As someone who has stayed out of the majority of this thread may I offer my advice on this part of your post? Your horse is telling you she is confused, mostly between going and whoa-ing and her temperament is such that she'll go rather than shut down when she's anxious hence the cantering on the spot.

In terms of her future this is something that you must address now. Cantering on the spot will be a big problem to you in the hunter ring so you need to learn what situations tend to provoke it and have an ultra reliable set of responses to stop it before it happens.

Somehow, somewhere you are blocking your horse, giving her energy nowhere to go. You might have ridden a hundred horses and had no problems but for this horse at this stage in her training something in your seat/ your hands/ your legs is preventing the forwards. Can you work out what the difference is between the days when she does it and the days when she doesn't? The behaviour you describe is a response to stress. I know you are not trying to stress her or doing anything that you think might make her upset. Problem is that she is stressed and acting out as such.

So your homework is to decipher your mare's psyche. Find out how she ticks. She is, without doubt, sensitive. Perhaps for her a normal aid appears as if you are shouting at her? Whatever it is you must find it and change it before you can progress her training be that as a dressage horse or as a hunter.



yes good post

pluvinel
Oct. 4, 2009, 02:20 PM
yes good post

Agree.....

So your homework is to decipher your mare's psyche. Find out how she ticks. She is, without doubt, sensitive. Perhaps for her a normal aid appears as if you are shouting at her? Whatever it is you must find it and change it before you can progress her training be that as a dressage horse or as a hunter.

Totally agree. Especially the part about reflecting what one is doing and how the horse repsonds.

A recent article in The Horse discussed some resesarch where they had people lead horses around a track. They were told that on the 4th time around an umbrella would be unexpectedly oppenned. The people had heart rate monitors put on. EVERY ONE of the people showed elevated heart rates on the 4th lap and ALL HORSES started acting up.

Point is, they can feel our heart rates when only attached by lead lines.....they feel much more than we give them credit when we're on their backs.

If this is a really sensitive mare, perhaps the "holding" that is blocking her may only be the rider's unconscious contraction of the seat or of holding one's breath.

Franz Mairinger (SRS...RIP) said the hardest thing to do on a horse was to do nothing. My stallion would offer one-tempis when all I was trying to do was trying to enter down the centerline at a collected canter. My trying to correct our "wobble" down the centerline was interpreted as requests for sequential changes. So obviously, there was some unconscious adjustment I was doing that he interpreted as a request to do tempi's. When I try to ask for the tempi changes, I think too much. As one of my instructors once told me, "Just shut up (mentally) and ride"....eg., quit thinking and start riding....eg., start feeling.

sdlbredfan
Oct. 4, 2009, 02:31 PM
Liz- just a small word of advice- if she's only 5 and hasn't been overworked or been in a unpro- environment as far as her coming along- from out of the pasture- I would strongly advise a very good vet for the sacrum. The behavior you describe can also be caused by a chiro issue and/or some very old pasture issue that makes her very tight in the rear..thus causing her to fire off these 'very nice' training routines that are really evasions, borne of discomfort or just a 'slightly strange feeling' - being a mare and sensitive- I would not consider that as uncommon.

I agree, look for physical causes. For the problems of bending, do a lot of walk serpentines. When she can do those well, do rising trot serpentines, asking for bend. The outside leg thing OP mentioned, as a probable source of confusion for the horse, was excellent analysis. I have a hunch OP needs either to develop more subtle cues, leave off the spurs, and/or further refine cues so that the horse will know the difference between haunches over type of leg yield, and change leads cue.

J-Lu
Oct. 5, 2009, 12:02 AM
hmm, perhaps... but generally if I have a training/first level horse that I can't consistently keep my leg on without it sidling away or overreacting then I personally think its time to re-evaluate. There's a big difference between a steady elastic contact and basic straightness vs. lifting the forehand and building up athleticism. Quite possible I've misinterpreted what's being done when this behaviour occurs. Over the years I've simply seen far too many cases of the early stages of connection and true forward (tension free with relaxation of back and joints) being neglected. I also tend to agree with goeslike when she says that the horse is confused, though I would add that it may not necessarily be down to the riding but could also simply be too much being asked too soon for a horse that tends to overthink things. But then, what do I know? ;)

I think we agree. But lets not forget that the OP is a hunter jumper rider looking for dressage pointers to understand her horse's reaction. She is not training dressage per se, nor training with big name dressage trainers. She is wondering if her hunter prospect might like dressage better because he is clearly confused and is offering movements. She is not "pushing" the dressage prospect.

Training and first level *training* does not stress bending and stepping under as much as second and above does..which to me is where dressage training really kicks in. The bending at this level is not unique from the bending required for hunters or lower jumpets. Thus, training and first level dressage is basically homework for hunters and jumpers. The OPs horse appears to be training/first level dressage. Anyone disagree?

Lets stay on track and help the OP.

enjoytheride
Oct. 5, 2009, 10:23 AM
Frankly I think some of the posters are being a bit obtuse. It is very common to get a whole slew of evasions when teaching a horse something new, especially if it is difficult or if they have learned things wrong the first time around.

Since your mare is athletic and somewhat of an overachiever she is tossing out what she thinks are the answers left and right before she has listened to the question (assuming you are asking the question right in the first place). In contrast a slower thinking, lazier, or less athletic horse may instead say "I have no clue thus I am going to keep doing the same thing until you make it clearer and in a way in which I am willing to respond." Both types of horses have their ups and downs.

I think the fact that she shows the tendency to toss out some things that might be difficult to other horses shows that yes she has potential as a dressage horse and yes she is athletic.

So your task now is to show her the right way to answer your questions without punishing her for being athletic. I don't see any problem with a jumping horse having one tempis, piaffe, or any of those other things. If you wanted to eventually add more tricks to her repertoire it will not harm her jumping. She sounds like she can learn the difference between swapping on course and doing dressage style changes as long as you are clear about it.

You might find that having some lateral movements in your bag of tricks keeps her interested and helps her and you stay more balanced on course.

Gry2Yng
Oct. 5, 2009, 08:11 PM
Very insightful enjoytheride. Glad I kept reading.

*Liz*
Oct. 7, 2009, 06:38 AM
I cannot believe how long this thread has become! But, I've learned some very interesting things, and gained some more insight into my mare. Thanks once more to all who have replied.

My last few rides have been better, with less evasion. She's definitely starting to understand and process these new concepts.

Once she gets some more of these concepts completely, (I'm guessing a few months) I plan to take her to her first dressage show (probably just local) and do a couple of tests - presumably training level. I'll be sure to post back and let everyone know how her official dressage debut goes.

slc2
Oct. 9, 2009, 05:13 AM
The trouble is they aren't tricks, they aren't 'in her repertoire' if she's doing them when she's supposed to be doing something else, and a series of rapid lead swaps at every stride in front of a jump isn't real conducive to getting over the jump without crashing it. To jump without picking a lot of splinters out of your teeth, one needs to actually have control over what the horse is doing and not doing, such as its rate of forward progress in front of the jump.

narcisco
Oct. 11, 2009, 11:09 AM
I wouldn't call it a 'matter of perspective'. I'd call it a misapprehension. I think that the wrong attitude tward this problem comes out of a lack of understanding that's born of inexperience and kind of a feeling that this is correct work, and also that it is just that easy to produce upper level movements. Just sit there and they will just pop out of baby horse like Medusa from the forehead of Zeus, surprise! No work! Just...surprise!

Just so we don't create any more myths, it was Athena, not Medusa.