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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2005
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    Several horse properties in the U.S.
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    254

    Default Are you discouraged with your horse's progress?

    First of all, it is a partnership, so it is YOUR progress as well. But let's examine the situation a little.

    Where were you 3 months ago? I keep journals on all of my horses. Although I know we have all made progress together ( my horses and I), at first glance it seems like the progress is WAAAAY too slow! But wait...looking back and making a hand written list of exactly what challenges have been overcome reveals that I have FORGOTTEN many of our accomplishments which have now become routine!

    So my advice to you, oh Discouraged One, is to journal! Notes + photos + videos. I can almost guarantee you that you have made some significant progress if you have put in the time. As months turn into a year ...well, think of the possibilities!



  2. #2
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    Aug. 17, 2005
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    Several horse properties in the U.S.
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    254

    Default

    So, let's hear some of your progress stories!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    3,247

    Red face

    I had a banner day in the saddle yesterday with one of mine, so I'll brag a bit! And as a back story - I was hurt about a year and half ago, so I could barely walk this time last year (let alone ride), so being able to do what we're doing makes me a wee bit giddy!

    3 months ago Wyatt and I were working on solidifying his true canter - false canter - true canter with a simple change in between all over the ring, half pass in trot and canter and containing his tendency to offer piaffe out of the collected walk (drop the contact a bit and rock back vs. staying loose over his back). Now we're schooling our working and 1/4 pirouettes in the canter, changes are solid and we're working on counting (got easy 2's last week), half passes are top notch (even the boss is thrilled) and he is a pure pleasure to ride from start to finish. Oh, with the caveat that he will find one or 2 things to put in an almighty spook over - which involves a squatting motion! 3 rides ago - my boot soles touched the sand, he was so low! But as it is a straight drop down squat with no leaping, we'll manage! But from a more serious riding perspective, his power has never been an issue...but elasticity has been and that has gotten loads better. And on the mental front - he is a somewhat quirky fellow (see spooking description), the harder/more complex the work, the more settled and focused with super relaxation he is! Very, very interesting horse!

    In January I had hoped to be ready to go show at Morven Park in April but am content to wait a bit longer, go see CHS in April instead ( ) and do our homework with a June or July show goal. If we don't hit a 'real' show until the end of the summer, I'm fine with that.

    There are a bunch of other horses that I can talk about (we have 16 in work at the moment) but I don't want to bore everyone!

    L-R
    November 2011
    February 1, 2012
    February 4
    March 17
    March 18 - haunches in on the circle
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
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    Tucson
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    Default

    Those boots!


    I could get into how much progress we're making, how easy first level is for us these days in schooling, and how I was realizing a lot of the 3rd level and 4th level work is actually pretty easy for us now from watching other people riding and thinking "oh, yeah, we can do that"... but more than anything, my last two rides were more fun than I've ever had on my horse - who is more fun than any other horse I've ever ridden. I've had him two years now, and instead of getting over the pony club kid glee over getting to ride him daily, it's growing. Regardless of goals, I don't think it's possible to ask more than that!
    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



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
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    PA
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    3,247

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by netg View Post
    Those boots!
    If you could see me trying to walk in them... And that's no fault of the boots - just bone spurs poking the tendons and the nerve that's extremely unhappy post accident! But what's a little suffering for my art???? Oh well! It's all about having fun like you said!

    Happy riding!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 2006
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    2,345

    Default

    Progress? Well as someone else here could tell you my ride at the show yesterday did not score well at all; but, considering I was riding in line driving rain, hail and high winds (supposedly clocked at 45 mph) on the stinker pony who only 2.5 years ago could not even be ridden safely.......well.......we went in when I asked, did all the movements when I asked and came out at the right time and location all still mounted. Due to the mud and a couple of slick spots his movement was far too conservative for the judge but I think I'll keep him all the same At least the judge I ride under/take lessons from thought it was a decent test.

    Actually I don't get discouraged with the lack of or slow progress with my horses. I do use pictures and video to chronicle where we've been and how far we've come. I get more discouraged that I can't reproduce it at the shows; but, that's a whole 'nuther problem altogether

    ETA: The best part was that one of the show photographers recognized me and the stinker pony. She took some pictures of a higher scoring test and sent it to the previous owner (the one who gave him to me for free because 6 different trainers she spent a fortune with could not do anything with him) who called me crying because she was so happy................now that's the best compliment I have ever received.
    Ranch of Last Resort
    www.annwylid.com



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2011
    Posts
    1,188

    Default

    I have discovered the microphone voice notes thingy in my Iphone...I just turn it on and talk to myself about what just happened after a ride. Pretty cool way to "journal"..plus, it's funny to hear yourself later when you play it back..LOL



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
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    Tucson
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by exvet View Post
    Progress? Well as someone else here could tell you my ride at the show yesterday did not score well at all; but, considering I was riding in line driving rain, hail and high winds (supposedly clocked at 45 mph) on the stinker pony who only 2.5 years ago could not even be ridden safely.......well.......we went in when I asked, did all the movements when I asked and came out at the right time and location all still mounted. Due to the mud and a couple of slick spots his movement was far too conservative for the judge but I think I'll keep him all the same At least the judge I ride under/take lessons from thought it was a decent test.

    This is not an exaggeration - and exvet's pony was fabulous! Most of the horses out there had their tails tucked and wouldn't move because the weather was so awful. I think they looked good with a lower score than I expected for sure.

    Hopefully we can talk more in nicer weather in two weeks!
    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



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2008
    Location
    Da UP, eh
    Posts
    770

    Default Discouraged? No....

    But all three of my horses did humble me a little bit over the weekend

    My QH and I participated in a showmanship clinic held at my barn to help get all of the kids to start think about prepping for the coming shows. Of course, I do dressage with the guy, so an hour of showmanship (most of it spent standing square and watching the trainers demo with the showmanship horse they brought) and he was getting pretty fidgety. First pattern they asked us to trot, the turd triied to take a biite out of my shoulder. The next trot off I was ready for him, and we got some lovely walk-canter-walk transitions...In hand. But no trot. Oh well.

    My more 'advanced' pony has decided that it's spring and every canter transition should be rapidly followed by a series of leaps and squeals.
    My green pony decided that she is now an arab and can only possiby canter with her tail over her back and nose in the air. Or buck. Or both...

    You know the worst part?

    I still had a blast out at the barn all weekend, even with all three being stinkers. I knew all of those good days this winter would catch up with us...



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 24, 2002
    Location
    Northern KY
    Posts
    4,488

    Default Not anymore

    I sold him to someone else.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2007
    Posts
    836

    Default Not with my horse's progress...

    But my own.

    I had a lesson over the weekend, and a friend was kind enough to tape the ride. My trainer and I watched it over the weekend...and I'm bummed out by it. I just feel like the same issues keep cropping up over and over again...despite my determination and willingness to try and correct them. Watching the video was eye-opening...but not necessarily in a good way. I could tell he was stiff and braced during the lesson...way more than what I get when I ride solo, and the video completely showed it. It just made me so sad...because I know we are capable of so much more...and it seems like whenever I ride with my trainer...all she gets to see are the moments of struggle.

    I take regular lessons...I have been riding on my own more and more with the encouragement of my trainer. I still can not get the connection from my seat to the bit right and I am still having trouble getting him over his back and to the bit, in the nice, soft round way that I know he can go. (because I can feel moments of it). We finished up the lesson with him soft and round...but it took 35 minutes to do it.

    The worse part about it all...I feel like I'm about ready to give it all up, even with my saint of a horse.

    Does it get better? Please tell me it does...so I have some hope. I know I have overcome a lot in my body...and the video did show those moments...but it broke my heart to see my boy so braced and against my hand...and my upper body so unsteady in response. I know I should be happy with what I have overcome the past few months especially...but I just want to get past this hurdle and move on.
    Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
    CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2005
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    Several horse properties in the U.S.
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    254

    Default

    Loved hearing some of your stories. One of mine is that 3 months ago I sent a young horse off for professional dressage training, and he came back to me very aggressive with everyone, including me, and bucking on the lunge line and under saddle. He had never been like that before.

    Fast forward 2 months later, and with daily work and re-schooling. He is now a good boy again...quiet on the lead line, happy in his work, not bucking, not challenging anyone, ears forward, doing all that is asked of him.

    And to think, I almost sold him. He is my dream horse.
    Last edited by NotGrandPrixYet; Mar. 20, 2012 at 07:03 PM.



  13. #13
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    Aug. 17, 2005
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    Default

    blkarab, yes, it gets progressively better with time, effort, and patience. My point is that you should write everything down for each training session, then 3 months later go BACK to the beginning of those 3 months and re-read. As you do that, write down on a piece of notepaper all of the things that you find have progressed. You will find that more has changed than you realize.

    It also will help you to discover patterns of things that may be going wrongly, and in doing so may help you to think more clearly about formulating a way to overcome a problem.

    Good luck, and don't give up. I almost did, and I am glad that I did not. Somebody ELSE would have my wonderful horse, and I would be crying tears of envy and regret.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2007
    Posts
    836

    Default

    NotGrandPrix...

    I do journal, after every lesson and every ride. I have journals dating back to when I started riding...and that's the point of frustration...I see the same things cropping up over and over again and patterns that I'm not sure how to correct.

    The video helped because now I have a visual for what I'm doing that I keep getting berated about in my lessons. It's clear in the video that I am confused by some of her directions. I have noticed a change in her teaching style since she began working with a new instructor. I feel that it's leading to a lot of confusion on my part as, some of the requests she now makes...are a bit different than what she used to ask. (ie more contact).

    I believe that I'm becoming anxious in the lessons because of it. I had a gorgeous and beautiful ride last week...that was outside of a lesson that my instructor caught sight of. She was watching when I came around the corner. She even clapped...maybe she is frustrated that she is seeing something beautiful in the two of us, but I'm losing it when I ride in the lesson...at least that is how it feels.

    Thank you for the encouragement. I needed to verbalize the frustration and just get it out. I know I should be proud of how much progress we have truly made and some big hurdles that I have overcome...especially in the last month...but it's still frustrating. I should be past a few of these issues by now and feel like the dunce of the class for not being able to get over them.
    Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
    CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2010
    Posts
    1,926

    Default

    Am I happy with our progress? Well, I think so. I'm going to put myself out there and let you see some horribleness first....this is last summer. After I went to this show and watched this video, I had a come to cheezus meeting with myself and decided to go to no more shows until we got some things resolved. The next time my favorite clinician came to town I told him I was going back to the beginning, that obviously I needed to kind of start over. He told me what to do, I followed it to a T and did nothing but walk and trot for 3 months.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mxri-hDyxns

    Here's the COTH thread where we talked about the tweaks we've all done:

    http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=328163

    And here's a clip from a lesson at the end of February. I worked my you know what off in Jan and Feb, took to heart every single thing the coach told me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve1ZxihmWd4

    Blkarab, you could be me. I hate the confusion of working with more than one, or maybe two, people. Find someone you like who you get along well with or try to work things out with your current instructor. And try to be patient with yourself. It takes a long time, much longer than I thought, to improve. I had more things to work on than I realized. I may never be more than a duffer at dressage, but at least I think I have worked out of the hacker category!!

    Hang in there!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2011
    Posts
    1,529

    Default

    Jan 1 found me doing a lease to buy after a craptastic loss of my heart horse in Nov after a very horrible neurological disease.

    I was just starting to be back at the barn.

    Fast forward-bought the horse and we are doing well. He is now in shape enough to begin a training program.

    I keep a journal and log of most every ride. It helps a lot.

    I am encouraged at where we are at, I have to remind myself it takes time to get to know a new horse. I'm very happy about my decision to invest in more of a formal training program.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2005
    Location
    Out in The Country
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    1,923

    Default

    I need to journal.... generally, I have one of the teens in my barn video me.

    I had a 'discouraging' show this weekend. Well, it was one of those "oh yeah, that is why you spend alot of money for a trained, proven horse" moments.

    I took 2 horses. One horse is a WB cross and when I bought him as a 4 year old, he would rear when you touched his mouth as the girl had started him in a kimberwick and was way too tight with the chain. So I worked with a high level eventer trainer to reeducate him dressage and eventing and her comments with dressage were to keep him deep all the time (on a KK training snaffle of course). I actually listened to her BUT did like 20 minutes of long and low and then worked deep - I really like STRETCH to be number 1 when training a horse. Then I got pregnant, had a baby and lent my horse to the teens to jump. Last MAY I promised myself I would take the time to do something right with him. He was very unhappy about working into contact. I spent about 6 months just to get him into the contact - working and happy. And I rode him 2-4 times a week only due to having a busy schedule.

    SO last year with the same judge from last Saturday, I got 65-69 percents in June 2011. Yesterday no one scored over 53 percent except 2-3 people in our ring. He did the same tests and was on the bit accepting and consistent. In that respect. So I really was surprised to get low 50s and I got a first and 2 seconds with those scores! Usually I have to be on a really green horse that is blowing upto get that. HOWEVER - he did rear, knock over the flower boxes, take out part of the ring and spun around in the first halt. LOL! Before the test started. That test the scores went 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 6 7. LOL something like that!

    The indoor arena was really spooky, small, filled with the STRONG smell of cooking hamburgers - and overhead was a thunder and rain storm. And he could not see any horses. He got SO panicky. This was his 4th time showing indoors and the first two times, I had to excuse him and the last time, we made it through the geometry 'just barely' and scored in the upper 50s with one 61 because he just was so freaked out.

    In an outdoor arena, I have to PUSH and he is so awesome. Usually in the outdoors, he gets 8s on his canters and 6-7 on everything else training level. You could fall asleep riding his canter.

    SO I HAVE to look at it like this: 1. I did not get to warm him up. The rain was comingdown too hard in the warmup arena. 2. His third test (was his first time doing first level test 1) he scored HIGHER in than in his training level tests and 3. he was thinking more on task in that last test and was only at like 20% panic than he started out - in the past, he never would really settle in the indoor.

    This is a horse kids can hack sometimes - but in an indoor arena, forget it. He is a herd leader and he just gets so stimulated. And you cannot put anything in his ears.

    But it was disheartening when the judge wrote 'not working at the level' on my training 2 test because I was wondering how she could not see that he had improved SO much since last June AND it was clear he was totally freaked out in that arena.

    Also, there were kids playing in a hallway making noise to the right side of the judge - so bad the judge had to ring the bell and tell me to do it again because she knew those kids were being distracting - of course, my horse was already like AGH! And some lady was flipping open and close her cellphone in the front row at B making it chirp. I gave her the stink eye but she did not get the clue.

    That was about 1/3 of the insanity we lived through. It wasnt the judge's fault or the show people- it was a mixture of everything I think -I just had to end the day with a sense of humor and try to see what we did manage to accomplish.

    He was on the bit 'happily' throughout the test, even when trying to trot sideways to leave the arena, lol - which he always did if he could see the doorway. He did get a lot better throughout the three tests. His first level score was higher than his training level scores.

    OK so he did tempi changes instead of extend his canter in right lead...he was tight through the back because he was watching the woman in the front row with the cellphone. HYSTERICAL

    I DID make the decision to not wear my Pikeur jacket because I figured I should not waste the drycleaning costs. LOL!!!!!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
    Location
    Tucson
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    6,913

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Blkarab View Post
    But my own.

    I had a lesson over the weekend, and a friend was kind enough to tape the ride. My trainer and I watched it over the weekend...and I'm bummed out by it. I just feel like the same issues keep cropping up over and over again...despite my determination and willingness to try and correct them. Watching the video was eye-opening...but not necessarily in a good way. I could tell he was stiff and braced during the lesson...way more than what I get when I ride solo, and the video completely showed it. It just made me so sad...because I know we are capable of so much more...and it seems like whenever I ride with my trainer...all she gets to see are the moments of struggle.

    I take regular lessons...I have been riding on my own more and more with the encouragement of my trainer. I still can not get the connection from my seat to the bit right and I am still having trouble getting him over his back and to the bit, in the nice, soft round way that I know he can go. (because I can feel moments of it). We finished up the lesson with him soft and round...but it took 35 minutes to do it.

    The worse part about it all...I feel like I'm about ready to give it all up, even with my saint of a horse.

    Does it get better? Please tell me it does...so I have some hope. I know I have overcome a lot in my body...and the video did show those moments...but it broke my heart to see my boy so braced and against my hand...and my upper body so unsteady in response. I know I should be happy with what I have overcome the past few months especially...but I just want to get past this hurdle and move on.
    I absolutely adore my trainer. HOWEVER - she, too, is human and therefore not perfect. My horse has consistently improved since I got him, but my riding wasn't improving as well as I wanted it to. I found two rides a month or so with a biomechanics clinician in addition to my lessons with my trainer have really helped fix *me*. Pilates for riders and other core-geared exercises have helped as well, but just finding someone who spoke a different language, and could help me feel how I had to change my body in order to improve my riding made a big difference. I knew the theory, but didn't know how to call on the muscles to make it happen. My trainer is thrilled with how I have improved, and is aware that body position isn't her strength in teaching, at least down to the detailed level I've been working. She attends as many of my clinic rides as she can to pick up more terminology herself, and learn more about how to teach riders to use their bodies better. But sometimes, you need someone to just work on YOU.

    For me, the biggest secret to improve my riding is thinking about pushing my ribcage back into my spine. That doesn't sound like anything you'd want to do riding! But for me, it's the wording which helps me engage the correct muscles to allow the rest of me to work as it's supposed to. When I do it? Both horses instantly round. Including the greenie who doesn't consciously even know what lifting her back is!
    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



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 11, 2002
    Location
    KY
    Posts
    535

    Default taking notes

    I started a blog shortly before I bought my half-Arab wild child. And I'm so glad I did. I would second (third? fourth?) the suggestion to take notes somehow of your rides. Whenever I start feeling sorry for myself and think we're not getting anywhere, I just read back 9 months or a year and go . We are light-years from where we started, and I did most of it on my own, although I had help during the rough patches. It's a real "buck up, buttercup" moment.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2007
    Posts
    836

    Default

    Wow...oldernewbie...we could be sisters!

    Great improvement between the first video and 2nd. Your arab is quite a cutie and reminds me of my mare.

    Thank you for posting the link to your thread.

    This thread has helped me a lot today. I was so disheartened after watching the video again yesterday...then I read this thread...and then looked over at my favorite picture of the two of us riding. He's nicely on the bit, forward and we are balanced. My favorite picture and the one that represents most of our work.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrissi...7628889261795/

    I'm going to try and video my rides more often so I can SEE the improvements, and try to get the negative images out of my mind.
    Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
    CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle



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