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Spinoff: How do YOU know you're riding correctly?

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  • #21
    I like what Hazelnut had to say. I read a lot, watch those more experienced than me, video tape my lessons, and attend clinics. I also scribe at dressage shows and this helps me keep everything in perspective, and understand what i am seeing.

    I also trust my instructor and rely on her a lot. When i first moved to the area and saw my current barn for the first time i loved it immediately. there were horses in training from training level to fei and what impressed me the most was that all of them were happy.

    i think that dressage is about working with the horse and eliminating any resistance in training. I believe in the training scale and the foundations of dressage training that were set in place by the "dressage masters". On dressage tests one of the judges remarks is submission, and i believe that this is an important indicator of how things are progressing. you can't force these huge animals. you have to earn their trust and keep them comfortable and happy.

    Therefore, i think the horse itself is an excellent barometer of how training is progressing. you can just look at a horse's muscles to get an idea of whether or not their training is correct. a well trained horse is beautifully muscled and athletic looking without any strange muscling (i.e. bulging on underside of the neck, behind the withers, hump in the back, lack of hindquarter muscle, etc), or other visible injuries. Then the general attitude of the horse is indicative of proper training. If there is too much resistance in training then something needs to change. I firmly believe that a well trained horse at any level should be a happy horse.

    Comment


    • #22
      With regard to the older gentleman and his schoolmaster, when I was in college, I had an insane goal to show at the Pin Oak Charity Horse show. I did not own a horse, saddle or bridle. My goal was to take a (barely) Western trained Appaloosa stallion who was only 15.1 and show him at Pin Oak. Jericho had been repossessed by the stable owner for $500 in unpaid board. He was a quiet guy, but barely trained.

      We worked really hard. My trainer did NOT discourage me. He encouraged a small group of students to go and do it. In fact, the trainer showed at Pin Oak himself that year on a school horses. We joked about getting T-shirts, "I Showed the App at Pin Oak."

      There were no real qualifying requirements. The lowest division was 3'3 or 3'6". We worked very, very hard to be ready to show. We did not stand ANY chance of ever, ever even remotely getting a ribbon against six figure horses at this prestigious A show. I learned to braid for that show (they weren't very good). I borrowed boots and a coat, but I forgot to borrow gloves.

      We got around the courses clean, no run outs or refusals. As Yankee Lawyer so wisely said, someone has to come in last. I'm sure we would have been were dead last, but a couple of horses had refusals. I'm not even sure the judge bothered to watch our rounds with more than 50 horses in the class. But, it was really one of the best moments of my life, to reach for an impossible goal and to do it. I'm proud of my accomplishment, and I'm glad that my trainer encouraged me, even though we probably set the development of the hunter discipline back 50 years.

      Here we are:

      http://www.kathyjohnsondressage.com/jericho%20copy.jpg
      Kathy Johnson

      Comment


      • #23
        well that was a well played hand. should bring a tear to every eye here, and send them on a lynch mob after me, any app owners should be especially stirred.

        i don't think jumping a 3'6'' course at pin oak charity 20 yrs ago is what i'm talking about though.

        Comment


        • #24
          Well, I was at the rank bottom. And we started out in Intro, just wanting to stay in the ring and approximate a test. We ended up with quite decent scores through mid First (high 60s to 70s in Intro and training, mid 60s first).

          But I think that was because Ted was steady, we were precise, we presented a good picture, we approximated the test better than others.

          Now how do I know? Because I haven't shown in 2 years. I know when I have improved my horse's stride, or the relaxation of his back, or he is no longer traveling on his forehand. And most of all, when he is content, and willing, and relaxed throughout.

          But wow. What a time it's taken me to even start to get to that point. I had so much to unlearn.
          www.specialhorses.org
          a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

          Comment


          • #25
            My horse tells me when I'm doing it right.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #26
              Originally posted by egontoast View Post
              methinks she doth protest too much.

              Slc, fercrissakes, NO ONE CARES if you disagree with them. GET IT? It bothers you, obviously , because you constantly bring it up but no one else cares. Your opinion is no more important than anyone elses. Seriously. Wake up. It's a discussion. Disagreement is the norm.
              Eggie, you're starting to worry me. I think you're going to have a stroke if you keep reading her posts. Try the ignore option, and make sure you log on before reading any posts. It really does help with lowering the blood pressure.

              (BTW, I wanted to start this thread because I really am curious how many people do any research and checking before riding with someone--even at the beginning. And if they recheck and are willing to leave, and what drives that decision. I'm just curious. )
              "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

              Comment


              • #27
                The last dressage trainer I had was working with me on shoulder-in, haunches-in, flying changes, etc., then told me I couldn't show at Intro, after about 3 years of lessons with her, because my seat and hands were so bad that she didn't want me to be representing her as one of her students. She'd given lots of "this is getting better" along the way - it really emphasised that I *don't* and really *can't* know how well or quickly I'm progressing.

                The horse can tell me to some extent if I'm doing better, but lots of good horses basically cover for me and go well in spite of me, rather than because of me, when I get out of their way the tiniest bit. The owners of the horses I ride for free on the weekends have told me that they are really happy with how they've improved, and sometimes ask me to ride a particular one to address an issue. I can usually do so, but that doesn't mean that I'm not collapsing in my waist, or blocking their shoulder by half-halting at the wrong instant, etc.

                When something that was difficult for me before starts to become second nature, and my instructor doesn't have to remind me about it, I figure I've improved in that aspect, but it is really difficult to have an objective feeling of riding better, much less correctly, without getting an outside opinion. For running, weight lifting, and even to some extent vaulting, there are objective things I can measure, but riding feels more subjective/ephemeral.

                I have gotten referrals ahead of time, checked out their credentials/other students, but what works for students A and B won't necessarily work for me as well.
                Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.

                Comment


                • #28
                  Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                  well that was a well played hand. should bring a tear to every eye here, and send them on a lynch mob after me, any app owners should be especially stirred.

                  i don't think jumping a 3'6'' course at pin oak charity 20 yrs ago is what i'm talking about though.
                  Maybe not SLC but where are your recent riding experiences. All I have ever heard is how you once did this and once did that. Most of it is so unbelievable that a 6 year old holding scissors in their hand with the drapes newly cut stating they didn't do it, is more believable.

                  I believe if you still have that infection you said you had and are taking meds, maybe a long long rest in bed is a better idea for you.

                  I am worried about you, I really am.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Velvet View Post

                    (BTW, I wanted to start this thread because I really am curious how many people do any research and checking before riding with someone--even at the beginning. And if they recheck and are willing to leave, and what drives that decision. I'm just curious. )
                    It's hard, when you are such a newbie, to know what is "real" and "good" and what is not. I made some terrible mistakes with some lousy trainers, and I have asked my horse for forgiveness for my rank stupidity.

                    What I read in books and tried to emulate didn't seem to connect with what I was doing with these people. Somehow, I think, I knew there were gaps, but I couldn't verbalize what was missing - how do you describe what you have never seen or observed, or if you had seen it, wouldn't have recognized it?

                    My horse is now the happiest and healthiest (KNOCK ON WOOD) he's ever been. But I didn't know he could be that way, because he seemed happy enough, and I didn't know where he could be.

                    Now I know, so I won't ever go back. But I think I was lucky, and it was the academic in me, always questioning, and thinking, "Why doesn't it connect?"
                    www.specialhorses.org
                    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Whisper View Post
                      I have gotten referrals ahead of time, checked out their credentials/other students, but what works for students A and B won't necessarily work for me as well.
                      Good point Whisper. You can have a great trainer who is bringing their students up the levels, has all the credentials, referrals but if their teaching style or personality just doesn't gel with yours...

                      It isn't going to work for YOU and might be best to move on.

                      At some point though, you are going to have just go with the best in your area, one who you (and your horse) feels comfortable with and Trust.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Back to the OP.

                        I let my horse tell me. And then too I rely on an instructor to catch the little, and not so little things that could slow down an even better result.
                        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          And yes, I watch and listen to an instructor before I leap in. But then I"m a cheapskate and hate to waste my money.
                          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            well that was a well played hand. should bring a tear to every eye here, and send them on a lynch mob after me, any app owners should be especially stirred.

                            i don't think jumping a 3'6'' course at pin oak charity 20 yrs ago is what i'm talking about though.
                            Kathy J was 'playing a hand?" No. Not her M.O.

                            You have a very serious problem that antibiotics won't solve.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              disagreeing with something someone writes on a horse bulletin board, yes, that's in the dsm and is a tragic condition, right up there with darfur and global warming. and it makes a h*** of an abbreviation

                              and actually, those 'stories' are quite true, they all happened as described, and i always say 'long ago' no matter when they happened. you've never heard of anyone showing at a level their trainer didn't approve of? you feel the trainer must be wrong in all cases, without having heard ANY details? i think that's why the committee wants qualification, because people are showing above their level - which of course is true, because people write that here all the time TOO .

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                                i don't think jumping a 3'6'' course at pin oak charity 20 yrs ago is what i'm talking about though.
                                As a former A circuit hunter rider who knows what Pin Oak is, I think it is a fairly apt analogy to riding at DAD.
                                Roseknoll Sporthorses
                                www.roseknoll.net

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  [QUOTE]disagreeing with something someone writes on a horse bulletin board, yes, that's in the dsm and is a tragic condition, right up there with darfur and global warming. and it makes a h*** of an abbreviation[ /QUOTE]

                                  Think harder. It's not about disagreeing on a bulletin board.

                                  Everyone does that!

                                  I'll see your fake and raise it

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                                    because people are showing above their level - which of course is true, because people write that here all the time TOO .
                                    You noticed that also? Looks like I need to raise it. and one

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      To be correct or incorrect, that is the question???

                                      It has been my experience both in giving lessons/clinics and riding in them. You learn to over time get a feel for what is right. If your trainer tells you to do something, and you do it but you cant feel any change, then it's probably being done wrong. But on the other hand if the trainer or clinician asks you to do something and you can actually see and feel the difference then you are probably doing something right.

                                      Like I always tell my students your horse is going to tell me if you are doing it correctly or not. When a student gets it right I ask them to take a moment and just feel the movement, feel the horse underneath them. Then relax and try to ask again for the same movement to see if they can replicate it. Sometimes they can sometimes we have to start all over again until they get that feeling back.

                                      Like anything it takes practice, but your horses won't lie to you, usually if you are riding correctly they are pretty eager to please, and complacent. If you are wrong, they usually let you know, ears back, tail swishing, head tossing.

                                      But you do have to find a trainer whom you can trust, one that once you surpass their level of expertise can recomend another trainer to take you farther, not just hold on to you because you are $$ in their pocket.

                                      www.cmmbarnbrats.com
                                      Barn Brats Horse Themed Glassware
                                      www.cmmbarnbrats.com

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        i don't think jumping a 3'6'' course at pin oak charity 20 yrs ago is what i'm talking about though.
                                        As a former A circuit hunter rider who knows what Pin Oak is, I think it is a fairly apt analogy to riding at DAD.
                                        I suspect the gentleman's ride at DAD meant just as much to him as my ride did to me. I also suspect that aside from offending a few sensibilities, riding above our level had the exact same impact on the sports as a whole: 0.

                                        I LIVE to stir up App owners
                                        Kathy Johnson

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                                          i don't think jumping a 3'6'' course at pin oak charity 20 yrs ago is what i'm talking about though.

                                          I dunno.
                                          I thought it was spot on. (no pun intended)
                                          Certainly more relevant than some nonsense about bicycle racing.
                                          "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                          ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                                          Comment

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