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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by kdow View Post
    If you just look at this part and think about it from the horse's point of view, it is confusing - leg means go but more contact generally means stop/slow down, so you're saying go but don't go! I think that's what Swamp Yankee is talking about - there's no reward to responding to the leg and going because he's going forward BONK! right into your hand which is creating a correction via pressure/discomfort in the mouth.

    So I think what she's saying is to think about the timing of the aids - leg to go, get nice energy, THEN say 'and now this is what I want you to do with that energy' via half-halts, contact, seat, etc. Which can all happen pretty quickly once you get the hang of things, so it's not like each bit takes half the arena, but, well - if you were going and always going forward into something unpleasant/uncomfortable and confusing, you'd probably suck back too.
    Not wanting to hijack the thread, now that you explain it like that i think I may be doing the same thing. I know that my timing is not the best but now that I think of it sometimes i'm so focused on getting the horse on the bit that sometimes I forget to reward him when he does give in just in the slightest and end up bonking the horse's mouth when he's trying to go forward.
    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.



  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by KurPlexed View Post
    Ok I'm back and I hear you!

    So today my goal was just to go back to first level stuff and figure out where, between where I was to where I was trying to go, things were going wrong.

    Here's my conclusion.

    IF your connection is not 100% correct in a first level working gaits (with elevated shoulders) there is no way in hell that it's going to:
    A. Get correct by trying to shorten the reins and kick into contact.
    B. that it will get correct even if I was able to do A. lol

    I think I was asking him to go forward while staying round and for some reason this included me closing my hands "or" not opening them (holding) when the leg was applied.

    I tried what SwampYankee suggested. I completely separated leg and hand. I started in the halt. Hands closed. leg on, hands open and horse goes forward. It was not 100% honest at first and I don't blame him he's still expecting what he was getting. Did a few more halt/walks got him responding nicely. Moved on to walk/trot, same thing. Hands closed lightly during the walk hands open slightly while leg was applied. Horse moved off. Still not 100% but 70% better than yesterday. Then moved on to halt/trot which was REALLY good (compared to yesterday) I did not move onto canter today as I really wanted to keep it simple and rewarding for him.

    Although this horse is on the lazy side he is not a bad horse in any way so I know when I'm getting a fight that it's either him being a little bit of a bully that day and I need to work him through it or there is some miscommunication going on as in this situation.

    In defense of my trainers: A. Trainer 1 has been away and really hasn't seen first hand. Trainer 2 is new to me. (4 lessons total) and I don't think she realized that I was legging and closing at the same time (hell I didn't even realize). Sometimes when you start with someone new there are things you assume a student knows and is doing they they really don't have a firm grasp on.


    So by the end of the ride I had shoulders up, horse moving off my leg and I did not have to give up my elbows because there was a give in the front door (opening hands ) I had my reins just about where I eventually want them to be maybe 1/2" longer but horse was moving forward from behind and there were NO fights. Half Halts were also more effective when we started to loose it.

    There were landscapers pelting the side of the indoor with rocks and he was a little freaked out by that too but he kept his head, we moved forward and had a happy 45min ride.

    Saturday I'll see how canter goes and Sunday is a hunter pace and I can fool around out there too.
    70% better and a happy 45-minute ride is terrific for your first attempt! Here's what you need to do:

    Go to our "Spinoff: French School!" thread and read it from beginning to end. Print out the Bibliography for future reference, because you're going to want to read a BUNCH of those books. Then go to "French School Workshop" and add your experiences to those of the folks also experimenting with this and posting there.

    Enjoy your hunter pace this weekend, and remember that in EVERY SINGLE THING YOU DO you will SEPARATE THE AIDS. NO hand and leg at the same time. Draw your horse a picture of what you want and I'm guessing he'll go 95% better by the end of the weekend out of pure gratitude!

    BTW--after reading all of the above you may well decide to ditch those two "trainers." Based on what you've said, I think you'd be better off without either of 'em. Instead you may want to consider working on your own until you can get to a clinic with one of the French School clinicians who travel around; in the interim, there is lots and LOTS of YouTube!

    Keep up the good work, your HORSE is right!



  3. #43
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    I feel better about what's transpired. I have a feeling I'll have to wait to read the thread for a rainy weekend, sounds long. What can I search on youtube?



  4. #44
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    Thumbs up This may be

    Quote Originally Posted by MelantheLLC View Post
    Arrgh. Hope the OP comes back with a report.

    This is exactly what I was talking about a few weeks back in the French School thread. A blast from the past of my unfortunate early years with the crank-n-spank crowd.

    Too many of us are not taught clearly enough ourselves, and so we do not teach our horses, what the leg aids and the reins aids mean. The OP's trainers are classic examples, claiming this horse is "ready" for strong contact when clearly it ain't, or it would not be behind the leg. I must say, it really makes me angry at this point to hear that "trainers" (more than one apparently!) say that, and speak in those terms ("push into the bridle") to someone who is struggling. And with a horse that is sucking back and sometimes feels to the rider "as if it will explode."

    It will. Believe me. If you keep going this route, and end up with a horse that rears, you can thank your trainers and yourself, because you taught him.

    Before the horse understands the aids clearly, we start mixing up the signals by "pushing him into the contact" IE forcing the horse forward into a strong hand that is saying "don't go forward." So he's saying, "you're telling me to stop and you're yelling at me to go! WHAT DO YOU WANT??"

    SwampYankee explained the correct approach, which is to ask him to go--with as much energy/whip as it takes--but DO NOT BLOCK him at the SAME TIME. If you need to, throw AWAY the reins the moment he moves off energetically. (Do this while your idiot trainers aren't around, maybe.)

    Horses are very smart in their own way, but it isn't in our way. They understand the leg means forward, because they get a release from it. Young horses should be taught this until it is ingrained. But if later you begin to contradict what they know, they don't have the mental tools to reason through what you are asking.

    Traditional training uses negative reinforcement. This means that training occurs when an unpleasant stimulus is removed. Whatever the horse is doing when the unpleasant stimulus is removed, it will repeat the next time, in order to get it removed again.

    The horse is paying attention to EVERYTHING it is doing the INSTANT the unpleasant thing stops. Your timing is crucial for the horse to learn what you want. You are using leg and whip to create an unpleasant stimulus. When the horse moves forward, you instantly cease that stimulus--that is his release and reward for doing what you asked. The consistent timing of your release trains him that the leg--always previous to the whip--is the hint that he'd better move so he can avoid the unpleasant whip.

    That's the kind of reasoning horses are very good at. Very very quickly he'll be trotting right off at a light leg aid.

    But if you hold him back at the same time, you are not giving him any reward for doing what you asked. In fact, you are punishing him for doing what you asked, so why should he keep doing it? Previous to this "contact" thing, he thought the reins meant slow down or stop. Now you suddenly decide they are essentially meaningless. He's supposed to just tolerate whatever pressure you take, to "push into it."

    Can you see how confusing this is for the horse? He clearly doesn't like that much pressure, or he wouldn't be sucking back. If you want him to learn to tolerate it, you'd better give him a reason. And that reason will be a release from it that is carefully timed to teach him what you want.

    That's essentially what half-halts are, though they are seldom described that way. They are a mildly unpleasant stimulus that is released when the horse does what we want.

    It's frankly amazing that horses figure out as much as they do, considering how random and annoying we are to them as we train them. Thank your "lazy" guy for suggesting to you that you can teach him and ride him in a way he can better understand. He'll reward you with generosity, if he's like 99% of horses.
    the best post ever on this subject!
    I am almost totally convinced that this has been my rides problem and now I am having to deal with it.
    So many trainers over the years have said PUSH him into the contact ride him into your hands.
    WEll, not the answer I agree and it makes so much sense as to why horses stop going forward, and suck back.
    "you can only ride the drama llama so hard before it decides to spit in your face." ?Caffeinated.



  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by KurPlexed View Post
    I feel better about what's transpired. I have a feeling I'll have to wait to read the thread for a rainy weekend, sounds long. What can I search on youtube?
    i hate to say it but you need to find well qualified trainers in your area to work with..... internet help is fine but you cant train a horse this way..... and there can be HUGE differences between the French system and the standard german system. there are big differences in the systems and the lower level results.... or maybe you will be lucky and find someone who ins kind of in the middle (my trainer is classical german system but with a lot of French overtones)

    you also need to figure out which system works for you......

    i would spend some time researching trainers in your area and go audit lessons.... also watch their student at shows etc. the horse will tell the story if you are watching

    and just as a cautionary tale - a few years back i was at a very frustrating point in my learning - and i also posted on the internet and i listened and tried to implement all the seemingly good ideas.... unfortunately that ended up really setting me back and wasting a really talented horse.

    i will be blunt: find a GOOD trainer and then do as they say - that is the recipe for success

    good luck!



  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by netg View Post
    I like this.


    It seems as if a lot of the problems I read about here are people trying to handle changes as a huge step, when it's just peeling off a tiny, thin layer of the onion. Connection, collection, etc., are all part of a spectrum and not discrete steps. Sure the showing itself may have steps in expectations, but training the horse should be gradual and on a smoother continuum. I take each point where it seems like I'm struggling at the base of a big step as a sign I need to back off, fix some basics, and work on it again.
    It is, I think a lot of problems could be solved if folks would just remember that Connection develops from back activity/rhythm/suppleness. If there are problems in the connection then its likely not a Connection Problem at all--but some other issue lower down in the spectrum--or perhaps even rider error. Many riders seem to proud to admit the mistake is theirs or of their own making---perhaps even ignorant of how often 'we humans make mistakes'. Even riders at the top of sport make mistakes---they just dont make them quite as often.



  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    i hate to say it but you need to find well qualified trainers in your area to work with..... internet help is fine but you cant train a horse this way..... and there can be HUGE differences between the French system and the standard german system. there are big differences in the systems and the lower level results.... or maybe you will be lucky and find someone who ins kind of in the middle (my trainer is classical german system but with a lot of French overtones) I know who the OP is, and she has worked with a couple excellent trainers who have great show records as do their students.

    you also need to figure out which system works for you......

    i would spend some time researching trainers in your area and go audit lessons.... also watch their student at shows etc. the horse will tell the story if you are watching MBM, here's the problem with that. I know of many trainers that have students doing well. I watch them show and they look great. Often times, the trainer really can't take all the credit for that. These students are riding high quality trained horses and maybe the students already have learned how to ride well. It's a different situation when the student is more novice, on a more novice horse, or on a limited horse. I mean, even a trainer like Stefan Peters can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. (not referring to OP here, but just a comment)

    and just as a cautionary tale - a few years back i was at a very frustrating point in my learning - and i also posted on the internet and i listened and tried to implement all the seemingly good ideas.... unfortunately that ended up really setting me back and wasting a really talented horse. Of course you know I was around at that time, and certainly these 'helpers' did you no favors. Had you not ever got involved in the dressage discussions and stuck with one of your early trainers, who knows how far you would have gone. Fortunately, you have finally found someone good that works for you.

    i will be blunt: find a GOOD trainer and then do as they say - that is the recipe for success That is easier said than done. I know lots of 'good' trainers, but they wouldn't work for me and my particular horse. It is really, really hard to get hooked up with the right trainer when you are a lower level rider because you do not know what you do not know, and you can end up trusting the advice of a trainer that causes you all sorts of problems.

    I'm in no position to give anyone training advice, because I have problems of my own I haven't been able to solve. However, I feel comfortable recommending that riders make sure they check out the credentials of those whose advice and suggestions they take. You don't need to see a show record, but you need to see some evidence that what they are teling you has worked for them and/or their students.

    .



  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwampYankee View Post
    BTW--after reading all of the above you may well decide to ditch those two "trainers." Based on what you've said, I think you'd be better off without either of 'em. Instead you may want to consider working on your own until you can get to a clinic with one of the French School clinicians who travel around; in the interim, there is lots and LOTS of YouTube!

    Keep up the good work, your HORSE is right!
    Personally I think it is ridiculous to tell someone to fire both of their real life trainers over what you have typed into an internet chat forum. Oh, wait, OP should abandon lessons altogether except for three times a year when a French trainer is around!

    It is one thing to offer up, "Here is something which you may find helpful," and quite another to be so impressed with one's own training-by-typing to with a straight face advise someone to throw everything out and watch youtube instead.

    I mean, if it gets to the point that a person is so afraid of real life charlatans that they will listen only to nternet forum posts ....... hm.



  9. #49
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    ToN Farm: I feel at a disadvantage here now. lol I don't know who you are. haha You must know me well though bc I really haven't discussed this issue with many. : )

    No worries, I'm not doing away with any trainers. LOL That's the thing about the internet for me. I listen to everyone and take what I like and what works and disregard the rest. I have confidence that my trainers will be able to help be decide what the best path will be to overcome the issue that I'm dealing with. Having said that, being able to ask on a forum (between lessons and without hounding my instructors) for perhaps another point of view or opinion is great for me. Sometimes I get so one track that other options just don't occur to me because I'm so concentrated on the way I think it "should be done".

    So the remedy that SwampYankee suggested is currently working and my horse seems happier and is going better. This is perfect for me "right now". I can work on keeping him forward and happy until my next lesson where I can discuss with either trainer how to proceed. Who knows she may come back and say "you can do (what SwamYankee suggested) all you want and you'll be at first level forever or you can do what I'm telling you to do and move up. I have no idea yet how things will go but to get me through the the next lesson I need to do some experimenting on my own and see what will work to keep us on track.

    I'm not switching courses or trainers at all. Well unless someone wants to sponsor me and see if SP has an opening.



  10. #50
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    Hi again. I wanted to post another update and see if anyone finds that I'm going in the right direction.

    So I really haven't worked on anything since my last post. I had a hunter pace that was so damn fast that I really didn't have time to work on anything and then I've been sick. So while being sick I've watched a few videos of Colonel Christian Carde. Both address contact. First one was with a TL horse who really was never taught to go into contact. The other was a 3rd or 4th level horse who was going into contact with tension. After watching the videos I decided to go out and see what I can make of it. So maybe this is stuff I should have learned the first week of ever sitting on a saddle maybe not but either way, it's new to me. lol

    Here's how it went:

    After warmup.
    Halt, pick up contact to where you want it.
    Horse braces bulges under neck
    Hold contact hold your position as much as horse braces is as much as you hold.
    Horse softens rider still holding contact where you want it immediately softens too.
    Horse stays soft ask horse to walk forward. If horse braces rider holds until horse softens.
    Horse softens, rider softens
    horse stays soft rider asks for a walk or trot.
    Horse braces rider holds till horse softens (while still maintaining requested gait)
    horse softens rider softens.

    I continued in this fashion through many transitions between gaits and within gaits. I forgot to add NEVER let horse go backwards (although in his video he did, I prefer to correct this behavior as #1 on my list).

    Horse was never allowed to dip behind the bit nor drop the shoulders. Once you've asked a few times and horse responds like he's finally understanding how this works with a few correct steps, immediately stretch the horse down and let him trot on.

    I worked for about an hour and by the end of the hour after working through the tension I was able to get 2-3 halt canters that were soft and without bracing. This is a HUGE accomplishment for us. We rarely ever got trot canter trans without horse tossing head and loosing connection.

    I should also mention at no time was he allowed to be invisible to my hands up front. I always insisted on a soft feel of his mouth and him going to the bit.

    My thinking by the end of this session is "No wonder I'm having such difficulty. If I can't hold my position in halt because he's already bracing against me what makes me think that I will be able to hold it in trot or canter?"

    Basically it was a matter of making the wrong thing uncomfortable and making the right thing pleasant.

    Like I said above maybe I should have learned this years ago but for some reason it's only coming into play now. I'm a little embarrassed to admit it.

    Any thoughts on this? P.S. I've never heard of the above trainer. I'm just a member of Dressagetrainingonline and came across his videos. I thought they were very interesting.



  11. #51
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    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  12. #52
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    Kurplexed, I think my last trainer was more accomplished with training younger/newer horses than anyone I have worked with.


    Anyway, she did have contact follow as much as she would variate the rein length. So she would allow the horse down the rein (longer) but keep contact while they went down and then she would ask forward until they would also pick up and she would have to shorten out of necessity. I think it is best to shorten out of necessity.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  13. #53
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    I read something in a book last night that made me feel quite a bit better regarding 2nd-Level Contact/Collection. The author stated that just like most things with horses establishing correct Contact was an ongoing process and that it was rare for horses at this level to not have faults in the connection. Again an ongoing process. Internally I think I knew this--but thought it was good to be reminded.

    I approached my so-called 'contact' difficulties in a slightly different manner by going back and confirming Rhythm/Relaxation/Suppleness on curved tracks especially circles and serpentines. I also focused on suppling the poll-jaw and from that I have been able to establish the kind of light-elasticy feeling contact onto both reins I was looking for. Still all very much one small part of an ongoing progression. Good Luck!



  14. #54
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    The author stated that just like most things with horses establishing correct Contact was an ongoing process and that it was rare for horses at this level to not have faults in the connection. Again an ongoing process

    I agree. Here's what I don't understand.... We are going around doing our thing. Trainer says "shorten your reins" as soon as I do horse gets heavy in the hands causing either my arms to come forward intentionally or not(which effects my whole position for the worse) or my reins get pulled out of my hands causing again "shorten your reins". After a few minutes of this I find horse has slipped behind my leg and I'm unable to leg him into the contact effectively. When does he get rewarded? What is his motivation to go forward? Where is the conversation? Why am I told to send him into a closed door? If I do what's next? Am I supposed to be giving when he meets the hand so that he stretches to the bit? If I'm giving how do I recycle and elevate?

    I don't know maybe I'm missing some fundamental information here.

    What I do know is by using the method above I've had a happy forward horse who's chewing, round and obedient.

    I've only read 11 pages of the french thread so I can't chime in on that yet but for me the blockage I was feeling was immediate and started as soon as the reins were picked up. Probably produced by my uneducated hands. At least with this method I am able to reward my hrose and he's understanding leg = go but hands do not mean stop. There is a conversation going on. I'm not even sure I'm doing the entire method correctly and once I've stopped him from bracing on my I do ride into a soft contact but I am not letting it get too heavy without addressing it.

    Yesterday I was able to put the reins in one hand at ALL gaits and my horse stayed forward and round. I went from collected to working to stretching back to working back to collected etc in all gaits. This was pretty amazing considering that a few days ago my horse was rearing when asked to go "into contact".

    I tried the reins in one hand because it seemed to help me mentally separate the hold vs the give. It make it more clear to both of us. It also allowed me to use my whip in the correct position without having to draw my hand back which I sometimes do. It was very eye opening. I have a lesson on Sunday and I can't wait to hear what my trainer thinks of what's going on.



  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by KurPlexed View Post
    The author stated that just like most things with horses establishing correct Contact was an ongoing process and that it was rare for horses at this level to not have faults in the connection. Again an ongoing process

    I agree. Here's what I don't understand.... We are going around doing our thing. Trainer says "shorten your reins" as soon as I do horse gets heavy in the hands causing either my arms to come forward intentionally or not(which effects my whole position for the worse) or my reins get pulled out of my hands causing again "shorten your reins". After a few minutes of this I find horse has slipped behind my leg and I'm unable to leg him into the contact effectively. When does he get rewarded? What is his motivation to go forward? Where is the conversation? Why am I told to send him into a closed door? If I do what's next? Am I supposed to be giving when he meets the hand so that he stretches to the bit? If I'm giving how do I recycle and elevate?

    I don't know maybe I'm missing some fundamental information here.

    What I do know is by using the method above I've had a happy forward horse who's chewing, round and obedient.

    I've only read 11 pages of the french thread so I can't chime in on that yet but for me the blockage I was feeling was immediate and started as soon as the reins were picked up. Probably produced by my uneducated hands. At least with this method I am able to reward my hrose and he's understanding leg = go but hands do not mean stop. There is a conversation going on. I'm not even sure I'm doing the entire method correctly and once I've stopped him from bracing on my I do ride into a soft contact but I am not letting it get too heavy without addressing it.

    Yesterday I was able to put the reins in one hand at ALL gaits and my horse stayed forward and round. I went from collected to working to stretching back to working back to collected etc in all gaits. This was pretty amazing considering that a few days ago my horse was rearing when asked to go "into contact".

    I tried the reins in one hand because it seemed to help me mentally separate the hold vs the give. It make it more clear to both of us. It also allowed me to use my whip in the correct position without having to draw my hand back which I sometimes do. It was very eye opening. I have a lesson on Sunday and I can't wait to hear what my trainer thinks of what's going on.
    Do you think that maybe when you shorten your reins you might be a bit harsh? I'm not saying you're pulling on the horse's face but maybe it's not a smooth trasition when you do. My horse would get all tense and start going faster when I shortened the reins at the walk, so I started shortening the reins in a more subtle way, so that he doesn't think shorter reins = something unpleasent.
    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.



  16. #56
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    No. I don't think I am being harsh. I'm just shortening the reins normally. I've tried going super slow and I get the same reaction. It's not even something that one could detect just watching from the ground. It's a feeling the horse gives me in his body.

    I do think perhaps I don't have the forward thinking hands that I should. I've always struggled with this. Doing what I've been doing the past few days though seems to def make it clear to me the difference in holding vs forward thinking. With this method I do now feel like my hands are forward thinking and I do feel I'm able to keep them in the correct position. My only concern is I don't want my horse to hold a "pose" I do want him to go to the contact but I want it to be a contact that I determine and not determined by the horse. Know what I mean?



  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by KurPlexed View Post
    No. I don't think I am being harsh. I'm just shortening the reins normally. I've tried going super slow and I get the same reaction. It's not even something that one could detect just watching from the ground. It's a feeling the horse gives me in his body.

    I do think perhaps I don't have the forward thinking hands that I should. I've always struggled with this. Doing what I've been doing the past few days though seems to def make it clear to me the difference in holding vs forward thinking. With this method I do now feel like my hands are forward thinking and I do feel I'm able to keep them in the correct position. My only concern is I don't want my horse to hold a "pose" I do want him to go to the contact but I want it to be a contact that I determine and not determined by the horse. Know what I mean?
    Yeah, I know what you mean. You want a horse that's soft and forward. I often have a difficulty to keep the horse moving forward into the bit at the pace that was set by me, rather than him trying to rush the pace to get out of work.
    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.



  18. #58
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    Hi,

    If you want to send a video of you riding with this problem I would be happy to review it for you. Sometimes it is a combination of aids and timing that are off.


    Another thing to check is your horse's nutrition. My Grand Prix horses receive much more "energy" food than my training level horses. Feed is adjusted according to work.

    Sincerely,
    angietaylordressage.com



  19. #59
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    I really wouldn't mind if he rushed. THEN at least I'd have something to deal with.

    Equus: I have 3 videos all from my first lesson in which he showed he was not happy. I'll send you the links. Thanks for taking the time to look at them.



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