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  1. #21
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    Mar. 8, 2009
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    From a thread on 'judge commenting of horse's condition' in last October.

    Quote Originally Posted by Molly Micvee View Post
    Ive been experiencing the same sort of thing with my horse,but Im hearing it from my instructor. And.....Im looking at my mare and seeing the same sort of thing.

    How ever, Im a bit confused, but yet not confused at the same time.
    (...)

    Then I considered her age, she's about 16.
    (...)

    My issue now, or questions, is how do you know what to look for to constitute whether or not a horse is fit? or underweight? What are the key areas to look at? to decide this. Could my mare be fit muscle wise, yet too skinny at the same time? also, Im being told that she is not developed enough on her back, behind the ssaddle area. Well, Im doing all the exersizes that are supposed to deal with this. Coming up second level, but still... not enough. should I bring her inside and make her do yoga with me?

    Now Im feeding 3 times a day, just started this , is this ok, what suppliments are good for this goal of getting more weight on her?
    Is this the same horse?

    Did your horse gain weight and muscle mass from last october?

    Maybe your horse need some maintenance too and that is why she is reluctant to work. Collection is hard on the joints. I suggest you talk with your vet if you can afford it.



  2. #22
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    Aug. 25, 2005
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    I'm willing to agree that the "rightfully belong" line was a bit over the top.

    However having been on many horses over the years, I have found that some are far easier to work with and far more willing to give new things a try. I have also known instructors like hers, and others who looked at the horse in question, and said, of course you're having this or that problem because....!

    So, it may be time for a change in instructors, or a change in horses.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  3. #23
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    2nd level is a struggle, where a lot of riders are left behind. It's not because people can't count that high.

    There's nothing like sitting on an upper level horse for finding out how little you know about riding.

    2-3 days a week is not enough to advance you or the horse either, really. To do collected work, the horse needs to be fit and strong, and so do you. If you can't ride due to logistical problems, make sure that the trainer or someone else is riding, and get yourself into a fitness program to work on core muscles, like pilates etc.

    There are also books and videos that may be helpful. Ask yourself, every day, what did I do today to make myself a better rider?

    Can you execute a 2nd level test accurately? That is, even without getting the 8 collected canter, can you do the two walk step simple change, can you do the 20 m counter-canter loops, can you do the shoulder-in and haunches in, all where the test says and not just when the moment is perfect? Riding those elements will help build your 2nd level skills.

    One of my favorite exercises is a counter canter on a 20 m circle, and then circling outside the circle 10m on the true lead twice. One clinician has described it to me as the "Mickey Mouse" pattern, with the two small circles as the ears, although it's usually most convenient to do it with the circles on a straight line. So for example if you were in a small court arena, you'd counter canter an E-B circle, and every time you hit the center line, you'd circle out 10m on the correct lead, then come back and resume your 20m counter canter circle.

    You might be at a place where you'd benefit from a clinic or a summer camp or other week long intensive situation where you'd be exposed to a new instructor, and ideally, have a chance to ride some schooled horses, and more than one a day. It may help you understand better what you need to do next.

    Another resource: Denny Emerson's new book, "How Good Riders Get Good."
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


    2 members found this post helpful.

  4. #24
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    Mar. 24, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molly Micvee View Post
    Hello All.

    Im going to do my best to keep this short and to the point. I have a Hanovarian mare(half TB) who I have been riding towards 1st level for too long. I practice with her at least 2 to 3 times a week and about 5 times a week in the Summer. In some areas she is doing 8 point marks while in others she is faultering.

    It's been a real struggle to get a collected canter out of her.
    During my lessons I have noticed other riders with much less experience then me on horses that seem to take to their collected canters like it's nothing. My horse is very strong and I have to really work to keep her balanced and to get her to use the appropriate muscles.

    On one level I know that this horse is really teaching me to ride and to apply my mind and body. I started her myself. She's 13 now ,still improving but its slow going and very frustrating at times.

    I mentioned to my instructor, that aren't there certain horses that are easier to train and ride, that take to collection easier? Quite frankly I think Im a very good rider and have become this way from the challenges of this horse. I believe that if I was put on an upper level horse, I would do very well and actually be surprised. Ive ridden all my life. Well, when I asked that question the answer I got was no, with the impression that I am at my level with my mare because of me not my horse. because there are certain things I just cant figure out, because Im dumb, because I cant seem to ever get it right.

    I understand the saying that it's all ways the rider and not the horse, but how can this all ways be, lets be real, If you put an Olympic rider on my horse, it doesn't matter how much time is spent on her, she would not make it as an Olympic horse by the virtue of her breeding and make up. Ive even read articles on this very subject on how all horses are different and some of them can only advance to a certain levels.
    I feel that I am intentionally being brainwashed to feel that its all me and not the horse, hence being denied the truth of what my true abilities as a rider really is. My instincts are telling me that Im riding in circles and not allowed the pride and self esteem to move up in the ranks and be where I rightfully belong. Im ready to break the glass.
    Irony from the past:

    Quote Originally Posted by Molly Micvee View Post
    I was surprised to hear his young rider description as being in Germany. I can see this all too clearly in the U.S. Im tempted to say: iT isnt fair, It isnt fair!!! In a temper trantrum fashion of course. ,Because in many cases it isnt fair. It's sickning.

    But I know the good riders who work hard and support themselves the whole way know the value of what it is they are really doing. And I honestly believe that most people who know their salt recognize this.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  5. #25
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    Jun. 30, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molly Micvee View Post
    During my lessons I have noticed other riders with much less experience then me on horses that seem to take to their collected canters like it's nothing.
    I'm a little confused by this statement - if you're doing group lessons, then move to private & you'll likely see better progress



  6. #26
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    Jul. 25, 2007
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    Arizona
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    You have been given lots of really good advice. I wont flame you for being confident in your riding abilities...you may very well look good in the saddle. However, it is one thing to have good equitation skills and quite another to be an effective rider, understanding feel, timing and correct application of the aids. Without these skills you will not be able to help your horse move up the levels. A good instructor can help you with these things. I think riding dressage is a humbling experience at times but, with a good plan of action there is no reason why second level can't be achieved.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #27

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    OP, please be careful -where you "rightfully belong" will get you in tons of trouble in life. It's like baiting karma.

    Life isn't about what happens to us - our character is built on how we react to what happens to us. It often takes some unexpected life experiences for us to realize that...but sometimes that's a good thing, and those unexpected life experiences can make us stronger and more alive than ever. They can also serve to make us really appreciate ourselves rather than our "things" or other external gratifications.

    You've received excellent advice here. Decide what you want to do - if you think you should be riding at a certain level and you feel that you are there, then get a horse who you feel is at your level and just do it. If you feel that your trainer is holding you back, then move on. You are the only one who controls which horse you swing your legs over or which trainer you pay. It's economics - you will act in your own self-interest, regardless of what that self-interest is. You may actually find that what you (now) think you want is actually NOT what you really want. But sometimes the only way to find that out is to go there. But enjoy the journey, regardless, because you can't get that time back, ever.
    LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...


    2 members found this post helpful.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    They don't want to "rightfully belong" anywhere, they just want to be able to ride with control and without terror. Staying on is priority number one. They have to learn to ride like trainers to fix their own horse. They have to dwell on the basics because they are too scared to skip them. They have to learn feel to trot successfully. They take a lesson every week or more often because they are too scared to do much of anything on their own. When they can trot a 20m circle they burst into tears they are so happy. The little bitty tiny steps they take, on their $500 off-breed with serious training holes, with incremental improvement week after week after week, ends up buildng a very good rider, who rides like a thinking trainer with feel, who understands where it all came from and how it all hangs together, because when it comes to their horse's Rome, they are the ones who had to rustle up their cajones and their determination and build it brick by brick.
    Although my horse isn't difficult (and I wouldn't even know if he were difficult - that's how little I know!)...this is VERY good news for me. I'm the "burst into tears because I'm so happy" when I learn something tiny. I thought it just keeps me stupid and happy - turns out that I can make it work well for my progress Thanks!
    LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...



  9. #29
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    Feb. 2, 2011
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    Ontario
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    Is riding an "easy" horse really what you want? Not saying this is what is happening with the other riders you are seeing, but if it does end up that it is your riding rather than your horse, don't you want to fix the issue rather than just get on another horse that will do the job despite you?

    Some people don't want to work through issues (as already stated by Meupat) and that is their decision, but dressage is always a work in progress - always more to learn. Having a chip on your shoulder is a hindrance - big time. If you bring that attitude to your lessons it probably doesn't make them very fun or progressive (been there, done that).

    Sometimes I dream of riding that easy horse where everything looks perfect, but I realize I have a lot more to learn before I get there with the horse I'm riding right now and it's making me a MUCH better rider. I want to be able to ride dressage - not look pretty on a horse.

    Just MHO, but I do hope that you are able to work through it - no matter what the root of the issue is.



  10. #30
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    Aug. 18, 2008
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    The more you know...the more you realize you didn't know as much as you thought you knew before. And it keeps on going. That's what makes dressage fun - you keep on learning and the bar gets harder and harder


    3 members found this post helpful.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piaffe11 View Post
    Is riding an "easy" horse really what you want? Not saying this is what is happening with the other riders you are seeing, but if it does end up that it is your riding rather than your horse, don't you want to fix the issue rather than just get on another horse that will do the job despite you?
    I'm not sure this is what the OP means. Have you never ridden a horse that was bred to do dressage and came out with all the parts in the right places and with a mind to match? It IS easier for those horses to do the work and to learn and move with enthusiasm and joy. If you've never ridden a horse like that, you've missed a real treat.
    Quote Originally Posted by SuzieQNutter
    The whip is held across your thigh so as you can still hold the reins without spilling your coffee!!
    SillyHorse adds: Or your wine.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #32
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    May. 25, 2005
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    I have a little bit different situation than you in that I own a mare that is talented (not going to the Olympics, but could go to PSG level easily and be competitive for the AA rider)...but she has me as a rider She is not difficult in that she does not buck, bolt, rear, but she is an opinionated mare that does not just give you anything for free. Are there horses out there that would be an easier ride? You betcha! Am I a better rider for learning how to ride her? You betcha!

    This is the second year I am competing Second Level. I had hoped to be doing Third, but it is not in the cards for us right now. However, I am riding a MUCH better Second Level than I did last year. Over the winter I have really started to learn to control her canter..ie; change WITHIN the gait from collected canter to medium canter and back...within 3 strides, not 10!!

    I ride IN A LESSON 3-5 times a week, and the other days my trainer rides my mare. Without this extensive training (for me) I would also still be struggling at First Level. It was a huge financial investment into my riding.

    I chose a trainer that has a list of AA riders that have consistently moved up the levels from first to PSG (one even to GP). All on a huge assortment of varied horses. This was very important to me...to find a trainer that knows how to really instruct different people, different horses and PROGRESS. One of her other students has a mare that in no way shape or form is built for dressage. Over the last 6 years they have gone from Training Level to now Fourth Level....and are consistently scoring in the low-mid 60s! To me that is a testament to the quality of instruction & commitment of the rider...not at all due to her having a high quality fancy WB horse (because she doesn't have one).

    I too considered myself a good rider (and i was), but I was not a good DRESSAGE rider...whole 'notha ball of wax!

    Find yourself a new trainer that can help you, and your mare, progress. Make the commitment to really ride as much as possible and put your mare in full training to help her get there too.
    Read about my time at the Hannoveraner Verband Breeders Courses:
    http://blumefarm.com/hannoveranercourse2011.html
    http://blumefarm.com/hannoveranercourse2012.html


    3 members found this post helpful.

  13. #33
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    Jun. 24, 2005
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    Personally, I've found that when I get into that negative headspace of feeling like I'm not progressing fast enough or accomplishing enough, I start getting too tense and GRR! ARGH! I never feel like I'm not where I "rightfully belong," but I do often feel like I'm not living up to what my horse deserves, which is a different variety of negativity but is negativity all the same. My determination actually makes my seat freeze up, and I actually ride worse.

    In addition to the excellent advice offered elsewhere on this thread, my suggestion would be to stop dwelling on all the things your horse can't do and the grand, higher-level things you aren't achieving yet, and start finding joy in the small things you do accomplish together. Trying to reframe my thinking in that way has been helping me a lot recently. I get the feeling that the big things come from the culmination of the small things anyway.



  14. #34
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    Sep. 18, 2011
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    Could have written the OP's statement after my first few years of dressage. Was struggling, my horse wasn't really improving and I was frustrated. I asked my trainer about changing horses as the horse was difficult and made learning harder. Instructor loved horse and said I wasn't worthy of riding a better horse. Jeez, nice. So without trainer's concent I changed horses - had another one that trainer hated but I thought would be better suited for me. I was right. Learned tons on different horse as he was the horse I needed at the time. Oh and horse moved up the levels.

    Also, some horses are just really hard to collect. Currently working a Hanoveran and his canter is the bane of my existance - and I bought him because of his lovely canter. If OP's horse is anything like mine, then change horses unless you decide to change trainers and find one who can get on your horse and teach him from the saddle. Having trained other horses to collect in canter, I know it's the horse that has the difficulty. Some horses are just hard, and maybe shouldn't be pushed to collect. Some horses only a pro should train - not because they are dangerous but getting correct work takes expert skills.

    Btw, if the OP isn't getting straight answers from the trainer, then she needs to move on. Good trainers explain what is going on and what needs to happen to fix it.



  15. #35
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    Dec. 27, 2001
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    Clinic or lesson with another instructor so you can get another point of view about where you and your horse are, and how you could reasonably achieve your goals.

    When you show (presumably 1st level), do you get consistently the same type if scores and comments on specific movements? If you are scoring 7s and 8s at 1st, go right ahead - show 2nd. See what happens. That will help you determine whether your trainer is unfairly holding you back or whether you have issues that need to be solved before scoring well at the level.
    You may need to ride more every week.

    But I do not really understand why you are conplaining? Without video, none of us can give you realistic advice. If you are stuck and not achieving your goals, you have one of three problems:
    * you are not good enough right now
    * your horse is not capable right now
    * your trainer is not capable or willing to help you move up.

    Solutions are different for these problems.
    The big man -- no longer an only child

    His new little brother


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #36
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    Mar. 26, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molly Micvee View Post
    I have a Hanovarian mare(half TB) who I have been riding towards 1st level for too long. I practice with her at least 2 to 3 times a week and about 5 times a week in the Summer.
    It's been a real struggle to get a collected canter out of her.

    During my lessons I have noticed other riders with much less experience then me on horses that seem to take to their collected canters like it's nothing. My horse is very strong and I have to really work to keep her balanced and to get her to use the appropriate muscles.
    Hey, I ride a Han/TB mare too, and the “uncollected and strong” canter is also huge issue for us at this moment.
    You’ve gotten some fantastic advice, but I have a couple of more ideas to throw at you.

    1) Quantity of time in the saddle vs. quality of time in the saddle: I know you’ve been riding 2-3x/week, and that’s all I can manage as well. I know that’s not ideal for moving up the levels, but I have to work a “real” job to pay for my riding, so it is what it is. That said, even with limited riding, I (and my trainer, and the horse masseuse) have noticed a definite difference in my mare’s topline and muscling over the past year or so. We’re working more correctly, and it’s finally starting to show. Do you feel that your mare is progressing – is her trot better now than it was before? Is she steadier in the contact? If so, than yeah, you made progress, and you will continue to make progress. If you feel like you are fighting the same old thing again and again, then maybe think about switching trainers or trying a new clinician to get you unstuck.

    2) You vs. the horse: I agree, it’s probably you Speaking from my own experience, yeah, Miss Mare can be a beast and I have improved tremendously as a rider, but I have a LONG way to go. Here’s an anecdote that may or may not help. I went to a clinic this weekend, and told the clinician I needed to work on my sitting trot and my transitions, specifically trot/canter. Among many other things, the clinician noted that I can get a lovely up transition, but then I just “stop riding” for a couple of strides. And the canter immediately goes to crap and I have to fight to get it back. With his help, I was able to pinpoint the moment I’m letting go, and now I have something to work on and practice.

    Now, it’s true that a more balanced, more “dressage appropriate” horse might let me get away with that moment of non-communication, but I doubt it. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was proven to me the one and only time I got the chance to ride an FEI schoolmaster. I asked for a walk-canter transition, and got a great one, and then he felt me disconnect, so he just dropped his back and scooted out from under me. I got a dirt bath and a real nice bruise on my butt as a reminder of my shortcomings as a rider.



  17. #37
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    Oct. 16, 2008
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    I have to say, what a fascinating read in this thread! It is stuff like this that draw me back to this board over and over.

    OP, a friendly suggestion... Try out the First Level rider's test. It is there for a reason - to help the rider gauge his or her ability as a rider. Everything in that test is feasible for the first level horse, IF the rider is up to snuff. Don't under estimate it, thinking it is "only" first level - it really challenges you as a rider. If you can ride that test fluidly, you have enough ability to move up to second as a rider; if not, well, you have the answer: you need work on your riding more.



  18. #38
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    Well, when I asked that question the answer I got was no, with the impression that I am at my level with my mare because of me not my horse. because there are certain things I just cant figure out, because Im dumb, because I cant seem to ever get it right
    How much of this is you just being overly defensive? That's how it reads because the tone of the whole post is very odd . I doubt your trainer said anything like that.

    Clearly you have lost faith rightly or wrongly so time to move on. Perhaps with a different trainer you can prove your theory is correct



  19. #39
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    Two days and pages of posts, and no return of the OP. We must remember to save out time and fingers next time.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  20. #40
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    Dec. 5, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by merrygoround View Post
    Two days and pages of posts, and no return of the OP. We must remember to save out time and fingers next time.
    I can tell you all your words are never wasted! I'm newly venturing in the dressage world and love hearing all the advice and stories.


    2 members found this post helpful.

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