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Controlling Speed

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  • Equestrianette
    started a topic Controlling Speed

    Controlling Speed

    Hello! I received a lot of encouraging and correct advice last time I posted a question on here. My OTTB and I are new eventers, this is his new career since being off the track. We are doing green as grass this year and have great progress. One of the challenges we are having is controlling his speed on cross country. So far I've trotted 2 courses just to keep him from becoming the unbalanced adrenaline junky that he is. After several XC schoolings and working with my trainer I think we have made some good connections about this issue but I'd like to hear more from people's experiences and what they did. My horse REALLY locks on to fences/flag and he wants to rush the jump. Of course this causes him to get flat and unbalanced which exacerbates the problem. He will lean on the bit (snaffle) and pull me down which really makes me lose my own stability despite my best efforts. We are only doing very small inviting XC obstacles for our safety and his soundness as we find our rhythm and learn how to be safe on cross country. I've found that when he makes a big effort, usually after a very slow approach which he needs, it can get me unseated just a bit and of course that unbalances him and off he goes because now my position is telling him GO GO GO. I've been really putting my heels down, leg closed, grabbing mane and "taking the back seat" to prevent this from happening and so far it has helped. My "go-to" for a runaway fast horse is to circle, disengage the hind quarters. But obviously this is not ideal. Not only that but I really can't count on the footing being suitable all the time for a tight circle to slow him down. Our last schooling we worked on having control of speed on the straight away because obviously I want to be able to control his speed WITHOUT circling. For this I've been anchoring my heels down, calves on to reinforce the stability of my upper body that I attempt to have completely straight, shoulders back, elbows at my side in 90 degree angles as I check him back and release, check and release. Reins SUPER short, his poll nearly at my chest. My horse obviously doesn't like this but its been effective. If he gets his head down at all he will lean on the bit and start running. At the end of this lesson I was able to canter over small jumps without him running. During this lesson however he did manage to lean on me enough to cause the skin on my ring finger to completely come off. Which was unpleasant to say the least. I'm looking forward to our next schooling to see if this lesson really affected his way of going on XC.

    Thank you!


    Here is Mr. Enthusiastic
    Image result for CarlisleChipper
    Image result for CarlisleChipper

  • OverandOnward
    replied
    Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post
    ...
    That being said, she trains a lot of people to event too. Or tries to. But because she really doesn't know that much, she doesn't teach them correct things, pushes them to do things they aren't ready for, puts them on horses that aren't suited for them, they all have awful equitation and have not improved much, if any, over the years (YEARS!), and I know several kids that went to her for lessons and ended up leaving because they had horrific accidents being put on horses that were too much for them and asked to jump before they were really ready. Like, sent to the ER type accidents.
    ...
    I know of one very much like this, but her students don't have previous experience and don't realize that the injury rate among them is shocking. And has been on an ongoing basis for years. ER visits and days missed from work and school, different students, two or three times each year. Somehow they believe that's just the way it is - perhaps because that is what their trainer tells them.

    Another situation is a (hypothetical) higher-level trainer who is also training lower-level students for whatever reason. The trainer is excellent for riders already at T with the talent, the desire and the horse to go further. Said trainer can bump them forward with confidence and skill. But he/she is way too much for those BN & N LL's who are not nearly ready to carry more pace to the jump, get there on a good stride and keep their position solid - physically or mentally. The UL trainer doesn't see a picture of a more conservative, safe ride in his/her head, and expects a ride that frankly scares them and undermines their confidence. That's not a 'bad' trainer, just not a good match for certain students, or for students who might benefit in the future, but right now aren't ready for what that trainer offers.

    Leave a comment:


  • ToughShet
    replied
    As someone just returning to jumping after many years away, on a TBx who is also in the process of becoming fitter, I find this entire thread so helpful. I *know* I have a problem with speed — 14yo me loved it, 38yo me has a brain that just screams the entire time we get above a peppy lope. So even if the OP noped off, I'm really grateful for the suggestions and thoughts here. They'll help!

    Leave a comment:


  • bornfreenowexpensive
    replied
    Learning to control speed is a skill. And its training on your horse. Cute horse....you look a bit over horsed for the level you are currently riding in eventing. So are a lot of people. That will make learning this skill harder for you on this horse....as also teaching a horse how to listen to its rider’s body and come back more easily is hard when you know what you are doing....its ridiculously hard when you are still learning!!!! It especially tough on OTTBs who KNOW how to gallop...so often will have opinions. So cut yourself and your horse some slack...but go and do you homework. This is a flat work issue...not a jumping one, jumping just highlights the weakness in the flat work.

    You don’t get it by pulling....or disengagement of hind quarters. You need to practice being able to get transitions in the ring first....while in two point/jumping position.. On a well trained and sensitive horse, they will come back by you just shifting your shoulders back....on 99% of the horses....yeah...it doesn’t happen like that....at least not at first. And with such small fences....a nice athletic horse like yours is just going to turn them into speed bumps for fun. So stick to trotting. Perhaps let him canter one or two then back to trot...even if you have to circle. Until you can bring him back to the speed you want easily....well you just need to think of circling and taking your time. Guess what....there are a lot of us out there with a lot of experience and who are even good riders doing that because that is where we are with a particular horse. This is hard....and not something you will sort out over night.....but it is an important skill for our sport.
    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Apr. 29, 2019, 02:03 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • RainWeasley
    replied
    I want to throw this out there, not saying ANYTHING bad at all about OP's trainer or anything but I think it is something to consider...

    I know a girl that is eventing Training level and working on the move up to Prelim. She is an okay rider, has had decent results, but not that great. She can stay on but her form is pretty atrocious and me and another girl I know that has gone Advanced cringe watching her because we are just waiting for a crash. She has mostly gotten as far as she has because her horse is an absolute saint and super athletic, and takes care of her more than I think she realizes.

    That being said, she trains a lot of people to event too. Or tries to. But because she really doesn't know that much, she doesn't teach them correct things, pushes them to do things they aren't ready for, puts them on horses that aren't suited for them, they all have awful equitation and have not improved much, if any, over the years (YEARS!), and I know several kids that went to her for lessons and ended up leaving because they had horrific accidents being put on horses that were too much for them and asked to jump before they were really ready. Like, sent to the ER type accidents.

    If you feel like you are improving, that is fantastic. But, just as something to consider, if your trainer (or anyone out there) isn't addressing basic things like position, doing things to help you correct yourself and your horse, really working with you and your horse on good exercises, it miiiiight be a good idea to look for another trainer. Or at the very least audit some other event trainers with students that are doing really well so you can educate yourself on what is good. Because when you are starting out, you just don't know the good ones from the ones that don't really know what they are doing. Again, I am NOT saying that your trainer doesn't know what they are doing, it is just something to think about on the off change that they aren't really helping you as much as you think.

    Leave a comment:


  • merrygoround
    replied
    It sounds like you are way over your head for the level of education you and your horse have. You need to slow down, get his flat work in line, and then start working on grids and smaller courses with less gallop time in between obstacles.

    I'd back up NOW before he gets the habit of rushing fences, which is usually a sign of fear, and is harder to retrain.

    Leave a comment:


  • Equestrianette
    replied
    I just want to take a moment and thank everyone again for the fantastic advice. From the top riders to the people like me, thank you. So many new tools in the tool box. I do hope you’ll accept my apology. Step one is getting right TF over myself. Pretty sure you need thick skin in eventing. We all want each other to succeed and be safe while doing so and I acknowledge that.

    Leave a comment:


  • Denali6298
    replied
    OP my comments were made as someone who has had/does have the same struggles with fear, position, bad habits etc. I suck compared to a lot of people on this board. Heck I suck compared to 15 years ago. I’ve been riding for the majority of my life. I still suck. Embrace the suck and learn. Your thread has been educational to so many and I hope you got a lot from it too.

    Leave a comment:


  • GraceLikeRain
    replied
    I sincerely hope one day the OP will look back at this post, squirm a bit, and think "gosh, they were right".

    Your horse is adorable. A-freaking-dorable. I love him. He's precious. He has a kind eye and I think has the potential to be quite lofty. Right now he is a bit mincing in stride and stiff. Once you learn how to really ride those hindquarters he is going to be enviable.

    While our brain may have an "ah ha" moment, lasting change to rider position often takes months or even years. It is the reason that riders who have decades of experience still regularly take lessons.

    Absorb all of the very good advice given. Look up some core exercises. Focus on soft following elbows. Watch endless videos of top riders to see what it looks like to achieve that true separation of hand from the rest of the body.

    I was hacking recently and someone told me "why does your right ankle do that weird thing"....umm, what weird thing? She took a video. Yep, weird unstable ugly stuff happening. She wasn't attacking me and she was even kind enough to help me think through a few causes and few exercises to address it. Who knows when it started but thanks to a kind stranger I now have something I can address before it becomes a further ingrained habit.

    COTH lets you access the collective wisdom of so many incredible equestrians. You don't have to agree with or accept every comment given but look for the big themes and know that this is a forum that genuinely loves watching people succeed. Sometimes comments may sting but the motivation is always the well-being of both the horse and rider.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rnichols
    replied
    Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post

    OK.... I laughed soooo hard at this

    I wish my trainer would attack my hands, take them right off! They have a mind of their own, but nooo, she makes me ride with my neck strap as a second rein instead
    SAME HERE. I'm like stupid hands can you just STOP MOVING. It's like they have a mind of their own. An equicube has randomly turned up at my barn the other day so I'm going to start incorporating that torture device into my lessons 1 or two times a week in hopes that it actually helps.

    Leave a comment:


  • sherian
    replied
    as a diy ammy eventer who also tends to get tense and stuck in my body I appreciate the help offered here. I know I need to let go and trust my horse and many days I can, but some days not so much. The exercises/tips posted on this thread will give me some more tools in my kit so to speak, so thanks from me if not from the OP.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jealoushe
    replied
    Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post

    If an instructor says to you "raise your hands" or "lower your hands", are they attacking your hands? If you want to see it that way, ok then they are attacking your hands?
    OK.... I laughed soooo hard at this

    I wish my trainer would attack my hands, take them right off! They have a mind of their own, but nooo, she makes me ride with my neck strap as a second rein instead

    Leave a comment:


  • OverandOnward
    replied
    Originally posted by Equestrianette

    I only get defensive to people that are offensive. You know like the ones that attack my trainer, make assumptions and accuse me of grabbing my horse in the mouth over fences. I’m very grateful for those that have provided their experiences and exercises that help. However I don’t care for people that attempt to dig up old threads from months ago to try and apply it to whatever I’m talking about here. Really that’s all it is. I think people should be encouraging instead of discouraging and downright rude.
    How can you learn from others if you can't listen to criticism? No one "attacked" anything. No one was "offensive". That is entirely in your own head, the way you *chose* to read it. You *chose* to be judgmental despite your lack of experience, and at the wrong place and wrong time.

    If an instructor says to you "raise your hands" or "lower your hands", are they attacking your hands? If you want to see it that way, ok then they are attacking your hands. But you won't learn that way. You will just fight with the instructor. Your choice - and the instructor will be making a choice, too. That's what you are doing in this thread, instead of learning you are fighting with some of the most experienced eventing advice you will ever find in one place on the internet.

    Eventing has a steeper learning curve than most disciplines. It's also far more dangerous without sound basics - and every poster on this thread has spoken to basics.

    There are no requirements to becoming an eventing trainer. Those that are more questionable don't just waste time, they are a danger to their students - and unfortunately they and their students may not realize that. It is always fair to ask more questions about a trainer. That's not attacking, it's checking bona fides and effectiveness. Absolutely fair questions of any job position, especially this one.

    Perhaps it is your habit, OP, to over-react with some IG-style comebacks. Maybe you are part of a social circle that does the same. But that isn't a good thing to bring to learning eventing.

    Good luck, you sound like you have some grit and intelligence. If you can get your over-emotional reactions out of the way, absorb what these experienced and well-intentioned eventers took their time to share with you, and make some good decisions about your horse, your riding and your instruction, you are likely to have a great eventing experience.

    (Do you realize that you are specifically trashing the advice of some eventers that have spent many years at and very close to the very highest levels of eventing? Even international eventing? They took *their time* for *you* - think about that. Then go back and re-read what they shared with you, with a non-judgmental and open frame of mind, knowing that they had no motives but the best outcomes for you. )

    Leave a comment:


  • RAyers
    replied
    Looking to continue to provide some constructive advice here. I will use myself as the example.

    https://www.facebook.com/reed.ayers/...677622/?type=3

    Here is my youngster in his very first real show (BN) doing his very first real course. He is a true OTTB that is also very forward but cautious. What I and others are advocating is that you get off your horse's back. Note that I am more forward with my shoulder and ride in a 1/2 seat. I also do not try to control my horse's speed/pace. I let him carry what he wants while he figures things out.

    My leg is still. I do not use the calf to hold on. My body controls the ride with my reins helping shape the jump, but NOT dictating what the jump is, that is his job. This is what others are trying to tell you.

    As for the stop, he never did a real line before. "What! There is a second fence!!!" But, because I didn't make a big deal, he jumped the combination with only a mild side move.


    Oops. Nevermind. I just saw the OP bailed.

    Leave a comment:


  • OverandOnward
    replied
    I wonder if the OP has yet realized that all of the advice offered in this thread has been essentially the same. Phrased and couched differently according to the messenger, but the same basic message.

    I don't think we've got the whole story. I read between OP lines that OP is over-mounted. Well, that's joining a group of a good many riders and horses in the eventing universe. Sounds like the horse has some experience before the OP, and OP mentioned earlier that the horse goes better for others. Thumbs up that OP is looking inward for solutions. But those solutions have been offered in this thread and are consistent, if worded differently from post to post.

    One question would be why the OP is on the horse she's on, rather than one that is less reactive to a less eventing-experienced rider. And, back to the beginning questions, what role the trainer is playing in this journey.

    Plenty of riders have been through a journey that is similar on the high points - rider has lots of eagerness and ambition to get out there and do it, rider is put on a horse that is rather more horse than the rider is a rider, a trainer is in the mix whose motives and eventing experinece are whatever they are, etc. Over the years many riders have shared their journey on social media and in eventing blogs and articles. The learning experiences are consistent, and reflect what this thread has to offer to such riders.

    But, everyone feels that their own experience is unique, and truthfully it is, but that shouldn't blind people to the help that is already out there to be had. The ultimate takeaways are still consistent.

    So guessing that the OP will either dump this thread as not gratifying enough, or else be back to torch all posts and posters that don't suit her own vision. Sounds like she's willing to keep hanging in there with her challenges, hope it all works out for her in the end.

    Leave a comment:


  • skydy
    replied
    Strange... It seems the OP has deleted most all of her posts on this thread. Many were quoted though and will live on.

    Leave a comment:


  • IFG
    replied
    Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post

    Then quit posting videos on the internet and asking for advice. Quit acting like you are the only one who works hard. I’ve been at this longer than you. Guess what I still suck. I just don’t post videos on a BB to second guess my trainer.

    If you want people to blow smoke, don’t post here.
    OMG, I am dying here. Truer words were never spoken. And Denali, you are not alone, I still suck too.

    Leave a comment:


  • Denali6298
    replied
    Originally posted by Equestrianette
    Thank you. You’re right. I should give people the benefit of the doubt. I know tone doesn’t carry well through online discourse and sometimes reading some remarks they come across as rude, discouraging, condescending, etc. and it gets to me and it’s obvious when that does get to me. If that’s not the posters intention than I apologize. My horse, my riding, my trainer, my work, I take very personally and very seriously. And it really bothers me when my integrity and the last 20 years of my life is put into question and harshly criticized as if I only started riding yesterday or something. *I* can feel huge positive changes coming from us and I try to celebrate that. Not minimize it because it’s only been X amount of days. There is a lot going on to get a “whole” picture and I try not to talk about it all the time because I’d hate for it to come across as me making excuses. There is a lot going on with him, and a lot going on with me. I am fixing stuff with him (ulcers, saddle fit, conditioning, body work) and a lot of stuff with me. I started taking frequent lessons in December 2-3 times per week, or more! Before then I did a lot of catch riding for the last 7 years without lessons. So I’ve picked up some bad habits that I’m trying to overcome. I’ve also had 2 children back to back plus an abdominoplasty. My body is having to relearn a lot of things, including balance and strengthening my core again. Did you know I’ve ridden in saddles the didn’t fit me since I was a teenager? Yeah I had no idea how much that affects your efficiency as a rider. I’m not making excuses for myself. I’m putting in the work and loving it every step of the way. I will absolutely try to give people the benefit of the doubt. They don’t know all the details and I have to stop pretending like they do! I am addressing expectations I have for myself, I think I expect too much sometimes and I start to doubt myself and ability. My anxiety and the voice in my head makes me the most critical to myself, much worse than some of the supposed discouraging comments I come across sometimes. Anyways I’m rambling. I’ll try to do better.
    Then quit posting videos on the internet and asking for advice. Quit acting like you are the only one who works hard. I’ve been at this longer than you. Guess what I still suck. I just don’t post videos on a BB to second guess my trainer.

    If you want people to blow smoke, don’t post here.

    Leave a comment:


  • Arlomine
    replied
    I was contemplating attempting to make some constructive criticism on this thread, but the tone of the OP has discouraged my interest. Many good suggestions have been made, I hope the young lady half-halts herself and takes them to heart.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jealoushe
    replied
    Originally posted by Equestrianette
    I only get defensive to people that are offensive. You know like the ones that attack my trainer, make assumptions and accuse me of grabbing my horse in the mouth over fences. I’m very grateful for those that have provided their experiences and exercises that help. However I don’t care for people that attempt to dig up old threads from months ago to try and apply it to whatever I’m talking about here. Really that’s all it is. I think people should be encouraging instead of discouraging and downright rude.
    Not one single post here was attacking or offensive as you call it. If you can not take advice, criticism, help without getting hot and bothered then you will never improve as a rider.

    The best riders are the most teachable.

    I would ask your trainer to implement gymnastics schooling and continue with that until improvement. Including jumping through gymnastic lines with no reins or no stirrups etc. It will also help your horse. But your horse does need some serious suppling. Dressage is your friend.

    Leave a comment:

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