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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 23, 2005
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    Default How do you (mentally) deal w/ the training process?

    Gah.

    I am needing advice or just a friendly sympathetic ear on how to manage the mental/emotional part of the training process, LOL. Let's be clear, I'm in it as much as she is. We are working with a fantastic trainer, someone who truly challenges us but brings out our best we both didn't know we had.

    My mare, a green bean, and I have embarked down the Golden Pathway. She was green when I got her, full of potential. She still is both of those things. As we learn sometimes we it feels like we take 1 step forward to go 3 backwards, temporarily forget to do what we've learned for the sake of learning something else, knowing it'll get put back together later. I know the end result will be good, I've seen it happen time and again, I can already feel the positive in our own journey too.

    But the bumps in the road...yes, the bumps- how do you deal with them? When you are not in the saddle, sitting at work, wondering what you should do about it, if anything, or when it'll change?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2009
    Location
    North Carolina
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    5,238

    Default

    Remember training is not a linear process. It's more like a drunken stumble with lots of circles. Horses have bad hair days just like people. It's important to stay focused on the big picture. That's why I find blogging so satisfying, or you could just keep a training journal. Because then you look back and go "OMG, four years ago, we couldn't canter on the longeline without horse bolting away in terror and in the past year, our event scores in the dressage arena went from 55 to 35." Just keep chanting, big picture, BIG PICTURE.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
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    Tucson
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    5,925

    Default

    I have a mantra. "I want to compete and grow with this horse for the next 12 years." I repeat it to myself regularly - and most often when I realize we've worked as much as he should be working that day and he throws a hissy fit over feeling it is NOT enough and we shouldn't stop yet.

    I'm the most type A, driven person I know... but have been outdone by my horse's work ethic. It's a bizarre world.

    (Why 12 years? He's 8, and I figure by 20 years old he might just feel ready to retire from the show ring, even if he isn't willing to actually retire. Maybe then he can become a schoolmaster at whatever level we've gotten through.)
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2010
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    south
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    627

    Default

    What I usually do is the next few times I tack up and ride my goal for the ride is to work on relaxation. Something good usually pops up during these rides, and guide me again.

    Or work on something simple that you both do well, so you leave with a positive note.

    You will be learning ALOT of patience. Re-evaluate monthy instead of daily-giving yourself a longer timeframe to reach each goal.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2004
    Posts
    7,538

    Default

    think about how you yourself learn. you are not able to get everything everytime something new is taught.

    and also horses learn so so differently that us. it might really help you to look into horse learning psychology.

    horses are very literal. and they can and will learn the wrong thing is your timing is off.

    i am finding clicker training fascinating because it really shows how timing is so critical.

    so training will have bumps and steps forwards and backwards - it is natural. but each step should be LOGICAL to the horse. if the horse is showing signs of confusion, resistance etc it is time to look at how you are teaching him.

    also, dont put emotional baggage on your training. but DO pay attention to whether you are progressing easily. if not it might be time to rethink what you are doing.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2010
    Location
    West Michigan
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    447

    Default

    Hack. When you get to a point where you are frusterated and seem to pick more fights then anything else, just hack.

    You and your horse will feel better and good chances are that tomorrow you will be in a better mental place to have a positive ride

    Then go have a glass of wine LMAO
    Concordia means "Harmony" in Latin.
    Full Time Dressage Addict



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
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    Greensboro, NC
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    35,693

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wildlifer View Post
    It's more like a drunken stumble with lots of circles.
    I'm so going to have to borrow that
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2008
    Location
    West Chicago, Illinois
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    Default

    Just try to stay positive, and believe that you will get to where you want in time. Training is hard it is not for cowards you throw your heart out there and you think that you are doing everything right and it still it does not work. Then one day the clouds part and you have the best ride ever. And that friends is why we do it we get off on the days that we have the best ride ever.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
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    I remember how in the end, every single one of them got trained and trained well. It helps to have a track record LOL
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2003
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    somewhere. out there.
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    2,403

    Default

    I've recently been having the same frustrations. But tonight, we rode for 20 minutes, and I just concentrated on hoe far we've come in the past 4.5 months. Its not been long, but when you celebrate your successes - even if they're not perfection - you can appreciate how far you HAVE made it.

    For example - when I got my boy in April, we could not steer well, pick up the canter, trot without our head way up in the air (I mean, picking my nose with his ears), and steering was iffy.

    Tonight, we tried a training level test with prompt transitions and a LONG frame. Will it win us any awards? Not bloody likely! But being able to ride down and out to the bit, instead of short and high is something I'm realizing I need to cherish.

    Remember that even if you have a long way to go, you've already started down the path...even if only a little ways. Look back and celebrate the small victories.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2005
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    Desert Southwest
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    Default

    Lots of good advice given here. A clinician I recently worked with emphasized the importance of variety in the work. Like hacking out. Incorporating hill work to help strengthen the horse. Jumping, if that's in the cards for you. Trot poles.

    Grinding away at training day after day can be frustrating, and you can't see the forest for the trees. That "long view" suggestion is super. Two years ago my gelding was just beginning to recover from a back injury that ended his jumping career. I spent the first year doing nothing but rehab. His rear end was atrophied, he couldn't track up, and he had no brakes.

    Last year he placed 5th in both Training and First Level Open at our GMO's championships.

    This year, we've qualified for our GMO championships at 2nd Level.

    Take the time to look back over the last 6 or 12 months and see how far you've come. Think about the things that were difficult back then that seem easy now. Also, don't judge your progress by what others are doing or where you think you SHOULD be. Everyone, horse & human, learns and grows at their own pace.

    Be patient with yourself and your horse and enjoy the journey!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 8, 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    302

    Default

    Wait, did I write the original post in my sleep, lol? I just bought a green bean as well. Once, I had three days in a row that I could do wtc - three days! Awesome. The next day, I couldn't get beyond trot. Oh, but we did our walk/trot transitions well! I also have the support of my family, friends, and a great trainer. That helps more than anything - they are all there to remind me of how far she's come, better days are ahead, onward and upward. So that's my message to you - better days are ahead, onward and upward.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2002
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    it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
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    Quote Originally Posted by EqTrainer View Post
    I remember how in the end, every single one of them got trained and trained well. It helps to have a track record LOL


    Do you keep a journal?

    For me, it was CRUCIAL to keep one with my stallion. For *me* life kept interfering. Family illness, personal injury & illness, job crap... etc.

    So I'd really angst about where we weren't, and forget how much farther we WERE than we had been.

    When I could look back a couple of months, or a year, I'd realise just how far we HAD come, rather than be depressed at the last week's progress or lack thereof.

    I also will tack up with a jumping saddle and go running & leaping... or throw on western tack and play cowpony when I am too mentally discouraged. The horse certainly knows the difference in the tack, and the 'play break' for both of us helps.

    *I *hate* trails, but I suppose if you like them, that's an option too. I only do them because I have to for the horse's fitness and freshness. If I never had to go on a trail again, I'd be happy though. )

    More often than not, time off from training (whether that is completely off riding, or just doing other things) is beneficial. It's like they let everything simmer in their brain, and figure out how to do it.
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

    Default

    I am not a journal keeper so no.

    I've pretty much just stopped thinking about the end product. I don't show anymore so maybe that why but I don't think so. It's just... Straighten. Bend. Go. Stop. Do more of each thing, better, quicker. It's a nice place to be in, not worrying about their progress. Just riding the horse underneath me that day.

    It's always interesting tho, I don't mean it to sound like I'm an automaton up there. Just this evening one of mine intimated to me that he would appreciate it if I watched my left thigh a bit closer, that it was adding to some confusion in the lateral work. It tends to hold a little. I'm not even exactly sure how the idea got thru but it was a lot of fun.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 1999
    Location
    San Ramon/Castro Valley/Brentwood, California
    Posts
    1,664

    Default

    Ya do the best you can with what is under your fanny at that given moment in time.................



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2003
    Location
    Cocoa, Fla
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    4,107

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wildlifer View Post
    Remember training is not a linear process. It's more like a drunken stumble with lots of circles. Horses have bad hair days just like people. It's important to stay focused on the big picture. That's why I find blogging so satisfying, or you could just keep a training journal. Because then you look back and go "OMG, four years ago, we couldn't canter on the longeline without horse bolting away in terror and in the past year, our event scores in the dressage arena went from 55 to 35." Just keep chanting, big picture, BIG PICTURE.
    Agree totally!
    Sandy in Fla.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 16, 2009
    Posts
    665

    Default

    Expect nothing. Always.

    Expectations lead to frustrations. Live in the moment. Deal with each issue as it comes and realize you might have to fix the same thing a few times before it really gets etched into the horse's brain.

    Some days they're brilliant and you don't want to get off. Then there are other days you wish you had never gotten on in the first place. I try to be creative for the latter one and mix up their routine if I can tell they're going to be a bit bonkers (long line, lunge, trail, light hack, etc). The other thing with young horses is that everything falls under the category of "training" even if all you do is work on getting them used to something scary.

    The best part about showing is having definable bench marks to which to track your progress. A year is both a very short, and very long period of time. Horses will teach you patience if nothing else.

    Don't worry. All made horses start out green.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
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    Triangle Area, NC
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    6,709

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EqTrainer View Post

    I've pretty much just stopped thinking about the end product. I don't show anymore so maybe that why but I don't think so. It's just... Straighten. Bend. Go. Stop. Do more of each thing, better, quicker. It's a nice place to be in, not worrying about their progress. Just riding the horse underneath me that day.

    Don't think about how it *should* be, think about how it is, this day, this moment, this step in time.
    Read my sig line... it works
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
    Posts
    3,505

    Default

    The right foot helps me immensily!

    I get on, and I sit for a moment and make sure that we are ready. I walk around, check all of my aids, do some circles, stop in the center and check out other riders. (mental note the pinto is kinda out of control today)

    We usually have a full arena so I really like to check out what problem riders (young, or on young horses) there are.

    Then I see if my horse will stand on a long rein or if he is up today. Depends on his mood. Is he quick off of the leg or lazy?

    Is he flexing or kinda heavy?

    Is he tense? Am I tense?

    Am I sitting balanced?

    Could my hands be more towards the mouth?

    Just preparing for my day helps me tremendously. Plus it curbs my appetite for too much pressure on my horse (who is sensative).



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
    Location
    Northeast
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    10,349

    Wink

    If it not a hack day, I start with my regular work up routine-Forward, Bend , change direction, more forward, usually in a longish frame. When things feel right we go for a little more roundness, a little more engagement.

    From there we figure out where the day will go.

    Always have a plan!

    Never cast it in stone!!!!! The more years you spend at this,the more you learn to make haste, slowly.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



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