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Schooling water- Good idea? Bad idea? Am I just over thinking this?

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  • Schooling water- Good idea? Bad idea? Am I just over thinking this?

    I was thinking out loud the other night about things I'd like to work on over the next couple of weeks before Toby and I try prelim again. One minor issue I would like to address is his rideability through water and out. Toby LOVES water and tends to jump extremely bold and brave into and through it.

    In my thinking out loud, I pondered if his boldness was causing me to lose his adjustability, which may be contributing to some of the ugly outs we've had at the water. Last summer he LAUNCHED us at a roll top in the water- a very bold but green mistake- and I paid the penalty by getting very, very wet and walking home in soggy boots and an air vest turned life preserver. Last weekend, he jumped in to the water PERFECTLY, but again launched off a long one at the out (I clearly saw the close one and was riding for it....Toby opted for the "bold" option). (Note of interest- one of our BEST water complexes last year was when we had to turn in the water, jump up a substantial bank, one stride to something. I think having a lot to look at and think about kept that evil genius brain thinking instead of just clicking into badass event horse mode. A rolltop sitting innocently in the water and a little set of rails at the edge of the water just aren't enough to make him actually think, I think).

    So, we do plan on a water boot camp day, working on some various questions and making sure he's listening and that we are in agreement on the best way to tackle these things. However, I wondered out loud if I should take advantage of having our own water complex (Spoiled and lucky, I know), and go out once or twice and just canter in and out, going forward and back, adjusting his stride, and getting him listening a bit more. To me, it SEEMS like a valid idea, but I wonder if I'm just over thinking all of this because I REALLY don't want to get wet again
    Amanda

  • #2
    When Bonnie went through a "launch into water" phase we put a jump in the water one stride out from where she'd drop in so she'd have to think about where she was landing and keep herself focused.

    Also maybe get him used to trotting in? Depending on the question on a given course, it may be worth teaching him that this is a perfectly routine way of answering a water question. Also to change approaches and come in where he doesn't have 20 strides to barrel down to the water. Get him used to popping in off a tight turn so if/when that becomes your best option or is what the course throws at you, he's got the answer ready.

    And you suck. My first show of the year is in 3 weeks and there is NOWHERE to school within 300 miles due to record rainfall.
    Click here before you buy.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      dw- I wasn't even able to school AT HOME (again, I know, spoiled and lucky...I actually hate schooling at home, fwiw, and never understand why we have so many haul ins for it. Great jumps, but sucks for getting a rhythm!) until the week before our first event, and was only able to do THAT because there was this little window where it DIDN'T rain a few days. It dried up out there just enough. Threw some studs in, held on while Toby acted like a complete ass, got him remembering there were solid fences in his life, and also ditches, and called it a day. I believe it SNOWED the next day.

      So, I feel ya! Fingers crossed you get your window to school soon!
      Amanda

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
        Last summer he LAUNCHED us at a roll top in the water- a very bold but green mistake- and I paid the penalty by getting very, very wet and walking home in soggy boots and an air vest turned life preserver.
        I'm sorry, but .
        "Oh, sure, you may be able to take down one smurf, but mark my words: You bonk one smurf, you better be ready for a blue wave."---Bucky Katt

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          I know I've shared it a million times, but it's still funny.... Also, there's a great photo in this series that I would have bought had they been cheaper of me soaking wet, inflated, bleeding (road rash on my elbow), talking to the EMTs. For some reason, I found that one hysterical, too.
          Amanda

          Comment


          • #6
            For what it's worth: ever since I watched Amy Tryon train Poggio at the lower levels to the star that he became... he was a giant launcher into water. She struggled with it for a while until getting some good advice from Karen OC to lean forward on his neck and help push him down into the water. It was great advice for Amy. Even when Pogi was experienced 4* horse, she still schooled novice size bank into water over and over and over again. Keeping it a small enough drop that they were both comfortable and helping him get the muscle and brain patterning to drop down into water instead of launching. At a trot usually.

            I have used this technique in my teaching and riding for the last 10 years and its great! Leaning back and preparing for a giant launch often creates more launch.
            Good luck and dont get wet!!
            www.polestarfarm.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Is the issue launching in...or what sounds to me like you lose your canter. Like he gets long in his stride. If it is the latter...I say school him....well actually....I'd say school him in either case!!! Get his ridability more confirmed....as you have already found out, this can cause an issue and sometimes a very serious issue. He needs to learn to hold a bouncy powerful canter and he needs to add that stride or he is going to get in big trouble when there is a bounce or other serious question on the out. Once they learn to start leaving those strides out in and out of the water, it is really hard to undo.

              Good luck!!!
              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                Is the issue launching in...or what sounds to me like you lose your canter. Like he gets long in his stride. If it is the latter...I say school him....well actually....I'd say school him in either case!!! Get his ridability more confirmed....as you have already found out, this can cause an issue and sometimes a very serious issue. He needs to learn to hold a bouncy powerful canter and he needs to add that stride or he is going to get in big trouble when there is a bounce or other serious question on the out. Once they learn to start leaving those strides out in and out of the water, it is really hard to undo.

                Good luck!!!
                Yes, exactly. It isn't so much the getting in part that is the issue. While I do have to ride him conservatively so he doesn't cannonball (a coach I often ride with prefers I ride him more boldly in, which in theory I understand, but in the heat of the moment, it often proves a better choice to rein in the enthusiasm a bit), he is actually pretty good with jumping or dropping in. Our problem lies somewhere between the entrance and the exit/next question, and I do think it is directly related to his canter. I think the canter disappears or he gets all "Make a BIG SPLASH!!!" (his favorite pastime) and next thing I know he launches us at whatever we're supposed to be jumping, not realizing the toll the drag of the water takes on his power.

                So, bfne, what you're saying is my idea is a good one, yes?
                Amanda

                Comment


                • #9
                  DD struggles with the same kind of boldness with her horse. When she was at LAZ's camp one of the people watching made the comment that her horse looked like a teenage boy yelling cannonball. If that doesn't give you the visual image .... I do believe that the horse really likes the splash.

                  And I do take issue with this b/c I have not seen clinicians really give this any attention and it hurts that it is not addressed at the lower levels. Launching is recently discussed here on the other riding drops thread. Launching is hard on the horse's front legs and it compromises adjustability.

                  Trot in, at the drop loosen the reins or ride on the buckle and kick to get the horse to drop down. Slow down the approach to school it.

                  yes overly enthusiastic bold horses are fun but they have their special problems. That could be another whole thread topic - how to ride overly bold horses at the LL to school them correctly vs take the passenger ride. That was just addressed at a Diana Rich clinic that DD just rode in this past weekend at Flying Cross and bless her for stepping up and drilling that point.
                  Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Again, for clarification, the issue is not getting in. He is bold in, but is usually polite and clever and gets in neatly without a lot of fuss. It is the getting out or over the next obstacle (ie, a jump in the water), that is our problem. He launches us OUT of the water, often leaving a stride out.
                    Amanda

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      sorry I missed your post #8 while I was typing
                      Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Devil's Advocate here.

                        Sometimes when I have issues with something and I can't seem to get control of the problem I'll try the exact opposite of what my brain tells me to do.

                        Try riding more forward and not asking for collection. Close the distance to that gap and maybe you'll get to the fence just right every time?

                        Water is easy. Water creates drag. It creates greater ROM through the stifle and shoulder. Having that much "jump" through the gallop stride makes it easy to take off long. I think the horses feel a little big high and mighty.

                        Since water already creates drag, that is kind of a free half halt.

                        Kick.

                        ?
                        Sounds like he has it under control. lol
                        http://kaboomeventing.com/
                        http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                        Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Ahh, but here's the rub, nurp. I rode very boldly forward to the rolltop we came a cropper at.

                          Last weekend, I held on a bit, but still kicked. Long one (also wonder if he just didn't READ that one well, as there was about 6ft of dry land on the takeoff side).

                          When I schooled a few weeks ago, he was a little drowsy when we played in the water (I was being a good BM/farm rep and had been chatting up some people who had hauled in to school prior to us playing in the water). He was quiet, and had been splashing around in the water for 15 minutes, so when we DID stuff, he was pretty la-de-da about it. He popped in and quietly cantered across and out over a rolltop a couple of times, nice, reasonable distances each time. He wasn't in "ATTACK" mode, more like "I'm bored" mode.

                          I don't know where I was going with that....
                          Amanda

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                            Yes, exactly. It isn't so much the getting in part that is the issue. While I do have to ride him conservatively so he doesn't cannonball (a coach I often ride with prefers I ride him more boldly in, which in theory I understand, but in the heat of the moment, it often proves a better choice to rein in the enthusiasm a bit), he is actually pretty good with jumping or dropping in. Our problem lies somewhere between the entrance and the exit/next question, and I do think it is directly related to his canter. I think the canter disappears or he gets all "Make a BIG SPLASH!!!" (his favorite pastime) and next thing I know he launches us at whatever we're supposed to be jumping, not realizing the toll the drag of the water takes on his power.

                            So, bfne, what you're saying is my idea is a good one, yes?

                            Yes practice. You need to get the half halt installed even if he is having fun with the water. Might take some halts and trotting for a while. If he's like my two that are like this...if you hold...they just lengthen more against your hand. You do have to use a lot of leg to keep the power behind...but not hold with your hands. He has to get light and bouncy but with power like you do in show jumping. It is very similar.
                            Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Apr. 15, 2013, 04:16 PM.
                            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                              Last weekend, I held on a bit, but still kicked. Long one (also wonder if he just didn't READ that one well, as there was about 6ft of dry land on the takeoff side).
                              What happens if you drop or loop your reins? I find that many many horses, particularly TBs, tend to go at the pressure, and thus they will be much more likely to launch if you are holding onto their mouths. With my wants-to-be-hotter-TB, I find he will go incredibly softly and just pour into and out of the water if he has a very soft, allowing contact, but the second I start taking a feel or hold on, he'll often try to leave one out. Thus, I have schooled him before by cantering through the water a few times with a loop in the reins and riding him off seat and leg - he settled right into a lovely soft feel. Grab a neck strap and ride the rhythm rather than the bank out.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Perhaps you are really under-riding him on the in so he feels the need to land and go when he is in the water. A lot of clever xc horses can land and see their distances to the next fence even when in the water. If you come in too conservatively then he might be trying to make his distance. Maybe try coming in with more power like your coach wants and then see if that helps him settle to the second element.
                                Hanlon's Razor

                                Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I have nothing constructive to add, but if I ever come off in a water jump I hope someone gets an awesome picture of it like yours.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    GS- looping the reins is how I was *taught* to ride out of the water and has helped me with a couple of other horses. But, I'm gun shy now since that's how I rode that rolltop in the water last year...boldly forward with a loop. It may just be that Toby needs more education and time.

                                    I don't think I'm under riding him. He's a hard horse to under ride, especially when he's gung-ho. He's a powerful little horse with a big engine, so I can scrub off some speed, package him a bit, and ride a him quietly without losing power. He FEELS quite powerful in the water, but I'm just not sure all that power is going in the direction it needs to. Which is why I wonder if just working on our canter in and out of the water might be the right medicine. My thought is doing basically a xc version of an exercise he and I do routinely on the flat-forward for X number of strides, then collect for X number of strides.
                                    Amanda

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Some really great advice. For the most part, given my level, it is food for thought, but I did have an idea that could just be dumb (and please say so I learn), but since the issue is him getting to bold/attacking once in the water, what if after landing you schooled him back to trot and just trot out (no jumps, banks, or logs). Then try that just adding a jump in the water, but a simple out, then finally the whole thing once you feel you can adjust him after the drop. Perhaps running through that exercise a few times will get him to understand that when you mean whoa, it don't mean go. It also may give you a tool in the box that, if even for a stride or two, gets his brain back in the game. This came to me because lately I've been learning how to get Sterling underneath me and still forward of my leg by using my core/seat/leg, and less hand. Like a stadium canter, but with the power of cross country to back it up.

                                      (Another thought, run through the water, no jumps at all, but work on adjustability, like ask for trot (or even walk) in the middle of the pool, then back to the next gait up. Wait till you are in the water, then surprise him and expect the answer. We so focus on *jumping* in cross country that sometimes we forget some of the best learning tools are on the ground).

                                      Anyway, I'm glad you shared your issue for it has become a learning exercise for me.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by JP60 View Post
                                        Some really great advice. For the most part, given my level, it is food for thought, but I did have an idea that could just be dumb (and please say so I learn), but since the issue is him getting to bold/attacking once in the water, what if after landing you schooled him back to trot and just trot out (no jumps, banks, or logs). Then try that just adding a jump in the water, but a simple out, then finally the whole thing once you feel you can adjust him after the drop. Perhaps running through that exercise a few times will get him to understand that when you mean whoa, it don't mean go. It also may give you a tool in the box that, if even for a stride or two, gets his brain back in the game. This came to me because lately I've been learning how to get Sterling underneath me and still forward of my leg by using my core/seat/leg, and less hand. Like a stadium canter, but with the power of cross country to back it up.

                                        (Another thought, run through the water, no jumps at all, but work on adjustability, like ask for trot (or even walk) in the middle of the pool, then back to the next gait up. Wait till you are in the water, then surprise him and expect the answer. We so focus on *jumping* in cross country that sometimes we forget some of the best learning tools are on the ground).

                                        Anyway, I'm glad you shared your issue for it has become a learning exercise for me.
                                        Excellent thoughts! Thank you.
                                        Amanda

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