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Show jumper as a dressage horse.

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  • Show jumper as a dressage horse.

    Last week I bought a 10 year old Dutch x tb mare who was used as a show jumper.

    I am wondering what the best combination of work/lunging would be best to help her start to develop a topline, relax and to stretch down. The underside of her neck is hugely over developed.

    Since I can ride just about every day, should I alternate lunge work with riding? Just start to focus on relaxation and rhythm?

    She's fit, she's had a lot of regular work.

    I am not really into using gagets, but have used side reins on occasion as well as the double lunge. We have all the time in the world, I don't want to rush her.

    When I ride and pick up contact she'll put her head way up as she was ridden on a very short rein. She also curls behind but if I ask her to move forward with more leg and a bigger post she usually comes into a good training frame for a few strides.

    I start out with walk on a loose rein followed by trot on a very light contact, kind of like a hunter.

    Suggestions?
    First, say to yourself what you would be. Then do what you have to do. ~Epictectus

  • #2
    On of our Thoroughbreds off the track acted similarly - he'd invert and hollow immediately because that was what he had been inadvertently taught. I would not worry about longeing too much, except to perhaps encourage her to learn to carry and balance herself correctly (which she will if you have her do transitions and work off a smaller circle, say 15-20m - just do not work her very long or hard on a smaller circle of course, just enough, maybe 5-10 minutes, for her to get the idea) and to help her relax and focus on you prior to your ride.

    Drop all contact - contact comes later and is not established by you, but is picked up by her. Teach her to move off your seat and your legs so that you are not relying on your reins for control. Allow her to relax and work on exercises that develop suppleness and looseness. At first, that means just letting her move forward (develop impulsion), then move her onto larger patterns - circles, figure-8's, large serpentines, etc. As she relaxes, you can start to pick up your reins (never at the beginning of a ride, ride her on the buckle at the walk and trot, if possible, for say the first 15 minutes of warm-up), without actually picking up contact - just keep your hands soft and feather-light on the reins. Work on exercises that encourage her to work from behind, relax, and pick up her own contact (extended trot, shoulder-in/out, leg yields, bends down a straight line, etc - lots of lateral work and circular patterns!). Over time she will start to loosen up and release any tension, after which she will start picking up the bit and establishing contact with you - it could take several weeks or several months, so just wait it out! Find yourself some good books full of exercises as well as a good classical instructor.
    ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thank you! That was along the lines of what I was thinking and I do have an awesome instructor, first lesson tomorrow. I just wasn't sure if it would help to lunge her more rather than to ride her. My instructor is very good at taking it slow. Putting the peach fuzz back on the peach.
      First, say to yourself what you would be. Then do what you have to do. ~Epictectus

      Comment


      • #4
        No worries. Fantastic re: the instructor. I am lucky to have an excellent one as well - she's given me a lot of invaluable patterns and exercises to use (which is why I suggested it! haha) I do not feel it would pay to longe her more...but that's just my thought on it Good luck and kudos to you for being willing to take it slow (many are not)!!
        ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
        ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have just started taking some dressage lessons with my hunter jumper/trail riding mare. Her topline is undeveloped and her underneck is overdeveloped right now, as you described with your horse. I've found over the past few months that lunging her once a week in side reins for about 10 minutes as a warm-up helps her transitions and balance enormously - I would recommend giving it a try and seeing if it helps.
          My blog: Journeys in Riding

          Comment


          • #6
            Ride long and low.

            As she develops she'll occassionally try to go inverted - just take her back to long and low to re-establish the connection over her back. Then use HH's to bring her frame "up".
            Now in Kentucky

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TheParisienne View Post
              Last week I bought a 10 year old Dutch x tb mare who was used as a show jumper.

              I am wondering what the best combination of work/lunging would be best to help her start to develop a topline, relax and to stretch down. The underside of her neck is hugely over developed.

              Since I can ride just about every day, should I alternate lunge work with riding? Just start to focus on relaxation and rhythm?

              She's fit, she's had a lot of regular work.

              I am not really into using gagets, but have used side reins on occasion as well as the double lunge. We have all the time in the world, I don't want to rush her.

              When I ride and pick up contact she'll put her head way up as she was ridden on a very short rein. She also curls behind but if I ask her to move forward with more leg and a bigger post she usually comes into a good training frame for a few strides.

              I start out with walk on a loose rein followed by trot on a very light contact, kind of like a hunter.

              Suggestions?

              if shes a proper showjumper then she would already know the basics and some advande movements of dressage ie leg yeild si. rein back , flying changes, half halts, etc as they are all used in all displines its not so much the horse but yourself that has to learn- the horse will know it

              flat work comes 1st before jumping as in getting the horse balanced
              one cant jump in the air if one cant perform it on the floor
              Last edited by goeslikestink; Mar. 30, 2010, 04:50 PM.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thank you, all.

                Today we had our first lesson with my trainer. I had purchased a new bit and of course, put it on the bridle all wrong. So I stripped of Paris' saddle and bridle and let her mosey around the indoor while I fixed it.

                Except the mosey turned into a wha-hoo session on her part (it's very muddy here, the horses are not moving much) so we let her get it out of her system.

                After a little lunge work at the walk and trot I got on. I lunged her mostly at the walk to let her get her breath back. She had way too much fun.

                Trainer had me ride her in a half seat at first, which the Paris really seemed to like. We did a lot of walk on a loose rein. It was good for me as well. I have not ridden in a very long time so it was good to feel a little "burn" in the legs.

                We started our trot work on a lighter contact and then things seemed to kind of fall into place. I was able to take up more contact and when I was able to connect her into the outside rein we really had some nice steps.

                We did a light leg yield at the walk both directions, with me using a leading rein to lead her shoulders over.

                Then we did just some brief canter work as she was pretty worn out by then. (Due to her wha-hoo at the beginning.)

                So all in all, I felt really good about it. I think I will lunge her lightly tomorrow and she'll get Wed off. That is spa day and she is getting her massage. (Wish I could get a massage...)

                As a previous poster noted, it's about me learning her. I think I will add the side reins in a couple of weeks when we both have been in consistent work. And I'll keep trying to encourage the Long and low as well.

                Boy, I've not been this jazzed up about riding in a L-O-N-G time.
                First, say to yourself what you would be. Then do what you have to do. ~Epictectus

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TheParisienne View Post
                  Except the mosey turned into a wha-hoo session on her part (it's very muddy here, the horses are not moving much) so we let her get it out of her system.
                  I was chuckling to myself as I read this, because we've got all our horses on pasture, including my main man, an OTTB who loves to run (I know it sounds like a given, but we have another who could care less about running, haha), and he'll act like your mare too. I am assuming that they are not running around much when it's muddy or icey out because I'll bring my boy in and he'll just be dying to run (sometimes, albeit not often, so much so that he cannot concentrate on what I am asking of him)! So, I'll let him loose for some free-time, and sit back for a good 10-15 as he tears round, and round, and round....haha. Eventually he'll prance up to me when he's done, breathing hard, eyes glistening excitedly, LOL. Those are the days we lose some work u/s though because he's already spent by the beginning!! I don't mind every once in awhile though, he works still hard

                  Good luck with your mare and congratulations on the progress already made!!! It's good to hear a successful update
                  ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                  ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thank you!!!!
                    First, say to yourself what you would be. Then do what you have to do. ~Epictectus

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ha ha. I have an ex jumper Dutch TB mare - same thing. She was so backed off the contact and explosive that I got a, ahem, very good deal on her. My advice, and what I have been most successful with, is soft hands.
                      "Capture the horse's confidence to obtain his consent." -General L'Hotte

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Just a little update since I saw this post back towards the top again.

                        PC: you are so right. I've almost been in no-contact mode to start and then taking up the contact v-e-r-y slowly as we get warmed up. That seems to be going well for us.

                        Have been riding Paris fairly consistently for the past couple of weeks and she is really starting to figure out how to stretch. I was kind of feeling like I was working harder than I should be to get some impulsion, so I carried a whip on the last ride. Talk about forward! Didn't use the whip but she really knows what it means. Now to channel that energy! We went back to the tense high-headed jumper mode but like everything else, I am sure in a couple of rides she'll learn how I use and don't use a whip and will start to relax again.

                        Have been doing some trot poles with her and it's lovely when she lifts her back over those.

                        She hates the bit I bought for her *sigh* so now I have to clean that up and try to sell it on Ebay. How do I know this? She would not let me bridle her. No to the $126 KK bit, yes to the borrowed $19 stainless french link bit. When I switched the bits out she said "Well, OK then." after a few treats. But yes, I am getting her teeth done next week.

                        Oh, and she seems to be moving better after her massage. Her hind end is really tight. This week I am having the horsey Chiro/vet come out to check her over. Can't wait to see what the results are after that!

                        I just adore my mare. Wow!
                        First, say to yourself what you would be. Then do what you have to do. ~Epictectus

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