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GUACAMOLYI

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  • GUACAMOLYI

    This horse is kind, smart and willing. In fact he is almost perfect. He is excellent on the flat and over cavaletti (sp?). He has just started showing in the 2'6" division. The problem is that he does not understand what we are trying to tell him.
    He is soft mouthed and has a lovely topline. But, if he is asked to shorten his stride, he flattens this topline and leaves the ground "chin first" --- and his front end is cringe-worthy.


    If John French was his only rider, he would win anything. But few mortals ride like John (and other BNR's).
    The horse is so light and willing that any'strong' riding would be a punishment to him. Right now we are doing tons of quiet downward transitions, using lots of leg so he starts his transition from behind, as opposed to his current style. I am sure this will help, but I am wondering if there are other things that could be done. TIA
    "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism" https://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/c...lies/smile.gif

  • #2
    Have you done much gridwork with him? Carefully and correctly set, the jumps and poles will tell him what to do, so the rider doesn't have to so much.

    Comment


    • #3
      I would focus on solid correct dressage. He needs to understand the the changes within the gait more than upward and downward transitions. So does his rider(s)
      _\\]
      -- * > hoopoe
      Procrastinate NOW
      Introverted Since 1957

      Comment


      • #4
        This is not that unusual for a green bean. Collection is hard. I personally like small bounce exercises to help this. You can start by trotting them so the distance to the first one isn’t an issue. He will figure out the mechanics a little better. And working on the flatwork where he learns how to collect without a lot of rein aid. Spirals in and out, transitions, etc.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Oh dear, I forgot to mention that I bought him as a dressage horse and, after 2 years, he convinced us that he really, really hates dressage. He has wonderful basics from those years; His flat work is incredible. And he jumps in good form generally. It is just when he is asked to shorten his stride when approaching a fence that he has this .
          issue.
          .
          Sadly he failed Gridwork 101. We stopped it before he hurt himself, hitting every rail, and all.

          This makes him sound like a puke, but he isn't. To look at him, he takes your breath away. He is poetry in motion when trotting and cantering. And he jumps well out of stride. He has a superb work ethic and really wants to be good. But there is mental block about adjusting for a jump. He lengthens and shortens fine on the flat.....but....
          "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism" https://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/c...lies/smile.gif

          Comment


          • #6
            I'd guess that he's on his forehand too much.

            If he failed gridwork, the it could be because he doesn't like to use his hindend for whatever reason. If he hated dressage, it could be because he doesn't like to use his hindend for whatever reason. There is something going on or not going on back there. If he rocks back and propels himself over the jump correctly, his front end shouldn't fall apart.

            It is somewhat concerning to fail grid work, but that's just my opinion. Even my less athletic or less enthusiastic horses have pulled together decent grids. Is this grid work with or without a rider? Grid work can also begin with just poles before they become raised into jumps. I think doing grids or "courses" of poles is valuable and adjustment can be worked on without worrying about jump height. That can be introduced again later.
            ​​​​​​
            It just sounds like (without seeing it) that he has a hole in his basics and isn't truly engaged in the hind end. Could be a stength thing too.

            Even the simple exercise of two poles set up as a line. Try for 8 normal, nice, fluid strides in the line, then see if you can get 9 shorter strides, or 7 long strides. Play back and forth with it.

            Comment


            • #7
              If he was happy in dressage before you bought him and after 2 years of you training him he is unhappy then the problem is the type of dressage you are doing. Correct riding in dressage means a happy horse.

              If you have been training him for 2 years, why is he still being classed as 'green'? Unless he was unridden for a long time due to injury.

              I agree with above with changing strides between poles and bounces and introduce grids more slowly.
              It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by SuzieQNutter View Post
                If he was happy in dressage before you bought him and after 2 years of you training him he is unhappy then the problem is the type of dressage you are doing. Correct riding in dressage means a happy horse.

                If you have been training him for 2 years, why is he still being classed as 'green'? Unless he was unridden for a long time due to injury.

                I agree with above with changing strides between poles and bounces and introduce grids more slowly.

                He may have been fine with green under saddle dressage, or Training level dressage but not fond of the boring every day routine of flat work, or asking of more complicated movements. It's not uncommon for a hunter person to call a horse jumping 2' 6" as green. Green doesn't mean 30 days under saddle to everyone.

                What kind of bit does he have? Does your trainer use the bit to slow him down or his seat? He sounds very soft and your trainer might be used to a stronger ride.
                http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  OP, you nailed it when you said that John French could ride him but no one else could.

                  From your description, I think your nice young horse has four problems.

                  1. He hasn't been taught to lengthen or come back from the angle of the rider's body. IMO, that is John French's signature move-- he asks for more or less stride with his shoulders first and picks up his hand second.

                  If you had your rider stay up in her two-point and merely bring her hand back to ask for collection, I think you'd see that horrible flattening-out response you described.

                  2. If he spent the first part of his life in Dressage World, he was taught a different relationship with the bit than the one we want in our hunters. As you know, dressage horses are supposed to "fill up the rein," or find the bit and press into it all.the.time. That's a tough way to go around a 2'6" course in the hunter ring. And dressage riders are up rght in their position and can produce a very strong, "full" half-halt signal with their hip and lower obs. That's way more "ride" or signal given from the body than a hunter rider typically offers a horse cantering around a course. To put it another way, the rider's very vertical body position helps to always invite the horse's center of gravity up and back. And so much of the rider's body is connected to the horse's back that he can do lots of his riding and small corrections of balance with his seat and leg. We have a tad less of that as hunter riders, but I'll tell you what: I think John French maximizes the butt and body-angle aids that a rider in some sort of a two-point can use. That's his brilliance, I think.

                  So the second suggestion I'd make is that your rider add to French's nice style of asking for collection with his hip angle with reminding your rider to imitate a dressage rider for her half halts-- not only open her upper body, but lower her seat so that she can feel all there points of bone-- both sitting bones and her pubis-- on the saddle during her moment of half-halt. In other words, this horse needs a full-body half-halt (like what he would have had from his dressage rider). This is not the same as just sitting on him/on her jeans pockets all the way around like a European jumper rider.

                  But if I were trying to teach this horse to lengthen and shorten in the canter while having that lighter feel in my hand that we use in hunter world, I might sit on him and use my body first and before my much-lighter-than-dressage-hand to teach him that the new signal for lengthening and shortening is my shoulder angle and than lighter hand,

                  I would do this on the flat, then I'd do it with cavaletti. But that part is a whole 'nother explanation. When you say he is "perfect" over cavaletti, does that mean you could "jump" and entire course of poles and cross rails with him opening his stride and coming back without his chin going out?

                  3. Your horse (like almost all of our horses all of the time) could be stronger. IMO, (and I'm not as confident in this opinion as my others above), dressage horses are really not taught how to maintain their balance in the longer, lower more forwardly-balanced frame that we'd ask a hunter to jump in. No, hunters are not just puking on the forehand; there is an actual more forward form of balance. The difficulty of being able to trust that forward balance and remain rideable in it probably comes from the fact that because dressage folk do tons at the trot and then almost always canter in an uphill way. Their horses are not taught how to gallop on a bit and find their balance in our longer frame and then make fine adjustments within it the way we want while on course. So, again, I think you have to teach this new skill to your horse.

                  So when you guys do have him in that frame, he's good so long as you don't ask anything of him. But if you pick up the reins (as all of us who are not John French would) and ask him to shorten with too much hand and not enough opening/sitting body, the first thing he says is "Oh, shit! You are going to want me to tuck my chin and I can't because then I'll fall on my nose with my head so low and close to my chest. He's sticking his chin out in order to put his head where he thinks it needs to be in order to keep from falling over. And he's right: Because if he merely tucked his chin, but didn't raise his shoulders in that flat frame, he would fall on his nose. And so he's telling you what John French and very good dressagists know: It's not about the head and reins. Rather, in order to shorten, it's about rocking back, raising the ribcage between the shoulder blades and moving the center of gravity back and down. Think about his center of gravity moving from about just behind the rider's knee to a point just behind the bulge of the rider's calf.

                  What you can see in this little horse's ugly reaction is the especially hard biomechanical feat we hunter folks ask of horses-- without our sitting up and back to help them lift up their front end and rock back, we'd like them to do that. Dressage riders don't ask that, but rather support the head and neck with hand. Even Western Pleasure riders who want their horses' heads so low don't ask so much-- they are sitting well back to make that more hind-end balance point easy. And they don't have the momentum of a gallop AND they start with horses selectively bred to build incredible isometric strength in those uber-muscled bodies. The hunter horse enjoys none of these advantages.

                  4. In addition to his not trusting the forward balance (so that he loses rideability under the threat of falling over), he's also a tad threatened by the addition of an obstacle that he has to see, size up and get over. As for so many green horses (and those not started really right), the jump creates a conflict of interest for the horse who also has to listen to his rider. That's why an accurate and tactful ride (with lots of "cheat rails" to help the horse learn to jump and jump while staying in peaceful cooperation with his rider) is so key and a real strength of the way good American hunter trainers teach horses to jump. So if your horse is truly perfect and super-ratable over a course of cavaletti, I think you all just need more practice staying rideable at the canter and courses that intersperse jumps with poles on the ground. This was something Gary Duffy taught me once and it was fabulous for keeping a horse's mind soft, slow and pliable while on course.

                  Another hunter pro also explained to me a special problem for dressage-to-jumping converts. She explained that we dressage riders spend a lot of time trying to get our horses to focus their attention inwards, into their body and on the very small and complex set of signals we give them with our body. Witness the ears turned back and look of intense concentration on the look of Olympic Dressage horses. Now compare that to the look of Olympic Jumping horses. You can see that the jumping horse's attention is absolutely turned outward, toward the world (and the obstacle) that he will have to get over himself. So her point was that dressage horses like yours really might have something to re-learn with respect to poles and jumps because their past training took away that outward focus.

                  This might be way he failed at grids early on. It also might be part of the reason he can negotiate simple cavaletti-- or even complex cavaletti grids at the trot where his balance is more solid, but gets defensive about his balance when galloping to, say, an oxer or a single fence without a cheat rail. That thing presents enough of a challenge to him that he reverts to being self-preserving and a tad unrideable in that moment of where he's not sure where to put is attention in order to be able to safely get himself to the other side of the fence.

                  If you think this is his problem, I think you have a really regular kind of problem that all horses learning to jump have to figure out-- that conflict of interest between self-preservation and listening to a rider under the pressure of having ot not crash into a jump they are cantering toward. More cheat rails, more slow, boring rides while jumping. All that will help.

                  So get him strong, ride him like John French and a good dressagist-- body before hand-- and teach him that he's safe in has balance at that lick you'd like him to use on course.
                  Last edited by mvp; Jan. 24, 2020, 09:50 AM.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    MVP that was an amazing post! I just got schooled on questions I didn't even know I had. I recognized the dressage moves, had no idea there was so much difference in the way a 'hunter' rider rides. Knowing this actually explains some questions I had concerning a hunter rider I knew who had some problems.


                    Comment


                    • #11
                      mvp super interesting post! Lots of food for though for this HJ rider who has always struggled with the concept of proper, effective, smooth halt-halts.

                      Regarding the OP, my initial thought is that I probably wouldn’t dismiss gridwork. If there is truly a disqualifying safety issue, so be it, but gridwork is an integral part of jump schooling. The fact that he struggles with grids seems connected to the issue you describe. Perhaps a soundness/strength issue as others mentioned, perhaps something else. I would never say that a green horse shouldn’t jump anything else until they have mastered gridwork, but it seems like you may have reached a point in his career where that lack of comfort/skill is no longer finesse-able. Can you take several steps back at this point and really tackle gridwork from the very beginning? Like two poles on the ground, working up in number of fences and height from there? Even better, a jump chute, where he can hop through and figure out rocking back on his own time?
                      Last edited by Redlei44; Jan. 24, 2020, 02:37 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I thought this article particularly relevant to this thread.
                        https://www.noellefloyd.com/blogs/sp...horse-routines

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think you have to take grids waaay back to basics. Set 2 bounce poles. Do those till boring. Move up to very small Xs. Trot in then leave him alone. If the bounce is too hard for whatever reason go with a 1 stride, trotting in, still small. But really a bounce is preferable for this situation. Trot them forever. Then trot in and canter out some lines.

                          Then canter a jump on a circle. The circle keeps you from pulling both reins. That might be making him more nervous than what you are asking for (the shortening). Keep it super low so it is just a speed bump. Gradually up the jump on the circle. The circle helps to keep the stride shorter too. And avoid the move up distance as much as possible. Do this till boring. Then increase the height a little and repeat, alternating with days of the bounces and days of simple line exercises.

                          Remind your rider that no matter how ugly it gets trying to shorten him, let go at the jump, over the jump, and for a few strides on landing (while turning with an opening rein if applicable). Relaxation will increase. Then you are ready for courses.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Echo mvp.

                            In my opinion....

                            Consider the ability of the horse to be "ridden from the rider's seat" as a diagnostic test indicating the level of education the horse has mastered for understanding the seat aids of a rider.

                            Think of how the riders of western reining horses use their backs to control the length and tempo of the horses stride.
                            The horse is trained to "follow" the riders seat, as the rider makes subtile body and balance changes in their "syntonization" with the horse's movement and balance.

                            When the rider intentionally slows their body-motion-syntonization behind that of the horse, the horse adjusts their gate to bring themselves back into syntonization with the rider.

                            If you watch videos of John French riding and look for his horse responding to his changes in his body-motion-syntonization, you can learn to see the relationship between rider seat aids and horse responding to them.

                            Another issue to consider can occur with certain horses who are having issues with lack of trust with, either or both, rider balance, and/or the horse's own balance over a fence.

                            The biomechanics of a jumping horse.... include the horse using their head motion as a function for fine tuning the balance of their body in preparation for, and during, the five phases of jumping... Approach, Takeoff, Flight (bascule), Landing, and Recovery.

                            Some horses may become fearful of rider interference with their ability to freely use their head. This could theoretically lead to a horse attempting to find ways of compensating their jumping form in response to the commands of a rider.

                            The horse can learn to compensate to it's perception of rider interference, by their using their body in a manner that "the horse perceives as necessary", to keep themselves safely in a controlled state of "compensating balance" adjusted for the commands of it's rider.

                            Such horses may need more education in learning to use their body over fences.

                            Careful, safe, and educated use of side-reins by an experienced trainer. Is a method I have used and have known to be used. For lounging a horse up and down it's gates, as a method of helping a horse to learn to balance it's body in compensation to head movement restriction.

                            Side-reins must only be used by those who learned to used them properly, as improper use, or suddenly placing a horse in them, can lead to rearing, tripping, stumbling, and falling.

                            I personally prefer side reins that include a length of elastic incorporated that allows for give and stretch.

                            IMO. Side reins should always be introduced adjusted long so as not to restrain the horses head. Care must be used in positioning Side reins to prevent the horse from putting it's head down and having front legs become entangled.

                            Many trainers will not jump a horse on a lunge line while in side reins. Although I've seen it done.

                            I personally feel the best use for lounging in side reins, is simple transition work, then possibly later introducing a safe number of ground poles to a lunge circle, to allow the horse to learn balance while stepping over poles.

                            I am not recommending anyone use side reins. Use side reins at your own risk.

                            My intent in bringing up their use is only to convey the purpose for which I have known them to be used, and the purpose I have known others to use side reins.

                            I'll reiterate... Side reins can be a dangerous training tool, and can potential result in injury to horses and people.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I agree with posts above.

                              Dressage horses are taught to go in long and low in walk, trot and canter, which essentially is an on the forehand exercise so you do have that to start with.

                              The attitude to dressage above is incorrect. Dressage is not drilling, it is not boring. The levels are made to keep both a horse and rider from getting bored. If he can't handle it, too much pressure has been applied too quickly for his level of understanding.

                              That same attitude has been brought in to the jumping with facing him up to grids that he is not physically able to handle, because the basics to handle it have not been instilled because the rider will see that as drilling and boring.

                              Side reins do not kill and maim horses, it is the people using them incorrectly that kill and maim horses. They should never pull a horses head in. I will be absolutely controversial and say that I cut the rubber rings off side reins. Elasticised side reins can teach a horse to pull and lean. Solid side reins do not.

                              It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                It sounds like he is just confused by the difference in rider positions from a hunter versus dressage rider and needs to get used to adjusting within the gaits by someone riding in a lighter seat. He is likely offended because he is used to the rider starting these adjustments with their seat or subtle weight shifts first and now all of a sudden he's got riders asking him to do something he knows he can do but in a completely foreign way. He probably feels as though he is being yelled at.

                                He also likely needs to learn to jump from a variety of distances comfortably, so I would work on very simple gridwork with him or even put him through a chute to build his confidence.

                                My favourite baby hunter schooling exercise is a set of 3-4 trot poles placed at 4'6", then 9 feet between the last of the trot pole set to a cross rail, then an 18 foot one stride to a vertical, followed by a 21 foot one stride to a square oxer. The jumps can be low, and the idea of the striding is such that it allows the horse to flow and open up. It is not a gymnastic meant to challenge the horse but rather a simple gymnastic meant to build confidence. This is a horse where I would be very careful to set him up with exercises that can teach him to adjust and be successful without much rider interference. From there, you can slowly increase to slightly more difficult gridwork requiring increased levels of rider input to set him up, but I would not start going crazy with bounces or a lot of difficulty as these require too much rider input for the set up and may frazzle him.

                                Essentially, I would train him as I would a horse who was over faced or a stopper, as if he continues to feel offended, you may end up there anyway.
                                Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I have a horse who had a great deal of trouble figuring out trot poles, and starter grids. I longed him over a very basic, very small, trot poles to one stride grid and discovered the problem. His natural, comfortable stride is too big for standard spacing.

                                  Yes, grids set to standard help the horse find a steady stride and learn to adjust their approach with less rider input.

                                  But...

                                  The horse may need to learn what's expected before learning about changing his stride. Mine just kept trying to get over the tiny jumps, but couldn't do it with any steadiness or consistency in his gaits. It worried him. He wasn't just a few inches off in the one stride, I think I had to set the (trot in, remember) one stride at 21'. Which is three feet longer than standard - no wonder he couldn't figure out how to adjust!

                                  Set the grid spacing to suit the horse until he understands the game, then adjust in small increments.
                                  ​​​​

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Can you go somewhere with a Hitchcock pen? I had one that had to figure it out without a rider. Took him a few face plants, but once he took responsibility for his own outcome he was great at adjustability
                                    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
                                    carolprudm

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by mroades View Post
                                      Can you go somewhere with a Hitchcock pen? I had one that had to figure it out without a rider. Took him a few face plants, but once he took responsibility for his own outcome he was great at adjustability
                                      sounds perfect. What is a Hitchcock Pen?
                                      "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism" https://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/c...lies/smile.gif

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                        OP, you nailed it when you said that John French could ride him but no one else could.

                                        From your description, I think your nice young horse has four problems.

                                        1. He hasn't been taught to lengthen or come back from the angle of the rider's body. IMO, that is John French's signature move-- he asks for more or less stride with his shoulders first and picks up his hand second.

                                        If you had your rider stay up in her two-point and merely bring her hand back to ask for collection, I think you'd see that horrible flattening-out response you described.

                                        2. If he spent the first part of his life in Dressage World, he was taught a different relationship with the bit than the one we want in our hunters. As you know, dressage horses are supposed to "fill up the rein," or find the bit and press into it all.the.time. That's a tough way to go around a 2'6" course in the hunter ring. And dressage riders are up rght in their position and can produce a very strong, "full" half-halt signal with their hip and lower obs. That's way more "ride" or signal given from the body than a hunter rider typically offers a horse cantering around a course. To put it another way, the rider's very vertical body position helps to always invite the horse's center of gravity up and back. And so much of the rider's body is connected to the horse's back that he can do lots of his riding and small corrections of balance with his seat and leg. We have a tad less of that as hunter riders, but I'll tell you what: I think John French maximizes the butt and body-angle aids that a rider in some sort of a two-point can use. That's his brilliance, I think.

                                        So the second suggestion I'd make is that your rider add to French's nice style of asking for collection with his hip angle with reminding your rider to imitate a dressage rider for her half halts-- not only open her upper body, but lower her seat so that she can feel all there points of bone-- both sitting bones and her pubis-- on the saddle during her moment of half-halt. In other words, this horse needs a full-body half-halt (like what he would have had from his dressage rider). This is not the same as just sitting on him/on her jeans pockets all the way around like a European jumper rider.

                                        But if I were trying to teach this horse to lengthen and shorten in the canter while having that lighter feel in my hand that we use in hunter world, I might sit on him and use my body first and before my much-lighter-than-dressage-hand to teach him that the new signal for lengthening and shortening is my shoulder angle and than lighter hand,

                                        I would do this on the flat, then I'd do it with cavaletti. But that part is a whole 'nother explanation. When you say he is "perfect" over cavaletti, does that mean you could "jump" and entire course of poles and cross rails with him opening his stride and coming back without his chin going out?

                                        3. Your horse (like almost all of our horses all of the time) could be stronger. IMO, (and I'm not as confident in this opinion as my others above), dressage horses are really not taught how to maintain their balance in the longer, lower more forwardly-balanced frame that we'd ask a hunter to jump in. No, hunters are not just puking on the forehand; there is an actual more forward form of balance. The difficulty of being able to trust that forward balance and remain rideable in it probably comes from the fact that because dressage folk do tons at the trot and then almost always canter in an uphill way. Their horses are not taught how to gallop on a bit and find their balance in our longer frame and then make fine adjustments within it the way we want while on course. So, again, I think you have to teach this new skill to your horse.

                                        So when you guys do have him in that frame, he's good so long as you don't ask anything of him. But if you pick up the reins (as all of us who are not John French would) and ask him to shorten with too much hand and not enough opening/sitting body, the first thing he says is "Oh, shit! You are going to want me to tuck my chin and I can't because then I'll fall on my nose with my head so low and close to my chest. He's sticking his chin out in order to put his head where he thinks it needs to be in order to keep from falling over. And he's right: Because if he merely tucked his chin, but didn't raise his shoulders in that flat frame, he would fall on his nose. And so he's telling you what John French and very good dressagists know: It's not about the head and reins. Rather, in order to shorten, it's about rocking back, raising the ribcage between the shoulder blades and moving the center of gravity back and down. Think about his center of gravity moving from about just behind the rider's knee to a point just behind the bulge of the rider's calf.

                                        What you can see in this little horse's ugly reaction is the especially hard biomechanical feat we hunter folks ask of horses-- without our sitting up and back to help them lift up their front end and rock back, we'd like them to do that. Dressage riders don't ask that, but rather support the head and neck with hand. Even Western Pleasure riders who want their horses' heads so low don't ask so much-- they are sitting well back to make that more hind-end balance point easy. And they don't have the momentum of a gallop AND they start with horses selectively bred to build incredible isometric strength in those uber-muscled bodies. The hunter horse enjoys none of these advantages.

                                        4. In addition to his not trusting the forward balance (so that he loses rideability under the threat of falling over), he's also a tad threatened by the addition of an obstacle that he has to see, size up and get over. As for so many green horses (and those not started really right), the jump creates a conflict of interest for the horse who also has to listen to his rider. That's why an accurate and tactful ride (with lots of "cheat rails" to help the horse learn to jump and jump while staying in peaceful cooperation with his rider) is so key and a real strength of the way good American hunter trainers teach horses to jump. So if your horse is truly perfect and super-ratable over a course of cavaletti, I think you all just need more practice staying rideable at the canter and courses that intersperse jumps with poles on the ground. This was something Gary Duffy taught me once and it was fabulous for keeping a horse's mind soft, slow and pliable while on course.

                                        Another hunter pro also explained to me a special problem for dressage-to-jumping converts. She explained that we dressage riders spend a lot of time trying to get our horses to focus their attention inwards, into their body and on the very small and complex set of signals we give them with our body. Witness the ears turned back and look of intense concentration on the look of Olympic Dressage horses. Now compare that to the look of Olympic Jumping horses. You can see that the jumping horse's attention is absolutely turned outward, toward the world (and the obstacle) that he will have to get over himself. So her point was that dressage horses like yours really might have something to re-learn with respect to poles and jumps because their past training took away that outward focus.

                                        This might be way he failed at grids early on. It also might be part of the reason he can negotiate simple cavaletti-- or even complex cavaletti grids at the trot where his balance is more solid, but gets defensive about his balance when galloping to, say, an oxer or a single fence without a cheat rail. That thing presents enough of a challenge to him that he reverts to being self-preserving and a tad unrideable in that moment of where he's not sure where to put is attention in order to be able to safely get himself to the other side of the fence.

                                        If you think this is his problem, I think you have a really regular kind of problem that all horses learning to jump have to figure out-- that conflict of interest between self-preservation and listening to a rider under the pressure of having ot not crash into a jump they are cantering toward. More cheat rails, more slow, boring rides while jumping. All that will help.

                                        So get him strong, ride him like John French and a good dressagist-- body before hand-- and teach him that he's safe in has balance at that lick you'd like him to use on course.
                                        HOLY GUACAMOLE! Thank you. I have been doing some things right (and I have a Hitchcock pen, but I never heard that name for it). I know that a downward transition is actually 3 separate movements --- 1. prepare yourself for the transition (sit straighter, add leg, slightly lift hands) 2, prepare your horse for the transition ( wait until your change in body, leg and hand have been communicated to the horse, and that he understands what is about to happen) 3. Ask for the transition (and do not change your body/leg/hand until the transition is complete.

                                        But I have not translated that knowledge to a green horse ---ESPECIALLY one who has only known the "inner looking frame" of dressage..

                                        MVP, I know we probably know each other, but perhaps we never actually met. It would be nice to do so.

                                        PPS: I used John French as my example because I met him when he was riding for Patty, and brought him out to the Bay Area when I was living there. When I moved back to the East coast, I realized the folly of my plan.
                                        "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism" https://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/c...lies/smile.gif

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