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Little victories

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  • Little victories

    What do you consider your greatest 'little victories'? Not titles or ribbons won but training victories i.e That first engaged walk/canter transition or that first moment of true connection.
    I wanted to know wether, as you move up the levels, do you lose the joy in those little victories or do they just become more commonplace so therefore not as exciting?
    I'm still at the very bottom of the ladder so mine are HUGE at the moment. Just being able to keep my hands level and elastically connected to my horses mouth is a bloody reason to celebrate (busy undoing 2 years of bad habits)
    You see a mouse-trap. I see free cheeze and a challenge

  • #2
    My little victories include actually getting to a show and making it through without my horse losing his mind. At home, it is the trot to canter depart on the right lead. I find it very difficult in my middle age to keep my bum in the saddle and when I get it, I often give a little yahoo! It is getting there and each time it is a victory for me and always will be because I know how hard I have had to work for it.


    • #3
      Shoot that's what makes riding and training worth it especially when you have a "habit" of collecting what have been deemed ruined or difficult horses. Taking one who is so tense through her back and ready to jump out of her skin and giving her the confidence to follow the bit forward, down and out for the first time as well as working on her balance and crookedness so that she can do the same all the way around a 20 meter circle are huge to me. Getting a first clean flying change on a horse who has never done it under saddle, building up the strength gradually over time so that canter half-passes with a true bend actually happen from letter to letter, getting a nice crisp on the moment canter to walk transition that's not braced or hollow - all these things and many more still get me jazzed with each individual horse I ride/train. I think it's more about setting smaller milestones and reaching them daily or weekly that makes riding fun for me. Sure getting ribbons and awards is icing on the cake but for me the real accomplishments are what most consider the little ones and keeps me looking forward to riding every day.
      Ranch of Last Resort


      • #4
        Decent canter transitions both up & down on my slightly forehandy baby boy. I grin from ear to ear.


        • #5
          Yesterday we trotted up center line straight and balanced. I mean, we actually kept it together in that corner to come up center line, not centerish line and wobbly. I love babies!
          Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!


          • #6
            This past month my ottb took his first-ever steps of canter pirouette. There were one or two steps in there where I really felt him sit down and I could not have been more on cloud nine.

            The next "little victory" will be when we can recreate that experience at home as nice as we had it in that lesson.
            The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
            Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
            The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


            • #7
              An even moderately collected canter! My mare's trot is her strength, but I love when she responds quickly when I ask for canter and then listens to my half halts to get a "fluffy" canter.
              My blog: Journeys in Riding


              • #8
                I come from a life-time of eventing, except for the last 12 years Long story, short, I started my mare at 4 years old and competed successfully through Intermediate, with many long format three days included. Decided to breed her at 19, had a beautiful filly to "fill her shoes", who at almost 6 years old, dropped dead. In comes my current dressage horse, almost 4 years ago (as a 4 year old)...bye-bye eventing. He was green broke and could barely hold the canter. He just got 2 qualifying scores for 2nd level at his first shows of the season. We are schooling some 3rd level movements at this time. Just for ha-ha's I recently asked for 1 flying change (both directions) and they were awesome!! He did them like he has been doing them all of his life...so cool! When he "gets" the harder work that I am asking, I am so proud of him, because I have done most of the work by myself As you move up the levels, or change disciplines, the little accomplishments are so great! Have fun!
                Mirror Image 2001-2007


                • Original Poster

                  My little/big victory for the last 9 months is feeling my horses natural propulsion engine kick in. He's a 11-year old Friesian gelding who had no hind-end, no impulsion and I rode like a retarded howler-monkey for over 2 years. He is becoming lighter, more responsive to the aids and he can actually remain cantering until I ask for a downward transition. We're doing walk to canters and its not pretty yet, but we're getting the correct response now. And the bugger can do beautiful lengthening..who would have thought?
                  Thanx for the responses. I needed to be inspired:
                  You see a mouse-trap. I see free cheeze and a challenge


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by WILLOW&CAL View Post
                    What do you consider your greatest 'little victories'? Not titles or ribbons won but training victories i.e That first engaged walk/canter transition or that first moment of true connection.
                    I wanted to know wether, as you move up the levels, do you lose the joy in those little victories or do they just become more commonplace so therefore not as exciting?

                    I still have a lot further to climb on the latter as well, but every little really good thing is the reason I keep riding! That feeling doesn't go away.
                    My mare has currently decided that her very favorite thing to do is gallop, and that trot/walk transitions are booooooring. So when I get her engaged and working with me doing super nice transitions here and there, I darn well celebrate!
                    "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht


                    • #11
                      While the little victories with one horse eventually become routine and therefore less exciting, rediscovering those same moments with the next horse is, I feel, equally rewarding.


                      • #12
                        The biggest WOW I ever had was the first time my horse truly lifted his back.

                        I had horses with less pushing/sitting power before, so wasn't ready for this. I was posting the trot, and all of a sudden my posting wasn't clearing the saddle because he had lifted his withers so much. I had to ask my trainer "Umm.... was that him lifting his back?!" because I had felt nothing like it.

                        Now it feels weird if his back isn't lifted, but I still remember that especially when I see horses who are hollow at higher levels than I ride.... And I appreciate that he can and will give his back to me the way he does.
                        Originally posted by Silverbridge
                        If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.


                        • #13
                          I think this is the difference between doing dressage, and enjoying dressage. If you can feel each little accomplishment and enjoy it for the accomplishment that it is, you probably really enjoy dressage. If you don't notice all those little victories - like the first time your horse really sits onto the hind end in a downward transition, you are probably more likely to get bored with dressage and see it as a chore.

                          I've taken a youngster to second level, and I have to say all of the little victories felt big, from the balanced canter transition to the first few steps of canter half-pass. I'm bringing my second youngster through the levels, and it is just as exciting even though things are coming more easily for him.

                          For example, even though we are only trying to get trot-canter transitions balanced, last night we had a moment at the walk where it felt Just Right for a walk-canter transition. We didn't do it, but I could feel that moment and see it as a victory. So, I guess, there are more things to get excited about this time around!

                          If you stop enjoying the little victories, I would seriously reconsider your situation, be it your mindset, trainer, horse, or goals!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Rhiannonjk View Post
                            If you stop enjoying the little victories, I would seriously reconsider your situation, be it your mindset, trainer, horse, or goals!
                            Great advice!

                            When people ask about my horse, I tell them that he is just a joy to be around, to ride, to get to look out my bedroom window and see. And it's true - and I am sure my trainer has helped that a lot! Getting away from a boarding situation which left me less than satisfied helps, too.
                            Originally posted by Silverbridge
                            If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.


                            • Original Poster

                              I feel the same way as you, Rhiannonjk. If you continually live for the higher levels and the next movement, you miss the amazing moments you can have while learning the basics. I've just made peace with being 34 and starting riding for the first time 3 years ago. As a kid you can sometimes miss the joy of the journey. Sometimes the wow moments are out of the saddle, your horse galloping across the field to you as you go into his paddock. If I didn't have that it would feel like school
                              You see a mouse-trap. I see free cheeze and a challenge


                              • #16
                                I've spent the past 14 months rehabbing my Morgan mare from a suspensory surgery. It's been really up and down, with plenty of moments where retiring her (at age 12-13, and Morgans have long lifespans!) seemed like the best option. But she is now WTC sound, ready to start building towards schooling shows again, and generally happy in her work (though we are having a few arguments because I am no longer "babying" her.) I am a much better horsewoman than I was before she got injured.

                                My most recent little moment of joy was trotting her up a hill for the first time since February 2010.
                                You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"