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Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 10:20 AM
Hi everyone, I'm hoping you guys could do a critique- it's nice to have (many) other sets of eyes to take a look since I ride without a trainer at home (thank you boyfriend for kindly taping).

The horse is my 4 year old Thoroughbred, he's shown he gets very bored and uninterested with smaller jumps (first crossrails, then a 2'3" vertical), so I raised it to 2'6" for this ride. He gets ridden 2x a week when the ground is appropriate, we sometimes just jump one of those two days, and it's never more than 2 or 3 jumps just to teach him and get him more comfortable.

This is the only riding I do right now, and I haven't ridden consistently ridden in months, so I know my riding is definitely rough!

I'll tell you what I get out of watching the videos. I see that my leg could be maybe a little more secure as we canter (although my saddle fit is really uncomfortable for me in the leg- it's a short flap and I need a long for my hip-thigh length, could that be part?), it just doesn't look completely still, although that may also be this next part. I also see that as I get closer and push his stride open a little more, I push with my seat (awful old habit I had gotten rid of) instead of keeping quiet and just holding my leg on. I think my shoulders could be back a bit more on the approach and definitely after, that was another of my really awful habits. The last thing I notice is that I have recently been sitting down too early on the landing- do you guys think so too? I think I could keep my butt out of the saddle a pinch longer, and then sit up straight as soon as we are completely landed, so when he gets a tiny bit excited about his first lead change after a fence, I'm up and ready to keep pushing forward instead of trying to pull.

I think my horse is doing well for his first couple of 2'6" fences and that is needs finesse. I just wanted to have him confident and comfortable during his first session over this height, so I just kept a firm feel of his mouth and didn't try to mess with anything. The only thing I did was keep him straight and open up his stride as we got closer when I saw a good distance for him. He tends to get a little flustered when the striding isn't right and he would rather add in a half stride and chip than take it long. I think eventually once he really has the hang of it and can go on the flat in a balanced manner on a loopy rein, I'll let him figure out how to carry himself on his own to the jump. But for now this seems like a good way. Any tips or suggestions, or further critiques?


First jump (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2aX7ee3eBo)

Second jump (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cjihrm8-Lo)

eclipse
Apr. 3, 2012, 11:38 AM
From what I can see, I might be wrong, your legs are in quite a forward position which will hinder you in getting up out of your saddle and staying there. You are also pumping with your upper body, possibly because your legs aren't underneath you, and this is causing you to jump ahead (just before takeoff you throw yourself forward).

He's very cute and obviously tries hard, but he's not yet balanced and using his back end (one reason I think that he doesn't do his changes and getting quick on landing). Is it possible for you to ride him more than twice a week? At 4, he's ready to be schooled more on the flat and really start learning how to use himself. Once he's nicely balanced and using himself from back to front, you will probably also find it easier to not run or push him in front of the fences.

Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 12:03 PM
From what I can see, I might be wrong, your legs are in quite a forward position which will hinder you in getting up out of your saddle and staying there. You are also pumping with your upper body, possibly because your legs aren't underneath you, and this is causing you to jump ahead (just before takeoff you throw yourself forward).

He's very cute and obviously tries hard, but he's not yet balanced and using his back end (one reason I think that he doesn't do his changes and getting quick on landing). Is it possible for you to ride him more than twice a week? At 4, he's ready to be schooled more on the flat and really start learning how to use himself. Once he's nicely balanced and using himself from back to front, you will probably also find it easier to not run or push him in front of the fences.

Thanks! I really think my saddle is a big part of my leg. I feel like I constantly have to fight to put it where it should go. I always feel like my thighs and knees are going forward on the flap, and I have to fit to bring them back to where they belong. I didn't seem to have this issue so much in my old trainer's County, which had a forward flap. The pumping with my seat is an issue by itself though- I definitely need to work on that! I think once I have a saddle that accomodates my leg, I'll be able to focus more on improving instead of fighting to keep things where they are.

He definitely needs more balance, he's improved a lot and we're still working on it. On the flat he canter is really improving with lots of circle work and spirals to get him to bend, move off leg, and push forward with his hind. But over fences I haven't tried to mess with it yet as he is still learning balance over the jump itself. I don't want to overface him and make him sour. He will do a change though, he did it in the second video and has done it on the flat when I've asked through a balanced canter. :) Any tips on improving the balance at the canter in general? He has moments where I feel a nice canter there, where I feel pushing with the hind end more than dragging. At the moment, he tries to push the outside shoulder out and tries to get on the forehand when we work on getting a nice bend at the canter. I correct that by really having my outside leg on and outside rein steady, and doing a TON of inside rein half-halt/inside leg push, then release, then ask again. He is definitely improving, but that's his weakness in the meantime. Any suggestions?

I really can't ride him more often than 2x a week right now. Like I said, I can ride only when the ground is decent enough to safely do so. I wish I could go out and do flatwork 4-5x a week and pop over a couple jumps once every week, but the ground where I live is completely flat and we're in a very low spot. After even a short two hours of light rain, I can't ride for the next couple of days because they'll really sink into the ground. We do not have a ring (that would be a Godsend) or a trailer to haul out to someone else's ring (but hauling out 4x a week wouldn't be doable anyway). So I kind of have to deal with what I've got. :)

eclipse
Apr. 3, 2012, 12:12 PM
Sounds like you are on the right track :D I also like to leg yield (on the long wall, on a circle and in and out across the diagnol), haunches in and out, shoulder in etc to help build up the back engine. I do a LOT in the walk as I find I can then concentrate on what the horse is doing more than in the trot if they become unbalanced.

With my mare, we also lunged jumped her once or twice a month. I found this really helped with her confidence as she had to figure out the jump by herself and regulate her pace herself(she gets a bit spooky though). My trainer uses it on all of our greenies and it's amazing what it does for their confidence and rideability to and after fences.

MySuperExAlter
Apr. 3, 2012, 12:34 PM
He's cute!

What stands out the most to me is your riding after the fence. I hate the way you let him canter and trot around unbalanced after the jump, in the first video. I'm not saying that you need to come back and snatch the reins and be abrupt with him to get him back, but let him canter a few strides away, then work on re organizing. Try and get him back a bit more, and circle if you need to. When you bring him back to the trot, you let him "run" all strung out. Don't let him stop until you get the trot you want and it is calm and collected. 2Xs a week isn't very much to ride a baby horse, so you need to do all the flatwork you can. Flatwork is the key to jumping success.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Apr. 3, 2012, 12:56 PM
I ride unbalanced horses in shoulder-fore a lot. I like the spiral exercise too, in addition to leg yielding (assuming one can keep control of the outside shoulder and the horse doesn't just fall out).

I agree with the poster who said master everything in the walk first.

To strengthen the canter, and the aids (both the use of and then the understanding by the horse), I would also go back to transitions between and within the gaits, eventually adding canter-walk-canter transitions. (Eventually) counter canter is a good exercise too.

It is going to be very difficult to acheive a stronger canter with 2x a week rides, imo. I understand your restrictions, but am not sure how you are going to progress. I find 2x a week is more for maitenance than progress. :(

What about doing a little cavaletti work (unmounted) to help him find himself and learn how to adjust to a fence?

If the saddle is unbalancing you and causing the leg position then I would fix that first. After the fence sit up a bit more. Let your body balance help bring him back.

Fun! You make me want to go riding.

jetsmom
Apr. 3, 2012, 01:12 PM
I'd be concentrating on flatwork (canter spiralling in, then out, as well as transitions.). I'd also trot jumps using trot poles going into it to make him wait and rock back. You aren't really teaching him anything by cantering jumps like this. If you must canter, I'd do it on a fairly large circle (not so big that he can get fast, but not so small that he is really unbalanced. Get in a light half seat, and trot in, land in a canter, and maintain light bend, and use a half halt after landing to balance, and try to keep your body still. The circle will balance/slow him.

CoriC
Apr. 3, 2012, 02:21 PM
I agree with everyone's posts, flatwork is always the key to jumping success but I totally hear you when you say you can't ride as often because of the ground. With that being said I like what 'jetsmom' said about trot poles and trot jumps. They are great tools to get a horse to slow down, rock back and think about the jump instead of just rushing over it. Try a trot rail in front of the jump and a canter pole on the landing. If you're worried about sitting up too soon (which I don't think you're doing too bad- if anything your instincts are making you do this because you want to land and get your horses canter back. Which is especially hard on a young one in a field with no ring/barriers to help).
Still if you want to work on holding your position after the jump I remember an exercise I learned in a great clinic by World Champion Gail Greenough years ago. She set a rail on the landing side (9ft away) of a jump and made us aim to keep our half seat and release till after the rail. (with a young horse start with the rails on their own, then after the jump a few strides away then try exercise with it about 9ft from back of jump). Now you may not be able to keep your release for so long what with having a huge open field in front of you and a young horse under do but it's a great exercise to improve your timing of when to sit up.
With all that being said I think you need to work on making your horse 'adjustable' after the jump. So land and do something. Make a circle, (alternate once do a circle to the left then to the right), do a transition (back to the trot or walk or halt- but remember it's not back to any old trot its a balanced working trot or a collected trot, if u choose to walk or halt follow it with a transition back to a trot and do a circle. The idea is you want your horse to land and think, land and say what's next, not land and canter off into the sunset. A little structure to your landing and approach (do a circle or a transition or trot poles on the approach) will make all the difference.
Good luck!!

Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 02:26 PM
Sounds like you are on the right track I also like to leg yield (on the long wall, on a circle and in and out across the diagnol), haunches in and out, shoulder in etc to help build up the back engine. I do a LOT in the walk as I find I can then concentrate on what the horse is doing more than in the trot if they become unbalanced.

With my mare, we also lunged jumped her once or twice a month. I found this really helped with her confidence as she had to figure out the jump by herself and regulate her pace herself(she gets a bit spooky though). My trainer uses it on all of our greenies and it's amazing what it does for their confidence and rideability to and after fences.

He's not that very good at moving off the leg yet (is forward off the leg, but still takes work to move sideways off the leg), so we are doing a good bit of leg yielding both ways down the long side for practice. I push him outside around our turns in the corners so he isn't tempted to drop his inside shoulder, and we also leg yield when we switch directions arcross the diagnols. I ask him to do bending here and there, but when he doesn't get it right he gets a bit frustrated so I think leg yielding is a good start to get him more sensitive off the leg before I use rein to get a bend more often...am I correct in thinking this? We do each of those things it at the walk and the trot, but practice it a lot at the walk first. I don't think he would understand the haunches in/out or shoulder in yet. I'm not that good with it either though, but had practiced it a little on my older TB that is much more broke on the flat.

I tried to set-up a free-jumping chute so he could figure out how to approach and handle a jump without me on him, as this had really worked with another green horse I had, but I don't have enough jump standards and poles to set up the chute, and when I used a tape he went under it. :lol:



What stands out the most to me is your riding after the fence. I hate the way you let him canter and trot around unbalanced after the jump, in the first video. I'm not saying that you need to come back and snatch the reins and be abrupt with him to get him back, but let him canter a few strides away, then work on re organizing. Try and get him back a bit more, and circle if you need to. When you bring him back to the trot, you let him "run" all strung out. Don't let him stop until you get the trot you want and it is calm and collected. 2Xs a week isn't very much to ride a baby horse, so you need to do all the flatwork you can. Flatwork is the key to jumping success.

Good point- I should definitely reorganize afterwards. I did it after one fence and circled him, then got a good trot, but didn't the majority of the time (including these videos). Another point very important to when I eventually put a course together! I did circle him at the trot in the second video and got back to a less rushy trot, but definitely could have kept working him at the trot. Thanks- I wouldn't have thought of that.



I ride unbalanced horses in shoulder-fore a lot. I like the spiral exercise too, in addition to leg yielding (assuming one can keep control of the outside shoulder and the horse doesn't just fall out).

I agree with the poster who said master everything in the walk first.

To strengthen the canter, and the aids (both the use of and then the understanding by the horse), I would also go back to transitions between and within the gaits, eventually adding canter-walk-canter transitions. (Eventually) counter canter is a good exercise too.

It is going to be very difficult to acheive a stronger canter with 2x a week rides, imo. I understand your restrictions, but am not sure how you are going to progress. I find 2x a week is more for maitenance than progress.

What about doing a little cavaletti work (unmounted) to help him find himself and learn how to adjust to a fence?

If the saddle is unbalancing you and causing the leg position then I would fix that first. After the fence sit up a bit more. Let your body balance help bring him back.

Fun! You make me want to go riding.

What exactly is shoulder-fore? I have never heard of that but if it works, I would definitely like to try it! I will definitely do the transitions to help the canter. I really wish I could ride him more often than this, but until the weather is better more often, I'm not sure if I'll be able to. I will be able to get a second ride in today and tomorrow at least. I'll have to check our forecast for the rest of the week. I am saving my money to purchase a new (used) saddle and have my current one for sale to help fund it. The sooner the better, I really hate this saddle.



I'd be concentrating on flatwork (canter spiralling in, then out, as well as transitions.). I'd also trot jumps using trot poles going into it to make him wait and rock back. You aren't really teaching him anything by cantering jumps like this. If you must canter, I'd do it on a fairly large circle (not so big that he can get fast, but not so small that he is really unbalanced. Get in a light half seat, and trot in, land in a canter, and maintain light bend, and use a half halt after landing to balance, and try to keep your body still. The circle will balance/slow him.

I'll see if I can fit the jump in a spot that allows me to do a circle, the lower long side of the field is quite wet and he still sinks in a little just cantering straight there so I'd like to keep the circle where it is dry. I did try trot poles going into a jump, but the poles seemed to get him more worried/unbalanced and trying to run-out. Is it just because it was making him work more, or what? I want to keep his confidence up, but definitely get more balance.

Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 02:31 PM
I agree with everyone's posts, flatwork is always the key to jumping success but I totally hear you when you say you can't ride as often because of the ground. With that being said I like what 'jetsmom' said about trot poles and trot jumps. They are great tools to get a horse to slow down, rock back and think about the jump instead of just rushing over it. Try a trot rail in front of the jump and a canter pole on the landing. If you're worried about sitting up too soon (which I don't think you're doing too bad- if anything your instincts are making you do this because you want to land and get your horses canter back. Which is especially hard on a young one in a field with no ring/barriers to help).
Still if you want to work on holding your position after the jump I remember an exercise I learned in a great clinic by World Champion Gail Greenough years ago. She set a rail on the landing side (9ft away) of a jump and made us aim to keep our half seat and release till after the rail. (with a young horse start with the rails on their own, then after the jump a few strides away then try exercise with it about 9ft from back of jump). Now you may not be able to keep your release for so long what with having a huge open field in front of you and a young horse under do but it's a great exercise to improve your timing of when to sit up.
With all that being said I think you need to work on making your horse 'adjustable' after the jump. So land and do something. Make a circle, (alternate once do a circle to the left then to the right), do a transition (back to the trot or walk or halt- but remember it's not back to any old trot its a balanced working trot or a collected trot, if u choose to walk or halt follow it with a transition back to a trot and do a circle. The idea is you want your horse to land and think, land and say what's next, not land and canter off into the sunset. A little structure to your landing and approach (do a circle or a transition or trot poles on the approach) will make all the difference.
Good luck!!

Thanks so much- that was extremely helpful! I always wonder though- is it 9' out from the middle of the jump if it's a vertical (as in, measuring out 9ft directly from the jump pole), or is it 9' out from the placement pole (I had placement poles maybe 1' out from the middle of the jump on both sides)? How far out should the trot pole be (in the front), and is that measured from the center? Thanks!

TrotTrotPumpkn
Apr. 3, 2012, 02:33 PM
It is not as angled as a shoulder in. I googled and came up with this (will probably explain better than I can): http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-exclusives/shoulder-fore.aspx

You need straightness to see the canter you want. This will help develop his carrying power in the rear.


Hope that helps!

eclipse
Apr. 3, 2012, 02:42 PM
Thanks so much- that was extremely helpful! I always wonder though- is it 9' out from the middle of the jump if it's a vertical (as in, measuring out 9ft directly from the jump pole), or is it 9' out from the placement pole (I had placement poles maybe 1' out from the middle of the jump on both sides)? How far out should the trot pole be (in the front), and is that measured from the center? Thanks!

9' from the middle of the actual jump for the landing side. So basically you'll have trot pole, 9', jump, 9', placement pole :D Just be careful that you don't jump the jump AND the placement pole (yes, I've seen it happen with a youngster and it wasn't pretty!) :eek: Keep the actual jump small, just in case.

jetsmom
Apr. 3, 2012, 02:49 PM
I'll see if I can fit the jump in a spot that allows me to do a circle, the lower long side of the field is quite wet and he still sinks in a little just cantering straight there so I'd like to keep the circle where it is dry. I did try trot poles going into a jump, but the poles seemed to get him more worried/unbalanced and trying to run-out. Is it just because it was making him work more, or what? I want to keep his confidence up, but definitely get more balance.

Have you practiced trot poles without a jump at the end? If not, start with just two. Adjust distance so he can do a nice, easy, controlled trot through. Then when he is comfortable with that, add another pole, then another so you have 4 poles or so. When he is smoothly going through those, add a small crossrail about 9 feet after the last pole.
It will slow him down, and make him wait (and you as well). It will improve his jump much better than just cantering a jump will. I'd land, make a large circle, bringing him back to a trot on the far side of the circle, to give you time to organize, and go through again. Make sure you are straight going into it. You can spread your hands open just a little, to make a chute, if he gets wiggly. Alternate going right one time after landing, and going left the next. I'd also alternate halting, or walking after landing so he won't anticipate what you are going to do. Even land and halt in a straight line occasionally.

Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 02:53 PM
It is not as angled as a shoulder in. I googled and came up with this (will probably explain better than I can): http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-exclusives/shoulder-fore.aspx

You need straightness to see the canter you want. This will help develop his carrying power in the rear.


Hope that helps!

So is the shoulder-fore basically an inside bend? And the shoulder-in is a more dramatic inside bend with the horse on three tracks? I know what the shoulder-in looks like, but is that a good way to describe it How exactly should I be asking for the shoulder-in (I know the article said shoulder-fore is just a less intense shoulder-in so ask with less strength in your aids), and how should I ask for the haunches in/out?

I also think this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6Sc0TWQoQ8) was very helpful and I might try that at all the gaits, especially when asking for the canter since he has trouble bending in general and picking up the right lead.

CoriC
Apr. 3, 2012, 02:54 PM
You might want to check out http://www.equestriancoach.com/ they have a series called fundamentals of flatwork that explains how to do lateral work like leg yield, shoulder in, haunches in, etc for beginners, intermediate and advanced. Still work on transitions first this will get him more attuned to your leg and rein aids.

For videos on understanding rein aids and exercises to improve them check out http://www.equestriancoach.com/content/controls-horse-part-one-rein-aids
For the same but with leg aids:
http://www.equestriancoach.com/content/controls-horse-part-two-leg-aids

Try the trot poles on their own first, once he gets used to them then try them in front of the jump and probably start with one in front of a jump, doing 3 trot poles on the take off might be to advanced right now for your horse.
Here's a video on cavaletti's too, it shows how to introduce them to a horse why to do just one and then three not two( they tend to jump them if inexperienced). It may be a bit advanced for right now but it will give you the gist of what cavaletti's or trot poles are used for, how to set, how to incorporate them with a jump, etc) http://www.equestriancoach.com/content/incorporating-cavalettis-fences-developed-bert-de-nemethy

Trot pole is usually 9ft in front and behind of jump (not ground rail) so stand with the back of your leg touching the jump then take 3 steps (each step should be 3 ft long). Bernie explains all this in the video above. So should check it out sometimes getting the visual really helps when setting jumps.
Good Luck

Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 03:05 PM
9' from the middle of the actual jump for the landing side. So basically you'll have trot pole, 9', jump, 9', placement pole Just be careful that you don't jump the jump AND the placement pole (yes, I've seen it happen with a youngster and it wasn't pretty!) Keep the actual jump small, just in case.

Thank you! I will try that, with a small vertical just in case. :lol:



Have you practiced trot poles without a jump at the end? If not, start with just two. Adjust distance so he can do a nice, easy, controlled trot through. Then when he is comfortable with that, add another pole, then another so you have 4 poles or so. When he is smoothly going through those, add a small crossrail about 9 feet after the last pole.
It will slow him down, and make him wait (and you as well). It will improve his jump much better than just cantering a jump will. I'd land, make a large circle, bringing him back to a trot on the far side of the circle, to give you time to organize, and go through again. Make sure you are straight going into it. You can spread your hands open just a little, to make a chute, if he gets wiggly. Alternate going right one time after landing, and going left the next. I'd also alternate halting, or walking after landing so he won't anticipate what you are going to do. Even land and halt in a straight line occasionally.

He has done trot poles without a jump and was 100% fine with that. He trotted quietly through sets of 2 and 4 at a steady rhythm and picked his feet up nicely through them without trying to avoid them. I only had 2 trot poles set up in front of a small crossrail and even after numerous attempts to get him to trot through quietly and jump the crossrail, he was not comfortable with it. I tried lightly riding him through, I tried a stronger ride and pushing him through, and kept supporting him to the jump, but he was getting more and more frustrated and would start hitting the ground rails and either not even bothering to go over the crossrails (just pretty much trot through it) or start trying to run-out (and when that didn't work because I wouldn't let him, he would just push into the standard). I rode him into and through it straight with wide hands like a chute, like you suggested, and kept at it through it and up to the jump. Wasn't working. None of those sessions were successful and were getting him flustered and making him lose confidence, so I stopped trying that exercise. Everything was spaced correctly. I would love to try that exercise, but may have to stick with one trot pole in front of a vertical and see how that works.

Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 03:12 PM
You might want to check out http://www.equestriancoach.com/ they have a series called fundamentals of flatwork that explains how to do lateral work like leg yield, shoulder in, haunches in, etc for beginners, intermediate and advanced. Still work on transitions first this will get him more attuned to your leg and rein aids.

For videos on understanding rein aids and exercises to improve them check out http://www.equestriancoach.com/content/controls-horse-part-one-rein-aids
For the same but with leg aids:
http://www.equestriancoach.com/content/controls-horse-part-two-leg-aids

Try the trot poles on their own first, once he gets used to them then try them in front of the jump and probably start with one in front of a jump, doing 3 trot poles on the take off might be to advanced right now for your horse.
Here's a video on cavaletti's too, it shows how to introduce them to a horse why to do just one and then three not two( they tend to jump them if inexperienced). It may be a bit advanced for right now but it will give you the gist of what cavaletti's or trot poles are used for, how to set, how to incorporate them with a jump, etc) http://www.equestriancoach.com/content/incorporating-cavalettis-fences-developed-bert-de-nemethy

Trot pole is usually 9ft in front and behind of jump (not ground rail) so stand with the back of your leg touching the jump then take 3 steps (each step should be 3 ft long). Bernie explains all this in the video above. So should check it out sometimes getting the visual really helps when setting jumps.
Good Luck

I don't know if you meant for me to see the whole video of the rein and leg aids (it was a preview) but don't worry, I do know what the leg and reins do (pulley, indirect, direct) and how to get basic responses. :) I'll have to see if I can view the whole thing. I also have experience riding over cavaletti and having them before jumps (did this with my two ponies when they were starting, as well as my jumper), but for some reason it hasn't been working when combined with a jump with this particular one. :confused:

I will have to look at the advanced lateral exercise videos, maybe they will be helpful.

CoriC
Apr. 3, 2012, 03:23 PM
I figured you knew what leg and rein aids were just thought some of the exercises shown on the video may be helpful to try on your young horse. As for the cavaletti video it explains a great exercise/ way to introduce trot poles to a horse that again I thought you might find helpful. That's all meant no offense.

Another idea to tackle the cavaletti and a jump issue is to try the three trot poles between the standards then you can slowly set up the middle pole into an x-rail. (try it without landing rail- that exercise I mentioned before would be best to do a little down the road once your horse is comfortable with jumps with trot poles)

For example first 3 trot poles back and forth between standards then take away third rail so it's just a trot in pole to an x rail (could even do it with just one side of x up) then as he get more comfortable you can make the x into a vertical.

Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 03:29 PM
I figured you knew what leg and rein aids were just thought some of the exercises shown on the video may be helpful to try on your young horse. As for the cavaletti video it explains a great exercise/ way to introduce trot poles to a horse that again I thought you might find helpful. That's all meant no offense.

Another idea to tackle the cavaletti and a jump issue is to try the three trot poles between the standards then you can slowly set up the middle pole into an x-rail. (try it without landing rail- that exercise I mentioned before would be best to do a little down the road once your horse is comfortable with jumps with trot poles)

For example first 3 trot poles back and forth between standards then take away third rail so it's just a trot in pole to an x rail (could even do it with just one side of x up) then as he get more comfortable you can make the x into a vertical.

Unfortunately I can't view all the exercises in the video- I'd have to purchase that for $9 or pay the yearly subscription. Can you explain the aids for shoulder in, haunches in, and haunches out? I'd love to use them.

He is already comfortable doing trot poles alone, I'll have to try putting just one in front of a small jump. He gets quite bored with crossrails! :lol:

jetsmom
Apr. 3, 2012, 03:37 PM
Unfortunately I can't view all the exercises in the video- I'd have to purchase that for $9 or pay the yearly subscription. Can you explain the aids for shoulder in, haunches in, and haunches out? I'd love to use them.

He is already comfortable doing trot poles alone, I'll have to try putting just one in front of a small jump. He gets quite bored with crossrails! :lol:

I'd do a series of trot poles, and then to a pile of poles between the standards 9 feet away. When he trots through that, raise it to a VERY tiny xrail that he can easily trot over. Do it several times. Then raise it a little more. The fact that he gets worried by trot poles then an x, makes me think that either the distance is too tight (maybe not 9'), or he actually is not as comfortable jumping as you think, and is using speed when cantering up to it because he is nervous. Often horses will rush jumps to get it over with, when they are nervous, and people think the horse is excited to be jumping, not realizing they are actually nervous about it.
Go back to teeny jumps, 9 feet away from trot poles. Something you can walk over. Double check your trot pole distances, and make sure they aren't so close together that he is really having to collect, or too far, so you are running through them. Should be a nice, easy, (on the slower rather than faster side), trot.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Apr. 3, 2012, 03:51 PM
So is the shoulder-fore basically an inside bend? And the shoulder-in is a more dramatic inside bend with the horse on three tracks? I know what the shoulder-in looks like, but is that a good way to describe it How exactly should I be asking for the shoulder-in (I know the article said shoulder-fore is just a less intense shoulder-in so ask with less strength in your aids), and how should I ask for the haunches in/out?

I also think this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6Sc0TWQoQ8) was very helpful and I might try that at all the gaits, especially when asking for the canter since he has trouble bending in general and picking up the right lead.

Here is a video (ignore the double bridle ;)) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaT-e_PraYo

Jane Savoy does a very excellent job explaining things too! I will watch your link when I'm not at work! Shhh. ;) [As an aside, I watched her teach a clinic once and she spent every lesson (from beginner on up to FEI) on getting the horse in front of the leg--good reminder that you have nothing if the horse isn't between the aides.]

You don't go into three tracks--correct--less angle than shoulder-in. You can do this long and low too, doesn't have to be in a 3rd level dressage frame (imho). You still want the forward energy first and foremost--the tempo. It is easier for the horse than a shoulder-in and so it is easier to keep the marching tempo (and therefore the step underneath from the hind). It is a slight bend. If you watch the video you see the tendency of the haunches at the canter on a straight line without a shoulder-fore.

When riding a shoulder-fore don't worry as much about the neck being bent--ask for it coming out of a turn and think more about the ribcage wrapping a bit around your inside leg and use a steady outside rein (like a side rein) to keep the horse from falling out. Supple with the inside rein and you will probably acheive the correct bend without focusing on it too much.

Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 03:52 PM
I'd do a series of trot poles, and then to a pile of poles between the standards 9 feet away. When he trots through that, raise it to a VERY tiny xrail that he can easily trot over. Do it several times. Then raise it a little more. The fact that he gets worried by trot poles then an x, makes me think that either the distance is too tight (maybe not 9'), or he actually is not as comfortable jumping as you think, and is using speed when cantering up to it because he is nervous. Often horses will rush jumps to get it over with, when they are nervous, and people think the horse is excited to be jumping, not realizing they are actually nervous about it.
Go back to teeny jumps, 9 feet away from trot poles. Something you can walk over. Double check your trot pole distances, and make sure they aren't so close together that he is really having to collect, or too far, so you are running through them. Should be a nice, easy, (on the slower rather than faster side), trot.

He quietly trotted the 2'6" yesterday and cleared it just fine before we cantered it, so he isn't running up to it when he trots. Perhaps he is confused because the crossrail (that is trot-over height, not "I have to jump that" height) after the series of poles was 9' away instead of the trot-pole distance and he wasn't sure how to approach it? If I set, say four trot poles in a row, then set a fifth as a pile of poles (the same distance as the trot poles but less of a ground pole), do you think that'll help him get the concept without confusing him? Then raise that pile of poles to a tiny tiny barely-crossrail? Because if I set the itsy bitsy crossrail 9' from the trot poles, he's not using that 9' space for anything since he's still just trotting the crossrail in stride. All that does is make him confused about where his legs should be going. Does this make sense?

Maybe I should start by putting a pole 9' out from something he will actually jump (18"-2' vertical), and trot into it. So the pole 9' is giving him an indicator of where he should be taking off. Then once he is okay with that, add a trot pole before the 9' pole so he gets used to something else that makes him pick up his feet. And once he settles with that, add a third pole so it's three trot poles with the last one 9' out. That will make him use the hind end, settle into a rhythm, and gives him a spot to take off, correct?

eclipse
Apr. 3, 2012, 04:00 PM
He's probably not using the 9' trot pole to jump space, because he's not yet able to power from the hind end properly. Once you get the flat work to the stage where he's using his engine correctly, you'll find that he will do the trot pole jump correctly! :D By then, you'll also realize that if you canter 2 poles (set on say a regular 5 stride apart distance), you'll be able to add upto 9 or 10 strides easily or push for the 5 easily. Once he is using himself correctly and has that back engine, the jump is the easy part. :D

Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 04:01 PM
Here is a video (ignore the double bridle ;)) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaT-e_PraYo

Jane Savoy does a very excellent job explaining things too! I will watch your link when I'm not at work! Shhh. ;) [As an aside, I watched her teach a clinic once and she spent every lesson (from beginner on up to FEI) on getting the horse in front of the leg--good reminder that you have nothing if the horse isn't between the aides.]

You don't go into three tracks--correct--less angle than shoulder-in. You can do this long and low too, doesn't have to be in a 3rd level dressage frame (imho). You still want the forward energy first and foremost--the tempo. It is easier for the horse than a shoulder-in and so it is easier to keep the marching tempo (and therefore the step underneath from the hind). It is a slight bend. If you watch the video you see the tendency of the haunches at the canter on a straight line without a shoulder-fore.

When riding a shoulder-fore don't worry as much about the neck being bent--ask for it coming out of a turn and think more about the ribcage wrapping a bit around your inside leg and use a steady outside rein (like a side rein) to keep the horse from falling out. Supple with the inside rein and you will probably acheive the correct bend without focusing on it too much.

Thank you! Between another video and yours, I get that the canter is not truly straight (haunches are slightly in) unless you are asking for a shoulder-fore (basically an inside bend). So perhaps I will always ride him at the canter with a focus to do shoulder-fore (an inside bend) so he is straight. Do I ask for this the same way I do to get bend? Outside leg steady, outside rein steady, and inside rein squeezing and releasing with inside leg squeezing and releasing to sort of bring him around? Or are there different cues?

Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 04:06 PM
He's probably not using the 9' trot pole to jump space, because he's not yet able to power from the hind end properly. Once you get the flat work to the stage where he's using his engine correctly, you'll find that he will do the trot pole jump correctly! :D By then, you'll also realize that if you canter 2 poles (set on say a regular 5 stride apart distance), you'll be able to add upto 9 or 10 strides easily or push for the 5 easily. Once he is using himself correctly and has that back engine, the jump is the easy part. :D

You don't think it matters whether the 9' pole leads to a trot jump, or a jump-jump? I haven't tried a 9' trot pole in front of something he has to actually jump, so that may work. When I did this exercise with my older TB, the jump was always around at least 2' so he actually jumped it.

But everything else you said definitely makes sense! Will the shoulder-fore, spirals at all gaits, leg yielding at all gaits, transitions between gaits, and transitioning gait pace/stride length (collected canter to open canter) get him to use him hind end and learn to balance, as long as I keep him forward and rhythmic?

eclipse
Apr. 3, 2012, 04:14 PM
You
But everything else you said definitely makes sense! Will the shoulder-fore, spirals at all gaits, leg yielding at all gaits, transitions between gaits, and transitioning gait pace/stride length (collected canter to open canter) get him to use him hind end and learn to balance, as long as I keep him forward and rhythmic?

Oh yes, to do these things correctly they have to be driving with their hind end (the engine) :D When he's using himself correctly, and also during these exercises, he should be light and uphill pushing into your hands. It will take some time, but it will get better.

CoriC
Apr. 3, 2012, 04:15 PM
I like what 'jetsmom' just said, that's exactly the exercise I would do with a young horse. She is right when a horse is nervous they often speed up this is their natural instinct to 'fight or flight' when they are afraid or unsure of something. So by making your horse slow down and think (by doing a trot pole in front of the jump) you're making him go against his instinct (flight) and that's why he prob gets unsure of it all. This is very normal for young horses.

By going back to basics like an x rail you are making the exercise easier for him handle mentally. Just because a horse can gallop big jumps doesn't mean they are comfortable/ confident with jumping / know what they are doing. I've seen many a horse become afraid of jumping later in life because they were brought along to fast in the beginning (often because they are so talented the rider/trainer thinks they can skip junior high and go straight from elementary to university) I'm not saying you are doing this at all just sharing my observations/experience.

As for the shoulders in, haunches in etc. To do it/ explain it correctly is a bit complex to get in too (sorry don't have time right now). perhaps this explanation will help you... http://www.artofriding.com/articles/shoulder-in.html
I personally don't mind the subscription fee on equestriancoach.com because there is so much great material. And when working on your horse alone it really helps to see and visualize what you should be doing. But that's just me.

lachevaline
Apr. 3, 2012, 04:16 PM
It is not as angled as a shoulder in. I googled and came up with this (will probably explain better than I can): http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-exclusives/shoulder-fore.aspx

You need straightness to see the canter you want. This will help develop his carrying power in the rear.


Hope that helps!

Not the OP, but thanks for the link! Very useful.

Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 04:33 PM
Yet another question (sorry everyone- this thread is proving to be extremely helpful!), on the flat, what is the best way to help him understand that one leg does not mean "forward" without getting too handsy? He is sensitive to both legs for forward/increased pace, but when you apply one leg he wants to shoot forward. Keep applying leg and he will move over, but it's hard to keep the good steady pace AND move him over with one leg (whether we're leg yielding or I'm asking for a bend). Any tips to help this?

TrotTrotPumpkn
Apr. 3, 2012, 04:43 PM
Oh dear. I'm feeling completely inadequate now. You are asking me to describe something I "do." I haven't really thought about it, LOL. This is tricky without seeing you and an instructor could probably help 1000x more!!

I think I do it more from my seat than anything, which is not helpful, I know. I think of my inside leg as a pole that I'm wrapping the horse around (of course I don't even come close to that much bend, but that is one idea to visualize it) and my outside leg is there (maybe a little back) to keep those haunches from swinging out. I don't really pump, thump or tap with my inside leg unless the horse is bulging in or against my leg. But if it is, or is not listening to my leg, then yes, but progressively. In other words I ask softly, then louder, then DO THIS NOW. Ok, thank you. Then next time back to softer. I don't keep nagging--I'm not saying you do either, btw. The caveat is, of course, that the horse already understands to move from the pressure, otherwise the cue is not really fair at this point. My lateral progression (YMMV) is usually 1) yield from pressure on ground 2) yield from pressure under saddle 3) turn on the forehand 4) tiny leg yield to wall from a few steps inside the outside track around the arena after coming around the corner 5) increasing the number of leg yielding steps and asking for it in different areas (still yeilding out) 6) then shoulder fore. Then spiral circles out and in. I am along a fence or wall though, so my order may be different--I get to use the wall as a training aide to some extent. Confusion = go back to the previous step. This is more of general aide question for where the horse is at in the training perhaps? [FYI, if someone thinks I'm way off I am completely open to critique here--]

You could probably post the aide question on the dressage forum and get much better answers, btw.

If you are doing shoulder-in then the cues are very much the same. They are progressive, so think of this as a baby shoulder-in. Both are easiest to do off a circle or corner, imo. Since you don't have a mirror to see yourself in a field, perhaps someone can video you from the front or back so you can see how it goes?

First, I would do it at the walk and then at the trot and finally at the canter. No rush. You are asking the horse to use himself more and he needs time to build up the muscles to do this. I think the walk is largely underutilized anyway. :)

Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 05:06 PM
Thank you very much! That is quite helpful. :) Related to my last question (above your last post), I'm stuck a little in getting him to move off my leg without him rushing forward, without getting too handsy. He moves away from pressure on his side on the ground, moves straight over under saddle, does a turn on the forehand under saddle, moves (slowly) over at the walk without getting quick (and will bend), but sometimes at the trot he starts to rush forward when I try to push over with my leg (trot is not quite balanced yet either). I did start doing it in corner turns and when we come across the diagnol switching directions- typically I can get him to do this without rushing off but he isn't very sensitive to moving over yet. I ask lightly, then sometimes have to back it up with a stronger leg aid before he responds and moves over decently. Should I be following up the light aid, then strong aid, with a demanding aid (the NOW aid) to get a bigger response, or is a slight move over okay and I should just assume as he gets more schooled to it he will understand it better and therefore be more likely to move over more when I ask, and if he doesn't, I can ask harder then?

When I ask for the leg yield in different spots he gets quick and rushy. How should I fix this without getting handsy? I have tried slowing my post and trying to "block" the forward motion with my seat and it doesn't get a very good response. Should I just steady the outside rein and sponge the inside?

Sorry this is so long!

TrotTrotPumpkn
Apr. 3, 2012, 05:20 PM
This is just my two cents. The easiest thing to do is to go back down a gait. So you are good at the walk, then you ask for an exercise at the trot--horse tenses, or rushes, or whatever. Immediately I go back to the gait the horse is comfortable in and do the exercise to reinforce what my aide means. Sometimes, if we can't figure it out that day, I get it again at the walk or whatever and put the horse away (I like to end on a positive) and we try tomorrow. It is amazing what horses seem to teach themselves overnight sometimes. :)

I had one OTTB who was a rusher. He was also completely overfaced jumping (he was very talented) and it fried his brain. Which is why I got him super cheap. (Re-re-training is frustrating). Anyway, there is anxiety, there is plain "hot," and there is "I don't understand what you want me to do when you do that?" or you can have a combination.

How to fix it is probably better answered by someone who can see him perhaps? For my hot, fried horse he would literally freak himself out if you let him think about things too much--getting stronger and more forward and antsy, so we were ALWAYS doing something, 10 meter circles every 20 feet, crossing the arena, transitioning gaits. I was lucky to have good instruction to help me with exercises for him and also a pro to ride him when I could not. I was very overfaced with him at that point and he was a 5 days a week ride. But I digress--I don't see him in your horse in the video. I think maybe your horse just doesn't understand the cue well enough?? What do you think?

Is there someone who could give you a lesson on him, perhaps just when you get stuck on stuff? I know you said you have to stay where you are at, but are there trainers who would come over?

enjoytheride
Apr. 3, 2012, 05:28 PM
Since you have a lot of questions I'd suggest that you find a good trainer and only jump him with them for now, it's so easy to screw up a green horse. Ride on the flat at home and then haul him out once a week.

I wouldn't be cantering him into anything until he can canter out of a gymnastic and down a line quietly.

I would not ask him for any lead changes, he's running and bucking. Bring him down to the trot then change.

I also wouldn't gun him out of the corner while facing the fence into the canter because that will teach him to run. Pick up the canter after landing from a fence or way before then.

Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 05:33 PM
My guy is definitely "I don't understand" when he gets going forward at the trot. He is not the hot type at all, and isn't anxious. He used to be either very very pokey at the trot, or quick with short strides (when you applied enough leg to not be poking along). I got him to understand that two legs on = move forward, and when he is at the pace I want, my leg is quiet and still and he goes along cheerfully. Now that I am asking for more than go and whoa, he is getting confused. He has learned how to leg yield in the corners or across the diagnol switching directions, but when it's a situation he hasn't done it in yet (on the straightaway, or when I first try to ask for bend at a trot in a circle) he reverts to going faster. I worked through it when teaching him to do it in the corner by either doing a small circle until I got my good pace back, or closing my hand and shortening my reins to slow him down (which sorta worked, but getting too handsy with get him a little upset because he's trying). That did work but I'm wondering if there's a better way. I guess when I practice on a straightaway, I'll alternate between getting my pace back by circling, or bringing him back to the walk until he understands.

I will have to try to find a good trainer that will come to my place...and try to schedule it on a fair-weather day!

Crown Royal
Apr. 3, 2012, 05:43 PM
Since you have a lot of questions I'd suggest that you find a good trainer and only jump him with them for now, it's so easy to screw up a green horse. Ride on the flat at home and then haul him out once a week.

I wouldn't be cantering him into anything until he can canter out of a gymnastic and down a line quietly.

I would not ask him for any lead changes, he's running and bucking. Bring him down to the trot then change.

I also wouldn't gun him out of the corner while facing the fence into the canter because that will teach him to run. Pick up the canter after landing from a fence or way before then.

Trust me, I understand how quickly a green horse can be screwed up. He's not my first (and I haven't ruined one yet ;)), but I still have tons of questions (I'm not a pro and what amateur doesn't have a billion questions?).

I don't have the equipment to set up a gymnastic, nor the help on the ground. I'll have to deal with the trot pole into a jump exercise mentioned before. Before I did these, he was trotting into the fence quietly and landing them quietly at a canter and easily coming back to a walk or halt. This was his first time over the height and I think that's what got him excited.

I have asked him for one lead change, on the flat, which he did without issue. The lead change after the jump in the second video was him on his own (his first by himself)- he isn't exactly running and bucking, although he was pulling a bit when I didn't sit up straight and continue to ride him. If we continue to canter after the jump instead of coming down to a trot, I will be asking for simple changes. :)

As far as the approach to the jump, I turned him to face the jump, walked a few strides, then asked for the canter. He didn't rush forward out of the corner, or rush forward at all. That is just how he currently transitions. We will be doing a LOT of flatwork now though. He doesn't pull on me going to the jump, he's very easy and steady for me.

jetsmom
Apr. 3, 2012, 09:10 PM
Yet another question (sorry everyone- this thread is proving to be extremely helpful!), on the flat, what is the best way to help him understand that one leg does not mean "forward" without getting too handsy? He is sensitive to both legs for forward/increased pace, but when you apply one leg he wants to shoot forward. Keep applying leg and he will move over, but it's hard to keep the good steady pace AND move him over with one leg (whether we're leg yielding or I'm asking for a bend). Any tips to help this?

Turn on the forehand, asking for each step, by kind of bumping him with your leg. Use the reins enough to keep him from moving forward, and enough leg, to keep him from backing. (If he wants to back, soften hands, lightly squeeze both legs. Kind of like balancing a clutch and accelerator on a manual transmission when on a hill.) Reward even the first sign of trying, like if you feel him shift his weight to his other hip at first, stop asking and say good boy. I use a verbal cue like "Move over" when I ask for each step. If he takes a step, praise, and stop all aids (that's his reward). Then ask for next step.
Sometimes it's easier if you teach him to move his hauches over on the ground by putting a hand on his side where your leg goes, and asking him to move over. Again...you need to reward the first sign of try. If he shifts his weight away, praise, stop asking for a sec, then ask again.
(If you've ever played the game where someone hides something, and you try to find it by walking around, and they say "You're getting warmer", Hotter, YES. It kind of works the same way. You want to reward any effort in the right direction, even if it is just a weight shift at first, so he knows he is on the right track. Reward with praise and stopping aids, then ask again. If you just keep kicking/bumping/squeezing, and he has shifted his weight, taken a step, they don't get the idea of what to do to get the reward (cessation of aids).

Make sure you aren't just doing a steady squeeze, as horses will instinctively lean into pressure. Ask for each step. Even when you start doing it at a walk/trot. Make sure when you are trying to get them to move over at a moving gait, they are FORWARD. If they are behind the bit, they will be wiggly and hard to move. Forward=straight.

enjoytheride
Apr. 4, 2012, 04:44 PM
There is nothing I have seen make a horse rush faster then facing the jump before you pick up the trot or canter. It may not have happened the first time but it will happen. Always establish your gait of choice before you are pointed at the fence.

The new height probably got you excited which got him excited, don't treat a bigger fence as anything different or he will feel that.

Can you not get more fences or haul him to a facility that has more jumps?

A lot of the exercises suggested are very helpful but it's really difficult to actually do a shoulder in based on written instruction, and really easy to just make your horse more crooked. If you can't get anyone to help you then just work on making him forward and straight and save anything else for when someone is on the ground.

Crown Royal
Apr. 4, 2012, 07:33 PM
There is nothing I have seen make a horse rush faster then facing the jump before you pick up the trot or canter. It may not have happened the first time but it will happen. Always establish your gait of choice before you are pointed at the fence.

The new height probably got you excited which got him excited, don't treat a bigger fence as anything different or he will feel that.

Can you not get more fences or haul him to a facility that has more jumps?

A lot of the exercises suggested are very helpful but it's really difficult to actually do a shoulder in based on written instruction, and really easy to just make your horse more crooked. If you can't get anyone to help you then just work on making him forward and straight and save anything else for when someone is on the ground.

Good suggestion on having a knowledgable person on the ground to make sure it's right.

I wasn't getting nervous or excited about it being up 3", that is the typical pace he has for the canter. As he learns to be balanced and relax in general, I'm sure the canter will either slow down or be much easier for me to bring back. So that was just his canter. It may look like he was rushing, but that's just the way his canter is for now.

As I said, no trailer = no hauling anywhere. Buying new jumps are quite expensive although my wonderful boyfriend has agreed to make me new ones when he isn't so busy with work. My extra money is going towards saving for a new saddle that actually fits, as that's one of the major things I would like to fix.