View Full Version : Where did *that* come from? More positives from everyone, please!

Jan. 12, 2011, 01:20 PM
I loved all the little accomplishments and milestones folks posted about reaching in the last little brag thread I started. I'm hoping for more here!

My recent big-deal-to-me-alone is in part thanks to folks on this board. All the talk of windshield wiper instead of squeeze for canter departs had me try the ww. Turns out, my guy likes that, and understands it much better. He used to be the hardest horse I had tried to do lateral work on, but I guess it's because he was confused! I've never had a horse get confused like he does about lateral cues, but now I have added more clarity to my repertoire.

And so last night I got on and had him at a very forward walk on the buckle to warm him up... when suddenly he was in a perfect leg yield. Oops, guess who wasn't sitting perfectly straight in the saddle? But he got a lot of "good boy!" responses from me! Haunches in has been his big bugaboo, but yesterday he just did it like "well, duh, this is easy!" Since the arena had just been done, I was able to check out our hoofprints and see that he was exactly where he should be, too; it didn't only feel right.

So hooray for me figuring out how not to confuse my very willing horse!

Who else has had recent good moments, and how many of them were your own fault they were a problem in the first place? ;)

Jan. 12, 2011, 03:11 PM
Well we went to a schooling show this past Sunday. I was hoping to see if my 4 year old stallion had matured (mentally) since our previous attempts. He was a perfect gentleman both inside and outside the arena. Up until now he had always been very good and obedient outside regardless of who or what was around. The challenge had been his lack of work ethics or display of antics once we went down the centerline and only at shows. I have been hauling him all over the place using others' arenas to practices tests, etc and never have had a problem when it's not a show. With each show I would see a small amount of improvement (less resistance, only one explosion, etc). Hopefully with his good behavior, I am seeing that that we've transitioned out of the teenager stage. He was definitely challenged and didn't react at all; so, I'm optimistic about our ongoing journey.

Jan. 12, 2011, 03:44 PM
Goodness, I'm always the problem in the first place ;). My mare is so much smarter than me! I just wanted to tell you I appreciated the whole ww concept mentioned in the canter depart thread, as it's new to me too and I can't wait to try it out. I hope I have the same response you did!

Jan. 12, 2011, 06:40 PM
I have lately been riding a Selle Francais gelding who has come from the world of showjumping. The owners have been trying to sell him for at least a year with no luck yet. We've found what he's perfect for - Dressage. He gets very excitable when jumps are put up and will charge them. But with Dressage he's a nice steady mount, very willing, responsive, and positive. He was sent to the barn because he tends to ride with his head up in the air, and is very difficult to round.
Surprisingly enough I've "clicked" with him in the short time I've ridden him (2 weeks = 2 rides :eek:) After following the training scale in my lessons on him, he now gets on the bit very nicely for me. After about 20 - 30mins of figurines, leg yields, and poles on the ground, he's supple, relaxed, and listening. My coach has been working on getting him more consistent with the idea of taking up a better headset. In my lessons, the goal is to keep his tempo steady and get his head down. Even my trainer is getting shocked at, of all horses, he's the only one I can round consistently! :lol:

Jan. 12, 2011, 07:03 PM
Moved 3 feet in off the rail today and suddenly we had left bend in the corners! We'd fallen into a pattern of popping the inside shoulder in every corner to the left, so I was trying to prevent it each time we neared the corner, but just twisting myself up, using too much hand and making it worse.

Just taking us off the rail seemed to keep us both straight coming into the turn, and the bend "just happened," no muss no fuss.

Jan. 12, 2011, 09:04 PM
On one of the recent canter threads, someone mentioned improving canter departs by teaching the horse to depart from a walk. Back when I was riding saddle seat and western, this was a standard thing - both on the lunge and under saddle. After reading that thread, I realized I had never trained my 4yo to canter from the walk. We are working hot and heavy to improve his canter - so I thought, what the heck, I'll have him take off from a walk. Started on the lunge, after he got the idea he really seemed to like it. Can now step right into the canter from a walk on the lunge. Then I tried it under saddle, using same voice cues and Yahoo! he's getting it about 3/4 of the time both from walk and trot.

So, to whoever mentioned that (I know you're a regular poster), thank you very much. You've helped us make a big leap forward - pun intended! :winkgrin:

I can't wait to show training level! Bye bye Intro A & B (might use Intro C for a warmup class, so I won't rule that out just yet!)

Jan. 12, 2011, 09:08 PM
My horse is starting to gain weight and some muscle! Yaay for gaining weight and getting some muscle in the process too! Double yay!(:

Jan. 12, 2011, 10:13 PM
Well my positives are a few weeks old as we have not been able to ride due to a boggy hock.

I do love that my 3.5 y/o had his 5th ride and 1st canter u/s off the farm at a young sporthorse clinic and he was perfect even though it was the first chilly day of the year. I also love that he did not get touched for 2 weeks and went off the farm again for another lesson, his 6th ride, and we were w/t/c with even a perfect flying change (total oops) and again he was perfect.

I did lunge him 2 weeks ago for a few mins to evaluate if he was lame or not. He wasnt so I got on (hasnt been ridden or worked in 3 weeks before that) and it was dusk and about 48 degrees and we cooled out at the walk u/s. Gotta love his old soul feel.

The latest positive is that the vet came, drained a lot of the boggy hock, injected it, xrays showed everything was perfect and clean and he flexed sound and he will likely only have a cosmetic blemish. Now its just a slow progression back into some work even though the hock is still huge.

Jan. 12, 2011, 10:51 PM
Jingles for all the positive reports...I am snowed under and a little sad, but it is heartwarming to hear the awesome progress of others! Congrats!

Pocket Pony
Jan. 12, 2011, 11:06 PM
I moved Mac, my mustang, to my trainer's for the remainder of the winter. Got there on Sunday and rode him for the first time today. Considering we hadn't had a lesson (or a ride!) since before Thanksgiving, I thought we'd be back to square one or worse. To my pleasant surprise, he was BETTER than last time! :D He remembered how to bend, he was nice and forward, and he even started to feel like he was carrying himself a little bit. I was very pleased and look forward to being able to ride him more since she has a covered arena! W00t!

Jan. 13, 2011, 12:56 AM
After working (very, very briefly) on the beginning idea of haunches-in at a walk in one of our lessons, I didn't play with it much at home over the last month because I wasn't riding much. McKinna was generally compliant in trying to do what I wanted, but she was kind of wondering what the heck I wanted her to do, and didn't 100% understand the inside-bend thing.

In my lesson last week we went to work on it some more, and BAM, it was there. My leg back sends the haunches politely in, and a soft squeeze on the inside keeps her soft and bent in the correct direction. Presto!

I love riding a mare who tries to figure out what I want and then does it. Best feeling in the world!

Jan. 13, 2011, 09:12 AM
Haven't been able to ride since the weekend after Thanksgiving, but I have free-schooled the horses in the snow a few times. On Tuesday, with the foot of snow, I didn't even try to ask my aged QH gelding to work, but I did take the semi-rescue horse out. Found out he *can* flex his hocks if he has to ;)! Was wondering what the after-effects would be. Meanwhile, the whole time since the last ride I've been doing just a few body moves on him while he eats breakfast each day. He's always had a rather stuck sacrum (long story on this guy). Well, this morning I took my two hoofpicks and did the little scratchy thing on the butt that makes them lift their lower back, and for the first time, he was able to get it *flat* with the muscles on either side of the spine fluffed up, and even some sitting on his hind legs. Progress!!

Jan. 13, 2011, 04:24 PM
Monstrpony, I think we live near one another! So, with this most recent snow, the maresy and I haven't been riding at all. If she's stuck inside, she loses her mind...completely. So, lots of handwalking and ground work. We've been having a blast in the snow...she was born and raised at the beach. Even though this is her second winter in the mountains, she still hasn't figured out snow. She'll plow her nose through it as she walks, like a hound dog, intermittently taking bites of it. It's great fun to watch!

In our groundwork, it's fun to trot with her over cavaletti...meaning I'm trotting by her side (like when you trot off in a vet exam). As long as she doesn't get TOO excited, we'll do them back and forth until I'm completely out of breath!

I'm taking this winter and its weather as a sign that I need to just chill and enjoy my horse...like I thought I would when I was ten and dreamed of having my own horse to brush and love on.

Jan. 14, 2011, 02:55 PM
I finally came to Jesus and fixed my leg position. For me, it's more comfortable to roll my legs outward - so essentially only my butt and heels are in contact with the horse. Obviously, that's not too effective. I worked hard on stretching my muscles and learning a more correct posture. It's finally getting there. And my aids are more effective (though I'm having to re-tune those, too.) Anyway, if you're interested in before (I'm wearing the grey top in that one) /after (red top) pix, here's a link (http://collectingtbs.com/2011/01/10/issue-du-jour-rein-imbalance/). It's not the coolest accomplishment, but I worked hard on this! :yes:

Jan. 14, 2011, 08:39 PM
I finally came to Jesus and fixed my leg position. For me, it's more comfortable to roll my legs outward - so essentially only my butt and heels are in contact with the horse. Obviously, that's not too effective. I worked hard on stretching my muscles and learning a more correct posture. It's finally getting there. And my aids are more effective (though I'm having to re-tune those, too.) Anyway, if you're interested in before (I'm wearing the grey top in that one) /after (red top) pix, here's a link (http://collectingtbs.com/2011/01/10/issue-du-jour-rein-imbalance/). It's not the coolest accomplishment, but I worked hard on this! :yes:

Wow! Great job! Im sure your back feels better after riding. You not only fixed your leg but your entire seat and body position. WTG! (cute pony btw)

Jan. 15, 2011, 08:44 AM
Thanks KTBM! The pony in question happens to be an occasionally crazy TB mare!

Jan. 16, 2011, 01:52 AM
I finally came to Jesus and fixed my leg position. For me, it's more comfortable to roll my legs outward - so essentially only my butt and heels are in contact with the horse. Obviously, that's not too effective. I worked hard on stretching my muscles and learning a more correct posture. It's finally getting there. And my aids are more effective (though I'm having to re-tune those, too.) Anyway, if you're interested in before (I'm wearing the grey top in that one) /after (red top) pix, here's a link (http://collectingtbs.com/2011/01/10/issue-du-jour-rein-imbalance/). It's not the coolest accomplishment, but I worked hard on this! :yes:


I've had a recent improvement in my leg position, too. I've been slowly improving, and constantly finding myself sore in new places as I stretch different areas, strengthen different areas, etc. I was schooling my horse at a horse show last weekend, and since he was preferring upward to forward, I warmed him up on a longe then got on and immediately cantered, before he had time to do anything wrong. The very forward canter for a long time loosened my psoas muscles (hip flexors) so all of a sudden I was moving with him in a way I couldn't before.

And DANG am I sore in my legs and abs now! However, this loosening and increased fitness also means my legs suddenly seem just stuck to my horse's side (draped around him) more than my having to actively hold them there, which resulted in far more movement than I felt was acceptable. They're more effective now, too, of course.

I'm loving all the little progress I make as I get more fit and improve my position, but the sore muscles sure are a bore!

Jan. 16, 2011, 02:00 AM
Was able to ride the baby horse for the first time truly in over 5 weeks. He was a super star of course. Pics and info here: http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=288694

<3 him!

Thanks KTBM! The pony in question happens to be an occasionally crazy TB mare!

Those are the best, arent they?

Jan. 16, 2011, 12:11 PM
I LOVE this thread :)

My horse had suspensory surgery on her LH in March 2010 and has had a long, slow, complicated rehab. I started riding her at the end of October, and when I started she could barely walk a straight line with a rider up. Since then, she's had pain issues, SI injections (which helped a lot), and has been easily distracted and spooky. I've cried buckets and questioned myself numerous times about just retiring her and starting over.

Well.... maresy and I trotted all the way around the arena yesterday, several times, with walk breaks in between. And until she got tired, she carried herself beautifully, with great push from behind and a very pleasant attitude. Some of it is me -- I've taken lessons on a schoolmaster while waiting for her to recover, and my own riding/confidence is much better.

This was in a short lesson with a great jumper trainer who has the best eyes on the ground, and "thinks like a horse." And he gets dressage. The icing on the cake for me was how impressed he was with my little Morgan, given that he's not a Morgan person at all.

Jan. 16, 2011, 02:36 PM
Congrats! Youve been waiting a long time for that.

Jan. 16, 2011, 02:53 PM
Oh I just had one of those moments today. My little 13 hand dynamo gave me some true powerful mediums today and was much, much improved on his shoulder in. The key was his rider actually getting enough sleep so that I could keep my torso lifted, my shoulders back and the headlights pointing/slightly up. It's amazing how much better engaged and true self carriage they develop if the rider only did the same :winkgrin: Lately I've been putting in so much time at work and riding the greenie meanies that I'm too exhausted to ride my more advanced ones effectively. I always seem to keep them for last in the line up when I do have time to ride. It's been causing me to go backwards instead of forwards; so, the last two rides I made an effort to not ride my devil in pony clothing last and to make sure I have had at least 6 hours of sleep and see if it helped. It did :D


Jan. 16, 2011, 06:34 PM
Good job everyone!

I know that I have a long way to go before I can even begin to think of being a horse trainer, but this past week I've had great success with collected movements, both on my trainer's Grand Prix (showing I1) stallion and on a mare I have been riding/training for the past 7 months. I had the best piaffe I've ever gotten with the both of them! The mare and I are just at the point where we are catching onto the importance of straightness and we are even getting into the passage. And this mare was barely Training Level in June!

It's so nice to have those few moments of greatness amidst all the hard work, fumbling, concentration, and mis-steps. No wonder I love riding.

Jan. 17, 2011, 11:13 AM
My three year old now picks up both leads. Since he was unbroke when I bought him, I really hoped I would like the feel of his gaits. I was particularly worried about liking his canter, simply because my old horse had THE most lovely canter in the world.

Well, new horse is no slouch in the canter department. The canter is big, rhythmic, unhurried and simply a joy to ride. He doesn't get on the forehand and just has a canter that feels "easy." If it feels this nice at 3, I can only imagine how lovely he'll be with age and training.

Beyond that, I am happy I got through my first few moments of baby horse drama in the saddle! Rode out some big bucks and got the pony to get back on his feet when he laid down to roll when I was riding him! Both times, I was able to recover quickly and get back to the workout pronto. So baby horse learned neither behavior was going to get him anywhere. I was proud of myself and glad to see I still "had it" (something I worried about, since I'd been riding a well trained horse for so long, and didn't have to deal with too many fireworks!)

Jan. 17, 2011, 11:24 AM
This is such a cool thread. Well done, everyone!

Jan. 18, 2011, 11:56 AM
I bought my buckskin morgan mare Reese in November, (after tragically losing my OTTB who I trained to 2nd)... she basically just backed with some serious briding issues, bi*^y alpha mare issues, and very nervous under saddle. She is my Grand-Prix prospect...she's gone from a HEATHEN to a GREAT partner who is smart, talented, and willing to work in only 2.5 months.

Don't tell her she's little and I'm too tall for her...that she's a "dirt kicker" who the "judges won't like and who won't get good scores" (We got that already!) Don't tell her she'll be working in a world of warmbloods. She doesn't care. I am LOVING my journey on this little alpha mare...she has forced me to find an inner confidence and determination I had FORGOTTEN I had. Currently working at Intro level, please come meet us at the shows! She'll be EASY to spot!

Here are some photos: http://theheartofahorseblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/reesemy-grand-prix-prospect.htmlhttp://theheartofahorseblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/reesemy-grand-prix-prospect.html

Jan. 18, 2011, 03:11 PM
I finally get to play!

Yesterday I "let" myself realize that while I trust my horse and can ride the majority of his [occasion] small spooks, I ride with ~5% fear. That being realized, I think the reason I've started to do a bit of "crank and spank" riding is because I want him to be forward but that 5% really doesn't want him to be forward for fear of excitement and what behaviors that could bring. How unfair to the horse!
So I gave myself a pep talk and got on with an attitude of "you're going forward today and if that means I initially have to use more "spank", so be it." The ride went really well, I think because of my mindset, not just the few spanks I had to instill.
Details: horse is a schoolmaster who has come to know me over the past ~9 months and has "set the bar a little low". I was concerned that me insisting the the bar be raised (in terms of forward gaits, listening to me and my leg, etc) would create a major arguement, but this wasn't as major as expected (at least for now). At least I have seen the results and know that I can communicate what changes I want -- if a bigger arguement comes up, I have had a glimpse of the goal result.

Stirrup leather bucking strap I made also helped!!

Tiger Horse
Jan. 19, 2011, 12:45 PM
I started my dressage journey a little over a year ago - new discipline, new horse. My new guy is not an easy ride and although he had some dressage work, we are basically learning together. Had regular lessons and even showed successfully over the summer.

Change in finances this past fall so, no more lessons. I've been frustrated for months but doing the best I can, with the tools I have. I've felt all along that something was just missing. Had the indoor to myself early Sunday morning and bingo - I FINALLY figured out how to effectively use my seat to push my guy into the bit. I FINALLY realized that I'd get much better results by "asking" instead of nagging and last but not least - deep breathing is my friend!

Jan. 19, 2011, 05:15 PM
Way to go everyone! Love these positive threads!