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Ideas for counting?

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  • Ideas for counting?

    right now trying to do 3s and 4s. but I am always a stride late in asking. It is almost as if I need to say, 1, 2, prepare, change. or as if to do 4s I need to try to do 3s and to do 3s I need to try to do 2s.

    I when I do it right, my horse does too. he is not late, he changes when I ask.

    though we are learning together, he is ahead of me. I have read several books, and my wonderful instructor is trying to help me. but thises things come more naturally to some than others. I need some ideas from those who also might be challenged, or who had to work through this problem.

    and normally I can count. I am a CPA.

  • #2
    i had the same issue initially, i think lots of people do. and lots of us foudn 4's to be the hardest even in just learning horses...

    first, i practiced cantering across the diagonal without actually doing the change, but practicing the count, the change of bend, and the "not change" so that i got in the rhythm better. i think my brain tended to say 1,2,3,4,change and so i ended up asking just a second after my brain said 4...so i modified to 1,2,change bend, now.....1,2,change bend, now....

    when i was going around the short end i would start the same 1,2,change bend,now rhythm in my head before i turned to the diagonal so that my brain was geared in ahead (i still have to do that in my brain for 1's) though that will make you not be a centered initially for the sequence...but it made a big difference when i was learning..

    i didn't worry about keeping the count of how many changes i had done at first, just the rhythm of the sequence

    i found 4's just about impossible to do correctly, 3's and 2's came much more easily (and i introduced all at about the same time so its not that i had learned 4's first and that made the next easier) ....you might try 3's for a bit and if they are easier get good at those then go back and practice 4's -- now that i have been doing tempi's for almost 2 years the rhythm comes more naturally and i can even do 4's without screwing them up

    now when i do 4's i think 1,2,wait,change because we tend to throw in the change too soon now...

    don't even worry about the 1,2,3, change 2,2,3, change, 3,2,3, change until you have the rhythm of the 4's burned into your brain


    • #3
      i also found practicing out in a big field so that there were not boundaries to starting and finishing let us both get into the rhythm better before we started and keeping going for a few once we did get it and avoided rushing the last one or having the turn mean "oh, changes are coming"

      and my horse would get to anticipating and start to change when i didn't want to so make sure you also ride plain diagonals to counter canter around then end or a single change and/or mediums so the diaganol isn't only for tempe's

      also, i would do them going down the quarterline or long wall to help with straightness and avoid anticipation.........


      • #4
        I agree that you should get the rhythm before you get the total number, and that 4's are much harder than 3's,2's. 1's are hard initially, but feel fabulous when you get them accomplished.

        I found that saying 4,3,2,change helped me. Or, 1,2,and,change. The and is the 3rd stride, but I think of it as my half halt signal, so my change aid is not late.


        • #5
          Carl Hester said in his Master Class video that you need to ask as though you were going to get the change, not wait to see if you got it before asking for the next one. I thought this was brilliant, as that's what I do--meaning I am so hung up on "did he change, was it clean" for a second, at which point I'm already hopelessly behind.

          Now I ask, count (however, there is no way that works for everyone), ask, lather rinse repeat. I get my count more consistently than when I was actually worrying if I got my change and count.

          I hope that makes sense. If not, I suggest watching the Carl Hester video
          From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.


          • Original Poster

            this is great stuff

            you are my people! so glad to hear the 4s are hard for others. I kept thinking if I am having this much trouble with 4s how will I ever get this stuff?

            and I was trying to do it like at a show, with the right number, and the middle one at x, and registering how the change was feeling. overloading my little brain.

            I am heading for the big field next time.

            thanks so much. all these suggestions are going to help.


            • #7
              practice skipping

              I agree that the 4s are the hardest so I focused on the 3s and then worked the 2s and then went back to the 4s. Still have problems in the show ring as I get nervous but schooling then well at home....and they get easier each week.

              But when I started my trainer had me practice skipping in the aisle before I got on. Skip your tempis and make your changes....if you are a dork like me it will take a few times to get the coordination of the change down!

              Once she knew I wouldn't trip and kill myself, she had me do them in the arena towards the mirror so I could watch what my body was doing. I have a problem with looking down and thus leaning forward, so she made me look down as I skipped my tempis....throws your whole balance off! It is a great exercise as it mirrors what your body has to do on the horse and helped me to better understand my timing in the saddle as well as why I need to not look down.

              I still do this for practice and others think I am nuts as I am skipping down the aisle but oh well....whatever works is fine with me! good luck.


              • #8
                Be very very careful about 'BENDING" in the changes. If you bend very much it can and WILL bite you when you gets to 2's and 1's.

                There should be a FEEL of new outside rein to new outside rein.


                • #9
                  It's funny that you said that.
                  I was working for an FEI trainer, starting some young stallions last year, and as a treat, he gave me a lesson on a GP horse.
                  So, we started to work on the 4s and 3s and that's when I realized that my Math's skills were even lower than I tought.
                  I CANNOT COUNT TO 3 OR 4 TO SAVE MY LIFE.
                  It went ... 5,2,2,5,1,1,2,6,4,2, ...
                  The poor horse was so fed up with me.

                  Then I started to talk with people, and found out that the 3s and 4s are very hard to get.
                  So, there is some hope that I will still ride at FEI levels one day. I just have to skip from 3rd level to GP
                  BTW, when I told my husband about not being able to count to 3, he told me :'I know that, just look at your bank account '
                  Point taken, I suck at Math. Thanks for the tips.