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View Full Version : Spinoff: "Many riders are way too easy on their horses"



mbm
May. 14, 2012, 04:30 PM
From another thread i thought I would bring this here becuase it is so much in the forefront for me right now....

------
Do you know this is *the* most challenging thing in my journey to be the best rider/trainer i can be?

i have the hardest time asking for enough..... i always worry that i am going to hurt them or they aren't strong enough or trained enough, blah blah blah.

i drive my trainer (and myself) NUTS with this!

anyone know how to get over this?

rizzodm
May. 14, 2012, 04:47 PM
My trainer was always telling me "Your too nice!" I've gotten over it because I'm sick of only being able to show training level on my naughty pony.

ThreeFigs
May. 14, 2012, 04:59 PM
Haha, I'm "too nice", too!

A few clinics with assertive trainers fixed me. I still need refreshers from time to time, though. Riding with strong, focused BNT's or BNJ's have upped my game. Give walk or stretch breaks in between intensive training sessions. A test is only about 5 or 6 minutes long so I use that as a time frame for intensive work. Then a break. Then back to work for 5 or so minutes.

As I started my gelding out doing rehab for his back, it took me ages to realize after months of rehabilitation and rebuilding that he was NO LONGER an invalid!

RedHorses
May. 14, 2012, 05:15 PM
Someone will probably tell me I'm evil for this, but...

I quit taking regular lessons about seven years ago. Since then I have taken 1-5 lessons in one week 3-4 times a year with a clinician. It's worked for us in large part because I need time to play with things between lessons to work out what I'm doing and how the horse is responding, and I like variety so I'm also hacking and jumping regularly. Since then we have come a long way though not as fast as perhaps we might have done.

Because I only see my coach 3-4 times a year he always shows me the next step or two regardless of whether I, we, or the horse is "ready." My coach explains how to do the exercise(s), what they do, what the end goal is, and what pitfalls I might encounter. And he runs us through the exercises. While I don't push my horse to his limit every ride, I usually push him fairly hard on one issue in each ride, and we play with the next step exercises asking for more and more. When I pick up on an issue I will work all sorts of exercises that might invite the issue to show up and be extra vigilant about getting exactly what I'm asking for.

For example I noticed my horse was "sliding" out of lateral work - most especially leg yield and half pass when they ended at the wall. He knew we were going to be going along the wall once we got there and the angle of the movement flattened out as we got to the wall. I spent weeks making sure he didn't alter the angle by so much as a degree, doing shoulder out along the wall after half pass, and so on.

I think sometimes when we have a few things we need to work on our weekly coach can get hung up on getting X fixed before proceeding to Y. Riding is one of those things that we can never do perfectly the very first time so we start with something that may be barely recognizable and work on making it better. I find that trying something that we're not quite ready for shows up what we're missing in order to do that next step. It gives a certain clarity as to why such and such a thing needs to be mastered, and we can play with the next step to see how we're doing with the missing links.

I don't worry about pushing too far, or lack of fitness, or lack of training because for most horses getting pushed too far ONCE isn't a problem. It's valuable for the rider to push too far once in a while. You can find out what the horse's signs are that he's losing the ability to process/do what you're asking. As long as you recognize that you went too far/pushed too hard and stop short the next times, the horse will also learn that he can trust you to listen to him and back off when he gets in over his head. Trouble comes from pushing too much every day.

NOMIOMI1
May. 14, 2012, 05:32 PM
Since so much of dressage is rider error i actually feel many riders myself included could ask more of themselves too...

I am trying to make sure I work on my fitness and seat and ability also and so I think I am easier on the horse because its not her fault I am still riding too forward or back or without enough leg or or or

I think we are how we ride ... It is what it is because we make it so.

Wayside
May. 14, 2012, 05:40 PM
Yep, I have this same problem. Although I can be quite firm with my horses when needed, so I wouldn't say that I'm "too nice", I am entirely too patient and conservative when it comes to increasing my expectations. I don't push the envelope at all.

Over the years, though, I've been fortunate enough to have instructors who are more than willing to give me a nudge (kick? shove? :lol:) when it's time. And once I see that we *can* do something, I'm pretty good at continuing to work on it.

Vesper Sparrow
May. 14, 2012, 05:50 PM
Timely thread. I hear the "too nice" comment a lot and just this morning, my instructor told me to put my big-girl panties on in dealing with my mare.

netg
May. 14, 2012, 05:56 PM
Sometimes I see riders who are "too nice" but end up being unkind. I see horses not being asked to carry themselves in a more uphill balance, then being asked to do movements up the levels without that change in balance. I've seen horses show signs of being sore from too much half pass when not uphill and strong enough to do it, for example. That's when being kind is actually being UNkind.

My lessons with my trainer establish a new level of work each time, and my goal between lessons is to keep my horse at that level or pass it, then establish a new level the next lesson. I absolutely would progress faster if I were a pro. Of course! But this is new to me and to my horse, so I really need the outside help to know what to work toward. I'm good at remembering a feel and transferring that to my work between lessons.

In order to be less kind to myself, I take lessons with a biomechanics instructor who helps me improve my own position and body use, which then helps my horse more easily do the things I'm working on with him.

I like to work with a couple clinicians who push me WAY beyond my comfort zone, but who highlight a longer term area to work on. My trainer then helps me get there in between clinics.

I think there's a balance between not pushing hard enough and not making progress because of it - and my horse helps me there, because if I don't push him hard enough he starts to be a jerk. He's only happy when pushed! With the mare, she is one who puts up a fuss when asked to do anything if she isn't consistently being challenged, but once she gets her mind on working she is great and improves as much as a constantly fitness challenged and somewhat unfortunately built Friesian cross can.

rizzodm
May. 14, 2012, 06:06 PM
Since I've toughened up a bit I notice more of a bond with my pony. The boundaries are more clearly established and she appreciates the firmer leadership from me. I have to admit that she had a couple of huge tantrums before our break through but soooo worth it.

goodpony
May. 14, 2012, 06:18 PM
yep this is so where I am at right now too---in my case though I realize it partially my fear of making mistakes that Im not asking for enough. Too often I find myself throwing away the connection when at this point the lines of communication are open and the basics are all solid. Im not talking about 'yank, crank, spank' but at least where Im concerned its past time to expect more.

Im giving myself permission to make some mistakes, even step backward if necessary in order to move ahead.

atr
May. 14, 2012, 06:23 PM
And it's even worse if you have a horse that's been injured or sick and you are irrationally afraid to push the envelope in case you break them...

goodpony
May. 14, 2012, 06:33 PM
And it's even worse if you have a horse that's been injured or sick and you are irrationally afraid to push the envelope in case you break them...

Yep, this too--definitely a contributor in our situation.

mbm
May. 14, 2012, 06:35 PM
yep this is so where I am at right now too---in my case though I realize it partially my fear of making mistakes that Im not asking for enough. Too often I find myself throwing away the connection when at this point the lines of communication are open and the basics are all solid. Im not talking about 'yank, crank, spank' but at least where Im concerned its past time to expect more.

Im giving myself permission to make some mistakes, even step backward if necessary in order to move ahead.

now, see - that is me. i want to be perfect all.the.time. and so i don't like to make mistakes -Especially in front of my trainer - whom i respect a ton.

i ride well, i have a nice seat, etc. but sheesh. my trainer gets on and no matter what horse (or pony!) it is they are 100% *more* when he gets off. He tells me i can do it too if only i were more determined!

this is where i want to stamp my feet and tell myself "self! get over it already and RIDE!! - you are NOT going to hurt them and there is no law against using your hands (or whatever other hang up i have) life to too short and when you are 80 you will be PO'd that you didn't take this time to let go of all that bs that you *think* is correct and learn to ride well"!!

(i hope i heard what i just said lol)

quietann
May. 14, 2012, 08:32 PM
And it's even worse if you have a horse that's been injured or sick and you are irrationally afraid to push the envelope in case you break them...

Oh yeah, BTDT and still in that mindset to some degree. I am not trying to push the mare up the levels, so that's not the issue... but if I feel the slightest wobble in her hind end I kind of panic, because I want to keep riding her and not have to retire her. We take too many (and too long) walk breaks when we are on our own, which doesn't do either of us any favors.

nhwr
May. 14, 2012, 09:25 PM
My horse and I are getting back to work after an injury (mine). She is trained (PSG-ish) and older, just turned 20. We had about 10 months off and have been back at work since the 1st of the year as consistently as weather has allowed. She is worked in hand once a week and a trainer rides her a couple of times a month.

Saturday I had the best ride on her I've had in years and I think it was because I expected her to really do her job from the beginning of the ride. When I asked her to walk off from the mounting block, she gave her usually "I am going (sort of)" walk and I thought "Sheesh I'm only asking you to walk, so let's do it!". I stopped her and asked again. Got a better response but not a march. So we halted and tried again with a tickle from the whip for inspiration. That was not very well received so we tried again with a bit of a whack and she trotted off smartly, for switch she got a pat. We halted and tried the walk transition again and I got a very nice transition.

Then nhwr is riding around with a little light bulb over her head. I just knew that the occasional mediocre results we got were the result of my expectations. I changed my approach for the ride. I only asked for what I knew I could ask for clearly (I am still developing my fitness after sometime off and inconsistency) and I would only accept a good honest result. She was so good; responsive and light that I was done in 20 minutes. She gave me 3 truly remarkable half halts.

Whadda ya know!, there is a 3rd level horse inside her, not for more than the long side of the arena. But that's OK with me, we can definitely build on that. During the ride, she had hardly broken a sweat, but it was interesting where she did; her back top between the saddle and her tail, her stifles and her butt cheeks.

I had a lessons today and found it hard to keep the same level of expectation when we were working on things that are challenging for me. And I don't mind making mistakes in front of my trainer. If I could do it perfectly, why on earth would I be paying her. I want her to find my weaknesses and remove them. I went back to being demanding during our cool down, same positive results :yes:

PossumHorse
May. 14, 2012, 09:41 PM
I have to keep working to tell myself that it is kinder to be 'ruthless' for 15 seconds than to nag for half an hour.

Remember get the point across with a correction as strong as necessary and then stay quiet (now if I could only do what I say).

2tempe
May. 14, 2012, 10:56 PM
My trainer told me this winter "you are a laid back personality and so is the mare. One of you needs to up the ante, and I'm guessing it wont be the mare volunteering..."

I have really worked on this and though periodically we still have an occasional "discussion" I'm finding that the girly is now taking me seriously, so I can ride w/ a lighter hand and leg while still getting a prompt response or transition. Should have figured this out a while ago... but oh, la di da...:winkgrin:

cadance
May. 15, 2012, 08:59 AM
In the last few months I've gotten a lot better at not "being too nice", because it finally clicked that I won't get anywhere with my mare if I don't lay the smackdown by insisting on MY plan while riding, instead of giving in to her tantrums and accomplishing nothing (except teaching her she's the boss and screwing myself even more). Now that I don't take her sh!t like I used to, we've come a looong way in a short time and she's enjoying work more and more.

merrygoround
May. 15, 2012, 09:05 AM
I never considered that riders were being easy on their horse. I think they're just being easy on themselves.

Many days it takes focus on the goal, so much so that you ride through the "it's time for a rest break" thought. Too much momentum lost.

elleng0728
May. 15, 2012, 09:12 AM
Also going through this right now. My gelding can do the work. I just have to get over my own insecurities in being able to ride his bigger movements. I've told my trainer to keep pushing me and now I need to live up to it with him.

beckzert
May. 15, 2012, 10:46 AM
I see this a lot. There's nothing wrong with being "nice", if by "nice" you mean "fair". But being "nice" meaning not demanding that the horse listen to your aids so you keep nagging every stride, you are just creating a spoiled child and more work for yourself. I have a horse in training right now that has gotten like this. The other day I lunged him for the first time and you would think that by touching him with the whip on the haunches when he was blatantly ignoring me and stopping I'd stabbed him in the side. But then he was more obedient, so I was able to be nice and give him a carrot:winkgrin:

I think I can get a little too tough on my horse. Not that I'm being cruel or anything, but sometimes I know that I have tried to accomplish more than I should have. She tries very hard, and so do I, so sometimes moderation is the hardest thing for us. But I'm at least aware of when I make this mistake and make it up to her with an extra gallop in the field or massage.

Just remember, you can't be as mean to your horse as the other horses are to him!

mzpeepers
May. 15, 2012, 11:26 AM
Since so much of dressage is rider error i actually feel many riders myself included could ask more of themselves too...This.
I'm sick of people, trainers included, blaming the horse.
Learn to ride, to really ride. Learn to feel. Everything else will fall into place.

goodpony
May. 15, 2012, 12:49 PM
I think they're just being easy on themselves.


I don't think so--many of us have jobs, families, children, farms and a multitude of other commitments pulling us in every direction. Many of us are on a budget plan. Some of us do not have access to full training or even partial training---some of us are 'flying solo' at home with only limited access to "eyes on the ground' time or even exposure to other riders to bounce ideas off. I personally don't have someone to 'push me'---yet I am both dedicated and committed to making progress happen. I am my own worst critic--I am not now or ever have been easy on myself--when things don't go right I am the only one I can legitamitely point the finger at. I can happily own my mistakes and try to learn from them in order to bring our training to the next level. Slow progress is better than no progress.

nhwr
May. 15, 2012, 02:08 PM
I'm sick of people, trainers included, blaming the horse.

How could it possibly be the horse's fault if the rider isn't expecting enough?

KO
May. 15, 2012, 02:47 PM
These international riders headed to the Olympics are not settling for a negotiation with their horses. They are dictating the ride, which gives the horse confidence that the horse can depend on the rider.

Do you think Totilas was handled with kid gloves, given sugar and carrots and asked "please" to turn out the way he did???. Don't think so.

I have developed a young horse with the help of my trainer. My trainer is quite correct in telling me to have a standard of obedience/submission, holding my horse to that standard and to keep raising the bar as the horse's training continues--firm, but reassuring and encouraging. My mare is 7 yo and schooling PSG happily and sound as a result.

IMHO there are too many riders who treat their horses like people and let the horse dictate what goes on--much to the detriment of the horse and the safety of the rider. Horses want a heard leader!!!!

Trevelyan96
May. 15, 2012, 03:02 PM
Yep, I have this same problem. Although I can be quite firm with my horses when needed, so I wouldn't say that I'm "too nice", I am entirely too patient and conservative when it comes to increasing my expectations. I don't push the envelope at all.

This is me in a nutshell. I got a wakeup call when I put a kick@$$ 21 year old jumper rider on Rico and saw how much she can get out of him.

NOMIOMI1
May. 15, 2012, 03:16 PM
These international riders headed to the Olympics are not settling for a negotiation with their horses. They are dictating the ride, which gives the horse confidence that the horse can depend on the rider.

Do you think Totilas was handled with kid gloves, given sugar and carrots and asked "please" to turn out the way he did???. Don't think so.

I have developed a young horse with the help of my trainer. My trainer is quite correct in telling me to have a standard of obedience/submission, holding my horse to that standard and to keep raising the bar as the horse's training continues--firm, but reassuring and encouraging. My mare is 7 yo and schooling PSG happily and sound as a result.

IMHO there are too many riders who treat their horses like people and let the horse dictate what goes on--much to the detriment of the horse and the safety of the rider. Horses want a heard leader!!!!

I would agree with all of this if I felt that the next Edward Gal could be found at most local barns :lol:

I would also agree with it if 1/100th of the riders I knew worked on themselves as much as international competitors do.

Horses are a reflection of their riders. Being firm but wrong does NOTHING to help a situation.

Find out how to be right first... That is my plan for myself :lol:

meupatdoes
May. 15, 2012, 04:14 PM
Horses are a reflection of their riders. Being firm but wrong does NOTHING to help a situation.

Find out how to be right first... That is my plan for myself :lol:

Yes it actually does.
If you come in to an off distance to a fence and whiffle about, you'll get the emergency brakes.
If you come in to an off distance to a fence and say, "OH WELL, WE'RE STILL GOING!" you have a shot.

Fear of making mistakes or "not being right" is imo one of the #1 things that holds people back. They don't want to pull too much so they never use the rein ever. They aren't sure if their aids are perfect so they never say, "OMFG, JUST GO!!" when asking for a canter depart. Horse displays the slightest bit of resistance, utopia is shaken slightly, and the horse gets a week off to recuperate and feel better.

I sure as shizzle do not always ask for everything as correctly and with as much beautiful timing as Edward Gal does it, but rather than waiting around for the ability to give my horse the absolutely most optimal Edward Gal quality aid? You know what? I put leg on, horse. Move your heinie butt OVER. I don't even care how but my line of vision better be sliding sideways along the short side I'm looking at and we can work out the rest later.

Has my little precious poopsiekins stood up and flipped me the bird in a couple of legyields, ever? Yep. Did the quality of my preparation and requesting aid probably leave quite a lot to be desired? He certainly seemed to think so. Did I think about how to possibly ride that better next time? Sure. You know, AFTER he got a wallop and was told to put his feet back on the floor and MOVE OVER.

Of course there is a line to be drawn between just cranking around willy nilly and actually trying to ride correctly and fluidly at some point, but you have to allow for some "ugly" along the way. From both the horse and the rider.

We can't always fart butterflies.

goodpony
May. 15, 2012, 04:46 PM
Of course there is a line to be drawn between just cranking around willy nilly and actually trying to ride correctly and fluidly at some point, but you have to allow for some "ugly" along the way. From both the horse and the rider.

We can't always fart butterflies. :lol:

very true---good riding is not always pretty and pretty riding is not always effective.

mbm
May. 15, 2012, 04:48 PM
This.
I'm sick of people, trainers included, blaming the horse.
Learn to ride, to really ride. Learn to feel. Everything else will fall into place.

sure, but still a rider needs to step up to the plate and really ride if they want to get the best out of any horse. having a good seat and decent feel isnt enough (ask how i know ;))

NErider
May. 15, 2012, 04:49 PM
:lol:

very true---good riding is not always pretty and pretty riding is not always effective.

Amen!

mbm
May. 15, 2012, 04:50 PM
Fear of making mistakes or "not being right" is imo one of the #1 things that holds people back. They don't want to pull too much so they never use the rein ever. They aren't sure if their aids are perfect so they never say, "OMFG, JUST GO!!" when asking for a canter depart. Horse displays the slightest bit of resistance, utopia is shaken slightly, and the horse gets a week off to recuperate and feel better.


perfect! and so true!

NOMIOMI1
May. 15, 2012, 04:53 PM
Meu Im sure have a point...

But there is always balance. Forcing a horse but being wrong is not good, but neither is being a powder puff on a keg of dynamite.

I still think people should qualify what it is they are doing BEFORE they hurah and say BE TOUGHER!

Was my point... No farting needed :lol:

NOMIOMI1
May. 15, 2012, 04:54 PM
:lol:

very true---good riding is not always pretty and pretty riding is not always effective.

Pretty? I think most judges would settle for less than terrible! lol

MelantheLLC
May. 15, 2012, 04:57 PM
Yes it actually does.
If you come in to an off distance to a fence and whiffle about, you'll get the emergency brakes.
If you come in to an off distance to a fence and say, "OH WELL, WE'RE STILL GOING!" you have a shot.

Fear of making mistakes or "not being right" is imo one of the #1 things that holds people back. They don't want to pull too much so they never use the rein ever. They aren't sure if their aids are perfect so they never say, "OMFG, JUST GO!!" when asking for a canter depart. Horse displays the slightest bit of resistance, utopia is shaken slightly, and the horse gets a week off to recuperate and feel better.

I sure as shizzle do not always ask for everything as correctly and with as much beautiful timing as Edward Gal does it, but rather than waiting around for the ability to give my horse the absolutely most optimal Edward Gal quality aid? You know what? I put leg on, horse. Move your heinie butt OVER. I don't even care how but my line of vision better be sliding sideways along the short side I'm looking at and we can work out the rest later.

Has my little precious poopsiekins stood up and flipped me the bird in a couple of legyields, ever? Yep. Did the quality of my preparation and requesting aid probably leave quite a lot to be desired? He certainly seemed to think so. Did I think about how to possibly ride that better next time? Sure. You know, AFTER he got a wallop and was told to put his feet back on the floor and MOVE OVER.

Of course there is a line to be drawn between just cranking around willy nilly and actually trying to ride correctly and fluidly at some point, but you have to allow for some "ugly" along the way. From both the horse and the rider.

We can't always fart butterflies.

I don't disagree in the examples you've given, but to me, "firm but wrong" would mean more like, being inconsistent and punishing the horse for not figuring out which of two things I'm asking for at the same time.

Some level of consistency has to be there for the horse to understand what's asked--IE, if I think I'm giving an aid to leg yield, but in fact I'm all twisted up and actually contradicting my leg with my seat (of course I would NEVER do this myself, entirely theoretical ya know :lol: ) and then I wallop him for not responding to my leg--I think that's being firm but wrong.

So many times I've tried and tried and become so frustrated because he just "won't respond" and then I realize that I'm asking for the opposite in some way. I correct myself and hey, magic, he does what I asked like a dream.

nhwr
May. 15, 2012, 05:02 PM
Being right all the time implies there is always a perfect choice. IME, that isn't always the case. But there are usually some choices that are better than others. For example when I was riding this am, it was a bit breezy and the winter blankets were drying/flapping on the solar powered dryer (ie the clothesline). That got a few attempts at a hairy eye ball. Plus the yard maintenance guys were there with their weed whackers and blowers. Nothing particularly scary but oh my! that is certainly a lot to process, I am thinking. Then one of the guys jumps up in the back of the truck (that is parked next to the arena) and starts rummaging around for a tool.

I find my self thinking about how I am going to deal with the spook I think might be coming instead of thinking about doing something to keep her on my aids. Millisecond reminder of my new operator attitude and I shift gears to give her something else to think about and do.

And so we went right by the truck in a very forward collected trot in which she was probably fairly over-flexed. Not exactly right but a pretty good solution and now she thinks that maybe mom really is driving.

Funny thing is, I used to know these things .....

ETA; The horse should never have to figure out which of two things you are asking for at the same time. It is the rider's job to determine the priority.

belgianWBLuver
May. 15, 2012, 05:27 PM
...If you come in to an off distance to a fence and say, "OH WELL, WE'RE STILL GOING!" you have a shot.
Fear of making mistakes or "not being right" is imo one of the #1 things that holds people back. They don't want to pull too much so they never use the rein ever. They aren't sure if their aids are perfect so they never say, "OMFG, JUST GO!!" when asking for a canter depart. Horse displays the slightest bit of resistance, utopia is shaken slightly, and the horse gets a week off to recuperate and feel better...

This^^^ Oh and:


...
Has my little precious poopsiekins stood up and flipped me the bird in a couple of legyields, ever? ...We can't always fart butterflies.

:lol::lol::lol: Thx! I need to clean my keyboard off now

ThreeFigs
May. 15, 2012, 11:29 PM
Meupatdoes rocks!

Big_Grey_hunter
May. 15, 2012, 11:42 PM
Meupatdoes- That post sounded exactly what my trainer tells me! My horse has an incredible ability to convince I'm doing everything wrong, to the point I agree with him and don't do anything at all (Horsie gives me the finger when I put leg on, so I must be putting leg on wrong and better not put any leg on at all!). My trainer says "It's better to make a wrong decision and follow through then make no decision at all.

easyrider
May. 16, 2012, 11:40 AM
When I see riders that I think are being too easy on their horses, I'm reminded of this:

Beginners correct the mistake after it happens, intermediate riders correct the mistake the moment it happens, and advanced riders prevent the mistake.

It's as if, out of love and kindness, riders give their horses way too much "benefit of the doubt." And then, when the horse repeats the same mistakes again and again, or doesn't progress, all of a sudden, these riders are told to be harder on their horses. That's not really the problem.

It's not about being easy or tough as much as it is being aware. You can have just as much compassion and love for the horse you're on while you make the right choice easy for him.

What you have to do is be tough on yourself and make it easy for the horse. As Bert deNemethy said, "the horse goes the way you ride him." So if you want your horse to go better, you need to focus on your riding and less on "making" the horse do something.

Of course, if your horse is spoiled, it's a different story. You may have to put him in boot camp with a pro and be ready to change the relationship when you get back on. If you're already "too easy," then you won't be able to run a very effective boot camp....but if it's not too far gone, boot camp can be as little as a day and usually not more than a week.

Velvet
May. 16, 2012, 12:27 PM
Beginners correct the mistake after it happens, intermediate riders correct the mistake the moment it happens, and advanced riders prevent the mistake.

What you have to do is be tough on yourself and make it easy for the horse. As Bert deNemethy said, "the horse goes the way you ride him." So if you want your horse to go better, you need to focus on your riding and less on "making" the horse do something.



^This.^ :yes: :yes:

HTC
May. 16, 2012, 12:48 PM
Fear of making mistakes or "not being right" is imo one of the #1 things that holds people back. They don't want to pull too much so they never use the rein ever. They aren't sure if their aids are perfect so they never say, "OMFG, JUST GO!!" when asking for a canter depart.


I am too nice. Not the good kind either, the kind where I let the horse decide half the time! I attribute it to my lack of experience. If the horse doesn't respond to me it's because I'm not asking right! And this is reinforced as I progress. For example sometimes getting into a trot takes me asking 10 times. But sometimes it happens right away. Then I realized the other day that I get a better response when I put my legs back a little farther and squeeze. I get frustrated when I ask and ask and ask and my trainer tells me to use the whip. I don't WANT to use the whip. I want to be asking the right way! Not asking the wrong way and then demanding the horse respond when he doesn't know what I want. I do that and we end up all wonky, with a head turned right, sidestepping left, and all I want is a canter departure. I'm just hoping as I learn I know when to be harder in the horse because I'm confident in my own abilities.

RedHorses
May. 16, 2012, 12:49 PM
I like that bit about how various experience levels handle mistakes too easyrider!

I feel like banging my head against a wall some days when someone says "My horse always does X when I want to Y. I hate that." And I'm standing there thinking "And yet you are SURPRISED when he does X EVERY SINGLE TIME!?!?" The rider is supposed to be the brains of the outfit! :lol:

witherbee
May. 16, 2012, 03:22 PM
Guilty as charged - I am often too "soft" on my guy and that can lead to nagging. We are working on it, but for some reason it is just not easy for me to ask once and expect that immediate response. Might come from my hunter days when it seemed everyone would just say "MORE LEG!". I do "get" that it makes much more sense and is more effective and even kinder in the long run to ask, then tap with the whip or get stronger if my guy keeps punking along at the walk instead of marching, but for some reason I am slow to respond. When it comes to the trot and canter, I can sometimes ask TOO strongly and I get a large reaction, so just something I need to regulate.

Good thread and timely, as we are starting to really get into dressage now and I am understanding more what that means as far as having my horse in front of my leg and carrying himself. The good news is that my trainer says I have "feel" and that my horse is talented. We are having a lot of fun!

suzier444
May. 16, 2012, 04:35 PM
Fear of making mistakes or "not being right" is imo one of the #1 things that holds people back. They don't want to pull too much so they never use the rein ever.

Oh this is so me. I'm more consistent with follow-through on seat and leg aids, but I get vague with the rein aids because I'm so afraid of doing it wrong that I hesitate when I try to "go there." So while I'm not naggy with the forward aids, I get vague in the contact. I need to knock that off and trust that the earth will not cease to rotate if I make small mistakes.

yaya
May. 16, 2012, 05:00 PM
Beginners correct the mistake after it happens, intermediate riders correct the mistake the moment it happens, and advanced riders prevent the mistake.


I like that.

It kind of goes along with: Amateurs practice until they get it right, pros practice until they can't get it wrong.

Carol Ames
May. 16, 2012, 05:06 PM
the whip reinforces the leg; I'm sure youu've heard that ad nauseaum:lol: Do remind yourself that you want the horse to be light and a pleasure to ride:yes::cool: so you, the rider must accept the responsibility to ensure he responds to a very light aid:yes:





Guilty as charged - I am often too "soft" on my guy and that can lead to nagging. We are working on it, but for some reason it is just not easy for me to ask once and expect that immediate response. Might come from my hunter days when it seemed everyone would just say "MORE LEG!". I do "get" that it makes much more sense and is more effective and even kinder in the long run to ask, then tap with the whip or get stronger if my guy keeps punking along at the walk instead of marching, but for some reason I am slow to respond. When it comes to the trot and canter, I can sometimes ask TOO strongly and I get a large reaction, so just something I need to regulate.

Good thread and timely, as we are starting to really get into dressage now and I am understanding more what that means as far as having my horse in front of my leg and carrying himself. The good news is that my trainer says I have "feel" and that my horse is talented. We are having a lot of fun!

NOMIOMI1
May. 16, 2012, 05:14 PM
Carol has it:)

I try not to look at it as a mistake the horse is making but more of me not preparing the horse to respond correctly.

If they are not responding then he/she is not on the aids :)

nhwr
May. 16, 2012, 09:04 PM
Horses are genetically wired to follow the leader. When you let the horse decide or give conflicting directions, you aren't the leader. That tends to make most horses insecure and brings out their natural flight response (or in the case of a mare with alpha tendencies, they just take over, lol). Either way it puts the horse in a difficult situation. The rider wants pleasant submission but isn't doing what is needed for the horse to feel secure. At best the horse just sort of learns to ignore the rider, at worst it is a dangerous situation.

As a warmup for both of us, I walk my horse in hand around the arena for about 10 minutes before I get on. Lately, I have been asking that the first (and every) transition or response be crisp. If it doesn't meet my expectations, we do it again with proper re-enforcement. It is really making a difference in the quality of our work out. This is making things much easier for both of us. And ultimately I think we both like it much better.

mishmash
May. 16, 2012, 10:39 PM
:lol:

very true---good riding is not always pretty and pretty riding is not always effective.

THIS. So many AA's pick a trainer based on 'pretty' vs effective. Ideally, we would all like to be both-but if I have to choose one or the other, give me effective. I want a trainer who can walk the walk, and get the job done-not just look pretty while talking theory...

Lokahi
May. 16, 2012, 10:57 PM
I don't believe its in being "too nice", but not assertive enough, there is confusion that the contrary of being "too nice", is being mean and aggressive.. There is a balance in between, where you are as nice as the horse needs at a time..
This may seem a bit foggy, but for example, for a leg yield, you'll start with the "nicest", "softest" ask you can do, if the horse doesn't respond then you increase towards more and more assertiveness, going all the way until the horse does a move in the right direction, and becoming super nice again when he/she gets it.. and repeat wanting to have to apply less pressure, being "nice" every time.. Help your horse as much as possible.

The most work must be done by the rider. In being less confusing, simplifying, thinking, planning what you want out of the session. In really feeling when it is right and make a big show of it.. so that the horse knows clearly when it is on the right path. This timing is the job of the rider. The release is the answer for the horse.. don't go until he/she starts to stop doing it to reward.. bad timing just confuses your horse.
If you get strong with your horse, it'll only get stronger and heavier on you..

Happy Training