View Full Version : Another Amazing Lesson w/Dean Graham - with PICS

Feb. 22, 2011, 11:22 PM
So after dealing with the boggy hock and getting the all clear from the vet and surgeon, I started riding Rex at the beginning of Jan. That lasted all of 2 rides (once a week) b/c then we got rain. And a LOT of it. And my place will stay wet for a while due to the clay content and it is just too slippery and soft to ride on. So we went ike 2.5 weeks without being able to ride (could do some lunge work here and there).

So I was able to get in with Dean Graham again as he came over extra early for me to get in a lesson at 8am before work today. (after the lesson I had today, it was worth waking up early at 6am before having to go to work until 6pm). I did ride Rex last Saturday and he was great as usual.

Today, trailered back over to the farm like 15-20 mins from my house where we did our 2nd lesson with Dean. It was cool this AM, just enough to wear a light jacket or long sleeve shirt, with a crisp breeze. Rex was alert but listening. I told Dean I hadnt cantered him since the last time I had a lesson (right after Tday) as I really want that ground support of him there. So he went ahead and got on first. No lungeing, nothing. Normally I will "lunge" to get him focused mentally on me and to evaluate his mood. Sometimes hes a little snotty about paying attention and will "bolt" and buck on the lunge at first. Actually he hasnt done it in a while but I still like to make sure.

Anyways, Dean gets on and starts working on having him accepting of the rein contact and to not brace and pull when he feels it. I havent really started addressing that as I didnt have someone really coaching me and I didnt want to push the issue too much. To the left it was much easier to get him to soften, but to the right is his harder way and it took a little while for him to figure out to soften and if he did, he got an immediate reward of the release. After about 5 mins of doing this at the walk, they moved on to the trot. It did not take long for Rex to figure out that running through his shoulder, trying to lean on the rein, brace his neck, etc etc etc wasnt going to get Dean to stop asking him to soften to the rein. It was like he just said "oh all right" and tada, there it was.

Of course, forward is the name of the game esp with Rex, so getting him forward honestly was another big part he was working on. He was saying that he was having to "give up" some of the forward when asking him to bend and soften but it is a give and take at this point. Very quickly, within 10 mins, he was steering properly to the left and right, not bracing, moving very nicely forward, and starting to reach for the contact and seek the bit.

He also worked on that at the canter after getting it at the trot and Rex def had it figured out. And gosh, his canter transitions are so smooth! Twice he picked up the wrong lead but Dean said at this point he wants him to canter when asked and we can worry about the leads later. Both times, they went around doing a LOVELY counter canter and then around the corner to the short side, give a little tap with the whip, and boom - perfect, clean flying changes. (everyone keeps saying he wants to be a hunter lol)

Once Rex was soft and accepting of the hand and truly moving forward over his back, he naturally started offering "being on the bit" and moving oh so nicely. I got kind of caught up in watching him, thinking "oh my God, I have a super nice horse!" which I knew but seeing him go like that, esp so easily, I was just caught off guard I guess. Dean kept saying that he loves his canter and it is so smooth and comfortable. After he did all that, he said "you seriously have a really nice horse". YAY.

Let him rest and then I got on. I was pleasantly surprised when all of a sudden we could STEER. It made the whole riding experience that much better. Then I was really able to focus on getting him forward and also checking my position to stay as even and correct as possible. We w/t/c and it was just so much fun! At one point we are cantering and Dean says "More more! - hand gallop!" lol Im cracking up b/c Im not sure the horse CAN gallop - even playing in the field he just gets into this huge, rolling canter. But man it was comfortable.

Hubby was there to video everything. Unfortunately I dont have video editing software on this computer and the videos are like 15 mins each AND shot in HD so I dont even have a server that will support uploading them. Ive got to get onto the other computer down stairs later this week and edit them into smaller clips in a lesser quality to get them uploaded. But for now, STILLS from the videos will work. Right?

WARNING - theres a LOT - Ill post my favorites, but you are all more than welcome to check out my FB album (its public) to see all 50+! :lol:

Waiting before our lesson and being SO good about being tacked up at the trailer and walked around while the other horses were galloping around b/c it was feeding time
http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/183410_1796713124804_1449009522_31956530_1791792_n .jpg

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/185817_1795587736670_1449009522_31954334_7095387_n .jpg

http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184976_1795588176681_1449009522_31954336_1955822_n .jpg

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/182942_1795588936700_1449009522_31954341_1145058_n .jpg

http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180503_1795589576716_1449009522_31954343_5328625_n .jpg

After he finally figured out how to carry himself and not lean in at the canter to the right, he seemed to really enjoy himself
http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/182076_1795590096729_1449009522_31954345_8152638_n .jpg

Weeeee - flying
http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/183194_1795590816747_1449009522_31954347_7646201_n .jpg

http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184819_1795591976776_1449009522_31954351_8090196_n .jpg

http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180639_1795593536815_1449009522_31954358_3635545_n .jpg

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/183935_1795593696819_1449009522_31954359_4372803_n .jpg

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180128_1795594296834_1449009522_31954362_986737_n. jpg

My legs were jello after the ride! Dean is much stronger in his legs and obviously more effective with the GO aspect lol
http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/181948_1795595256858_1449009522_31954367_2911750_n .jpg

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/183414_1795595416862_1449009522_31954368_2970350_n .jpg

He has a little bit of a long stride
http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184809_1795595736870_1449009522_31954370_4440148_n .jpg

Sooooooooooo comfy!
http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/185782_1795595936875_1449009522_31954372_7897976_n .jpg

I will say, riding a greenie and also having Dean on the ground, my eq will get better! He wants you to be as correct as you can and not to concern yourself with what the horse does if that makes sense. I do tend to get lazy with my hands and get some puppy paws so this was good for me
http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184780_1795596696894_1449009522_31954376_4281151_n .jpg

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/184206_1795597056903_1449009522_31954378_124604_n. jpg

I always love how happy he looks being ridden
http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182859_1795597536915_1449009522_31954380_926156_n. jpg

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/183853_1795598136930_1449009522_31954383_15164_n.j pg

Not sure if you can tell, but I was just smiling ear to ear
http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182409_1795598936950_1449009522_31954389_1715049_n .jpg

"More more more!"
http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182470_1795599256958_1449009522_31954391_8208382_n .jpg

"galloping" haha
http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180602_1795599376961_1449009522_31954392_7715419_n .jpg

Tired baby horse and tired me!
http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180711_1795599896974_1449009522_31954394_7279848_n .jpg

Geez... thats still a lot of pics! Let me know if it is too many.

FB page: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2101840&id=1449009522&l=8acb5a44f1

BTW, no critiqing Dean unless its about what a great job hes doing and how I am so lucky to have found him. He was actively teaching Rex AND ME at the same time and he did an outstanding job! :D

Feb. 22, 2011, 11:46 PM
Great job! He does look very happy and relaxed.

Edited to add: How is Layla?

Feb. 23, 2011, 12:16 AM
Wow nice boy!

Feb. 23, 2011, 08:44 AM
The only picture that really showed your horse to advantage was the one near the end titled "more, more, more." The rest of the canter shots were not good...horse way too strung out, with the rider leaning forward and to the right. Trot near the beginning was the same way. Now I do understand just how green the horse is, but if you want to help improve him, you need to sit up better such as you are doing in the photo that I like. You also need many, many more transitions and changes of direction coming much closer toegether than you are presently riding.

Feb. 23, 2011, 09:34 AM
Your baby horse is growing up! He is absolutely lovely. I enjoyed all the pics and love the way your trainer seemed to ride your boy. And you do an equally nice job! You guys look great!

Congrats on the good lesson and thanks for sharing.

Feb. 23, 2011, 09:46 AM
He is looking SOOO good! Can't wait to see him in person.

"Chestnut is the new Black"...hehehe.

Gorgeous reach from underneath:) So glad you had a lovely lesson! Isn't the weather just glorious around here now??!!

Feb. 23, 2011, 02:57 PM
Angel is right, but considering the fact at HOW green this guy truly is, and he's only had a handful of rides, I think he's doing GREAT! He really hasn't had a lot of hours under the saddle.

My horse likes to go in the same type of frame as Rex, long & low, with his nose poked out. You can try bringing him "up" and "in" all you want, but you can feel that they just CAN'T do it yet. And if you try to do that before they are ready, you get other problems like rushing, twisting the head, pulling, and putting them off-balance. I try to bring my guy a little more "up" from time to time as he can tolerate it, but it's a fine line until he has the strength to do it.

I think you and Dean are doing GREAT with him, and Dean is right, you have a "really nice horse"! I was told the same thing by my new trainer, it's really nice to hear, isn't it?? :)

Feb. 23, 2011, 04:51 PM
I'd say every picture with Dean riding him "showed him to advantage." If that's not a pretty nearly perfect green horse posture, I'm hanging up the dressage saddle. Strung out in the trot? No, he's carrying himself nicely, pushing well from behind. To get that many photos that look that good suggest those aren't just lucky shots either.

There are also several nice ones with the OP. Good luck with him!

Feb. 23, 2011, 05:39 PM
angel, this is the horses 11th ride - 8th ride doing more than walking. He was started lightly in mid November and has been ridden once maybe every 2-4 weeks. He had the entire month of Dec off. Not to mention, this is his 11th ride. He has no muscle. He cant carry himself any different.

We are not worried about showing him off or having him "look the part". If you cant establish forward, you have nothing. We arent going to push him and bring him up when he hasnt even learned truly what forward is. This is the first time the horse had ever been ridden like that - hes been going around however he pleases, learning how to balance a riders weight, what stopping is, somewhat turning, and to move forward with new cues that arent from the ground. The way a young horse should. Hes 3.5, 16.2+ and growing and filling out - I am not going to push him and ask him for any more than this for a while and not all of the rides WILL ask for this much. He has a lot more growing and developing to do.

I think for having less than 6hrs of TOTAL riding experience (all but 2 rides have been around 20 mins or so), he looks pretty damn good and has no problem showing himself off. I dont know many "ammy" horses that have that little experience and training that go off to a lesson, off property, and look like that. :confused: Regardless, I cannot put into words how proud I am of him and grateful to my trainer. If its not your cup of tea, oh well, but nothing is going to change in how this horse is being trained.

Thank you everyone else. As I said, I am beyond thrilled with him. And Layla is doing well. I injected her hocks back in the beginning of Feb as shes been semi retired since Sept as I didnt have the funds to inject her then. So shes had about 3 rides starting to leg her back up. She was hacked a little like once or twice a month since Sept but shes enjoyed her "retirement" and has gained a few pounds which honestly, looks great on her.

The other day
http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182838_1789646668147_1449009522_31942690_5989730_n .jpg

Shes been on SmartOmega 3 for a few months now and she is shedding out with these amazing dapples
http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180990_1789654468342_1449009522_31942714_7677520_n .jpg

Feb. 23, 2011, 06:22 PM
I think the horse looks great - I loved reading about your lesson. It's a good idea to stay off the back a bit at this stage Angel and right light to assist this unbalanced horse that is simply learning the concept of forward (as has been explained). It looks like he's coming along really well KrazyTBMare. Nice job :)

Feb. 23, 2011, 06:36 PM
Personally, I love seeing how you're doing! I hope you continue to post photos and updates because so far what I see in your photos is a model of how I hope things can go with me when I have a greenbean starting from scratch!

Really, the comment you made about loving how happy he looks in photos is the biggest deal to me. I've owned horses who were sour, but went along with what they were asked anyway. I don't want that ever again. I'm loving my horse who takes joy in his work, and hope to keep that attitude in whatever future young horse I have, too!

Feb. 23, 2011, 06:51 PM
I really like your horse a lot!Looks like he's coming along in just the right way!!Keep up the good work!:)

Feb. 23, 2011, 08:56 PM
Your horses look great. Keep doing what you are doing!

Feb. 24, 2011, 12:21 AM

Feb. 24, 2011, 12:42 AM
Darn, you've ruined him already! All crooked and strung out -- you should be ashamed. I'll send you my address and you can ship him up to me and I will give the poor guy a nice retirement.;)

Feb. 25, 2011, 09:45 PM
Haha - I know - he is falling apart! ;)

Thanks for the compliments. Hoping to ride him this weekend to continue on with what we did on Monday. Was going to ride today until I woke up "paralyzed" with my 1st or 2nd rib out and had to get a massage and adjusted to be able to move without being in terrible pain. It is finally starting to feel much better.. so hopefully tomorrow?

florida foxhunter
Feb. 25, 2011, 09:51 PM
I love seeing people have success with their youngsters.........so glad it's going well.
I have had Dean help me handle some of my youngsters in sporthorse breeding classes....he's a great horseman!
Although I'm more of a hunter rider than dressage, I truly appreciate the benefits of dressage in ANY disipline. Glad to know he's such a good instructor/trainer too!

Feb. 26, 2011, 01:23 AM
Thats great to hear. He has a wonderful way with words and its like he will be explaining something and you will think of a question and before you can even finish the thought, he is already answering the question you thought of. He is an event rider so he can def help with jumping too! :)

Mar. 1, 2011, 08:15 AM
Totally a thumbs up and a ditto to what Mel and WBlover said. Glad to see he's accepting the one rein he was leaning on and twisting his head. That means he's gaining more balance, traveling straighter, and getting a better understanding how to steer off the seat and legs. I hadn't really decided either way about Dean until I saw these new pics. Very, very good! I especially like the loose rein canter picture. He's just going to have to learn how to canter without the assistance of a rider. There are a LOT of horses out there who don't know how to canter properly. Asking momentarily for balance and then letting them struggle to keep it without "helping" and then asking again just before they totally lose it is how they learn to canter well.

Mar. 1, 2011, 10:11 PM
Thanks! And I totally agree. Whats so cool about Rex is that he is surprising balanced, considering the amount of riding he has actually had. And I was SO impressed at how quickly he was able to convey to Rex what he wanted in regards to the rein acceptance, etc. And it was never a fight. I actually went over to my girlfriends place on Sunday for the first time and walked and trotted in the hunter ring with a bunch of jumps and had steering! Hadnt really had true steering until that lesson with Dean and the switch clicked.

Im glad you can see how great Dean is. I have like 4 friends now who want to start taking lessons with him.

I am also hoping to be able to use hubbys computer now that he is home to edit the video clips so I can upload some of them so you can see him in action. :)

Mar. 2, 2011, 06:03 PM
That's great Krazy, and jumps make super obstacles to practice steering around too! I have a 4 y/o who reminds me a lot of Rex. If I can find a pic, I'll send it over.