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paintlady
Dec. 20, 2010, 08:04 PM
THREAD CLOSED.

Thanks to those that provided constructive criticism.

RLF
Dec. 20, 2010, 09:19 PM
Congrats! it's always fun to be somewhere you didn't think you'd be!!! lol

One show hint I will give you- is when you are riding around the outside of the ring and the bell sounds, be sure you are already traveling in the direction you will once you are inside the ring. You did this for the intro test, but not the training test. That way-even though you have the stop and salute in there - your outside rein will continue thru the mini warm up and into the show ring.
Also- don't be afraid to canter around the outside of the ring- assuming you can do it controlled and calmly... It can be a nice way to loosen up your horse just before getting in the ring.

The other thing I noticed is that your horse's haunches are falling in when trotting to the right... I'm not sure what gymnastic excersices your trainer has you doing, but at your horse's level shoulder fore (not shoulder in!) will help to develop some strength and activity in the hind end. There are other excersices as well and lateral work in general will help build strength, but stick with those movements which don't require a great deal of collection, like the leg yield.

I think you two look like a promising pair! =) And I love the fact that you are trying something new together! Good Luck!

angel
Dec. 20, 2010, 11:07 PM
Your stirrups are waaay tooo long. Take them up at least two holes.

You are driving your mare too fast. Let her slow down some so there is enough time for her to keep her rear end under her. Think about posting more up and down. As you come down into the saddle, you will be pushing a button that is under the saddle, which will bring the mare forward into your hands.

The previous poster mentioned that your horse is crooked. I'll agree with that, but correcting a crooked horse at this level is an art. In everything you do, the horse's haunches will be falling toward the left side and the shoulders will be dropping away from you toward the right. You need to help the horse compensate, and at this level, you need to do so by releasing a rein forward and up while stepping in the diagonal stirrup a tad more. With your horse, it needs to be the right rein released and more weight into your left stirrup...both directions of the ring. I cannot help you from here with the timing as this really takes someone right beside you, giving the instruction until you get the hand of it. I can tell you that the timing is slightly different depending on which direction you are traveling. The timing needs to happen at the point the diagonal of right fore/left hind is moving forward if that is any help. But to understand the timing, you must be able to feel when that is happening.

Let's take an example at which you can look. Go to about 3:14 to about 3:32 on the tape. Stop the tape several times in succession during that segment. Do you see how you are trying to lead the horse's shoulders more to the right using your right rein? That is totally the wrong thing to do. Those shoulders are already too much to the right. What needs to happen is that the horse must bend more honestly toward her left side. To achieve that, momentarily release and slightly raise the right rein. At the same moment, bend your torso slightly more toward you left side, which "takes" the left rein back a bit, and adds weight to your left stirrup....if the stirrups are correct...which they are not.

Stop the tape at the 3:32 mark. Look now at your right foot rather than just the right rein. Do you see how there is no way that you can keep the weight on the rear edge of your stirrup because it is too far away from you? You need to be able to keep the weight of your foot on the rear edge of your stirrup for all forward motion.

This especially is killing you for your trot/canter transitions. You are getting your outside leg too far back, and in that same toe-downward position. That kills the canter as it puts too much of your weight forward onto the horse's inside shoulder. It cannot rise properly.

You need to work on your canter seat, itself. Right now, you are pumping. The canter needs you to be more stable in the saddle, because the very nature of the gait is unstable...easy to disrupt its balance. Round your seat under you so that as you move with the horse, your seat stays on the saddle. Do not let it flop on each stride.

Your mare is really a jewel. She has more to offer than this tape shows. What a sweety! Keep trying!

EqTrainer
Dec. 21, 2010, 12:06 AM
Is your horse sound?

sketcher
Dec. 21, 2010, 12:10 AM
Is your horse sound?

I'm sorry, I wondered the same thing!

Your mare is cute. Congratulations on a successful showing.

EqTrainer
Dec. 21, 2010, 12:11 AM
Left front i think.

netg
Dec. 21, 2010, 12:20 AM
This video looked very close to what I was expecting except more forward (a plus.) There's a paint/hunter trainer at the barn I ride at, and most of the horses have similar tendencies to where they would look very similar if their riders tried to ride them dressage.

The straightness issues mentioned are very important. I would also focus on suppleness and rhythm. Get her to change speeds within gaits as you ask, but keep a steady rhythm as you do so - she tended to lose hers. And bend her. A lot.

I'm used to seeing breed hunters who have zero bend in their bodies except for crookedness one way or another. This shows up in "motorcycle" turns, in which they drop the inside shoulder, don't support themselves with their hind legs, and lack a lot of balance. A downhill build just exaggerates that problem.

You also look like you're holding her head up and trying to see-saw her mouth to get her to bring her nose in - don't. With her build, right now lifting her head up causes the base of her neck to drop lower, making her more on the forehand instead of less. See the triangle of muscle in front of the withers which is in use here? You want her to start using that before you start bringing her head up. It indicates a lift of the base of the neck and correctly starting to carry themselves. (There's a lot wrong with the photo, too, so don't think it's an example of what a horse should ultimately look like!)
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1371/4603792205_2dbbf1bfd4.jpg

Correct circling and bending will help you get straightness - you will learn to control your horse's body and get her to bring her hind legs under her through circles. I do a lot of leg yield in, leg yield out on a very large circle. The switch in direction gets them supporting themselves with the hind legs knowing they're going to have to switch their weight. Allowing her to stretch down and out when you ride (which she will start to want to do as you get her bending her body correctly), then starting to hold with your hands and push her into them with your legs once she gets a rhythm will get her to start to round herself and lift her front end without you having to seesaw or hold her head up yourself. You don't want to try to "set" her head for sure - which can be hard for a former hunter rider to remember! If you do, you'll hamper her ability to improve.

All those are things to work on - but in no way mean you have a bad start! The levels exist because we all have to learn and work our way up them if we want to really learn, and so do our horses. I think she's cute, and if you acknowledge her conformation but work with it instead of against it (my comments about not holding up her head, for example) I think she may surprise you with what she can do! The strong QH hind end can compensate for a lot of conformation flaws.

Good luck, and good for you - sounds like it was a good show season together, and like you're having fun!

Petstorejunkie
Dec. 21, 2010, 02:14 AM
EqT I'm going to bet my 50 cents on rein lame.... could be left front though too.
what I picked up on was braced right arm and a locked right jaw on the horse. not sure which is perpetuating which.
bring the bottoms of your shoulder blades down and back.
you also pop your left elbow as a result of not sinking into your left seat bone.
turn your leg in at the hip so that it can lie flat against the horse, and your toe point forward

I get the very strong impression lateral suppleness and flexion are not practiced very much at home, either that or your mind goes blank on how to ask her to bend around your leg (that happened to me at my last show, and we do all sorts of lateral)

alto
Dec. 21, 2010, 06:52 AM
Thank you for a wonderful video :yes:
You don't mention how often you ride, train etc so I'll assume it's weekly lessons etc & I suspect you & your horse have come a long way since the beginning, so a well deserved round of applause :)

There's a QH paint at the barn that spent a couple years looking much like your mare, in the last year he's started looking so much more supple & using his back properly
1) getting the owner rider working him 10-20 minutes on the longe before riding (under trainer's guidance initially - working on impulsion & rhythm & flexing & responsiveness to the aids & some time with side reins)
2) having the owner start each ride with side reins (max 10-15min) so she could feel the difference & he learned to stop taking advantage of his owner
3) having a more advanced (dressage) rider on him intermittently (not the trainer just a young rider at the barn that is talented & very focussed on dressage & having the horse moving correctly)

For yourself, do you lesson on other horses?

paintlady
Dec. 21, 2010, 09:55 AM
Is your horse sound?

My mare did tear her left front check ligament (badly) a few years ago - 9 month lay-up. She also had a puncture wound right below her knee on the front left this summer. She has arthritis in that knee and her hocks too for which she gets injections and is on Cosequin.

In summary, she does have on-going issues with the left front, but my vet thinks she is sound enough to continue to do what I'm doing with her. I almost always have him do a lameness exam when he's out - still paranoid about the check ligament issue.

paintlady
Dec. 21, 2010, 10:04 AM
Thank you for a wonderful video :yes:
You don't mention how often you ride, train etc so I'll assume it's weekly lessons etc & I suspect you & your horse have come a long way since the beginning, so a well deserved round of applause :)

For yourself, do you lesson on other horses?

I ride about 2-3x per week. I take lessons 2x per month.

My mare has come a very long way. Her sire was a multiplue national champion in H/J, but the breeder didn't think she had potential for showing. She didn't even start her until she was 4 y/o and sold her to be a trail horse. She was extremely green when I bought her. So, any holes in her training are completely my fault.

My mare is extremely smart, stubborn and senstive rolled into one. I've had her 9 years. I'd say that I only earned her respect about 3-4 years ago. Even then, she doesn't always like to listen to me. :lol:

I haven't really ridden other horses in the past 9 years. Before then, I took about 15-20 years of weekly H/J lessons on school horses. I board at a small private barn - not a lesson/training barn. My trainer comes to my barn for lessons, so there aren't other horses for me to ride.

paintlady
Dec. 21, 2010, 10:07 AM
I get the very strong impression lateral suppleness and flexion are not practiced very much at home, either that or your mind goes blank on how to ask her to bend around your leg (that happened to me at my last show, and we do all sorts of lateral)

Actually, we've been practicing this quite a bit at home lately. Unfortunately, my mind does tend to go blank once I enter the show ring. Half the time, I'm just hoping my mare will stay in control and not try to run out of the ring (which she has attempted to do before). For example, I know that my mare got too "quick legged" during our tests. I totally know how to handle that at home, but don't know why I didn't correct it during the show.

mickeydoodle
Dec. 21, 2010, 04:44 PM
Hi there, very brave to post! She is a cute horse, and you are a quiet, nice, upright rider. Very good halt on the first entry.

There are some things to improve:

1. she needs to move much more forward over the ground, at times the trot is barely a jog. I would do many circles, trot half circle, canter half, work up to canter 1/4, trot 1/4, etc. Lots of "almost walk" half halts, then really forward (from a light leg- not repeated squeezing)

2. She really needs lateral flexion and balance. You are holding her out on the circles and in the corners, and on the rail by keeping her counter-bent (bent to the outside). It is probably unconscious, most hunter riders (me too in the past) do that to keep the stiffish horse from falling in on the circle and corner. This also makes the canter transitions more difficult. The head up, fall on the shoulder is not about where your legs are, but about her being able to move away from the inside leg to the outside rein, flex to the inside, and canter. lots of transitons on the circle again. Leg yield is really helpful here. Work on spiral in/out at all gaits. Really insist that she cross over and move away from the leg. Often a "head to the wall leg yield" then asking for true bend helps teach them the concept of being ON the outside rein, flexion inside.

3. Working on lateral bend and balance will also help her move more through her body, and then help impulsion, suspension, and carrying on the hind legs. From this, she then needs to be on the bit, she is upside down most of the time right now. All of the above work will help to get there.

Best of luck, she is very attractive.

Sunshine66
Dec. 21, 2010, 05:19 PM
I enjoyed your post-I really have no advice as I'm a newbie trying to navigate the training level tests as well! I did notice that your horse has a beautiful tail. What product do you use?

paintlady
Dec. 21, 2010, 06:47 PM
Very good halt on the first entry.


Thank you for that! My mare lacks patience, so getting that halt quiet has been a battle. Do you believe that the judge gave us a 6 on all our halts in both tests? That is the only score that really bothered me - mostly because I, too, felt the first halt was far superior to our other 3.

Thanks also to everyone for the feedback. I do appreciate the comments. My mare has had no real formal training. Dressage is still relatively new to me too. It's also hard to turn a horse that measures 15.1hh at the withers and 15.3hh at the butt into a dressage queen.

paintlady
Dec. 21, 2010, 06:49 PM
I did notice that your horse has a beautiful tail. What product do you use?

Her tail has always been her most noticed feature - other than her one blue eye. I don't do anything special - no tail bags, etc. I just comb it using Cowboy Magic the day of the show.

netg
Dec. 21, 2010, 06:55 PM
Thanks also to everyone for the feedback. I do appreciate the comments. My mare has had no real formal training. Dressage is still relatively new to me too. It's also hard to turn a horse that measures 15.1hh at the withers and 15.3hh at the butt into a dressage queen.

She just has to be extra regal! :lol:

Good luck in your dressage instructor hunt. Remember that you are looking to pay someone to work for you, so if you find someone who looks down his/her nose at you for having a paint or in any way makes you feel inferior - why bother? A good instructor will answer whatever questions you have, and try to explain things as much as you want explained. And at your level, you don't necessarily need an upper level trainer yet - but the upper level trainers CAN be awesome for those of us who know considerably less, too.

Can you tell I know some instructors who suck the fun out of things? I know others who end up with fearful scared students. Yuck to all of them!

paintlady
Dec. 21, 2010, 07:38 PM
She just has to be extra regal! :lol:

Good luck in your dressage instructor hunt. Remember that you are looking to pay someone to work for you, so if you find someone who looks down his/her nose at you for having a paint or in any way makes you feel inferior - why bother? A good instructor will answer whatever questions you have, and try to explain things as much as you want explained. And at your level, you don't necessarily need an upper level trainer yet - but the upper level trainers CAN be awesome for those of us who know considerably less, too.

Can you tell I know some instructors who suck the fun out of things? I know others who end up with fearful scared students. Yuck to all of them!

I actually already have a wonderful instructor. She is a former Dutch National Champion and is GREAT with my little mare. I wish I had more time and money for lessons - but 2x month is what I can handle.

netg
Dec. 21, 2010, 11:25 PM
I actually already have a wonderful instructor. She is a former Dutch National Champion and is GREAT with my little mare. I wish I had more time and money for lessons - but 2x month is what I can handle.

Oops, sorry! I did read you saying that... not sure which thread I confused this with where someone was on the instructor hunt!


Discuss with her maybe if it would be in your best interest to have a mini "boot camp" where you save up and do a bunch of lessons in a row? That's something which definitely depends on an individual, but a condensed series of lessons instead of lessons spread out can help jumpstart progress for a lot of people which might help you, too. (I usually am not helped by it - so I'm not claiming it IS the answer - I just know a lot of people are helped by doing that.)

Nojacketrequired
Dec. 22, 2010, 05:39 PM
I agree with shortening your stirrups. The lengthening of the stirrups will come as you get stronger in the saddle. Until then, keep them a good length so that you canUSE them as a solid base. Having to reach for them only swings your lower leg around. (BTDT!)

IMO, after you make sure the mare is 100% comfortable for the work, I'd work on making her accept the rhythm that I expect, by slowing my posting and being aware at all times of asking for a different tempo from the one she wants to go in. This willmake her hind legs work harder and she willhave to balance herself more instead of just running foreward.

I'd also begin to work on teaching her that legs also mean bend, and move away.

Have your instructor work with you on spiraling out, leg yield, turn on the forehand, and how to turn a horse using the OUTSIDE aids, and work on that at walk and at trot.

After the mare becomes more flexible in her body, you'll have not only your rein aids, but also your seat,leg and weight aids to guide her through your tests and your scores will go up as your tests become more precise.

Also, the less you need to "steer" with your hands, the more refined your rein aids can become that invite her to begin to give in the jaw and become a bit rounder, as her conformation allows. Add that to the fact that she will have begun carrying a bit more weight behind instead of running in the trot, and you will have a much nicer, more comfortable and healthier outline for your mare.

Thumbs on top and closed. Elbows by your sides. Decide on the "correct" rein length and don't keep adjusting as the mare pulls the reins away from you and then you end up reeling the reinbackin. (We alldo it, don't worry!). Keep your thumbs closed and use your legs to ask for MORE, but slower. Gentle half halts without giving the rein away.

Yes, long road, isn't it???? :lol:

NJR
PS...does your instructor ever get on? Sometimes when we see just what our horses CAN do under another rider, we realize that they've been suckering us a little bit and it elps to makes us ask for just that little bit more that makes the difference. I know my horse is happy to see me after my trainer has ridden her! :)

EqTrainer
Dec. 22, 2010, 07:31 PM
I'm sorry to hear your horse has had so many injuries. She is pretty lame, I would hazard a guess at 2/5. IME continuing to demand more of a horse under those circumstances is unkind. I hope when she is sound you can employ some of the great suggestions you have gotten here.

mickeydoodle
Dec. 23, 2010, 12:41 AM
I do not think she is anything more than "rein lame" ie: not enough foreward to the connection; thus posting and rein changes affect gait. Thus not a leg/hoof/body lameness, but something that the rider and mare can work to improve.

EqTrainer
Dec. 23, 2010, 12:42 AM
She posted that the mare had sustained injuries to the left front. It is pretty obvious she's lame LF, I called it before she noted it...

paintlady
Dec. 23, 2010, 12:27 PM
I'm sorry to hear your horse has had so many injuries. She is pretty lame, I would hazard a guess at 2/5. IME continuing to demand more of a horse under those circumstances is unkind. I hope when she is sound you can employ some of the great suggestions you have gotten here.

I'm sorry, but I really have to disagree with your assessment. I'm pretty sure my vet and trainer would agree. My trainer was at the show and helped us warm-up. She wouldn't let me continue to ride if my mare was "pretty lame". I've also had numerous other people look at my video. Everyone else agrees with mickeydoodle's assessment.

Yes, my mare has had her fair share of issues in the past on her left front. However, to state that I'm "unkind" for continuing to ride her and push for more is a bit harsh. I have not ridden my mare whenever advised against it by my vet and trainer. I don't have a problem with that. However, both of them agree that she is presently sound for what we're doing.

I think judging a horse's soundess based on a riding video is not the same as watching a horse move freely without a rider - both things that my vet and trainer have seen first-hand.

Gestalt
Dec. 23, 2010, 12:44 PM
Her tail has always been her most noticed feature - other than her one blue eye. I don't do anything special - no tail bags, etc. I just comb it using Cowboy Magic the day of the show.

haha, That's the first thing I noticed too! Lovely tail and I like how it swishes from side to side as she trots. Actually it was the second thing noticed, first was the good halt.

Lots to work on, but you two look lovely together and I bet she's a fun girl to have in the barn. I also think your stirrups are a bit long. Thanks for posting the video!

Adding: You are not being unkind, your horse is in lovely condition and keeping her active (under your vet's care) is the best thing you can do.

EqTrainer
Dec. 23, 2010, 12:51 PM
Well that's great that no one else thinks your horse is lame. In my world, a head bob every time the front lands and a reluctance to put any weight on it in a corner is considered lame and not just kind-of-lame or rein lame, which affects the hind end not the front. I watched about three seconds of that video to see that. But you are right, I wasn't there, perhaps in real life she looks sound and comfortable, and the video is seriously misleading. Is that what you want to hear? Then there it is.

Yes, her tail and blue eye are stunning!

Gestalt
Dec. 23, 2010, 01:00 PM
EqT, I do see a horse that appears stiff in the L fetlock, but head bobbing lame? No. But I'm not a vet so I don't know what is best for this horse. To work or not to work, that is the question. :)

On a side note, my left ankle is in much worse shape than this mare's. I hope my employer doesn't put me out to pasture. Retirement doesn't always mean a wondeful, cushy life. It wouldn't for me, not enough funds in my account for a happy ending. No job means no health insurance.

paintlady
Dec. 23, 2010, 01:06 PM
Well that's great that no one else thinks your horse is lame. In my world, a head bob every time the front lands and a reluctance to put any weight on it in a corner is considered lame and not just kind-of-lame or rein lame, which affects the hind end not the front. I watched about three seconds of that video to see that. But you are right, I wasn't there, perhaps in real life she looks sound and comfortable, and the video is seriously misleading. Is that what you want to hear? Then there it is.


No need for an attitude or to "tell me what I want to hear".

You think my mare is "pretty lame". Others who see my horse regularly - including my vet and trainer - do not. I'm going to rely on their opinion more is all.

Just know that I'm not an "unkind" rider who would willingly risk my mare's health just to ride. Yes, I found that insulting because of all I've been through with my mare to ensure she is healthy and comfortable. It's not worth getting into it with a stranger on the internet.

Have a wonderful holiday!

2hsmommy
Dec. 23, 2010, 02:04 PM
Your stirrups look a hole or two to long. She seems to drop/give her head for you occasionally but you don't give back to her when she does and it goes right back up.
It's sort of hard to look past the lameness, rein lame or not. Maybe step back a notch, cause it doesn't look comfortable to her?
She's very well groomed and you look neat and tidy.
Best of luck.

katarine
Dec. 23, 2010, 02:16 PM
Sometimes exercise is good for the body, even if the body is not perfectly 'sound'. BUT- in the long run that uneven stride will hurt your scores as her rhythm is off.

I'd work on l/y, s/i, h/i more than I'd work on circles. Circle work is tough on those injuries.

Shorten those stirrups, boo.

saying the mare is impatient is also to say the mare is not submissive. She is stiff in the jaw, I think partly b/c your hands are unsteady in part b/c your stirrups are too long.

Shorten them, strengthen your base, drive her into your hands with your body, show her how to comfortably meet you in the middle with a softened jaw, and right that sec soften your hand.

I film myself at home, riding alone. I just set my little cheap Kodak on a fence post and turn it on. Ride a few circles, a halt or two, then free walk over to the camera and see what I see. Very educational LOL for better or worse.

RLF
Dec. 23, 2010, 11:18 PM
I just feel the need to post my two cents. :mad:

IMO people need to stop watching a video and start studying the horse and rider and their relationship to each other.

I agree that there are aspects here to work on, but that's why the OP even put it up here.

Calling a horse lame because of gait irregularity when there's obvious tension and disharmony borders on viewer blindness to me. (and the OP admitting there was an injury some time ago is NOT the same as admitting the horse is currently lame. And yes, sometimes ligamint and tendon injuries heal with a limit in motion since we don't send them to physical therapy 4 times a week like we do with our own soft tissue injuries to regain our range of motion.)

Telling someone to shorten their stirrups when their knee is almost pushed to the front of their knee roll and their bum is too far behind the rest of their leg to begin with is incredible. Stability doesn't come from perching on two short stirrups, it comes from aligning the pelvis, leg and torso correctly. Which in this riders case will actually lengthen her leg.

I'm not trying to be disrespectful of individual posters here, I'm only venting about the amount of disrespect that's being served up with bad advice to boot... Very frustrating for a newer rider.


Good Luck Paintlady! I hope no one here has discouraged you!

AnotherRound
Dec. 23, 2010, 11:30 PM
Nice going. I also see some kind of lameness. I don't know why you are pulling her to the outside. There doesn't seem to be any kind of bend o the inside. This comes from your lateral exercises, shoulder fore, leg yields. Do them at home with your toes pointed straight - use the side of your lower leg. Your entire back of your lower leg was turned to the horse. This turns your hips out and you need to have your seat bones spread and your thigh on the horse and lower leg draped down her side, with your feet forward. To me her back looks very stiff. She isn't even bent in the direction you are going, though. Often she is counter bent.

Your ankles are cracked and feet turne out. This creates a very ineffective leg and it looks it as you are riding. If ou look at your boots, you will see the back of the boot is powedery from horse dirt. It should be the side of the boot.

Your heels shouldn't be down so much as just your toes up. Your lower leg is not in contact with the side of th ehorse, and this is what she relys on to understand your lateral aids, which you aren't giving her.

Her trot is very very fast. She should be floating, and her canter is so fast she almost looked pogo sticked. You need to sit back much more, and sit DOWN into the saddle. Do you have enough clearance with this saddle for her withers? 2 to 3 inches when you are sitting in it? Is the gullet wide enough for her to use her back, but not too wide that the sides of the gullett sit on her ribs? It looks like this saddle is down hill, and may be smashing down onto her shoulder. It also looks very far forward. I think you need to move your saddle back off her shoulder, as it seems she just cant use her shoulder. Your position puts you forward on her shoulder. Either its your position, or the saddle is too far forward, or it may also not have enough flocking at the wither to move it up off the wither.

Use your seat to slow her as you post. Ask her to use her back by sitting down into her and pushing her up into your hand. Driving with your seat, to bring her up into you hands. She can't get her shoulders up because you are sittting on them. Your seat is not communicating anything to her.

The horse does look a bit too small for you, but of course folks can ride smaller horses effectively.

It just seems that you aren't using your seat, your upper leg and lower leg (because they are turned out so mmuch - turn your toes ahead and spread your seatbones behind - as though you are pigion-toed from the hips, then drape your lower leg down around the horse's side. Then you will have the legs available to use correctly, if you learn how.

The horse is going inverted and you aren't asking her to move into the bit with your seat, and a few times she tried but you didn't give back to her and she gave up and continued with her nose in the air.

You might do well to ride a school master in some lessons to understand how to ride correctly, then you can understand how to ask her correctly.

Also, your line down the center beginnign and end was crooked. No walking steps before halt or before the trot off.

Keep working, you'll do well. But you must begin to learn to use your lateral aids correctly and ask the mare to round and use her back. She isn't at all.

Pretty mare. Good luck.

Donella
Dec. 24, 2010, 12:25 AM
I agree with RLF!

The horse is not 100 percent sound, but I am sure most of it is due to what RLF mentioned plus the previous issues. The horse is not visably uncomfortable and looks quite happy to be putzing around with her rider. The horse looks well cared for and we have been assured that she is being monitered by her vet.

OP, always keep in mind that this is internet advice. I would wager a bet that most posters here are MUCH better at typing out instruction than actually riding (just read some of the popular thread here re "roll kur" ect. We have half the board picking apart the ability/integrity of some of the best riders on the planet). Take it all with a grain of salt.

EqTrainer
Dec. 24, 2010, 01:04 AM
Well Donella people who ride and train horses know that horses who are lame (oh sorry, not lame just not 100%) rush, have difficulty bending and taking correct contact, show tension and are resistant in general.

My entire point to the OP, in my quite polite but straightforward original post, was that the work she is trying to do will become much easier when the horse is sound and that the good advice she has been given will be very helpful then.

I understand that people are trying to be encouraging and helpful. But seriously... You can work your ass off trying to straighten and bend a horse who is unsound and die trying. I think it is more helpful to be honest with people in these circumstances and explain that unsoundness equals resistance that you cannot ride and train through and that you certainly will not learn what you should be learning on an unsound horse.

And I stand by my comment that it would be unkind to keep asking an unsound horse to work. A horse who has some arthritis and begins a bit creeky but warms up is one thing... A horse with a consistent head bob and tension/resistance is another.

Something I am realizing/suspecting is that maybe this is the norm for people to see and that is why people think the horse is ok? Do people posting here think this is just how a horse looks/moves before it is on the aids? Before being gymnasticized? Do their horses look like this? If any of this is correct then maybe some education about what a sound horse looks like is in order. Everyone has to begin somewhere, sometime and there is nothing wrong with that.

RLF
Dec. 24, 2010, 01:40 AM
... You can work your ass off trying to straighten and bend a horse who is unsound and die trying... unsoundness equals resistance...

Unsoundness CAN equal resistance. Anyone who has experience with resistant horses knows that unsoundness is not always the cause.



... ... A horse with a consistent head bob and tension/resistance is another...

I guess this theory doesn't apply here since this horse doesn't have a CONSISTENT head bob. A head bob is not merely a reaction to pain. A head bob is about balance. A horse naturally bobs his head at the walk and canter because of the natural lack of symmetry of the gait. The horses head and neck can consitute up to 20% of the horse's weight. The horse will use it's head and neck for balance. The bob in any gait signifies the horses effort to change the direction of it's body weight. A horse's head will bob at the trot when lame to aid it in lifting it's body weight off that foot as soon as possible. :confused: It can't be possible then that a horse could use it's head and neck when it's body is asymetrical due to training level, natural tendencies, and lack of suppleness... oh wait- which has already been pointed out as evidenced by the crookedness of the horse.
No reasonable person would expect this horse to have no movement in it's head at this level of training. Which is also evidenced by the fact that the 'bob' gets worse after a turn, which throws the horse out of balance.
Watch her come down the centerline. Mostly still or a little wiggle in the nose (natural). I think I saw maybe two bobs. Maybe. However- if people would open their eyes they would see that there is a greater correlation to the posting and the head movement.


...maybe this is the norm for people to see and that is why people think the horse is ok? Do people posting here think this is just how a horse looks/moves before it is on the aids? Before being gymnasticized? ...

No more than some people spout off a phrase like "head bob" without actually understanding what it is and WHY a horse does it rather than actually taking the time to learn about these animals we insist on making all the decisions for.

EqTrainer
Dec. 24, 2010, 01:46 AM
We will have to agree to disagree because I see a horse who consistently bobs when her LF hits the ground. Every stride? No. Quite often? Yes. I certainly do understand why a horse shows gait abnormalities (there is a periodic stride length discrepancy also) and head inconsistencies, what I do not understand is the apparent acceptance of it as if it is inconsequential. If the horse showed this and had no other apparent resistances, was not tense, was not inverted -in other words, was not otherwise indicating that perhaps she is in pain - I could better accept that it's all fine and dandy. Add it all up and it's hard to look the other way. I tend to be on the horses side and not the riders in these cases, and I won't apologize for that. A resistant horse deserves to be assumed to have a reason.

Rehabilitation of an old injury or of a horse who has been ridden and trained badly is another story but that is not the case here, this is an ammy riding her own horse... At a horse show.

I ride young horses all the time and they don't look like this, my ammy clients ride their young horses and older horses and they don't look like this. If they do, we call the vet, not take them to a horse show. Different standards I suppose, you are entitled to yours too, as is the OP and her group of professionals.

She asked for opinions, mine is that the horse will respond to the training advice given when she is sound and that until then, it is a waste of time and effort to continue to ride her.

RLF
Dec. 24, 2010, 02:24 AM
EqTrainer - Yes, well...I suppose we will. I don't think standards have anything to do with it.


This is for anyone else wanting to know WHY my stance is what it is...and maybe even learn something:

Head bobbing for a front leg lameness would be evident by the head raising when that leg is bearning weight. In this case the LF as indicated as having had an old injury and being accused of still being lame. A 'head bob' is not just merely moving of the head, horses naturally nod during thier gaits. A 'bob' is a definite movement of the head which has an obvious elevated stance when the lame leg is bearing weight, and returns to a lower elevation when the other leg is bearing weight.

The video below demonstrates this nicely as it plays somewhat slow...you have to wait for the trot though....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_wrCbwRHbQ

If you go back and watch the OP's video, you can see the head nodding laterally and the height varies very little when viewed from the front. Further studying of the video will show that when the horse does raise her head and neck, it is often for more than one step of the trot (in other words not in time to a sensitive limb) and is more symptomatic of the horse attempting to invert itself.

This horse does have movement of her head, but movement of the head is not the same as a 'head bob'.

paintlady
Dec. 24, 2010, 09:01 AM
u need to sit back much more, and sit DOWN into the saddle. Do you have enough clearance with this saddle for her withers? 2 to 3 inches when you are sitting in it? Is the gullet wide enough for her to use her back, but not too wide that the sides of the gullett sit on her ribs? It looks like this saddle is down hill, and may be smashing down onto her shoulder. It also looks very far forward. I think you need to move your saddle back off her shoulder, as it seems she just cant use her shoulder. Your position puts you forward on her shoulder. Either its your position, or the saddle is too far forward, or it may also not have enough flocking at the wither to move it up off the wither.


I have to respond to these saddle comments since you are way off. I have an 18" Albion SLK low-head, wide tree. My saddle was fitted to my horse in August by a professional saddle fitter. It sits perfectly balanced on my mare front-back and side-side, has enough clearance, has a wide enough gullet and does not "smash" into her shoulder or withers. This saddle fitter uses a thermal camera to check pressure points too. Keep in mind that my mare is built downhill. She is 15.1 hh at the withers and 15.3 hh at the butt.

Not only did the saddle fitter look at the saddle on my horse, she also watched me ride in it with the stirrups at their current length. My trainer has too. Neither one has ever told me to shorten my stirrups more. If they did, I certainly would do so. I do need to sit deeper and lengthen my leg. My trainer has told me this and we're working on it. It's hard to have contact with my mare's sides since my legs are really too long for her barrel - hence, my bad habit of reaching my leg back to reach for her sides. I have to "make it work" with a horse that is smaller than I probably "should" be riding not because of my weight, but because I have a 32" inseam.

I'm not going to discuss the "lameness" thing further other than to say this... not a single person at the show - including the judge - made one single comment about my horse being lame. I also trust my vet and trainer opinions about her soundness over anyone on an internet forum watching a few minutes of a riding video. My mare does have some limitations due to her conformation, age, etc. - but she is not in pain. My horse is in good physical shape and enjoys being worked. I don't ride her 7 days a week for hours at a time. She is worked 2-3x per week usually for no more than 30-60 minutes at at time.

I came here for constructive advice about ways to improve. I did receive some good information. I thank those of you who were able to be constructive without being rude. I don't need to be flattered. I'm a big girl and can handle constructive criticism. Unfortunately, others of you are incredibly harsh and rude in your comments. I'd love for some of you to be brave enough to post videos of your riding. I bet you're not all that perfect either.

Finally, I completed my show season with an average score of 65% and 4th out of 7th in the VADA/NoVA year-end awards at the Introductory Level. The shows I've been at were all judged by L graduates or higher. The judge at the show on the video is an R judge. Yes, we have lots to work on. I know that which is exactly why I'm working with a trainer and asking for advice. Thankfully, I don't feel like the complete loser that some of you seem to think I am.

I hope you all have a nice holiday. Peace.

mp
Dec. 24, 2010, 11:18 AM
You think my mare is "pretty lame". Others who see my horse regularly - including my vet and trainer - do not.

Nor did the judge, apparently. ;)

One more thing: you're riding with your toes turned out and that puts the back of your legs against your horse and minimizes the effectiveness of both your seat and legs. Next time you ride, think about rotating your leg from the hip, so you're turning your heels out. This will put your seat bones on your horse, so you can use weight cues and allows you to use your entire leg, not just your calf.

You're a brave soul to post a video here. But thanks for doing it. I'm a TL rider, too, and these critiques and ideas really help me, too.

Gestalt
Dec. 24, 2010, 11:55 AM
Not only did the saddle fitter look at the saddle on my horse, she also watched me ride in it with the stirrups at their current length. My trainer has too. Neither one has ever told me to shorten my stirrups more. If they did, I certainly would do so. I do need to sit deeper and lengthen my leg. My trainer has told me this and we're working on it. It's hard to have contact with my mare's sides since my legs are really too long for her barrel - hence, my bad habit of reaching my leg back to reach for her sides. I have to "make it work" with a horse that is smaller than I probably "should" be riding not because of my weight, but because I have a 32" inseam.

I shortened your post just to comment about one thing. One of my horses is 15.2h, I do not have long legs, but he is still a bit small for me. (he has a round yet short barrel) When I ride him I always need to take the stirrups up at least one hole. It helps me with my leg placement on him. When I ride my other two the stirrups go down. Adjusting the stirrup for my elg and the horses barrel really helps me, but if it doesn't help you, okay. It was just a suggestion.

And thanks for posting the video, you knew you would get slammed from some people, it's the way they operate. :(

alibi_18
Dec. 24, 2010, 12:07 PM
Do people even realised you are at training level? And that, of course, there is a * few* things you should be working on and obviously not doing right because hey! You are at training level...

People, if her shoulder-in, leg yield and haunches-in were mastered,with proper speed, carriage and sitting, she wouldn't be doing training level!

And as I was watching (and reading others comments), the first thing that came to my mind was that your horse was really built downhill and crooked in the front legs. Toes in and her LF travelling a lot to the inside and the RF paddling. Adding that such built doesn't give her much chance to work thru her back and hence doesn't have much muscle there, clearly visible right after your saddle.

I don't find you are riding that bad for your level. You should work a lot on your hands, getting them steadier and less stress see-sawing. You should also work on lowering your leg. You have nice long leg, use them! Roll your thights in-ward, close that knee and point your toes in. I have a feel that you'd like to be able to reach your mare with your heels...well sorry! Your legs are too long so use your calf! And then, you'll be able to sit deeper.

As for the test, since the judge didn't excuse you for lameness, I assume it is just some irregular steps, crooked horse and you pulling because you were kinda tense. Right?

She is not going to fast. She is being a bit to quick in the back and not enough in the front. And she is not tracking up and not working thru her back.
You need to get her more forward and slow down the hind legs only by sitting deeper and a bit longer and stretching your rising state. She will never use her back if you slow her down. This is working trot.
Your best trot was on the diagonals were you calm down a little, let her go on the bit and rounded her a bit. She was moving more straight and got steadier in her gait.
Yeah, your corner sucked and she was almost on 3 tracks along the side with her haunches in. She needs to learn to bend more to your leg and rein. Yes you should use the outside rein to turn but don't forget to use the inside as
well!!!

Your canter was obviously to straight and crooked but overall not that bad. Steadier I would say.

Shoulder in and leg yield are your friends and I would lunge her a lot with side
reins! And get some lunging lesson on your horse as well! Without reins and stirrups!

narcisco
Dec. 24, 2010, 12:11 PM
I love the paints--they have such heart and try.

I think there are a dozen ways to make this cute mare more comfortable, which could really help some of the training issues you're having. The mare is landing toe/heel in front, which is why she often looks like she is moving on eggshells. She is carrying her head to the outside to avoid putting full weight on her inside front (in both directions). This makes your job of bending her doubly difficult.

I don't know what kind of shoes she has on. I would confer with my vet/farrier team to see what might be the best kind of support for her. Flexions in both front feet might yield more information. I've seen quite a few of these horses go through this process at her age and there is so much you can do to keep them showing into their 20s.

I think you are doing a super job as a rider of riding a downhill, tense horse, who doesn't quite fill up your leg. Once she learns to use her back and connects all the way back to front (as she did one time across the diagonal), things will improve. She will use her back to take the strain off the front feet, which is critical for all of these downhill stock types.

Enjoy her, she has a lovely disposition and your relationship with her is obvious in how hard she's trying for you.

VTHokie
Dec. 24, 2010, 04:12 PM
You're so tall and slender (lucky you!!) I'd love to see you on a larger horse. Right now you appear a bit awkward. I know you originally never intended to show but if you're interested in continuing to show and move on in dressage you may want to consider moving on to larger horse.

The first thing I noticed was how busy your hands are, and therefore, how much her head is moving around. She also has a constant counterbend. I did like your first halt but the ending halt was much too quick. Big difference between the two as you mentioned.


Congrats on your successes thus far. Good luck in the future.

paintlady
Dec. 24, 2010, 05:19 PM
Do people even realised you are at training level? And that, of course, there is a * few* things you should be working on and obviously not doing right because hey! You are at training level...


This was only my 3rd time doing Training Level. Trust me... it took us a long time to get here. I know we still have lots of work to do. I do appreciate the constructive comments - just can't believe how harsh others have been. Thanks for posting that reminder - hopefully it will help keep things in perspective.

paintlady
Dec. 24, 2010, 05:24 PM
You're so tall and slender (lucky you!!) I'd love to see you on a larger horse. Right now you appear a bit awkward. I know you originally never intended to show but if you're interested in continuing to show and move on in dressage you may want to consider moving on to larger horse.


Back when I was taking lessons in H/J, I routinely rode 16+ hh horses. After a particularly bad fall of a 16.3 hh horse, I decided that I wanted a small horse as my first horse. My original goal was just to have a horse I could trail ride - smaller is easier to get on/off. Unfortunately, I can only afford one horse. For better or worse, my little mare is with me for life. I'd be happy if we can just get to the point of having solid training level tests. I know that is my mare's limit. I'm OK with that.

paintlady
Dec. 24, 2010, 05:30 PM
I don't know what kind of shoes she has on. I would confer with my vet/farrier team to see what might be the best kind of support for her. Flexions in both front feet might yield more information. I've seen quite a few of these horses go through this process at her age and there is so much you can do to keep them showing into their 20s.


No shoes. My mare has been barefoot for the past 4 years. She's got solid hooves, but they are TINY. When she did have shoes (front only), she wore a 00. Her hooves have actually got a much better shape to them now after being barefoot for so long. I will talk to my vet to see what he thinks when we return to routine riding in the spring.

She does counterbend quite a bit. She used to be extremely heavy in the forehand due to her downhill conformation. For example, when you'd ask for a canter - she'd throw her head to the outside to balance out falling in on her forehand. We've been working on getting her to lift her shoulder, use her haunches and move straighter. She's improved quite a bit from where we were, but still lots of room for further improvement.

You're all right about my hands. Before buying my mare I rode at a QH H/J barn. See-sawing was par for the course. Another bad habit is that I try to steer my horse like a car. I don't think I do nearly as much of this in lessons because my trainer corrects me. Unfortunately, I still let my nerves get to me when I show which allows the bad habits to creep back in.

As for my legs. You're all right there too. I walk with my toes out and it carries over into my riding. I think my entire family walks like ducks. I guess that is our conformation flaw! Any tips on exercises I can do off the horse to help walk straighter?

paintlady
Dec. 24, 2010, 05:44 PM
And thanks for posting the video, you knew you would get slammed from some people, it's the way they operate. :(

Honestly, I'm surprised at how mean some people are. I'm interested in learning and improving my riding. My horse hasn't had any formal training. She was a very green 4 y/o when I bought her in 2001. My background is weekly group lessons at H/J barns. I started working with a dressage trainer last year, but sometimes it helps to hear from others. Still, didn't expect to get so many negative comments. It doesn't make me feel all that great about the larger dressage community.

Donella
Dec. 24, 2010, 11:55 PM
Honestly, I'm surprised at how mean some people are.

Like I said, you might want to read some of the commentary on world class riders and horses here. It's pretty ridiculous. Just don't venture over to the UDBB or you will pull your own hair out reading some of the comments.

rabicon
Dec. 25, 2010, 12:02 AM
She's very cute. A couple comments about her training. Whatever H/J barn you were at before I wouldn't go back. If you were in training since she was 4 up to the age of 10 at a qh h/j barn even with 2 group lessons a month your girl would know how to use herself thru the back and not be this stiff. A good H/J barn and even qh H/J barns will put dressage basics on a horse. There are many barns out there though that skip this important fact and horses fall around on their forehand and stiff etc.. and riders don't know any better, been there done that :no: Even the DH qh or paint can use themselves if properly trained for a time. I do see that she is lame in the front, schooling shows will be less likely to call you out on it because they know that there are many new riders out there riding older horses and learning, now if you tried USDF then I would suspect you would be called out of the ring pretty quick. Been there and seen that also. I dont' think there is anything wrong with continuing to rider her and show her if you like. Its better to ride a horse than not unless its gonna kill them. They tend to go downhill faster not being ridden. I don't think that she will improve a whole lot with the issue she has up front and the hock arth. because she probably has it in other places also. Had a qh with knee and hock arth and it moved to everywhere over time, even his jaw. I would like to know what your trainer says about how to half halt her??? Can you explain how you half halt your horse? A proper half halt can help a lot once the horse learns. Seesawing is not a half halt and I want to make sure you understand how to use that. Also you get very tense and the more tense you are the more tense she will be. She could probably loosen up a good bit going if you do but she will never bend like a pretzel. ;) Good luck with her and lets us know how it goes.

katarine
Dec. 25, 2010, 12:48 PM
Hey paintlady,

People are passionate about what they think they see or what they think is right. When the BS gets deep, remember this: there are folks on this COTH forum who think shampoo is poisonous to horses. Or that a horse's tail is one long bone. Or that geldings have no bone marrow. Or that only Arabians flag their tails in the air. etc etc etc. All manner of wackadoodledo-ness.

If you want good, qualified feedback, the best feedback will come from a) peeps you know in real life and you'll know if they can ride a bike much less a horse or b) a select few posters who's history you know some of, maybe you've seen their videos, etc and perhaps you can take something away from their input. As for the rest of us? We're just railbirds. Some are knowledgeable, some are just good typists, some can quote the old dead guys verbatim but can't ride the horses they have in front of WalMart. That's ok. It's just words. Letters in a sequence. blah blah blah.

Take the best and don't sweat the rest :)

paintlady
Dec. 25, 2010, 02:15 PM
She's very cute. A couple comments about her training. Whatever H/J barn you were at before I wouldn't go back. If you were in training since she was 4 up to the age of 10 at a qh h/j barn even with 2 group lessons a month your girl would know how to use herself thru the back and not be this stiff.

I took H/J group lessons BEFORE buying my mare in 2001. I bought my mare as a green 4 y/o - less than 6 months under saddle. My mare hasn't had any "professional" training since I've owned her - just me. I just started taking dressage lessons - private 2x per month - last year.

paintlady
Dec. 25, 2010, 02:27 PM
I do see that she is lame in the front, schooling shows will be less likely to call you out on it because they know that there are many new riders out there riding older horses and learning, now if you tried USDF then I would suspect you would be called out of the ring pretty quick. Been there and seen that also.

The video was taken at the VADA/NoVA championship show. The judge was an R level USDF judge. The only people who think my mare is "pretty lame" are the people here - not my trainer, vet, people at the show, or those that see her everyday. Enough. I'm still relatively new at dressage was asking for help on how to improve at Training Level. If I wanted opinions on my mare's soundness, I would have shared a video of her walking and trotting in-hand with no rider.

luvmydutch
Dec. 25, 2010, 02:38 PM
Paintedlady, you guy are so cute. I don't have much else to add in terms of riding advice, but I think you should be proud of yourself and your horse. There are enough knowledgeable people who can offer advice on this board that it's worth just posting and weeding through all the crazies and BS.

My advice to you is to send your video to Jane Savoie for a critique. She charges money to critique your video, but she will send you a response video where she gives you point by point critique and point by point exercises and advice on how to improve your riding. At this level, a tool like this is INVALUABLE! You will learn a TON. She is the ultimate dressage teacher. Very best of luck to you and your mare. :cool:

ToN Farm
Dec. 25, 2010, 02:55 PM
The Jane S. idea is good.

However, if this were my horse and multiple people were saying he was NQR, I would be concerned, even if my vet/farrier/trainer did not think so.

If this were my horse, I would put him on the lunge and video it. Then I would have the vet block the feet, put him on the lunge and video it. Then I would have the vet block from the fetlock down, put him on the lunge and video it. If he looks the same after the blocks, I'd breathe a sigh of relief. Sadly in this case I don't think that is going to happen.

Assuming he is sound and you are not going to do any further lameness investigating, then I would consider a different trainer. While I don't expect miracles in training in a short time, it is apparent to me that you are missing some very basic concepts in riding dressage. Specifically, riding from inside leg to outside rein.

IMO, in order to really improve in this sport, you need to have some idea of what you are trying to achieve. Ideally, you should be able to find the right feeling for a few moments, so that you know what you are looking to duplicate. For you, I think you need some rides on a trained horse. It doesn't have to be a high level horse; just a horse that knows how to go on the aids and bend.

Another alternative is to put your horse in training (trainer riding) for a few months until she/he gets some better basics. It would be money well spent.

EqTrainer
Dec. 25, 2010, 04:09 PM
Does everyone think the people who are saying this horse is lame, are just being **mean**? I haven't read a mean word on this thread. Telling someone their horse appears lame is not "mean".

I did not realize how many people apparently think it is reasonable to ride an unsound horse. How many people apparently think you can get correct work and learn something on an unsound horse. I didn't tell the OP that IME the horse is lame because I wanted to hurt her feelings, the context was that all the hard work and training in the world will not get you anywhere if the horse is not sound. It is clear from this thread that people don't "get" this so it apparently is worth my repeating in hopes it helps any horse and rider. I never said anything about the rider at all, not a peep.

Regarding apparent lameness at horse shows, it is very unusual for a judge to blow the whistle for suspected unsoundness in an intro level test. The horse usually needs to be dragging a limb for the whistle.

Lame, not lame, rein lame, just stiff, whatever.. But I dont see the "meanness". Stick around a bit as the day and the alcohol go down on COTH and something really mean is sure to show up!

paintlady
Dec. 25, 2010, 06:29 PM
What is mean is making assumptions about someone without knowing anything about them. I don't appreciate the implications that I'm "unkind" or don't care about the well being about my horse. Nothing could be further from the truth.

justdandy
Dec. 25, 2010, 08:07 PM
The video was taken at the VADA/NoVA championship show. The judge was an R level USDF judge. The only people who think my mare is "pretty lame" are the people here - not my trainer, vet, people at the show, or those that see her everyday. Enough. I'm still relatively new at dressage was asking for help on how to improve at Training Level. If I wanted opinions on my mare's soundness, I would have shared a video of her walking and trotting in-hand with no rider.


I've seen judges at "A" and "AA" shows still pin a horse that doesn't jog sound. And they're usually "R" judges. Just sayin'.

GreyStreet
Dec. 25, 2010, 10:37 PM
Paintlady - no comments about the training aspect, as I think other posters have provided more pointed advice than I could give, having just moved up to first level.

I just wanted to comment regarding the size ratio aspect that some people have been commenting on. My old gelding was 15.1 (barely!) and I'm almost 5'9" and really need a 35" inseam in order for jeans to not look like capris! But you know what, I LOVED that horse and he was perfect for me. Sure, I could have used a bigger horse, but when I purchased him, I was concerned with purchasing a sane, healthy horse to LEARN with - as long as my feet weren't dragging the ground, I didn't give a flip about the size aspect.

Now, it certainly made some aspects of riding more difficult. I also had trouble really getting my leg on at the barrel when we started to focus more on our dressage, and we did some eventing at the lower levels - jumping ahead was a huge issue for me because my upper body was so "top heavy" compared to his short neck and body! But you know, we went on to score very well together and once we developed our partnership, he was a jumping machine.

I credit him with really teaching me horsemanship and good basics. His smaller size was never a concern for me. I have a mare now who takes up my leg much better (the gelding is semi retired and fat and happy with his new owner), but she's also not huge. She's about 16 hands and although I admire a bigger horse from an aesthetic perspective, I really prefer to ride the "average" size guys. Makes dismounting much easier, that's for sure! :yes: And really, it's more pleasant to me to be around the average guys - there's a horse at our barn who borders on 18.1 and I can't imagine having to stand on a mounting block to tack my mare!

At any rate - you are brave to post your video and I think some posters have really given you good advice from the training perspective. Just remember that riding is far too expensive of a hobby to not have fun - so if you're having fun and doing all you can to make sure your mare is happy and healthy, that's all that matters!

Merry Christmas!

rugbygirl
Dec. 26, 2010, 03:14 AM
it is apparent to me that you are missing some very basic concepts in riding dressage. Specifically, riding from inside leg to outside rein.

You can tell what the rider is THINKING? From what the horse does? Holy moly.

I'm thinking more that the rider is a little tense and probably the timing of her aids is a little off, and her clever horse is taking slight advantage of pilot errors...you know, not being a finished, fully conditioned schoolmaster and all. So few of those available for Adult Owners who "just" want to improve their horsemanship and riding skills, actually, so we learn Dressage on the horses we own. Imperfections and all.

To extrapolate that a rider is missing "very basic concepts in riding dressage" from a Training Level test that was executed correctly with some well-scored elements is, ummm, quite a leap.

Good luck OP, it was a nice test and certainly better than my last Intro (on an inexperienced chestnut horse too...:lol: )

netg
Dec. 26, 2010, 12:52 PM
To extrapolate that a rider is missing "very basic concepts in riding dressage" from a Training Level test that was executed correctly with some well-scored elements is, ummm, quite a leap.

I would argue the test was not executed entirely correctly despite some well-scored elements.

Many of us are giving various methods of explaining using the inside leg, turning, and working on straightness. I believe the OP said she had been working dressage for over a year - in which case if she has good instruction one would expect she and the horse to show more proficiency at circles and corners. Now, it may very well be simply due to tension and show nerves - in which case more practice and getting out there is important. But it should also be second nature by the end of a year to where it can be done even if tense and nervous.

Were the horse unridden or the rider new to riding at the start of that time period, I think we would feel differently. I know when I gave suggestions it was in hope they would help the OP who I think has a nice partnership with her horse which needs some help to improve, but which I would think would have already gotten that help if a 2x/month instructor were truly skilled at helping this horse and rider at the point they are in their partnership. My mother had not ridden in 15 years and has never done dressage, and yet after a few months with her horse who was green and hadn't been ridden in a year they take corners nicely, with her inside leg instilling the proper bend. I do not blame the OP or her horse, and think they both have serious possibilities for improvement - however, I think their instruction is either not totally suited to them or simply not asking for enough yet. The OP may not have a desire to push or step out of comfort zones, but I doubt the post would have appeared here if that were the case, which is why I assume it's most likely the instruction at fault.

rabicon
Dec. 27, 2010, 11:01 AM
The video was taken at the VADA/NoVA championship show. The judge was an R level USDF judge. The only people who think my mare is "pretty lame" are the people here - not my trainer, vet, people at the show, or those that see her everyday. Enough. I'm still relatively new at dressage was asking for help on how to improve at Training Level. If I wanted opinions on my mare's soundness, I would have shared a video of her walking and trotting in-hand with no rider.

There is no reason to get snarky with me. The truth is with arthritis and being LAME she is not going to go very far in this sport!!! She has to be able to bend, supple, use her back, and reach all with even gaits. The gaits you are seeing on the video are not even! But I was being very nice and saying there is no reason not to ride her and just have FUN on her! I said its better to ride a horse even if its lame, but if you want a TRUE CRITIQUE you are going to have to realize your horse is lame and no matter how many things we tell you to do its still not going to fix the fact that she is lame and that she is not going to be able to do certain things that this sport calls for. Sorry about the h/j barn, I miss read somewhere about that. It also doesn't matter if its a R A B or C judge, who cares. Some judges will be kind. My daughter rode her pony at a schooling show in front of an R judge, she is 9 years old on a lame but comfortable pony, it was ok'ed with the show first because they know shes a beg. and she didn't get rang by the judge. I rode the pony FIRST in an Intro B class and I didn't get rung out by an R judge either. AT 2 shows, BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER because I KNOW THE PONY IS LAME. Let me tell you something else, your friends can be your worse enemies sometimes with that, THEY WILL LIE to spare your feelings. You see how upset your getting over strangers telling you this imagine how your friends don't want to upset you. I'm sure your friends or trainer has probably given you the line, oh maybe she's a little off but you can hardly tell. Now, I'm sure your going to really take offense to this post. The first post I was really trying to help and being nice. And you still didn't answer if you know how to properly do a half halt or not? This is a major foundation also as well as inside leg to outside rein you and your horse have to know the half halt and see sawing the reins is not it.

OH and ps. I NEVER once said you didn't care about your horse or were cruel to her or whatever! But your mares soundness is going to effect you wanting a solid training level test-like you posted earlier is all you want.

alibi_18
Dec. 27, 2010, 02:14 PM
@Rabicon: Take a deep breath...and calm down a notch...
This tread don't just revolve around you...PaintLady was in NO WAY offensive towards you and didn't deserve such harsh comments...

And on your side :
I would like to know what your trainer says about how to half halt her??? Can you explain how you half halt your horse? A proper half halt can help a lot once the horse learns. Seesawing is not a half halt and I want to make sure you understand how to use that

First, don't get insulted because she doesn't answer. You are NOT her teacher and she has NO obligation to answer back.
And the 'I want to make sure you understand how to use that' part is quite obnoxious...who are you again? What will happen if she doesn't understand?!?

Take it easy. It is a forum. PaintLady asked a question. Just answer it. Point simple. She doesn't like your answer? Too bad for her. You don't like her answer? Too bad for you. Get over it. No reason to be harsh.

JackSprats Mom
Dec. 27, 2010, 04:03 PM
WOW I'm amazed anyone has the balls to even ask a question on this forum any more....talk about some folks that can't apparently phrase things in a nice way or think they are the guru of the horse world!!

OP- of its any consulation Anky is ripped apart just as badly on this board and I *know* most the poeple doing the ripping are not up to that standard of riding, so take the good and ignore the bad!

Its a shame too as, if you can rummage though the $hit and the over rightousness of some folks, there are actually some great ideas out there.

paintlady
Dec. 27, 2010, 06:39 PM
Calm down rabicon. Yes, I do know how to half halt. I also know how to perform a correct leg yield. I guess none of you ever get nervous and blank on doing things you've learned and instead fall back on old habits.

My trainer has also done quite a lot for us. Despite what it may look like, my mare has come quite far. My mare used to be extremely heavy in her forehand. Her canter used to scare me - constantly dropping her inside shoulder and running off. She looked like she should be running barrels with her canter. We also struggled a lot with canter leads - couldn't get a right lead to save our lives. As fast as my mare's canter was, her trot was not much more than a shuffle. We used to get critiqued all the time last year for being "too slow".

My trainer has helped her to move forward at the trot while not galloping around the ring like a lunatic at the canter. Now that we've gotten her gaits better - now we're starting to focus more on bending and suppleness. So, just because we haven't gotten as far as some of you think we should be in a year doesn't mean my trainer is lacking in her abilities. Are we perfect? Of course not!!! I know we have a ton of work to do. Still, everyone that knows my mare believes that my trainer has done an amazing job with us in the past year. Unfortunately, I still do get nervous in the show ring which doesn't help.

I'm sorry that some of you are so offended that I disagree about my mare's soundness too. It's just that I'd rather look to my vet for advice on that instead of unknown people on an internet forum looking at a short riding video. What is wrong with that??? My vet is well-regarded in NoVA. He knows my horse well and sees her fairly often. He is the one that treated her past injuries, etc. I've even e-mailed him this video to see if he thinks he sees something different from when he saw her in late-September. I haven't gotten a reply yet - being Christmas and all - but I'm not likely to share it here because I'll probably get 1/2 the people telling me he's right with the other 1/2 telling me he's an idiot.

As for my friends, I'm lucky to know some really excellent horse people. Unfortunately, most all of them are H/J riders. I thought this would be a better place to go for dressage advice. My friends are often brutally honest. And yes, my feelings are hurt by what they have to say sometimes. However, at least they treat me with respect. Unfortunately, that is lacking with some of the people here. At least my friends know that I'm not a complete idiot that knows nothing about riding. Despite being a QH, my mare is one tough cookie that constantly tests people. She will never be a push-button horse that "anyone" can ride. You can tell her how to do the "right" thing, but that doesn't mean she'll listen. My friends also know how well I care for my horse. I even share the same vet with many of them.

I already took down my video and closed this thread. To anyone else who ever wants to come here showing a video of their riding - GOOD LUCK!!! It's certainly something I'll never do here again. Thank you to those of you that were able to provide good advice without the attitude. I really do appreciate it.

Happy riding everyone! Peace.

rabicon
Dec. 27, 2010, 09:48 PM
Painylady I will say I'm sorry, I've had a bad day and I thought you were getting snarky with me so I did back. I'm not trying to be God of dressage here I'm just trying to make sure because there are some out there that can fool the best of us. And I hate to see that happen to others. I started out with one and was with her a year and found out the hard way when I switched trainers and went from 54's to 65's in test in 2 months time, but I've had a lot of horses that are lame, I tend to get the help me cases :lol: And I never said not to ride your mare. I don't think there is anything wrong with riding her. I said that in my first post. She is not that lame, but she is off. I wish the nothing but the best for you to in the show ring and your training. I know how a horse that drops their shoulder and takes off can feel. My guy would do that. I also have no problem with a paint, I'm looking for a new dressage horse and I've been looking at them and qh's also as well as others. Nothing wrong with a good ole' qh or paint though. Good luck and sorry about the snarkiness I read yours that way and well there ya go. Best of luck

alibi18 I'd like to know how wanting to make sure someone knows a proper half halt is obnoxious? Thats a question that is legit. Many people think they do it correctly are not and have really never been taught, and what would I do if she wasn't doing it right?? I would try to explain to her how its done and refer her to some things to help her.