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Back to the roundness thread...anyone bored and looking for something to do?

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  • Back to the roundness thread...anyone bored and looking for something to do?

    I haven't ridden since the weekend and have been sick in bed for the better part of this week. Can't breathe and on steroids. Really miserable and have watched trainer ride during the week - he is working partially on suppleness in the poll and submission with horsie. Wow, is that draft 1/2 of him coming out. I've never heard horsie growl before! I love his "expressiveness," and luckily he gets over it quickly and doesn't do anything mean spirited. I'm glad trainer has some quality time with horsie and I'm not taking him backwards, so to speak, but the next few weeks are going to be interesting with my going to Del Mar next weekend, then a work conference shortly thereafter. I'm going to get even further behind horsie.

    I'm trying to distract myself from the very sad news/media, (oh, and the fact that I'm totally obsessed with my horse and this dressage business), so I'm watching all of horsie's videos and doing some "home training!" I had previously posted this one with regard to my hands, as I don't usually have a problems with hands waving all around. Now I'm wondering if there are displays of "roundness" or being through in this clip.

    I do remember feeling like he was bigger and carrying himself better, especially as we go straight off of the circle, but remember, I'm not sure what I recognize and what I don't yet because I really don't have the experience. But when I was feeling the "bigger," the clinician said that he sped up too much and got longer. So I obviously don't have the right feel yet.

    Are there moments of roundness/throughness here? Is this something that can be seen? In all honesty, this is the video where I think HE looks the best (with me, anyway, he looks better with trainer quite often ), so it's the best I have to offer at this point. If not, what do we lack? I am going to try to have someone video some of my lessons (this was a clinic) so that I can hear my trainer's voice and also see exactly what I'm doing as he says it.

    If you have time to look and comment, I really appreciate it! Thanks.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8oA9q2R92c

    The saddle saga I will post later. So discouraged.
    LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...

  • #2
    I see that the horse is quite willing to be in a connection and is really trying hard for you. He looks quite forward which is good at this level.

    For you, the biggest thing that I see is your hands are very unsteady and are pulling him into a frame - not riding him up to a connection. You can see a few times he gets frustrated and roots forward into the contact to try to get some relief from the pull on his mouth.
    How to remedy this will begin with your back - really feel your lats contracting to pull your shoulder blades down onto your back. Then suck your elbows into your side and bring your hands together - no more than 5" apart (the width of your bit). It should feel as if you are hugging your upper body with your upper arms. Even just sitting there with your elbows tucked in, move your lower arms around. You still have plenty, far more than enough, room to move the hands around.
    Now that your position is more stable, think about pressing your hands forward and down. If you can rest them on the neck or the saddle pad and maintain where they are touching at all points throughout the stride, this will help your elbows to learn how to move to keep your upper arms a part of your upper body, and to keep your hands still relative to the motion of the horse. From there, any flexion is as a result of turning the wrist. If you have big hands, this can give you up to 4" on either side to flex - again more than enough room. Once your elbows are stable and your arms are not pulling and your hands are resting and learning to follow the horse's movement, it will become easier for you to ride to a connection, for the horse to trust the connection, and eventually to learn how to use that connection to develop a half halt.
    An exercise that will be useful for you (once your arm position is corrected) is to trot and then ask for a walk transition, but before the horse makes the transition, trot on, then ask again, etc.. Until eventually this will give you a beginning half halt aid, that you shift your weight to think about the walk transition, and the horse will come back to you and balance under himself.

    Good luck!

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by ~DQ~ View Post
      I see that the horse is quite willing to be in a connection and is really trying hard for you. He looks quite forward which is good at this level.

      For you, the biggest thing that I see is your hands are very unsteady and are pulling him into a frame - not riding him up to a connection. You can see a few times he gets frustrated and roots forward into the contact to try to get some relief from the pull on his mouth.
      How to remedy this will begin with your back - really feel your lats contracting to pull your shoulder blades down onto your back. Then suck your elbows into your side and bring your hands together - no more than 5" apart (the width of your bit). It should feel as if you are hugging your upper body with your upper arms. Even just sitting there with your elbows tucked in, move your lower arms around. You still have plenty, far more than enough, room to move the hands around.
      Now that your position is more stable, think about pressing your hands forward and down. If you can rest them on the neck or the saddle pad and maintain where they are touching at all points throughout the stride, this will help your elbows to learn how to move to keep your upper arms a part of your upper body, and to keep your hands still relative to the motion of the horse. From there, any flexion is as a result of turning the wrist. If you have big hands, this can give you up to 4" on either side to flex - again more than enough room. Once your elbows are stable and your arms are not pulling and your hands are resting and learning to follow the horse's movement, it will become easier for you to ride to a connection, for the horse to trust the connection, and eventually to learn how to use that connection to develop a half halt.
      An exercise that will be useful for you (once your arm position is corrected) is to trot and then ask for a walk transition, but before the horse makes the transition, trot on, then ask again, etc.. Until eventually this will give you a beginning half halt aid, that you shift your weight to think about the walk transition, and the horse will come back to you and balance under himself.

      Good luck!
      THANKS so much!

      He does try very hard – and quite honestly, this is the best and most forward I’ve ever had him going…I think he looks beautiful here…now for me…sigh. OK - I see EXACTLY what you’re talking about with him rooting for the connection! What a good boy! I was holding my hands VERY high here – they are usually not this bad.

      These are the habits I usually have: motorcycle hands, parallel to the ground, throwing away the contact, raising my shoulders, stretching out my arms so there is no bend in my elbow, and then totally bracing if he gets very strong. I always here “relax your forearms.” I’m working on this, and had help from the previous hand thread. I’m having a very hard time doing this.

      Is my “connection” better with him at the canter here? Old video from the fall, but is this any better? It’s not as long as the other video – only 2 mins I think and the canter is pretty early on I think… and you can see that we are nowhere near as forward and nowhere near as close to roundness. So we've come far!!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHRM0ptOgVk

      OK – about my hand position itself:

      Are these a better position? http://s1325.photobucket.com/user/ri...ml?sort=3&o=56

      Or this? http://s1325.photobucket.com/user/ri...ml?sort=3&o=54

      But this is what I normally look like (not saying it's correct, just what I usually have):
      http://s1325.photobucket.com/user/ri...ml?sort=3&o=50

      With THIS when I’m freaked out:
      http://s1325.photobucket.com/user/ri...ml?sort=3&o=53

      OK. I love your descriptions of the lats and the arms. I’ve heard very similar things about needing to do this before. Then when I can do this, I need to relax my forearms. Working on that.

      Question. With the flexion, you’re talking about flexion of horse, right? So I will be turning my wrists which direction? Inward and down?

      I think I REALLY need to FEEL this “riding into a connection.” I think I will ask my trainer if we can work on this next time I ride. I don’t feel it. I do feel like I try to put him in a frame. I know I do this now, and at least if I recognize it, I am hopeful that I can fix it.

      THANK YOU!!

      Oh, and that last exercise suggestion about the trot, etc., we do that! I thought it was about the horse, though. Turns out it’s about my training!! Horse really likes this exercise!

      Thanks, really. I appreciate your taking the time to help!
      LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...

      Comment


      • #4
        Just wanted to warn you - once you have gotten your arms and shoulders into position as ~DQ~ described you will have to release the tension in your arms from fingertips to shoulders and all points in between without changing your position. If you try to ride with your arms hugging your body, your horse is going to feel that you have locked up on the reins (and he'll be right - no matter how relaxed your forearms are). You can actually practice this at home.

        Any tension in any point in the arm blocks the communication with the horse. For a while my hotspot was my elbows to the point that they got painful from the tension around the joints. At another point it was my rotator cuff area as I tried to keep my upper arms quiet against my body. I check for tension when I'm struggling and go through the entire list - fingers, hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, upper arms, rotator cuff, shoulders. Once you find your personal hotspot you can release the tension in that area as you ride and only go through the full list if releasing your hotspot fails.

        Comment


        • #5
          Do you know what the difference is between the first years at the SRS and the performers? CONFIDENCE
          And i don't mean some cocky, egotistical confidence. I mean knowing that when you give an aid you will get the desired response. Knowing it so that you make it so.
          Your position screams you need a big glass of confidence that you know what your doing and just go ride. stop thinking and ride.

          you have this look about you of "dear, sweet Jeezus, please don't muck this up! is it right? oh dear..."
          relax your bum. you could pick up a penny with those cheeks. SPREAD out in your saddle. Grab your cheeks and get them out of the way; grab the back of your thigh and get it our of there too.
          Think sloppy butt, tight tummy
          I don't think your hands are too high in your first video, but you need to ride your horse up into them at that height.
          Think of letting your sternum come forward without letting your lower back sway.
          www.destinationconsensusequus.com
          chaque pas est fait ensemble

          Comment


          • #6
            What is see is that your basic position is good. Your hands need to follow, though. If you can think of separating your hands, arms and shoulders from the rest of your body, and connecting them to his mouth, it will be helpful. Your elbows are your shock absorbers, they need to move back and forth sometimes individually sometimes as a pair. Your shoulders continue as they are, to stay up and back, following his shoulders. Your hands, mostly the fingers, continue a minor conversation with his mouth. As you reach into 2nd and third level, the moves become less obvious, obviously.

            At present you appear to be riding a bit "heel up". You may want to shorten your stirrups, and allow your ankle to relax. Not so much that you will be riding "heels down" but that the weight can drop through your relaxed ankle to your heels.
            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm sorry that I don't have enough knowledge to give any real feedback, but I wanted to tell you how absolutely lovely you two are.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Petstorejunkie: thanks! OMG I am laughing so hard – not sure if it’s the steroids or the fever or the dogshaming.com I’m browsing, but I find this so funny. Then the laughing sends me into coughing spasms that scare my Lab so badly that he’s on top of me and the laptop, concerned, trying to lick my face, which makes me laugh and cough even harder!!

                OK. So, clearly you have seen me ride – yes, I’m worried about doing it right all the time. OK - sloppy butt and tight tummy. Pull the cheeks and thighs out. Maybe my saddle will fit better then . Relax the butt and stop worrying about whether I’m doing it right and just ride. Funny, I’ve heard “just ride” from my trainer before! Oh, how many years does it take for the SRS riders to develop this confidence? I need to get there in a week or so. Kidding! I think I know what you mean. Mind over matter. Think it, and it will be. I get it. Trust myself a little more. Or a lot more. I do trust my trainer. Really learning how to trust my horse. Now need to trust myself.

                The theme of all of the comments seems to be common, in part, which is to relax, right? Perhaps I really do need to booze it up next time before I ride!

                OK, RedHorses – same thing – I need to relax those arms. Maybe I can put a bridle on the dog and practice. In all seriousness, I can sit here and imagine what you’re describing. Whether I can do it on the horse is another story, but I will certainly try.

                Merrygoround, as always, thank you. I am laughing at separating my arms from my body – again, not sure if it’s the illness or the visual. I love the descriptions of what my shoulders, elbows, and fingers need to be doing – they have jobs…that gives me something to think about! I can’t remember where my stirrups were in this clinic (early March), but we have come up since then and I think it’s better now.

                Lots to think about, thanks!! We shall continue on our quest. Although maybe we will just have a swig and not think about anything and just ride next time. We shall see… Hilda Gurney clinic this weekend if I can muster the energy and find a spot away from the other people there so I don’t spread my germs… so I’m sure I will see a lot there as well!

                Thanks – I get what all of you are saying! The laughs are an added bonus.
                LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by lferguson View Post
                  I'm sorry that I don't have enough knowledge to give any real feedback, but I wanted to tell you how absolutely lovely you two are.
                  I'm assuming you are talking about the kind COTHers who have nicely responded (about being lovely), because they are incredibly kind to take the time to read, listen, read between the lines when needed, watch boring beginner videos, and share their expertise in a very kind way! But if you are talking about "you two" being me and horsie, thanks. I'm head over heels for this sweet boy - he came along right when I needed him. Hence, my constant posts. I want to do this well; he deserves nothing but the best I can give.
                  LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thinking on this, are you breathing? Like actively?
                    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                    chaque pas est fait ensemble

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                      Thinking on this, are you breathing? Like actively?
                      Not really at all. In fact, I put the music over the comments as my voice sounds like a high-pitched chirp when I answer the clinician because I'm not really breathing. Is that part of my issue?
                      LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yes! Failure to breathe is usually a tension issue - start breathing and it helps you to relax.

                        You don't need the dog. Pick up something heavy, but that you can hold comfortably in one hand. Place your arm in riding position - release the tension throughout your arm. You'll still be holding up the object, but easily, not with locked up "this sucker isn't moving" arms. It's an exercise in releasing tension and once you get the idea you can translate it to your contact with your horse's mouth.

                        Oh - and think about your riding. In the beginning we need to learn things in a step-by-step fashion. Inside leg forward, little bend to the inside, and outside leg back and on into canter. But at some point we must graduate to simply "canter" because we KNOW all the bits and they become one unit under "canter" so you don't need to break it down unless you're having trouble (which does happen during the graduation period). This goes for everything we learn so that we can think "lighter" or "bring that hind end underneath" or "lift the shoulder" or "more <anything>" and just do it without having to mentally go through the several different aids of doing it.

                        I still remember my coach telling me "don't change anything, now canter" and getting after me if I made a big move with any bit of my body. The horse didn't need it, and neither did I, but I had to learn that by doing. Now it seems to me that all I'm doing is a little scoop with my inside seatbone and poof! canter, but I'm actually doing more to set it up so the seatbone scoop works - I just don't have to think about it any more. (Which is why many very good riders suck at teaching - they literally do not know what they are doing with their own bodies to get the horse to respond as desired - it's pure feel.)

                        What I'm saying is try to spend part of each ride without thinking about it - just feel what's going on with the horse, and try to influence with generalities (more forward) rather than specifics (leg and half halt and relax) and feel the responses you get. Concentrate on the feel in as wordless a fashion as possible to try and disengage your analytical brain. This will help with your relaxation too.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sorry to hear you are ill. You need to be patient with yourself. You will work on it and you will get it eventually. It just takes time. And then when you think you understand, another layer of the onion will peel away and you will again feel like an idiot. Over and over, for as long as you ride. Get used to it.

                          The one and only thing I will say... no, okay, two things, are:

                          1. You have a lot going for you. Nice balance and posture (you sit straight and even and you look like you belong on a horse). You have a nice horse, eagerness to learn and access to good training.

                          2. Are you aware of just how much you are nagging your horse? With every stride you are legging him. Just pay attention to that and work on fixing it first. If you don't, your horse will be perpetually behind the leg and that is counterproductive to all that you want to learn. If you want him to be round and come through, he must be in front of your leg first.

                          That, in my opinion, is the most important thing to fix. I WISH I had been properly trained not to nag my horse years ago.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by right horse at the right time View Post
                            THANKS so much!
                            You're welcome!

                            As far as for the hand position, ideally you want thumbs on top with the pointer knuckle more towards the bit than the pinky knuckle. Then to flex the horse, you simply rotate the fingers to point up - this is where the relaxed forearm is evident - that a turn of the wrist is used for a flexion.
                            Here's a link to a picture of Jan Ebeling - his hands are nice and correct (for his level) in this photo and are very visible http://cs.thehorse.com/blogs/2012-lo...%20Rafalca.jpg

                            In your video, your hands are still not totally quiet, and the connection is coming. They still need to come together and rest down until your muscle memory and feel is able to know inherently where the horse is to follow it. And to develop that feel they need to spend a lot of time in contact with the wither.

                            I also agree with everything everyone else has pointed out Tension is not a big issue of mine (sack of potatoes is) so I don't think about it haha. It is really great to have so many knowledgeable people with different (but still correct) view points!

                            Good luck

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by right horse at the right time View Post
                              Not really at all. In fact, I put the music over the comments as my voice sounds like a high-pitched chirp when I answer the clinician because I'm not really breathing. Is that part of my issue?
                              That's the root cause of all of it. I have a student that had the same issue; now he has to sing to me while in warmup, and especially while on course jumping. It'll make a HUGE difference.
                              www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                              chaque pas est fait ensemble

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I think you are incredibly brave to post all these videos! Your horse is very willing (I'm jealous). The only thing I can add that hasn't been mentioned is think about your elbows, they are a hinge and need to open and close as you rise and sit. Watch some of Jane Savoie's training videos on YouTube, she explains it really well.

                                You've gotten some great advice that I will also apply to myself!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  First off, I love your horse and the two of you make a great pair!

                                  I think you are working on finding a different saddle, yes? I ask because arms/hands aren't their own thing separate from the rest of your body. In order to have good hands, you need to have a good seat and what I see in your video is you struggling with your seat. Your stirrups look too long and sometimes you get bounced back in the saddle so you are relying on your hands to help you with balance. I think that once you find a better saddle for you, you will notice a difference in your natural ease of being in the saddle and with the horse. (Once I found my perfect saddle, riding became so much easier!)

                                  Are you generally nervous, or were you just nervous in this situation with the clinician? Are you nervous in lessons or riding on your own? I ask because of the breathing. I used to get nervous before riding a former horse of mine so I learned to do breathing exercises that helped a lot. Here's an exercise to help you relax - you can do this before you mount up and at the walk. (Actually, I'd practice it at home first, just to get the hang of it.) I teach yoga for equestrians and breathing exercises are an important part of our practice.

                                  - Inhale through the nose for a count of four
                                  - Hold the breath for a count of four
                                  - Exhale through the nose for a count of eight
                                  - Repeat!

                                  When you are doing this exercise, pay attention to where your breath comes from - it may tell you a lot about how/why you are also carrying tension in your arms. Are you breathing only in your chest? Are you breathing shallowly? These two types of breathing are very much related to tension in the chest, neck, and shoulders (going down the arms and into the hands). Are you breathing backward, meaning, are you bringing your tummy in as you inhale and moving it out as you exhale? First, close your eyes and check in with your breath.

                                  Then move your breath to your belly. Put your hand on your belly and focus your breathing there; as you inhale, feel your belly expand against your hand and as you exhale, feel it contract. Next, move your other hand to your abdomen. Start with inhaling into your belly, but then move the breath into your abdomen. Finally, move your belly hand to your chest; breathe into the belly first, then abdomen, then feel your chest expand as you fully inhale into your lungs. This sounds easy but is actually difficult! This is full breathing and focusing on the quality of your breath via this method is a good way to calm yourself and get centered.

                                  If you try different types of breathing while you're just sitting around, you'll notice how your body reacts. Purposefully do some shallow breaths, or some chest breathing - as you breathe this way, try to relax or have soft hands or lower your shoulders or move fluidly. It is really hard to do! Change your breath to belly breathing and see how your shoulders/arms/hands can move easily. Notice also how it changes your center of balance from a high center of balance (upper body) to a low center of balance (belly). Move into a full and complete breath and see how this relaxes the body.

                                  There's so much more I could say but I'd type whole book! I do have some videos on my YouTube page and I think the "intro" video goes into breathing, but the first part of it is kind of boring because I introduce myself!

                                  https://www.facebook.com/yoga4equestrians
                                  "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                                    That's the root cause of all of it. I have a student that had the same issue; now he has to sing to me while in warmup, and especially while on course jumping. It'll make a HUGE difference.
                                    Yes! Not breathing both comes from and leads to a lack of relaxation in your body and that makes all sorts of problems. Even things like bouncy hands, which are sometimes mostly about your tight shoulders. I often tell my horse long and boring stories while riding or sing songs and it helps so much. I also sometimes start out making intentionally exaggerated and sloppy movements, like a rag doll/crazy person with shoulders and hips swinging all over the place, legs coming on and off, to move around and be loose since my natural instinct is to get up there and sit perfectly still which of course makes everything go to hell. It looks funny but my horse loves it and it works. All the theory in the world has not improved my seat as much as this crazy singing spaghetti lady warmup.

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Thanks, again!

                                      RedHorses, thanks! I tried this with the heavy object and I think I may be getting it…we shall see next time I ride!! I constantly hear “relax your forearms…” so I’m sure it will be noticed if successful. YES about the stepwise learning fashion. It becomes second nature – I get it - and the things that I don’t have that with yet, I still have to think through. Exactly. I hear the same “don’t change anything, now canter,” and I think I’m getting better about it, but I used to take so much to prepare that I lost the good trot and had to start over. I had the first scoop feeling a week or so ago and it felt great! I’m sure I still set it up, like you said, but it felt natural and I didn’t obsess. Oh, and I can’t wait for these moments to happen more often. I’m hearing exactly what you’re saying about relaxing and being with my horse…and disengaging my analytical brain…and in addition to some wonderful suggestions that others wrote (singing, etc.), I would run out to the barn and hop on now if I could breathe better! I’m excited to try this all, with the theme of chilling out a bit.

                                      Larkspur, thanks! (and continued thanks for the great signature line, no profits yet, I promise!) Thanks for the well wishes – I am feeling a bit better today – and also the patience reminder. I’m not so good at being patient with myself, but I have a lot of patience for others, especially horse. Hmmm. I get your onion comparison – luckily, I have several aha moments at each lesson – even if those aha moments are that I won’t necessarily have an aha moment at each lesson !! The idiot feelings are quite often present, however! I appreciate your kind words about me and horsie. I adore him. And about the nagging, thanks! Holy moly am I aware now…I started a post on it a few weeks (?) ago. I was horrified. Check out this link!!
                                      http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...-horse-s-sides

                                      It’s amazing what a few photos and videos can show me that my patient trainer’s reminders cannot. I was appalled by what I saw, and we’re working on it. It’s another layer in the onion! What we are specifically doing is using my upper calf to do most of the work. It did become a habit to me…and now that he is a little bit pepped up, I’ve gotten in trouble for doing this! He does go very well with my calf as long as I remind him when he doesn’t respond. Again, not perfect yet, but working on it!

                                      DQ, thanks for the description and the photo – love it, and so easy to see! Very timely – at the clinic today (which was AMAZING!), Hilda went through this! We practiced, and I think I get it. She was very clear in her description, too! I wish I had more of a sack of potatoes than the tension, but maybe one day…and yes, it is so helpful to read everyone’s responses. Truly.

                                      Petstorejunkie: funny – I sing to horse all the time when I’m playing with him, but not riding. I know this will scare my trainer and anyone else within earshot, but it’s an excellent, excellent idea. Thanks!

                                      Ecstatic, thanks! I have no ego at this point (well, maybe a little)! I know that I have sooooo much to learn…and the advice is always so helpful. I’m glad that you can apply it to yourself as well! Horse IS willing – he rarely says no – which is one of the strongest motivators I have. He shows up, every time, and puts his big heart into it. I whine about it being cold, etc. I need to “cowgirl up. “

                                      Pocket Pony, thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it! And yes, we are working on a different saddle…more on that in another post later, but this is the one I will be working with for a while it seems. Since the video we have shortened the stirrups. Who knew finding a saddle would be more difficult than finding the horse?! In terms of nervousness, in real life, I’m not a nervous person. Type A ish, but not nervous. Very good in crises, etc. On horse, eh, diff story. Some baggage from the past. I’m MUCH better, and ever since horse spooked/bolted immediately prior to our test in the show and I handled it successfully, I’m better. But I’m not totally relaxed (obviously) yet. In this clinician situation, I was REALLY freaked out. I didn’t post the part of the video where we had issues – like SRS moves, etc. One of those minor ones can be seen here:

                                      http://s1325.photobucket.com/user/ri...8d377.jpg.html

                                      I called it the "mullet." Business in the front, party in the back.

                                      Not a huge deal, but it was the most I’d been through with horse to that point (acting out, etc.). So in order to get him to what you saw in the video, we had to go through some stuff where the clinician had the reins and was walking beside me and I had to just sit and let go a bit, which was hard when I felt the caprioles. (kidding, sort of). I’m not nervous in lessons except when I feel like things might be going downhill and I might get hurt. I never worry about looking stupid or anything like that, just about hurting me or horse or having a Very Bad Experience that will set us back. The first time I felt him “round,” I was absolutely convinced he was about to buck, but I was fine 10 seconds later when trainer explained that he was round and NOT going to buck. (and didn’t laugh at me, at least very much). I have done the MBSR class, yoga, and do deep breathing exercises with my daughter and other people, so I guess I should take your advice and do it for myself before I ride! The mindfulness breathing is perfect. (Have you read John Kabat-Zinn? (sp?)) I think that I have actually done this without realizing it – look at this sequence: doing “ok,” getting ready to enter ring for first test/show: http://s1325.photobucket.com/user/ri...ml?sort=3&o=59

                                      2 seconds later = spook/bolt: http://s1325.photobucket.com/user/ri...ml?sort=3&o=57

                                      2 seconds later = oh crap – but I can see my mouth exhaling. Body is totally wonky, but I think I am trying to calm myself :
                                      http://s1325.photobucket.com/user/ri...ml?sort=3&o=55.

                                      I can’t wait to go on your youtube page and look – I wish we had yoga for equestrians here! I think this is key for me – the relaxation – had a lot of thinking going on in my brain during the clinic today about how much less thinking I need to do at times! Thanks again!

                                      Inne, thanks! My pattern is freak out, tense up, shoulders up, arms tight, lock in place!! I love your visual! That’s the second singing advice I’ve gotten, and, well, it looks like I will try it for sure! Hope horse likes my off-key voice!!

                                      Thanks again for commenting, COTH people. The Hilda clinic was AMAZING…I sequestered myself away from the healthy people. I may post my notes. But mainly my take home from today was that I saw amazing horses and amazing riders…and everyone had something to learn…and everyone had his or her issues…and no one was perfect! (although I really couldn’t tell in a few!). It seems like there are a few common issues that many of us share, so I consider myself in good company!!

                                      Thanks for helping me! I wish I felt healthy enough to ride tomorrow, but I think it will be a few days before I can breathe easily again!
                                      LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...

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