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Advise for reaching 2nd Level

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  • #41
    Originally posted by lferguson View Post
    I can tell you all your words are never wasted! I'm newly venturing in the dressage world and love hearing all the advice and stories.
    Ditto. I am a struggling training level rider and found this thread very helpful. I am acutely aware that the burden of our slow progress rests squarely on my shoulders. However, it is inspiring to hear that others were once where we are but managed to succeed through hard work, lots of miles, and a healthy dose of humility. It gives me hope that I can one day ride my mare the way she deserves.

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    • #42
      I'm nowhere near second level so take this with a grain of salt. I thought I was a heck of a rider until I spent the summer being unable to ride a PSG schoolmaster. I was riding under a trainer with all her medals and she told me an interesting story. She came to dressage from other disciplines being hot $hit in those disciplines and was unable to get canter in one direction. It's a turning point, a fork in the road and many an advanced rider is unmade here.

      So I'd find out just how good I was by riding a made horse.

      Paula
      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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      • Original Poster

        #43
        I want to thank Gimbalist, Blume Farm, and Right horse at the right time.

        I haven't had the time to read all the positive posts yet, but when I do ,thank you.
        SkyDancer5000 --3rd Level

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        • #44
          Originally posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
          It gives me hope that I can one day ride my mare the way she deserves.
          This.

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          • #45
            Poor Mattias Rath with Totillas is just the most high profile and extreme example of the embarrassment that can come your way when handed the reins of an upper level horse.

            The first time I rode an upper level horse, I did tempe changes and passage. Awesome, right? Except... the hard part was *not* doing tempe changes and passage. If say, you wanted to do a 20 m trot circle... or canter on the same lead for more than a few strides? Oh, you would pay for that on this horse!

            I learned a lot - not just how much I needed to improve my seat.
            If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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            • #46
              Originally posted by poltroon View Post
              Poor Mattias Rath with Totillas is just the most high profile and extreme example of the embarrassment that can come your way when handed the reins of an upper level horse.

              The first time I rode an upper level horse, I did tempe changes and passage. Awesome, right? Except... the hard part was *not* doing tempe changes and passage. If say, you wanted to do a 20 m trot circle... or canter on the same lead for more than a few strides? Oh, you would pay for that on this horse!

              I learned a lot - not just how much I needed to improve my seat.

              FWIW, my theory is Rath bought a lame horse, that was HOT and used to being cranked into a tight frame his entire life. Sometimes a "made" horse is made in such a way it makes them incredibly hard to ride.

              Some made horses, some green horses, some horses with just difficult personalities will "teach you" how good a rider you are. There are plenty of FEI level schoolmasters that are EASY. I have ridden GP jumpers that were like riding a push button pony, and some impossible, and same goes for horses 60 days under saddle.

              I do think it would be helpful for one struggling to ride a certain level to ride a horse trained up well past that level and feel the movements, learn how to make them happen. Some horses will make that easy, some near impossible.
              On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

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              • #47
                Originally posted by poltroon View Post

                Can you execute a 2nd level test accurately? That is, even without getting the 8 collected canter, can you do the two walk step simple change, can you do the 20 m counter-canter loops, can you do the shoulder-in and haunches in, all where the test says and not just when the moment is perfect? Riding those elements will help build your 2nd level skills.
                What Im discovering about 2nd level is it is not just the ability to accurately ride the test/movements but to ride those movements with finesse and "quality" from start to finish. To ride the quality requires not only an additional skill set but ongoing attention to detail.
                Redbud Ranch
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                • #48
                  Originally posted by goodpony View Post
                  What Im discovering about 2nd level is it is not just the ability to accurately ride the test/movements but to ride those movements with finesse and "quality" from start to finish. To ride the quality requires not only an additional skill set but ongoing attention to detail.
                  I agree completely - and that's the difference between the dreaded 57% and the 60+ score.

                  But, one thing I love about the second level tests is that nearly all the movements are something a horse and rider can attempt, and that attempting them improves the quality of horse and rider beyond the improvement of mere practice. They're just good tests that promote good riding.

                  It's one thing to say, "I can do a shoulder-in"; many horses and people can for a 6 or better when the stars align. But, to be good at second level, you have to be able to, at a moment's notice, produce a correct and accurate shoulder-in within a three stride window, hold it for roughly 25 meters, and then be able to transition into something else at your whim, not just when the horse's balance is perfect. (Or, more accurately, the horse's balance is ALWAYS perfect.) The canter-walk-canter are another great self-check exercise - if you cannot do a canter-walk-canter accurately and consistently and any time you like, you can't do the rest of second level. Not because a 4 there dooms your score - but because that movement happens to indicate whether you have what you need in your toolbox. Conveniently, it's something that you can know you have or don't without a ground person and without a mirror.
                  Last edited by poltroon; Apr. 25, 2013, 02:09 PM.
                  If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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                  • #49
                    Originally posted by poltroon View Post
                    The canter-walk-canter are another great self-check exercise - if you cannot do a canter-walk-canter accurately and consistently and any time you like, you can't do the rest of second level. Not because a 4 there dooms your score - but because that movement happens to indicate whether you have what you need in your toolbox. Conveniently, it's something that you can know you have or don't without a ground person and without a mirror.
                    This. I also have a horse that finds collection pretty difficult (Irish Sport Horse and ex-Intermediate level eventer, much more designed for galloping through a field than doing collected canter in a sand box!). He is quite flashy and was well schooled in the other movements of 2nd level, and so we were actually able to fudge our way right on through 2nd with scores in the mid 60s but awful, awful, awful simple changes... only to be ground right to a halt as soon as we got to 3rd level and actually needed a truly collected, sitting canter to do half-pass and non-psychotic changes out of.

                    We spent a full year improving the quality of the canter, using canter-walk-canter as one of our primary exercises. If we had put that time in when we were actually supposed to have done it, 3rd level would have been significantly less of a challenge than it was. So I don't think the OP needs to lose faith; some horses find the quality of the canter way, way harder than others. But the more time you put in preparing for 2nd level will pay off, big time, further down the line.
                    http://greybrookeventing.blogspot.com/
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                    • #50
                      Hahaha, I'm going to print the latest few comments out and show them to my horse.

                      He spends a goodly portion of his warmup doing canter/walk two steps/canter around the perimeter. After a while we change leads with each transition, regardless of where we are. It is a great way to practice some of the hardest parts of second level and really prepare for The Rest of Life without ever leaving the rail when the arena is full of traffic.


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                      • #51
                        This is why I bought my pony, she can do a lovely canter around me at the end of her lead rope! I never want to struggle with the canter again! It really is a tough gait to fix.
                        On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

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