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horsewhisperer
Jan. 17, 2011, 09:14 PM
Blue Bell is my 10 year old, 15.2 hand quarter horse with a lot of attitude.

My trainer pretty much told me that she wont progress past training level... based on the videos, what do you think?

How is her movement?

What can we work on?

Note: Jumps and dressage at BN level.


Jump:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSX2a9rkGHc

Dressage:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM7FbfDar-8

red2004
Jan. 17, 2011, 09:39 PM
Your little horse is trying his heart out. You need to go back to basic flatwork and develop your seat, hands, lower leg and upper body control. Otherwise, your sweet horse is not going to get himself out of trouble and will catch a leg and flip over.

CiegoStar
Jan. 17, 2011, 09:44 PM
She's adorable. I wouldn't worry about how far she will progress. Just focus on having fun and solidifying your basics for now. I wouldn't jump any bigger until you can consistently stay with her big jump without hitting her in the back or mouth. You two have the makings of a great team, enjoy it!

horsewhisperer
Jan. 17, 2011, 09:47 PM
Thank you both! I do have issues with following her sometimes, so I either get left behind or jump ahead of her. Over the past few weeks I have gotten a lot better.

Thanks again!

lightlee
Jan. 17, 2011, 10:11 PM
I think you horse is nice mover but because she is tad heavy on the forehand makes her not the safest jumper. Can you post a picture of her conformation? She may be built so slightly downhill which would make it difficult have a nice arc over fences.

On the plus side, she is cute, looks likes she had a good work ethic, and looks fun to ride. I would just keep her and enjoy her! She looks like a very nice horse.:)

AliCat518
Jan. 17, 2011, 10:39 PM
She's super cute! Definitely heavy on the forehand. You need to release more and dont get left behind! She's getting popped in the mouth a lot, and you can tell she started to get irritated with it over a lot of the fences.

mortebella
Jan. 17, 2011, 11:04 PM
I liked your dressage work quite a bit. She fussed once or twice, but overall she looked very relaxed and obedient - how often do you see a tail that quiet in a test? Anyone? A flick on the canter depart, but seriously! And a lovely free walk. I don't see bad lower leg or seat in your flat work. I saw the hands and the upper body with your jumping; of course it's reasonable this is related to your base of support. I saw a very honest horse over those fences too! Just my very humble opinion, but I think the crest release should be your new best friend. And I would get very comfortable - and rock solid- with those heights in a stadium round before essaying them xc. There is always time to work up. If a horse's trust is lost o/f, it can't always be repaired. When I was a kid, people used to ask me if jumping wasn't dangerous. This was the way I was taught to answer: as long as I kept my horse safe, I'd be just fine. :)

GreyStreet
Jan. 17, 2011, 11:06 PM
Very cute horse! You guys look like you're learning a lot together.
For the dressage video, the first thing I noticed is that your reins are too loose. It's going to be difficult for your horse to be steady and work into the contact if the contact goes in and out. I know it can be difficult to find a balance between a contact that feels too loose and one that is too restrictive, but I would recommend practicing this at home. Try to establish a rein length that allows you to keep a consistent feel of your horse's mouth, then focus on keeping soft elbows and using your legs and seat to get more impulsion. If you can activate your horse impulsion wise and keep a steady, following contact, I think you will find the consistency pretty much immediately.

eponacowgirl
Jan. 17, 2011, 11:29 PM
She is a doll baby! I would put one of my students on her in a heart beat if you want to send her my way!

I agree with the posters who have said work on your base of support- grab mane, please!! Work with your trainer on developing her balance and using her back end. A downhill horse can do just fine jumping, you just have to work a little harder to make life easier for them. Good luck!

lstevenson
Jan. 18, 2011, 01:14 AM
I agree with the others. She is adorable! And you are doing a very good job.

Lovely, loose, supple, rhythmical mover in dressage for a horse of her breeding. To get better scores, she will need a bit more engagement into a more consistent connection.

In the jumping, she shows a great attitude and lots of power. I think she could suprise you with how far she can go.

Sometimes she jumped hard and you caught her in the mouth. Make sure you grab some mane on takeoff.

And sometimes she jumped out of balance. To improve her balance, work on the adjustability of the canter. Try the exercise of placing two poles on the ground 5 canter strides apart. And then practice doing the line in 5, 6, and even 7 strides. Don't just think "slow down" to add strides, think engage the canter by using half halts correctly from your leg and seat into your hand. If she gets strong, you can add a halt - reinback in the middle of the line a few times.

When you have the ability to adjust the strides in this exercise with a good quality canter (which is hard and may take a while!), your jumping will improve immensely!




http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com (http://MyVirtualEventingCoach.com)

Auburn
Jan. 18, 2011, 10:58 AM
You and your mare make a wonderful pair. She is very forgiving when you make an error, which is priceless to have in a horse.

Even if your mare is built downhill, there are exercises that can improve her.

As another poster said, using trotting pole and cantering pole exercises will help to improve her balance.

Doing Scales (walk, halt, trot, halt, trot, canter, trot, halt, canter, etc.) will help to get her weight shifted more onto her hind end. Do a max of four stides between the transitions. If the exercise makes her excited, then try more strides between the transitions. She should listen to your aides to improve her upward and downward transitions.

Use decreasing and increasing circles to encourage her inside hind to come up more underneath her body. You can leg yield from a small circle to a larger one, too.

Shorten and lengthen your stride, within the gait ie: working canter to canter lengthening to working canter, using your legs, seat and half halt to rebalance.

For her dressage test, she needs to have more engine. Think medium trot and medium canter to develop forward. Remember that forward is not faster, but longer strides with more energy. I really liked her free walk.

My mare is built downhill, too. These are the exercises that have helped her. She scores in the mid to low 30's (penalty points) for her dressage, now. BTW, there is nothing wrong with grabbing mane. I do it all of the time. :winkgrin:

Good luck with her. Would you keep us informed with your progress?

amastrike
Jan. 18, 2011, 12:20 PM
What a good girl! No input other than that :).

ohrebecca
Jan. 18, 2011, 12:40 PM
What a cute horse! I think you make a great pair, and all the suggestions here have been great. Please keep us updated on your progress with her!

LPiper
Jan. 18, 2011, 12:49 PM
Agree with the crest release too.

If you watch your mare closely, she always has her ears forward on the next obstacle. She is hunting her fences. Currently she takes very good care of you. (which is also a credit to you, she wouldn't take care of you if it wasn't recipricated). She is confident, bold, cute, appears to carry a nice rhythm and she's tight below her knees. I do not believe she is working overly hard at the height you have shown in your videos. (all the signs of straining at that level are not there) I agree with all the comments that suggest you worry less about what level she can take you to. You have a ways to go (though you can tell you're doing really well) before you catch up to her. You haven't maxed out your ability to learn on this mare and her ability to be honest and take care of you is worth far more than "can she go training or not". Lovely horse. Have fun! Work on protecting her mouth over the fence and on the landing side.

I liked your dressage work quite a bit. She fussed once or twice, but overall she looked very relaxed and obedient - how often do you see a tail that quiet in a test? Anyone? A flick on the canter depart, but seriously! And a lovely free walk. I don't see bad lower leg or seat in your flat work. I saw the hands and the upper body with your jumping; of course it's reasonable this is related to your base of support. I saw a very honest horse over those fences too! Just my very humble opinion, but I think the crest release should be your new best friend. And I would get very comfortable - and rock solid- with those heights in a stadium round before essaying them xc. There is always time to work up. If a horse's trust is lost o/f, it can't always be repaired. When I was a kid, people used to ask me if jumping wasn't dangerous. This was the way I was taught to answer: as long as I kept my horse safe, I'd be just fine. :)

Flying Ponies
Jan. 18, 2011, 01:31 PM
Your mare is seriously adorable. I agree with most of the posters above- keep on going with her. Do you know what her breeding is? She is eerily similar to a qh mare I know. Good Luck!

Mtn trails
Jan. 18, 2011, 03:36 PM
Very cute mare and the only thing I see that is glaring (in my opinion) is that she is jumping at the fence rather than across the fence. There is that slight hesitation then jumps pretty much straight up and over which is causing you to get left behind. My mare has a tendancy to do the same thing unless I have her really in front of my leg and lengthening her stride. Once you get her to open her stride you will notice a huge difference in her jumping. I know I do! Otherwise, very nice overall. Where is that x-c course? Looks like a fun place.

HappyHorselover
Jan. 18, 2011, 05:04 PM
Very cute mare and the only thing I see that is glaring (in my opinion) is that she is jumping at the fence rather than across the fence. There is that slight hesitation then jumps pretty much straight up and over which is causing you to get left behind. My mare has a tendancy to do the same thing unless I have her really in front of my leg and lengthening her stride. Once you get her to open her stride you will notice a huge difference in her jumping. I know I do! Otherwise, very nice overall. Where is that x-c course? Looks like a fun place.

I saw the same thing - she needs to be more in front of your leg so she can jump better and it will be MUCH more comfy for you. I bet you'll find you're staying with her much easier! She looks like a sweetheart!

horsewhisperer
Jan. 18, 2011, 05:23 PM
A year ago I couldn't even canter her because she was completely out of control. We have come a longggg way.

I will definitely utilize the tips I've been given!

For dressage, she tends to lean A LOT to where my arms hurt so I slowly let out the reins over the period that I ride. Since it is so hard for her to hold a frame I feel bad to make her be scrunched up the whole time...

For jumping, I've had a hard time nailing my distances with her. She used to leap at the jump, but now she's gotten into the habit of hesitating and "bunny hopping" the jumps. My trainer says I am trying to micromanage her and I just need to let her go (that has been hard because she can rush jumps).

She is out of Skys Blue Boy.

I will try to find a confo pic of her.

ETA: There were various cross country courses shown in the video: Texas Rose HT, Quail Run Farms, and Willow Draw.

JB
Jan. 18, 2011, 05:32 PM
I agree she is seriously cute!!

I think everything will improve if you work more, with a GOOD trainer, on your Dressage work. She needs to learn to get that nice booty engaged and in gear, which will solve a great many issues, including being on her forehand and hardly going anywhere in her dressage test ;) LOL

I would not concern yourself AT ALL with what your trainer said about Training level. Find a good Dressage instructor (or a good Event trainer who has a strong background in Dressage) and work work work on that.

Bobthehorse
Jan. 18, 2011, 06:57 PM
It looks like you have contact issues in dressage. A soft hand is good, but you shouldnt have flopping reins, especially the outside one. She also isnt using herself very well. It seems like you are letting her plod along on a loose contact rather than pushing her up into the bridle and asking her to use her back end. This will only help her jumping.

The jumping is hit and miss. There were a lot of instances where she got too deep and lurched over the fences. I think this is mostly because you dont ride her forward enough on the flat (not faster, but with impulsion) and she is behind your leg almost all the time, which makes it much harder for her to jump out of her stride. You need to sit up way more in general, your core looks weak and you tip forward on approach to the fence which then makes it harder for her to find a good spot and jump well. If you sat up and rode her more forward I bet thing would go better.

I also wouldnt worry about how far she will go. You will cross that bridge when you come to it because its probably awhile off. Just be careful you pay attention to when she does tell you, I see a lot of very kind willing horses pushed just a little past their capability levels, but they try so hard...and that can get dangerous.

Stellar_moves
Jan. 18, 2011, 07:03 PM
This horse looks, moves, and jumps almost EXACTLY like my old mare, Misty's Fistful. I only watched the jumping one, because I don't know anything about dressage. You look like you snatch her mouth then you jump, try holding your 2-point out a little longer to allow your horse to stretch her neck out over the fence, and not pop it up. She has a cute movement, work on counting all the way to your fence, quiet your body, and look for a better spot. She looks inconsistent with her spots, rhythm, and lead changes, so try working on counting outloud, looking for your spots, and practice practice practice your leads! She looks like she REALLY wants to jump, and really tries. She would be a really nice novice horse in AQHA! Goodluck(:

HealingHeart
Jan. 18, 2011, 07:45 PM
WOW, very brave and steady horse. Very Honest and willing. I like her, she doesn't beat an eye. You and her look well together, she is forgiving and takes great care of you. You guys look like you are having so much fun and no worries.

"Point and Jump" type of attidude. You guys make this look simple, when I know its not..... She has a good jump and is bold. When you are short, she makes up for it, when you are long, she adjust., can't bet that and keeps her rhythm well.

She has alot of power, your dressage looks good too., a little more movement tho, drive forward a bit more at the trot and she will soften into your hands. Nice movement too


Blue Bell is my 10 year old, 15.2 hand quarter horse with a lot of attitude.

My trainer pretty much told me that she wont progress past training level... based on the videos, what do you think?

How is her movement?

What can we work on?

Note: Jumps and dressage at BN level.


Jump:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSX2a9rkGHc

Dressage:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM7FbfDar-8

PortPonies
Jan. 18, 2011, 09:59 PM
Such a sweet pair! I second all the comments about what a willing and kind mount your mare is...and you seem to have the same attitude as a rider, caring and trying hard to be your best.

In the jumping video, it seems like you're sitting quite upright and/or in-the-saddle, especially for cross country. One thing that has helped me with similar issues was when my trainer told me to stay UP out of the saddle upon landing -- I had been so afraid of jumping ahead (my former cardinal sin as a young rider) that I now found myself landing hard and sometimes catching my horse in the mouth, as others have noted with your videos. The reminder to stay in half-seat helped me stay with my horse.

In the dressage video, you also seem a little stiff and cautious. Your mare is sweet and relaxed, but neither of you have much oomph and you look a bit more ho-hum hunterly than tall and engaged in dressage style. That's just my impression -- but overall, SOOO nice to see a quiet, gentle pair making their way around BN! I do some jump judging as a volunteer at our local events, and my two cents in comparison to the average round I see is that you two seem to be having a lot of fun together in a safe and successful way.

amastrike
Jan. 18, 2011, 10:16 PM
One suggestion for the OP--since she tends to get funky distances and bunny hop, I'd try free jumping her. Her hesitation throws you off and causes you to interfere, reinforcing the hesitation and bunny hopping. Free jumping will allow you to get her going forward over the jump and smooth things out without worrying about rider error. You can also work on gymnastics that don't allow her to get a bad spot, even something as simple as a few trot poles to a crossrail. Not that you want her to become dependent on the "perfect spot" (ha!), but it'll help both of you if you have a reasonable expectation of where she's going to take off.

goodmorning
Jan. 19, 2011, 08:39 AM
She looks like she wants to work for you, and is quite happy to do whatever you ask, I wouldn't be too concerned about what level she can go to yet, you are still working on the basics with her & a lot of people would like a nice solid citizen, like her, at any level ;)

I do think you need to work on jumping & your position. There are only so many times a horse will take getting hit in the mouth or back before they start to loose their positive attitude & willingness to work. Your stirrups are too long, as are your reins. Getting some lessons with a qualified event or h/j trainer, so that they can work on your position, will really help. When your position becomes solid, a 'bad' distance becomes easier to ride for you & its easier for the horse to jump, reducing the risk of potential injury. Your dressage work will also become easier when you fix your position & solidify the contact.

Really like you two as a pair. If anyone is nay-saying her then they are silly! Worry about when you two top-out, when you get there :yes:

VicariousRider
Jan. 19, 2011, 09:57 AM
You guys are a great pair! Congratulations on all of the improvement that you have made in the last year!

I agree with a bunch of things that have already been mentioned so I'll just add my vote for the following:
Crest release and grabbing mane:
Core strength will help you stay with her in the air and sit the trot (added bonus!)
Flat work: she is very behind the leg IMO. Need more impulsion.BUT: you need better contact on the flat to give her something to push into (but not hang on) so she doesn't just run away from your leg. If she is hanging, maybe get a loose ring bit and do lots of downward transitions to get her to sit back on her haunches.

Thanks for sharing!!

JFCeventer
Jan. 19, 2011, 10:40 AM
I agree with a lot of the posters here. First off, she is adorable, quiet, very sweet, and looks incredibly willing to please!

In the jumping, as others have said, you are catching her in the mouth a bit because of the way she hesitates and jumps up instead of out/over ("Bunny hopping") To help with not catching her in the mouth, I would start by getting really good at the crest release, as others have said, and then maybe practice exaggerating the release for a little while until it seems ridiculous to be releasing that much. It will help you get a better idea of what you should be doing. As far as helping to solve the bunny hopping issue, gymnastics will help with both your release, position, and her jumping. Get on a line, take your 2-point, and let her do the rest. Also, as your trainer was saying to you in the jumping videos, adding leg a few strides before the fence seemed to help her a bit. I also think you just need to ride her more forward in general.

As for the dressage, as others have said, the first thing I noticed was that your reins were too long and instead of being in a frame, she was leaning on your hand. So the first thing I would do is sit up (you seemed to be slightly pitched forward. I have been doing the exact same thing with my upper body and it's a pain to try to stop doing it...), get your shoulders up and back, lift your hands a bit, open your chest, and shorten your reins. Then try to ride her back end up into your hand. Roundness comes from the back end forward, not the front end back.

I really recommend taking a few lessons with a good dressage trainer. My horse had a similar issue of being on his forehand, except, instead of plodding along and hanging on me, as your horse does, he would rush along. Regardless of the issues that come with it, the main problem for both circumstances is getting the horse off the forehand and engaging their hind end. Lateral work helps a ton with this, as does lunging with side reins, and in-hand work. My dressage instructor taught me all these things, and ever since I began lessoning with her, my horse has improved so much.

Good luck with her and keep us updated! She's a cutie, enjoy her!

paintmare
Jan. 19, 2011, 11:00 AM
Not here to critique, but like others said you guys look like a great team. I enjoyed watching your videos. Best of luck to you guys!

Joannie Jumper
Jan. 19, 2011, 09:38 PM
I agree with what everyone said. I think your level is obvious and you are not competing over your level - you are what you are and you look great. However, I would maybe spend some time getting her to sit back on her haunches more - so she lightens in front. Sometimes she looked like a QH and a little huntery and then at other times BAM she brought those knees up fast and exploded like an eventer - like the coffin as an example and I love how brave and 'WHATEVER' she was at the water....

The two things I saw really with the jumping was that you need to follow her with your hands but dont push into her neck as some do when they do a crest release - I would do some gymnastics work to bring her front up. Maybe lift your hands about 1-2 inches up and see if she lifts her chest some. A few times you lowered your hands below the withers.

The other thing was that I think she needed to be more forward - she did jump at the fence instead of over and I think if you just got her more forward - that would solve some of that.

In dressage - the biggest issue was connection. She needs to stretch to the end of the rein more happily and you need to ride with a slight shorter rein and ask her to work through her back - get her to use her hind a little more.

Such a sweet mare and you and she seem very consistent and happy together - you look so SAFE in general. I did not think she looked unsafe - her jumping style is safe - she is a little heavy on the front but I know this type of horse and if she will sit back on her haunches and use her hind more - that heaviness should go away.