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French School "Workshop!"

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  • Mikolka described the stirrup stepping as bouncing the horse off the ground like a ball.

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    • I keep trying to visualize "bouncing the horse off the ground like a ball" and its not working for me (other than to say I can understand the "mobility" created).
      Redbud Ranch
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      • And bump.
        “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
        ? Albert Einstein

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        • Just a few new observations to report.

          We have continued to work with the Stirrup Stepping and its gotten quite a bit easier and its FUN! The other thing I have noticed of late is our warmups are considerably better---taking less time to run through the basics, rythym, relaxation, connection, impulsion are so much easier to establish early in my warm up leaving more time to work on the fun stuff. We had our first really amazing collected trot work this week--and even I was astounded with the elevation of the steps we were able to achieve.
          Redbud Ranch
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          • Maxwell is working at a lower level to be sure, but what he has achieved is the abilty to keep his rhthym (I can never spell that word) while becoming very light on his feet ... at a slow pace.

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            • Originally posted by goodpony View Post
              I keep trying to visualize "bouncing the horse off the ground like a ball" and its not working for me (other than to say I can understand the "mobility" created).
              i think i kinda get the analogy - at least i know when everything is working well it really does feel like you can bounce the horse off the ground.....

              so much of how this stuff "feels" i so individual and it is so hard to explain the feeling!

              i had forgotten what it felt like to ride with your legs slotted in since i haven't ridden my mare in about what 8 months now? but now with Rebs he is able to really start using his body well so i get to slot in....

              Comment


              • I actually don't need my lower leg to bounce a horse the way I learned to do it. I use the lower leg to guide each hind leg respectively ... or I just do auto-pilot by keeping a "bass rhthym" with my hips only and no lower leg. But I do have to be working in unison with my horse first and I only really do it at the sitting trot. That is because I am also bouncing the horse's back "up" and the symetrical rhthym helps tremendously.

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                • Okay I'll check in. I'm getting back after injuring my back.

                  I've done a lot of walk/trot on the 18 year old gelding. He's had his shoes pulled and he's pretty backed off because of it. On the plus side, this gives me 'permission' to work slowly and simply. So I have continued the 'first position' from the Savoie seminar.

                  It is much more difficult tracking left, as the horse tends to already be over bent in that direction. I really have to 'take my left board off,' in RWYM style, and that is very difficult to do when tracking left and trying to get to first position.

                  So lots and lots of shallow serpentines are helpful. I try to keep refreshing the 'good' track right direction then gently, carefully, oh so slowly, take up a track left positioning. While being very aware of catching things when they go wrong.

                  On the 11 year old dressage mare, first position has helped a lot with her flying changes. She has a natural change, but really prefers to do it 'on her terms.' Leaping and popping up of the croup are her preferred techniques!

                  So at trot I work first position, leg yield, other way first position, leg yield, etc And then use that shoulder control to keep her 'together' in the change. That helps a lot. Now I need to convince her to put more energy into the change by sitting a little more, instead of leaping and throwing her butt up.
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                  • I start all of my ground work in the aisle, and it becomes part of the daily routine. I use the aids as if I were riding. I use my knuckle as if it were a Prince of Wales spur, in front of the girth or behind it, just like I would if I were riding.


                    When Maxwell first arrived, he had absolutely no idea what bending through the body was when asked by human aids. None. He barely could manage turning without just walking (or galloping ) around one leg planted in the dirt (or on the cement in the aisle), which made me cringe. And that was his free form (at liberty) style.

                    He did not know how to step over and/or under at all. I don't think I saw him do it at liberty during the first two months he was at my barn.

                    Comment


                    • bump

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                      • Originally posted by belgianWBLuver View Post
                        Agree! I never train or work for someone I have not spent a little time with beforehand, to see them work with or ride horses.
                        However writing can be really difficult and it takes time for many trainers and instructors to hon thier talents into a clear and concise manner.
                        Henriquet, Karl, and de Bragança have all vastly improved in their clarity over the years.
                        With regard to the "clarity" question, the translator is also a huge factor here. Many equestrian terms in French and Portuguese do not translate well to English; rassembler is a good example. What is crystal-clear to the French speaker may be awkwardly or opaquely rendered to English.

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                        • Time for a little update--we had some severe weather here in CA a little bit ago so work has slow but I think we are finally back up to speed.

                          Yesterday I started to work this exersize with my guy (I found it in the PK Twisted book) http://images.worldsoft-cms.info//wc...mages/2379.jpg

                          Its a preparatory exercise for the teaching the flying changes. And here are the directions as best as I can determine: 1) Strike off Right Lead Canter, 2) Put the horse in Counter-Bend Postion/Weight the Inside Seatbone/Postion the Horses Shoulders to the Inside--Transition to walk. 3) Change Leg Position/Strike off to outside Leg in Renver Position-Transition to Walk-Reward. Rinse Repeat until the horse offers no hesitation/tension--Useful for teaching the balance/inversion of the aides for Flying Changes. Also seems to be an excellent suppling exercise with straightening effects.

                          Today I got to work on it with my instructor and had an excellent ride--pretty much everything coming along better than anticipated. Still working the Spanish Walk Steps which is great fun! If we can get the flying changes we will be good to go third level by fall--very excited!

                          oh and my daughter (who is Ten!) snapped some new pictures--yes we ares still a work in progress-but fun anyway!
                          https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=428d7c7e6d
                          Redbud Ranch
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                          • Originally posted by goodpony View Post
                            I keep trying to visualize "bouncing the horse off the ground like a ball" and its not working for me (other than to say I can understand the "mobility" created).
                            Bouncing *up*. you may not need a true stepping feeling. I never do that unless its on some behemoth (usually a WB) that is so laterally stuck its like riding a board. Otherwise, like BP, its in my seat. Specifically, the BACK of my hips/very low lower back. Little movement, keeping the seatbones connected and still. In all honesty I think what it really does is brings my attention to the back of my body instead of the front, where it is (human weakness LOL) used to being. Shhh, but I suspect this is the concept/feeling the ODGs were talking about when they said "ride the rear end, not the front". Surely they did not mean the interpretTion widely seen, of "make the horse push more than he can carry"?!
                            "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                            ---
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                            Comment


                            • Okay I'll check in also.

                              Did flying changes on a circle yesterday!! That was fun. "First position" exercise helping to fine tune control needed to improve the changes.

                              I have also decided to jump in on the Susan Jaccoma video/lesson scheme. With any luck I'll get some video of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbBLpLYuE8I tomorrow.

                              I still need work on 'go' in the trot. Horse I rode yesterday is athletic, but lazy. She'd love to be a western pleasure trail horse!

                              Who's got ideas for getting more energy for the trot work? I can get more jump/power in the canter, but mare is pretty good and deadening herself at the trot when she wants to.
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                              • Imho that vid is totally in contradiction to PK's exercises, so how do you justify the two?
                                I.D.E.A. yoda

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                                • if your mare likes the canter use the canter to energize the trot. also, don't worry that she is motoring along as long as she is using herself correctly, a slower pace will allow her to build strength and balance and then you can address the more forward pace once the basics are established.

                                  the biggest thing is to expect a reaction. if you use your leg and you dont get a reaction you must back it up with a stronger aid until you get what you want.

                                  however it may take time for horse to gain the strength needed to respond as you wish.

                                  also remember that after a day or two off horse will have less ability to be forward than on the last working day.

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by mbm View Post
                                    if your mare likes the canter use the canter to energize the trot. also, don't worry that she is motoring along as long as she is using herself correctly, a slower pace will allow her to build strength and balance and then you can address the more forward pace once the basics are established.

                                    the biggest thing is to expect a reaction. if you use your leg and you dont get a reaction you must back it up with a stronger aid until you get what you want.

                                    however it may take time for horse to gain the strength needed to respond as you wish.

                                    also remember that after a day or two off horse will have less ability to be forward than on the last working day.
                                    Well... She uses canter 'against' me too much. So shifting to canter has been a problem. She often 'bails' on adding more power to trot by rolling into canter. She has variety of techniques for achieving this.

                                    As for days off, she is better after a day off. She is lazy, so the more I ask of her, the less she's likely to be interested in it. She's better after a day off. Or a day of jumping, trail riding, etc.

                                    The problem started when she was younger, and I had a problem of her bucking me off with aplomb. Turns out she was a tad cold backed, but it took a while to get that figured out. So for TOO long, I rode her with a "well just don't buck me off and I'll be happy...." sentiment. Then at some point I decided I wanted her to do more than just NOT buck me off....and she was like "no my dear, that is not our deal..."

                                    I have found the 'stirrup stepping' to be an interesting idea. Though I don't actually weight the stirrup. It is a useful idea to help me monitor the lateral use of my body. Which is horrendously crooked. Bareback has also been very helpful with that.
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                                    • Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
                                      Well... She uses canter 'against' me too much. So shifting to canter has been a problem. She often 'bails' on adding more power to trot by rolling into canter. She has variety of techniques for achieving this.
                                      most trainers will tell you not to worry about this..... just go forward in teh canter and work it and use it to your advantage.... then once the canter is as you wish, then go back to the trot and you should have a more forward trot.


                                      As for days off, she is better after a day off. She is lazy, so the more I ask of her, the less she's likely to be interested in it. She's better after a day off. Or a day of jumping, trail riding, etc.
                                      my trainer would say you are not working her enough.... because she should be at her best after a series of rides when each day builds on the next..... and after a day off you would of lost some of your suppleness etc.

                                      Comment


                                      • Haha, the deal... Yes, breaking the deal is always perilous.

                                        You can try this.

                                        In your walk, put the whip behind your leg and when you close your leg, tap her (or whatever it takes and when she bounces forward, IMMEDIATELY (yes, while she is in motion) drop the rein to the buckle and give her a pat. Quickly pick up the reins, walk a few steps and do it again, ad naseum. Rail birds will think you are crazy. Smile. Keep doing it until she begins to anticipate you. Congratulate her for that, too. They will really think you are crazy. Smile bigger. The only O you say no to, is a trot. Be very clear, this does not mean trot.

                                        When she has it, go to the trot. Same thing. The trick is, NO CANTER and you have to be super fast and game to drop the rein and pick it back up. Ignore railbirds.

                                        Eventually, once she is eager (this is about teaching her to THINK forward, because you are describing a horse who is physically GOING but is not forward between the ears, no?) you will instead of dropping the rein, just soften your inside hand forward and pat.

                                        You may always have to show this horse the door, even very subtly, to her mind forward when you ask for it. The only problem comes when you sell them or someone else rides them LOL but hey, they get to learn then, too.

                                        You can refresh this easily as necessary, obviously or subtly as necessary. It builds goodwill instead of resentment when the deal is broken.

                                        Railbirds will not get it but in the end, who cares? Horse is happy. They will first say you are crazy and then say it must be horses new shoes, or more turnout, or...
                                        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                        ---
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                                          Railbirds will not get it but in the end, who cares? Horse is happy. They will first say you are crazy and then say it must be horses new shoes, or more turnout, or...
                                          This made me laugh, as my methods are not everyone's, and if I have any success at all with what I do the progress is attributed to my horse's natural talent and/or took way too long. :-)

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