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  1. #1
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    Dec. 16, 2007
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    Default Putting my neck on the line here: critique, please

    So, my husband was nice enough to come out to the barn yesterday and video of me riding. Would love your (constructive, and kind) criticism. I know I'm overweight, working on that! Just FYI: the part near the beginning where I'm doing a seemingly endless circle, next to the pole--I was doing that because Ms. Princess was a little spooked by the cooler hanging on the adjacent pole (not seen in the video.) I thought it was an opportunity, instead of just working on the opposite side of the arena, to build my confidence by getting her over that. And it worked! I was really happy with myself.

    A little background: just started riding again after two years off, with hunter/jumper trainer. My long-term goals are actually to do dressage as a main discipline, but I would love to use jumping for cross-training. Biggest task now is to work through my issues with being a timid rider.

    I can see in the video that I AM leaning forward in canter, which my trainer has been telling me but I honestly do not FEEL like I am. I guess it's such an ingrained muscle memory from all those times I felt afraid, that now it feels 'normal'. I didn't have any fear during this ride or much at all, lately, but this is something I will have to consciously work on.

    So, yeah. Any constructive comments welcome and appreciated.

    **I chose to remove video for reasons I'll leave unstated. Sorry to anyone who wanted to help with a critique.**
    Last edited by cu.at.x; Dec. 10, 2012 at 01:13 AM. Reason: forgot link! doh!
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo



  2. #2
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    Oct. 22, 2009
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    Default

    You set the video to private, I can't see it.
    Quote Originally Posted by pinecone View Post
    I can't decide if I should saddle up the drama llama, dust off the clue bat, or get out my soapbox.



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
    You set the video to private, I can't see it.
    Huh, I thought it was viewable to those with the link? I'll go fix it now.
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo



  4. #4
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    Oct. 30, 2009
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    Default

    Couldn't watch more than a few seconds. Too jumpy. I was getting dizzy..



  5. #5
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    Mar. 25, 2011
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    Default

    Cute horse. Are you out at that nice place in Croton?



  6. #6
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    Dec. 12, 2005
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    Default hubby needs a tripod for christmas ;)

    I couldn't watch much either, but from what I saw you have a very kind mare. Trust her more, she looks like she deserves your trust.
    Last edited by Catersun; Nov. 25, 2012 at 09:11 AM. Reason: because I can't type worth a pile of poo


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
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    Columbus, OH
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Beckham03 View Post
    Cute horse. Are you out at that nice place in Croton?
    I'd know that indoor arena anywhere, and it isn't in Croton.

    Anyway, cu.at.x, there's a lot of nice things going on there. The horse goes like a hunter (duh), and I'm sure a dressage trainer would say you could have the horse more engaged and through, but I was horseless for 15 years so I know how it goes. You ride the horse you're lucky enough to be presented with, in the manner in which the owner wishes to have it ridden, and in this case that would be "lower-level hunter horse." And for someone who's just starting back up again and schooling Training Level, I'd much rather see a horse who's shuffling along rhythmically and relaxed than a horse that's been pushed forward out of control/tense in the name of "engagement."

    I'm not a trainer and don't play one on TV...but I do a play a saddle fitter on the Internet so I'll briefly pause to talk about the saddle. I'm sure it's Pam's saddle and you're stuck with it, but it's too small for you, which makes it doubly tempting for you to lean forward. It becomes so easy for your behind riding up the slope of the cantle behind the saddle's balance point/etc., and you're just barely getting away with all of this because you're riding in such a long stirrup which makes *some* extre room for your behind in the seat. Again, been there done that got the horseless rider t-shirt, so I sympathize. And I discovered the official horseless rider strategy of coping with too-small saddles which is to drop stirrups, even just at the walk, which gives you a better chance of sinking into the saddle's balance point and working on your position a bit. It helps. Some. It also helps, some, to do work in jump position where you're up and above that too-small seat--but IME this second strategy is best accomplished with a jumping length stirrup, even if it means your knee goes over the flap.

    I see you share my #1 dressage equitation fault, which my trainer has helped me understand is less about "leaning forward" than "the whole aspect of the rider from the hips upward is at about a 45 degree angle to the ground instead of looking forward." It's not just in your hips and your back. It's also in your hands. In the video, we can see that the line from your elbow to the horse's mouth is broken by hands that are slightly too low; this makes it oh-so-easy for your shoulders to gradually sink even if your head is up. I'm not saying lift your hands to the sky, just that when you're riding a hunter on a looser loopy contact, it can be SO easy to develop that hands-breaking-the-line-to-the-bit habit. God knows how much money I spent correcting it when I switched to dressage and eventing after a childhood of riding hunter-style. There's still time for you. Fix it before it costs you $400 in riding lessons.

    Oddly enough, perhaps because you crave a feeling of control at the canter or because you are focusing hard on sitting up, your elbow-hand-bit connection is better at the canter than the walk and trot. Lucky you!

    Also--and this is nitpicking--I wasn't in love with your upward canter transitions. My guess is that you get a little grippy and tight, which causes you to bounce around a bit in the penultimate strides before the horse departs. Combine this with a tendency to learn forward (or at least not sit back and really let your hips "go" with that first stride of the canter) and you get a muddy transition. Again, please let me know where I can buy the t-shirt for that one.

    Please teach your husband The Human Tripod ASAP. Spread the feet about shoulder-width apart, relax the arms at the sides, lock the elbows to each side, raise JUST the forearms to meet in the middle of the chest, and press firmly on each side of the camera. Voila, a human steadycam setup that will hugely reduce video shake. If he needs to pan, turn the whole torso from the hips upward to maintain the steady shot.
    Last edited by jn4jenny; Nov. 25, 2012 at 11:53 AM.


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  8. #8
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    Feb. 9, 2005
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    Default

    Leaning forward is also my biggest problem. Try thinking of riding your hips through your elbows. Also, think of leading with your hips _ "hips forward!" an instructor used to tell me. And, of course, feel as if you are leaning BACK - you will probably be just correct.
    In order to do these things, you have to adjust the angle of your pelvis so you don't get sway backed.....
    L



  9. #9
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    Mar. 25, 2011
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    Don't worry about your size -strength and effective riding have less to do with size and alot more to do with core so don't sweat that.

    You are leaning forward alot. I think because your horse is behind the leg -not working in a nice forward gait. I bet it feels really comfortable, but she's quite sucked back. I'm trying to suss out why you're leaning forward. For me it's usually because I'm trying pull Fella around the ring when he's behind the leg. I'm wondering though whether the tie down is contributing. Why the tie down anyway? She seems very relaxed and calm.

    Because she's lacking impulsion and you're leaning forward you're not rising into your hands. Your hips don't open. I think if she were more forward you'd have less of this problem?

    For leaning forward I know that if I can catch a glimpse of my boobs in my lower peripheral vision I am sitting up. No boobs -I am leaning forward.

    I think your saddle is too small -I'm no fitter, but when you came by the camera it looked like you were almost posting onto the pommel?

    Anyway, good for you. Take what I say with a massive grain of salt because I am not a trainer. I am just making observations on characteristics we share.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  10. #10
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    Nov. 30, 2006
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    Default

    The saddle also appears to be too wide for the horse. It isn't even making contact with the horses back behind.



  11. #11
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    Dec. 16, 2007
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    Ohio
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    Thank you all for the comments. I apologize that the video is so shaky. I don't think my DH has ever filmed anything except on his iPhone Will look into getting him a tripod, especially since he agreed to come out and film once a month-ish so it will be worth the investment.

    Yes, Tally is a WONDERFUL mare. She really defies the "chestnut mare" stereotype.

    jn4jenny--Thanks. I know what you mean about engagement. She is 20 years old and has been a hunter all her life (to my knowledge), so not much is going to change in that dept. now, even if I tried. I guess I could push her up into my hands more, but developing a dressage frame is not really our priority, nor do I want to change the way she's been ridden.

    I did suspect the saddle was too small. So that's not helping my pitching forward, is it? I do ride at the walk without stirrups, sometimes bent at the knees at a 45 degree angle so I can really get the feeling of sitting properly. When I pick up the stirrups, it's good for a little while before it goes to pot. lol. I actually thought about asking Pam if I could pay her for a lunge lesson or two, but if the saddle doesn't fit well it's not even worth it, is it? I guess I will have to wait until I get a horse to find a saddle that fits us both.

    Ok, I will work on lifting my hands a bit. Makes sense that if my hands are too low it would draw my shoulders forward and thus my whole upper body.

    That's not nitpicking, about the transitions-I asked for an honest critique and I got it! lol. That one...ugly! I think that's another vestige of my nervousness...getting tight and pitching forward.

    Human tripod..I like it

    Thanks lorilu. My trainer tells me to "lean back", too. It feels weird but I look in the mirror and it's correct.

    paulaedwina-am I leaning forward even in the trot? I thought I was supposed to be a little forward when posting. The canter is what I was referring to. She did look slow to me in the video, in trot. But when I try to push her forward, I feel like we lose the rhythm. She just gets 'fast' instead of pushing from behind more. I did feel like a bit of canter helped the trot after. Not sure if that got in the video or not. About the martingale, all Pam's horses and students' horses go in one. I never questioned it, and I'm still not even sure what it's for.
    Hips don't open....Pam said I should "close my hip angles" when posting. Maybe I am misinterpreting this?
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo



  12. #12
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    Mar. 25, 2011
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    Pennsylvania
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    I think she's saying the same thing -when you post the don't move as freely as they should (opening and closing), they're kind of seized in the same place. I think this is exacerbated by the horse being behind the leg. I can see she'd just get fast because she doesn't know how to use her hind end. Fella, trail trained essentially, came to me that way. Sucked back and upside down -a two legged horse being closely followed behind by another two legged horse! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDEgD...eature=related This is very very early video -within the month that I bought him or thereabouts, last year. Please ignore my locked elbows that essentially popped him in the face every stride -that's been improved too.

    He's better now, but I don't have any recent video. The saddle will make a huge difference IMO. When I was saddle shopping someone kindly loaned me a saddle to use in the interim that was too small for me and so I ended up posting onto the pommel too. I was out of balance and couldn't post properly at all. Getting a better fitting saddle will make a huge huge difference for both of you.

    As for posting position -again I am not a trainer so take this with a grain of salt. You shouldn't be leaning forward in your posting trot. My trainers always said to post between your hands. Does that help?

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  13. #13
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    Dec. 16, 2007
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    Ohio
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulaedwina View Post
    I think she's saying the same thing -when you post the don't move as freely as they should (opening and closing), they're kind of seized in the same place. I think this is exacerbated by the horse being behind the leg. I can see she'd just get fast because she doesn't know how to use her hind end. Fella, trail trained essentially, came to me that way. Sucked back and upside down -a two legged horse being closely followed behind by another two legged horse! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDEgD...eature=related This is very very early video -within the month that I bought him or thereabouts, last year. Please ignore my locked elbows that essentially popped him in the face every stride -that's been improved too.

    He's better now, but I don't have any recent video. The saddle will make a huge difference IMO. When I was saddle shopping someone kindly loaned me a saddle to use in the interim that was too small for me and so I ended up posting onto the pommel too. I was out of balance and couldn't post properly at all. Getting a better fitting saddle will make a huge huge difference for both of you.

    As for posting position -again I am not a trainer so take this with a grain of salt. You shouldn't be leaning forward in your posting trot. My trainers always said to post between your hands. Does that help?

    Paula
    Thanks, that does help!
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo



  14. #14
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    Feb. 13, 2005
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cu.at.x View Post
    Thank you all for the comments. I apologize that the video is so shaky. I don't think my DH has ever filmed anything except on his iPhone Will look into getting him a tripod, especially since he agreed to come out and film once a month-ish so it will be worth the investment.
    When you go there, consider buying a Joby Gorillapod with its articulating, hug-anything legs. Because it has articulating legs, you can affix it to things besides flat surfaces, which (among other things) makes it possible to film your own rides by affixing it to a corner of the arena. I think I paid $15 for mine and it was money well spent.
    http://joby.com/gorillapod

    I guess I could push her up into my hands more, but developing a dressage frame is not really our priority, nor do I want to change the way she's been ridden.
    Agreed, but watch a Hunter Under Saddle or Hack class at Devon. It's not Training Level dressage, but it's a close enough cousin to see some major similarities--like engaging from the hind end, lifting through the back, etc. Watch particularly some of the other horses besides the grey.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UATJmxH5BcM &t=0m25s

    I guess I will have to wait until I get a horse to find a saddle that fits us both.
    Eh, not necessarily. There are some great "horseless rider" saddles out there that won't fit every horse but will fit many of them very passably, especially with the help of a shimmable correction pad. Having consulted about saddles with at least two of Pam's clients, I know she's no stranger to corrective padding--in fact I'm pretty sure that's a Cashel Cushion peeking out from under that Pessoa in the video. $300-$500 could get you into something that would make you much more comfortable. But I understand that's not possible or practical for everyone.

    Thanks lorilu. My trainer tells me to "lean back", too. It feels weird but I look in the mirror and it's correct.
    I'm so bad about it that for awhile, I had to ride transitions as if I was riding *behind* vertical--like leaning back in a recliner. My trainer would encourage me to feel like I was getting left behind for a stride. I was neither leaning back behind the vertical nor getting left behind, but the net effect was that I got the transition right and relearned the correct feel.

    paulaedwina-am I leaning forward even in the trot? I thought I was supposed to be a little forward when posting.

    Hips don't open....Pam said I should "close my hip angles" when posting. Maybe I am misinterpreting this?
    The hunters tend to ride with a slightly more closed hip angle than the eventers or jumpers that allows their upper body aspect to be slightly forward/in a three-point seat most of the time. Unfortunately, to really do this AND maintain a soft unlocked pelvis, you'd need somewhere for your pelvis to go when you close that hip angle and your behind moves back in the saddle. You lack that room, so there's nowhere to go but up onto the pommel. Yeowch. Been there.


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  15. #15
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    Ohio
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    Quote Originally Posted by jn4jenny View Post
    When you go there, consider buying a Joby Gorillapod with its articulating, hug-anything legs. Because it has articulating legs, you can affix it to things besides flat surfaces, which (among other things) makes it possible to film your own rides by affixing it to a corner of the arena. I think I paid $15 for mine and it was money well spent.
    http://joby.com/gorillapod



    Agreed, but watch a Hunter Under Saddle or Hack class at Devon. It's not Training Level dressage, but it's a close enough cousin to see some major similarities--like engaging from the hind end, lifting through the back, etc. Watch particularly some of the other horses besides the grey.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UATJmxH5BcM &t=0m25s



    Eh, not necessarily. There are some great "horseless rider" saddles out there that won't fit every horse but will fit many of them very passably, especially with the help of a shimmable correction pad. Having consulted about saddles with at least two of Pam's clients, I know she's no stranger to corrective padding--in fact I'm pretty sure that's a Cashel Cushion peeking out from under that Pessoa in the video. $300-$500 could get you into something that would make you much more comfortable. But I understand that's not possible or practical for everyone.



    I'm so bad about it that for awhile, I had to ride transitions as if I was riding *behind* vertical--like leaning back in a recliner. My trainer would encourage me to feel like I was getting left behind for a stride. I was neither leaning back behind the vertical nor getting left behind, but the net effect was that I got the transition right and relearned the correct feel.



    The hunters tend to ride with a slightly more closed hip angle than the eventers or jumpers that allows their upper body aspect to be slightly forward/in a three-point seat most of the time. Unfortunately, to really do this AND maintain a soft unlocked pelvis, you'd need somewhere for your pelvis to go when you close that hip angle and your behind moves back in the saddle. You lack that room, so there's nowhere to go but up onto the pommel. Yeowch. Been there.
    I'm going to ask if I can buy a dressage saddle to use on the horses. Not only would the seat fit me better, it would also put my leg in the correct position. I'm pretty sure I can still jump crossrails and stuff in a dressage saddle. Hopefully she won't frown upon that.
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo



  16. #16
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    Mar. 26, 2006
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    First off, love the mare, and you are a considerate and quiet rider.

    That said, I truly think a little more forward might be your friend.

    I know your ride's been a hunter all her life, and she's older, but I'll bet she can move out more than that! I noticed that you do a little "taptaptap" with your heels now and again, and I'm guessing you are looking for a little more forward. Which she's not giving you. And the bit of canter I watched she kind of collapsed and "died" on you. It's no fun trying to sit correctly when you feel like you have to pump with your seat with every stride!

    What happens if you TELL her to go foward? Like a strong SINGLE thwap with your legs or a tap with a whip? You mentioned she just gets fast and on her forehand, but sometimes you have to live with on the forehand for a bit until she understands that, "Oh, we move like THIS now". Lots of circles and transitions with help her to find her balance and start using her (very nice) butt correctly.

    Those will also help YOU to balance and start using your core better. It's far, far easier to feel how you need to engage your abs, and use your lats to hold your upper body steady when you've got a bit of momentum. Thinking "up" with your body will help rebalance her and you as well.

    All that said, I get the impression you're a re-rider and like me you're probably not wanting to go super fast and you may have the tendency to lean forward and pinch with your knees when you do feel out of control. (I could show you some pictures from the last dressage show I went too - Oy!) I think the best advice I ever received regarding that was "no matter what happens, no matter how fast you're going or where your horse is headed, just STAY IN THE MIDDLE" I find that to be extremely useful.


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  17. #17
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    May. 28, 2006
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    Just another little tip to add, because I have always suffered from Hands To Low Syndrome, is to just pivot your hands so that your thumbs are pointing to the sky, and your fingers are facing each other. This helps lift your hands just a smidge, without you getting too high or shaky or losing a good contact. My trainer used to get on to me all the time for my "puppy paws"...it feels more natural for your arms to be lower with the hands facing down more. It wasn't as comfortable for me to have them that low with my thumbs straight up, though, so as long as I kept the hand position right, the height problem fixed itself.

    Good luck, looks like you have a really sweetheart to ride, and you've gotten a lot of good advice. Keep it up!


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  18. #18
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    AND you have an excellent husband for taking 11 minutes of video for you. That should not go unmentioned, IMO.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunsets View Post
    First off, love the mare, and you are a considerate and quiet rider.

    That said, I truly think a little more forward might be your friend.

    I know your ride's been a hunter all her life, and she's older, but I'll bet she can move out more than that! I noticed that you do a little "taptaptap" with your heels now and again, and I'm guessing you are looking for a little more forward. Which she's not giving you. And the bit of canter I watched she kind of collapsed and "died" on you. It's no fun trying to sit correctly when you feel like you have to pump with your seat with every stride!

    What happens if you TELL her to go foward? Like a strong SINGLE thwap with your legs or a tap with a whip? You mentioned she just gets fast and on her forehand, but sometimes you have to live with on the forehand for a bit until she understands that, "Oh, we move like THIS now". Lots of circles and transitions with help her to find her balance and start using her (very nice) butt correctly.

    Those will also help YOU to balance and start using your core better. It's far, far easier to feel how you need to engage your abs, and use your lats to hold your upper body steady when you've got a bit of momentum. Thinking "up" with your body will help rebalance her and you as well.

    All that said, I get the impression you're a re-rider and like me you're probably not wanting to go super fast and you may have the tendency to lean forward and pinch with your knees when you do feel out of control. (I could show you some pictures from the last dressage show I went too - Oy!) I think the best advice I ever received regarding that was "no matter what happens, no matter how fast you're going or where your horse is headed, just STAY IN THE MIDDLE" I find that to be extremely useful.
    Thank you for the compliment. I, too, looked at the video and literally thought, "man, she looks SLOW!" But then I really looked at her hind legs and tempo was OK, just that she could definitely take bigger strides and use her hind end more. Not like a Dressage horse, but better than she has been. I admit that it's my fault that I don't ask too much of her. I am so fond of her, and I hesitate to "overtax" her. I know, I know. She likes to try to break gait in canter, especially when I start feeling a bit tired. Boy, is she smart.

    "What happens if you tell her to go forward?" She listens, but doesn't overreact. I should definitely challenge myself to be more assertive. I do trust her. We've definitely formed a bond in the short time I've had the pleasure of riding her.

    Yes, I just started riding again about two months ago after being off for two years for various reasons. I was NEVER a courageous rider, often struggled with the fear of cantering, and the two years off definitely didn't help. But thanks to Tally and the other wonderful horses I've been riding, I'm getting over it and even enjoying myself.
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulaedwina View Post
    AND you have an excellent husband for taking 11 minutes of video for you. That should not go unmentioned, IMO.

    Paula
    Oh, I know it. Not only that, he spent almost THREE hours at the barn with me, in the cold, and didn't complain ONCE. He's a keeper.
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo



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