Schooling session feedback - show video added post 15
Dare I throw myself to the wolves?
In preparation for a schooling show this week-end, I videoed myself yesterday. I already see some things that I need to work on (such as keeping a better connection) but I welcome constructive criticism. Also suggestions for exercises to help us out would be great. I am signed up for a couple of Training level tests.
Rider: mostly rides alone with lessons here and there (live in the middle of nowhere.)
Horse: 7 year old, green, has been rehabbing from sacrum issue. Had gotten into a very lateral canter at the end of last summer. Still needs work obviously, but taking it slow.
I think there is an idea that horses built like this have to be 'light' in the contact, but this early I would rather see them a tiny bit heavy. I would rather see them trying to stretch a bit more than "sitting".
I think in the second vid you show how you are kind of backing the horse off to keep lighter, but I think forward and MORE hand forward is your friend with this horse.
I tell myself they MUST bridge over the back BEFORE I can ask for more light.
My trainer says to me that the judge is looking to give good scores in training level to people who have a good foundation for 1st. Instead of thinking of JUST training level I always think about 1st and what is being left behind in this level.
The good foundation for this horse, for first, will be you connecting him well over the back so that when he does come up a bit for your sitting trot its honest
At canter same thing.
Maybe some more change in direction (figure 8's) and through the middle asking the horse longer into both reins.
Maybe some more smaller circles in between with a straight side here and there and a corner
Lovely horse, and your seat looks super from here too
Oregon, sitting on my couch looking out the window at a mountain
First off, very brave of you to post videos!
Second, I think your horse is adorable and you look well-suited to him.
What I saw in the first video was your horse going out the right shoulder (going left). My suggestion would be to focus on keeping him straight and balanced through the shoulders and that way it will be easier for him to be more forward. The more he loses energy out of one corner (shoulder or haunch, each side), the less he has to go forward with. I didn't notice it as much in the video going right.
I've found with my mustang that improving the quality of the trot has improved the quality of the canter, without specifically working on canter (he had a tendency toward a lateral canter).
I'd work on exercises that move the shoulders so that you get more mobility there and more control over letting him move out one side or the other. Also, I prefer exercises other than the 20-m circle. TOF, TOH, transitions, SI, HI, poles, etc. - I find that supples a horse more than going around and around and around, and suppleness is what will help you move his body and control where his parts go.
But that's just what I see - I could be totally wrong!
First off, I think you look perfectly respectable for someone who wants to show training level. My advice is toward moving up levels, not just sticking where you are. My internet is super duper slow so I saw parts of both videos and not all of either.
I think it's psj who repeatedly quotes "Your waist is not a joint." I'd be working on you rather than him right now, in that I think he's ready for you to be supportive to him both in hands and seat, but you're not ready to do so yet. Hopefully you can get lessons from an instructor who can help you, but you need to think of tucking your tailbone under you, and even think of lifting your crotch off the saddle. (Not exactly what you literally want to do - but it's actually a helpful image for me because I'm working on this right now.) If you look at videos of the top riders, they absorb the horse's motion in their hip joints, with their seatbones staying relatively still on the saddle. You're absorbing motion in your waist - your belly is pushing back and forth as your horse moves. From this angle you can't help your horse or even allow more movement when you want to do that. Each sit from posting, think of tucking your tail, and while sitting think of shortening the front of your body while still sitting up.
Trust me, it's easier said than done, and I'm struggling with it still! But it's going to be necessary for you to develop more effectiveness in your riding you probably can't yet feel that you're missing. It will also help you steady your hands and the connection once you start getting it.
Good luck at the show, and I hope you have a really great time! I think you have a good start, though as you can guess by my discussion of the fact I'm struggling with the things I'm suggesting you work on I'm certainly no expert.
My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.
Originally Posted by katarine
If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed
You have a lovely seat and position and should do fine at training level. You seem to be accurate in at least your circles. Your horse is calm and responds nicely to your aids. Not as forward as he could be. Can't tell too much from circles other than Pico looks a bit earthbound. He has nice rhythm but seems stiff. I think some of that is your desire not to push him too much because of his past injury. He looks like he's still protecting himself behind. I have an older horse with issues that tends to do that. I'm sure you mix it up more (lateral work, serpentines, etc.). I think massage would help too. As far as the stretchy circle don't give too much contact away. Ask for just a bit more weight in the reins to start when you offer it and slowly add length as he takes more and goes down (over a period of weeks). You may lose points on that movement but make them up in others.
As a judge maybe Galopp will post some insights.
"I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted". - Anonymous
I think it's psj who repeatedly quotes "Your waist is not a joint."
:-) yay! At least it's helping someone! (It's a Paul-ism)
Your wiggle middle and lack of holding yourself up is preventing your horse from moving forward and straight.
Find a sliding door (barn doors are great)
Place your forehead, chest, belly button, and pubic bone on the sliding door. Get into horse stance with knees bent and toes forward. Now, push the door with all the parts of your body touching the door. Feel how your abs activate? That's what you need to emulate when you want more forward animation from your horse. Maintain that same taught ness in your abs as you sit. Follow the motion by pushing the door, then waiting for the horses inertia to catch up, push the door, wait, push, wait and so on.
Off horse, practice Plank, plank punches, mountain climbers, and v sit twists.
OP your horse looks like he is a lot of fun!
If I were to offer only one piece of advice, this would be it.
In the second video, at the beginning, you had him walking, you let him stretch forward and slightly down. That is the movement I would concentrate on.
Walk him forward as briskly as possible while asking him to stretch on contact, long and low. Practice 'picking him up' back into his training level frame for several strides then stretching him back out while maintaining a forward walk. Try this on a figure eight pattern as well. Keep him forward so that he is 'thinking' trot but you are keeping him at the walk.
Once he is doing that well at the walk, practice this on a brisk posting trot. Try leaving him long and low on contact for the entire circle then pick him up for a circle. Alternate long and low then back to your frame. Your challenge will be to keep the tempo the same.
I do this routine as part of my warmup. Best of luck to you!
I've taught a lot of horses and riders over the years and judged the lower levels, and I like this boy! He looks like he's trying very hard for you and he's generally very obedient, although he does look like he's still a bit ouchy in his hind end, especially in the early stages. You won't be pulling in illustrious scores at this stage, but you're very capable of a solid and workmanlike test. More importantly, you've got a good foundation for the future.
Overall you're getting some decent Training-level work out of him when he's more forward, particularly after the initial canter work. I'd suggest doing frequent canter-trot transitions, every quarter circle or so to get him moving off your leg and a bit freer in his paces.
Also try to vary your geometry when you're schooling - incorporate more straight lines, serpentines, loops and changes of direction. This will help you develop the connection better, and also keep him more on the aids. When you are bending be sure to keep some contact with the outside rein and keep your outside leg on, to prevent him from popping his shoulder and bulging to the outside.
Personally I'd recommend holding off on SI, HI etc while he's still recovering from the sacrum issue, but of course your vet will know best. Also those movements are only effective once the horse is moving freely and over his back, so I'd wait until that remaining sluggishness behind is lessened.
For the stretchy trot, ensure you've got a nice forward trot before you ask for the stretch - you should feel his back hooves landing underneath you and pushing forward. The stretch is entirely dependent on the connection, and it all starts from there.
DO have fun and enjoy yourselves... he looks like a great character!!
Thanks so much! And, yes, we do more varied work, I just stayed on a circle because I had the camera on a tripod
Will do more transitions, more changes of directions, bending lines, etc, work on my core and mind that right shoulder!
Overall, I was happy with how we did. Of course, many things still need work (canter, stretchy trot) but I like what I felt and what I am seeing on the videos a lot better than where we were at last year.
Not a bad test, overall. I liked that you were able to do decent transitions from rising trot into canter. I actually did not see a "stretchy" circle. When you do losgellassenheit, the horse is supposed to reach down into the bit. You need to be able to ride that stretch both on a circle and on a straight line to a similar degree that the horse was reaching down for the free walk.
Slow your speed down a bit to give the horse more time to actually begin sinking onto its haunches. I know that everybody seems to think you should be off to the races, but that is not what impulsion is about. Impulsion is about keeping the horse in balance such that it can get the maxium push off the ground, and it cannot do that if its hocks are not under it properly.
You have a hollow right horse, and as such, you need to do more half-halts within your test in which you slightly release and take back that right rein. Later on, as the horse progresses, you might not have to do that. But, for now, learn to do it in order to help the horse maintain the proper lateral bend to its left side, rather than it staying more bent to the right. Lift the rein just slightly as you do the release, and as you take back the rein, you should feel the horse better in balance. This will also help prevent the horse trying to come above the bit as is happening due to the rein on the left becoming too tight. You also need to work more to keep the right hind better under.
Also, congratulations on a nice halt at the end. Oftimes, those ending halts get all strung out because the horse is so off-balance by the end of the test.
Oregon, sitting on my couch looking out the window at a mountain
A very respectable test - well done! I thought your geometry was very good and you used your corners well. I missed the stretchy circle, too. And ditto about that right shoulder - he wants to pop it out so you need to focus on keeping those shoulders balanced and lined up. All in all, great job and I think you and your horse are a really cute pair!
Oh, and I was impressed with his focus with all the street traffic in the background!