PDA

View Full Version : What's your biggest training problem?



Jane Savoie
Mar. 7, 2010, 12:26 PM
If you could pick one thing that you'd like help solving, what would it be?

mjhco
Mar. 7, 2010, 12:29 PM
I just cannot seem to get the timing and rhythm of the one's. My horse is only a few steps ahead of me learning them. I can get a few in a row then I start moving too much and it throws him off. He is really good natured about it.

I don't have the opportunity to practice on a school master.

Are there any 'off horse' physical or mental exercises that can help?

Thanks.

Jane Savoie
Mar. 7, 2010, 01:28 PM
1. To stop moving your body, look up and keep both hips pointed squarely ahead like headlights on a car.
2. Don't bring your new outside leg too far back. You won't have enough time to switch legs. To compensate for bringing a leg too far back, pretend you're going to use the new outside leg on the girth. You'll probably still move it a bit but not so much you get out of sync.
3. Maybe your horse is getting too long and by the 6th or 7th change, he's too long. Do 3 or 4 ones, then collect as if you're going int o a pirouette...Then go forward and ask for 3 or 4 more.
4. Make sure you close each new outside hand in a fist as you ask for the change. That "sticks" the new outside hind and helps keep your horse from getting too long. The feeling is like "milking a cow"

You can practice these aids off your horse.
Good luck!

narcisco
Mar. 7, 2010, 01:31 PM
A nine year old driving horse, built like a tank (Frankie the Tankie) who does not understand how to move forward to contact. He will move without contact, and will almost stop with it. Inside leg to outside rein is like speaking Chinese to him. Longes in sidereins ok, little flexion, does not understand bend. Work in hand is beginning, does nice turn on the forehand, with little contact.

2boys
Mar. 7, 2010, 01:35 PM
Stop using my hands to slow him down!! I am getting a teeeny weeny bit better in the ring at the trot, but with my horse being a forward thinker, I am so apprehensive to take him out where I know he will want to go. My instinct is to grab.:no:

Lieselotte
Mar. 7, 2010, 01:48 PM
I have a PB Arab mare for endurance but we do dressage for cross training. She has a good foundation, knows her aids, is prompt, has a beautiful trot and canter BUT -- the walk!?? She is sooo sluggish! I've never had that problem on any of the lesson horses I rode before and it's making me really impatient...
I know from riding out on the trails how well she can step it up but in the arena I can't get a nice forward walk out of her. I use my whip to enforce what I'm asking, she perks up, does three nice steps, then back to sluggish... As soon as we pick up the trot everything is great again, she listens and does anything I ask. Any tips?
Thank you!

rideforthelaurels16
Mar. 7, 2010, 02:20 PM
Balance! My horse is super athletic and on the days when everything *clicks* (aka I pull my head out of my rear and start RIDING!) he really engages, is super light up front, and can collect enough in the canter to do 5 meter canter circles. However, he's a downhill OTTB, and a lot of the time I feel like we're riding literally INTO the arena dirt - and then the canter we get from that is horrid; bolty and bucky and just totally off-kilter. I know it's a rider issue, but I'd like to be able to more consistently overcome it, and I'm sure my horse would like me to, as well :)

Robyn
Mar. 7, 2010, 02:37 PM
MY position :(. I'm just a vet check away from my new horse(!) and looking at some of the pictures my husband took of me riding him.....oh, my. As Ruth said first off during my Rocky lesson, I'm stronger on my left side and the right side just seems to collapse - mostly from my hip down so I raise and "scrunch" up my right leg and kind of clutch with it. Bad, very bad.

I may have to spring for the PYP program!
Robin

mjhco
Mar. 7, 2010, 02:52 PM
1. To stop moving your body, look up and keep both hips pointed squarely ahead like headlights on a car.
2. Don't bring your new outside leg too far back. You won't have enough time to switch legs. To compensate for bringing a leg too far back, pretend you're going to use the new outside leg on the girth. You'll probably still move it a bit but not so much you get out of sync.
3. Maybe your horse is getting too long and by the 6th or 7th change, he's too long. Do 3 or 4 ones, then collect as if you're going int o a pirouette...Then go forward and ask for 3 or 4 more.
4. Make sure you close each new outside hand in a fist as you ask for the change. That "sticks" the new outside hind and helps keep your horse from getting too long. The feeling is like "milking a cow"

You can practice these aids off your horse.
Good luck!

Thank you so much.

quietann
Mar. 7, 2010, 02:58 PM
Well, that my horse is lame :(

More seriously, I am getting balanced seat (not dressage) lessons on a Haflinger gelding who has the hardest mouth I have ever encountered. He is ridden mostly by lesson kids so he's pretty tuned out. He definitely responds to "forward" requests as he's not a lazy horse. Given that I will likely be riding him weekly for the next couple of months, what approach can I use to get and keep his focus?

friesian4me
Mar. 7, 2010, 03:10 PM
Working with a horse whose contact is too light. Not reaching forward enough into the bridle.

Jane Savoie
Mar. 7, 2010, 03:15 PM
So contact seems to be a big issue for a lot of people (too strong, light etc)??

Then I see issues with the lazy horse and horse who likes to go!

I personally get a lot of questions about the canter (balance, departs, wrong lead etc) and Connection.

Just wondering if I'm missing a whole segment of "problems" because I seem to get the same questions for the most part.

BTW, this is not "my" thread...Everyone please feel free to chime in with solutions! It'll make for a great training thread.

Jane Honda
Mar. 7, 2010, 03:21 PM
OHMIGOSH!!! Really this is THE Jane Savoie?!!

I'm a huge fan. *thud*


I'm coming back from an accident that left me with 6 inches of hardware on each side of my spine. I broke my T-9 and 10 vertebra. After 7 weeks in the hospital, it took me a very long time to be able to ride without pain.

My goals in my life are to be able to compete in just one 3 day event. (yes, just one and I will be happy) It's been a lifelong dream of mine.


Sitting the trot has been bad for me, but I'm getting a lot better. I have had to loosen up my hips, and work really hard on relaxing my lower back. I come off the horse barely able to walk upright, but it can be done.

I'm just curious if a lot of riders that have had past injuries that limit flexibility and motion make it very far? (I'm very driven, and motivated sometimes beyond my capability)

My mare is very forgiving, and a bit protective. She can sense a spasm before I can and will just stop. Bless her little heart. She also gets pretty sore on her left side, and I wonder if this is because I'm weak on my right? She also wont pick up the canter right away either, and wonder if it's because I'm not compressing her up into the bridle enough? She will do transitions within the gaits well, reinbacks, and halts with just a slight squeezing of my buns up into the bridle. People ask me all the time if I'm aiding her, or if she is anticipating. (yes, I have her super light)

Do you have any suggestions for this issue?

Cowgirl
Mar. 7, 2010, 03:33 PM
Riding corners like a pro to improve balance and set up for the next movement....which is particularly hard for me at the moment as the corners in our arena are rounded!

Zevida
Mar. 7, 2010, 03:53 PM
I would say contact is definitely a big issue for me. I let the reins slip through my finger and my body thinks long reins = light contact = good, which my brain knows is not correct, but it is hard to fix. My horse was balky as a youngster, so I did very, very little walk work on contact as that would get him stuck. Now, going back and learning to push him into a solid contact is challenging both of us - in a good way.

The other thing I have trouble with is keeping the engagement and forward in lateral work. My coach has really been pushing me on this the last two months and we've made great progress in the shoulder-in and renvers. Funny when I put my horse in shoulder-in and instead of dying, he takes off! Next we'll be tackling staying forward in the trot half-pass.

suzier444
Mar. 7, 2010, 04:12 PM
I REALLY struggle with knowing whether or not my contact is too heavy, too light or just right. I always think too light is right.

I struggle with second-guessing what I think I'm feeling, so sometimes I react a little later than would be ideal.

I am having canter-sitting issues. My sitting trot is decent, but I struggle in the canter. It is subtle enough other people can't necessarily see it but I can tell from the horses I ride that I don't feel good to them somehow during the canter. I can tell that the lines of communication become worse during the canter...like fuzzy reception on the telephone.

I also struggle with hand/elbow position. My hands get too low and my elbows too far in front of me. It's like my comfort zone is set wrong and it is very hard to change it, especially because one learns to have a certain degree of effectiveness despite that flawed position, so when you try to change, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. That's mentally hard to accept, especially when you're trying to help your horse at the same time. You can learn to fix something on the lunge line when somebody else is in control, but then when you go back to actually try to use your body to achieve an effect again, some of the old issues creep back in. Because you have to learn not just to put your body in a different place, but to USE your body from that different place. That's so hard for me.

Those are my top few current issues!!

Just Not Native
Mar. 7, 2010, 04:19 PM
I have a middle aged TB mare. She is a former school horse.

She is very light and athletic. She must be pushed forward in the canter or she will just about canter right in place.

She will only except light contact. If the contact gets heavier she starts to resist by bringing her head up in the air and throwing it about. She does not go behind the bit.

I have been told that she will always be like this due to her age and the fact that she has been ridden this way for so long.

I have been told that she will never COLLECT.

I have a great set of eyes on the ground.
(teaches & trains for a different horse sport)
We just don't see the same potential in this horse.

My goal is a good score in Training level and then perhaps to go on to Level 1 - I don't think that this goal is unreachable.

I need some tools to show this mare can do it.

She has been out of work for a few months due to a hoof abscess. Would be a great time to bring her back to work, when she's ready, with some new "tools".

buck22
Mar. 7, 2010, 04:42 PM
My biggest problem is lack of confidence in my ability.

In order to accomplish anything with any real meaning and trust, I need to be able to ride my horse freely forward, in all the gaits, outside of fences, and not rely upon his mouth for speed control and feeling safe. And I just can't because I don't trust him, rather I don't trust my ability to stay on and pilot safely should he have an unsure or explosive moment. So I ride defensively and thats just, not good.

I know this level of trust, and me letting go, is the final hump we need to clear for us to really be a team.

Jane, I am an enormous fan. Thanks for starting this thread.

mishmash
Mar. 7, 2010, 05:07 PM
Two issues:
1. Fear-as a rerider, I battle my mind a lot.

2. Timing of the aids: This how it usually goes in my brain:
a. "Hmmm, something is wrong, what is it??"
b. "ahhh...he's getting stiff and rushy and on the forehand"
c. " what to do?"
d. "half halt!!"
and I half halt-three strides after everything has gone to h@!!.
Does it ever become auomatic?

Andrea_W
Mar. 7, 2010, 05:16 PM
Great tip on the "ones"! Thanks so much. :)

gallopinggram
Mar. 7, 2010, 05:20 PM
Buck, I could've written your post. Lack of confidence is huge with me, though I am told by my trainer that I am doing fine. I have a spooky draft cross and she is usually good for me, but the times when she throws in the random spook (which I never seem to be ready for) have me riding defensively. I have read a lot of Jane's material on fear, and they have helped, but bottom line is - I don't trust her (horse, not Jane!) and don't have enough confidence in my ability to deal with situations that could occur. As a 50 something adult rerider, who rides mostly alone, I am always grapling with the "is this the right horse for me?" question.

Aside from the confidence thing, getting my horse in front of my leg would be MY biggest training issue. Thanks for starting this thread Jane.

Hampton Bay
Mar. 7, 2010, 05:37 PM
Lack of money...

And sitting my mare's medium trot. She's not a big mover, but boy can she be rough! I'm going to have to investigate the invisible posting mentioned on the other thread.

GreyDes
Mar. 7, 2010, 05:55 PM
Wow! I can identify with almost everything on this thread (except the ones - I'm no where close to that yet :)).

I would add canter departs on the correct lead, and truly being straight. Boy do I struggle with that last one!

thatsnotme
Mar. 7, 2010, 06:24 PM
SUPPLENESS!!! I actually rode with you just over a year ago and suppleness was an issue at the clinic. I have the Happy Horse program and continue working with it. I have a wonderful trainer-although he is new to me-who has again pointed out a general lack of suppleness in my horse. We are trying to move up to 3rd and this has shown a huge hole in the program. We are currently back to basics, but it's really challenging.

thatmoody
Mar. 7, 2010, 06:26 PM
So contact seems to be a big issue for a lot of people (too strong, light etc)??

Then I see issues with the lazy horse and horse who likes to go!

I personally get a lot of questions about the canter (balance, departs, wrong lead etc) and Connection.

Just wondering if I'm missing a whole segment of "problems" because I seem to get the same questions for the most part.

BTW, this is not "my" thread...Everyone please feel free to chime in with solutions! It'll make for a great training thread.

Yes, these. Too light contact (push him harder, she says, and I do, and it helps). Canter departs need work - he needs balance, and more work will help. Oh, and thanks for the advice on the sitting trot - we are getting there, finally. the head down advice worked nicely.

Perfect Pony
Mar. 7, 2010, 07:42 PM
Being too fat for the way I am built. I am only 140lbs but it's all in my butt and thighs and it makes getting a proper leg position for dressage so hard! I would love suggestions for getting a nice long leg properly positioned under you with big thighs, it's really hard!

The good and bad news about my horse training issues is that it did turn out to be physical (a huge stifle chip). Now after surgery she is still having issues with the stifle. So add me to the list of people being held back by a lame horse :(

lorilu
Mar. 7, 2010, 08:10 PM
Getting out of the chair seat and lengthening my leg. I have a new saddle that helps alot. When my leg is correct, everything is better. Drawing my knee up is the root of many of my problems.

As far as the horse goes, getting him forward enough at the canter without him running. The HHs make him go immediately into trot...... and I know forward is the key. He gets nervous going too fast and that, of course, makes me nervous. (There are ghosts in his past that keep floating up....)

L

EqTrainer
Mar. 7, 2010, 08:17 PM
Riding corners like a pro to improve balance and set up for the next movement....which is particularly hard for me at the moment as the corners in our arena are rounded!

Take two jump poles and make a corner :)

Dressage Art
Mar. 7, 2010, 08:18 PM
If you could pick one thing that you'd like help solving, what would it be?Jane, for me personally, it's show nerves. And I read your books about how to cope with show nerves and I am much better than I was before. At least now I don't freeze up, I actually ride thru the test even thru my mistakes as well.

As for horses, a correct canter pirouette is the most difficult for me to train in to a horse.

2ndyrgal
Mar. 7, 2010, 08:22 PM
Not chiming in with a training problem, but as an, ahem, older rider, with a younger greener horse, your book has been a fabulous help with both confidence and "imagining" the perfect ride.

I'd been off for almost 6 months, with a lame horse and personal surgery. Spent that six months reading and re-reading parts of your book. Went a couple of weeks ago,with my trainer to test ride a green horse I'd never been on for a video. This horse is the polar opposite of what I normally ride in every possible way. I'd been riding this horse, as she had been described to me, in my "mind's eye" for almost a month.

The ride was a fluid and perfect as any I'd ever had. The horse's owner and my trainer said she'd never gone so well or quiet and that my hands and seat looked still and fluid. It was effortless.

I'm getting ready to start my big horse back and hoping to have the same ride.

Thanks Jane

Alpha Mare
Mar. 7, 2010, 08:24 PM
My big issue is medium gaits (through which I hope to achieve extended...). I have two mares, mother and daughter. Mother is 1/2 TB, daughter is 1/4 TB and 3/4 warmblood.

Daughter is very, very rhythmic. I think it is easier for her to lengthen stride than to quicken, I think 'more' and she lengthens, has lovely mediums so far. It is no big deal and very natural to her.

Mother is more advanced in lateral work, changes, etc. but when I think 'more' in trot she quickens. I suspect I need the mental image of her 'lengthening'. Have had some success if I keep both legs on at the girth with 'encouragement' but it feels a bit like a chair seat.

I really want the mother mare to do mediums and extendeds, she has the ability but I think I am not aiding her correctly. Any advice? or exercises?

p.s. have excellent trainer for younger mare and coach for older, just something I need to get in my head.

NJRider
Mar. 7, 2010, 08:25 PM
I am a victim of the Three Hour Rule- a qualified instructor, shows, interaction with the Dressage Universe are ALL three hours away in different directions. On one hand I am very lucky and successful with my horses despite all the time riding alone. I adopted a 19 yr old FEI horse that no one could ride and and enjoying him immensely. I have a young 4 year old WB that I bred who is superb. I just get panicky about not not ever "getting anyplace" with him because of the limitations by the distance and also having a very low income. So I try to do what I can with what I have.
I board my 4 yr old at a jumper barn (I work in exchange for the board fee- I am 47 and can clean 15 stalls in 2 hours! ha ha) and really enjoy the environment. It would be SO MUCH easier to ride huntseat! Sometimes I imagine what would happen if I did that.... but I am too addicted to dressage. However, I will venture him over some poles and little jumps.

in_the_zone
Mar. 7, 2010, 08:52 PM
With one horse in particular, it's hard to keep his hind leg engaged as we start the harder upper level collection work. He started off as a behind the leg/behind the bit horse and although we have worked through a lot of those issues, it shows up here. He's really great and very competitive, I just think there could be some improvement in this area.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Mar. 7, 2010, 08:52 PM
Me. Me being able to "feel" my crookedness and imbalances. Me being able to move all my body parts in a flow, without getting stuck or inhibiting my horse.

Mrsmph
Mar. 7, 2010, 08:55 PM
Getting out of the chair seat and lengthening my leg. I have a new saddle that helps alot. When my leg is correct, everything is better. Drawing my knee up is the root of many of my problems.

As far as the horse goes, getting him forward enough at the canter without him running. The HHs make him go immediately into trot...... and I know forward is the key. He gets nervous going too fast and that, of course, makes me nervous. (There are ghosts in his past that keep floating up....)

L

lorilu, this WAS my problem a while back. What *fixed* it for me , almost immediately, was to stand straight up in my stirrups. You CANNOT stand up if your leg is out in front of you. Now, walk standing up. Yes, standing up, all the way up! Like in the movie Titanic when he's on the front of the ship. Way up! Straight! Now do it at the trot. Alot. Voila! Now - your leg knows where it needs to be for the correct balance. It DOES work, I swear. I was blown away. :yes:


And Jane, we LOVE you!!!!!! You have helped so many riders in so many ways. Thank you.

Moogles
Mar. 7, 2010, 09:13 PM
I get too comfortable! I think I'm pretty good about changing up exercises, varying gaits, putting the frame between stretching and up, etc. Then when things are going good, I love to hang out in the comfort zone! Its just too much fun when the stars align and the connection is just on. To grow and advance better I need to challenge both the horse and myself the right amount and not settle for fun!

I also will sometimes hold tension in funny spots, like my forearms. I have to remember to be soft but with positive tension, not tightness.

I think my timing is improving, but I still feel a fraction off/late and would love to get that more down pat. My brain to muscle movement takes too long, I need to feel->automatic muscle activation not lots of mental processing in between.

oharabear
Mar. 7, 2010, 09:20 PM
Can I add another vote for "connection" issues?

More specifically, I have an ex-racing (pacer) Standardbred who is awesome when he is round and on the bit. He hates traveling like that though (probably because it's difficult as he is so used to being hollow all of the time) and, while I am not having issues getting him round, I have a hard time KEEPING him round for any length of time beyond 3 or 4 steps.

Although, getting him round and on the bit was a HUGE breakthrough/triumph for us, so I am very grateful for that. We're just stuck on the next step and have been for far too long now.

connieg10
Mar. 7, 2010, 09:23 PM
Hi Jane.

First off I want to say - dressagementor.com is awesome and has helped me immensely. Thanks so much for sharing your insight and experience. It is absolutely invaluable to me.

I have learned a ton about relaxing my horse and making him forward. I cannot tell you how much I have gotten out of consistent suppling and ensuring my horse is in front of my leg all the time. Those two things are part of every ride I take now and before dressagementor they were not. It is amazing how many problem I thought I had that went away once I worked consistently on suppling and forward.

I would say my biggest problem is "feeling my horse" and trusting that feel. It helps me to have a trainer on the ground, but sometimes they will ask - "did you feel that" when something happens during a lesson and I am not sure I really did. I am going to start trying to find someone to videotape my lessons so I can go back and watch those "did you feel" that moments to get their perspective.

I am also trying to find a dressage schoolmaster horse in my area to lease because I am convinced that will also help. To have a horse who really has been there and done that would be worth its weight in gold.

Thanks,
Andrea

NOMIOMI1
Mar. 7, 2010, 09:33 PM
Mish :)

Ill try to give a tip!

If the horse is stiff and tense, I dont think from there a HH can really do much good. I would try a circle, going smaller and allowing the forward searching for that loose swing again.

If I am wrong and a HH is a must then I would say make sure a quick forward aid along WITH it. Slow aids only add to the tension.

Just my two cents :)



AND

My own biggest training issue is being disciplined enough leave well enough alone once my horse is light and balanced :( I feel like I should be DOING SOMETHING!

My trainer is helping and Ive made a tighter schedule of rides with her to keep me from myself lol

Velvet
Mar. 7, 2010, 10:49 PM
Take two jump poles and make a corner :)

I would also add the obvious, ride squares in the arena or pick a spot and ride straight across the rounded side and make a corner as you come back to the rail. It's easy to practice making corners. If you practice them in a place where you only have one side that is solid, and you get good at them, doing them in an arena with two sides for your corners is child's play.

Dressage.For.Life.
Mar. 7, 2010, 11:47 PM
My upper body position is OK but I have trouble with really rolling my shoulders back, without tensing up, and keeping them that way! Any tips on that one? I'd say some of my other problem areas would by keeping my elbows at my sides, and my hands even.

My horse is on stall rest, so I'm yet another who hasn't really been riding for that reason :(

Canterbury Court
Mar. 8, 2010, 12:18 AM
How to teach riders how to get the horse on and use the outside rein!

jumpymeister
Mar. 8, 2010, 12:32 AM
How to teach riders how to get the horse on and use the outside rein!

Ditto on that!

Any suggestions for different ways to say "shorten your outside rein" or "push him into your outside rein"?

meupatdoes
Mar. 8, 2010, 07:29 AM
How to teach riders how to get the horse on and use the outside rein!

Use exercises that explain it.

Have the rider come up the quarterline, ask the horse to show her the inside eyelash, and then legyield out to the track.

Have the rider legyield out each corner.

The emphasis should be on getting the base of the neck and the part of the horse under the saddle to snug up to the rider's outside thigh. The emphasis on the outside rein is secondary. If you focus on outside rein before the rider can send the spine out it will be likely that the lack of support from the inside, coupled with overemphasis on the outside rein, will create a hollowness in the energy on the outside, which will ixnay everything from the get go.

Once the rider can "snug up the spine" to the outside thigh, have the rider "switch" the spine down the diagonal or centerline. Three steps the spine is snugged up to the right thigh, with horse lightly drifting right, next three steps the spine is snugged up to the left thigh, etc. Repeat until the spine flexibly and easily goes from one thigh to the other. Again, the emphasis on the outside rein is secondary; the rider must ride the horse that is UNDER her before moving up the neck to the horse in her hand.

Once the rider can easily send the spine from one thigh to the other, THEN the rider can create positive tension between her inside and outside aids. Have the rider ride a half circle, asking the horse to drift out with her inside leg, and positive countering with the outside rein and leg to control how much.

These progressive exercises will teach the rider how to set up "positive opposition" between her inside and outside aids, and as a result, voila, horse is on the outside rein.

But the ability to send the spine away from the inside leg toward the outside thigh is step one. (And also the most commonly skipped step. Most amateur-ridden horses I meet are inadequately schooled to the inside leg response, because it simply isn't emphasized sufficiently. Trainer stands in the middle and says "push him out to the outside rein" but the horse has no inside leg response to speak of. Thus, start with the legyielding exercise, and progress piece by piece from there.)

carolprudm
Mar. 8, 2010, 09:15 AM
OHMIGOSH!!! Really this is THE Jane Savoie?!!

I'm a huge fan. *thud*


I'm coming back from an accident that left me with 6 inches of hardware on each side of my spine. I broke my T-9 and 10 vertebra. After 7 weeks in the hospital, it took me a very long time to be able to ride without pain.

My goals in my life are to be able to compete in just one 3 day event. (yes, just one and I will be happy) It's been a lifelong dream of mine.


Sitting the trot has been bad for me, but I'm getting a lot better. I have had to loosen up my hips, and work really hard on relaxing my lower back. I come off the horse barely able to walk upright, but it can be done.

I'm just curious if a lot of riders that have had past injuries that limit flexibility and motion make it very far? (I'm very driven, and motivated sometimes beyond my capability)

My mare is very forgiving, and a bit protective. She can sense a spasm before I can and will just stop. Bless her little heart. She also gets pretty sore on her left side, and I wonder if this is because I'm weak on my right? She also wont pick up the canter right away either, and wonder if it's because I'm not compressing her up into the bridle enough? She will do transitions within the gaits well, reinbacks, and halts with just a slight squeezing of my buns up into the bridle. People ask me all the time if I'm aiding her, or if she is anticipating. (yes, I have her super light)

Do you have any suggestions for this issue?

Yup, pain, or in my case the anticipation of pain. My issue is no where as serious as yours, hardware in ankle. However Sophie leaps into a canter transition, I get stiff and brace into my stirrup.
Or
I get stiff, Sophie leaps into the canter and I brace into my stirrup.

Either way, it HURTS.

FWIW, when I was first allowed to ride after my surgery I used to keep a cooler of icepacks on my mounting block. There were many rides where I would dismount by the block, loosen my mare's girth and sit on the block icing my ankle before I could walk the 20 feet to turn her out. Time, a Thinline pad and MDC Intelligent stirrups have helped.

egontoast
Mar. 8, 2010, 09:37 AM
it's an interesting question but I think it depends on which horse you are riding.

How would you answer the question for yourself, Jane Savoie?

esdressage
Mar. 8, 2010, 09:53 AM
I think it's kind of an evolution. My learning is something of a pyramid just like my horse's training, and for every skill we work to master, there' another that follows.

What's interesting is how things can click so suddenly, and then your biggest training problem is solved, but there are many more that follow! I thought my biggest problem was getting my mare's left lead canter balanced and as beautiful as her right, then yesterday in the warmup at a show (of all places, where you really don't plan to or expect to solve issues), I found out that simply bringing my inside leg back a few inches kept her haunches from drifting in as they tend to do on that lead, and fixed it completely. We got 7's and 8's on our canter work instead of 5's and 6's. Every time I picked up the lead and just slid my lower leg back a smidge, and she went right into it again just beautifully. Problem solved. Woot!

So now, I have a new issues that is my "biggest" almost in the blink of an eye. And this is making our downward transitions softer and riding "into" the downward transition instead of "out of" the gait above. I try, but really need to figure this one out better.

DieBlaueReiterin
Mar. 8, 2010, 09:57 AM
getting my horse to carry HERSELF at the canter. she's always had a horrid canter and she just gets heavier and heavier and heavier. i hate it!!

see u at x
Mar. 8, 2010, 10:57 AM
My biggest training issue with my one horse right now is definitely resistance. At the beginning of almost every ride, she likes to throw in some crow-hopping and small bucks. (This happens regardless of whether or not I lunge her beforehand in order to try and get her into "work" mode.) I usually start her off on a big circle of half the arena and sometimes we might get an entire circle or two completed before she starts to suck back I feel her tense up in an attempt to buck. She's not REALLY dirty about it and I never feel like she's making a serious attempt to get me off, but it's annoying and I'd rather not hit the ground if I can avoid it. Sometimes she'll start to get resistant in the middle of the ride while we're doing trot work, though that happens with less frequency and I'm usually able to divert her attention to another task as soon as I notice trouble brewing.

My friend who has helped me with her a few times has said that she's resistant and kind of "witchy" in her behavior. On the ground, she's wonderful and very kind. (Yes, my saddle does fit, her teeth are fine, and the vet can't find anything else physically wrong with her. We are considering depo shots to see if that regulates her, but I'd rather not do that if we don't have to.) While her work ethic isn't good at the beginning, once we get past her nonsense and she starts to figure things out, she starts to try TOO hard.

It's frustrating, because I feel like we've hit a wall and I don't know how to get past it. I'm not a super assertive rider, either, which makes it worse and I'm beginning to feel like she's "got my number." I feel like I'm failing myself AND my horse, as well as wasting all the talent she has because of my inadequacies.

yaya
Mar. 8, 2010, 11:36 AM
I'm a combination of several of these posters:
1. Lack of confidence. My horse is a really good boy and doesn't give me grief when I'm struggling to learn things on him, but he tends to pay too much attention to what's outside the arena, and when he spooks, it's a loooong way down from 17.2. Found that out the hard way at our very first show.
2. Horse behind the leg. Probably because I'm afraid to let him go forward.
3. Riding defensively. See #s 1 and 2. Probably stems from my lack of confidence (#1). I tend to unconsciously grip with my thighs, so that causes #2. It's a viscious circle.
4. Large thighs. I am overweight, and am working on that, but I don't think I can ever change the roundness of my thighs without some sort of surgery. I think that adds to the gripping, but it also makes it very hard to loosen my hips since I'm practically doing the splits on any horse I ride that is any wider than a fenceboard.
5. Timing is off in the changes. I was slow at first, then we had them great, and now I'm sometimes early, sometimes late. I guess we just go for the law of averages in the tempis! It's probably because I'm trying to keep my hips loose that it's screwing up my timing, so I'm hoping it goes away again soon once I get used to riding a new way.

tollertwins
Mar. 8, 2010, 11:40 AM
HEY - I LOOOVEEE your series!

My issues:

1. Have had some physical issues (left hip degenerated) so I have some bad position habits.

2. Fear - never been balanced due to the hip (going thru your series now!).

3. Giraffe horse. Don't know if he's one that needs the bit swapped periodically or what....but he starts giraffing after a couple weeks in any particular bit (has regular dental work).

4. Not entirely sure what do w/ when the horse balks (e.g. plants and starts backing).

Silver~Image~Farm
Mar. 8, 2010, 03:07 PM
Riding corners like a pro to improve balance and set up for the next movement....which is particularly hard for me at the moment as the corners in our arena are rounded!

I'm not sure if there is? or should be a difference between how a "pro" or an ammy rides a good corner?.....perhaps I don't understand the posters question?....

Clearly I would think the "rounding" off of corners is more expected at the lowest or introductory levels while ability to ride correctly into deep corners should be improved as one moves up the training scale?......

[edit]

Jane Savoie
Mar. 8, 2010, 04:19 PM
My biggest training problem is my own crookedness. I need to work on my position every single day. (Sigh)

I saw a lot of posts about pain so I asked one of my students today how she deals with her chronic pain. (She was in a plane crash many years ago and has rods in her back and screws in her knee.)

She says learning correct breathing and relaxation exercises has helped her a ton. She used to protect and guard herself and that made the pain worse. She uses specific breathing and relaxation exercises that she learned from various books to help her "let go" as opposed to protect herself.

She also said it helps to be aware if her horse is between her legs and reins. If her horse is leaning on her right leg, for example, and she ends up supporting him with her leg, it causes her pain. So she uses her pain to give herself feedback about whether or not her horse is straight.

Bobblehead
Mar. 8, 2010, 05:04 PM
Feeling my horse's bend. I know it will come with time and more focus on it, but right now I feel like an idiot. My instructor will say, "There, feel how she's bulging out a little?" "Feel how she's leaning in?" "Feel how she's locking her jaw?" Well, sigh, no. I can feel it if it's blatant, but not the subtleties of when it just starts to happen.

I know I can do it because I can feel my canter leads now, which I was sure a year ago I'd never be able to. And yesterday I had a HUGE lightbulb moment when I could feel her loosen up in the bridle just before asking for a canter transition, and was able to push her forward in one stride and have a nice transition -- sorry, had to brag about that because it was SO HUGE for me -- but right now I feel very clueless about those subtle bends. If it's just more time and hearing it again and again from my instructor, well, fine, but I do find other ways of looking at things helpful. Just feel stuck about this right now.

goeslikestink
Mar. 8, 2010, 05:11 PM
My biggest training issue with my one horse right now is definitely resistance. At the beginning of almost every ride, she likes to throw in some crow-hopping and small bucks. (This happens regardless of whether or not I lunge her beforehand in order to try and get her into "work" mode.) I usually start her off on a big circle of half the arena and sometimes we might get an entire circle or two completed before she starts to suck back I feel her tense up in an attempt to buck. She's not REALLY dirty about it and I never feel like she's making a serious attempt to get me off, but it's annoying and I'd rather not hit the ground if I can avoid it. Sometimes she'll start to get resistant in the middle of the ride while we're doing trot work, though that happens with less frequency and I'm usually able to divert her attention to another task as soon as I notice trouble brewing.

My friend who has helped me with her a few times has said that she's resistant and kind of "witchy" in her behavior. On the ground, she's wonderful and very kind. (Yes, my saddle does fit, her teeth are fine, and the vet can't find anything else physically wrong with her. We are considering depo shots to see if that regulates her, but I'd rather not do that if we don't have to.) While her work ethic isn't good at the beginning, once we get past her nonsense and she starts to figure things out, she starts to try TOO hard.

It's frustrating, because I feel like we've hit a wall and I don't know how to get past it. I'm not a super assertive rider, either, which makes it worse and I'm beginning to feel like she's "got my number." I feel like I'm failing myself AND my horse, as well as wasting all the talent she has because of my inadequacies.

check your saddle doesnt need flocking as it should be done every year at least check it fits her as horse grow up and down and in and out till 7 so the saddle if fitted should be altered accordingly

katarine
Mar. 8, 2010, 05:20 PM
I don't seem to know circles from eggs and ovals :)

Bobblehead
Mar. 8, 2010, 05:24 PM
My biggest training issue with my one horse right now is definitely resistance. At the beginning of almost every ride, she likes to throw in some crow-hopping and small bucks. (This happens regardless of whether or not I lunge her beforehand in order to try and get her into "work" mode.) I usually start her off on a big circle of half the arena and sometimes we might get an entire circle or two completed before she starts to suck back I feel her tense up in an attempt to buck. She's not REALLY dirty about it and I never feel like she's making a serious attempt to get me off, but it's annoying and I'd rather not hit the ground if I can avoid it. Sometimes she'll start to get resistant in the middle of the ride while we're doing trot work, though that happens with less frequency and I'm usually able to divert her attention to another task as soon as I notice trouble brewing.

My friend who has helped me with her a few times has said that she's resistant and kind of "witchy" in her behavior. On the ground, she's wonderful and very kind. (Yes, my saddle does fit, her teeth are fine, and the vet can't find anything else physically wrong with her. We are considering depo shots to see if that regulates her, but I'd rather not do that if we don't have to.) While her work ethic isn't good at the beginning, once we get past her nonsense and she starts to figure things out, she starts to try TOO hard.

It's frustrating, because I feel like we've hit a wall and I don't know how to get past it. I'm not a super assertive rider, either, which makes it worse and I'm beginning to feel like she's "got my number." I feel like I'm failing myself AND my horse, as well as wasting all the talent she has because of my inadequacies.

May I offer some thoughts? Although I'm no expert by any means, but this is so much where I've been at. Mare defined as resistant. Hops sometimes in the trot. Not super assertive rider. Hit a wall. Here's what I did about 3 weeks ago.

I said to myself, I honestly believe that horses don't "want" to be bad. They just DO things, and what they do is all about what's in the moment. I also notice that my horse lunges far more beautifully than she goes under saddle, and she goes far better for my instructor than for me. So this means . . . I am the problem. I am getting in her way somehow, or not supporting her correctly. And that's okay--my whole purpose is to ride better.

Then I said, defining my horse as resistant is causing me to subconsciously blame her for the problem. But the problem is clearly ME. (See above.) Therefore, I'm going to redefine her. That extra-fast walk after I first mount? That's her lovely overstepping walk on the lunge line. I've been stopping it with my seat. WHY? I'm immediately telling her to shut down. Those hops in the trot? That's extra energy that she's offering for free. It's my job to direct it into a beautiful engaged trot. The times when she tries to anticipate? She's actually trying to please me. I'll just smile, appreciate her willingness, and gently persuade her to wait. Those giraffe canter transitions? That's her telling me she's not quite athletic enough to be perfect there, and besides my inside hand is dragging her.

Finally, I said, the beautiful picture I have in my mind of a perfectly engaged horse who is never unbalanced or stiff is my GOAL. It isn't what my horse and I can do today. We can only come a little closer. That, for us, is a successful ride.

I'm constantly keeping two things in mind: (1) a quote from Mark Rashid at a clinic I audited: "You're asking your horse to be soft, but all the time you're stiff as a board." (2) Stop riding the head of the horse and focus only on prompt response to leg aids. (Yes, I was nagging with my leg.)

Since I adjusted my own attitude, my horse's ears have relaxed and she's starting to snort and foam a little when I work her. People are starting to comment on how nice she looks. And we're having FUN.

enjoytheride
Mar. 8, 2010, 05:41 PM
Getting and keeping contact especially in the wonky direction when retraining an older horse. How much hand is too much even when using leg and how often do you need to remind the horse to keep his head down and seek that contact.

Mor4ward
Mar. 8, 2010, 06:47 PM
How to get a young Friesian "unconditionally in front of the leg" ... what do you do when leg, whip and spurs are totally unimpressive - when you're effectively "out of ammo?"

EqTrainer
Mar. 8, 2010, 06:50 PM
How to teach riders how to get the horse on and use the outside rein!

Take their inside rein away.

I have students who later wail that they don't want it back once they've learned to ride without it LOL

babygreenqueen
Mar. 8, 2010, 10:19 PM
i have searched for solution for this. ottb wants to carry his head and neck level tooooo long and low all the time! i am a hunter rider but start dressage to get them broke before jumping.
this horse used to hack with little contact, nose poked etc. i have been longeing with loose side reins and asking him to start to come onto bit , showing him the way to the ground etc nice stretchy circles, lots transitions but i have created a long and low monster!!
how do i get him to elevate his poll ?

Easy Choice
Mar. 9, 2010, 12:33 AM
I'm on the heavy side too and have trouble with the posting trot. I'm fine at the walk and canter. I rode huntseat as a teen (1970's) and then life happened and I didn't get back into it until about 4 years ago. I'm in my mid 50s now and riding dressage.

I may be making it more difficult than it really is. But the problem is letting my green OTTB push me out of the saddle to post up. I end up losing my outside stirrup and then I'm concentrating on retrieving it instead of what I should be doing. I've been trying to ride without stirrups to get used to his rythum. But then I lose my balance and start squeezing with my thighs. Tony does bring his back up, head down, and uses his hind qtrs 85% of the time.

My trainer has corrected my seat - I used to ride leaning too far forward and sitting up straight still feels strange. I ride in a County Connection which I love and really helps my position. I just need some advice on correcting my posting trot.

2boys
Mar. 9, 2010, 05:54 AM
i have searched for solution for this. ottb wants to carry his head and neck level tooooo long and low all the time! i am a hunter rider but start dressage to get them broke before jumping.
this horse used to hack with little contact, nose poked etc. i have been longeing with loose side reins and asking him to start to come onto bit , showing him the way to the ground etc nice stretchy circles, lots transitions but i have created a long and low monster!!
how do i get him to elevate his poll ?

My ottb is doing this now too. He just recently started to really come into my hands and stretch over his topline, but then turns into the "headless horse" at times. Half-halts work for him. Depending on how low he is, I either need to just slow the trot or at times, need to go to walk. Whatever it takes to get him to sit on his bum and raise his front end. Once he comes back up, off we go.:cool:

goponies
Mar. 9, 2010, 07:28 AM
Canter departs...Pony'll be soft and giving in the trot and I half-halt and ask for the canter: boom! head goes up and he frantically jumps into the canter. It takes me a few strides to get him back...
Hard for me because I've had a bad accident that left me with broken L1 to L5, and thus the left side of my body is much weaker.
I *would" like to show training level but until I can canter, forget it...

carolprudm
Mar. 9, 2010, 08:30 AM
Canter departs...Pony'll be soft and giving in the trot and I half-halt and ask for the canter: boom! head goes up and he frantically jumps into the canter. It takes me a few strides to get him back...
Hard for me because I've had a bad accident that left me with broken L1 to L5, and thus the left side of my body is much weaker.
I *would" like to show training level but until I can canter, forget it...

Yup, same here except broken ankle.

I know I need to relax and trust that it won't hurt instead of bracing but it's alot easier said than done.

Sophie doesn't step into a canter, she launches all 1400 lbs

CFFarm
Mar. 9, 2010, 08:56 AM
Jane,
Just wanted to thank you for being so generous with your time and advice here and elsewhere. I've audited a couple of your clinics and totally enjoyed them. I find myself using many of your explainations to my students because you have found a great way to break things down so it's easy for us mere mortals to understand. Thanks again.

Vesper Sparrow
Mar. 9, 2010, 10:13 AM
I've got oh so many problems but my current one is hanging onto my young guy's face at the canter depart. It is all in my head--basically a fear of the unknown--because I can happily lope around on my old mare on a loose rein.

swgarasu
Mar. 9, 2010, 10:23 AM
My horse is hot, spooky, and athletic. As a result, she tends to find the canter "exciting" and she tends to run, which I think makes me tense. She's also spooky, and when she shies at the canter or dodges, it seems much more dramatic than if she does it at a walk or trot. Additionally, although she is generally quite sensitive, when spooky she can become very stiff and resistant to yielding to my leg. I'd like it to be "no big deal" and be able to use the canter more and more for working, instead of working on the canter. :)

suzier444
Mar. 9, 2010, 10:43 AM
Ditto on that!

Any suggestions for different ways to say "shorten your outside rein" or "push him into your outside rein"?

I think "inside leg to outside rein" is one of those phrases that makes perfect sense to people who already know how to ride instinctually, like instructors. To some of us, it just begs the question "inside leg WHAT to outside rein WHAT? WHAT is moving between them?" My fantastic instructor and a particularly obvious horse have helped me figure out what that feels like when it is working correctly, but for a long time I was baffled by that catchphrase.

swgarasu
Mar. 9, 2010, 10:48 AM
Canter departs...Pony'll be soft and giving in the trot and I half-halt and ask for the canter: boom! head goes up and he frantically jumps into the canter. It takes me a few strides to get him back...
Hard for me because I've had a bad accident that left me with broken L1 to L5, and thus the left side of my body is much weaker.
I *would" like to show training level but until I can canter, forget it...

Heh, actually, I may have a tip for you on this-
Your trot is probably not actually energetic enough. While it may be soft and giving, it's probably not active enough to make the transition easy. You want that soft, giving trot, but then you want to ask for more energy. Collect that energy with your half halt and when you feel him lift in his back and come under with the hindquarters, ask for the canter and be soft and giving with your reins, and don't let your body fall behind (so sit up and pretend there is a rope pulling you forward from your belly button).
Someone described it well as having the canter right there and just allowing it. The trot should not be rushing, but it should have energy, like a medium trot. Also lots of transitions will help build the strength which also makes it easier.
(it's funny- I can do some great transitions and a few strides of lovely canter- we just can't keep it without her losing her balance/concentration and tearing off... :) )

babygreenqueen
Mar. 9, 2010, 10:59 AM
2 boys.....thanks! i also try to bump him up to surge foward if this makes sense. i think he needs hind shoes to support himself better. we get a few lovely strides then POOF.
initially the canter was a huge issue, curling and heavy on forehand dragging me. one day i got so sick of being dragged i just dropped the reins completely at canter like i was being longed......he had nothing to pull.
but this is not working in trot:cry right now.....

Jane Savoie
Mar. 9, 2010, 01:22 PM
I see a lot of posts about "low poll" and "heavy on the forehand".

Remember, you don't want to get the poll "up". You want to get the croup "down". Think of your horse's body like a seesaw. When one end goes down, the other comes up.

Here's a good exercise to try:
Frequent transitions skipping a gait.

So, do 5 strides trot, halt...5 strides trot, halt. Try not to get any dribbly walk steps in between. Then just trot around to see if you've adjusted the balance in the trot.

Then do 5 strides canter, 5 strides walk...5 strides canter, 5 strides walk. Try not to get any dribbly trot steps in between.Then just canter around to see if you've adjusted the balance in the canter

EasyStreet
Mar. 9, 2010, 01:37 PM
Jane,
Just wanted to thank you for being so generous with your time and advice here and elsewhere. I've audited a couple of your clinics and totally enjoyed them. I find myself using many of your explainations to my students because you have found a great way to break things down so it's easy for us mere mortals to understand. Thanks again.

I would like to "Second That Emotion!" You are so generous to share your knowlege and experience with all of us not only here on the Coth but by allowing your clinics and training videos on youtube for us to benifit from. I just want you to know how much that is appreciated!!!:yes::yes::yes:;) Will you be giving a clinic in NC any time soon?

Jane Savoie
Mar. 9, 2010, 01:51 PM
Thank you so much ES!

I was just in NC at St Andrews about 3 weeks ago.

luvmydutch
Mar. 9, 2010, 03:05 PM
Jane, I would like to thank you as well..firstly for your amazing dvds that always make me go "ah-ha! that's how I should do it". Secondly, for your generous attitude in helping others and giving advice. I think what sets you apart as a trainer that makes you special is a real love of teaching, and your passion for helping others. It's this quality that makes me WANT to BUY your dvd's rather than watching them for free on youtube. It's always nice to support a genuine person who is phenomenal at what they do. :)

Cowgirl
Mar. 9, 2010, 03:14 PM
At the moment, my biggest training challenge is canter pirouettes. I am doing all of the typical exercises: transitions to pirouette canter; working pirouettes; squares; spiral in in squares; circles with lateral work; spiral in in circles; renvers in canter; travers in canter to working pirouettes in the corners;changing the flexion on the circle; forward and back on the circle; transitions from working pirouette in walk to working pirouette in canter and back again....

I still can't get them small enough or teach my horse to sit enough. Would love some suggestions on this. The mare has a huge canter and compressing the stride has been a daunting task, but I think I've done that.

narcisco
Mar. 9, 2010, 07:27 PM
Cowgirl,

One good way to get the horse to "sit" more is to work in the pirouette or school canter. Counter canter down the long side. At B or E, REALLY collect, to the point of cantering in place. Then extend the rest of the way down the long side, collect again on the short sides.

The counter canter on the wall really improves straightness, and therefore sit. By improving the quality of the pirouette canter, you improve the pirouette.

Hampton Bay
Mar. 9, 2010, 08:21 PM
So TODAY my training issue is getting my super-sensitive chestnut mare to stop being so danged sensitive already!

We are working in second level, and when she is going, she's nice. But ask for the walk, and then a correct TOH, and the head comes up, the back goes down, and we get the super-anxious bit chomping. Halt, allow her to calm the heck back down, sponge inside rein to get the flexion, *think* about sliding my leg back to ask her to yield the HQ, and the head flies back up, and we start prancing in place, or running frantically sideways. Sometimes this also happens when I ask for the SI or LY, in trot or canter. Its so danged hard to relax on something that is trying to yank you out of the saddle, especially when you soften and she just yanks even more.

And then some days she's brilliant. :sigh:

Sancudo
Mar. 9, 2010, 08:55 PM
I have an extremely athletic horse and he tends to cheat a bit on the harder things like collection. We score very well- 70s in every level we've done, but my trainer still thinks he lacks the strength and suppleness to move up to 3rd and 4th and still be as competitive. I can't always tell if he's using himself 100% vs. 70% since it still feels light, soft, responsive- but the hind end is apparently not quick enough or sitting enough.

Any tips that I can tell when he's honest or not?

babygreenqueen
Mar. 9, 2010, 09:22 PM
i will try the 5 stride exercises! i recall years ago doing endless canter/walk/canter with my daughter's slow hind end trakehner.
and canter poles on a 'fan ' circle 9' apart at center.

this is so great to have COTH BB clinic......ask dr. jane......

thankyou so much for taking time to guide us!

Jane Savoie
Mar. 9, 2010, 09:49 PM
Thanks so much, Babygreen!

Having been part of several "mastermind" groups over the years, I truly believe in the power of a group to brainstorm and problem solve.

What you focus on expands. Let's put our energy into helping each other.

My hope was to encourage everyone to pitch in and share ideas. Don't be shy, Guys! We all have different experiences to bring to the table (um...board, that is!)

up-at-5
Mar. 9, 2010, 10:42 PM
Good topic. It's interesting to read all of the replies.

Seems many of us are in the same boat when it comes to training issues.:eek:

lstevenson
Mar. 9, 2010, 11:26 PM
Remember, you don't want to get the poll "up". You want to get the croup "down".


Exactly! I wish more trainers would realize this. So many people seem to be wrongly taught to try to "lift" the horse in front.

I wish there were more trainers out there like you Jane! :)

Silver~Image~Farm
Mar. 10, 2010, 06:49 AM
I had the privilege of observing a former trainer of mine who has been a successful thru FEI levels competitor work on improving the quality of these with the BNT prior to my own lesson......

FWIW, I find observing skilled and successful trainers work together can be very educational.......

Since this is Jane Savoies' thread I'm not sure what her comments on this will be but would be interested to read them.......I have always been taught that if you are struggling with your pirouettes it isn't really the "pirouette" as much as the quality of the canter that should be addressed....??? (this makes sense to me)......Also, another ? for Jane Savoie......Therefore, I would think theoriticaly that the transitions in and out of collected and super collected canter would be the key to addressing canter pirouettes issues?(assuming the point of the exercise being to enhance the ability of the horse to collect and sit and then step forward nicely balanced into the subsequent movement/trasition in balance with impulsion).......And if one notes problems with making good corners wouldn't addressing the quality of ones' 10m (or smaller!) circles assist in improving ones' ability to ride more correctly and deeply into corners???

Hoping Jane has some thoughts on these questions/theories....;)

Jane Savoie
Mar. 10, 2010, 07:19 AM
Absolutely, positively, Silver!

I've always said that the most difficult parts of the pirouettes are getting in and getting out. I practice a lot of diagonals just doing "pirouette" canter in a good quality canter (half halts) for a few strides and then going out again (horse must be in front of the leg but not "launch" out).

Preparation is the key to everything for me personally. I "get" (or don't get ;) ) a movement before I actually do the movement...i.e if I don't have a good enough quality canter, I miss the flying change. If I don't coil the spring of the hind legs on the short side or the corner, I can't "boing" into extended trot.

blackhorse6
Mar. 10, 2010, 10:58 AM
I have an extremely athletic horse and he tends to cheat a bit on the harder things like collection. We score very well- 70s in every level we've done, but my trainer still thinks he lacks the strength and suppleness to move up to 3rd and 4th and still be as competitive. I can't always tell if he's using himself 100% vs. 70% since it still feels light, soft, responsive- but the hind end is apparently not quick enough or sitting enough.

Any tips that I can tell when he's honest or not?

Me too!!! Same problem.. And again, a million Thanks for all of your help, enthusiasm and wonderful DVD's.. When I run in to a problem, I always tune in to them.. But..not everyone always agrees and that is where we find the "holes" in the training as posted above. Also...love you on dressage on line.com..:)

sunhawk
Mar. 10, 2010, 11:53 AM
How to get a young Friesian "unconditionally in front of the leg" ... what do you do when leg, whip and spurs are totally unimpressive - when you're effectively "out of ammo?"

Then you reteach the 'go forward' lesson on the ground, so they understand that 'go forward' is a signal, and easy to understand and do. Horses don't mind going forward, but they are easy to confuse and frustrate.
Stand beside your horses shoulder with a dressage whip, but use the butt of the whip instead of the lash, I like a stud chain over the nose too, TAP, not hit, horse on hip with butt of whip, when horse walks, walk calmly beside, whoa, repeat. Horse should be able to walk calmly forward from a light signal. Mount and repeat, but now use LIGHT leg aid and tap with whip. Praise lots.

sunhawk
Mar. 10, 2010, 12:08 PM
My biggest problem at the moment, though I think it's not a problem so much as a level I have to live with until we move through it, is : my horse, a big robust andy/tb cross came to me with a lot of emotional baggage, and a grand ability to buck when upset, so when I started with him he was very tense, and would charge around at high speed, and pulled down hard, a lot. Now I have him walk, trot, canter, and doing small jumps at relaxed gaits, even loose rein, and doing downward transitions off my seat, no backward action of the rein, BUT when I pick up contact, he wants to stretch, and I let him, pick up contact, stretch, we've been doing long and low and I know it's a good thing, but when I pick up my outside rein, and hold it, he's coming behind the bit, and when I use my leg for engagement, I get big tail swishing. So the line between tact and submission is a fine one. Observers of myself and Zen say it's impossible for this horse to go on his forehand, he has loads of lift and suspension in trot and canter. My take is that he is still anxious at any hint of holding and is worried -- what I call 'compression anxiety -- and I need to be able to take more contact and hold, so we are doing that in our shoulder-in, and that feels good. Would be nice to have an instructor around, but I'm pretty much on my own -- everything is 3 hours away from here. I would love to be able to go up the levels on this horse, he has loads of ability, so I think I'm just worried about doing things that will set him back.

Hony
Mar. 10, 2010, 01:30 PM
Honestly guys so many issues can be resolved by taking the time to visualize until whatever you're worried about or working on makes sense in your brain. The simplest advice I can give is buy Jane's book "That Winning Feeling" and read it cover to cover at least a 100 times and any time you need a refresher, have a bad ride, go backwards in your training, go forwards in your training, bump up a level, etc. Just read it.
My friend and I share a copy between us and when one of us says "I need the book" which really means "I need the bible" we know it's serious and we need to hand it over. I think it's actually time after 4 years for us to buy a second copy!

merrygoround
Mar. 10, 2010, 01:53 PM
How to teach riders how to get the horse on and use the outside rein!

Spiral circles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have your rider ride a 20 m circle, then have them, holding the bend appropriate to the size of the circle they are on,decrease the size of the circle. Make them keep the inside rein loose. You will need to monitor every stride for them ;), because their body will try to cheat. They will be forced to use their legs and seat.

When they get to a 10m circle, have them expand the circle, keeping the inside rein loose, but insisting they maintain the correct bend.

Once they get the feel of correctly using their inside and outside legs, inside leg to outside rein, is there. ;)

happyhaffiehaley
Mar. 10, 2010, 10:05 PM
I've been skimming over the answers (LOVE what everyone is saying and I wish I had more time to look over everything!) and just want to thank you so much for everything you do. You have so much knowledge, insight, and teaching ability, but most importantly, you're happy to share your gifts, whether here, in your email blasts (which I just adore), or your programs (I love Program your Position!). I think it's wonderful that someone of your caliber takes the time and energy to do what you do and want you to know that it really is appreciated :)

And of course, if you're ever teaching near the Wisconsin/Chicago area, let me know ;)

So thank you!

-Haley

NOMIOMI1
Mar. 10, 2010, 11:03 PM
Spiral circles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have your rider ride a 20 m circle, then have them, holding the bend appropriate to the size of the circle they are on,decrease the size of the circle. Make them keep the inside rein loose. You will need to monitor every stride for them ;), because their body will try to cheat. They will be forced to use their legs and seat.

When they get to a 10m circle, have them expand the circle, keeping the inside rein loose, but insisting they maintain the correct bend.

Once they get the feel of correctly using their inside and outside legs, inside leg to outside rein, is there. ;)

I agree with this :yes:

I also change tempo within gaits.

Karoline
Mar. 10, 2010, 11:16 PM
Riding corners like a pro to improve balance and set up for the next movement....which is particularly hard for me at the moment as the corners in our arena are rounded!

Would your barn allow you to either put 3 cones in each of the four corners or allow you to make a corner with cavalettis?

Cowgirl
Mar. 11, 2010, 05:10 AM
Thanks Karoline....I am working squares at the moment. I can get them to set up a dressage court for me for a few days, but I have to share the arena with others, so I can't ask for much more than that. It's funny how you can lose your corner prep when your corners are cut off though! But mostly, I am curious as to how Jane uses her corners. :-) One of my trainers once told me that how you ride the corners are probably one of the most important parts of your test.

Jane, I only have one problem with the canter pirouettes--making them smaller. I practice the entrance and exit all the time and I have plenty of activity and bounce and the steps are the same size and the rhythm stays the same. I had this same problem with the walk pirouettes but score consistently 8 on them now, so I'm thinking it's probably just a development thing and she'll eventually be able to make them on the spot.

Silver~Image~Farm
Mar. 11, 2010, 08:33 AM
Would your barn allow you to either put 3 cones in each of the four corners or allow you to make a corner with cavalettis?

Good point! It doesn't take that long to set up something to facilitate your own training.......back when I boarded my horses I just set up whatever jumps worked for what our work would be and then removed them so I didn't interfere with the work of others......sometimes you just need to do your own stuff and be considerate of others......esp. in boarding situations......it really isn't that hard to do and most other folks appreciate it when you consider them too! Sometimes they even offer to assist you in the process! .......;)

Foxtrot's
Mar. 11, 2010, 03:12 PM
I haven't 'studied' all the posts - but I will. Just wanted to say how generous of Jean (the OP) to open this thread and give this advice for us all. It will take time to digest it all, but thanks....(returning to my horse with renewed ambition after too much time off during winter and Olympics.)

Jane Savoie
Mar. 11, 2010, 04:11 PM
Cowgirl,
Remember that your outside rein controls the size of the turn. Try closing your outside hand in a fist (take/give, take/give, take/give) in the rhythm of the canter.

Also, on your entry, look at a piece of dirt, bark, a hoofprint etc and pretend you're going to keep the hind legs EXACTLY on that piece of dirt...You won't. But psychologically it'll help you make your pirouettes smaller.

Just make sure you're maintaining bend and the quality of the canter as you do this.
Good luck!

Silver~Image~Farm
Mar. 12, 2010, 03:11 PM
When folks competing at levels well above 2nd level write that their scores would have been better if their horse wasn't spooking it makes me wonder about that old adage ......your horse can't spook if it is "on the aids"......

As the owner of a (mostly formerly;) noise reactive mare I tend to agree with the adage.......I've worked hard to embrace not avoid "training opportunities" in order to desensitize my mare to "overreacting"......and as we both move forward I'm finding that she is super responsive to staying (or if need be returning quickly) "on the aids".......

However, I wonder when I read other folks' comments about poor scores because of "spooking"......doesn't this seem to indicate a "hole" in their training???.......None of us is EVER "perfect" all the time:winkgrin:.......but isn't ongoing "spooking issues" really an indicator of a horse NOT solidly "on the aids".........What recommendations for "schooling"/training to improve these issues would you recommend Jane?.....I know the things I've done but your input and expertise might be helpful to many folks.......:cool:

Cowgirl
Mar. 12, 2010, 04:13 PM
[edit]

Silver~Image~Farm
Mar. 12, 2010, 04:28 PM
Sooooo, on the discussion topic.......

I would be interested in hearing some of Janes' suggestions regarding schooling to "desensitize" the dressage horse and maintain/refocus both horse/rider "on the aids".......My own mare can be very sensitive and "noise reactive" but her "boldness" helps me to remain focused on keeping her "working".....

I've observed otherS struggling with issues similar to my previous show experiences and wondered if Jane had any thoughts on this topic.....

EasyStreet
Mar. 12, 2010, 08:22 PM
My problem is that my arms are too short for my body:eek:...my legs are too but not as bad as my arms. If I keep my elbows at my sides I am able to have a better back position and balance but hands are over the pummel not in front of it. If I put my hands where they belong my body tips forward and things start to fall apart.:( My instinct is to keep the elbows at my sides seems to be more bennificial that way. What is your thoughts?

merrygoround
Mar. 12, 2010, 08:50 PM
I think you are on the right track, keeping your elbows by your sides. If you need a little more "operating" room, you can always ride with a slightly longer rein. Of course this will force you ride from your seat and leg, but that's the whole point.r

Keeping your elbows at roughly a 45 degree angle allows you to be more flexible in arms, wrists and fingers, so long as you let them "float" there.

TeddyRocks
Mar. 12, 2010, 10:11 PM
If you could pick one thing that you'd like help solving, what would it be?

Counter canter. I am having problems with a horse I ride, in that he really anticipates and wants to change. I'm sure I'm crooked b/c as soon as we get to the short side and attempt to go through the short side, then bam, he changes, tries to change or does the hippity hop through the short side. If we get through it w/o him changing, once we are on the long side again, no problems with the counter canter.

Any suggestions anyone?

meupatdoes
Mar. 13, 2010, 03:49 AM
Counter canter. I am having problems with a horse I ride, in that he really anticipates and wants to change. I'm sure I'm crooked b/c as soon as we get to the short side and attempt to go through the short side, then bam, he changes, tries to change or does the hippity hop through the short side. If we get through it w/o him changing, once we are on the long side again, no problems with the counter canter.

Any suggestions anyone?

Try breaking it down to an easier counter canter than making it all the way around the short side.

Come down the longside and do a shallow loop -turn to the inside a step or two and then ride the curve back to the track.
Keep your weight in your leading leg and ride that leg like you would the inside leg (even though technically it is now on the outside of the curve, it is your inside leg for riding purposes because it is the leg on the leading side).
Keep your inside leg weighted and the outside leg back (inside/outside again relative to the lead, not the curve).

If he starts to lose the canter, abort the loop and do a 10m circle on the lead you want, to really enforce the lead and the inside leg response. Ride across the middle after the 10m circle, really set him up off the inside leg, and try the loop again. Again, maybe the loop is really shallow at first- just a foot or two off the track. On a very shallow loop you may be able to fit two or three down one long side.

Gradually make the loop bigger and bigger as it gets easier, until you are looping to the center line and then the 3/4 line.

Then try the short side loop (this could be a couple days/weeks later), and after the short side loop go directly across the diagonal to change to the true lead again. Keeping him bent a little exaggeratedly to the outside will help him make it around the shortside at first, but make sure your legs are still with the inside/leading leg forward and weighted, and outside leg back, even though you are bending him to the outside of the perimeter.

Thomas_1
Mar. 13, 2010, 03:58 AM
Counter canter. I am having problems with a horse I ride, in that he really anticipates and wants to change. I'm sure I'm crooked b/c as soon as we get to the short side and attempt to go through the short side, then bam, he changes, tries to change or does the hippity hop through the short side. If we get through it w/o him changing, once we are on the long side again, no problems with the counter canter.

Any suggestions anyone? Establish the canter on a large circle - say 20 metre say to the right and emphasise the bend... make sure you emphasise it by keeping the horse's nose turned slightly to the right and sitting firmly in position right with left leg back and weight on the right knee, urging him on in collected canter. Now WITHOUT CHANGING THE POSITION OF THE HORSE'S HEAD, or altering your position in the saddle, apply opening rein with the left hand and indirect rein in front of the withers with the right. At the same time pat on the girth with the right leg.

He should swing away to the left of the circle. After a couple of strides bring your hands across to the right and stop the activity of the right leg so that the horse moves back onto a curve towards the right, parallel to the original circle.

Take care he doesn't lose his bend to the right and at first make only small sways to the left of the straight line. Repeat on the other lead starting from a circle left.

Once you're confident you can keep the bend the way you want it, you can then try turning a little more sharply.

Always be aware for a collapse of the bend and if this happens at once steer strongly towards the leading leg to avoid confirming the horse in the habit of cantering on the wrong leg.

Thomas_1
Mar. 13, 2010, 03:59 AM
My problem is that my arms are too short for my body:eek:...my legs are too but not as bad as my arms. If I keep my elbows at my sides I am able to have a better back position and balance but hands are over the pummel not in front of it. If I put my hands where they belong my body tips forward and things start to fall apart.:( My instinct is to keep the elbows at my sides seems to be more bennificial that way. What is your thoughts? Smaller short coupled horse ?!

Thomas_1
Mar. 13, 2010, 04:04 AM
I'm on the heavy side too and have trouble with the posting trot. I'm fine at the walk and canter. I rode huntseat as a teen (1970's) and then life happened and I didn't get back into it until about 4 years ago. I'm in my mid 50s now and riding dressage.

I may be making it more difficult than it really is. But the problem is letting my green OTTB push me out of the saddle to post up. I end up losing my outside stirrup and then I'm concentrating on retrieving it instead of what I should be doing. I've been trying to ride without stirrups to get used to his rythum. But then I lose my balance and start squeezing with my thighs. Tony does bring his back up, head down, and uses his hind qtrs 85% of the time.

My trainer has corrected my seat - I used to ride leaning too far forward and sitting up straight still feels strange. I ride in a County Connection which I love and really helps my position. I just need some advice on correcting my posting trot. A lot of schooling with no stirrups. If you can get lessons on the lunge then all the better.

Reddfox
Mar. 13, 2010, 10:47 AM
Originally Posted by Easy Choice
I'm on the heavy side too and have trouble with the posting trot. I'm fine at the walk and canter. I rode huntseat as a teen (1970's) and then life happened and I didn't get back into it until about 4 years ago. I'm in my mid 50s now and riding dressage.

I may be making it more difficult than it really is. But the problem is letting my green OTTB push me out of the saddle to post up. I end up losing my outside stirrup and then I'm concentrating on retrieving it instead of what I should be doing. I've been trying to ride without stirrups to get used to his rythum. But then I lose my balance and start squeezing with my thighs. Tony does bring his back up, head down, and uses his hind qtrs 85% of the time.

My trainer has corrected my seat - I used to ride leaning too far forward and sitting up straight still feels strange. I ride in a County Connection which I love and really helps my position. I just need some advice on correcting my posting trot.

I teach a lot of beginners and through teaching the posting trot, I've found that almost all problems with losing stirrups on one side is either a balance problem or a gripping problem. You eluded to it in your post that when you try without stirrups, you lose balance and pinch with your thighs.

Most of my beginners go through this phase and I don't have them drop stirrups because the balance isn't there to begin with and it just causes more gripping. I have them work on the following exercises - always on the longe at first - so find a helper!

1. Post 3 strides, 1/2 seat 3 strides, sit 3 strides. You'll find out really quickly where there is a balance issue as you transition between posting, sitting and standing. The horse should not change tempo.

2. I also have students post 3 strides and then on the down or sit phase - take both their legs away from the sides of the horse to redrape them and then post 3 again.

Most of the time, a student that loses stirrups to one side is pinching with the knee or thigh and it draws the leg up and out of the stirrup. Usually on the weaker side of the rider, but not always. This exercise works, because it breaks up the tension and gripping that starts to occur as the rider struggles for balance.

3. Have someone tap the bottom of your feet so that you have awareness of the stirrup. Sounds hokey - but a lot of riders have no idea about how much pressure if any and where they are putting pressure in the stirrup.

Sometimes the stirrup is lost because the rider will push up on the stirrup with the toe instead of feeling the stirrup evenly on the ball of the foot. This pitches the rider forward and to compensate, they grip with their thighs.

Tapping the stirrup below the ball of the foot and giving the rider awareness of the stirrup seems to help. You can also stand on a step (toes on the edge and sink your heels just a bit) and practice your posting - taking care not to rise up by using your toes or making any big movements in your feet and heels.

I hope this helps!!

INoMrEd
Mar. 13, 2010, 11:57 AM
Getting and keeping contact especially in the wonky direction when retraining an older horse. How much hand is too much even when using leg and how often do you need to remind the horse to keep his head down and seek that contact.

My old former hunter has trouble staying connected when asked for the right lead canter from the sitting trot. His trot work is nice in both directions and canter to the left from trot is good. Going to the right at canter he feels unbalanced when I do trot canter transitions but is much better doing walk/canter. It's probably simply poor timing on my part asking for right lead canter from the sitting trot as his rider, so I'd love to know how to fix this.

I'd love to clinic with you, Jane, if you come to Los Angeles. You are amazing as you are so willing to share your vast knowledge and insight!

Jane Honda
Mar. 28, 2010, 12:49 PM
Hi Jane! I just wanted to tell you, I've been watching snippets of some of your work on Youtube, and I want to thank you so much for the help it's given me.

After spending years out of the dressage ring (and never shown dressage) I'm more rusty than I care to admit. The training of my mare is going fantastic though. We are working on self carriage, rhythm, transitions(within gaits and otherwise), haunches in, shoulders in.


So far, for haunches/shoulders in, going to the right direction, she is soft, supple, and VERY light. Going to the left is a different story, she is tight and stiff... I get only a few steps of the movements, and then she quits. She also gets very sore on the left hand side, and I'm positive its because of me and my past injuries. After a broken back and 6" of hardware, my left side is quite a bit stronger than my right side. I would like some input please. I don't want to hurt her, and I do massage her after every ride, and I make sure she is warmed up for about 20 mins before I do any movements. I also am generous with release and letting her walk on a loose rein for an arena lap. (65'x90' arena)


The other day, we were working on going from collected trot to working trot, and she collected so much, she was doing piaffe. I have to admit, that was great fun, but I also don't want to ruin any progress by doing something too soon... Thoughts on this?

Thank you so much for your time on answering my questions.

Vintage23
Mar. 28, 2010, 09:21 PM
Trot lengthening! Or even a good forward trot with push. My horse and I have a lovely walk, a balanced canter with great lengthening, and a free walk to die for but our trot? That could use some work. My issue is that my horse frequently scrunches his neck going behind the vertical, his stride is kinda short, and I feel like I have absolutely nothing in my hands. I put him on a long and low circle and ask him to move out which he does most times but the minute I garther reins and get the lightest contact, he shortens his neck. I sit up and open my chest, use leg and half halts but most times he moves off into a canter.

Any help?

Thanks!


Jennifer

meupatdoes
Mar. 28, 2010, 10:02 PM
Hi Jane! I just wanted to tell you, I've been watching snippets of some of your work on Youtube, and I want to thank you so much for the help it's given me.

After spending years out of the dressage ring (and never shown dressage) I'm more rusty than I care to admit. The training of my mare is going fantastic though. We are working on self carriage, rhythm, transitions(within gaits and otherwise), haunches in, shoulders in.


So far, for haunches/shoulders in, going to the right direction, she is soft, supple, and VERY light. Going to the left is a different story, she is tight and stiff... I get only a few steps of the movements, and then she quits. She also gets very sore on the left hand side, and I'm positive its because of me and my past injuries. After a broken back and 6" of hardware, my left side is quite a bit stronger than my right side. I would like some input please. I don't want to hurt her, and I do massage her after every ride, and I make sure she is warmed up for about 20 mins before I do any movements. I also am generous with release and letting her walk on a loose rein for an arena lap. (65'x90' arena)


The other day, we were working on going from collected trot to working trot, and she collected so much, she was doing piaffe. I have to admit, that was great fun, but I also don't want to ruin any progress by doing something too soon... Thoughts on this?

Thank you so much for your time on answering my questions.

How much are you asking for at a time?

I would set up the movement with a 10m or 8m circle, ask for four or five steps coming out of the circle, go immediately into another circle, ask for four or five more steps, next circle, next few steps, next circle, etc.
Stretchy circles on the short sides, every other diagonal extended walk. (Although if you are going up the longsides doing this and you get to three or four "every other diagonal"s you are keeping at it too long.)

This way you get powerful bursts instead of a movement that loses quality and energy and starts the rider fussing.
Also it prevents you from getting in an argument about the haunches in; you have four steps to give it your best shot and then the circle re-establishes the bend and connection for a fresh start and your next attempt.

Also try alternating bursts of haunches in with shoulder in.
Circle, HI, circle, SI, circle...etc.

TobyLuv
Mar. 29, 2010, 09:38 PM
Trot lengthening! Or even a good forward trot with push. My horse and I have a lovely walk, a balanced canter with great lengthening, and a free walk to die for but our trot? That could use some work. My issue is that my horse frequently scrunches his neck going behind the vertical, his stride is kinda short, and I feel like I have absolutely nothing in my hands. I put him on a long and low circle and ask him to move out which he does most times but the minute I garther reins and get the lightest contact, he shortens his neck. I sit up and open my chest, use leg and half halts but most times he moves off into a canter.

Any help?

Thanks!


Jennifer

Same boat. My gelding gets short in the hind and curls. Any words of wisdom?

lstevenson
Mar. 29, 2010, 09:54 PM
Trot lengthening! Or even a good forward trot with push. My horse and I have a lovely walk, a balanced canter with great lengthening, and a free walk to die for but our trot? That could use some work. My issue is that my horse frequently scrunches his neck going behind the vertical, his stride is kinda short, and I feel like I have absolutely nothing in my hands. I put him on a long and low circle and ask him to move out which he does most times but the minute I garther reins and get the lightest contact, he shortens his neck. I sit up and open my chest, use leg and half halts but most times he moves off into a canter.


Same boat. My gelding gets short in the hind and curls. Any words of wisdom?


Trot up hills! Start w/ gentle hills and work your way up to steeper ones. This is often a strength issue, and hills are the best strengtheners. Horses naturally lengthen their frame and stride and really push going uphill.

And you can use the walking downhill part for strengthening as well, as when ridden correctly (straight) the horse will naturally engage and "sit" behind.

I like to do hillwork twice a week w/ most horses, and I find it improves them in many ways.

Vintage23
Mar. 30, 2010, 12:22 PM
Trot up hills! Start w/ gentle hills and work your way up to steeper ones. This is often a strength issue, and hills are the best strengtheners. Horses naturally lengthen their frame and stride and really push going uphill.

And you can use the walking downhill part for strengthening as well, as when ridden correctly (straight) the horse will naturally engage and "sit" behind.

I like to do hillwork twice a week w/ most horses, and I find it improves them in many ways.

Thanks for the training idea! I will head out and hit the hills as soon as this rain we in the maryland area are getting lets up!

Thanks!
Jennifer

yaya
Mar. 30, 2010, 12:56 PM
What if there are no hills around for miles?

carolprudm
Mar. 30, 2010, 01:23 PM
What if there are no hills around for miles?
Caveletti are also good for strengthening

NOMIOMI1
Mar. 30, 2010, 01:55 PM
Yes, or creating the work with your seat and their neck position :)

Sometimes just really stretching a horse can feel like youve ran the track at santa anita :)

Just yesterday we worked on a hand gallop with a stretch, and went from gallop to working canter and back again. My horses acted like hed ran the Kentucky Derby when he was done lol

And my abs are still sore lol

Whisper
Mar. 30, 2010, 01:59 PM
Have your rider ride a 20 m circle, then have them, holding the bend appropriate to the size of the circle they are on,decrease the size of the circle. Make them keep the inside rein loose. ...

Once they get the feel of correctly using their inside and outside legs, inside leg to outside rein, is there.
I think this is a great exercise! However, until I discovered how to keep my outside shoulder from "escaping" I couldn't do it correctly, no matter how loose I made the inside rein. I can turn slightly in my core to bring my torso/shoulders to match the horse's shoulders, but I had to actively think of kind of tucking my outside shoulderblade toward my spine, otherwise, I would lose the contact with the outside rein. I don't really feel qualified to give advice here, but it was a big breakthrough/lightbulb moment for me. :D

ManyDogs
Mar. 30, 2010, 02:06 PM
Mud.

mswillie
Mar. 31, 2010, 08:42 PM
Back to the basics for me. When I ask for a nice forward striding walk I might get a couple of good strides and a stretch into the bridle then Mr. Horse wants to go into this little western jog.

He was started western and I'm sure that little jog is easier than an active walk is. Not to mention I'm probably asking for it some how. I just don't know how to tell him that yes it is the walk that I want not the jog.

He doesn't have a big walk but he is physically capable of a decent forward stride. I've seen it from the ground, I just can't get it while I'm riding.

It may be the wrong tactic but I tried sitting deep and that was worse, the deeper I try to sit, the more he wants to jog.

meupatdoes
Apr. 1, 2010, 12:35 AM
Back to the basics for me. When I ask for a nice forward striding walk I might get a couple of good strides and a stretch into the bridle then Mr. Horse wants to go into this little western jog.

He was started western and I'm sure that little jog is easier than an active walk is. Not to mention I'm probably asking for it some how. I just don't know how to tell him that yes it is the walk that I want not the jog.

He doesn't have a big walk but he is physically capable of a decent forward stride. I've seen it from the ground, I just can't get it while I'm riding.

It may be the wrong tactic but I tried sitting deep and that was worse, the deeper I try to sit, the more he wants to jog.

I think your instinct to fix it with your seat and not your hands is a good one. Try to sit in a "lifting" manner though; sometimes a deep seat is a driving one. Also, you don't want your "WAIT PLEASE" aid to be constant; it should only happen when he jigs and then when he isn't jigging have a neutral seat again. Allow him to make the mistake and correct him; don't try to prevent the mistake.

If the seat isn't enough, try a turn on the forehand the instant he jigs. This should bring him back to the walk. If you put him into turn in the forehand everytime he starts to jig he may decide this jigging situation is too much work.

Jane Honda
Apr. 1, 2010, 12:39 AM
Wow. I think I should complain to this thread more often.



Not only am I getting nice and soft shoulders/haunches in, but now we are starting on a few steps of half pass as well!



*happy wiggle*

thatmoody
Apr. 1, 2010, 06:29 AM
Yup, I'm having a great month. We are much more up in the back, and the stretching exercises are working nicely. I've started incorporating more rider exercises for my own seat, since I don't currently have a way to do lunge line exercises (no one to lunge me lol, although my horse will "lunge" himself to some degree so I'm doing the exercises at a walk). The sitting trot is FINALLY becoming a reality for us, and he is much more connected - I can finally get him onto my outside rein. I have to work at it still, as he has some bad habits left over, so we do some spirals, etc. at the beginning, but he's much better. I have a show the 24th, so we'll see if it holds up to scrutiny (and if his demeanor holds up in company - that's always an issue!).

WB Mom
Apr. 1, 2010, 06:40 AM
Wow. My problem seems way to simple compared to a lot of the problems listed above - but I'll ask anyway. :winkgrin:
I find it very difficult to concentrate on my position (equitation, so to speak) and my horse at the same time. I know improving my position will also improve my horse, but I struggle with the super multi tasking involved. Most days I dream of the muscle memory I don't have yet....
Any suggestions as to how to break this down into managable pieces while not letting my horse off the hook?

Jane Savoie
Apr. 1, 2010, 06:56 AM
I focus on my position when I first get on and am walking around on a loose rein, during walk breaks, while riding during the few moments when all is going well with my horse, and at the end of my ride.

Then at home, I do lots of "perfect practice" in my imagination. Your subconscious can't tell the difference between what you do for real and what you vividly imagine...So you can improve your position off of your horse.

Here's what you need to know about visualization.
1. Relax--Take 3 deep breaths
2. Fill in details-What are you wearing? What color is your horse? Is he wearing boots or bandages? What color are they?
3. Involve your senses-Feel your legs softly draped around your horse's sides like a wet towel. Smell the fly spray. See his ears at half mast as he listens to you. Hear the regular rhythm of the footfalls. Taste the salt dripping down from underneath your protective headgear!
4. Feel the right emotion- Remember a time you felt completely at ease, centered, and coordinated. (even if it was in another sport!) Relive that emotion.
5. Repeat daily- It takes 21-28 days to develop a new habit. So focus on one aspect of your position for 3-4 weeks and then move on to another part.

Arizona DQ
Apr. 1, 2010, 12:29 PM
While my mare has an awesome walk, she does not use her hind legs enough in the trot. She almost drags them when she trots. What can I do to get her hind legs more "activated"... Thanks!!;)

Melyni
Apr. 1, 2010, 02:21 PM
That for me is the hardest thing, learning to feel when the horse is right, through, over the back, weight on the hind legs.
Because it's a moving target, just when I think I have it, we have to do it better, more round, more through, more uphill.

ANd I can't ever feel comfortable when I am on my own that what I am doing is right.

That and sitting the tempi changes!
MW

WB Mom
Apr. 1, 2010, 10:25 PM
Jane,
This is the very first time I have been told how to ride my horse while I am not on him! :winkgrin:
I have always known the power of the mind, but had not thought of how exactly to use it outside of the ride.
I will try to visualize the things I feel I need to work on the most and then see how it helps me when my feet are actually in the stirrups.
Thanks so very much for taking the time to respond to a re-rider with the problems that arise after taking almost 30 years off. It just seems to me that my problems are so basic compared to most I have read here on the forums. I always thought most instructors would overlook me for the folks working at higher levels with very specific problems. You are absolutely a breath of fresh air! :yes:

mtngirl
Apr. 2, 2010, 09:05 AM
Getting the feel of when and what is the proper amount of "collection" for 2nd level trot work. I'm better with the canter work...but actually feeling and maintaining collection in his trot work is elusive.

I've been working on lots of transitions ie trot halt trot...trot 5 strides, walk 5, trot 5 etc, square corners and a variety of other exercises, but unless I have someone watching me from the ground, I still seem to be missing that "sense" of when enough is enough and when he's rocked back. Does that make sense?

And also keeping my horse forward enough in trot half-pass...he wants to stall out and suck back. Perhaps I'm asking for too much bend?

Gee thanks Jane for taking the time to answer so many different types of questions!

Vintage23
May. 3, 2010, 08:25 PM
Can we bring this great thread back? :)

kathyagnew
Jun. 12, 2010, 10:24 AM
Can we bring this great thread back? :)

Oh I hope so! Jane, you and the other more experienced riders helping out here are fantastic and so generous!

Another re-rider here. 47 and 10 years off. LOTS of bad habits to break and while I have always been fascinated by dressage, my intro was finding myself with a rescued Grand Prix horse! I don't know what I ever did to deserve him, but I know how lucky and blessed I am.

So in the spirit of "there are no stupid questions..." How do you know how short the reins should be - and how much tension (probably not the appropriate word, but I hope my meaning comes across) to have between your hands and the horses mouth? I see some riders at all levels who seem to have really "taut" reins and some who just seem to be connected to the bit.

I assume it's different for every horse. Will I just know when it happens for us?

merrygoround
Jun. 12, 2010, 11:28 AM
While you say you have had 10 years off, you don't say how long you have been back riding.

As far as the amount of contact needed, you need to focus on how little contact you need particularly on the inside rein to ride a 20 m circle, and the a 15m and then a 10, assuming the horse and you are fit enough to handle them. You also need to play with transitions between and within the gaits, all the while developing the horse's reaction to your seat and lower leg.

When you can accomplish those with a very light contact then you need to start doing the lateral exercises such as S/I.

All of these will allow you to take a steadier contact, not pulling but softly "there".

Hard to explain with just words alone. Knowledgeable eyes on the the ground are invaluable. Someone to say "more leg", and "give", at the appropriate moments.

Jane Savoie
Jun. 12, 2010, 12:55 PM
mtngirl

Thanks, I appreciate it...but this is everyone's thread for brainstorming. Let's hear all sorts of solutions from everyone.

I think you're totally on the right track with your transitions...but try doing frequent transitions skipping the walk. That is, 5 strides trot/halt/5 strides trot. After a few transitions, just ride the trot. Then test the balance by putting both hands forward for a couple of strides (uberstreichen) and see if he's carrying himself.

Also, ride the lateral exercises with bend. Think of this equation. Bend+Sideways=Engagement.

Then once you've done the lateral exercises, ride the trot and test the balance as you did above. (uberstreichen)

Re: Half Pass...Try doing your half pass in rising trot. Then do it in rising trot and ask for a transition toward a medium trot while you're still in the half pass.

JLC7898
Jun. 12, 2010, 01:26 PM
My biggest training problem is losing awareness of my position when I ride. At the walk I am aware of the position, anything else trot, canter, etc. my brain is fuzzy and I am focused on my horse.

I walk away from each ride pleased with my horses but upset that I could be hindering and/or confusing them with my lack of awareness in my position.

BaroquePony
Jun. 12, 2010, 03:07 PM
I think it ads to the confusion for a rider to actually focus on the horse. If you (the rider) will focus on your equitation (a correct, working Independent Seat), the horse underneath you will come into position much more easily.

You can read good work (the aids, etc.) and think about it when you are getting ready to fall asleep. It will become imprinted in your mind more and more. Think about it when you are cooking dinner ... nothing like practicing opening up your chest while chopping carrots ... and you can do the shoulder-in or the half-pass between the refrigerator and the counter on the other side of the kitchen ...

JLC7898
Jun. 12, 2010, 06:18 PM
Thanks BaroquePony. You are right, in trot, canter, etc. I totally focus on my horse which should be opposite, so I should become more aware of my body in my everyday activites and transfer that to my riding. If I really will myself to be very aware of my position my horses work will come together more easily with a more mindful rider aboard.

P.S. Great explanation, start an ask BaroquePony column!

redears
Jun. 15, 2010, 06:07 AM
Going from free walk to working walk, when I pick my horse back up she grabs the bit and throws her nose straight forward/mouth open and tries to trot. I have tried doing it in really small degrees and have tried a lot of different ways, but always the same result.

WILLOW&CAL
Jun. 15, 2010, 08:01 AM
I've just been told I throw my left shoulder forward when working on the right rein and therefore sitting skew and causing my horse to turn his shoulder out and poke his head to the outside.Essentially my body faces out-of-the-circle as opposed to into-the-circle. How do I correct this?-now that I'm aware of it it explains why my poor horse has been so skew:(
How does one correct a twisted upper body when its now become a habit?
BTW: Jane, you are my hero. I wish I could be on the same continent to attend one of your clinics. I tell my Friesian he needs to be more like Moshi when he grows up:)

AnotherRound
Jun. 15, 2010, 08:03 AM
When you can accomplish those with a very light contact then you need to start doing the lateral exercises such as S/I.

.

Can you clarify? "the lateral exercises?" and what is S/I?

AnotherRound
Jun. 15, 2010, 08:15 AM
I've just been told I throw my left shoulder forward when working on the right rein and therefore sitting skew and causing my horse to turn his shoulder out and poke his head to the outside.Essentially my body faces out-of-the-circle as opposed to into-the-circle. How do I correct this?-now that I'm aware of it it explains why my poor horse has been so skew:(
How does one correct a twisted upper body when its now become a habit?
BTW: Jane, you are my hero. I wish I could be on the same continent to attend one of your clinics. I tell my Friesian he needs to be more like Moshi when he grows up:)

I'm no expert, but I do know how to undo a habit and create another one. As JS mentioned above, what, 21 days to establish something as a habit? This one thing you have to remind yourself of over and over, whenever you think of it, and practice doing it correctly. I think it is important that instead of negative reinforcement (such as telling yourself "No, don't do that...") you lose the idea of doing it wrong all together. No discussion to yourself or analysis of how it is done wrong, that just reinforces the wrong way. Only give yourself the 'discussion of' and analysis of and practice of doing int correctly, if that makes sences. All you want to tell yourself is "learn to do it correctly" and "do it right". Next, You can't do it correctly if you don't know exactly how your body executes it, so learn that to start. Then practice it. Practice it forever until your shoulder and hip and head, neck and gaze are correct in the circle. Practice it correctly. That's how you learn a new habit. (Don't think 'undo a bad habit', that's the negative reinforcement of the old habit, actually).

As a suggestion, remember to turn your hips and point them into the circle lkike headlamps.

Then, my trainer pointed out to me that I was actually dropping my outside shoulder and outside hip, and that created his outside shouldner bulge. If you are having trouble with your inside shoulder, place it over your hip and think turning your shoulders like turning handle bars on a bike, a bit. Hold your outside back and shoulder up properly, turing your outside shoulder around the bend and turning your inside shoulder inside the bend without dropping anything. I don't know if that helps. Usually it does for me.

AllWeatherGal
Jun. 15, 2010, 08:16 AM
I personally get a lot of questions about the canter (balance, departs, wrong lead etc) and Connection.

Just wondering if I'm missing a whole segment of "problems" because I seem to get the same questions for the most part.


MY training problem is that I can't feel a thing underneath me. I can't count footfalls and if I can't look down, I have no idea what lead I'm on *blush*. I suspect that many other riders' questions and problems stem from the same challenge. I depend on my eyes-on-the-ground (and instruction) to help me develop the physical awareness of what is correct and what is not.

FWIW, I don't think that YOU are missing any problems, but rather riders' problems are either all traceable to fundamentals or the riders don't understand what the real issue is and are asking about symptoms.

At the same time, the horse I've been riding for 5 months cannot canter (or, rather it's lateral) and I can't seem to help her. She's a Saddlebred cross whose been allowed to go like that throughout her life as a trail horse.

merrygoround
Jun. 15, 2010, 08:38 AM
Another Round!

Briefly!

Lateral exercises include shoulder-in, haunches-in, and half pass. I find that in teaching both horses, and riders, the progression goes from leg yield-moving sideways bent slightly away from the direction of movement-to shoulder-in, where the outside shoulder comes away from the wall and the hindquarters stay on the track, to half pass where the horse moves diagonally across the arena bent around the inside leg in the direction of the movement. There are also the variations of renver, and shoulder out. All are excellent for encouraging engagement. However they are difficult to,learn without help from the ground, and they do take a great deal of attention to the fact that the bend must come from the rider's legs, and body, never the hands.

Aren't you glad you asked :lol:

Kcisawesome
Jun. 15, 2010, 11:36 AM
Sitting still! I jiggle around like a jello-rider. I've worked very hard to be a relaxed and loose rider for my tense thoroughbred mare..but now I'm too loose! I bounce and jiggle and can't find a happy medium. Now my horse is finally becoming relaxed in her back and her trot is starting to swing, but I can't sit it!

I'm an eventer, and I have no problem with this in my jump-riding. I've been doing ridiculous amounts of no-sttirups work and two-point work. I can post a trot without sttirups all day without problems, but as soon as I sit I'm all over the place. That being said, I can still ride my horse while sitting, I can control her stride and rythmm and extension with my seat, I can turn in any direction. But it looks like I'm a jar of jello on a washing machine and I'm sure that can't be good for my super-sensitive mare. I'm sure if I could control myself and sit still she would relax a lot more, because all that bouncing has got to be creating loads of white-noise for her.

WILLOW&CAL
Jun. 17, 2010, 10:43 AM
Thanx, Another Round. I will apply your advice ASAP

tidy rabbit
Jun. 17, 2010, 10:51 AM
Hi Jane.

I ride jumpers primarily but train with a Dressage coach.

Yesterday we worked on an exercise that involved a turn on the haunches at the walk and then a canter depart. The canter depart was INSANELY powerful. It was like the moment of lift off to a big jump, only there was no jump and I was expected to sit this, where my years of training for jumping is to give a release at this moment.

Do you have any tips for helping me maintain the connect to my horse and not let go of him while I learn to ride this canter depart?

Equa
Jun. 17, 2010, 08:19 PM
Biggest problem? That my "default position" is sitting to the left. Total left-turning alignment at all times. Even going right. Now that I have seen the light (or rather, been shown the light for the umpteenth time) , every time I sit on every horse, I have to make myself push my left hip towards the horse's right shoulder (a reminder at every half halt...) - this realigns everything else. A cooked rider cannot expect to make a horse straight, and it warps the whole frame of reference which reduces the gymnastic benefits of exercises.

carolprudm
Jun. 18, 2010, 08:02 AM
The idea that she must go forward is an entirely new and distressing concept for her.

For me as well because I had been content with a less than working trot.

It's gonna be a long hot summer.

I think she is unfit and really needs to get out more and do more, like trail riding. Unfortunately there are virtually NO trails around here

CatOnLap
Jun. 18, 2010, 11:16 AM
Hi Jane.

I ride jumpers primarily but train with a Dressage coach.

Yesterday we worked on an exercise that involved a turn on the haunches at the walk and then a canter depart. The canter depart was INSANELY powerful. It was like the moment of lift off to a big jump, only there was no jump and I was expected to sit this, where my years of training for jumping is to give a release at this moment.

Do you have any tips for helping me maintain the connect to my horse and not let go of him while I learn to ride this canter depart?
Excellent observation. One of my favourite exercises because I LOVE that leap into canter.

All I can suggest is maintain that image in your mind and keep those hindquarters well energized. An olympic rider told me that riding a horse who has proper impulsion often feels like you are on the edge of a spook.

You have to be very fit and attuned to your horse to ride that!

One of the exercises we used was to set up 4 cavelletti at the "4 corners" in a 20 m circle and canter the circle, taking each cavelleti in stride. Of course the cavelleti strides are more impulsive, bigger, jumpier. Then we took the cavelletis away and rode the 20 m circle trying to imagine jumping the invisible cavalletti where they had been.

Then we rode the 20 m circle imagining a cavelleti every stride. It is NOT easy work!

netg
Jun. 18, 2010, 12:32 PM
Excellent observation. One of my favourite exercises because I LOVE that leap into canter.


I've found I only get that if I don't release, so my horse has taught me not to, despite my similar tendency to Tidy's of wanting to let go.


My horse just had body work and I found that now he feels wonderful I REALLY get that, because he's quite exuberant over how good he feels!