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Need suggestions/help *3 week pic update

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  • Need suggestions/help *3 week pic update

    Hey everyone I'm in need for a little direction. A week ago i began leasing a Dutch mare who has gone through fourth level dressage with some eventing experience as well. Its a wonderful opportunity for me and so grateful for it. Im a junior rider having mostly experience in the hunter jumper world however.

    The owner told me this mare is absolutely wonderful however very challenging. She said "she is by no means a amateurs horse, but a professionals". The women I'm leasing her from just got her back after selling her a few years ago and doesn't have time to ride her. Anyway she is out of shape but i rode her a couple times and she was lovely! Even the owner said i rode her well!

    The lease went through and i switched the bit they were using for her (elevator) to a double jointed copper mouth snaffle because I was told they just put the elevator on with no real reason and to try different bits. I decided to start with something implement fresh. Her old owner who brought her through dressage was using some type of pelham in the video i saw of them. I have been working with her only walk trot because i wanted to slowly start working her back into shape (she's had time off) and she's been a dream..so soft, forward and relaxed.

    Two days ago i decided to add in some canter. Our ride started out so good! She was really lose, relaxed and i even said to my sisters and boyfriend "i don't want to pick up my reins and make her work.. she's being to good" :wink grin: however i did and my ride took a 180. I picked up the canter and i might as well have been a fly on her back. I started half halting, making sure i really was using my core because she responds so well to that but there was no hope. I was running out of energy (i am also out of shape) and my arms were becoming no use so i had no choice but to get way deep in my saddle and use my whole body to lean back and jerk her to a stop. I let her relax and tried picking up a trot and there was just no turning back. I went back to the canter and tried multiple things including transitions, half halts again, circles etc and it didn't work. I could barely get her to trot calmly now. I got a couple soft trot strides in and quit for the day.

    Thing is, she was not being bad! i don't know if i sound stupid saying this but i just feel as though i didn't have the strength to hold all this horse together. So i decided to switch her bit to a waterford snaffle. It gave me a little more control however she was so much more tense which i could especially tell at the trot at the beginning of my ride because normally she is so easy to get soft and pliable, this ride she had her nose in the air etc.

    QUESTION: What direction should i steer in to try next?
    I feel as though the waterford just had to much going on. I think next I'm going to try a pelham. Ill have the lightness of the bit but the curb rein when the control is needed? It also seems to be what she was ridden in with her last owner.

    Last edited by DreamBignRide; Aug. 14, 2012, 02:08 AM.

  • #2
    In the video, the owner is riding in a full bridle, relatively SOP for 4th level.

    What are you planning to do with the horse after she's back in shape? Dressage? If so, you probably should try to learn to ride her in a dressage-legal bit, which lets out waterfords and pelhams.

    Sounds to me like you need a qualified trainer and that the trainer needs to discuss the horse with the owner. Meanwhile, you can leg her up with lots of walk, trot, transitions and figures and keep it calm and easy.

    Good luck, take your time, develop a rapport while she settles back into work.


    • #3
      I think you need a dressage instructor helping you before you get hurt.

      I can't see much in the video, but I assume that's a double bridle not a pelham, given the horse was going 4th and a pelham isn't legal in dressage.

      Without seeing video of you riding, in that picture you look very, very hunter. A lot of us are former hunter riders, so understand the changes which have to happen in your position to fix that. But riding a horse who is very strong in the bridle and probably was not often ridden in anything but a double bridle and reacts to the fact you likely use too much leg instead of just draping your legs and don't sit as she's used to because of your history could get dangerous quickly. I'm sure she is tense, and it's because you're speaking two different languages. She's probably not well balanced either because of the lack of fitness on top of everything else.

      Anyway, it could work out just fine - but as quickly as it's gone downhill, I'd say that'll only be the case with outside help so you understand what you're doing that is not her language. You're not doing anything *wrong* - just not doing anything she understands...
      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.


      • #4
        The bit used in the video is NOT a pelham. The horse is being ridden in a double bridle (bradoon and weymouth).

        I would NOT put a pelham in this horse's mouth.

        I think you'll need to get advices from a real Pro.
        ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

        Originally posted by LauraKY
        I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
        HORSING mobile training app


        • Original Poster

          Well the reason why I'm leasing is because I have a hectic work schedule. I took a year off of riding and began again in April. I worked my way to showing my junior eq medals this summer but decided the money was more than I wanted to put in. So I was on the search for a really cheap lease, that I could just get riding time in on. It just so happens that this mare was available, I knew the owner and she's letting me lease her dirt cheap! Amazing opportunity however this is all for pleasure. The mare is also 15 and in amazing condition (soundness wise) but also in no need to be show worthy. The owner was simply looking for someone up for a challenge, patience and relitevly good with drive because this mare is tough. Mind you I had cantred her when I tried her an once after than but we were inside. She would get strong but I was always able to bring her back. This day we were outside in a huge arena which she took advantage of.

          I plan on having my trainer come in but again this is more of a pleasure ride and opportunity for me to learn on especially with all the knowledge this mare has.

          And thank you for clearing up the bridle situation(:


          • Original Poster

            Okay thank you guys. Like you've mentioned this is new territory for me which is hy I came here and asked. I will be having a pro come in who is wonderful and will help me, I'm always interested in learning things on my own in the meantime.

            I plan on keeping things simple with her in the
            meantime as well. She's lovely to work with I swear.. the canter is just coming tougher for me to adjust too and figure her out which as you said is because we come from two different backgrounds.


            • #7
              I'd work on a bunch of trot halts on a 20m or 15m circle until you can get at least 3 good trot halts off just your abs and thighs. Then graduate to the same circle, canter 4 strides, then trot, canter 4 strides, then walk. If things get strong, sit on your outside seat bone and make the circle smaller using your outside rein.

              and don't freak. Your OP doesn't sound like the world's going to end. Most likely you're accidentally asking for a medium canter with your lower leg forward too much motion in your pelvis. a 4th level horse certainly is not relying on the curb for breaks. Think about turning the canter into a pogo stick ride with your lower leg underneath you and she should redirect that energy into a little, but powerful canter, you can then drop into a walk.
              chaque pas est fait ensemble


              • #8
                Dressage and hunter/jumper canter cue can be pretty different.

                Put your legs as you would normally do but instead of giving the cue with your outside leg, keep it passive and use your inside leg at the girth.
                While trying this out, don't use any outside leg unless the horse is clearly slowing down, and just open and put back your outside leg where it was might be enough to bring some more gaz to this talented horse!
                ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                Originally posted by LauraKY
                I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                HORSING mobile training app


                • Original Poster

                  Thank you both that was very helpful and what i was looking for! This mare is absolutely lovely and while i said i was having a very hard time, i never felt in danger.

                  Ill stick to working mostly on trot as i have and then at the end of my ride every day go in the indoor and work on what you guys were saying on my canter! As said, were speaking two different languages and also my lack of knowledge which i have no pity in admitting. The majority of what I've ridden has been young/green prospect hunters/jumper that require exaggerated, defined aids or well schooled jumpers where the detail put into them is different to hers. So this is a new world to me but thats why its such a great opportunity!

                  It will be tough just because i don't know the training thats gone into her, i will maybe ask the current owner if i can have the contact info for the last owner who was the one who brought her into dressage. I will be having my trainer come in also to help me!


                  • #10
                    This horse, like so many upper level horses, have been taught to be held by the curb and not from the rider's seat. This horse, in spite of the fact that she was ridden in an upper level, needs to be taken back quite a ways in her training...back to developing correct contact by the use of a snaffle again.

                    You need to take her back to doing some lunge work with the sidereins before you ride. It would also help you if you can ride her in a fairly wide diameter roundpen initially. Her running, or inability to take a half-halt should also tell you that not only is contact not correctly established, but also there is more crookedness locked in there as well than you would normally have.

                    You will have to really maintain a strong core for this process...no droopy shoulder blades, no puppy paws, no heels in the air. But, in spite of the problems you face, I'll bet she is really worth it!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by angel View Post
                      This horse, like so many upper level horses, have been taught to be held by the curb and not from the rider's seat. This horse, in spite of the fact that she was ridden in an upper level, needs to be taken back quite a ways in her training...back to developing correct contact by the use of a snaffle again.

                      You need to take her back to doing some lunge work with the sidereins before you ride. It would also help you if you can ride her in a fairly wide diameter roundpen initially. Her running, or inability to take a half-halt should also tell you that not only is contact not correctly established, but also there is more crookedness locked in there as well than you would normally have.

                      You will have to really maintain a strong core for this process...no droopy shoulder blades, no puppy paws, no heels in the air. But, in spite of the problems you face, I'll bet she is really worth it!
                      Have you seen the video? Have you read the OP?

                      You are making quite a huge stretch by saying this horse was not well trained and expecting the OP to be able to take back huge step and re-train this horse in a more correct manner. (Sorry OP, nothing agaisn't you but from your post, you don't seem that knowleadgeable to do it yourself thus why most here suggest the help of a dressage trainer to fully understand this horse)

                      What I saw in the video was a quite correctly trained 4th level horse, not held by the curb who was able to use its back and understand half halts.

                      What I understood from the OP is that the rider is a junior hunter/jumper rider, with not much experience in dressage and in horse training in general. -but also, I bet OP is quite talented and eager to learn!

                      What I also understood is that despite its previous good training, this horse is out of shape and probably lack the strenght and suppleness to be fully thru in her back and that is was also a Pro ride, so it is 'normal' OP might be a bit overwhelm and that the mare need someone with a stronger core, a better understanding of dressage training and more correct cues/timing of the aides/precision from her legs, seat and hands as well.

                      Horse was also ridden in an elevator bit by the previous eventer lease. We don't know what happen there but I bet lots of 'canter-run' transitions were part of the training.

                      That is my opinion of course.
                      ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                      Originally posted by LauraKY
                      I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                      HORSING mobile training app


                      • Original Poster

                        Hey guys, thanks for your input. A very nice update would be that she it Saturday off and my ride last night was awesome!

                        I took some of your advise, had some great trot work and then towards the end of my ride tried my canter. One of the biggest things I focused on was not exggerting my aids and no outside leg and bam she was a completely different horse. She took me by surprise and wasnt supporting her enough and she broke to a trot! I picked it up again, got a couple really nice circles in oth directions and ended my ride there.So I think the point is we were speaking two different languages as someone put it perfectly.

                        I'm 18, 17 in usef years(; .. I have a lot to learn and I have no problem admitting that. embarrassingly enough my OP sounded pretty bad especially my question about her bridle lol. I knew what a double bridle was but this is a totally different world then what I'm used to so my brain goes one way.
                        This is all the more reason why I'm so excited to be riding this mare, all the knowledge im going to get from it.
                        I've also contacted a dressage trainer who was recommended to me on here who will be coming out next week. I'm very excited and have even started looking into dressage tack to really take every ounce of this opportunity. Dressage is this mares specialty and where she's comfortable so I might as well let her teach me!

                        I appreciate all the help and understand some of the concerns considering not actually knowing how our rides were going but I can assure you it's been 7 days since our first ride and were making progress everyday!


                        • Original Poster

                          Also if anyone can help me with saddles I've found three that are all the same except different brands. All fitting within my criteria.

                          Passier Hannover




                          • #14
                            I'm glad to see a positive update! And I'm really glad you're exploring dressage because of this horse; it will only improve your riding no matter what discipline you end up in.
                            The three saddles you've linked are all very different especially for the rider. Tell me about what sort of saddles you like as an HJ rider and hopefully that'll help narrow down what will make both of you most comfortable.

                            I personally am a passier addict. They are perfectly balanced for my pelvic shape
                            chaque pas est fait ensemble


                            • #15
                              Good to hear! Just remember if you are coming from hunterville and are used to floating the reins a 4th level horse will be speaking another language!

                              If you are in a forward seat you also have a disadvantage.
                              ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~


                              • Original Poster

                                Well one of my weaknesses is i have a very closed hip angle from all my hunter years. Its gotten much better since I've spent the last few months only working towards the eq classes and been hounded to open everything up, But a saddle that will allow me to open up more and ride through my seat would be beneficial for me. My jumping saddle obviously puts me in a more forward position naturally.

                                To be honest though i can't give a lot of specifics, I've never had the luxury of trying a ton of saddles where i can say what i prefer over what i don't. I have always just ridden in what i had and luckily turned out with a very nice saddle considering. I guess my one advantage is i have learned to adjust to whatever saddle i had under me and just enjoy(:

                                Im 5'5", long legs, 110-115 pounds


                                • Original Poster

                                  double post


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Hey everyone so i just wanted to do an update because you all helped me a lot! Its been about 3 weeks since i started leasing Paris and every day is getting better and better, plus im falling in love with her. She's the sweetest and gentlest mare on the ground and in the saddle. Ive spent a lot of time getting to know her and figuring her out, for lack of better words.

                                    Ive since put a lot of pieces together that have made our rides come together. She's forward and willing to work always which is where i was having trouble but it isnt excess energy, i believe its anxiety. She's constantly a step ahead of you ready to do the next thing for you. Whats helped is of course being patient and also just keeping her on her toes.
                                    Its very rare that i go down the long side of the ring once im warmed up because our ride now consist of all circles, half circles, changing direction, figure eights etc. Ive also been working on leg yielding slowly and she's coming along great. Granted this is all stuff she knows(!!), but its a challenge in itself for me and you all have gotten a grasp around why. Ive very much changed my position and style in the saddle to help put her in a more familiar spot and have been riding a lot without stirrups lol! I dont have a dressage saddle although i had been looking for one so i've been making the best of what i have. What a great teacher she has been to the art of suppleness. I love the feeling of getting her put together, really lifting off the ground and then reminding myself then "ok become butter and become apart of the saddle" and just feeling her melt into my hands into this big powerful stride.

                                    Some small "accomplishments" would be, beginning and end of my ride, she quietly stretches and trots/lopes around so nicely. I've began really liking to do this because for me i feel like it begins and ends my ride in thee most peaceful manner. We've also done some o/f and what a willing mare!

                                    As a rider, im proud of myself! I ended up getting my old trainer back [so happy!] but she's been away so all the progress ive made has been pure hard work, dedication and a lot of patience! Its been soo much mental and physical in such a short amount of time, saying its been only 3 weeks, shocks myself! Its a story that i hope encourages others to see, money will get you farther but theres always a way to accomplish goals. When i look at the training ive had access to, the amount of time ive been in the saddle and the constant battle of having limitations, compared to the rider i am, its a great feeling knowing i made myself into what i am, with help. I wasnt made into who i am because of help.

                                    Anyway I love her and hope my time with her isn't planning on being cut short any time soon!


                                    Can't wait for my lesson so i can be screamed at for my shoulders! grrr

                                    canter is getting there also! Here i was actually doing some longer work, she was having a little trouble with her canter today.
                                    Last edited by DreamBignRide; Aug. 14, 2012, 02:16 AM.


                                    • #19
                                      Nice! It looks like things are clicking for both of you, which is always a good thing.


                                      • #20

                                        I know you aren't in a dressage saddle as yet, but those feet really need to come back under your hips for proper balance. You're pretty much in a chair seat in the photos and you'll find your rides improve even more once you are in shoulder/hip/heel alignment.

                                        Until you get a saddle, sit and post closer to the front of the one you have and land lightly on the rising trot. Work on getting the feet back and don't worry so much about having the heels so far down.

                                        Mad Mare™ Studio
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