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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
    Location
    Tucson
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    6,036

    Default What are you doing to become a better rider? (Copycat thread)

    I thought this was a great topic, and Mukluk posted it on the h/j forum, so I thought I'd ask that here!


    I'm currently working on developing greater patience with myself. I'm recovering from a severe back sprain and months later I have discovered if I work on collection in a ride it takes a week before I can ride again or even sit/stand comfortable due to pain. So I'm working on calming myself down over it, and allowing myself to stick to the very basics in 1st level type work. And it's a great chance to improve my groundwork, especially with a two year old set to arrive Wednesday!
    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



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 29, 2012
    Location
    Bahstin, Mass
    Posts
    666

    Default

    I'm working on a few things to become a better rider:

    1.) Quality of the work vs. quantity. Especially since my main riding horse is 27, I need to be very careful to not cause her any harm, and keep the work short but GOOD.
    2.) Listening to the horse. This relates to #1. How is she looking today? Is she naturally forward and wanting to work, or is she just wanting to tool around on a long rein? Can we do some canter work or should we just walk and trot, or maybe just walk?
    3.) Timing of the aids. This relates to #2! I am a nagger with my inside leg and I also take, and take, and take, AND TAKE some more on the inside rein without releasing. If I take I must give immediately! If I ask something with my inside leg I must allow her time to respond before asking again! Thankfully she is a patient soul, and makes her pleasure known when I do finally give if I've been holding on to her.
    4.) Feel. This is the one thing that I am having trouble developing as a dressage rider, but it's coming slowly. When I have trouble feeling, I go back to something that is easy to feel (footfalls, for instance) and build back up.

    I'm currently riding alone, without my trainer's eyes or on my trainer's horses, due to financial stuff/losing my job. It's hard to get another set of eyes on the ground too, but thankfully my mare is a good communicator and after riding her for 3 years, I am able to figure it out.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
    Location
    Triangle Area, NC
    Posts
    6,710

    Default

    In the big picture; 10% of my gross income goes to dressage education (clinics, short courses, audits, teacher workshops, books)

    In the immediate, I recently bought a Posture NOW device after seeing it on shark tank. In my last clinic I asked the clinician what one thing in my position should I focus on changing? He said my shoulders. I'm a slouched of my upper thoracic because I've got 32G's hangin out up front and my body does all sorts of things to compensate. I knew the rounded shoulders were holding me back, but didn't know all the positive side effects that would come with correcting it!
    So I ride now in the Posture NOW device. As a result my turkey neck is gone, chin lifted, hands up, hands closed, all which forces me to use my seat and leg more, which has resulted in a lighter forehand, lifted poll, and WAY more finite communication with my horse. We are schooling 4thish and many of the blocks we were having, turns out, were almost all linked to my shoulders!

    Best $40 I've spent in a long time.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2004
    Posts
    7,538

    Default

    trying to work through my mental blocks that keep me from being the rider i think i can be.....

    i also put myself and pony into full training with my trainer - we are going into the 3rd month and it is the BEST thing i have ever done...... i wish i had done it earlier! our progress has leaped exponentially !

    i am at *that* stage where i need to learn to let go and really ask for and demand the best my horse/pony can give.... its not a very comfortable place but knowing how i work i feel i am at the edge of finally working this this !



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

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by netg View Post
    I'm recovering from a severe back sprain
    please take it easy on yourself.... having broken my ribs, and done numerous soft tissue damage to myself - the one piece of advice i can give you is please let yourself heal. take the time needed to let your body do what it needs to do... any premature return to work will just set you back....

    soft tissue can take a long time... bones way less... then your body will also try to protect and compensate... it took me over 3 years to fully recover from my broken ribs.... so please take care!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    Posts
    1,814

    Default

    Pilates and yoga.
    Riding a confidence-builder at home.
    Riding my horse around the farm before and/or after lessons, and on non-lesson days.
    Lessons that focus some on me, and some on the horse - which of course is fixed through fixing me!

    Goals? To be more in the moment, in my bubble, less focused on events outside the arena; to realize my shoulders are the key to my position; to listen to the horse and problem solve for solutions.

    And of course to have fun!
    L



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 9, 2000
    Location
    California
    Posts
    8,175

    Default

    I actually took a break from my weekly dressage lessons and am hauling out to a cowgirl trainer twice a month - it is giving me a different perspective on how to work through some issues. I will say that in 3 weeks of working with the cowgirl, I've gotten better results (and more quickly) than in my dressage training. I think there were some basics in my horse's "starting" process that were missed.

    I am trying to be conscious of riding with lighter contact without throwing it away.

    The more yoga I do, the more I am able to access my body and develop better feel so that I can be lighter with my aids.

    I am taking pressure off myself to get to the show ring. It seems when I focus on getting to a show, I get TOO focused and all the fun of the process goes out the window in favor of results.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Posts
    1,442

    Default

    Losing weight, focussing on RIDING every stride every minute, taking more lessons, believing the horse is doing what my body is telling him which most likely isn't what I mean to tell him so I need to change.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2010
    Posts
    1,762

    Default

    Showing more so that I can practice riding tests more effectively. Taking lessons, keeping up with our clinician when he comes every 6 weeks. Practicing! a lot! Losing weight, trying to be more patient with myself and the horse.

    And, making plans to trail ride a lot after show season is done!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2011
    Location
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Posts
    1,451

    Default

    Trying to develop a better core.
    Trying to be a more quiet rider: no pinching with the knees, keeping my back straight, keeping the toes in the right position.
    Paying more attention to my arms: I often forget to bend my elbows.
    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by DottieHQ View Post
    You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 19, 2008
    Posts
    1,681

    Default

    I love both these threads!

    1. Keeping work interesting for my horse. He tends to get himself wound up when something is hard (i.e. flying changes) so I try not to just drill drill drill. He likes to jump and gallop, so I use those as mental refreshers. I also try to go on a "power walk" on the trails once every week or two.

    2. If I only have 15-20 minutes to ride, those will be sans stirrups. I can *almost* do a proper 20 minute flat school without irons and without a walk break every 30 seconds. I can't necessarily walk the next day, but it's good for you......that's what I tell myself

    3. Getting regular professional help. My boss is happy to give me a 5 minute lesson, and she's also arranged for a dressage instructor to come in one night a week. So I'm saving my pennies for that!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2003
    Posts
    1,900

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    In the big picture; 10% of my gross income goes to dressage education (clinics, short courses, audits, teacher workshops, books)

    In the immediate, I recently bought a Posture NOW device after seeing it on shark tank. In my last clinic I asked the clinician what one thing in my position should I focus on changing? He said my shoulders. I'm a slouched of my upper thoracic because I've got 32G's hangin out up front and my body does all sorts of things to compensate. I knew the rounded shoulders were holding me back, but didn't know all the positive side effects that would come with correcting it!
    So I ride now in the Posture NOW device. As a result my turkey neck is gone, chin lifted, hands up, hands closed, all which forces me to use my seat and leg more, which has resulted in a lighter forehand, lifted poll, and WAY more finite communication with my horse. We are schooling 4thish and many of the blocks we were having, turns out, were almost all linked to my shoulders!

    Best $40 I've spent in a long time.

    Do you just wear this to ride or out of the saddle too?



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2011
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    215

    Default

    Great thread! I'm always working on my trainer's "homework" but the major thing right now is trying to get more fit both in my core and with cardio. Riding's sooooooo much easier when I'm in shape.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
    Posts
    8,676

    Default

    For me, just facing reality I guess, not sure how else to put it. Facing my fears, recognizing what I am doing right or wrong, changing things that need changing. Being honest about what is working and what is not working. I was trying a new instructor, but it didn't work out, so I need to let that go. I was having difficulties and had my lesson video taped, and I really watched it and learned from it and today had the best ride on my new pony than I have ever had!

    I also have started to listen to the inner voice.

    Another thing my long time instructor told me yesterday in my lesson that worked today - always ride with love and with a smile on your face...and laugh off the silliness. Ride with joy.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2005
    Location
    best place so far
    Posts
    1,246

    Default

    I too put my mare in ful training this summer. All the lessons have helped me change from being a passenger that just hoped everything would happen to one that "makes it happen".

    I have worked on keeping my shoulders back and attaching my upper arms to my body. JJ Tate has this great analogy that our upper arms should be connected to our back and lower arm (elbow to hand) soft and flexible. She said we should look like a T-rex with little stubby arms coming from our torso She also described a tip she learned from Kyra Kyrklund about riding on your "AR"...not for the faint of heart but AR stands for "anal ring"....and it should be attached to your saddle!!!!!

    My instructor has really ramped up her expectations of my riding and is tough and demanding in our lessons. By focusing on my upper body/ core/ shoulders/ arms I have been able to influence my mare's shoulders and keep her from being on her forehand (more or less).

    I needed this intense summer to make the leap to Second Level. Now I feel like next spring we will be able to get our Second Level scores up from low-mid 60s to high 60s and transition into Third Level.



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

    Default

    I dunno... Just making it through this next winter will make me a better rider I am sure! lol

    Winter is always "colorful" with the type of horses I ride and my seat usually has to transform. I am working on sitting IN my horse a bit more and I think to be better at this I will have to get a bit fitter so will be trying some diet and extra workouts/house keeping LOL
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    918

    Default

    I am really excited to be participating in a clinic with Shannon Peters next weekend and by all accounts she is a position expert. I hope that by continuing to fine tune my position and more importantly timing and effectiveness of my aids I will improve as a rider. Unfortunately, those 2 very important components are the bane of my riding existence!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2000
    Posts
    2,391

    Default

    I bought a horse a little out of my comfort zone.

    He's got much bigger gaits than I'm used to, and takes much lighter contact and quieter aids than I'm used to, so it is really making me refine what I do. Luckily, although very responsive, he's not super hot, so we don't get into too much trouble when I forget who I'm riding!



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
    Location
    Triangle Area, NC
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    6,710

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Karosel View Post
    Do you just wear this to ride or out of the saddle too?
    I wear it while riding one of my horses per day, plus 20 minutes a day off horse.
    One of the things Ive noticed is I arch my lower back with it on when out of the saddle, so I prefer to wear it while IN the saddle so that I don't develop a lordosis muscle memory.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    6,036

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    please take it easy on yourself.... having broken my ribs, and done numerous soft tissue damage to myself - the one piece of advice i can give you is please let yourself heal. take the time needed to let your body do what it needs to do... any premature return to work will just set you back....

    soft tissue can take a long time... bones way less... then your body will also try to protect and compensate... it took me over 3 years to fully recover from my broken ribs.... so please take care!
    Thanks.

    I didn't ride for 3 months, and after one ride working on collected stuff have decided I'm throwing out the hope of showing again this calendar year, and instead just doing working gaits on him as those don't hurt, only riding when I'm pretty sure it's safe because even spooks have an ability to hurt me, and doing groundwork. Off-horse I have physical therapy exercises and am now working on building a gym routine to help build strength. I do find it funny that so far none of the ab exercise I've had is enough to even feel....
    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



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