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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2012
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    157

    Default Climbing the levels difficuties

    After taking this season off to dedicate to my schooling I'm finding the jump from first to second is H U G E!!!!! It's not the movements that are difficult it's the gaits the collection and the engagement. I'm having the hardest time getting "enough" of everything. Just when I think I have collection I'm told I need more. When I think I have enough medium I'm told I need more. When I think I have enough forward I need more. More, more, more, more. I've been climbing this hill for an entire season. Just when I think I see the top it gets bigger and steeper. I'm sure it's like this all the way up the levels but this is really proving to be a true test of my fortitude. I ride a min of 5 days a week EVERY week sometimes 6. I'm learning as I go and my horse is young so it's new to him to but man, this is hard stuff!! Maybe I should take up WP or something.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2006
    Location
    Nor Cal
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    1,954

    Default

    Im right there with you--my issue is a bit different and Im finding the step up more of a "rider" move up than an actual "horse" move up---much of which is in my head. After an extended bout of ultra smooth sailing that literally left my head spinning we came up on a bit of a wall and had to stop/step back/reassess. Im glad I took the time to sort things out---taking a step backwards in order to move forwards--today I think we 'filled' in our hole and and I wanted to give my guy "the high five"!! At least for me at this moment its more important that we focus on the foundation being as correct as we can make it at this moment this time--'the more" will be there when we are ready---its already in there waiting to be tapped at least as far as I can tell.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2002
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    Area VIII, Region 2, Zone 5.
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    6,593

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by goodpony View Post
    After an extended bout of ultra smooth sailing that literally left my head spinning...
    That must have been a sight.
    Quote Originally Posted by Linny View Post
    Those martingales were so taut, you could play Ode to Joy on them with a comb



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2012
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    157

    Default

    Oh we are doing that too. Going back and fixing the holes. It just seems like there are so many of them. Like I had been doing it wrong all along. Maybe I was but I showed TL and First in 2011 and we won just about every class we entered. How can that be when there are so many holes in the basics. Seems like I'm always searching for a better connection, suppleness, forward, engagement etc etc etc. I need a little taste of the good stuff to keep me motivated. Sure we get a little bit.....I just need a little bit more . lol



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

    Default

    my trainer says you can never have enough forward / throughness /etc.

    that is the allure of dressage no matter how good you get - there is *always* more to do/learn..... the funny thing is that i used to think i could ride well enough - now i know better lol!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2007
    Posts
    2,899

    Default

    "Seems like I'm always searching for a better connection, suppleness, forward, engagement etc etc etc. I need a little taste of the good stuff to keep me motivated. Sure we get a little bit.....I just need a little bit more . lol"

    And this is the essence of dressage. It is a journey with NO end. Riders at the Olympics even are still searching for more of these things as well. Sometimes progress comes quick, sometimes very slowly. But it is never perfect and you need to learn to embrace the challenges and love them as much as what comes easily. The challenges only get tougher (but also more fun) at third level!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2006
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    Nor Cal
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    1,954

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SillyHorse View Post
    That must have been a sight.
    It was very disconcerting to make that kind of 'rapid fire' progress, I thought I might be going mental with rose colored glasses or something.

    It was a relief to find a hole. We had similar success at training/1st, but my horse is definitely NOT the same horse i started out on this spring--not even remotely the same critter.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    889

    Default

    My current trainer told me that the jump from First to Second level was the most difficult she faced (she rides Grand Prix). I guess if it was daunting for her, I won't feel too bad about my own struggles. She has uncovered many holes in my training and in part I think the previous trainer I was working with didn't fully address them. It came as somewhat of a shock because like you OP we sailed through training and first levels. Neither my horse or I have shown above first level so I realize we have a lot to learn. It is a journey, and while I am working harder than ever, I am loving it more!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2012
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    265

    Default

    I'm right there with you. I have trained 3 horses to second level...but that was way back when (20 plus years ago). Seems like things have changed a whole lot and I know I am a heck of a lot older although I feel I am a lot better rider.

    I've been working on 2nd level on the current horse for over a year now. I have yet to try and show 2nd. Mostly, it has been a case of rider unsoundness. Beacause of chronic tailbone/sacral pain, starting last fall, I could not sit the trot for nearly 8 months and now I have to be very careful how much I do or I pay for it dearly...of course, sitting down is way overrated. I am having surgery next week in hopes of solving that problem (please, please, please let it work)...then I'm having another surgery in January to fix a chronic foot problem...so horsey is going to have a vacation then we get to start out all over again.

    I think we are doing pretty good then I go have a lesson...yes, more, more, more. But man, when it comes together, that is enough mental crack to keep me going .

    Susan



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 13, 2001
    Location
    usa
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    6,111

    Default

    The jump to second/developing collection is the biggest in riding imho. And it shows ALL the holes in any previous training. And remember extension comes from collection, not the other way round

    It is not just about riding more (6+ days a week...maybe a second outing a day if you have time), but more EFFECTUALLY. The use of figures and lateral work is to develop greater axial rotation/straightness (aka control of the shoulders). HH must be CLEAR....do they fold the hindlegs/keep the base of support shorter/keep the horse up and open. Does the lateral work have the same effect? Can you do lateral work on a curved line (ie si or counter si/renvers to travers)? Walk to canter and visa versa? Reinbacks to trot. PERFECTING your equitation and TIMING?

    At this level the RIDER is responsible for most of the outcomes. You need clear theory (what causes engagement/collected balance/how interactive lateral flexibility is to developing proper longitudinal flexion), and then how to achieve it through proper aids and TIMING. The use of uberstreichen/descente de main for rewarding greater self carriage should become CLEAR at second.

    If the horse has been taught longitudinal flexion before lateral flexibility and has been ridden in training/1st too low or closed it will not have learned what proper half halts are, and the hindlegs will have only been pushing the load. So, then the rider has to go back, reknit the sweater(effects of the aids).
    I.D.E.A. yoda



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
    Location
    Triangle Area, NC
    Posts
    6,707

    Default

    2nd is the endurance level. It's not only asking you to engage more, but for triple the duration between breaks that you're used to.
    If you're riding 5-6 days a week and your horse can't be a ready coiled spring for the 6 minute test, it means you have to change how you school.
    Many if not most riders don't push it in their schooling the way they need to. You should be schooling a constant canter for 7 minutes 2x a week per lead. Collected, to medium, to collected, to SI to HI, to counter, to medium, and so on. 7 straight minutes. There's nearly 5 straight minutes in the test.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    Location
    between the barn and the pond
    Posts
    14,223

    Default

    I just started showing at First and I'm done at First. With my schedule and my desire to also just trail ride and relax with my horses- I've realized that First is the end of the road for me. I'm fine with that, but yes- thinking through the jump from First to Second made it plain..I'll get off here, y'all go on!

    Hang in there!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun. 13, 2001
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    usa
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    Default

    Almost all horses can do up through the levels (certainly learn piaffe in hand), and serve as teachers to their riders....if the riders have time/patience/a clear methodology. The proper use of lateral work allows the horse to use its body completely, but more importantly to sustain straightness.
    I.D.E.A. yoda



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2006
    Location
    Nor Cal
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    1,954

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ideayoda View Post
    The jump to second/developing collection is the biggest in riding imho. And it shows ALL the holes in any previous training. And remember extension comes from collection, not the other way round

    It is not just about riding more (6+ days a week...maybe a second outing a day if you have time), but more EFFECTUALLY. The use of figures and lateral work is to develop greater axial rotation/straightness (aka control of the shoulders). HH must be CLEAR....do they fold the hindlegs/keep the base of support shorter/keep the horse up and open. Does the lateral work have the same effect? Can you do lateral work on a curved line (ie si or counter si/renvers to travers)? Walk to canter and visa versa? Reinbacks to trot. PERFECTING your equitation and TIMING?

    At this level the RIDER is responsible for most of the outcomes. You need clear theory (what causes engagement/collected balance/how interactive lateral flexibility is to developing proper longitudinal flexion), and then how to achieve it through proper aids and TIMING. The use of uberstreichen/descente de main for rewarding greater self carriage should become CLEAR at second.

    If the horse has been taught longitudinal flexion before lateral flexibility and has been ridden in training/1st too low or closed it will not have learned what proper half halts are, and the hindlegs will have only been pushing the load. So, then the rider has to go back, reknit the sweater(effects of the aids).
    This is actually really awesome for me to hear as my feelings about 2nd being a "rider" move up are at least validated-even my holes seem to be rider holes--and not necessarily horsey/training holes. When I get it spot on 'right' pony boy is right there ready to rock and there is "More". I do ride 6 days/week and have even thought about riding twice a day but not done it at this point. I also think PSJ is spot on--it is a fitness/endurance thing as well as a Rider thing. Im also trying to balance his work (it being notch up for him) with my desire to get my 'end' right--I want him to continue to be his happy, healthy, very sound, willing self.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug. 15, 2010
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    1,617

    Default

    Training and First level are very similar - if you can do Training, you can do First. Many people cross disciplines to try those levels. But look at all the movements and criteria that change at 2nd level. First, we introduce COLLECTION. Then we introduce lateral movements, turn on haunches (a very technical move), simple changes (which require collection), and the power of the medium gaits. It is HARD.

    Often we see horses who have done quite well at Tr/1st start to struggle, and some of those horses who didn't do as well at those entry levels may start to have the advantage. It is also the level where the rider has to WORK, no more pleasure rides. Your horse works more because you work more - engage your core to help him engage his core.

    Don't give up - it is a HARD jump to make, but once you make it, 3rd level is relatively easy



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
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    3,505

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    They should have more SI or SF in first and Volte in walk IMO.

    I think training should have 1/2 TOF and 1/2 TOH too. Another story altogether and one that should make them think about the WHY of it being so hard to collect at second it should just COME from the work.

    At first level the horse should have been schooling second anyway, or at least having the movements started in order to prepare for collection.

    The prep for collection should have been lateral in first (but some just do LY), and that creates a huge jump after.

    The prep for third should be the counter canter preparing for changes. Instead of drilling counter canter to teach simply counter canter trainers should be using it to show how to change flexion for changes and few and far between maybe even doing a change.

    Riding for the THIS test and THIS level creates all kinds of fun issues
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
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    between the barn and the pond
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
    They should have more SI or SF in first and Volte in walk IMO.

    I think training should have 1/2 TOF and 1/2 TOH too. Another story altogether and one that should make them think about the WHY of it being so hard to collect at second it should just COME from the work.

    At first level the horse should have been schooling second anyway, or at least having the movements started in order to prepare for collection.

    The prep for collection should have been lateral in first (but some just do LY), and that creates a huge jump after.

    The prep for third should be the counter canter preparing for changes. Instead of drilling counter canter to teach simply counter canter trainers should be using it to show how to change flexion for changes and few and far between maybe even doing a change.

    Riding for the THIS test and THIS level creates all kinds of fun issues
    Just for me alone, it's not that we're not schooling the movements- my horse has a steady shoulder in, haunches in, leg yield, etc...those tools are in the toolbox. It's the rigorous application of them in short order in a longer test that stops some of us.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
    Posts
    3,505

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    But if people truly were schooling above their level then they would not have this problem.

    It is a suggestion for a good reason And for the betterment of the horse
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  19. #19
    Join Date
    May. 13, 2009
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    263

    Default

    I've had my horse for 5 years (this past July). I spent the first year (2008) at Training Level. I spent the next year (2009) at First 1 and 2. I started the next year (2010) at 1st 4 to qualify for the Regional Championships and started 2nd 1 and 2 during the summer. By the end of the year I was ready for 2nd 4, but my truck brakes exploded, so I never got a chance to ride it before they changed the tests in 2011.

    I only showed 4 times last year, all at 2nd 3, and qualified for Regionals at 2nd level. I spent the winter working on strength and changes so that I could show at 3rd level this spring. To my surprise, even though I thought it would be so hard, the move to 3rd level was much easier than the move to 2nd level. Not to say that it is easy...I don't think it will ever be easy...but it was a much smoother transition. I only showed 3 times this spring, just to get my feet wet. I will most likely spend much of 2013 still at 3rd level before moving up. I am in no rush with my horse. He just turned 10 and has been so good.

    As a former event rider, I am just thrilled at the chance to train a young horse from the beginning! He has been so consistent over the last 4 years as he has moved up the levels. So much so that he helped me earn my Bronze Medal this year Keep at it...it is hard work, but well worth it!
    Mirror Image 2001-2007



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct. 16, 2008
    Location
    Central Oklahoma
    Posts
    3,059

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ideayoda View Post
    If the horse has been taught longitudinal flexion before lateral flexibility and has been ridden in training/1st too low or closed it will not have learned what proper half halts are, and the hindlegs will have only been pushing the load. So, then the rider has to go back, reknit the sweater(effects of the aids).
    Would you mind elaborate more, Ideayoda? I'm also trying to make the jump to 2nd level next year, and this comment caught my eye. Thanks.



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