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View Full Version : Making the move to Second/Third - what did you find most difficult?



GreyStreet
Jul. 18, 2011, 02:28 PM
This is mostly targeted toward other ammies like myself making the move up for the first time, but I certainly welcome other input!

We began showing Second in March and are schooling some Third at home. My mare is older and though very fit for her age, we continue to work on suppleness and bend. I've found that our weaknesses as a rider/horse have tended to emerge at this level (for example, our medium trot and balance in the canter to walk transitions on the short diagonal are difficult). I've always heard there is a bit of a gap between making the move from First to Second as opposed to moving up from Training to First. I'm curious what other people have experienced in your training?

What has been your toughest challenge so far? What did you think would be challenging that hasn't been, and vice versa? What's been most exciting/disappointing for you?

Sancudo
Jul. 18, 2011, 04:04 PM
I just did my first 3rd level tests at Lexington this weekend, so it's pretty fresh in my mind.

For my horse, the hardest thing for him is sitting and carrying more. This is mostly related to age and his plethora of physical problems. That, and he's only been back in work since April after a year off for injuries.

He likes to string out instead of sit and push in the medium and extended trots, so scores varied between 5s and 7s.

Our TOH have always been mediocre, 5s and 6s and one 7 throughout the weekend, but he has shivers and one hind leg can get a little "sticky" and I have to do them too large right out.


For me, it's learning how to ride the half passes with the right amount of bend and sitting correctly, as they are still new to me.


Surprsingly, the changes were quite consistant. I had only ridden about 10 clean changes in my life, and only on him, and he's only being doing them the last month and a little bit the year before. I think we nailed about 80% of the changes clean, two were maybe a stride late, and only one really blew up in out face, that sticky left hind couldn't get the jump and cross cantered for too long. That being said, they are very straight and obediant and require little effort other thant thinking it and switching my hips when it all comes together.

I was consistantly scoring in the high 60s and 70s at Second Level, and at 3rd I scored very low 60s and an upper fifty (though this included a behavioral meltdown and reversing in our canter work the way we had come haha) in the colisuem, so not really related to 3rd level. We did get the Bronze scores on our first time out, so overall successful transition to 3rd even if I would have liked to have been more competitive. It's a good place to start I thought.

Valentina_32926
Jul. 19, 2011, 09:23 AM
I...For my horse, the hardest thing for him is sitting and carrying more. ....

This. You think what you're doing at second level is enough but it is not. When you can ask for an extended trot across the diagnol and feel like the horse is lifting their shoulders and you're airbourne THEN you have the correct third level frame. :cool:

Otherwise you're just fooling yourself. :winkgrin:

GreyStreet
Jul. 19, 2011, 11:57 AM
That is exactly why we are capably schooling some Third movements but are nowhere near ready to think about showing Third yet ;). We are still working on maintaining adequate collection and are still new to showing Second, having just made the move up in March. The hardest part for us is going to be just that - continually building the strength necessary to keep rebalancing the weight back so my mare can start to shift into working this way more consistently and for longer periods of time. I think this really shows up in our medium trot, because she tends to want to fall onto the forehand and rush when she gets off balance, instead of pushing more behind from her engine, but we're making improvements.
She has a beautiful collected canter and counter-canter, but I'm still working on my own balance, so I tend to be the one messing up the transitions at this point.

It is interesting to see other perspectives!

2tempe
Jul. 20, 2011, 08:23 AM
Turn on the haunches/walk pirouettes, hands down the most difficult thing for me. I still hate them. :mad: In fact I will probably always hate them.

netg
Jul. 20, 2011, 01:19 PM
This. You think what you're doing at second level is enough but it is not. When you can ask for an extended trot across the diagnol and feel like the horse is lifting their shoulders and you're airbourne THEN you have the correct third level frame. :cool:

Otherwise you're just fooling yourself. :winkgrin:

So here's my question... my horse is learning that carriage, and the "good boy!" reactions are enough for him to attempt to carry himself that way constantly. He's definitely NOT strong enough to hold himself there for long without being sore after... So have any suggestions for helping that strength build? I have been doing tons of walking and increasing amounts of canter, because trot is his weaker gait, and the one where he gets sore if I let him do too much; I also try to keep most of our trot work stretchy trot work. He still comes right up and carries if I ask, which I love... I just want to gradually increase how much he carries, whereas he had a reaction of "oh, doing this is good? How about if I just pretend I'm a third level horse already and really carry all the time?!" The joys and troubles of an overachiever with great work ethic...

joiedevie99
Jul. 20, 2011, 02:29 PM
Personally, I wouldn't discourage that. Just accept what he gives you for short periods, then take nice long breaks. Keep your trot sessions short if he's giving what you want. His strength will build by doing it. However, he has to remain adjustable and follow the rein down to stretch whenever you want- keeping the balance back in its new place.

Add hillwork at the walk if you don't do it already to strengthen his back and stomach muscles.

netg
Jul. 20, 2011, 03:01 PM
Obnoxious double post.

netg
Jul. 20, 2011, 03:04 PM
Personally, I wouldn't discourage that. Just accept what he gives you for short periods, then take nice long breaks. Keep your trot sessions short if he's giving what you want. His strength will build by doing it. However, he has to remain adjustable and follow the rein down to stretch whenever you want- keeping the balance back in its new place.

Add hillwork at the walk if you don't do it already to strengthen his back and stomach muscles.

That's basically what I'm doing - since he has figured out carrying, I'm not going to ask him to NOT carry. I just don't let him keep going too long, because he's definitely had a history of making himself sore. Having 2 months off because of a sole bruise and me being sick left him not as strong as before, so it's especially important I not let him work too hard.

Something I'm finding which makes sense, but I rarely see explicitly stated is that our lateral work which was troublesome before is *easy* when he's carrying himself. The strength and balance just make it so it can happen whenever/however I want. I've always been told that would be the case, but I've never seen it written out anywhere! (Lateral has always been easy for other horses I've had, so this is new to me.)

We go in and out of the stretchy trot, because I want him to always look to lengthen and stretch, as compressing and tensing up is more his natural reaction to life. This morning he'd had a day off (he hates those!) so started out snorting and looking to spook, but I let him take the reins to stretch, and stretch he did! It was kind of a big victory for us, given he spent the first 8 years of his life either behind the vertical or giraffing it.

KatherineC
Jul. 20, 2011, 03:31 PM
Hands down the hardest thing for me is the turn on the haunches. Which gets even harder when they become walk piros. Oh I dislike them.

Oberon13
Jul. 21, 2011, 10:04 AM
I'm making this move right now with my mare, too! So far, it's definitely the aforementioned sitting/carrying. SOOO much more is required, especially for true extended gaits. I also need more of the sitting/carrying to help with opening up her front end a bit more for more expression. I have to remind myself that just a few strides here and there is all right for now. First of all, I'm on no timeline...I'm not trying to live up to anyone's expectations. Second of all, that's all she can offer at the moment as she builds the correct muscles to be able to hold more and more. When I first did the P90X abs workout, I could only do about half....I try to think of that when working the poor girl so I don't grill it out of her! ;)

Half-pass at the canter is a little tough...but I think it's mostly me rather than the maresy. We get stuck in place...a very nice terre-a-terre (I think that's what it's called)! ;) I'm opening my pelvis a bit more from the hip and it's starting to help with her ability to step over in the stride.

LOADS of transitions within the gaits are helping...walk, trot and canter. Back and forth, back and forth...on straight lines and on circles.

RedHorses
Jul. 21, 2011, 01:11 PM
Canter-walk transitions. His understanding of what I was asking wasn't there, and I had a tendency to give too much mid transition and failed to explain it well. We're getting better at it now.

Lately maintaining rhythm in the medium trot, but I think that's a strength issue more than anything because he's been really good in the past. I need to do more roadwork - the long straight stretches really help him get into and maintain the lengthening/medium/extension. Though there may be something of the "we're almost at the end of the figure, we're going to go that way..." involved as well. I did notice that my horse tended to slide out of the lateral work when we approached the end of the line we were travelling so I really got on his case about it for a while and he's so much better now.

The turn on the haunches/walk pirouettes have never really been a problem for him. For a while I had a little trouble going one way vs the other, but I had a lightbulb moment and realized my primary leg used was the same one going both ways, analysed what I did the good way and replicated that going the bad way and like magic had a super pirouette going the bad way.

Mostly I'm just having so much fun playing with Second/Third stuff and seeing the improvements in his ease, carriage, responsiveness and how the "tricks" when used as exercises can help him improve even further that I don't really notice the difficult bits so much. :D