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  1. #1

    Default Some improvement; some new issue with arms. Inviting advice :)

    Three-ish weeks ago I went to the Hilda clinic and learned tons. Last weekend I went to Del Mar last weekend and watched those amazing riders and horses and learned tons just from watching and listening. For the last three weeks I was either sick with or recovering from a nasty resp. thing and unable to ride and breathe at the same time for more than twice for a few minutes until this week. But I faithfully watched trainer ride my horse 5 days a week. This week, my trainer kindly videoed me on my phone WHILE giving me my first real lesson in three weeks - what a saint.

    I was shocked (kidding) to see that I don't look much like those Del Mar riders or my trainer. Despite that, there are good things. I have taken much of all of your advice and we have shortened my stirrups, my legs aren't as tight, as I've been stretching (and not riding!), and I can use my legs better, especially the left calf which I had more trouble with. My spurs aren't digging into him anymore, and my legs look more relaxed. Perhaps my toes are pointing a bit less out. Not perfect, but there are good moments. I'm perhaps riding a bit more rhythmically because I can use my calves. The biggest improvement seems to be my forearms - I don't know if it was my trainer, or which thread I read, whose advice on here it was, Hilda, or a book - but I seem to have this "riding from my shoulder" with my elbow as a hinge or a shock absorber image in my brain (if I think of using my elbow, then I tense my forearms), and using that I've been able to completely relax my forearm literally overnight. I'm not sure if it's a good kinesthetic image to have, but it felt like my forearms were relaxed, and I've never felt that feeling. That had been a HUGE problem, and you could see in every previous picture and video that I was very tense through my forearms...but I had no idea what it felt like to relax them.

    So now I have a NEW problem. It's my my wrists - in the video I can see that at times they bend and dangle like floppy fish. Very odd looking. Urgh. Advice? I'm sure we will work on this during lessons.

    I have to say that if I could have someone video all of my lessons, I think my learning curve wouldn't be as steep. It's amazing how my poor trainer has to say something a few times - and it appears as though I'm not even listening. I watched the video immediately after the lesson, and I remembered those moments. I wasn't intentionally ignoring trainer, just focusing on something else (my legs, etc.) and trainer's words weren't even on my radar. When I watched the video, it was like I learned three times as much because I was able to see what trainer sees and see my reactions (or nonreactions) to it. Or trainer would tell me something, and I would go back to the old way in about five strides.

    You trainers have a lot of patience. I certainly appreciate it.

    Oh, and from the video I can see even more that my horse is a saint. He puts up with a lot from me. Mixed signals, etc. But he knows that I'm getting better, I hope.
    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. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2013
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    I have been having trouble with my elbows, too... but I think the whole "riding from your shoulder" thing might help me. Thanks!!!

    I dont have a tip to help you stablize your wrists, though.
    Tack Cleaning/All-Things-Tack nut
    ~DQ wanna-be~



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 22, 2008
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    The eastern edge of the eventing wasteland
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    For your wrists remember to keep your thumbnails on top and hands mirroring the slope of the horses shoulders. Try to keep the knuckles of your first and second fingers almost touching helps you ride more effectively from your seat and legs. It also fixes the broken wrists, which is when the hands are turned so that the knuckles faces the rider's belly.

    Floppy wrist are often caused by getting into the "puppy paw" position with your fingernails facing down towards the horse. Sometimes, if you are not quite in sync with the horse or your are trying too hard to make the a dull horse go, you can over use your seat and that causes a lot of unnecessary motion of the wrists too. Often seen with a head nodding along.

    Hands together also helps you ride from your shoulders and seat as it is impossible to really pull or get overly hands-y. Keeping your hands about 3-4 inches apart, about the same width of the horses neck, right in front of the saddle, is ideal.

    Taking a page from hunter land, watch a nice equitation round and you will see how quiet and still their hands are. If you think it is easy to get 8-10 perfect distances on a course of 3'6" fences, it ain't! ;-) It is very similar to dressage in that the round must be rhythmical and flow freely forward.


    One tip I tell my clients is that when posting your elbows and hands must push down an inch or so on the up and then relax on the down. This way their hands don't go up and down when they do. I also often tell them to bring their hands back an inch on the up as well. Hands going forward when posting is another common problem. The simplest way to fix this in their minds is to have them ride with their pinkies on the withers. This can be done sitting as well and forces the rider to be more supple in the arm. Doing this often fixes that tense forearm thing.

    Hope that help!
    "You're horse is behind the vertical!"
    "Of course he's behind the vertical, I haven't jumped it yet!"
    - NLK
    "I am a sand dancer... just here for the jumps!" - Schrammo
    www.nshaonline.org



  4. #4
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    Nov. 14, 2012
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    Dreamingofdressage, glad we can share!

    ctab - were you watching my lesson?? One of my big issues has always been my "puppy paw" hands, but we always called them motorcycle hands. My sister (rides hunters) and I share this. Both of our trainers comment on this. The "hands mirroring the slope of the shoulders" imagery is very helpful!

    I don't remember my trainer ever having to tell me to bring my hands together before (aside from once when I rode in a clinic but we were doing something totally different, my hands went to hell in a hand basket, and clinician told me to stop focusing on my hands and get horse forward), but in this new lesson that I'm referencing, trainer has to tell me OVER and OVER to put my hands together. That's the part I referenced in my original post where I seem to ignore trainer, then trainer has to tell me to do it every five strides because I pull them back apart. It's crystal clear on the video. My hands' distance apart previously hasn't been a problem...or at least I haven't noticed and trainer hasn't focused on it. But somehow, with this new imagery, I'm pulling them apart. constantly. I do notice that I was not pulling on horse when I use this imagery, but I also was unable to keep decent contact (another problem i have - I tend to throw away my good contact and I am not yet riding from my seat). So horse went around with his head up. Sigh. I have issues. It's okay. That's why I have a trainer and am here. But it's quite clear that you hit the nail on the head without even seeing it. Thank you.

    I love the descriptive suggestions you give throughout and also in your last paragraph - thanks for being so detailed, and I will try these posting tips along with the pinky withers tip! Thanks so much!
    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...


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 22, 2008
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    Awww shucks! Your welcome!

    No I did not watch your lesson but from the description I have taught lots of them!

    Somewhere, I saw a quote about riding that said, basically, you work really hard at fixing something until something else breaks! LOL! BTDT!

    Anyway, if your hands are coming apart you can try to link your thumbs together for a few strides or however long you can handle it. Another popular one I use is holding a crop in your thumbs. For me personally, I have the thought of using both hands as one unit as often as possible. If one hand moves to the left so does the other. This way they stay together ;-) Again very hard to pull or over do it when you keep them together!

    With any of these exercises the goal is to teach you to keep your hands still and your arm soft. OFTEN, unless you are on an old numb, schoolie, your horse will soften its neck and jaw and start to move more freely forward. Once you can maintain that soft feel and the horse is not resentful of you in his face you can work at getting the horse to give to the bit more and come round through the back. That may take the better part of a ride or two. I have had a client leave her horses face alone for a whole weekend while I worked just on her position and getting the horse to respond more respectfully to her legs and seat. Horse went more forward, not really round but more supple. The next weekend he was much softer in his jaw.

    If you can ride on your own, try to just focus on your hands at the walk. If you have a hill where you can do this the ride up it and concentrate on keeping an elastic, bungee cord feel with his mouth. (Going up hill, they will really nod their head at the walk and it is easier to follow). If you don't have a hill, start off walking on a very long rein, almost the buckle. work on getting the horse to really power walk. Then slowly shorten the reins and inch or two at a time. Be sneaky about it. You don't want the horse to think you are going to get in his face. (Old, stubborn school horses are notorious for think this!) Keep him marching along. You want to get the reins short enough that you feel his mouth while he power walks, letting him nod his head quite a bit for now. Think of your knuckles almost touching all the time, low on the neck. Your seat and elbows must be very supple and allowing for this. Your goal is for the horse to be comfortable enough in the contact to have a good feel in your hands. Don't try to make him round up just keep him balanced and forward. It is OK for now if he pulls a bit but not OK for him to jerk or lean on you. As long as you keep your balance and keep him moving along he should be in a level balance. Now start circles, big ones and changes of direction. He should feel like he is walking home from a trail ride. If he shortens and sucks back, feed out some rein and encourage him to stretch down and move forward again. They try taking up some rein and try again.

    Think about steering off your seat and legs at the walk. Not getting the horse on the bit or round. It is almost like going back to beginner land. I tell my clients when they get to this phase to forget trying to get the horse on the bit. Work on forward, balance, rhythm and the QUALITY of the connection with the mouth. After about 10 minutes of doing this on circles and serpentines and getting them to do turns on the haunches and forehand just by slight movements of the rein and leg the horse softens and starts to come through. Then we move to the trot and repeat circles and squares and changes of direction without worrying if the horse is giving to the bit. I focus on "Are your hands quiet, REALLY quiet? Is he moving off your leg? Truly?" I also tell them to imagine how a Western horse turns. Use that neck rein, get the horse to really be sharp off your aids.

    For me, I ALWAYS imagine the Spanish Riding School riders. They are soft, supple and quiet. Check out the Nature special on them this month! I was taught that you should be able to do all the GP movements with the reins (double bridle or single) in one hand. Which means you really don't use the reins much at all. (I'm not there yet LOL!) BUT I do think about my hands EVERY ride. Are they still? Are they quiet? Are they correct? If I find the desire to move my hands apart or get busy with my fingers I KNOW the horse really is not listening to my leg. So I bring my knuckles together take a deep breath and lift my ribs and get the horse to pay attention to my legs and seat.

    Keep at it! Good hands are the mark of a good rider and take lots of work to master! You can do it!
    "You're horse is behind the vertical!"
    "Of course he's behind the vertical, I haven't jumped it yet!"
    - NLK
    "I am a sand dancer... just here for the jumps!" - Schrammo
    www.nshaonline.org


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2003
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    Cocoa, Fla
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    Quote Originally Posted by right horse at the right time View Post
    ...So now I have a NEW problem. It's my my wrists - in the video I can see that at times they bend and dangle like floppy fish. Very odd looking. Urgh. Advice? ...
    I had one trainer place a whip in BOTH my hands - which forced thumbs up and straighter wrists - plus placing whip along my thigh (when not in use) also helped to train my hands. (Muscle memory)
    Sandy in Fla.



  7. #7
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    Jun. 30, 2009
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    What's your horsie schedule - when not sick

    Do you ride any lesson horses or do any work on the lunge? (with lesson horse or your own)

    Ride in any clinics?



  8. #8
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    Oct. 4, 2008
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    I used to do the floppy wrist thing too! What really helped me was riding with a wrist brace. Like the kind you get at Walgreens or CVS if you sprain it. The stiffener in it forced me to ride with a straight wrist. I rode with them every day for about 3 weeks to really train that muscle memory. Now I only use them every once and a while if I notice I need a reminder!



  9. #9
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    Aug. 25, 2005
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    Get yourself some plastic (much safer) stemmed glasses. Fill with water.Wine might ruin your breeches) Now ride with them.

    Your thumbs will stay up and your wrists won't flop! At least not more than once or twice.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  10. #10
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    Mar. 24, 2010
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    Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by merrygoround View Post
    Get yourself some plastic (much safer) stemmed glasses. Fill with water.Wine might ruin your breeches) Now ride with them.

    Your thumbs will stay up and your wrists won't flop! At least not more than once or twice.
    She's in Scottsdale; that may encourage her floppy wrists! (In fact, I'm considering it now for riding in Tucson...)
    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



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 14, 2012
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    Warning: I'm not proofreading this!

    ctab, thanks for the additional help! I will try the whip trick with my thumbs and keeping my hands together. While watching the video again, I can hear my trainer telling me to make a bridge with my hands.

    My horse turns 14 this week and is a former jumper who completely stole my heart. I told him of his career change in October, so we are learning dressage together. I use to ride hunters (not with any regularity; this is the first time I’ve been in real training). I’m not used to this kind of contact, and aside from my one show experience where in the video and pics I appear to have arms made of steel, instead of pulling too hard, if I go in any direction, it’s that I tend to throw away contact and am afraid of pulling on his mouth. So luckily, he isn’t afraid of my getting in his face at this point. Suppleness, roundness, throughness, etc. are struggles for me (previous threads have addressed this ). He is round and through with my trainer. We are working hard on muscling him up more, using his back, self-carriage, etc. I think he looks gorgeous with trainer, and I try to emulate it. But 6 months doesn’t compare to decades of trainer's experience and riding 5-8+ horses every single day! When I have the moments (I once had an entire incredible lesson full of them after we did lots of 10 m circles, serpentines, and a few leg yields) of roundness, throughness, he feels amazing, but I had to get used to that feeling as it was too powerful for me at first. Now I’d love to have that again. What you said starting with the keeping my knuckles together (about following with my hands and having a good feel) is exactly where we are now, with moments of greatness and moments of not-so-greatness interspersed. He isn’t round, but I do feel him with contact. Wait a minute, I just re-read your advice…I think you are my trainer in disguise!! It’s exactly what we did.

    We do have a couple of small hills (and I mean very, very small) in our cross country course, but that would mean that I would have to take him around the track and onto the cross country course. That ain’t happening yet. At least not until I had the wine that merrygoround is clearly suggesting! Unfortunately, I can’t use the “walking back from a trail ride” analogy because, well, trail rides bring out a usually-hidden psycho part of his personality (have you ever seen a horse jump a single cactus? I should clarify – have you ever watched from behind as your beloved horse jumps a cactus on his own, riderless?!!). As any good mother would, I blame his father (TB). But trainer does school him around (not over) the jumps and uses the hills to go over, working on his back. Horse loves it. I can’t wait until I get the nerve – maybe as it gets even hotter, I will do it. He is FINE with trainer. It’s me. It’s always me. Fear based. And I’m ok with it being me, but I do need to get over some fears. I’m doing it, slowly. The day I look like a GP rider is the day I have to take myself seriously.

    Thank you for the wonderful advice – I hope that when I’m back to my usual riding schedule, I can get serious again and whip myself into shape.

    Valentina/Sandy, thanks! The whip in both hands may not help me – in my video you can clearly see me happily holding my whip out pretty much parallel to the ground. Niiiiiice. I’ve nearly nailed trainer with it before, but luckily trainer knows to steer clear at this point. I do love the whip on the thighs, though, because that may work. When I was a month or two into this journey, I was given the honor of riding with a whip behind my back and laced through my elbows. The mere threat of that now brings my elbows to their proper position. Perhaps the whip on the thigh may work – although then it would be difficult to hold the wine glasses… Thanks for the tips!

    Hi Alto!! For the past three weeks it’s been all trainer except 1 lesson a few days ago and a few mini 10 minute jobs because I was sick and really couldn't both breathe and ride. Since Saturday I’ve been in Chicago for work, and I won’t be home until Saturday night. But typically I’m at the barn about 6 days a week – he is ridden 5 days a week. Depending on what we’re doing, I may ride 5 days, or trainer and I may trade off days, but if I don’t ride then I usually watch trainer ride him. Trainer schools him to be ahead of me, then teaches me what to do. I’m way behind horse right now, which I’ve posted about before. So I would say that I ride at least 3 but more often 4 times…but now we are doing a bit of switching off. Trainer may hop on first and do some work and show me something, then I hop on. It’s funny – if I can read horse’s language correctly, horse used to want trainer to ride and would give trainer a long, hard look if I got on…and would stare at trainer when I made mistakes, following trainer’s verbal cues before my aids (so we have to speak in code now); now that trainer is working him harder, he wants me to ride, and gives me a long, hard look if trainer gets on. It’s pretty cute. Of course, I’m sure it’s in my head, but he communicates pretty well. Unfortunately our schoolmaster/lesson/longe/lunge horse is off. He is older, and is hopefully coming back to full work, but it’s not an option right now. We don’t want to longe/lunge my horse. Despite our large barn and several trainers, we don’t have any schoolies. I went to the Hilda clinic (without my horse) a few weeks ago, and I clinic with a Dutch trainer when he flies in every few months. And of course I went to Del Mar and absorbed everything I could. I do watch others’ lessons every weekend for several hours (both my trainer and another trainer who’s been doing this forever and is also a judge). I also watch tons of videos and read books, the threads on here, etc. Intellectually I know much more than I can physically do when given 15 minutes to mull it over. Unfortunately horse doesn’t have a pause button. In my mind, until I see those videos and pics, I think that I look like any of those GP riders I see. If I concentrate, I can typically make my hands do what I want, my legs do what I want, my seat do what I want, my head do what I want…but the problem is that it is never more than one individual body part at a time! And is it weird that I have zero desire to ride any horse other than my own? Literally, NONE. But I know that if we had a lunge horse, I know that trainer would be giving me lunge lessons as that is trainer’s usual program.

    Eventerchick, thanks for the tip! The muscle memory is something that I need to develop for sure. Thanks for the tip, and good to know I’m in good company!

    Merrygoround, thanks!! That’s an EXCELLENT idea, but I’m going to change it up a bit. If I wear my black breeches, I think that red wine would be a much better choice. After all, water is free, but 2 glasses of a great wine could be costly, so I’m sure that I will be FAR more careful with the wine. Horse is bay, so no issue there. And, it's decided. May I ride with a long straw? This may solve more than one problem, you know! Thanks, as usual, for the great tips!

    And netg, yes, if the glasses were full of cold water, I’d dump them on my legs on purpose!!! I still need to check out that vest – VTO you said?
    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...


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by right horse at the right time View Post

    Hi Alto!! For the past three weeks it’s been all trainer except 1 lesson a few days ago and a few mini 10 minute jobs because I was sick and really couldn't both breathe and ride. Since Saturday I’ve been in Chicago for work, and I won’t be home until Saturday night. But typically I’m at the barn about 6 days a week – he is ridden 5 days a week. Depending on what we’re doing, I may ride 5 days, or trainer and I may trade off days, but if I don’t ride then I usually watch trainer ride him. Trainer schools him to be ahead of me, then teaches me what to do. I’m way behind horse right now, which I’ve posted about before. So I would say that I ride at least 3 but more often 4 times…but now we are doing a bit of switching off. Trainer may hop on first and do some work and show me something, then I hop on. It’s funny – if I can read horse’s language correctly, horse used to want trainer to ride and would give trainer a long, hard look if I got on…and would stare at trainer when I made mistakes, following trainer’s verbal cues before my aids (so we have to speak in code now); now that trainer is working him harder, he wants me to ride, and gives me a long, hard look if trainer gets on. It’s pretty cute. Of course, I’m sure it’s in my head, but he communicates pretty well. Unfortunately our schoolmaster/lesson/longe/lunge horse is off. He is older, and is hopefully coming back to full work, but it’s not an option right now. We don’t want to longe/lunge my horse. Despite our large barn and several trainers, we don’t have any schoolies. I went to the Hilda clinic (without my horse) a few weeks ago, and I clinic with a Dutch trainer when he flies in every few months. And of course I went to Del Mar and absorbed everything I could. I do watch others’ lessons every weekend for several hours (both my trainer and another trainer who’s been doing this forever and is also a judge). I also watch tons of videos and read books, the threads on here, etc. Intellectually I know much more than I can physically do when given 15 minutes to mull it over. If I concentrate, I can typically make my hands do what I want, my legs do what I want, my seat do what I want, my head do what I want…but the problem is that it is never more than one individual body part at a time! But I know that if we had a lunge horse, I know that trainer would be giving me lunge lessons as that is trainer’s usual program.
    slow down
    you don't want to get caught in the trap of pushing assorted body parts into "position", all these things will come with time i.e. lots of riding; just as your horse needs to develop proper muscling, so do you


    And is it weird that I have zero desire to ride any horse other than my own? Literally, NONE.
    That's what partnership is all about
    It's great that trainer has horse working ahead of you.

    If possible, have someone video you once a week - preferably someone that can shoot a lesson so you can watch the interaction of trainer & you ... maybe you can find a barnmate to trade off with.

    As you're at the barn, 6 days a week, try to ride on all those days, even if you're just hopping on after trainer to cool out horse - that's an opportunity to reflect on feel.


    Unfortunately, I can’t use the “walking back from a trail ride” analogy because, well, trail rides bring out a usually-hidden psycho part of his personality
    Start with hand walking - I'm assuming that your & his ground skills are equal to the task - take your horse for a walk, just as if he were a dog.

    Unfortunately horse doesn’t have a pause button. In my mind, until I see those videos and pics, I think that I look like any of those GP riders I see.
    And so you do



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by right horse at the right time View Post
    Warning: I'm not proofreading this!

    ctab, thanks for the additional help! I will try the whip trick with my thumbs and keeping my hands together. While watching the video again, I can hear my trainer telling me to make a bridge with my hands.

    My horse turns 14 this week and is a former jumper who completely stole my heart. I told him of his career change in October, so we are learning dressage together. I use to ride hunters (not with any regularity; this is the first time I’ve been in real training). I’m not used to this kind of contact, and aside from my one show experience where in the video and pics I appear to have arms made of steel, instead of pulling too hard, if I go in any direction, it’s that I tend to throw away contact and am afraid of pulling on his mouth. So luckily, he isn’t afraid of my getting in his face at this point. Suppleness, roundness, throughness, etc. are struggles for me (previous threads have addressed this ). He is round and through with my trainer. We are working hard on muscling him up more, using his back, self-carriage, etc. I think he looks gorgeous with trainer, and I try to emulate it. But 6 months doesn’t compare to decades of trainer's experience and riding 5-8+ horses every single day! When I have the moments (I once had an entire incredible lesson full of them after we did lots of 10 m circles, serpentines, and a few leg yields) of roundness, throughness, he feels amazing, but I had to get used to that feeling as it was too powerful for me at first. Now I’d love to have that again. What you said starting with the keeping my knuckles together (about following with my hands and having a good feel) is exactly where we are now, with moments of greatness and moments of not-so-greatness interspersed. He isn’t round, but I do feel him with contact. Wait a minute, I just re-read your advice…I think you are my trainer in disguise!! It’s exactly what we did.

    We do have a couple of small hills (and I mean very, very small) in our cross country course, but that would mean that I would have to take him around the track and onto the cross country course. That ain’t happening yet. At least not until I had the wine that merrygoround is clearly suggesting! Unfortunately, I can’t use the “walking back from a trail ride” analogy because, well, trail rides bring out a usually-hidden psycho part of his personality (have you ever seen a horse jump a single cactus? I should clarify – have you ever watched from behind as your beloved horse jumps a cactus on his own, riderless?!!). As any good mother would, I blame his father (TB). But trainer does school him around (not over) the jumps and uses the hills to go over, working on his back. Horse loves it. I can’t wait until I get the nerve – maybe as it gets even hotter, I will do it. He is FINE with trainer. It’s me. It’s always me. Fear based. And I’m ok with it being me, but I do need to get over some fears. I’m doing it, slowly. The day I look like a GP rider is the day I have to take myself seriously.

    Thank you for the wonderful advice – I hope that when I’m back to my usual riding schedule, I can get serious again and whip myself into shape.

    Valentina/Sandy, thanks! The whip in both hands may not help me – in my video you can clearly see me happily holding my whip out pretty much parallel to the ground. Niiiiiice. I’ve nearly nailed trainer with it before, but luckily trainer knows to steer clear at this point. I do love the whip on the thighs, though, because that may work. When I was a month or two into this journey, I was given the honor of riding with a whip behind my back and laced through my elbows. The mere threat of that now brings my elbows to their proper position. Perhaps the whip on the thigh may work – although then it would be difficult to hold the wine glasses… Thanks for the tips!

    Hi Alto!! For the past three weeks it’s been all trainer except 1 lesson a few days ago and a few mini 10 minute jobs because I was sick and really couldn't both breathe and ride. Since Saturday I’ve been in Chicago for work, and I won’t be home until Saturday night. But typically I’m at the barn about 6 days a week – he is ridden 5 days a week. Depending on what we’re doing, I may ride 5 days, or trainer and I may trade off days, but if I don’t ride then I usually watch trainer ride him. Trainer schools him to be ahead of me, then teaches me what to do. I’m way behind horse right now, which I’ve posted about before. So I would say that I ride at least 3 but more often 4 times…but now we are doing a bit of switching off. Trainer may hop on first and do some work and show me something, then I hop on. It’s funny – if I can read horse’s language correctly, horse used to want trainer to ride and would give trainer a long, hard look if I got on…and would stare at trainer when I made mistakes, following trainer’s verbal cues before my aids (so we have to speak in code now); now that trainer is working him harder, he wants me to ride, and gives me a long, hard look if trainer gets on. It’s pretty cute. Of course, I’m sure it’s in my head, but he communicates pretty well. Unfortunately our schoolmaster/lesson/longe/lunge horse is off. He is older, and is hopefully coming back to full work, but it’s not an option right now. We don’t want to longe/lunge my horse. Despite our large barn and several trainers, we don’t have any schoolies. I went to the Hilda clinic (without my horse) a few weeks ago, and I clinic with a Dutch trainer when he flies in every few months. And of course I went to Del Mar and absorbed everything I could. I do watch others’ lessons every weekend for several hours (both my trainer and another trainer who’s been doing this forever and is also a judge). I also watch tons of videos and read books, the threads on here, etc. Intellectually I know much more than I can physically do when given 15 minutes to mull it over. Unfortunately horse doesn’t have a pause button. In my mind, until I see those videos and pics, I think that I look like any of those GP riders I see. If I concentrate, I can typically make my hands do what I want, my legs do what I want, my seat do what I want, my head do what I want…but the problem is that it is never more than one individual body part at a time! And is it weird that I have zero desire to ride any horse other than my own? Literally, NONE. But I know that if we had a lunge horse, I know that trainer would be giving me lunge lessons as that is trainer’s usual program.

    Eventerchick, thanks for the tip! The muscle memory is something that I need to develop for sure. Thanks for the tip, and good to know I’m in good company!

    Merrygoround, thanks!! That’s an EXCELLENT idea, but I’m going to change it up a bit. If I wear my black breeches, I think that red wine would be a much better choice. After all, water is free, but 2 glasses of a great wine could be costly, so I’m sure that I will be FAR more careful with the wine. Horse is bay, so no issue there. And, it's decided. May I ride with a long straw? This may solve more than one problem, you know! Thanks, as usual, for the great tips!

    And netg, yes, if the glasses were full of cold water, I’d dump them on my legs on purpose!!! I still need to check out that vest – VTO you said?
    Yep, VTO!


    And I saw my horse galloping over cacti and creosote shortly before we fenced our whole property.... I had some mystery illness my doctor never could diagnose which resulted in 3 months of 20 hours sleep/day, and my horse had a turnout injury from lack of under saddle work which corresponded to my out of saddle timeframe. The day he realized it no longer hurt (while on a longe line with side reins) he decided he was not sticking to a circle and did a dirty turn and bolt from me when he had just been circling wonderfully on a proper bend, calm canter. He took off down the street, around the neighborhood, and up the back side of our property. Given the number of cattle owners in the area I had no idea if he'd hit barbed wire or tangle the side reins or longe line on something as he went. Very terrifying! He ended up coming around the back side of the property, saying hi to the girls, then walking over to me all happy like "gee, Mom, why didn't you come with me?!"
    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



  14. #14
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    Cool Medic vest

    BUT note that the sizing is generous!



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    Cool Medic vest

    BUT note that the sizing is generous!
    Those are so expensive!

    Thus my ordering the $30-something vest from VTO...
    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



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by netg View Post
    Those are so expensive!

    Thus my ordering the $30-something vest from VTO...
    Great deal
    except I need a link



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    Great deal
    except I need a link
    Google VTO saddlery and search for cooling vests.
    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



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by netg View Post
    Google VTO saddlery and search for cooling vests.
    HAH! you think I didn't!!!
    maybe because I did cooling vest VTO ...
    (so I foolishly decided to just ask ... & am now wasting even more bandwidth & derailing this nice topic <bad person!!!> ... some days are just contrary days ...)



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    HAH! you think I didn't!!!
    maybe because I did cooling vest VTO ...
    (so I foolishly decided to just ask ... & am now wasting even more bandwidth & derailing this nice topic <bad person!!!> ... some days are just contrary days ...)

    Definitely American.... (That's a reference to the super snarky thread if you missed the posts about it, not meant as an insult but just a joke )

    Google VTO saddlery:
    http://www.vtosaddlery.com/

    Search for cooling vest:
    http://www.vtosaddlery.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?

    Only singular "cooling vest" works so my mistake there, and it actually does work to google "VTO saddlery cooling vest" rather than going to the VTO page and searching for vests.
    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



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