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Young horse, "frame" pics: which is better?

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  • Young horse, "frame" pics: which is better?

    These are stills from a video of one of my more recent lessons (well, like a month ago, but I haven't gotten any more recent). I was looking back through the recent videos and screenshots and ran across them, and started wondering which "look" I should be trying to get more for a 4 year old (not really the frame, but the whole picture). The first one I feel like he is slightly behind the vertical, but I'm not sure if that is just balance/strength that will get better, or if I should be encouraging more of the second (I like that one better I think, minus whatever my arms are doing). We are aiming for Training level shows next year. He is just kind of long and a bit downhill still, so I feel like we are going to be a bit on the forehand no matter what for a while until he gets stronger and/or evens out more.

    Basically, I'm trying to educate my eye so I know what to notice and work on when I video my rides, and I can associate that with what it should feel like. I've been focusing a lot on getting him more in front of my leg since this, so hopefully it does look better now. I just don't want to accidentally be encouraging the wrong thing between lessons, you know?


  • #2
    Both of those are within the range of what a young horse is going to do. I wouldn't worry so much about the frame, because that ends in riding the head instead of the hind end. The horse should feel lively and happy to go out to the bit and take you forward. Your horse needs to build strength the carry the withers up, and then the frame will come.

    I'm attaching a series of photos I put together last year as my mare developed from weak 4.5 year old barely cantering under saddle to solid TL/schooling first from January to July. She is also a slightly downhill and long QH, so this might give you an idea of where your guy can go, (not that we're perfect). The front end "frame" doesn't change much, although the feel and quality of contact sure did. However, the thing to notice is that her haunches lower and hind leg comes under more as she developed.
    Attached Files

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by outerbanks77 View Post
      Both of those are within the range of what a young horse is going to do. I wouldn't worry so much about the frame, because that ends in riding the head instead of the hind end. The horse should feel lively and happy to go out to the bit and take you forward. Your horse needs to build strength the carry the withers up, and then the frame will come.

      I'm attaching a series of photos I put together last year as my mare developed from weak 4.5 year old barely cantering under saddle to solid TL/schooling first from January to July. She is also a slightly downhill and long QH, so this might give you an idea of where your guy can go, (not that we're perfect). The front end "frame" doesn't change much, although the feel and quality of contact sure did. However, the thing to notice is that her haunches lower and hind leg comes under more as she developed.
      I love that! It helps to visualize. She is really cute!

      Bottom line is, if he ends up looking like either of those during a ride, it's not such a big deal as long as he is feeling like he is moving forward to the bit. That's good to know. I know you aren't SUPPOSED to worry about the front end. I just don't want to have him starting to dip too much behind the vertical.

      Comment


      • #4
        Ride him to the bit, and he won't go behind the vertical, except for when he's a little weak for what you are asking. In those moments, ride the hind legs towards the bit, then give him a break and lots of praise. When the neck is in a lower/flatter position, I don't worry too much about moments of BTV, because it doesn't close the throatlatch as much as when the horse is in a higher carriage and goes BTV. The question is whether the hind legs have been lost out the back. Here are two pics of stretchy trot from a lesson last October (long sleeve shirt) My instructor was happy with this, even though she was BTV, because there is a bascule over the whole body, and she is stepping under. This would not have been possible 4-6 months earlier - I didn't do much stretching at that point because it would just put her hind legs out the back door not really loosen up the back. The other is a couple weeks earlier, where I put her without my instructor on the ground telling me where to put her.
        Attached Files

        Comment


        • #5
          In the the first photo the horse looks like he is starting to reach out towards the bit. He is getting a little bascule. This is good. In the second photo the horse just looks like he's going on a loose rein and his neck is s bit upside down.

          Other than that it's hard to say much from a still. He is tracking up ok in both photos.

          However I would suggest you banish the word frame from your vocabulary and run run run away from any trainer that uses it. It's a red flag for bad training and it does not address anything. And it lets you look at these two photos without seeing the major difference in the horses posture.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
            In the the first photo the horse looks like he is starting to reach out towards the bit. He is getting a little bascule. This is good. In the second photo the horse just looks like he's going on a loose rein and his neck is s bit upside down.

            Other than that it's hard to say much from a still. He is tracking up ok in both photos.

            However I would suggest you banish the word frame from your vocabulary and run run run away from any trainer that uses it. It's a red flag for bad training and it does not address anything. And it lets you look at these two photos without seeing the major difference in the horses posture.
            Yeah that's why the word "frame" was in quotes, for lack of a better word for the overall picture. I'm sure there is some german word for it Either way, he does FEEL like he has improved a ton this year, so we must be somewhat on the right track!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post

              Yeah that's why the word "frame" was in quotes, for lack of a better word for the overall picture. I'm sure there is some german word for it Either way, he does FEEL like he has improved a ton this year, so we must be somewhat on the right track!
              Rather than say frame think about whether he is lifting at the base of the neck, seeking contact, and using his hind end. Can you see the difference between the two photos you posted?

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

                Rather than say frame think about whether he is lifting at the base of the neck, seeking contact, and using his hind end. Can you see the difference between the two photos you posted?
                Yup! In that sense the first looks better, though he isn't stepping out as much which is probably what I'm getting caught up on.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post

                  Yup! In that sense the first looks better, though he isn't stepping out as much which is probably what I'm getting caught up on.
                  Why video is more informative. These are moments in time. Reaching out for the bit and lifting the base of the neck is super important. Horse may not be able to hold it consistently at first. Horse may go with bigger strides inverted even if he's green. Pure length of gait is not the whole thing.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The way I think of it, it's the balance that matters more than a certain place of where the head is. And that changes as the horse gains strength too. In my ammy understanding!

                    Cute horse!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As Lunarbear said, don't look for frame look for balance. As a judge that's what I look for at intro/training as well, balance. And just from photos I'd say I'd be suggesting this horse come a little more uphill, not as in shorten the neck and stay vertical but raise his whole neck up from the base and keep an open gullet. That may mean he's in front of the vertical and you get the odd comment about needing to be more round, but that will come next. Also remember when a judge says needs to be more round etc that they are meaning that is what you need to do next for higher marks, not that what you are doing now isn't good for his level of development. The judges job is to tell you why you are getting the mark they awarded, not tell you whether or not the horse is going where he should for the stage of training. They don't have enough information to be able to do that.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by nzrider View Post
                        As Lunarbear said, don't look for frame look for balance. As a judge that's what I look for at intro/training as well, balance. And just from photos I'd say I'd be suggesting this horse come a little more uphill, not as in shorten the neck and stay vertical but raise his whole neck up from the base and keep an open gullet. That may mean he's in front of the vertical and you get the odd comment about needing to be more round, but that will come next. Also remember when a judge says needs to be more round etc that they are meaning that is what you need to do next for higher marks, not that what you are doing now isn't good for his level of development. The judges job is to tell you why you are getting the mark they awarded, not tell you whether or not the horse is going where he should for the stage of training. They don't have enough information to be able to do that.
                        That's a really good point, and good to hear from a judge's point of view.

                        It's kind of weird, coming into dressage, and seeing all these other young horses that had just been started under saddle and, kind of like what the other young horse frame thread mentioned, they look so much further along than my horse after us working at it for the entire year.

                        It's a process learning what the correct development actually should look like, what is just forced frames or too much for the level of training, etc. And it makes it more difficult because it's hard to find resources showing the correct training of a young horse from the very beginning, they all show the horse already looking further along. I know some of that is just skilled pro riding along with a horse having a more ideal build, but it would still be nice to see a progression of a less ideal dressage youngster somewhere.

                        Someone should get on that, I would pay good money for a video series showing the dressage training processes for babies that aren't built great naturally for dressage "Training the Downhill, Long-Backed Horse for Dressage: The 4 Year Old"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post
                          but it would still be nice to see a progression of a less ideal dressage youngster somewhere.
                          Like the photos I posted in this thread? My mare is western pleasure breeding on top, and would be happy to peanut roll her way around. That's why I posted them, and I agree with the previous post from the judge that your horse can come up in the neck a bit. The thing is to get him connecting back to front. If you look at my trot series again, and try to draw a bowed line from the back hind leg, through the horse, up through the poll, you'll see that the "power line" is pretty much non-existent in the first photo, and becomes stronger, and more of a bascule in each photo. IME, it takes a good year of work to get this developed, whereas a more talented horse can get there a lot faster, but this is your base. Unfortunately my horse injured herself last October, and we are just finally getting through the rehab process from that. Otherwise, I would have more progression photos to share with you. Hopefully next year I will be able to get her to second level and see how that develops.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by outerbanks77 View Post

                            Like the photos I posted in this thread? My mare is western pleasure breeding on top, and would be happy to peanut roll her way around. That's why I posted them, and I agree with the previous post from the judge that your horse can come up in the neck a bit. The thing is to get him connecting back to front. If you look at my trot series again, and try to draw a bowed line from the back hind leg, through the horse, up through the poll, you'll see that the "power line" is pretty much non-existent in the first photo, and becomes stronger, and more of a bascule in each photo. IME, it takes a good year of work to get this developed, whereas a more talented horse can get there a lot faster, but this is your base. Unfortunately my horse injured herself last October, and we are just finally getting through the rehab process from that. Otherwise, I would have more progression photos to share with you. Hopefully next year I will be able to get her to second level and see how that develops.
                            Exactly like your photos, I love those! It would be a fun project to get together pictures like that from multiple people and see the progress over the years. Or even over one year.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Honestly the fact that you are even considering these questions is a great sign. Both those pictures look very reasonable to me for a young horse starting out but I'm also only a lowly ammy. I also have a young horse and although he's a reasonable build for dressage he is not purpose bred/brought up in a dressage program. It's such a weird push pull between seeing these youngsters powering around like pros in videos and getting emails from my GMO about young dressage horse classes which make me feel like I'm falling behind and then coming back down to earth here on COTH where the concern is maybe I'm asking too much of my young horse.
                              Hang in there! I've had my now 5 year old for 10 months and he spent a lot of time trying to duck behind the contact and then giraffe and then balanced for 1 second and then behind, then giraffe...there was a lot of awkwardness but my trainer kept us on track and always thinking about pushing from behind and now I have a horse that actually seeks the contact. I got tangled in my headset the other day and just dropped the reins to deal with it and he just took all that extra rein down and out to find my hands again and it was a magical feeling. It seems like you're on the right track.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post

                                It's kind of weird, coming into dressage, and seeing all these other young horses that had just been started under saddle and, kind of like what the other young horse frame thread mentioned, they look so much further along than my horse after us working at it for the entire year.

                                It's a process learning what the correct development actually should look like, what is just forced frames or too much for the level of training, etc. And it makes it more difficult because it's hard to find resources showing the correct training of a young horse from the very beginning, they all show the horse already looking further along. I know some of that is just skilled pro riding along with a horse having a more ideal build, but it would still be nice to see a progression of a less ideal dressage youngster somewhere.
                                I feel you there. My mare is rising 5 now, but I see these videos and pics of just started 3 year olds and feel that I'm so far behind in her training. I try to just remember each horse has it's own time schedule and that some of them are just being pulled together for a good sales video. My mare is over 18hh so rushing her development isn't going to get me anywhere.

                                Nice to know I'm not alone!

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Piaffe11 View Post

                                  I feel you there. My mare is rising 5 now, but I see these videos and pics of just started 3 year olds and feel that I'm so far behind in her training. I try to just remember each horse has it's own time schedule and that some of them are just being pulled together for a good sales video. My mare is over 18hh so rushing her development isn't going to get me anywhere.

                                  Nice to know I'm not alone!
                                  We need a baby horse dressage support group

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post

                                    We need a baby horse dressage support group
                                    Well you should start one! I'd be in, although my guy doesnt exactly qualify as a baby anymore. (6 yrs).
                                    "Wherever you go, go with all your heart"

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by GucciCowgirl View Post

                                      Well you should start one! I'd be in, although my guy doesnt exactly qualify as a baby anymore. (6 yrs).
                                      I'd be in for that! I just bought a 4 year old.

                                      RainWeasley I know you were kidding but that would be a super fun and encouraging thread/group.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Lunabear1988 View Post

                                        I'd be in for that! I just bought a 4 year old.

                                        RainWeasley I know you were kidding but that would be a super fun and encouraging thread/group.
                                        COTH used to have a Young Horse forum - it didn't see much action. but I think a thread on its own wouldprobably be great!
                                        "Wherever you go, go with all your heart"

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