He is a green 6 year old gelding, less than a year under saddle, and I am most certainly not a dressage rider (we event). We are still working on forward, and straight, and all the other basics but he's a good egg and tries his heart out! I especially adore him because he puts up with me and forgives my foolish novice mistakes!
Eggnog says that constructive criticism is welcome. Our dressage coach (who we only had the chance to take two lessons with!!) is off to Florida and we'll be without her until March. Maybe you all can help me figure out this whole contact/feel thing - I'm still struggling as you can see.
Last edited by Mouse&Bay; Dec. 25, 2012 at 07:01 PM.
Reason: drat typos!!
Thatta gal Mouse&Bay!! Welcome to the online Susan Jaccoma Dressage lesson club. I'm an eggnog fan myself. Thankfully I only enjoy it around the holidays. Otherwise the crazy calorie content would catch up with me.
The spiraling in and out is to really connect your horse to the outside rein, especially as you spiral out. The spiral out should feel very similar to a leg yield, only more so. Actually, when you present a really good leg yield to a judge during a test, you will have a bit of lateral bending, even though we say that does not happen. But, on the circle, you really want to feel that bending and for this, your upper body needs to be also bent to the inside. The circle with which you started is too big for this exercise in my opinion. I do not know where you are in the levels though I would suspect that it might be training or first. For this exercise, you need to use the same size circle as you execute in the level of test you are riding initially and then make it smaller to the next size down. If you are riding training level, you would start the exercise in a 20 meter and only go to maybe a 15 meter as the circle diminishes in size. If you are really good at this exercise to diminish the circle, then go ahead to a 10 meter. But, as you go out, do not make the big circle any larger than that 20 meters.
When you were posting the trot, you were also doing some posting ahead of the horse. You do not make a horse go more forward by slinging your torso up from the saddle. You make the horse go more forward as your seat comes down into the saddle, pushing down into the seat very briefly, which helps push the horse into your hands as you rise to the post. When you sling forward, all you are doing is helping to put your horse on the forehand. (lovely moving horse by the way.)
So you get the spiralling in and out down to a science, maintaining the correct size and geometry of the circle. Now you are ready to add in the spiralling out to transition to canter. As you spiral out, you really get the horse into the outside rein, and actually are somewhat restricting the inside rein to maintain the bending. Now the canter requires LESS bending than the horse is doing in trot on the circle, so to achieve the canter you decrease the bend. For the decrease of the contact on the inside rein, which needs to happen in order for the horse to extend the length of the inside diagonal for the canter, slightly release your inside rein up and forward as you slightly straighten your torso. This is not a complete straightening, but must be less than when you were riding the circle in trot. The weight of your body must go from being slightly more on your inside stirrup, to being slightly more on your outside stirrup. The way you rotate your upper body to a straighter position for the canter is what will change your weight aids in the stirrups. (When I say straightening, I am not talking about you slouching in the saddle. Straightening means that you are changing the allignment of your upper body in relationship to your lower body. You rotate the upper body inward in relationship to the lower body for the circle, and rotate the upper body to allign differently with less rotation for the canter.)
In your video, you are not executing the trot to canter transition correctly. I think of the rhythm of the transition from posting trot rather as "bounce de bounce into canter." Kind of what it feels like to me....hard to describe. But, what you must not do is lean forward to kick the horse into the canter. You are leaning forward into the transition, and this is what puts the horse on the forehand. All the work you have done to put the horse correctly into the outside rein for the transition is lost when you do that, and you are back to square one. The horse must be able to take its inside foreleg from a postion of being down and back for the circle to up and forward for the canter. You must stay up, with the weight of your torse going into that outside stirrup in order to help the horse create greater energy in the outside hind leg to help it elevate that inside shoulder into the canter.
Angel - thank you so much! I really appreciate your very detailed comments.
This was a fun exercise and I will try to put your suggestions (especially about the canter requiring less bend) into work today. Coming from a jumper background (and now eventing) the leaning forward has been a consistent blight on my position.
He is my dream horse, absolutely love that guy to bits! I wouldn't even call us training level yet - he is very green and I'm not a pro so we're still figuring out the forward/straight/rhythm basics for dressage. *I* need to learn how to do less so we can get more consistent contact and better transitions. He is a good sap to put up with me and he can *jump*. Did I mention I love him to bits!? LOL
Last edited by Mouse&Bay; Dec. 27, 2012 at 11:12 AM.
Reason: to answer the questions
Will you take another video incorporating the trainer's feedback and post it for her review? I ask because (a) It would be fun to see you do it better and (b) I'm just curious about how one would progress and improve under this form of tutelage. Again, I am just curious. It is not something I plan to pursue, since I regularly work one-on-one with a trainer.
Yes. I have to be judicious about my harassment of the camera operator. I can't get after her for video services if she ain't in the right mood. Some silly nonsense about how she owns the farm and not me, piffle.... But maybe I should try to set up a standing appointment for once a week. That sounds like a workable idea. Maybe.
Horse is a warmbloodX something. Maybe holsteiner something... Pretty sure we took her to an Old/ISR inspection when she was younger. Right now she's unclipped and looks like a QH x Mustang.
I know people who do full lessons by video. Instructor voices over the DVD and adds comments. I think the Jaccoma people still have a bit of technology conquering to do, however.
Since I am well and truly strapped for cash, I am interested to see what I can get done by this format as well. I have 2 other favorite instructors I would love to work with, but they are not fans of the internet, do not have access to high speed/wide band, and neither are generally into this technology stuff....
Update. So I have found the 'new exercise' each week format to be pretty useful. The whole thing seems similar to the online weight loss/exercise groups where keeping up with the group helps to keep you motivated, accountable, etc.
The exercise 2 weeks ago was a canter circle to walk volte. Should be pretty easy, I thought. Okay, maybe not so much. I got a lot of 'this is how you don't do it' video footage. I asked Susan W if they were interesting in that, and she responded, "the more controversial ones are always a riot."
So maybe there could be some fun mileage to be had in providing some "uh oh, that ain't right" videos to share.
As for my canter/volte video, I'm on the fence about torturing my video person for a third go or just facing up to the suckiness?!?!?