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Do you see progress? (Now with actual video)

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  • Do you see progress? (Now with actual video)

    NOW WITH VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x38ZC2O5Vb0

    I'm pretty afraid to post this, but here goes...

    The rider: me. 5'5", short-legged, 23 y/o vet student. Been riding off and on, mostly "on," since age six (and completely "on" since age 15). Don't have an athletic bone in my body, but at least I try really hard. I like to think I have a realistic idea of my capabilities.
    The pony: Charlie. 17 hh with shoes, 8-11 y/o gelding of unknown breeding. Draft cross of some sort. Was green broke and totally out of shape when I got him in May (he was a carriage horse before that). He was obese and could barely canter when I got him.

    Part of my break between homework sets today was putting together this little movie of (poor quality) video clips I have of us. Please tell me there's some improvement! After a few months of getting him fit, I've been working on getting him to lift his back/withers and actually use his hindquarters. I ride 3-6 days a week depending on my class schedule, and I'm obviously not a pro by any means, but I think we are making some slow progress. It's a little hard for me to notice improvements, though, when I see him every day.
    Our goal this year is to complete a BN event. Right now we work on fences up to 2'3" or so (mostly trotting right now since his canter isn't very put together yet). Think we can make BN by fall?
    Last edited by cleozowner; Jan. 29, 2011, 03:15 PM. Reason: I'm an idiot and can't post a video
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

  • #2
    Can you post a link to the video please?
    "Lord if we should fall, my horse and I, please pick my horse up first."



    • Original Poster

      HAHA wow. Sorry. If I was embarrassed before, I'm REALLY embarrassed now...
      Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


      • #4
        You should not be scared to post this at all. Your little (big) dude is adorable and trying really hard for you. You have made progress, for sure. He looks progressively stronger, lighter on the front, and less klutzy in each clip. Yeah his canter is still a little disorganized and heavy but IMO you have done very well with him. Especially considering the first clip where he was just running through into the canter and so, so out of shape. I am sure you are proud of your guy and I hope you have many more happy years of improvement.


        • #5
          Ok first things first....

          Where is your confidence??????

          There is nothing on that video that says to me (Screaming or whispering) that you couldn't handle a BN event next month. (were it not for the frozen tundra across the country I mean)

          BN is a "starter" level. And I don't mean a starter event, unrecognized etc. It's designed to be a level where the horse and rider can be introduced to the sport. You're already jumping 2'3" at home. BN's height's of 2'6" max are well within both of your abilities. Additionally show me where it says that in either jumping phase you MUST be cantering??? It doesn't. Go out onto a xc course and trot everything. Ditto stadium.

          I get worried when I see people fretting and worrying about BN as a big deal. It's not meant to be. So ask yourself what is it about a BN event that you're geared up about???? Then ask yourself what are you trying to accomplish at said BN event?? Are you mentally gearing yourself up so you can't possibly consider competing until you're perfect and fabulous at every individual phase and you're pony never makes mistakes???

          If so honey I got news for you.... No one in this game (riding, any discipline) is perfect. So throw that wheelbarrow on the pile and re-evaluate what it is you want to accomplish at an event. Remember that this is supossed to be fun. As in you spend oodles of money and get nothing back except maybe a $2 ribbon... so you bettter do this for the joy of teaching your horse things it didn't know. Or you grin and smile and whack your pony with praise til he's as tenderized as a steak b/c you accomplished something you didn't think you could.

          Overall though don't throw the competitions onto a pedastal that's as tall as the Empire State Building. This is all for fun, and not to sound old but way back when we didn't have BN. We all started at novice. And we all were taught to jump up to 3' pretty quickly. It's not that much bigger of a deal to jump 3' than 2'3". You can do this, and your lovely guy can as well.

          So stop building it up to be a HUGE thing and just get the skill sets together and do some events when the weather and your bank account are ready.

          BN is about learning.... there has never been an Olympic medal won or lost at a BN event.

          Kick on!!

          "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


          • #6
            You are a really nice, soft, rider, and the horse has made a lot of progress. Be proud and enjoy it!


            • #7
              Yes, lots of progress OP. Please update us when you finish your first BN - I'll be keeping an eye out for it.

              Great post xctry! As someone excited for their first BN event this year, I must say those are all the same thoughts that run through my head. If you have the pieces together, there is no reason you shouldn't go out and test them. Enjoy that horse of yours, that sport we spend so much time, money, and emotion on. Worst case scenario, it's an epic fail, you discover & explore your weaknesses, brush yourself off, do your homework, and try it all over again

              We're ammy's - when this all looses it's appeal, then it's time to move on to something else.


              • #8
                Definately agree you've made progress! He looks WAY better than first ride. You could make it to BN by spring!

                Mostly what I notice is that it appears your hands are flat and your elbows out. If you rode with your elbows at your side and your thumbs up, it may provide more consistant contact for your guy. I think he looks lovely at the trot, but as soon as asked for canter he sticks his nose out.

                Try doing spiral in and out circles at the walk and trot, don't let him drop his shoulder. Once you can do that, you can do it at the canter as well (though much harder, lol, atleast it was for me!). Canter is still a hard gait for my naturally down hill mare, so I focus a lot on walk/trot work and staying off her shoulder by doing the spirals/square turn "circles"/serpentines and lateral movements.
                - paintmare

                Horse Eden Eventing - A Virtual Eventing Escape


                • #9
                  that is a lot of progress, really! you'll be ready by even the spring like someone already posted. Paintmare has some great suggestions with our arms and hands.

                  As for the canter -- it does definitely need more work, but you can see how it progressed already from the first video! Keep up the good work with it.

                  That being said, maybe it will be easier for him to canter if you get your weight out of the saddle a bit and lean forward, then maybe it will be easier for him. After he strengthens up some more you can ease back in the saddle if you wish.

                  Have a look at my profile picture, I have to do what I am describing to this particular mare or she really drags her butt. She isn't of great quality, since she is a very beginner lesson horse, so please don't judge this about her I mostly am asked to ride her for fun by the instructor since the horse doesn't get a real workout very often.

                  On another note, WOW I think your horse is so beautiful! Big, bold and so pretty! He has started to bend at the pole in the last vid and looks so nice.

                  Best of luck to you, and keep up the good work!
                  Last edited by jevousaime; Jan. 29, 2011, 07:41 PM.
                  "The bare necessities of life will come to you." -The Jungle Book


                  • #10
                    One note about your canter....

                    And bear in mind that what I am going off of is your 7 min plus video. You have months of work into this horse that I haven't seen.

                    Over and over in your videos I see you ask for canter and wait for the horse to pick it up. Dressage arenas aren't that big and the judges aren't that patient. You need to get the pretty pony to be as responsive as you are demanding. And right now neither of you appear to be there.

                    To best deal with this apply duct tape at various points to your arena walls. One strip here and there... Then apply electrical colored tape (or anything different) 9 feet on either side of the duct tape. This is your "transition Zone."

                    You then make transitions at these marks. Not before the first strip of tape, but also not after the 3rd. You will learn to ask at the first strip and consider it a success if you're cantering by the 3rd... Then you work to get it at the duct tape itself and be cantering inside the tape "Zone."

                    The works for trot and walk and halts as well. Eventually think of the Duct tape as the arena letter. But not yet. Just keep it in mind for the future. Accuracy in dressage can overcome a bunch of problems.

                    This in turn will step up your adjustability for jumping as you're going to really start nailing those downward transitions. Same rules apply. Be ready to go down a gear at the first tape strip and be in the lower gear by the third.

                    For those keeping track at home this gives a range of 18' for the horse and rider to come up or down a gait. In an average BN test the spacing in the arena for change of gaits is usually a space of 11-12 meters. So if you fine tune it down in a space of 6 meters at home, you'll have some confidence to work with show nerves and still make accurate transitions.

                    Keep up the good work!!

                    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


                    • Original Poster

                      Reading these posts is so inspiring--you are all so supportive, thank you! I also find it funny because here were my big take-home messages from my last two lessons:
                      increase responsiveness (as xctrygirl said)
                      ease just a little bit forward at the hips (jevousaime)
                      fix my darn shoulders and elbows (paintmare--BTW, trainer has us doing square turns "circles" just like you said!)

                      I guess that means I picked a good trainer, too. I wish I could get lessons more regularly, but at least these videos help reinforce when I'm told in lessons...let's think of it as getting the most bang for the buck.
                      Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                      • #12
                        Monumental improvement!!! Are you kidding? In your last canter transition, you asked on the long side and he stepped right up into it! He's lovely. I adore the trot work you had in the September clip outside. Springy, forward, lovely. I'd suggest you try to soften your legs-you're a little clamped on! (I do the same but bc MY horse has a 180 that gets me every time...and I'm OLD). Practice using your whip more and your leg less. You want eventually for your leg aids to be mere whispers. Listen to what xcntry has to say, she's brilliant. I think if you have good one lesson a month between now and your event, you'll be able to charge down center line with a big smile on your face and show that dressage judge what you've accomplished.

                        Em, nice posts. Well said. Would that we could all hear that sentiment more frequently.
                        Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                        • #13
                          First, a VERY cute horse and yes I do see proress both in the hrose and the rider in this video. The horse has a truly nice trot, but the canter really needs work. It is very "flat" and strung out, close to four beat. This is somewhat common in draft crosses. To help this canter, you need to strengthen the carrying power of the inside hind leg, and ask that leg to step more UNDER the horse. THis can been accomplished with two things, first LOTS of trot/canter transitions. You tend to ask for canter and then canter quite a long ways. I would put this horse on a large 20 meter circle, ask for canter, canter at most 1/2 way around circle then trot. Repeat this MANY MANY times both ways. THis will get the hroses hidn end more underneath him and get more "jump" into the canter and will help his transitions to be more prompt. If he doesnt canter PROMPTLY use your whip. I see him kind of "shake his head" at you, basically sayin "no I don't want to" and you need to make it VERY clear that yes, you DO want to as I will smack you good behind my leg if you don't! Secondly you need to work on some legyileding exercises. I would work on spiraling in/out on the circle, really asking the horse to step UNDER and SIDEWAYS with both front and hind end. You can also spiral out, and the immediately ask for canter transition while the horses hindend is well engaged. Keep up the good wok, but I think it's time for you to "kick it up a notch"!!!


                          • #14
                            Your pony is adorable! Just body wise the difference is amazing. He looks more confident in what you are asking him to do now. Do you think he may be ready to start learning to stretch down into contact...? I think you are well on track to doing BN... Are you working with a trainer at all? If not it may be helpful for you confidence wise bc a trainer could help you gauge your progress. Again he is so cute! Just be patient, I used to ride a draft X and sometimes they take a little longer to get the 'balance' thing down, but don't be afraid to test yourself and him and ask for a little more, he will let you know if he is ready. Good Luck and Have Fun!


                            • #15
                              I second everything everyone else has said. Great job, and definitely give yourself more credit. You are perfectly athletic to keep all that together. For the most part, every "critique" I had for you in my mind was improved one video to the next.

                              One thing, from experience riding similar horses, that you might want to try is an exercise where you pick an end of the arena, and then make a square. Instead of rounding off the corners, when you hit the point where you want to turn bring both hands to the inside, sit in the middle of your horse, and if necessary (especially for the first few) tap his shoulder with your whip. He should pop his shoulders over and square off the turn instead of making it a curve with his body. It is really helpful for gaining control of big shoulders like those. Then you can move on to overbending him on a circle for a step or two to loosen up his jaw and neck. He'll be working forward and on the bit in no time, and it will also help enormously for you canter work in the indoor, suddenly you will be able to go super deep in the corners and your ring will seem so much bigger!

                              I hope I explained that exercise well enough, someone else might be able to do it better.

                              Anyways, good luck with your event! You'll have the BEST time.
                              “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by RiverBendPol View Post
                                Listen to what xcntry has to say, she's brilliant. Em, nice posts. Well said. Would that we could all hear that sentiment more frequently.
                                Oh boy.... this is gonna cost me. ;-) How much is it per compliment this month??? And no, you can't just take Lad in exchange. LOL. Seriously, thanks.

                                "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


                                • #17
                                  TERRIFIC job with your boy! He looks great, so much improvement! I certainly don't think you have given yourself enough credit. You've got a lovely boy there, and you are a super steady rider.

                                  Now, go do a BN! You will be great!!!
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