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(End of our dressage road post 176) I am an idiot.

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  • does the trainer have pasture?
    it'll be interesting to see what a combination of more turnout and professional handling can do for her.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      Lack of turnout has more to do with no turnout space than a simple "no mud!" concern. If the turnout space was available, I would be utilizing it. Am I concerned about mud? Yes, due to the feathers. They take forever to dry, and keeping them damp just leads to skin issues. However, it's not the primary concern. I'd be thrilled if it was!

      Since the turnout situation is probably part of the issue, is there a way for me to compensate for that at all?
      Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        While we have her doing her 30 days, I'm going to be working with the groundwork trainer on my skills. I have my first lesson on Saturday, and I'm excited as can be.
        Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

        Comment


        • I didn't read past page 1.

          But if you bought a horse with a good mind, you are ahead of the game. She'll teach you how to step up your game as an ammy and learn how to train a horse.

          Don't spend more time on the ground work than you need to. It's useful (and you can come back to it whenever you think it's the best way to work out some remaining problem), but it's a means to an end and the end is a riding horse.

          But the great mind doesn't go away and makes her a valuable horse. Make her rideable by anyone, sell her when you have gotten what you want from her, and laugh all the way to the bank.

          You can take the DQ to lunch with some of your proceeds.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat

          Comment


          • Feather is always a concern (and it's feather, not feathers - they aren't birds!). It's not the feather that needs to get dry, it's the skin underneath. I find those sham-wows work great. Put it behind the fetlock and draw it back and forth vigorously (like polishing a boot). Then take sawdust (not shavings) and rub it down to the skin, from the knee down. The first is a trick I figured out at the Gypsy show in Fort Worth, the second is an old clydesdale/shire grooming tip and it really works.

            And yes, y'all, I'm a Gypsy and Drum owner - we show dressage, event, drive competitively and generally have a good time. Mine don't fart butterflies.....just saying.....

            As I mentioned previously, don't push your mare. She is young by draft standards. They still grow until they are 5 or 6. My mare shot up at the end of her 5th year and we had to start her canter work all over again. Ground work is good. Learning how to do proper ground work is even better.

            Have fun!
            Horse Feathers Farm

            Comment


            • It had sounded before that the outdoor board vs stall issue had been mostly about mud and bugs. Really, I'd shave the feather if need-be for now and get her outside. Fly spray her for the bugs, if they're still an issue this time of year. A happy mind and a body that gets to move around as much as possible is far more important than feather. Feather or Brain, hmmm… not a big question, IMO.

              I would not be surprised in the least if a lot of her behavioral issues resolve themselves with the right living situation. As far as the training goes, I'm so glad to hear she's with a trainer and you're getting groundwork lessons. That should be great for you both!

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by Sipsi View Post
                Feather is always a concern (and it's feather, not feathers - they aren't birds!). It's not the feather that needs to get dry, it's the skin underneath. I find those sham-wows work great. Put it behind the fetlock and draw it back and forth vigorously (like polishing a boot). Then take sawdust (not shavings) and rub it down to the skin, from the knee down. The first is a trick I figured out at the Gypsy show in Fort Worth, the second is an old clydesdale/shire grooming tip and it really works.

                And yes, y'all, I'm a Gypsy and Drum owner - we show dressage, event, drive competitively and generally have a good time. Mine don't fart butterflies.....just saying.....

                As I mentioned previously, don't push your mare. She is young by draft standards. They still grow until they are 5 or 6. My mare shot up at the end of her 5th year and we had to start her canter work all over again. Ground work is good. Learning how to do proper ground work is even better.

                Have fun!
                Thanks! I've never dealt with feather before, so I'm learning as I go. I've spent more time cussing her legs out than I want to admit

                Previously, bugs/mud were more of a concern than the turnout. Recently, we've been forced to move barns (previous barn had a rather nasty divorce going on, ex-wife got the barn and kicked out any boarders who had been nice to the ex-husband). The turnout situation is worse here, but I'll see what we can do for when the weather is good.
                Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

                Comment


                • Its a real bugger that you cant get decent turnout for her.....I really think that all the groundwork in the world wont compensate for decent turnout in a young horse....it is very very important. Not only mentally but for her body as well.

                  Good luck with your girl..Im sure things will work out

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by mickeydoodle View Post
                    I think your goals and your horse sound just fine. I am in agreement with others however, that I would have her backed and started w/t/c now, not 18mths from now. (by a trainer)
                    This.

                    12 to 18 months of ground work for a rising 4 year old is ridiculous. No one does that. If the behavior is so poor as to require anything like that, you need a pro. And if the horse is at all reasonable, it should not take anything like that amount of time on the ground.

                    I highly recommend investing in a pro to put the initial 90 days on her to get her going WTC. Or at the very least working a couple of times a week under a pro's supervision. Having the guidance of a knowledgeable trainer for the initial starting is priceless. Trust me. Both you and your horse will have so much more fun,faster.

                    As for your horse's suitability for the sport - your goals seem doable to me. Dressage is all about having a harmonious relationship with your horse. Just about any reasonably athletic horse should be able to learn through at least the lower levels. What you might lack in a gait score you can make up in other ways by being very precise in your tests, for example, and as to submission. Look at Friesians, for example. Some of them excel at dressage and are highly sought after, yet they do not have 3 classic gaits for dressage.

                    Your horse sounds like a big sweetie. Just get her going under saddle and start having fun riding her. And report back here, please!!
                    Roseknoll Sporthorses
                    www.roseknoll.net

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by MyssMyst View Post
                      After careful consideration, I've decided to hand her over to a pro for 30 days of work. I don't have the skills/physical ability to correct this, so it's time to turn her over to someone who does. I'm frustrated, but I really feel this was the right decision. For her safety, as well as everyone else's, this ends now.
                      ........ After the 30 days, I have made arrangements to have regular groundwork sessions with a trainer so we can focus on longing, and move into long lining. I'm excited to have found a trainer as excited about groundwork as I am.
                      Good plan!! Though again, please realize that no one needs ground work for 12 to 18 months as you describe. And not to be cynical, but a lot of trainers like the sloooooowwwwww approach because they do charge for their time.

                      A book you might enjoy is Pippa Funnell's book on starting young horses. Pippa is a British advanced level eventer who rides on the British team. Her book gives excellent tips on all aspects of the start process, including ground work, has great photos, and has a fascinating section that examines several of her top horses' strengths and weaknesses and analyzes their conformation, etc. - demonstrating that super stars can come in all shapes and sizes.
                      Roseknoll Sporthorses
                      www.roseknoll.net

                      Comment


                      • MyssMyst maybe go back into your original post & add an update notice to the subject line (eg, Update post #115)

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
                          Good plan!! Though again, please realize that no one needs ground work for 12 to 18 months as you describe. And not to be cynical, but a lot of trainers like the sloooooowwwwww approach because they do charge for their time.
                          Initially, I wanted to allow time to try out short reins/lateral work in hand prior to backing her. I really wanted to give her time to get that musculature developed, and learn how to use her body without having to worry about my weight. The more comfortable I get, I'm starting to think the timeframe is really adjustable, depending on how she grows/develops/learns. My biggest weakness in working with horses used to be getting something I'd been working for, and then pushing for the next step. I need to conquer that part of me. If we grow faster, I might be on her back in 6 months. If she has a hard time, I'm not disappointed. I don't want to set myself in a situation where lack of patience is a temptation. She deserves better than that.

                          ETA: My motivations, I'm slowly learning, are not really what I thought they were. The hardest part of this is admitting that I'm more worried about ME than her. Getting back in, I felt like I had to be the horseperson I was 8 years ago, and it sucked. I'm slowly realizing it's ok to be a newb. I don't need to rediscover things, I can just learn them. It's ok to say "I can't do this" and bring in a pro. It's a lot easier to say "I want to take the time for her to develop" than "I don't have a farking clue what I'm doing and am terrified of screwing this up". But admitting to the second is really freeing, lol.
                          Last edited by MyssMyst; Nov. 4, 2011, 03:27 PM.
                          Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by mvp View Post
                            I didn't read past page 1.

                            But if you bought a horse with a good mind, you are ahead of the game. She'll teach you how to step up your game as an ammy and learn how to train a horse.


                            But the great mind doesn't go away and makes her a valuable horse. Make her rideable by anyone,.
                            Can't find the smilies or I'd put a nodding head in here! Plus, you have a 6yo kid...when said kid is big enuf to ride, you're likely to have a nice, sane horse for said kid to ride on!

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by MyssMyst View Post
                              Quick update:

                              She now cross ties easily, allows easy access to her feet, and leads nicely (mostly). Here's the problem: the ground manners go *poof* when anyone else handles her. She gets aggressive, and starts using her weight to push people around. It's not regular, but she does occasionally push me around. She's found exactly where my foot starts giving me trouble, and if she's in a mood she'll take advantage of that. But it's constant any time I hand the lead rope over to someone else. After careful consideration, I've decided to hand her over to a pro for 30 days of work. I don't have the skills/physical ability to correct this, so it's time to turn her over to someone who does. I'm frustrated, but I really feel this was the right decision. For her safety, as well as everyone else's, this ends now.

                              I am pleased with the progress we have made, don't get me wrong. However, if she were ever injured at the barn and needed to be treated before I could get there, she has to have those manners in place. I'm not going to have someone else get hurt because of her. In talking with her previous owners, I've learned that they never really tried to train her. If she objected, she got her way. All she had to do was invade their space/muscle them around/etc and they'd let her do it and not handle the misbehavior. I wish I'd known this before buying her. She was so well-behaved when we looked at her But it does at least give me a clue where it comes from. After the 30 days, I have made arrangements to have regular groundwork sessions with a trainer so we can focus on longing, and move into long lining. I'm excited to have found a trainer as excited about groundwork as I am.
                              I think you're making all the right decisions - keep updating us!!

                              I'm actually GLAD to hear her previous owners did not really put much effort into training her. If she's got the right mind (and it sounds like she certainly does), she WILL come around. The news could have been worse: the mare could have been through a number of trainers and still lacking in respect (etc). She could have been started u/s and handled more extensively, thereby allowing these habits to even more firmly cement themselves. It takes time to break through that barrier initially when they've been allowed so much free rein in the past and have already-established habits, but it DOES happen As for her manners not transferring over to others - that takes time. A lot of it. The foundation has to be firmly in place with you first, then it starts slooooowly transferring to others that handle the horse (despite their mistakes or ineffectiveness). Don't worry

                              And please, keep your hopes and expectations high. Dream BIG. You never know how far you might be able to go

                              ETA: on the turnout issue, if you can get her to a barn where there is more turnout, definitely do so. Shave the feather if need be maybe? I don't think you can honestly replace turnout. I think the best you can do however is engaging her mind on the ground and later u/s, and that might have to suffice for now... but it won't replace the gallops and playing a young horse does in the field in turnout.
                              ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                              ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                Groundwork lesson today was awesome! I learned a lot of new tricks for helping her learn respect for my space, and gained some insight on how I'd contributed to the problems we have and how to correct them. It's going to be a long road, but I think we can conquer this.
                                Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  Finally, we have good progress on ground work. And I'm starting to understand how she works a lot more. Now, we're leading with a minimum of pulling, stopping when asked, and backing (which is a new skill!). We have walk and halt on the longe line (at least, on a small circle).

                                  Turnout is still difficult, although we do try to at least get her out to play in the indoor arena if nothing else for an hour or so a day. We have, however, found a way to keep her occupied during the day. We decided to try out the Nose-it, and it's a winner. She will happily play with it nonstop until every last treat is out. Filling it with mostly alfalfa cubes and a few treats thrown in for variety will keep her busy for hours on end, and we've noticed a definite improvement in her behavior. She's much more relaxed, and the pawing is greatly reduced. The BO initially had her on a grass/alfalfa mix, and dropping her to straight grass has helped as well.

                                  If there's any one lesson I've learned the last few months, it's the importance of a solid support team. Once I had a great trainer, a wonderful vet, and a fantastic farrier, my life with horses got so much easier. Any one of these people will happily talk me through everything they are doing, and why. I am so very grateful to have them.

                                  I am also incredibly grateful to Friday, the sweet NSH gelding who has been patiently teaching my ammy butt the ropes. My first long-lining lesson, when I gave him mixed signals, he just stopped and gave my trainer this pathetic look and waited for her to walk me through what went wrong and how to fix it, then patiently continued on like nothing had happened. If I have a klutz moment and lose my seat, he's always quietly slowing down until I get it back and then moving on without a fuss. He never gives me more than I can handle at any one day, but still keeps me comfortably challenged. This patient soul has found a home with me. I swore up and down that I'd never buy him, but sometimes, the horse just chooses you. He quietly builds my confidence every time I handle him. Because pictures are needed:

                                  https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net...87233906_n.jpg

                                  I'll try to get some confo shots posted later this week, I'd love opinions on him. The only pics I have now are the ones from Scottsdale long before I bought him. He is breed ring trained, so we're working hard on learning real dressage. It's really cool to watch how the shape of his neck is changing little by little. We're still figuring out where we want to go together, but dressage is teaching us both a lot and we will be able to use it wherever we go from here.
                                  Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

                                  Comment


                                  • Glad things are looking up!

                                    (and sometimes it's good to have a food ho type of horse! MUCH easier to keep them entertained when necessary).

                                    When did you get the little NSH? I totally missed that one.....

                                    He looks kinda like an arab at my barn who is the most tolerant being on the face of the planet!

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by poltroon View Post
                                      You've got a horse, the horse has done nothing bad, and your goal is reasonable - to ride her with some help from a professional trainer getting her started.

                                      No worries!

                                      A book you might enjoy with some ideas for groundwork as well as the general task of putting basics on a baby is Schooling for Young Riders by John Richard Young. It is out of print. It is also wonderful.
                                      Love, love, love the late Mr. Young's books. Also recommend "The Schooling of the Horse" (revised version of "Schooling the Western Horse") because it is about basic training, western OR english). That book and Schooling for Young Riders are easily available used through Amazon, Half.com and other book dealers.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        We have now been happily lunging at more than a walk for about 3 weeks. There are days that it's like lunging a freight train, but she's steadily improving. We worked with the trainer really hard to get her to understand the concept of respecting human space, and she's doing really well with it. New turnouts are being built at the barn, so in a few months we will have some turnout options. I'm trying to talk DH into helping me video her so I can post a video.

                                        I am planning on auditing at least one day of every Jeremy Steinberg clinic in the area, and I'm (hopefully) going to the Alfredo Hernandez clinic in a few weeks.
                                        Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

                                        Comment


                                        • Sometimes the progress comes in such tiny increments that we can't see it day-to-day. And then, there's the whole "three steps forward, one step back" frustration, too. But as you are proving, progress does come if you do it right and you're patient.
                                          Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.

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