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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by KMErickson View Post
    If your comments are saying 'tense' and 'hollow' then... I sort of think that you may have a sliding scale of what "too deep and round" may be.

    No, you don't want your horse's head pinned to its chest, but it DOES have to be relaxed over the back and accepting the contact in a steady, following way, which means that the horse's head should not be up in the air. You do not need to be 'up' for Beginner Novice, Novice, or Training - a relaxed working level frame is perfectly fine.

    On the lengthening front, I have never had a horse with a naturally good lengthening/medium/extension (whenever I get to ride a horse with one, I swoon!!). The key for getting good scores for me has been going back and improving the quality of the engagement in the working trot: the more you can get the horse using its hind end and solidly accepting the contact in the working gaits, the easier its going to be to ask for a lengthening without having everything go to pieces.

    Good luck! I looked at your blog and your horse is mega cute
    Thanks! I love yours, waiting for this rain to clear out so I can practice some of the gymnastics you've been doing with Ky! But I'm forcing myself ... focus on the DRESSAGE!



  2. #42
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    FWIW, upon rereading your posts, I wonder if a little sports psychology/ relaxation mantra stuff might help you and your horse.

    You mentioned that your horse warms up well, and then gets tense in the ring. Except for being away from the other horses in warmup, your horse doesn't know the ring from anywhere else. (But you do!) So even a little tension in you may trigger your horse's. And I've done it soooooo many times, I speak from experience.

    So, if you can go to a schooling show and do several dressage tests, by the end of the day you'll be relaxed about dressage. Or at least more relaxed.

    Or hope for a late dressage test and have a glass of wine before!
    They don't call me frugal for nothing.
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.



  3. #43
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    Aww thank you! Your horse looks like SUCH a lovely jumper; I'm sure you guys could conquer whatever we've been fumbling over with ease


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #44
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    Frugalannie, so true! I do this stuff primarily alone, so talking myself "off the edge" is a necessity sometimes, lol! Eh, I'm not ever looking to make it to Rolex; I just want to get out there once or twice a year, yee haw around the xc (safely and well of course!), and finish everything on the dressage score. It would be nice if that score was half way decent, but I don't do it for the ribbons. Here's a pic from the xc warmup, so I know a good trot is in there!!!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/26903029@N06/8475307900/
    Got a video uploading on Youtube right now I will post once it becomes live.



  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by frugalannie View Post
    Or hope for a late dressage test and have a glass of wine before!
    you just have a bloody mary or mimosa if it is an early time.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **


    6 members found this post helpful.

  6. #46
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    Okey dokey, here is a flatwork video taken a couple of months ago. Maybe December? I can't really remember! If you make it through the entire 12 minutes, you can clearly see his progression from a little tight/resistive, to a MUCH more free moving and flexible creature. I was just doing some spirals/turn on the forehand/shoulder in/haunches in.

    Critique away! I'm a big girl, I can take it

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uPXbPlZRZ0



  7. #47
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    cute horse!

    ok, so after watching a just a bit and skipping ahead towards the end - what i see is that you aren't really asking him to work his body correctly. he isn't bent or flexed nor out to the bit. he goes along nicely but totally not using himself even 30% of what he could do.

    you need to get him working more energetically, bent, flexed and correctly on the outside rein.

    you need to use better school figures etc.

    he will become a much easier horse to ride in the process.

    find a traditional type dressage trainer to help you. he is so worth it! .


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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    cute horse!

    ok, so after watching a just a bit and skipping ahead towards the end - what i see is that you aren't really asking him to work his body correctly. he isn't bent or flexed nor out to the bit. he goes along nicely but totally not using himself even 30% of what he could do.

    you need to get him working more energetically, bent, flexed and correctly on the outside rein.

    you need to use better school figures etc.

    he will become a much easier horse to ride in the process.

    find a traditional type dressage trainer to help you. he is so worth it! .
    I too skipped around a bit, and all I kept saying was "more leg!". Yeah, sure, he was doing everything....but that's about it. You were getting minimum effort...he can be fancy fancy, but right now he just kinda looks like a school pony doing his job. Depending on his personality, you might just need a dressage whip, just to carry.

    Also, I only watched a bit, but were you doing a spiral in the beginning? If so...too much rein! Girl, you definitely need to go to a dressage trainer who can beat how to ride a good circle into you! Judges love a good circle, and yours were not super fantastic, particularly at the beginning. I can also see when you are using too much rein because you knock your guy out of balance and you can see him take that awkward step to the inside, breaking the smooth line of the circle.

    I also like to do spirals a little slower...by that I mean more loops, not less speed...particularly with horses who are just learning. Let them kinda settle into the exercise a little bit before it's all of a sudden over.

    Good luck! You've got all the basics there, you just gotta string them together and boot his butt up a gear or two. It's clear he finds the work sorta boring, so make it non-boring! Try doing it out in the field, where you get that nice forward trot of his. He looks like a very good boy, there's no reason he or you can't do the work, and I second (third? fifth? eighth?) to get the eyes of a dressage-specific trainer on you. Even if it's just for a few lessons or a clinic....that correct feedback is going to be so worth it and helpful.



  9. #49
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    I am far from knowledgeable about dressage (being a h/j/ eq person) but I too was thinking leg! leg! go! go! I think he is actually quite a nice mover, but would like to see more engagement and energy from behind. Once you have that, I think he'll lift his back and shoulders more and you'll get those free moving shoulders and bigger movement. I think working with a dressage trainer would be really helpful, and agree he looks a little bored and sleepy with the ring work. Maybe do the flatwork out in a field until you get the feel for the engagement/ push, then you'll know what you're striving to feel in the ring. I really think he is fancy and you guys look like a great team! Final thoughts, I think he has a much bigger trot than the cavalletti you have set up in the video, stretch those puppies out! Also, I like raising the trot cavalletti on alternating sides to encourage more effort and push.


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  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dakotawyatt View Post
    Y'all are awesome, SO much information!

    This is what I mean ...

    THAT'S what I felt like I was seeing ... I felt like a fish out of water! I DON'T ride my horse in draw reins, and I felt like he was so much more ... up than many of the other horses I saw.

    My horse warmed up fabulous; most of our comments are "tense", and "hollow", so the goal this go round was to be relaxed. Relaxed. And he was,almost to a fault! No, it was not forward and engaged; it was steady, accurate, and smooth ... but it was also a BN test. I always thought at BN steady and accurate trumped engagement. I've taken some lessons here and there from a dressage trainer, and the advice has run the gamut from MORE FORWARD!!! To, SLOW DOWN! Literally, lol. Tiki carries a lot of tension through his body; he's one of those touchy red heads that pins his ears and kicks out if you use a soft curry on him! I was SO pleased by how soft and quiet he was in the warm up, I'll take that to so tense you could bounce a quarter off his butt.

    Anyway, like I said, a 41 isn't too awful considering my friend showed him that weekend, and it was her VERY FIRST dressage test ever, and she's never even had a dressage lesson, period. It was just eye-opening for me to be there in the sense of watching him vs. all the other horses.

    Today, I worked mostly on a 20m circle, and did a lot of back and forth at the trot; I kept my leg on and kept the cadence up at the collected trot, and tried to really keep my posting rhythm the same as I opened up and asked him to lengthen on the circle. Towards the end of the ride, what I was feeling to a VERY small degree was the "hitch" in the shoulder, which is what I was really meaning when I say "toe flipping". That moment of suspension when that shoulder swings forward ... the moment that makes for an awesome pic of a dressage trot. I got to watch the I and P horses, and saw that beautiful, open shoulder and got some trot envy, hence the question, "Can ANY horse have that gorgeous trot?"

    I will study the videos, read for comprehension all the explanations, and do some hard work in the next few months! He has all the jump in the world, so I'm not concerned at all about the T heights; I've done jumper rounds at 3'3, and schooled T/P questions on xc, but our dressage experience is extremely limited. Got lots of homework!

    Leah! I will have to check out your blog! I remember hearing your horse's name announced over the weekend, too cool Do you ever ride with Mary Bess Davis up at Calimar Farm? Going to try and head out there and do a clinic in March
    I SAW him going in the warmup. He did NOT look tense to me at ALL. In fact I thought, 'he looks like an OTTB too. He is so nice and relaxed.'
    He was NOT hollow, in fact I remember he had a nice long, stretching to the bit frame.

    I thought my test was pretty accurately scored, however I couldn't read any of the comments, and all the scores were scratched out and re-written like the scribe completely screwed up... LOL.

    Our best scores ever (high 20's) were for just what folks are describing...steady, accurate tests. I came out of the arena being like 'hmm, I guess that was pretty good'. He wasn't being fancy or hot or brilliant...just ticking along obediently.
    Founder & President, Dapplebay, Inc.
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  11. #51
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    Ok I just watched your video. He is so relaxed and obedient. I think you can up the ante now. He is stiff through his body and behind your leg. I only see him bending his NECK, not through his ribcage. Watch the spiral in...he is swinging his haunches OUT to avoid stepping through with the inside hind, and putting his nose in, not really bending through his body.

    Pie is the EXACT same way. He gets very straight/stiff, and prefers not to bend, and do a fast trot on his forehand instead of stepping through from behind. Here are some exercises that have really helped us:

    My favorite exercise bend, counterbend, bend, counterbend on a circle and then go FORWARD down the longside or across diagonal. Make sure you are getting the bend from your leg~ I would start at walk so that he really understands what you want. Really exaggerate the bend so he his bending that ribcage and not just rubbernecking...he's got to bring the shoulders around. Keep outside leg back to control the hindquarters, and carry a dressage whip in your outside hand to help bring the shoulders around.

    Then I would do 10,000 rapid fire transitions. Trot...4 steps walk....10 steps trot....half circle canter...down to trot...up to canter...down to trot...back to walk...back to trot...etc. He just doesn't seem 'awake' and hot off the aids.

    A great one to lift and balance the canter is bend, counterbend on a circle. It takes a ton of leg and discipline to keep him in the canter and your own postion, but you will be amazed how much it lifts them off the shoulder.

    What has really helped ME is scribing for dressage tests. I have really great trainers...but as far as developing my own eye, I have just learned so much by scribing. Let me know where you are located...I might be able to recommend a dressage trainer!
    Founder & President, Dapplebay, Inc.
    Creative Director, Equestrian Culture Magazine
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  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
    you just have a bloody mary or mimosa if it is an early time.
    BFNE, I want to park next to you at the next event!
    They don't call me frugal for nothing.
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


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  13. #53
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    Based on the video and some of your comments, I think your perception of what constitutes a horse who is on the aids and connected may be skewed. You seem very concerned about headset and "almost behind vertical" and "nose on chest" and "draw reins", but I don't think you are looking at the whole horse. You also can't "ride the back of the horse" with disregard for the rest of the horse, including head/neck/shoulders/torso. You have to ride the whole horse.

    From your video, a couple of things stand out to me. First, your horse is not connected from back to front. Not at the start, and not at the end. At the start, he shuffles along, resists what little contact he runs into, and goes inverted quite a bit. Horses can go above the bridle and be connected/engaged (think big jumpers on course), but this is not the case here. He is stiff longitudinally (back to front) and laterally, and not stepping under or using himself.

    Towards the end, yes he is moving out better. However, when you feel him reaching for the contact and stretching out, what is really happening is he is getting longer/strung out/on the forehand and trying to balance on your hands.

    With regards to headset, I doubt what you see winning the dressage is a function of overuse of drawreins. It is likely a horse who is supple through his whole body and using himself correctly. It's not a big deal if the horse comes a little above/behind the vertical at this level, it is the whole picture. With no use of draw reins at all, and just suppling/schooling exercises, it should be easy to move a well-trained horse's frame a little deep, up and open, or just right.

    I echo the others in suggesting lessons with a good dressage trainer, or if there isn't one in the area, a good jumper trainer (upper level jumpers are broke to death on the flat). Please take this post in the manner it is intended, which is to be helpful. Your horse looks like a good kind soul, and it is great that you want to improve!
    Last edited by wanderlust; Feb. 15, 2013 at 01:39 PM.



  14. #54
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    I would not assume just because riders with horses BTV are placing higher for you, they are getting "rewarded" for it and, as other have said, you shouldn't try for that anyway because it is just incorrect.
    I had a mare that liked to drop behind the verticle (for that and several other reasons I suspect she was improperly draw reined before I got her- gggrrr). Anyway, when she did it, we got penalized for it, althoug to varying degrees. We often did well in general in our scores because other aspects of the test were really nice. I never had a judge reward me for it, I just had judges not tag me as harshly as others for it.
    So just wanted to give you the persepctive from the other side
    As others have said, having them be connected front to back, engaged in their hind end and forward is way more important than where their head is.
    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)



  15. #55
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    I have another question for you. Have you had his teeth floated recently? The head tilt thing that he is doing might be a sign that he has some sharp points.

    Case in point: my mare has been grabbing hold on the right side of her bit. When my Vet came out yesterday to give Spring shots, I had him check her teeth. She had some points, but the start of a hook on a molar on the right side of her mouth. It was something that I could feel happening. It is because I know her so well that I had him check it and float her teeth.

    When you look at your horse in your video, he goes along quite pleasantly. Looking at his dressage movement, look at the fact that his withers are lower than his croup (dropped). Look at the fact that his hind end is strung out behind him, instead of coming more under, which will help to lift his withers. He looks like he is tracking up, but there is little angulation to his joints.

    Transitions, transitions and more transitions will help to shift his weight back onto his haunches. As another poster said, halt, walk, trot, halt, trot, canter, walk, etc, etc, doing only a few strides of each gait, to help him learn to shift his weight and carry himself. The key here is for him to carry himself, not for you to do it for him.

    I saw that you did a pasade to change directions. You can do a pasade into a leg yield, to a canter, which will work his inside hind leg, too. I like the idea of counter flexion, especially when you are tracking left. Make certain that you do not forget to use your inside leg when you do this, so that he does not just turn his head and his body falls further into the circle. You need to make him travel straight. Do not think that using flexion, counter flexion is doing a wiggle waggle, which you see alot of riders doing. Wiggle waggle is not correct. The flexion left and right exercise is done over several strides, with the horses' body traveling straight.

    After doing these exercise for a couple of weeks, would you please take another video to see if you can see an improvement in his self carriage? Having a good eventing instructor or a dressage rider watch you is a great idea, too. They will be able to give you instant feedback, which will help you much more than we can do here on COTH.
    When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!



  16. #56
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    Anatomically speaking, they are the same thing: the pace/tempo stay consistent and the stride lengthens. And what's funny to me is that the joints that are doing the work are actually increasing in FLEXION to create this longer stride!


    The working trot progresses to medium trot which progresses to extended trot.
    Anatomically speaking, yes. All of the trots are a two beat gait.
    Technically speaking, no.

    A lengthen trot comes from a working trot.

    Medium and Extended trots come from a collected trot.

    I find it best to think of the trots as all individual gaits.

    we have 7 different trot gaits. They are as follows:

    working trot
    collected trot
    lengthen trot
    medium trot
    extended trot
    passage
    piaffe

    all are their own gait and should not be thought as of one in the same.
    http://kaboomeventing.com/
    http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


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  17. #57
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    If you don't have access to a sports psychologist I find that a beer, mimosa or shot of tequila will do the trick as well.
    http://kaboomeventing.com/
    http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


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  18. #58
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    I would also say that just because a horse drops BTV, doesn't mean they have been ridden in drawreins.

    And honestly...drawreins CAN be a useful tool when used correctly. In the right hands, with a rider that uses their legs, drawreins can help the rider from using too much hand--basically better than a martingale in that you have a bigger release...they should not be used to get a horse's head down. It is just that too many people use them incorrectly. (I haven't personally used them in years but do not think they are some horrible tool if used in the correct manner).

    I have one OTTB who we ride very deep (for now)....I will ABSOLUTELY be penalized in the dressage ring if he goes BTV (He will more likely go either way above or way below the bit in a show situation). BUT as he is getting stronger, I can boot his hiny up, get him to lengthen his neck and come up but stay connected. But the goal in training him now is to get him supple in his body and I don't really CARE where his head is as long as he is not bracing against me but staying connected. To stay connected means I sometimes have to keep the contact even when he gets curled (I just have to make sure that I'm not pulling and causing him to curl. But in order to teach him to accept the contact, you have to keep the contact even if they try to avoid it by curling----easier said that done for sure!!!!).

    I suspect some of the horses who are going BTV are like my horse and may just be straighter and more connected and riding a more accurate test and that is why they are scoring better...not that they are scoring better because they are BTV.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  19. #59
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    I wanted to add a couple of examples in case visuals help you.

    This rider won her Senior Novice divisions at this show, Rebecca Farms, and has been top 3 almost everywhere else she showed last season. Lovely frame, tempo, transitions and accuracy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZiszkNk1oQ

    This horse is perhaps a touch BTV and shorter in the neck than ideal, but I guarantee you it isn't because of draw reins, just a lovely soft soft mouth. Look at the quality of gaits, through-ness, rhythm, transitions, accuracy. I think he scored in the high teens on this test.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baM6TuxxdxQ
    Last edited by wanderlust; Feb. 15, 2013 at 01:41 PM.



  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplnurpl View Post
    Anatomically speaking, yes. All of the trots are a two beat gait.
    Technically speaking, no.

    A lengthen trot comes from a working trot.

    Medium and Extended trots come from a collected trot.

    I find it best to think of the trots as all individual gaits.

    we have 7 different trot gaits. They are as follows:

    working trot
    collected trot
    lengthen trot
    medium trot
    extended trot
    passage
    piaffe

    all are their own gait and should not be thought as of one in the same.
    Interesting (and nerdy, I love it!). Is the sequence you list above out of order? Based on your explanation I would expect to see lengthen after working, and not collected, but the pattern does a great job reiterating something that hasn't really been touched on in this thread ... the correlation/need to be longitudinally correct at both ends of the range.

    People perceive, process and perform in many different ways - particularly when it comes to riding - so it probably isn't wise to define absolutes for anything. It may make more sense for you to categorize 7 separate gaits (are you an analytical learner, by chance? 0's and 1's?), compared to me, a visual learner, who sees gradients in a picture.
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