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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2003
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    Wet and Windy Washington
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    3,777

    Default 'We're not curing cancer!'

    I just reread a DT article by Robert Dover and I have to say it was a refreshing kick in the a**.

    His comments on pushing and asking for extremes and not worrying about failure was inspirational to me in a sport that is all about harmony and softness.

    I'm not saying forgo any harmony or softness but sometimes if you don't push you'll never know. And sometimes in pushing it can get ugly before it gets beautiful.

    I think as an AA rider we're often lead to believe it should always be beautiful and never ugly/bad and that if we push to much we'll forever ruin our horse.

    I went out the last two days and rode with the thought that it may get ugly (and did) but I KNOW my horse can canter light, balanced and collected but that he would rather canter with his inside shoulder dropped on the forhand.

    So it DID get ugly for a few minutes as I decided to make him carry himself and slow down but then it was BEAUTIFUL.

    So just a reminder.....we're not curing cancer...stop being so scared to ask for more. Worse case scenario you've got to go back and correct it, so what? Best case you may get something special
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    10,322

    Thumbs up

    I rode with a BNT and was attempting to maintain my "position", no matter what, and my horse kept ducking out on one corner. Finally I was informed that they didn't care how I fixed it, but I must fix it. As I approached that corner, I gave a good tug on the inside rein, and a mighty kick with the outside leg. I received a "Well done!" And learned a valuable lesson. An "Aha! moment" This was 45 years ago.

    "Pretty is, as pretty does".
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 16, 2003
    Posts
    2,987

    Default

    Most of the horses I've rode had more dressage knowledge than I did, so I was able to explore some more advanced things without "pushing" the horse. I did have to work on basics most of the time, though! I do tend to assume that with any horse, if they don't do what I want, that I probably didn't ask correctly or set them up properly.
    Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2006
    Posts
    477

    Default

    My trainer was kind enough to let me sit in as an auditor during her recent cliinc with a BNT. She rides a Grand Prix schoolmaster. Yet, the majority of her session was spent battling to get that boy straight and connected inside-hind-to-outside-shoulder. He knows how to do it, but you have to make him. She was exhausted, but when she finally got him carrying himself correctly - five strides of pure WOW.

    It was eye-opening for me - no matter how well your horse is trained, you need to push to get it absolutely right, all the time.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 1999
    Location
    Midland, NC, USA
    Posts
    7,239

    Default

    Some riders are so afraid of making a mistake or looking foolish that they'd rather just do NOTHING and the horse learns pretty quickly that if they ignore Request #1 then there will be no reinforcement. Someone is getting trained and it is not the horse!

    I tend to err on the side of "ask once, then INSIST" when I know the horse understands what I'm asking for. At the very least when I give an aid, I dang well expect a response, even if it is a green horse and they give me the completely wrong response. A response, even if it's wrong, I can give the horse feedback--"no, no, that leg aid didn't mean run off, let's try again" or "good pony, see how I soften my hand when you move off my inside leg"--if I get no response at all, not much to work with....

    Jennifer



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 5, 2006
    Posts
    5,045

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JackSprats Mom View Post
    I just reread a DT article by Robert Dover and I have to say it was a refreshing kick in the a**.

    His comments on pushing and asking for extremes and not worrying about failure was inspirational to me in a sport that is all about harmony and softness.

    I'm not saying forgo any harmony or softness but sometimes if you don't push you'll never know. And sometimes in pushing it can get ugly before it gets beautiful.
    I think as an AA rider we're often lead to believe it should always be beautiful and never ugly/bad and that if we push to much we'll forever ruin our horse.

    I went out the last two days and rode with the thought that it may get ugly (and did) but I KNOW my horse can canter light, balanced and collected but that he would rather canter with his inside shoulder dropped on the forhand.

    So it DID get ugly for a few minutes as I decided to make him carry himself and slow down but then it was BEAUTIFUL.

    So just a reminder.....we're not curing cancer...stop being so scared to ask for more. Worse case scenario you've got to go back and correct it, so what? Best case you may get something special
    Yep..this has been my experience. I resorted to some of Chris Cox's techinques on a horse who braced against the hand/disrepectful. Add to this, some of Tommy Garland's flexion exercises..and suddenly princess had a new attitude about life...spent about a week doing CC's techniques and suddenly she stopped trying to brace and pull.

    I did all of this work by myself and when the trainer came back to work with us...the response was literally shock. This is the same horse that we had really considered selling as a hunter...trainer even one day made a comment as they set up jumps.."Hey Princess, this should scare you over the jump, I"m putting dressage letters underneath it."

    After a few weeks of ugly..."YOU WILL" rides, we have a horse who is sitting at the canter, a horse who is starting flying lead changes, a horse who can do walk/canter/walk beautifully walk pirouettes, half pass, etc....all because I finally allowed myself to have a few ugly rides on her.....I, too, thought it was always supposed to be beautiful and flowing...not always the case.

    And btw..I love Robert Dover.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 21, 2007
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    1,089

    Default

    One of my early lesson with a BNT (German) on a schoolmaster, I was an utter novice at the time. BNT wants canter/walks. I get canter/trots the whole time. BNT keeps saying: Horse is still trotting, but I wanted you to ride a walk transition. Finally I mustered up the courage to ask: BUT HOW? In my head I expected the whole: weight here, legs there, half-halt this, flex that etc. Answer was: PULL HARDER! I broke out in laughter, and so did my friend who was watching. It worked!
    "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 1, 2008
    Posts
    43

    Default

    Sometimes ... you gotta ride 'em like you stole 'em.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 26, 2007
    Posts
    789

    Default Ugly

    This is a reassuring thread. I had the _worst_ lesson the other day -- unbelievably ugly. Horse did not care for working in a sodden ring with mud splashing on her delicate belly (she lives outside 24/7, but apparently ring mud is different from pasture mud) and was not shy about expressing her opinions, in addition to my shoulders being very twisted and losing my leg position every 5 seconds. But, trainer made noises of distinct pleasure about the ride. "Are you kidding me?" I asked her. "No, we really made progress," she said. I still don't believe her, but I think this is a good thread to read anyway. :-)



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2003
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    Wet and Windy Washington
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    Default

    SharonA- stay at it! I had ugly for 2 days at the beginning of insisting my horse really could canter nicely and today...I asked...and lo and behold he popped right into a beautful canter, no uglies no nothing
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2001
    Posts
    9,061

    Default

    I have never done well at a show when I didn't have at least one ride that really sucked the week before. The reason; I'd start to school like it truly mattered and HRH didn't necessarily care for the demands.

    Oh well...

    Bottom line - you have more and so do they
    See those flying monkeys? They work for me.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 31, 2001
    Location
    West of insanity, east of apathy, deep in the heart of Texas.
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    15,797

    Default

    In one of my favorite movies, teacher Jaime Escalante states, "Students will rise to the level of expectation." I agree. And I agree that horses are no different. It is our responsibility to insist on getting what we ask for, even if how we ask isn't absolutely perfect. The horse needs to get the message anyway, and believe me, most of the time they do.

    Ask once, ask twice, then tell. That's my philosophy and it's served me well. And if "telling" translates to a snatch on the rein and a spur in the side because ponykins has decided to ignore me, well isn't that just too freaking bad?!?!? Wasn't my idea for ponykins to be uncooperative in the first place. Horses, like children, need to have limits set, and to respond properly to requests. Anything else leads to anarchy.
    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
    A life lived by example, done too soon.
    www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/



  13. #13
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    Mar. 16, 2003
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    Wet and Windy Washington
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    Default

    Ask once, ask twice, then tell. That's my philosophy and it's served me well. And if "telling" translates to a snatch on the rein and a spur in the side because ponykins has decided to ignore me, well isn't that just too freaking bad?!?!?
    But, and maybe this is just me, I'm made to feel that it should all be nicey nicey and there should be no ugly moments (folks are especially critical on this board should you, god forbid, say things got ugly)

    And its true, if you don't ask you don't get, and sometimes making the point clear isn't always going to be pretty.
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 28, 2008
    Location
    Chester County, PA
    Posts
    529

    Default

    My 2 year old KWPN gelding is not backed yet so we do in hand work. I have learned that when he is not responding to something I am asking him to do all I need to do is make a huge exageration of the instruction and it gets ugly for a minute and then he is lovely.

    I have filed this all away and I will bet my bottom dollar I will need to do this under saddle with him all his life to push for the right thing once in a while. I wouldn't have had the nerve to do that with a horse 20 years ago but time does provide wisdom and as long as you are not abusing the horse and causing him pain then pushing through the resistance is the right thing to do. Then they learn they can do it and they understand what you want and will want to do it again for you.

    So I am right with Robert Dover on this.
    *Every horse is a self-portrait of the rider....Autograph your work with excellence.*
    Supporting Nokotas www.nokotahorse.org
    Lipizzan's rock! http://rigitta.blogspot.com/



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2006
    Location
    Larkspur, Colo.
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    4,871

    Thumbs up

    I like this thread.

    The hard part is learning the difference between the good ugly and the bad ugly. Once you figure that out, you've got it made.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 3, 2004
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    2,088

    Default

    Great post. We need MORE of this.

    I was watching a clinic ride yesterday where the AA rider was struggling to "get what ever she was working on RIGHT". She rode right after a professional.

    The clinician said, "don't be afraid to make mistakes, you have to experiment to see what works with your horse. It may not be pretty today, but you'll never get it right if you don't try different things."

    The clinician meant within certain parameters, of course. But it was so freeing for the rider. You could SEE the relief and willingness to try the alternatives the clinician was expecting. And the rider came out of the clinic with a smile saying, she (the clinician) gave me tools to use.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2006
    Posts
    97

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ESG View Post
    In one of my favorite movies, teacher Jaime Escalante states, "Students will rise to the level of expectation." I agree. And I agree that horses are no different. It is our responsibility to insist on getting what we ask for, even if how we ask isn't absolutely perfect. The horse needs to get the message anyway, and believe me, most of the time they do.

    Ask once, ask twice, then tell. That's my philosophy and it's served me well. And if "telling" translates to a snatch on the rein and a spur in the side because ponykins has decided to ignore me, well isn't that just too freaking bad?!?!? Wasn't my idea for ponykins to be uncooperative in the first place. Horses, like children, need to have limits set, and to respond properly to requests. Anything else leads to anarchy.
    Agree 100%



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
    Posts
    22,424

    Default

    I don't remember which old timey BNR said this but it has stayed with me.

    "Sometimes you must drop all form and simply make the horse mind."

    I like ESG's post too.



  19. #19
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    Jan. 4, 2000
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    24,408

    Default

    A dressage rider has to be very firm with the horse sometimes and very light and soft at other times. Some people are all one or the other - it's hard to be adjustable and responsive.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2001
    Posts
    9,061

    Default

    You can't bronc them all.

    My current horse, a mare, is an interesting personality. She has a calm and steady temperament but she is sensitive too. We have had our moments were we have had to confront things. But if you don't treat her properly things melt down quickly. So I have to ride smarter. With her, I have found that true commitment in my mind to the task at hand is usually enough. If I pop her with the whip or a spur, we get through it but in the end it is just not worth it. If I say "We are doing this, get over it" and continue to ride tactfully, things generally go more productively.

    The other thing I try when the going get tough is to just get submission. Back up and try things that I know she will do that prepare her better for what I am asking, sort of getting her in the habit of saying yes and then coming back to the difficult issue that works pretty well too.
    See those flying monkeys? They work for me.



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