View Full Version : What are you working on right now?

Oct. 10, 2010, 01:35 PM
There are always ten million things wrong with my riding, but I try to concentrate on one thing at a time until it's second nature...or at least better. Right now, I'm trying to fix the fact that every time I give an aid, and the horse starts to respond, I take all my aids off immediately, so the horse falls out of whatever I asked. Doh! When everything is under control, I think about sitting back (straight), keeping my hands in the right position and my heels are down.

What are you working on right now? Include the level you ride, just out of curiosity. I'm STILL at training/first.

Oct. 10, 2010, 01:39 PM
2nd level. Right elbow and lats. Left are strong, right get floppy and creepy if not kept under constant supervision...

Oct. 10, 2010, 01:48 PM
I'm working on patience and positive thinking to get my 3rd level gelding's ligaments healed. And finding a horse to lease to get my last Bronze score, since the outlook on the latter is not too good.

Oct. 10, 2010, 02:50 PM
I'm on ride 30 on a baby. I'm working on not running away at the trot! I pretty much chant 'rhythm, rhythm, rhythm' every step. Shes quite awesome and I'm very excited, but wow have I taken myslef down the levels! I'll be happy with training level in June. As for me personally, not tipping forward.

Oct. 10, 2010, 03:04 PM
Well I took off a few years after a jumping accident. Just getting back into serious competitive riding in jumpers/dressage. Working on my confidence in the saddle since accident and also...dont laugh...keeping my heels down!! For some reason no matter how long I ride...Those words ring in my ear :lol:

I am in training for show jumping and lower level dressage, with the goal of by Jan 2011 taking my career in dressage even further:)

Oct. 10, 2010, 06:49 PM
On the 4yo I ride I am working on developing a stronger more consistent connection, improved transitions, improved leg yields, and improved stretchy circles.

On the 5yo I am working on an even connection (he prefers to go to the left rein and avoid the right) and we are starting to up the collection with some shoulder-in at canter and 10m circles at canter, and playing with half steps ad lengthenings in the trot. He knows lead changes and is working on developing more consistency in the counter canter.
As for his jumping we have plans to step into the 3' ring at rated shows when the USEF year turns over, and develop his jumping to/at 3'6" at home.

The TB is confirming second and developing the strength for 3rd. He knows everything he needs to know for 3rd, but needs to develop the strength to do it in a 3rd level balance.

Oct. 10, 2010, 07:20 PM
With both my TB and my ArabX lease, I'm working on relaxation. I just built a new arena a good ways from the barn, so we couldn't see the herd while we worked. Unfortunately, they are not loving not seeing the herd. When they get over it, we'll return to working on relaxation.

Hampton Bay
Oct. 10, 2010, 07:28 PM
Finding an affordable saddle that works for the 4.5yo, and actually using my legs.

Oct. 10, 2010, 07:35 PM
Well as for me - keeping my shoulders back, my elbows by my side and stretching up through my sternum. Of course this has been an ongoing struggle for me since my hunter days decades ago. The other thing I've been working on particularly hard the last few weeks is the feeling that I can pick my horses up with my seat and get them light in the bridle while softening and reaching with their forehand as well as improving the airtime and cadence of their gaits. Feels great when it happens but sustaining it is challenging.

PSG horse - working on better engagement at the canter, improved cadence at the trot and keeping him soft through the work.

Both 4 year olds - balance in all 3 gaits, steady tempo and starting to ask them to stretch their frames

8 year old - goal is to show second level after the first of the year - today was the first time he really lifted up through his shoulders/withers, extended from the shoulder and gave me the beginnings of a real medium trot. We will now begin to work on his balance and strength to maintain that all the way across the diagonal. There's nothing like it when the lightbulb finally goes off (He's had lengthenings but nothing like this :D).

Just maintaining the mares at their current level, will breed 2 of the 3 this spring.

The other two are retired.

Oct. 10, 2010, 08:09 PM
Where do I begin?!! To my remedial 9 y/o who has the training of the average 3 y/o everything is new and a challenge. The problem is that she is big and strong enough to resist more. It has taken almost two years to get her to accept any kind of bit contact and to get her to actually stretch down into it. Rhythm at the trot is now a work in progress. Circles-HAH! We only like to do cirlcles at the walk right now. Trot circles are Fugly at best. The canter is quite interseting-that's all I will say on that matter. The absolute worst part of all of this is that the only bit this horse will accept (and yes I know I will be flamed and probably thrown off the boards for this) is a solid mouth, low ported kimberwick. Yes, I know it is illegal for dressage. Yes I know she should be in some version of a snaffle. I have argued long and hard with my trainer to try to switch her over to a snaffle, but truly, the horse will NOT accept anything else and goes badly in the the other bits. She inverts, she sucks back, she goes behind the bit, over it, opens her mouth (no, I'm not yanking her mouth) unless she has her precious kimberwick in. It makes no sense-she SHOULD HATE IT BY ALL RIGHTS. I have tried every version of a snaffle that they make-NOPE! So, anyway that's my rant for the night.....

Oct. 10, 2010, 08:33 PM
Welcome, Epona Angel!

Thanks all for posting...keep 'em coming! I love seeing what other people are struggling with.

Oct. 10, 2010, 08:44 PM
PSG/I1+ What we are working on:

1. My issues: Looking up, using my legs far more for straightness and bend, keeping hands pushing forwardforwardforward, keeping the inside shoulder more up and the outside shoulder more down (so I don't collapse).

2. Horse: working on straightness and collection, forward within the collection; improving the trot with exercises toward passage.

3. Movements: working on canter pirouettes (they are still green) and getting seven two tempis that are all uphill (the first four are); passage (we have piaffe).

and the biggest holy grail for my winter training--SELF CARRIAGE (horse and rider).

Oct. 10, 2010, 10:19 PM
Training/hoping to show first in January.

Building up strength after repeated injuries so he can give me the lengthenings he wants.

And everything about my riding. :)

I was discussing with my trainer the other day that I know with my horse I will be the one to limit our future, because he just does it all if I don't get in his way.

Oct. 10, 2010, 10:33 PM
keeping hands pushing forwardforwardforward

Me too!!! I'm working on PSG.

Things can be really lovely when I can get my hands the heck out of the way, but I want to fix things by bringing my hands back and it always makes things worse (my subconscious has to grasp this fact).

The other thing I'm working on is letting him make mistakes so I have an opportunity to correct (i.e. self carriage). I tend to band-aid too many problems instead of confronting them head on.

For the horse: Strength. He's a giant mover, with a lot of front leg/shoulder. It's easy for him to get climby in front and out behind in the canter - which makes him look like a carousel horse, or a drowning person flailing (depending on your spin). The extra hiney strength will hopefully improve all our transitions as well as our canter work in general.

Movements: adjustability within the canter pirouette (it isn't supposed to have one speed and one amount of turn); trot half pass (increasing expression and bend); playing piaffe and passage; transitions

Oct. 10, 2010, 10:33 PM
Working on right now? A dark chocolate bar with dried cherries in it. Delicious.

Oct. 10, 2010, 10:43 PM
The biggest thing I am working on is bringing my mare back from suspensory surgery she had in March. We are working on the longe now -- very large circles at the trot, and *occasionally* she shows me the very cute trot that she had when she was fit and in training. (It's also good for me, because to get large circles, I have to walk smaller circles and chase her a bit -- she is on Ace to prevent playing!) I might be able to ride her at the walk by the end of the month.

The second biggest thing is making myself into a better rider so I am the best I can be for my mare, because the rehab work is mostly up to me. I am taking lessons on a mare who is trained to 4th level but is a great LL schoolmaster for those of us who are "smurfs." She rides quite similar to my mare. We are working on connection, adjustability within gaits, and my position (using my back and shoulders and core more, developing following elbows, etc.) I am also doing one very basic lesson a week on a LL mare who can be a bit tuned-out, and trail riding her once a week to keep me confident and courageous (she can get a bit goofy on trails; she is a retired eventer, but I am the only person who takes her out of the arena. Once again, I will repeat myself: trail riding is NOT a waste of time for dressage riders!)

I will continue taking lessons on one or both of these mares until mine is ready for lessons again, which will be some months in the future.

Oct. 10, 2010, 10:49 PM

Sitting trot
Moving forward with energy and impulsion! (I ride a very lazy Fjord.)
Round canter transitions, and always always always my position. I am the queen of hunched shoulders.

Oct. 10, 2010, 11:28 PM
I have lots to work on so I guess it depends on the horse I'm riding...

My 8 year-old OTTB (he's 1st level, not sure what I am) working on building up my confidence when he's fresh (had a nasty-fall a while back with some lingering injuries), canter/trot transitions- he loves to come down into a HUGE trot if I don't prepare him properly. Halts are getting good but he still doesn't appreciate doing them.

Leased 2nd/3rd level dutch warmblood - working on balance and no gripping at posting trot. He's a huge mover and can be very hot so you have to have very solid position and stay out of his way. The kind of ride seems to depend on my injured back and I'm trying to learn to ride through my physical issues and not have such an obvious difference between good and bad days.

Trainer's 19 year-old PSG schoolmaster - Love this horse. He's the one I try new things on. He's easy to sit and really comfy, but we've changed it up a little lately with sitting trot on a long rein and light contact. He's almost on the buckle and it's forcing me to really use my seat and steer with my body not my reins. Also working on maintaining my position in lateral work. I tend to throw it away and/or grip.

Friend's 16 year-old I1 schoolmaster - Just started riding him 1-2X a week recently. He's a HUGE mover and my goal is to sit his trot as most people can't. I can sit for 1-2 20 meter circles and then I'm toast and all over the place.

Oct. 10, 2010, 11:48 PM
I'm working on my shoulders : I really need to open them up. My right arm also tends to get too strong.

My horse need to develop more self-carriage, more collection. He also has issues with the extended trot (he's not really a big mover) and flying changes (in fact, he can do flying changes, but he always jumps so high in the air. Ok for the jumper ring, but not so appreciated in a dressage test : if anyone has some tips for that??).

He is very good with lateral work (shoulder in, haunches in, half pass) and has an excellent counter canter.

We both are eventers, but I like to get to dressage shows at least twice a year. Actually showing level 2 with a 64% average.

Oct. 11, 2010, 12:06 AM
Flying changes, ride more forward and don't over-aid for it. My horse will also do that if I don't tactfully change from my old to new outside rein.

Oct. 11, 2010, 12:02 PM
Showing at Training, started schooling First. Lengthenings are going to be a challenge for my little guy, and we work on them a good bet. Also relaxing away from home-that lovely relaxed, soft neck and back tend to disappear when we get to a show, and I'm sure it's due to both of us, so for no the goal is simply to stay soft and be as accurate as possible. when we get that down then we can go for spectacular...

Oct. 11, 2010, 12:28 PM
I am working on how to make necessary budget cuts so I can afford to ride with my instructor every week! Food and coffee may not be making the cut. :lol:

Oct. 11, 2010, 12:40 PM
We don't show, so not sure what level we are. But we're working on canter pirouettes.

Oct. 11, 2010, 07:37 PM
Mine depends on what horse I’m riding 

QH/Arab 14.2hh mare – Always relaxation first. She’s a tough one because if I lose her relaxation even for the slightest second we lose rhythm, elasticity, her paces become similar to a miniatures. She can be a little frustrating to ride in this way, but when she’s relaxed she is a lovely ride. I think I’m always trying to make her paces bigger and with more swing, constantly doing tempo changes and just really trying to keep her through in all the transitions. Relaxation at shows – haha! We try.

Thoroughbred 16hh gelding – Steady. And off the leg. And nose in front of the vertical. He’s a lovely boy, very big and powerful paces but like most TB’s, likes to sit slightly BTV. Also slowly, but surely, lengethening my stirrups until I’m in my correct dressage length. Tried to ride him in a dressage saddle and he just about ran me through a fence he got so strong because of the length of leg and my deep seat. So have been schooling in the jump saddle and trying to get him used to it all and that it doesn’t all necessarily mean RUN.

Welsh Mountain 13hh mare – Clients horse, riding in a snaffle to try and get her to stop blocking up (child rides in kimblewick with chain as she is a naughty pony and runs off with her and dumps her all the time). Soft, through and rhythm are all really hard for her so normally that’s what we do.

Me – Well, working on opening my shoulders alot more, looking UP not at the horses head, lengthening my leg and putting more weight in my feet (especially when I’m riding the TB) so I don’t “sit” so heavy. Also helps when the QH x Arab mare spooks, I tend to stay on haha!

Oct. 11, 2010, 07:54 PM
3rd level

Straightness and relaxation in the walk!! So hard.

Up on the shoulders at all gaits

Half pass - keeping his body parallel to the long side and after getting to the long side keeping the canter the same until the change

Hands forward and giving. Shoulders, hip and heel in a straight line.

Not letting him take over!!!! He is very tricky and before you know it he will start to lean and move his haunches-in, in 2 shakes of a lambs tail. I need to make him wait for me. He is so smart and thinks he nows everything!!

Oct. 11, 2010, 08:06 PM
On my greenie new 4 yo (Holsteiner), I'm working on riding her instead of babying her. She is a fabulous horse and although still mighty green, responds in the proper manner to correct aids, but I'm so worried about "breaking" her that I just try to sit still and not interfere ;). For example, she's super, super forward. I need to organize that, and that includes my inside leg. If I do apply it, she goes properly into the reins and on the bit. etc.etc.etc.

On my schoolmaster (16 yo Oldenburg/ half TB, showed 3rd this year, working on 4th / PSG), it's stepping up our level of engagement, riding her THROUGH at all times, especially in the canter where she has a tendency to be tense in her back (or alternatively really downhill). I'm working on keeping her on the outside rein without hanging on it and getting the changes exactly when I ask, not a stride late (or early ;)), but that sort of solves itself if I have her --> through. :)

And with my retired OTTB, working on pampering him :)

Oct. 11, 2010, 08:14 PM
My horse and I are Training/First. He has been injured on and off this past year, and recently we had a 3 month layoff so right now I am working on getting our muscles back. I'm working him long and low, mostly walk (only ride 2 today) and only for about 15-20 minutes. All I'm making sure of is that he is loose and relaxed, we change direction lots to keep it interesting, and that he is moving forward all the time.

Oct. 11, 2010, 10:59 PM
We're pretty boring.

I spent last month getting my greenbean OTTB-turned-broodmare-turned Dressage prospect to relax her jaw, soften at the poll, and go somewhat round. Now were working on keeping her there for longer and longer periods. Pretty much focusing on trying to get maresy in shape. We could do a pretty mean Intro test, though, if we could polish up the walk/trot transitions (she doesn't believe me that it's possible to stay round during an upwards transition). ;)

As for myself, for some reason lately I've been hollowing my lower back, and it's making me insane. I'm thinking it's time to do some core-strengthening exercises. Blech.

Oct. 11, 2010, 11:25 PM
1. My position - I have scoliosis and constantly battle riding with rounded shoulders and one side tending to collapse.
2. Prepping for the zig zag in the Int-I test with my GP schoolmaster.
3. Rideability in the tempis, said schoolmaster is HOT HOT HOT and likes to take over, diving down & curling.
4. Leg yield and Counter Canter for the 4 year old. She doesn't see the point of CC when flying changes are so easy...

Oct. 12, 2010, 11:26 AM
Intro Level here
1. Getting my leg back where it needs to be
2. Actually posting rather than sitting any trot they throw at me.
3. Getting the giraffe necked beauty to collect without hurting my back and shoulders in the fight.
4. All the above at the same time without falling off.

DD Training level
1. Getting pony to trot to canter transition without a buck
2. Sitting trot
3. Comfortable in the canter (she's worried about falling.)

Oct. 12, 2010, 11:30 AM
Trying to install forward while staying of the way of my very lazy gelding!

Oct. 12, 2010, 11:38 AM
I continue to work at having a seat like Reiner Klimke (and hands to match)

Arizona DQ
Oct. 12, 2010, 06:01 PM
Trying to get excited about riding again, after a long lazy summer. I think part of this is my fear of cantering. My trainer wants me to canter and while I have cantered my mare, I took the summer off. Now I need to start again and I am just plain scared for no reason......:no:

Oct. 12, 2010, 06:08 PM
Trying to get excited about riding again, after a long lazy summer. I think part of this is my fear of cantering. My trainer wants me to canter and while I have cantered my mare, I took the summer off. Now I need to start again and I am just plain scared for no reason......:no:

Been there. Took a long time to get over it.

Oct. 12, 2010, 06:13 PM
I think one of my biggest issues is patience as well. Like they say, "Patience is a virtue" so I'll definitely keep my levels of patience in mind...

Oct. 13, 2010, 01:20 PM
Training/hoping to show first in January.

Building up strength after repeated injuries so he can give me the lengthenings he wants.

And everything about my riding. :)

I was discussing with my trainer the other day that I know with my horse I will be the one to limit our future, because he just does it all if I don't get in his way.

After my lesson yesterday, official change to the answer.... we're not all the way I want to be for lengthenings... but that's really because I more want extensions, and we're apparently fine for first. I'd like more confirmed lengthen in there by January, though.

We're doing a lot of adjustability work within the gates, varying from sitting to posting to sitting at the same time so I can choose which I want to do on a given day in first level (as some days he responds better to one than the other), and starting to increase our lateral work. Leg yields and shoulder fore were already definitely there, but we're working on SI/HI and getting them more solid and correct. He definitely knew them and could get away with what he did, but as I don't want to get stuck we're working on doing them with proper carriage.

His strength after about a month of not injuring himself kicking any fences has increased a LOT. He's just giving a collected canter, and the walk/canter transitions are getting gorgeous. We're doing lots and lots of squares and rectangles, getting straighter and stronger. I'm very pleased with the short check-in ride my trainer did at the end of my lesson to see how he's developed in the month since she last rode him, and her rave reviews.

Apparently as I'm doing all this work my position continues improving. And as I improve, he does, too. Funny how that works....

Oct. 13, 2010, 02:09 PM
My Irish horse we are working on giving to the bridle. Getting the tension out of his neck. Lots of walking...and transitions.

My Appendix we are doing more forward and flexion. It is hard for him because he is very lazy.

Oct. 13, 2010, 02:16 PM
I'm beginning to conquer the habit of leaving my hands open (early saddleseat training will out!) Also, my dismounts are getting much better (by which I mean it no longer takes me 10 minutes to nerve myself into jumping off the 17.2 Hanoverian mountain... I think last lesson it was something like 3 minutes.)


(Intro, in case it wasn't perfectly obvious --)

Oct. 13, 2010, 02:30 PM
(Intro, in case it wasn't perfectly obvious --)


It kind of sounded like some Prix St. Georges riders! :winkgrin:

Oct. 13, 2010, 05:20 PM
I'm riding a 5 yo Arab mare. We are doing training level with some first on good days. Working on getting her consistantly on the bit and working from behind, starting lateral work, staying relaxed, simple lead changes, crisp transitions. Me, I am from a hunter background so I am always fighting to sit up straight instead of closing my hip angle and getting too forward. Also concentrating on using my whole body effectively. We are getting very nice round circles lately instead of eggs or other weird shapes!

Oct. 13, 2010, 08:14 PM
Win! I was working on counter canter loops with Solo in August, and he kept falling out of the right lead. Yesterday, we did two each way and he didn't break!

Oct. 14, 2010, 12:07 AM
Apparently with my mom's horse (we've had her for about a month... very, VERY out of shape) who has never shown I'm going to be working on fitness and first level work. Our trainer rode her today and requested permission to show her in Pas de Deux in March with another Friesian cross at the barn. She needs to be fit and needs improved transitions, lengthenings and leg yields by then! She's not in training, so while she might get some trainer time in lessons, it'll be up to me to get her ready, since Mom really just wants to enjoy trail rides on her. :)