New here, just dropping out of lurkdom here to answer this post. Over tight girths and over tight nosebands share quite a lot in common. They both restrict the horse.
An overtight flash, drop, grackle of even cavesson will stop the horse being able to softly chew the bit and relax the jaw.
When a horse works correctly as you know he will expand his ribcage and fill your seat and legs. If your girth is too tight you can restrict him from doing this. You can block him from working correctly.
The girth should not really be necessary to keep the saddle in place unless you are riding out hacking or jumping (different circumstances require different rules) - the rider should be balanced enough and sit central enough to do this themselves.
of the original post. On Wednesday, I viewed a tape made by the Ritter clinic organizer's videotape person. If you wanted your own videographer to tape JUST YOUR RIDE you had to pay the full $35 audit fee for that person. My student, therefore, had the "closed shop" person designated by the organizer tape her lesson--for a fee. The quality of the tape was very poor, and I could not understand most of what the clinician was saying, I guess because it was taped from inside the viewing area. Therefore it was difficult to assess what he was telling her. She did explain, however, what was going on. If anyone is interested in my comments concerning what I saw and sort of heard, please e-mail me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rescuemom, thanks so much for posting your clinic experience. Am very glad you had such a positive experience!
As for over tight girths; a couple years ago a local saddler who travels nationwide (most of you probably know him) adjusted my girth and my way of thinking. His tip for making sure your girth was not too tight is that you should be able to fit your fingers comfortably yet snugly between the horse's side and girth. If it pinches your fingers or you have to struggle to slide them under, loosen the girth. I struggled for years trying to prevent girth sores on my gelding. This simple yet effective tip did what every girth/girth cover known to man could not; nary a rub mark since.
Also, rescuemom...could elaborate more on the full pass exercises you performed on your mare during the clinic?
Wonderpony, I can see that as a more effective way of checking the girth for the horse who has a more elongated/oval shape with a deep heart girth, such as TB types. I do just that with my Oldenburg/TB mare, along with double checking the side. But for those of us who also have more round barrelled horses, like my Crabbett bred Arab, checking from the sides (below the girth buckle) works best.
Thanks for sharing the additional insight.
Now, back to Rescuemom and her original topic............
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>If anyone is interested in my comments concerning what I saw and sort of heard, please e-mail me privately at email@example.com. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Hey Rebecca! I am sure that we would all be interested in another view of what was going on at Mr. Ritter's clnic. Certainly your observations as an observer are as valid as RM's were as a participant ... even if your observations are not as positive as hers. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]
has nothing to do with the clinician.
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>...........and I could not understand most of what the clinician was saying. Therefor it was difficult to assess what he was telling her. She did explain, however, what was going on."
I think the above quote is exactly why the person tastefully requested for people wishing to hear her comments regarding the clinic should e-mail her privately. She was NOT there, the tape she made her assessments from was of poor quality, the audio was lacking in clarity, and her student translated the clinic session to her. There are many biased factors involved there, and I agree that her comments should be kept on a private level.
I rode with Dr. Ritter. Although I am a student of Rebecca's I was not the student that was videotaped. However, I do have a first-hand opinion of the clinic and of Dr. Ritter.
At first I thought the clinic was very good, but then soon after the clinic when my whole pelvis/hip/lower back locked up in a great big huge muscle spasm, I began to reconsider.
While the points he mentioned to me about my position, and the areas he focused on my horse where I think for the most part correct, I have some concerns about his teaching style and methods since they caused me a good deal of body pain. I missed several days of work and am still recuperating from the strain more than 2 weeks afterward. I could barely ride in the de Kunffy clinic last weekend (and in contrast, my rides with Mr. de Kunffy were actually therapeutic rather than hurtful).
My impressions were that Dr. Ritter is a good writer but perhaps due to his youth or personality factors is not a very good teacher, at least for me. I think he tried to force changes to my position without perhaps recognizing the potential for causing harm.
He also has a habit of walking around the ring swinging a longe whip with a big long lash, making both me and my horse somewhat tense. Still, there was something to be learned, but I don't think I'll be riding with him again anytime soon.
because two of my students rode in this clinic, and I might have been interested in riding with him in the future. But the fee structure was set up such that if I had wanted to just go see my student's one single lesson, I would have been required to pay the full-day auditing fee. I appropriately asked the organizer to reconsider this for instructors or helpers who would just be there with one student, or to consider a reduced fee for part of the day, but she would not. I do notice that the website now lists the auditing fee as $20, but at the time of this clinic it was $35.00. I really can't justify paying $70 to be able to see two of my students ride with a clinician. Which is her right as the organizer. I was disturbed by my other student's physical difficulties. There is no proof that this ride (note I did not say clinician) caused the problems, but they were and remain very debilitating and occurred concurrent with the ride.
Rebecca, I find your forthrightness, honesty, & diplomacy demonstrated in your post regarding your students' clinic experience refreshing. "The ride was concurrent with the riders debilitation, but no proof that the ride was the cause" not an exact quote.
As for auditing fees, I agree the clinic organizer should have allowed a discount for instructors attending with their students. In my neck of the woods instructors doing just that seldom if ever pay an auditing fee. When they do it is basically a token contribution. Am not sure from your post whether you believe, or it actually was, Dr. Ritter's view on auditing fees that the organizer was upholding. But, from my experience with clinics the clinician has their own set fee for rides & auditing which the organizer and/or host farm often tacks their own fees on top of to either offset the cost of lunch/dinner, to be able to provide stalls at no upfront add'l cost to participants, for arena fees, or to show a profit. If it was Dr. Ritter's standard pricing the organizer was upholding then I would be disappointed, too.
I didn't suffer any discomfort following my ride and I'm sorry to hear that Rebecca's students did. My horse, who has of late expressed what seems to be some fear of a lunge whip (and I don't know where that came from) did not have any problem with Dr. Ritter's whip. Of the other rides I saw that day no horse seemed bothered by it, and he was quiet and gentle when using the whip to generate more activity behind on an advanced horse. The lessons gleaned from my ride with Ritter have continued to be very useful in getting Ivy focused, a major issue for the horse.
I agree with Rebecca that the auditing fees were stiff both in price and structure. I would have liked to have my trainer audit as well, but I can't blame her for not wanting to spend that much to watch one ride. I don't argue with the clinic host's right to charge that. And I did pay a stall fee over and above the clinic fee. I thought it was reasonable given that my horse was there most of the day. It seemed less reasonable that if a rider wanted to come early or stay after her ride to watch others it was necessary to pay the stall fee as no trailer "stalling" was permitted.
Proud adopter of Win http://www.defhr.org
Days End Farm Horse Rescue
Protection for Horses - Education for People
not studentS. We have discussed possible reasons for this and truly do not mean to suggest that it was caused by the clinician. If I had been there I may have had a clearer picture of what happened. The same student, however, did ride in two private lessons with Charles deKunffy last weekend and experienced no discomfort, in fact finding the session physically therapeutic. Who knows. However, this is another reason that instructors should be welcomed to observe their students' lessons. I don't discourage my students from riding with clinicians--but things would be better integrated if the clinic had been more accessible to me. I have no idea whether the structure and fees were the idea of the clinician or the organizer. However, I have organized clinics for over ten years with such people as Charles de Kunffy, Jean Paul Pare, Jean Luc Cornille, Mary Wanless, Nico van Stigt--and most of them have a per lesson (or daily fee within which they will do a certain number of lessons) and the organizer works out a budget based on fees, airfare, hotel, meals, etc. and charges whatever he/she wants to. Depends on the situation whether I would charge for auditors and how much. No clinician has ever told me how much to charge for auditing, or even required that I charge at all. But Dr. Ritter may be different--it's not really fair for us to speculate, since we were not the organizer. Nevertheless--my personal opinion as a teacher, farm owner, and clinic organizer is that the organizer who welcomes other professionals or just observers or helpers or whatever is doing the clinician a favor by exposing his/her work to more people. And creating good public relations. (P.S. I believe I am correct in stating that Dr. Ritter has taken clinics and an instructor's course from Charles).
that my physical difficulties were at least initiated by what the clinician was requiring me to do with me seat and legs. It made me ride very tightly and tensely, with my pelvic, stomach, and buttock muscles very tight in order to do what he wanted. I even mentioned this to him during the course of my lesson and his answer was somewhere along the lines (not a direct quote) that "Of course it hurts. Riding can be painful."
I looked into doing the Lucinda Green "eventing" clinic in June. Each clinic participant was given an "auditor's pass" I believe for one other person whether that be a groom/instructor/friend etc. I think it was a great idea. I couldn't end up going due to the cost, but this "pass" was a really nice idea. I would like to see more clinicians take this approach if they have set higher auditing fees.
I have to admit I agree with this. Riding can hurt and often until you get the muscles and body into the position you want it then he will be painful and initially stiff.
If you have been riding around in an incorrect position you have been hampering your horse and restricting its ability to fulfill your requests and restricting your ability to give these requests clearly, simply from an independent seat.
Now from one with narrow hips it takes a lot of work and effort to stretch your legs and body where it should be. These things don't come easy and have to be worked at.
Any position correction will often leave the rider stiff and not soft initially as their body has to readjust to the status quo.
Unfortunately nothing comes easily hence me recently buying a yoga video. The woman keeps saying you will be able to reach her level in time - not unless you are a Russian gymnast I thing and then I may require an ambulance to unknot my limbs but it is helping me with my suppleness and flexibility.
The following are explanations and comments from non-riders/auditors and the clinician that came in the wake of clinic reports on the list:
Full passes are a great diagnostic as well as gymnastic tool. They enable the rider to test whether the horse is accepting the calf aids or not, and at the same time, they improve the horse's obedience to the calf aids, i.e. they can help to bring the horse in front of the leg. They can be combined freely with turns on the forehand or on the haunches, reinback, going forward, whatever the horse needs most at the time. In this particular case, sending the mare forward into a big trot was the safest thing to do, so that she did not forget to Think Forward during the full pass.
Q: Can someone please tell me which leg is supposed to cross in front of the other in full pass? In half pass, the outside legs (to the bend and to the direction of travel) cross in front of the inside legs, so this seems logical for full pass too. However, I've been trying to teach my mare this movement from the ground so she will be able to more easily do the exercise we did at the clinic (trot-walk-halt-full pass away from the wall then forward into big trot again). She seems confused as to which leg to put in front of which but is willingly going directly to the side now. Also is she supposed to bend in the direction of travel like HP or away from the direction of travel like LY or not bent at all? Thanks.
A: In the full pass, you can bend the horse away from the direction of travel, as in the shoulder-in, which is easier for the horse. In this case, the inside legs cross over the outside legs. You can also bend the horse in the direction of travel, so that the outside legs cross over the inside ones, as in the travers, renvers, and half pass. This tends to be more difficult for the horse, especially going towards the stiffer side. It's good to practice the full pass with either bend, always starting with the easier demand.
Proud adopter of Win http://www.defhr.org
Days End Farm Horse Rescue
Protection for Horses - Education for People
I don't think that riding should be painful in the sense of being debilitating. It definitely takes time and effort to stretch out those tight muscles. That is not what I objected to. What I did object to was Dr. Ritter (whether it was intentional or not) expectation that I should be able to assume the new riding position and maintain it right away, regardless of the amount of pain I was experiencing. Whereas in contrast, Mr. de Kunffy was clear to point out similar weaknesses in my position, but he gave me constructive exercises to work on to achieve the same result over time without pain or force. He was able to work with me where I was at that moment in time.
I guess I have a little bit of resentment because to date, I have lost more than 5 days of work, attended 2 1/2 weeks of physical therapy, and have been severely limited in my physical abilities, and in a lot of pain since this injury, when I feel the whole thing could have been avoided.
The correct position in the saddle is extremely important and something that I believe we all can improve. I must say, though, that I've had many a 'worthless' lesson because of the instructor insisting that I immediately change the position in which I've been riding for years. It's one thing to ask the student to bring the shoulders back a bit or lower the hands, etc., but major position changes can't be made quickly.
IMHO, if one needs significant improvement or changes in their riding posture/seat, then they should get it by riding a school horse or on the lunge. When you force yourself into a new position, you strain and your body tenses up. Then, the horse suffers also.
Anita, did your horse improve while you were painfully correcting your postion? Just curious.
Not significantly so, IMO. At least, not solely because of the changes in my position. Ritter's swinging lunge whip certainly increased my horse's suspension and impulsion, though! But still it was tense in my opinion, and I felt my horse was reacting more to the fear of the whip than any aids I was giving him.
In comparison, my second ride with de Kunffy on Saturday (Friday's lesson was not a good example, as my horse was flat and lacked suspension and forwardness, but it didn't matter because the session was for therapuetic reasons for me, for the most part) was probably the best I've ever ridden and about as good as my horse goes, according to witnesses. I much prefer the gentler method. And it certainly didn't hinder my horses gaits or way of going.
As far as my position goes, I don't think I'm THAT ineffective that I need to be on the lunge (not that we all couldn't benefit from more of that). We're talking about my toes and knees not being turned inward enough, and my heel not always being down enough, and my lumbar back not always being straight enough--not flailing legs torso, head, or anything wild like that, for goodness sake. And the resons I have these problems is becasue I was taught to keep to mostly keep the leg or spur on and the rest of the leg loose. I was never taught this "new position." Probably my worst fault is my hands are not quiet enough, but part of the reason for that was because that was partially how I was taught. De Kunffy solved this in one session by having me plant my hands on my thighs. During my second de Kunffy ride he did not let me plant my hands and I had no trouble keeping them steady, fists together, hands closed aorund the reins.