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Crooked boy, help please.

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  • Crooked boy, help please.

    Recently I taught Frodo all about his butt. How he can move it to the left and right (turn on the forehand) and how he could move it to the side (leg yielding). It very cute now how wiggly he has become as he begins to realize how to use everything and puts it together with my aids. However, now he is popping his should out when going to the right and I am struggling with trying to fix it. The methods I have used in the past to correct this are not working consistently and I was hoping you guys had some more suggestions for me. I do NOT have a trainer yet as I am stuck in western world with no trailer and our trainer at my barn is a hunter trainer and his methods are not what I want to use for Frodo.

    Also, what exercises do you guys use to help make the transition to canter more crisp. I have been working on transitions but I was wondering if you guys have any other exercises you use for this. Bugs always loved to canter so this was not an issue, Frodo is a bit lazier that she.
    ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
    *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
    *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
    My Facebook

  • #2
    Originally posted by Bugs-n-Frodo View Post
    Recently I taught Frodo all about his butt. How he can move it to the left and right (turn on the forehand) and how he could move it to the side (leg yielding). It very cute now how wiggly he has become as he begins to realize how to use everything and puts it together with my aids. However, now he is popping his should out when going to the right and I am struggling with trying to fix it. The methods I have used in the past to correct this are not working consistently and I was hoping you guys had some more suggestions for me. I do NOT have a trainer yet as I am stuck in western world with no trailer and our trainer at my barn is a hunter trainer and his methods are not what I want to use for Frodo.

    Also, what exercises do you guys use to help make the transition to canter more crisp. I have been working on transitions but I was wondering if you guys have any other exercises you use for this. Bugs always loved to canter so this was not an issue, Frodo is a bit lazier that she.
    Regarding the shoulder popping out--just try leg yielding away from the side on which the shoulder is popped. One or two strides, that's all to get him back in alignment. When he pops the shoulder you will feel that his rib cage is also bulging against that leg, so it will feel like you are pushing the rib cage back over. I have found that this works so much better than trying to fix the problem with your hands--which often just results in another, more subtle evasion which is difficult to correct.

    Regarding the canter transition--I assume that you mean the canter depart? From the walk or the trot? Please be more specific.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

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    • #3
      More forward.
      "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

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      • #4
        I have a very bendy Arab, and he is great for telling me when even one of my aids is not on correctly. I was totally stumped about the shoulder-popping, until a dressage friend of mine said, "when he pops his shoulder, press the side of your knee against his shoulder." (note: she wasn't talking about gripping with the knee, just pressing the side of your knee against the saddle briefly).

        Works like a charm.
        RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Eclectic Horseman View Post
          Regarding the canter transition--I assume that you mean the canter depart? From the walk or the trot? Please be more specific.

          I am asking for transitions from the trot and walk, and yes, the depart. Starting with the trot to canter depart would be fine. He was better today but should be a lot more crisp than he is.

          As far as leg yielding for a stride or two, that is what I have been doing but I can feel him lean against that leg for a few strides before he straightens again. I guess I feel like it is not effective enough. I also try and keep firm contact with my outside rein.
          ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
          *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
          *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
          My Facebook

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          • #6
            I don't know how else to say this other than just saying it. So I will

            You don't want to move his haunches around. You want to move his shoulders over to straighten him. If he is popping his outside shoulder, then your outside aids are not clear enough/effective enough and you will have to work on this. Indeed, do work on this, and not moving his rear end around. All you want his rear end to do right now is push evenly with both hind legs.

            All horses are stiff and hollow. I am continually surprised at how many people do not seem to get taught this. It is one of the basics of dressage and of straightening any horse. The stiff side is the side he seems to "not bend" on, the hollow side is the side he seems to "bend well" on - and the one he is most likely popping the shoulder out on. Remember that regardless of what direction you are going to, he is STILL stiff and hollow in exactly the same way. Your goal is to have him stepping evenly with both hind legs into the rein contact.

            Work on having him a little more forward.. and then a little straighter.. and then a little more forward.. and then a little straighter.. you cannot have a truly forward horse that is not straight NOR a truly straight horse that is not forward so you get the idea.. you do it in small steps that he can handle. But please, do not swing his haunches around. And do not leg yield or go sideways until he is reasonably straight, or you will have taught him one more evasion to use against you the only thing to do right now, at this stage, is to work on straight and forward. Together.
            "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
            ---
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

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            • #7
              I'd back off the lateral work for a bit. Work on straightness and forward.... lots of forward & almost to the point of lengthenings. Usually, with more lateral work comes a lack of forward impulsion which then comes crookedness. It sort of creeps up on you until a bigger problem evolves. But more straight line FORWARD work should help with straightening that shoulder out. Chevy tends to drop a shoulder. When he does that we move him more on an oval so he has a nice long straight line to get himself back up again. It's just sometimes easier to regain control of the shoulder with the straight lines.
              *bad shoulder clique * Member of "OMGiH, I loff my Mare" Clique! * Proud owner of a CANTER Cutie!
              My Horses; COMH Page; My Blog

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Ok, I can stop doing the leg yielding and moving the hauches, no problem. However, I must say that I felt as though he WAS forward and straight when I started working with him in those exercizes. He did not start popping that shoulder UNTIL I started leg yielding.
                ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
                *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
                *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
                My Facebook

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                • #9
                  Hmmmmm, wiggly is not necessarily a good thing. You want to make sure that his butt is connected to his withers, neck and poll all the time. In other words, when you displace is butt, make sure that the bend is in the ribs and not in the neck.

                  If he's popping his shoulder out in one direction, try counter-flexing him to move the shoulder back in front of the hind legs. Do this in both directions and on different lines and large circles. Another thing to try is a GENTLE leg yield down the long side where his shoulders are to the inside and his hind legs are on the track. It's like a shoulder-fore but with no hint of bend. *think* counterflexion to keep the horse straight in this movement. You can do it with the head slightly to the rail, too, but these exercises gets cumbersome for your horse if you have a well worn track around your arena. When he figures it out, you should really feel him filling up the outside rein, and you can resort to one-two steps of small counterflexion to head off a popping shoulder in the future.

                  Good luck!
                  J.
                  Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    J-Lu.... that would have been my next suggestion as well. I do this with Sunshine as moving her ribcage around.
                    *bad shoulder clique * Member of "OMGiH, I loff my Mare" Clique! * Proud owner of a CANTER Cutie!
                    My Horses; COMH Page; My Blog

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                    • #11
                      EQ trainer
                      You don't want to move his haunches around. You want to move his shoulders over to straighten him
                      I'm confused by this statement. I know that you move the shoulders to straighten the horse (not the haunches) BUT surely you need to be able to move the haunches to do travers- else how else would you do it?
                      I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.

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                      • #12
                        well, i think this is perfectly normal and he is just figuring it all out. he is just starting to learn that he can move the front end and the hind end separately. you just taught him a whole new meaning to your aids and it will take some time to sink in.

                        i am going through this with my gelding too. sometimes i think he gets it, but next time a new interpertation may emerge . just have patients with him. when it seems like something has "gone wrong" or he is trying to "get away with something" he may just need a little clarification. if he pops his shoulder out just use your outside aids to gently correct him. also maybe try to work on turn on the haunches as a reminder.

                        as for the canter depart i think the other posters are right about the forward. he may initially lose a little of it during lateral work, so you just have to keep after him. insist on a little jump into canter.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JackSprats Mom View Post
                          EQ trainer

                          I'm confused by this statement. I know that you move the shoulders to straighten the horse (not the haunches) BUT surely you need to be able to move the haunches to do travers- else how else would you do it?
                          Travers is not to straighten the horse, it's to strengthen and supple the horse.
                          "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                          ---
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bugs-n-Frodo View Post
                            However, I must say that I felt as though he WAS forward and straight when I started working with him in those exercizes. He did not start popping that shoulder UNTIL I started leg yielding.
                            Hehe, welcome to my world. One of the worst things I started was doing some lateral work before I had a forward horse. As ET said, it did (and will for you if you don't fix it now) become an evasion to forward and was much harder to fix the forward at that point.
                            ______________________________
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                            • #15
                              The one thing I keep getting yelled at with Chevy right now is forward. I feel like I've got enough but trainer wants more. Trainer wants me to the point where I feel like I'm going bigger than what I need. That's where thinking lengthening helps out. So I'd re-establish that right now for a few rides. Once you feel like Frodo is 100% in front of your leg, then slowly reintroduce lateral work again. Then alternate days with forward and lateral work. Teaching lateral work just opens the door for the horse to use new evasions.
                              *bad shoulder clique * Member of "OMGiH, I loff my Mare" Clique! * Proud owner of a CANTER Cutie!
                              My Horses; COMH Page; My Blog

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by JackSprats Mom View Post
                                EQ trainer

                                I'm confused by this statement. I know that you move the shoulders to straighten the horse (not the haunches) BUT surely you need to be able to move the haunches to do travers- else how else would you do it?
                                I'm not EqTrainer, but I agree with the statement. Personally, I don't think this horse is ready for travers, and when the horse isn't ready for travers, the horse will pop the shoulders.

                                The horse should first master the leg yield - that is, crossing the legs while remaining straight poll to tail. Here's where the shoulder first starts to pop if not ridden straight. Yes, you want the horse forward, but if he's too forward, he'll run through this and the exercise is mute. The rider must starrt to think about giving the horse air time to cross his legs and this is where the rider has to learn to slow down the legs while keeping impulsion. This of course depends on the horse but alot of people make their horse run when they think they're riding forward. The next step is shoulder-in. Here, the horse learns not only to bring the shoulders in but step underneath with the inside leg - this leg carries the weight and is the first real step to collection. The only way the horse can perform this correctly is if the horse is connected and straight with the outside aids/rein and is bent through the ribcage and not the base of the neck, and this comes from the inner seatbone and outside aids of the rider. The outside rein is critical in the shoulder-in to kee the spine straight through the withers so that the shoulder doesn't pop. The NEXT step is haunches in, or travers. Again, the outside rein is critical to keep the horse straight through his body, and only the hips are displaced. Here, the shoulders stay straight on the track but the haunches come in and the weight bearing leg is the outside hind, as opposed the the inside hind for the shoulder-in. This requires the horse to shift the weight behind in order to do correctly. In other words, this requires collection. It comes from the rider's inside seatbone and the outside aids. However, it's worth noting that travers doesn't show up until higher Second level tests for a reason. It's very easy to pop the shoulder and do the movement incorrectly (without shifting any weight behind), which negates the purpose of the movement (weighting the hind end).

                                Most horses go with their shoulders out of alignment with their hind end as a bit of an evasion. It's easier. Most horses accomplish this by putting their haunches in or out. It is easiest and most effective to ride the shoulders, which is in between the seat and the reins and where the horse tends to "break", than the haunches to straighten a horse. Following, since most horses evade by swinging the haunches, exacerbating this tendency by riding haunches in on a horse who pops the shoulders often makes the problem worse unless the rider is REALLY on top of making sure that the horse is straight and curving equally from poll to tail.

                                I think this stage of riding is very difficult to do without a qualified dressage trainer acting as eyes on the ground. If I were the OP, I'd find a *qualified* dressage trainer to send videos to for feedback if I couldn't get one to my barn or get my horse to their barn. If the horse can't do leg yields well, he is *definitely* not ready for haunches in.

                                My two cents,
                                J.
                                Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Quote:
                                  Originally Posted by JackSprats Mom
                                  EQ trainer

                                  I'm confused by this statement. I know that you move the shoulders to straighten the horse (not the haunches) BUT surely you need to be able to move the haunches to do travers- else how else would you do it?


                                  Travers is not to straighten the horse, it's to strengthen and supple the horse.
                                  Ahh ok misinterpreted what you were saying, I thought you meant you never move the haunches around, you just mean to straighten the horse
                                  I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Ok, first, I think my description of wiggly was probably not the best way to describe what is going on. I do not mean that he is wiggling back and forth constantly, what I meant was EXACTLY what ride-n-tx said. I do not feel that the wiggles are evasions, he is figuring things out and the aids that go along with it, my mare did that when she was young too, so I figured it would have to Frodo it. I am not that converned about the "wiggles", I probably should not have even mentioned that, I just though it was so young horse-like. Also, I am not working travers or anything like that yet. We do a few strides of leg yield then straighten and we have worked on turning on the forehand and on the haunches. The should popping IS an evasion. My answer was to try a little shoulder fore to help straighten but that is not working. I am not trying to do anything fancy to correct it. Also, the shoulder popping happens when I am trying to ride a circle (a LARGE circle, as in half of a large arena) not when I am asking for leg yields.

                                    Sorry I was not clearer in my earlier posts. I have been so busy today and have been posting between running around like a chicken with my head cut off.
                                    ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
                                    *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
                                    *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
                                    My Facebook

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Bugs-n-Frodo View Post
                                      He did not start popping that shoulder UNTIL I started leg yielding.
                                      Gosh, I am reading back through my posts and realizing that I was not communicating what I was intending to communicate.


                                      Popping his shoulder ON A CIRCLE did not start until I started working with him with the leg yielding, he is straight for the leg yields and we only do a few strides of that and then straight again. 3 strides, straight a few, 3 strides, straight, you get the picture. He pops the shoulder when I am just bending around a turn or in a circle for only part of the circle.

                                      I am, once again, sorry for being so unclear. <blush>
                                      ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
                                      *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
                                      *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
                                      My Facebook

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Bugs-n-Frodo, couldn't help noticing your post. It's very similar to a thread on the eventing forum going on right now. I posted the following for Debra; maybe it can help your guy as well. The question was a bit different (She was stating that her horse is traveling "haunches in" at canter), but you'll find the exercise to be relvant to your situation, especially as you are also asking for help with canter departs. This exercise has always helped the young ones I have worked with and I hope it can help your both as well.

                                        A GREAT exercise for horse cantering in "hauches in"...

                                        "Hillary is correct. Even as your horse works up the levels, straightness at the canter can only be achieved through "positioning". The best way to describe this; if cantering down the long side the horse's outside hind and fore should be parrallel/straight against the rail if on true canter. Because of the width of the haunches exceeding the width of the shoulders, the inside hind has to be carried slightly to the inside. This is not "haunches in", however, as the outside fore and hind are tracking straight on the rail.

                                        I find that the "haunches-in" problem you are having is usually a "drifting shoulders" problem which is usually a problem with the horse being on the forehand. A GREAT exercise for youngsters to achieve straightness/lighten the forehand at the canter is to start parrallel to the long side with a turn on the haunches to the right, then strike off in left lead canter, canter half of a 20M circle to the opposite long side, halt, turn on the hanches to the left, then strike of on right lead canter, canter half the 20M circle back to where you started then halt. Repeat.

                                        *A good tip for this exercise is to start and finish your turn on the hanches in the corners. This helps the horse make the down transition easier as there is a wall in front of him.

                                        Yes, you will not have canter/halt, halt/canter transitions on a youngster and may need to even trot a few steps in to the canter. But, the idea of the excersise is to 1.) straighten by teaching the horse to move off of your outside aids and straighten the shoulders, "placing them in front of the haunches" (!) and, 2.) lighten the forehand "allowing" you both to stike off in a balanced and straight canter. Then is is up to you to maintain the balance/straightness which is much easier than starting off with a crooked/forehand canter and then trying to correct it. Because you are only traveling half of a 20M circle you should be able to keep the balance/straightness for this brief period and come into your down transition "still" balanced and light on the forehand. You will be amazed at how this excercise will also help your horse move on to walk/canter, canter/walk transitions much quicker....this is the basis for flying changes work later on.

                                        The rider's key to riding this correctly is to keep your outside aids "on" through the 1/2 circle keeping the shoulders in front of the haunches.

                                        I hope this helps!"

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