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Critique of my OTTB's horse show

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  • Critique of my OTTB's horse show

    I just got back from the TB celebration horse show at the Virginia Horse Center last weekend. While Forrest is still learning a lot, I was really proud of him. The last five months we have really gotten down to the nitty gritty teaching him about head and body carriage and that he COULD canter and jump a course with his head down, he would make a fantastic jumper!

    I was just wondering if you guys could tell me what you think? I know he isnt perfect and we are working on our changes, as you can see his reaction in the videos, but Id love to hear what you have to say!

    Brief background: I got him about a 2 years ago severely underweight and with a back SI problem. After a long battle, I finally got him healthy and started working with him just under a year ago. I do believe the first video gives a "brief" background information as well!

    Thanks!

    2'3 Warm-up
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KyrQkgX6nE

    2'6 Warm-up
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mY4YT6amW3s

    Here are a couple proud moment photos!
    http://csyoung.smugmug.com/Horse-Sho...927_nf8z4-A-LB

    http://csyoung.smugmug.com/Horse-Sho...681_fyj2s-A-LB
    Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
    Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
    Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
    Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

  • #2
    Hey CS...I've watched a few of your threads with this horse, and I do see improvement. He looks a hundred times better physically.

    I think your biggest problem is your hands. You need to shorten your reins, considerably. If you ride with a martingale, you can use the neck strap as the guide as to how far in front of you you want your hands, always at or in front of the strap, never behind.

    What I see going on is your reins are too long and you have no steady to contact to push the horse into. Your hands being in your lap is causing you to get to the back of your saddle and you're behind the motion. Your horse lifts his head and hollows out as a result.

    Your hands are too low, you need to lift them up. You cannot pull his head down by lowering your hands, which is what I feel like you are trying to do. By having such a low hand in your lap, you cause him to resist with the underside of his neck muscles as you are pulling downward on the bars of his mouth. Lift your hand up, drive him into steady contact with shorter reins and I think you will have a horse that learns to drop into the contact on his own accord, not because you pulled him there. It seems counter intuitive, but with a high headed horse you must lift your hand and shorten your rein. If you watch the GM videos on the USEF website from the clinic he did with the Big Eq kids this year, he touches on this concept often.

    I think you also need to get up off his back and open and close your hip angle to stay with him, not behind him. Try to slide your seat closer to your pommel of your saddle and keep your leg under you.

    Overall, he is becoming a nice horse and you are staying nice and quiet with him and I think you have the potential to do really well with a few minor changes.
    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

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Spud&Saf View Post
      Hey CS...I've watched a few of your threads with this horse, and I do see improvement. He looks a hundred times better physically.

      I think your biggest problem is your hands. You need to shorten your reins, considerably. If you ride with a martingale, you can use the neck strap as the guide as to how far in front of you you want your hands, always at or in front of the strap, never behind.

      What I see going on is your reins are too long and you have no steady to contact to push the horse into. Your hands being in your lap is causing you to get to the back of your saddle and you're behind the motion. Your horse lifts his head and hollows out as a result.

      Your hands are too low, you need to lift them up. You cannot pull his head down by lowering your hands, which is what I feel like you are trying to do. By having such a low hand in your lap, you cause him to resist with the underside of his neck muscles as you are pulling downward on the bars of his mouth. Lift your hand up, drive him into steady contact with shorter reins and I think you will have a horse that learns to drop into the contact on his own accord, not because you pulled him there. It seems counter intuitive, but with a high headed horse you must lift your hand and shorten your rein. If you watch the GM videos on the USEF website from the clinic he did with the Big Eq kids this year, he touches on this concept often.

      I think you also need to get up off his back and open and close your hip angle to stay with him, not behind him. Try to slide your seat closer to your pommel of your saddle and keep your leg under you.

      Overall, he is becoming a nice horse and you are staying nice and quiet with him and I think you have the potential to do really well with a few minor changes.
      Thanks a bunch for the advice!! I always get yelled at by my trainer for not closing my hip angle and to slide forward more!

      I am actually suprised my hands were so low. At home we have been schooling with draw reins, attached to his chest, over the fences. And while I ride with them loose I have my hands forward more when practicing and higher. Guess I regressed when he was shooting his head up....will focus on that too!

      He's definitely willing to learn and tries hard to please and even lets me know when Im wrong, all the time, lol.
      Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
      Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
      Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
      Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

      Comment


      • #4
        With this one, for flatting I would put the draw reins between the legs to encourage him to work long and low and reach over his back. Draw reins to the chest encourages a more upright carriage and I think it's easier establish an inverted head set if you are not careful.

        Isn't it so funny to see what you're doing in a video vs what it feels like you're doing in real life?
        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

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Spud&Saf View Post
          With this one, for flatting I would put the draw reins between the legs to encourage him to work long and low and reach over his back. Draw reins to the chest encourages a more upright carriage and I think it's easier establish an inverted head set if you are not careful.

          Isn't it so funny to see what you're doing in a video vs what it feels like you're doing in real life?
          Oh yes very much so...cause I thought I was doing pretty well. looking at some of the pictures taken I also noticed I lean to the left BADLY...never felt like it while riding...lol Probably why we never got our lead changes
          Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
          Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
          Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
          Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

          Comment


          • #6
            Everything Spud said including the draw reins on the flat to the girth.

            With this type of horse; I would add up in the lines for a bit - you're not going to take away his step (unless you do it for the next year) & he's not ready to "flow" up the line - it will just encourage him to get quick & flat and of course makes it harder to control the corner/lead change.

            Having said that; it's never going to be pretty the first couple times out - it was pretty decent on the whole...seen A LOT worse
            \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River

            Comment


            • #7
              He's so cute!

              I was at that show over the weekend as "show mom" for my two best friends with OTTBs. Wanting my own just to participate in the Thoroughbred Celebration, what an awesome show! I heard your horse's name quite a few times and definitely LOLed. Love the name! I also think he's adorable and has a really nice jump according to those pictures. I'd definitely buy the second one! I really like his cute little trot. I saw him weaving a little between the outside line, probably a little hesitant. Just try to keep him straight, always easier said than done though! He also runs to the jumps, probably out of excitement. Maybe he'd like to be a jumper But he sure looks healthy, way to go with rescuing him, he's a lucky dude!

              Comment


              • #8
                The first thing I would work on if this were my horse would be to improve his response to the lateral aids.

                He really isn't steering well off your legs and seat and there are several times where he is counter-bent throwing his shoulder through your inside leg and slicing the turn after the line. He needs to learn respect that inside leg and go AROUND it in the turns, not through it.

                He would spend his longsides turning early off the shortside and legyielding out, and once that was solid he would immediately spend the majority of his straight lines in first position, shoulder-in, and shoulder-in entwickeln (developing). I do not think draw reins are necessary if you can get him off your inside leg and ride a correct shoulder in.

                Also I would clean up the transitions.
                For example in the 2'3" video the trot to canter transition was sticky, bulging in, and consitpated looking the first few strides instead of cantering off right away with a work ethic. You don't want to do a weak depart and then slide up to your pace; you want to bodly depart immediately into your pace.
                Also, up canter transitions do a better job setting up the canter if they come out of the walk or halt instead of sliding up from the trot.

                He would spend quite a bit of time with me doing transitions on a 20m circle. Walk 3 strides, trot 6 strides, walk 2 steps, canter FROM THE WALK 5 strides, trot 6 strides, walk 2 steps, canter FROM THE WALK 5 strides, repeat repeat repeat, with an eagle eye on his straightness so he can't do any haunches in or out evasions or start going sideways on the circle and staying polite to the bridle throughout.

                Also he needs to learn to you let regulate your pace from seat so that you can stay out of his face with your hands. Because his steering and pace control is so hand-dependant you are never able to let go and give him a hunter ride.
                The 20m transition circle helps with this if you ask with your seat first and foremost and only use your hands for back up. He is only allowed to canter large around the ring if he is politely carrying himself under your seat, not crashed up against the hand fighting the bridle. The second he gets quick he goes back on the transition circle as a reminder.

                I think he is a cute horse with a lot of potential.

                These are the little details that will really help you show him off.
                The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

                Comment


                • #9
                  I noticed the hands as well. You ride with them very low/in your lap between fences but then 1-2 strides away...as your horse picks his head up you suddenly lift up your hands which might be making him nervous to have that sudden contact right before a jump and then zero contact between jumps.

                  I was always taught (?) that lifting the hands down a line encourages a horse to open up their stride and I don't think that's what you are trying to do right before the jumps but it may be what your horse thinks you are asking him to do and then he probably gets frustrated when you lift suddenly and then hold. He's probably like are we going forward or are we holding back?

                  I think maybe working on him accepting light contact from your hands all the time (and riding him with light contact all the time instead of with hands in lap) will be hard since he's probably got a very sensitive mouth but in the end it will make him much happier than the intermittent contact. I would do it just in your flat work or work with ground poles until he's ready.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think he looks a little better even than at the last Barracks schooling show (although I didn't get to see you do a whole trip there), so you're definitely getting somewhere!
                    I agree that you need to shorten your reins. That way you can bend your elbows and raise your hands a bit, and actually use his mouth with a much smaller move. Right now you're pulling against yourself. Try to lift something with your hands low and elbows straight, doesn't work, right? As someone else mentioned, you are also a bit behind the horse and to the back of the saddle, but that's less a result of the long reins and more a cause. Your feet are getting in front of you to brace on, and they're pushing your seat back. You'll find everything a bit easier with your leg under you, and your horse might relax a bit more too.
                    Also, more release. I know it sounds counter productive, because you are having trouble slowing him down on the landing side. But I think in this case you're going to have more luck staying over longer and trying to get him to understand how to land softly and not anticipate you immediately taking his mouth. I think then he'll start to ride better on the backside.
                    I would also take the lead changes completely out of the picture for now. They're not necessary yet, and you'll get much more mileage out of doing the simple change on the straightaway.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Still trying to get to one of those shows, the weekends just don't seem to work out, though. Maybe by November...

                      I've seen you all go before, and the first thing that I noticed is that you appear to be more in the backseat during those two trips than I recall. What happens when you are off of his back using a less driving seat?

                      What's the plan with the changes in the future? I'm a "never-ever-bring-them-back-to-the-trot-to-catch-up" kind of person, as I feel it just encourages them to skip all. the. time. It looks like while he is protesting by flinging his head well above the bit, he's already anticipating being brought back to catch up.

                      Please don't take this the wrong way, but does he have to be a hunter? Is eventing or hunting and option for him? I know the first time someone told me that, I took offense until I realized that I was trying to force something that wasn't what the horse wanted to do. He still plays around in the hunters every now and then, but he just isn't happiest in that venue:
                      http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2...59196024HNaSdX

                      Good luck with him!
                      http://www.fouroaksfarmva.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Awww I like him! He looks like my kind of ride. He also looks like he maybe wants to be a jumper

                        I see he gets fussy when you take ahold of his face..and like the others said, if he was used to more contact, it wouldn't be such an offensive reaction when you take a little more hold. Trust me..I deal with this too bc I ride a lot like you...low, quiet hands and I tend to let my reins get a little too long so when I need the "whoa" it's more dramatic than it should be My trainer had me riding her 2nd horse for awhile and literally every course, before I cantered off, she'd say "shorter reins than you think you need, hand higher than you think they should be." And this worked well for me.

                        He's dead honest, looks like. Cute, cute horse.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks everyone!

                          I am definitely going to play around in the Jumpers, but at home he is amazing good a slow and steady AND changes. Yesterday he was a saint moving head long and low and relaxed. So I still have some hope for him being a hunter, but im not set on it and well see where he goes. I just tend to either get in his way too much or not there enough. The last two days we just did flat and worked on simple changes and transitions and he was fantastic no head raising or rushing and very relaxed. I know I get nervous and he is VERY sensitive which probably doesnt help in the show ring.

                          I am also learning and teaching him at the same time so its taking us a bit longer to learn versus me knowing what to do and teaching him. He has come miles in the last 5 months and very willing to learn which is why I have hopes for the hunter ring. At home we have been working on adding in the lines since if he takes a big spot out its a bit hard to handle afterwards but at the show they were rolling 4, 5's and 6's I felt like I was flying down the line, very opposite of what we were teaching him and so Sunday was the better day as the distances were easier to steady him and not let him get strung out. The smarter thing to do on the other days would have been to add in the stride, but he would fight me some days and I knew that really would look terrible since he does have a super sensitive mouth

                          I get yelled at all the time for sitting back, toes in, and told that I need to learn to stick my butt out with my legs UNDER me and a bit forward so they are at the girth versus behind....work in progress lol I am very proud of him and sadly those videos weren't even his best round, it was accidentally deleted but I do have more rounds coming from Saturday and Sunday.
                          Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
                          Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
                          Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
                          Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just realized I recognize you from somewhere....yep, we board at the same place! Small world. You guys look like you had a ton of fun at the show!

                            He does school much better at home. haha, of course...gotta test mom in front of a large crowd
                            Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                            White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                            Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Do you ever throw him on the lunge at the show to get his tenseness out? Just a thought.

                              He does look better than past videos. Keep up the good work. It will all come together at the show eventually. Its normal for that when you and he get nervous to revert back to old habits.
                              I love cats, I love every single cat....
                              So anyway I am a cat lover
                              And I love to run.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Beethoven View Post
                                Do you ever throw him on the lunge at the show to get his tenseness out? Just a thought.

                                He does look better than past videos. Keep up the good work. It will all come together at the show eventually. Its normal for that when you and he get nervous to revert back to old habits.
                                I actually have never done that. On Sunday, the third day, I tried a new routine which really seemed to help both of us get ready. I got on early and rode like I would a lesson. Worked on various parts we need work on and worked on lines and adding. He was fantastic then took the tack off and just let him settle before the show. Finally got on to do my first class warmed up slowly popped over a fence perfectly and went in the ring. Best round we had! we had some time before the next class so I took the saddle off and just let him chill again and repeated after each class. We both seemed to settle and he realize he was "tired." So I am going to try that more often.

                                I may try the lounging one show just to see how he reacts.
                                Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
                                Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
                                Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
                                Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I'm no pro or expert, but to me it looks like you need to give him more leg, get him more forward and in front of your leg and ride him into more contact so that he'll come through his back and put his head down. (and shorten your reins.) Look at the trot when you start--it's kind of dinky. My trainer would be yelling at me, "more trot!" he can do so much more. And same with the canter. In a few corners he starts to come round, maybe because you're using inside leg to outside rein, but then once you get on the line to the fence it's like you take your leg off and he fades (I saw this in the 2'6" video). He's a thoroughbred, but that doesn't mean you can't ride him with leg. I have a 5 y/o OTTB who is actually kind of lazy, and you need quite a bit of leg to get that nice springy canter and trot where he's really using his hind end. Personally I wouldn't use draw reins, I would focus on getting him in front of your leg. Maybe you could use side reins when lungeing to get him used to the idea of contact and coming through over his back.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Very cute horse! I have a similar horse, and honestly, I started him over with the help of a dressage trainer, and I am trying to do the correct flatwork with him, with a focus on rhythm, relaxation, and him learning to go forward and not on the forehand!! Until I feel like he is pretty solid on the flat, he is not jumping more than a crossrail or small verticle at a trot!! We have started doing poles and cavaletti at the canter, and I feel like things are going much better. I haven't used draw reins on him and it took a long time, a lot of patience, and a lot of me trying to get the correct feel of inside leg to steady outside rein to get the lower, relaxed head carriage with him. I have to do a lot of bending and suppling exercises while trying to get him to come from behind but it does end up with him much more relaxed and connected. Good luck!!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I like him. He's so cute. I also like how the announcer was talking about your horse - sweet.

                                      I agree with what all the posters here have said expecially about the hands. Ask me how I know - I have dreams hearing my trainer say "shorten your reins!" And - "Your hands when jumping should never be behind the martingale strap!" I have even found myself pulling the martingale strap closer to the saddle when trainers not looking -
                                      Live in the sunshine.
                                      Swim in the sea.
                                      Drink the wild air.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I also agree with the hands comments. So hard to tell when you're doing that, my trainer is constantly telling me to shorten my reins and lift my hands. But I really just wanted to say that I am soooo upset I had to miss this TB Celebration, a couple people from my barn went and had a great time. I will definitely be there in June, and I'm really looking forward to it. What a great place for you and your horse to learn!

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