View Full Version : Videos Of Dressage Rides this past weekend

May. 9, 2011, 05:30 PM
well....as I know there are many on this forum who don't like my appaloosa stallion, I am probably opening up a huge can of worms here. But still I DO like him (as do many others) and I feel that this test shows SOME improvements (and lots of things to work on! :D) so am going to hold my breath, don my flamesuit and post it!

But first I will say that 1) yes I KNOW my reins are too long, yes I MUST.FIX.THIS been working on it, but not enough! 2) yes there are some "bobbles" like right after the walk when he anticipates the canter, yes I did my second canter depart too early, should have been at "C" (but I thought it was a decent transition!) yes, the first lengthening got a LITTLE TOO ambitious! And yes my sitting trot sucks, but after 3 back operations and two HORRIBLE hips now, I have problems with it, thank goodness they allow rising trot in first level now (I know people will also slam me for that! :cool:) Still I think he is not AS curled up as he used to be (but still have some issues with that) and I think he is much more forward when comparing to video from last fall. So here goes!


And a second video of a student of mine doing her first ever dressage test on my app schoolmaster, please don't critique her, she really did quite well. Just posting cause i love this horse, he has been shown thru third but been a few years


May. 9, 2011, 05:52 PM
He looks so much better than the last video I saw of him! I remember him as stiff and unbending through his body, stiff through his back, and heavier on his hooves. Huge improvement over that here.

I think your discussion of reins was THE huge point I would harp on here. You're mostly a hunter rider, right? You are having the same problem I have battled since switching to dressage - your hands aren't moving, and are planted in your lap. It makes it look as if he's just packing you around being a saint and you're not really riding, whether that's the truth or not. You need to learn to get your hands out of your lap, shorten your reins, and *follow his mouth* with your hands. If you just shorten your reins, you'll be punishing his mouth every stride as you are. Horses naturally move their head in the canter - your hands are still, which keeps him from moving his head. It's also part of why you're tending to pump at the canter - you're planting your body in one place, and kind of rotating around your hands, so body goes forward, lower legs go back.

Regarding that pumping - you also appear to be gripping with your knees, then thinking about bending your knees to get your lower legs back. Think of pulling your upper leg off the saddle, then try pressing down with your knees to get your weight down instead of holding yourself in place with your thighs - which pulls you off the saddle and keeps you from moving with him. You can do this with your stirrup length, because if your hips are bothering you I'm guessing you won't want to lengthen your stirrups! If my way of wording it doesn't help, there are many other images and ways of wording how to drop your weight down and melt into the saddle, instead of the upper thigh death grip attempts to hold yourself on. It shouldn't take force, just weight and balance.

Overall, though - huge improvement! I don't think I have seen videos of you on him, so if there have been videos of you on him before this gives you an idea of how long it's been since I saw one. I *do* like him, personally, and think he's starting to look like a much nicer mover as he's softening up.

May. 9, 2011, 06:01 PM
Not really gripping with my knees, my problem is with my hips and back I can't pull the ENTIRE leg back (from the hip) so tend to pull my LOWER leg back. SEriously having some bad issues with hips and going to be seeing an ortho soon, HOPE they can help as the pain is getting pretty unbearable. I think that makes me MUCH more stiff than I ever used to be. Not really a "hunter" rider, my background from being a junior until about 10-12 yrs ago was really eventing, altho I teach a lot of hunter riders, as well as low level dressage. But my body at this point just isn't what it used to be! Not an "excuse" just reality. I wouldnt' call my stallion a "packer" but he also is not terribly difficult. The judge this weekend said "wow, he has great jump in his canter" which he does, and seems to be improving. I have taken two clinics this winter and doing another one next week which has helped me, but I still find I cannot physically ride as much as I need to to improve, so hoping the doctors can fix that!

May. 9, 2011, 06:11 PM
Hey, a lot of people never get out of Training level, let alone earn 60+ at First! So congrats, he's a nice horse and you two are a nice pair! :)
The main thing I would do (not that you asked, lol) is work on transitions. And I bet if you start riding and demanding a lot more transitions, his overall lightness will improve too. :)

May. 9, 2011, 06:51 PM
Not really gripping with my knees, my problem is with my hips and back I can't pull the ENTIRE leg back (from the hip) so tend to pull my LOWER leg back. SEriously having some bad issues with hips and going to be seeing an ortho soon, HOPE they can help as the pain is getting pretty unbearable.


I don't think your leg position was bad - and maybe even putting the stirrups up another hole will help you be able to move through the hips? It looked more like a perspective of how you were looking at putting your legs where they were, and sounds like it IS - but due to pain. I know that *without* hip problems and with riding daily moving with a horse at the canter can still hurt, so I'm just imagining your pain and hurting for you! Is there a chance you can try a different saddle which allows your knees to come forward a little more? (Probably just a bigger seat size will = more room in flaps.) Do you know what size twist your saddle has? If it's a wide twist and you need narrow, that can make a significant difference, too. Even if the Dr. can help you, there are saddle changes which could help as well.

Good luck! Riding with someone who really does biomechanics could help you figure out a position which hurts less and is effective, too. I found there's a specific muscle whose name I don't know which slightly changes my position and has a drastic difference in my comfort level and therefore ability to move with my horse - and therefore with his movement.

May. 9, 2011, 08:00 PM
The saddle I ride in is the best dressage saddle for me, many these days have too much "padding" which KILLS me! Mine is a narrow twist Neidersuss. Have tried different saddles but this one seems to be the best. I used to have a wintec that was very nice (old style one), but that was before the hip issues, those have only come up in the past year or so. Honestly would MUCH rather ride in my hunt saddle! That is much more comfortable for me. Also the "pumping" comes, in part, from having no flexibility in my lower back due to five metal plates! LOL I know I am a walking wreck! But I am going to try and seriously correct as much as I can, as I am tired of having a nice horse that isn't doing much these days! I do not aspire or even think I could go to the upper levels, between having to run this farm, teach etc. I just wouldn't be able to devote the time to it even if my body would let me! But I would like to think I could MAYBE compete second level (if I can ever ger to where sitting trot is not such a problem for me) again, as I had competed "back in the day" thru third. I do agree that transitions are very important, and I tend to let him "hang" on me in the transitions. I can teach these things very effectively, but rarely have a ground person/instructor for myself! However, the Verne Batchelder clinics have helped this year and if I can get videos done that really helps to show me what I THINK is happening often ISN"T! LOL I sure hate this getting old crap! And losing weight would help a good bit as well, but seems like after 50 the weight just doesn't go away as easily!

May. 9, 2011, 08:02 PM
Of course, being a glutton for punishment, I ahve entered another show next weekend same test. Going to see how much I can really work on the problems with ME this week and see if there is any improvement!

May. 10, 2011, 08:39 AM
I don't think I asked if you have any other horses you can ride, too? The best thing to fix my contact issues is always riding a horse who falls apart on me without consistent solid contact. My horse isn't that horse, so I have to borrow from others to remind myself of the feel I'm looking for. I don't think your guy is that horse either - but that solid, giving, correct contact will help him. I think it's the only thing not directly pain-related that I saw, though I'm sure reactions to your pain affect it. Just remember - there are all kind of people with major disabilities out there doing well. If you need a shorter stirrup and less "conventional" position to ride your very best, a position which allows you to ride most effectively is still your best bet.

May. 10, 2011, 09:28 AM
Sympathies on the hip pain! Been there, still visit occasionally. Have the same issue with my lower leg going back as a defense to not opening the hip (either it won't, or it hurts too much). You might consider one of the straighter-leg AP saddles, such as the Stubben DSL, that will let you ride with a bit more angle in the hip and a slightly more bent leg, but won't invite you to perch like a jumping saddle can. Just something I've always wanted to try for myself.

May. 10, 2011, 11:45 AM
Thanks to everyone for some very constructive advice! I will try riding the gelding in the other video some he is VERY sensitive to you doing things "right".

May. 10, 2011, 12:41 PM
I can't believe people have said they don't like him! He's ADORABLE! And i'm definitely not an appy person...but i think he's just lovely!

May. 10, 2011, 02:34 PM
Dittoing Luvmydutch.

May. 10, 2011, 02:51 PM
I think he looks great, Shawnee, huge improvement over the last video I saw of him. He is a lovely horse.

Don't listen to people who are hard on you for doing rising trot -- they must not get riding through that kind of pain or had that kind of injury before. I have a bad back and I just don't do sitting trot any more, I can't stand up straight for a week if I do. It is extremely difficult to focus and ride well/with the necessary relaxation in your joints if you feel like someone is sticking a knife in you. It does make you ride more stiffly, it is so hard to fight that as I think your body tries to tense to protect itself.

May. 10, 2011, 05:54 PM
I think you are both much improved. It makes no difference if you rise to the trot if it is allowed- if it makes your horse and you better, forget any comments to the contrary. The horse is much more forward, he is motoring somewhere. When you ride like this he shows himself as a much better horse for dressage. The bending is much better, he is not bent outward now, and you are using corners much better.

Some things to work on:

1. the reins as you said

2. the horse is much better in the bridle, much less off and above the bit than before. Still needs more thruness and contact in the canter transitions, and the down transition to the walk. He was looking for help from you to balance in these transitions, and you did not have enough contact, he threw his head up for balance instead.

3. lengthened trot was not too ambitious, but too quick and on the forehand so it got uneven at the end. Think of posting SLOWER with more thrust up and forward, and do not throw the reins at him, he needs support from you to maintain a bigger, longer stride (not faster!)

May. 10, 2011, 06:28 PM
I second the suggestion of shortening your stirrups. I know you struggle to pull your leg back because of your hip, but you do seem to be posting from your toe. Maybe this is the hip too, but see if shortening the stirrups helps your heel become atleast level while remaining comfortable for your hip.

Maybe some lunge lessons, with stirrups and posting, would give you a chance to focus on working on your legs and posting without having to multitask with steering and such? If you doesn't hurt you, posting without stirrups would help solidify your leg position and help stretch your inner leg muscles.

May. 10, 2011, 07:05 PM
I thought your ride Sunday was quite nice from the tidbits I was able to glimpse every so often (scribing). It was obvious to me that you were riding. I could see the effect of your half halts. I love how relaxed your stallion was but still attentive. He was regular, rhythmic, and light. The only two things I'd have you change at this time -- and you know what they are -- is to carry your arms/hands and to post the trot. I, too, have hip/pelvis issues and this year the pain has been horrific. For some reason I was looking in your direction when you dismounted and, oh dear, I felt your every movement (or lack of). I knew how you were feeling as this is me after almost every ride. Yet when riding you didn't let this pain conquer and you rode effectively for the most part. Well done.

May. 10, 2011, 08:28 PM
Thanks all, and particularly NCSue! Getting on and off is TOUGH and when I get off, sometimes I simply collapse! I did ride with shorter stirrups today, only problem is that 1) my thigh is SO long that it forces my knee up too far forward and 2) it DID hurt more BUT I am going to ride a few times like that and see how I feel about it. I also rode with shorter reins and hands more forward my guy was NOT happy about that, particullarly in the canter! But we will work on it. However, my legyields WERE better as I could control the shoulder more.

May. 10, 2011, 08:54 PM
Shawnee Acres - he is a lovely horse. You should be very proud of him. I thought that you did a good job of deciding when to sit and when to post in your test. The one place (besides the reins) that I could see where you could get an immediate score boost is in your halts. He looks like he does what my mare did to me for years, charge down centerline, make me lean back and tug for hte halt, then stretch her neck out and yaw her mouth open at hte judge (very lady like:)). Out of the blue last year, I just somehow figured out how to ride the halt and started getting 8's on my halts. Sit real deep coming down center line, and do half halt, half halt, half halt, sit heavy leg on and halt. Just think halt with your whole body and don't touch the reins as you do it. That is the best way I can describe what I did that worked so tremendously.

He does look like he tends to get heavy and forward on you so half halts are your friend.

Good luck with him, and with your hip pain. No advice on that just sympathy.

May. 10, 2011, 09:23 PM
Going to see how much I can really work on the problems with ME this week and see if there is any improvement!

heart to heart here...
shorten your reins by AT LEAST 12-14 inches and raise your hands 4-6" think of a cross between approaching a fence and riding a park horse at madison square garden. seriously, they need to be shortened a ton.

big improvements, but
he's still evading contact and on the forehand, tipping in with his inside ear avoiding outside rein contact... mostly because of your hands and you GIVING HIM YOUR SHOULDERS.

I wouldn't harp on it if I hadn't just spent a week learning it the hard way myself ;) (just came back from an intense short course and clinic where I learned a ton)

May. 11, 2011, 12:02 AM
Both of the spotted boys are really cute. Congrats to you and your student (great first dressage show!).

May. 11, 2011, 12:19 AM
I think I know why your reins are so long -- it's your hips and your back. Until you can get everything aligned and can ride comfortably, you're not going to be able to balance him and balance yourself. If you shortened your reins now you'd probably end up hanging on him.

May. 12, 2011, 10:36 AM
Just a quick observation for everyone...

Do NOT put your hands down by your thighs/knees in the stretching circle. Your horse seems willing to stretch and your hand position is causing him to curl up instead of stretching with keeping his face on the vertical.

All riders need to keep their hands above the neck and feed the reins out.

I really wish that the judges would comment more on this problem.

good job by the way, try to swing the hips more in the posting, to complete the arc. I assume you take some sort of NSAID before your rides ?

May. 12, 2011, 11:28 PM
He has defiantly improved since the last video you posted. The stretchy circle and free walk need help. Your reins are bouncing and your hands dont need to be that wide. I, too, saw you gripping with your knees, but hey, none of us are perfect. An overall nice test. He looks worlds better than when I saw him last year at one of the MacNairs shows.