My trainer, Marty Whittle, has been doing an "intensive" riding him this week each day. I am happy with his progress and how he is starting to get stronger (topline) and more steady - his floaty trot is coming through. He is heavy on the forehand, and not strong cantering, but has such a lovely canter. Marty has said that riding his canter reminds her of how a canter is supposed to be. Nice complement. I am uploading vids today, having taken many these past week here is a link to one
Current vids are dated may 22. The others are from last year.
you can find any more at inyureye9 on youboob. This is of my trainer riding him, not me.
Over the next few days I will be posting more, mostly for my trainer to view for herself, but I would love comments. I am so proud of him. It seems to me that he might be ready for a show or competition at the end of the summer. After all the repetitious work this week, I am about to go give him a nice trail ride right now. He's just getting so fit, he's a handful!! Such a love. I am thrilled to be his mom. There will be more vids over the next few days.
Current vids are dated May 22.
Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.
Only watched video 1/2 way through - what was point of work? Horse was asked to give to the left and he did - immediately. So why keep going?
If it were me I'd ride him and aask him to give (mobilize the jaw and come round) under saddle. Horse is obviously willing so why not reward horse by "giving" instead of holding the bent neck contact - all in the same direction? I've seen cowboys tie the horses head to the stirrup over 20 years ago - and this video reminds me of that. I don't see it as teaching the horse anything other than to "hold" - rather than asking the horse to give and rewarding the give by the handler "giving" too.
The ground work is meant to ask him for flexion and lateral movements. Yes, he is overflexed in the neck, but not held, I understand your thought. When I do his ground work next time, I will try giving more on the inside. When I begin with ground work before riding though,he turns his attention to me and our work. He has learned many things on the ground first which translates to saddle easily for him, such as the turn on the haunches. Yes its a Bettina Drummond thing, I suppose - I have read extensively of it in books on the french dressage, and she was taught by Oliviera. The ground work gets his attention and warms him up on the ground; I can unlock his shoulder which is stiff, or his hocks or haunches and he is in a better frame of mind and responds better for me under saddle. He is not an easy ride.
Anyway, for him, his schooling has come along to where he is using himself better and more correctly under saddle and getting stronger. We can school canter departs and downward transitions, turns on the haunches, haunches in, the beginings of a half pass with his strengthened topline. I would like to see him more forward. I am working on longitudinal transitions; a working and extended trot, a "strut" of a walk, myself. He's doing well and I was excited last week to see the changes and his responsiveness. He's a sweet horse.
Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.
The ground work is meant to ask him for flexion and lateral movements. Yes, he is overflexed in the neck, but not held, I understand your thought. When I do his ground work next time, I will try giving more on the inside. When I begin with ground work before riding though,he turns his attention to me and our work. He has learned many things on the ground first which translates to saddle easily for him, such as the turn on the haunches. ....
I wouldn't have thought so badly of the trainer if she had asked then immediately given then switched sides - but video showed her bending him to the left and pretty much keeping it there for several minutes. I do understand she was trying to teach him to give to the bit.
Instead perhaps ask him (under saddle) to bend left, then right then push him forward (bump with legs) - that mobilizes the jaw and neck (if he's like my mare and tends to hold there). If not constantly done (i.e. no break between asking for the give) then it not like "wagging the head" - and it's not supposed to be.
Instead you want to break up with a take then IMMEDIATE give - and sometimes instead of a pull/release it's more like a bump so horse learns not to hold or brace against the rider holding.
My DWB holds more on the right rein, my SWB on the left rein - so I start the ride with LONG reins and use the bump - to get and keep them round without holding. Develops their topline and teaches them self carriage and loosens up their jaw and neck muscles.
you asked for comments, so I'm going to tell you what I see -- unfiltered.
I see a nice horse, and a nice rider... but with a major flaw in training that is being encouraged and perpetuated by the trainer's techniques. In my opinion, this horse is way too "loose" in his neck. it makes him frequently crooked because there is no true connection from back to front, He is incorrectly being taught to "give" to the bit in a way that is akin to western riding, and it is resulting in a horse who is behind the bit and behind the vertical FAR too much. Case in point, when she does the stretchy circle with him, he is pulling his chin in and EVADING the bit. In the in hand work is he crooked, and solely being asked to give to the inside rein. I think that is very counterproductive.
I recognize that the "French method" may involve more focus on relaxing the jaw, and suppling the neck,... but those methods need to be done carefully and in the context of the training scale. I would've quit doing any neck-suppling/jaw giving exercises a LONG time ago with this horse. At this point you are teaching him to duck behind the bit -- and that is a VERY hard problem to fix once you've created it.
That is my opinion. Honestly? I'd look for a new trainer. This woman is not totally incompetent, but I think her methods show a lack of understanding for what lies ahead, and what this individual horse needs. Sorry.
Agree with others. Why bring his head so low? Saw the rein working more on the bars of the horse's mouth which is bad (not that it's harsh, just incorrect) By bringing a horse's head down that low will bring the horse onto the forehand. If the horse is on the forehand lateral work won't be correct.
Watched Fri5: Horse is bracing against the bit reacting to the rider. But instead of trotting and working to relax the horse, rider goes into yield while still "fighting" with him. Relaxation into a swinging trot must come first. Rider is bracing against him and as a result his neck is bulging in the middle and he's tossing his head. See this same issue with Wed7. Horse is being restricted and not asked to push through. Rider's hands too low and unyielding. No softening of the contact is attempted as far as I could tell. The rider should be posting to get the horse through and allow him to use his neck properly, not pulling him into the contact. Force is why the head carriage is so uneven and jerky, and why the horse isn't using his back properly. The patting the neck as if the horse did something great tells me the rider doesn't know what she's doing.
Sorry. This is pretty harsh but it's what I see. Lovely horse. Probably loads of talent. Would be shopping for better trainer.
Regarding the neck looseness and being too crooked... For the novice rider (me!), this was a hard concept to get through my brain.
I think a lot of trainers drill "bend" and simply bending the neck for Training level rides.
When I rode like this post-training level Jane Hannigan politely said "um.... I don't think you know what dressage really is" HAH! This was concerning straightnesss and connection and how my thinking was so concerned with the neck as a cure-all.
Maybe you have a similar mind set?
Correct flexions are difficult (not really for the horse, more for the people guiding the horse). One must know which goals are in mind, choose wisely given the horse's knowledge and nature, know how to apply the aids, when to stop the exercise that day or permanently, etc.
Froissard and Philippe Karl have excellent photos and descriptions in their books (look at the position of the head), although it's best to learn from/practice with someone who knows how to do them well or not do them at all, since motion can't be conveyed in a still photograph. As Froissard points out, the trainer (even an experienced one) must have both innate and acquired equestrian tact to employ these exercises.
The aids are the legs, the hands, the weight of the rider, the whip, the caress, the voice and the use of extraneous circumstances. ~ General Decarpentry www.reflectionsonriding.com
When I watched the under saddle videos several things stuck out:
1. Horse is not being ridden forward to contact, trot is shuffling and slow. I think he has a lot more scope in his gaits than is being trained.
2. Contact is very inconsistent, this increases the tendency for him to bob above, behind, on, off the bit.
3. Rider hunched over hands, legs forward, does not help to encourage forward and upward movement.
4. Very crooked in turns, haunches skid outward.
Does your trainer take lessons herself with your horse?
I totally agree with this. And I think the important thing, is that they're all related to establishing the proper "contact". If you don't have the horse reaching into the bit, you can't ride him straight and into the contact (and thus onto the bit). The crookedness (which I also see) is a direct result of the lack of contact. This rider is focusing way too much on the inside rein, and not nearly enough on the outside aids. So you get a horse who is overbent in the neck (and not straight) and thus there is no energy coming over the back. Even in the video of the leg yield... it isn't a good leg yield. Instead it is a drift through the outside shoulder (because the horse is overbent to the inside).