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Can we have an adult re-rider support group?

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  • PF, there's an excellent article on lead changes I first read when someone linked it on the FAL several years ago. I found the link, but the page won't load for some reason: it keeps timing out. It's called "Impulsion: The Key to Lead Changes" and it's put out by the Southern States Cooperative. I'll try again later to load it.
    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


    • Tiger – Congrats on an amazing lesson! I think it’s lovely that you have a hugging relationship with your trainer. They do so much for us. Sorry to hear that Dodger is still dodging invisible spooks in the indoor. Good job staying on!

      PF – You both look great in all the pics! I’d love to be jumping 3’ no sweat. Transitions are definitely good work. I don’t think you have a hole in your knowledge. Being able to teach or troubleshoot changes is tough stuff. I don’t expect every rider to know how to do that.

      Greys – Thank you! I’m always trying to improve.

      Dewey – Lovely pictures! Good advice on the changes. There’s also several good videos out there describing imho the best exercise for asking for changes. I think it’s from equestrian coach.com but I’m not positive. As you do a figure 8, you keep the old lead through the center of the arena. As you approach the wall and you start to head in the new direction, you leg yield towards the wall and only in the last 2 or so strides as you get to the wall, do you ask for the new lead with the outside leg. The horse is already yielding to your inside leg and should have that new inside bend because of it. Hitting the wall will help reinforce your cue. It works better than other exercises for Rigel at least. I hope these might help, PF!

      Lucky – Sounds like a lot of work during your ride. Collected walk with energy is so hard! Uses a lot of muscles and lots of brain power. I know what you mean.

      Rigel and I are fine but I fell off while alone on the trail on Saturday. It's my biggest fear that I would fall off while alone and Rigel would take off on me and be lost. But things actually turned out much better. We saw 3 deer really close to the trail and I turned Rigel so he could watch them. I was really concerned about them erupting without notice. And of course that's exactly what they did. Rigel started and spun at least 180 degrees. I lost my balance and started to roll over his shoulder. I kicked my stirrup free of my left foot and dropped the reins after thinking for 1/2 a second. If Rigel was taking off, I didn't want to go with him. I landed on my knees and must've rolled, based on my bruise patterns. I don't think I hit my head though. I ended on my butt and looked at Rigel. He was standing stock still and looking at me. I talked to him and slowly got up and grabbed the reins again. I dusted myself off and led Rigel to a small rise so I could remount. Rigel was really good about letting me do all these despite being worried about the horse-eating deer that hadn't completely left the scene of the crime. The rest of our trail ride went without incident. Rigel did spook again at a blue heron taking off but did so in place and without spinning. Lots of praise! Before the fall, we had worked on canter and trot sets that felt fantastic. Ultimately I'm a little glad to have that issue out of the way. Now it's happened and the worst didn't happen. I'll be more cautious in the future though. Not sure how to practice sitting a 180 degree spin though.

      On Sunday, we had a much more sedate ride in the arena. Practiced getting on contact, the dreaded medium walk, and some canter patterns for fun. I worked without stirrups and paid attention to my balance and body position. Rigel is fit and still listens well. We had a practice session for stopping when I say "whoa" at the end of the ride. Need to reinforce it more.

      When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.
      -William Shakespeare (Henry V)


      • WOW Paradox - you guys look GREAT! You should be so PROUD!! What a great job you are doing!!

        Greys - how was your show? Missed the live stream but, checked the results, sadly, I didn't recognize many names. I need to watch more!

        Lucky - sounds like a very interesting ride - good on you for sticking with it!

        Fox - you are so brave - I really admire you getting out there! Sorry about the fall - and am glad it all turned out OK. Over the years I've gotten pretty good at sticking those spins, because, sadly, I guess, I do get lots of practice
        I suppose the biggest thing to remember is to try to keep the connection and to keep moving forward - so, although we like to let them stop to have a look, sometimes that almost invites the wrong reaction. A hard call, that one.

        Another fantastic lesson on Saturday. I really feel like all of a sudden things are starting to come together. I'm finding my seat and using my body in ways I didn't know I could - just WOW.

        But on Sunday night, on the way home from the barn, after a great ride, I hit a dog. I feel terrible. Nothing I could have done. Ran right out in front of me - big solid pit bull mix. Didn't know what I'd hit at first. Turned around, he'd gotten away from the teenager walking him. Not a mark on him, but bleeding from the mouth. Before we could do anything for him, he died. I don't know what I could have done differently . . . but I still feel awful.


        • Aw, Tiger. That's too bad. I would feel awful, too. Hugs to you!
          I have never hit a dog (knock on wood), but I lost one that way once. Our beautiful standard poodle got away from my young son while he was walking her (a dog scared her), and she ran in front of a car later on her way home. It was awful. The guy who hit her was heartbroken. Again, there was no way he could have avoided her.

          Fox--I'm sorry you fell off! You have a smart horse there, though. He obviously trusts you!
          I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


          • Fox: So sorry about your fall!! But I'm glad that 1. You are okay despite some bruises, 2. rigel was a good boy and didn't run away!!

            Tiger: I'm so sorry, I can understand how upset that is even though nothing coudl've done to stop that and it was no way your fault

            PF: Oh Katie! Look at how far she's come along!! Super scopey!!

            Email has been sent to decline purchase post PPE. Thank you all for your kind thoughts and words of wisdom. I think this is the best decision. Truth is, I'm not ready at all to be a horse owner, period. While financially it will work out, but it will cause me stress.
            I dont know if it is coincident or not (doubt that I'm THAT influential)- trainer sent out email to group that she will no longer take non owner or non private horse leasers to shows. I think I am the only schoolie leaser in her group that shows. Honestly, while i love to show, I'm okay with that. I can always go to another trainer within the barn. And to be honest, my life might be a lot less stressful. We shall see.

            On a good note! My boy is home!!! Toff had surgery to clean out the necrotic ligament and he was super happy to be home yesterday!! I cleaned him up from the mess he still has (not sure why there are still drainage coming off his wound), and he was a good boy, just stood there while I scrubbed him, granted, when a stranger take a look at his wound he will threaten to bite. I'm glad to have him back home.

            Happy Monday everyone!


            • Tigre Oh my goodness, I am so sorry. Have a little bit of compassion for yourself. You did not act in malice, the dog unfortunately made himself impossible to miss. I would certainly be very upset too. I appreciate that you turned around and went back. Not that I'm surprised, you always handle things with high standards and grace.

              I am cheering for you for your lessons, that feeling of momentum is the best wave you can ride. Hoping you continue for a bit.

              Fox I'm so sorry you fell off, but then again, how good that you got to face a big fear of yours and come out the other side mostly ok, and more courageous and knowledgeable as a result. And what a good boy you have!!!

              Paradox WOWOWOWOW!!! Look at you AND Katie, how on earth are you criticizing yourself, silly!!! You guys look fabulous and that is so much progress in such a short time.

              Lead changes used to a big buggaboo for me. A couple visuals that help me...like Fox I like the figure 8 exercise, but don't change until you get back to the rail with a little leg yield over. But I always like to think there is a wall on the inside of my horse and I cannot for a second shift my weight to the new inside. It also helps to be looking up and into the distance, that helps you figure out if the horse is crooked and if you're leaning. If you feel the horse isn't straight, go back to the walk and pick up the new lead. Even before that, I really like cantering across the diagonal, get close to the rail, walk, leg yield (but without much bend) to the rail and pick up the new lead. Doing that makes the mechanics feel very crisp.

              If you are straight continue to get the weight over to the new outside side and then ask for the change. A lot of times when we ask with lead changes esp when it's not a strength we under ask and then ask harder and then ask harder and by then we are cross cantering a storm. If you think of building energy or power into the canter, you should also think of your change as almost coming up and down rather than longitudinally... and confidence, really that's been the number one thing that's made them easy for me now, is I don't ask for them like an unsure mouse. I don't love doing changes over a rail bc I think you end up focusing on finding a perfect spot to the rail and if you don't, you land very unbalanced trying to stay with the horse and changing leads, and changing directions. Just my 2c.

              lucky sounds like a really productive ride, so good to not give in to what your princess wants but still work with her towards harmony. I think collected walk can be super challenging, especially on a horse that wants to go go go, getting a collected walk with tension feels so good!

              dewey I am absolutely melting over pictures over penny, what a little dear. Just want to snuggle that sweet nose.

              We had a blast this weekend at Thermal. The girls in our barn were victorious in their classes and it was fun getting to know everyone. It's still a little intimidating bc everyone rides so well and to be candid, is very very wealthy, but most everyone has been quite welcoming. I'm feeling all weirdly shy.

              I tried two horses twice, which was a good learning experience for me. The first horse I tried, mochi, is a bit on the small side with the most adorable tiny ears. He really knows the job, you don't really put him in a frame so much as just canter to the jumps. Even a little under-paced, he gives a great feeling at the jump, it was nice to be on something so uncomplicated. My trainers are worried though that even in a lease, I might outgrow him. One of my trainers said he thought I would go through the ranks really quickly. Not sure I'll be able to do the high amateurs (1.45!) all that quickly, especially on a budget, but I appreciate the vote of confidence.

              The second horse was one they used to have in the barn for other clients who left a little while ago. It's a beautiful big bay that's been doing the 1.50s. They changed the bit to a rubber gag so he would keep his head up better and holy moly, the second we started trotting I knew my arms were going to hurt the next day. He was quite low and heavy.

              At the jumps, he would make a big bid for the jump a few strides out. I'm actually ok a horse taking me to the jump, it doesn't scare me, but after the jumps he was quite low and pulling hard. While I'm still working on a more stable and centered position in the air, that pulling WAS a little hard to work with. I tried him the next day in a pelham, while definitely had more brakes, I still struggled to keep an even rhythm to the base. My trainers would like to pass on him since they want something easy for me to learn on and not get defensive. It WAS amazing to be on such a quality horse, you immediately knew you could jump monster jumps.

              i'm sad our assistant trainer didn't have a better experience in the million. But it was kind of wild walking the course, the jumps look so much more massive when you are in front of them than even when watching in the stands. It was certainly a very technical track and really built to the 1.50m level.

              I have one more horse to try this week but I'm sort of hoping I can do a month to month lease on Mochi with the understanding he is still for sale. I'm also so happy to have the main trainers back at the barn for a couple of weeks to work with Sandro and I and get their opinion of what he's capable of.


              • greys- your post made me smile! I'm glad so many things are looking up, you're overdue for a big dose of happy. Mochi sounds awesome.

                fox- glad you are okay. I would have been nervous to remount. great job powering through.


                • Greys- not familiar with higher end leases, are these still month to month lease or you have to do it by the year? Horse #1 sounds like a dream to ride, and to get you where you comfy with the jumpers!


                  • Hey everyone, I think about you all every so often and pop on to read all of your riding adventures. This group is incredibly supportive and I feel safe asking for your advice.

                    Our Equestrian Association holds four jumping shows for the year, and I've entered the 50-70cm category.
                    On Sunday I entered the second leg with Rebel, who loves jumping and zooming around the course - not for the faint of heart! He did wonderfully and didn't take off, but we did use a slightly stronger bit for our rounds. In the first round there was an awkward turn to the last jump, and he stumbled quite a bit. We were able to recover and circled back to the last jump. Unfortunately this put us in 4th place, but I am still happy with how we performed.

                    I would like to share a video of our second round and hopefully get some feedback.


                    My main concern for this round is the second to last jump. He took the long spot which caught me by surprise a bit and pulled me forward. It took me a second to recover, making us miss the turn for the last jump (again). When he pulled me forward he also took the opportunity to zoom off Truthfully I don't believe I was counting my strides towards this jump so I know it's my fault that I was caught by surprise. I would like a bit of advice on how to keep my position if my horse pulls my body forward like this. When Rebel begins to get tired, he jumps and lands heavily on his forehand, or he will really yank his head down. Sometimes I will just lose my contact or I will land on his neck like I did on that 7th jump.

                    My coach also tells me that I tend to sit too deep in the saddle which pushes the horse forward. I think I am confusing sitting deep with waiting and making sure my horse doesn't rush towards a jump.

                    Any bit of advice would be deeply appreciated!


                    • skitten I think you need to make sure you are not sitting behind the vertical, that tends to be a more driving position. Next time you are riding, try to locate the feeling of being right on your sit bones, in front and behind. This is all about understanding your hip angles.

                      When I watch your video, you are a little behind your sit bones, almost like your lower back is a little soft and your hip bones are pushing in a diagonal direction towards your horses shoulders. If you can sit with a more closed hip angle, you will be more stable.

                      When you need to wait for a distance, you keep your hips closed but you bring your shoulders back and away from the horse. That is enough of a change to tell the horse to wait but keeping your hips closed keeps you in the motion and if the horse leaves early, you will likely stay with him and not get off balance. If also means your hips have less work to do when you go into two point, they are already semi-closed, you just have to let the horse come up to you.

                      But it also prevents you from driving your horse forward. I think the driving seat is a less a function of what your upper body is doing and more about what your hips are telling your horse's back.

                      I think it would help too if you had more weight in your heels. That way you are less dependent on your seat for balance and you weight is more evenly distributed through your leg. Maybe practice trotting in two point, and think about keeping your belly button close to the pomel but your shoulders and upper body tall and open. Hope that's helpful!!!


                      • I can't add much more to Greys' really wonderful analysis. I agree on all her points.

                        I'll add that Rebel is switching his lead a lot over the earlier jumps causing you to counter canter the turns. He's very balanced in his counter canter so you may not have noticed when riding. I can't tell in the video but if he came off that 7th jump and switched his lead. But it's really likely on a longer spot. If so, he may not have been balanced enough anyway for an inside turn to get to the last jump. It might be beneficial to practice going over jumps with a little outside leg so that you maintain your leads.

                        As far as the rooting down and pulling you out of position, the best thing for those horses is to close your leg. You need to make it really instinctual so that every pull on your arms results in your leg tightening. Then the horse doesn't want to do that anymore and you also aren't moved out of position as much. Also try to make sure that you are balanced yourself in two point and not leaning on his neck at all over jumps. This will mean on the back end that you might land in a heap with the horse rather than prepared to help him out of something goofy.
                        When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.
                        -William Shakespeare (Henry V)


                        • Greys, I'd love a "drop fence" class! I'll have to start lobbying for that soon. Sounds like Thermal was fun and productive -- in my current situation I'd probably try to pursue Mochi as well, sounds like a great "for now" fun option.

                          Foxglove, horses can really take you from peak to valley -- the best of days and then the "regrounding" I tried a horse once that absolutely didn't suit me and my trainer tried to convince me that the fact that he didn't run away when I fell made him perfect. While that is a good feature (especially on trail!), having suitability beyond that like you have with Rigel is really the best.

                          Tigre, so sorry about the dog. That would haunt me for a while too, but sometimes things are unavoidable.

                          PF, love the jump photo and the great progress updates. I aspire to 3'6" one day with G, but we're sure not there yet so I'll have to live vicariously.

                          Dewey, I love Penny and the picture with the cat is adorable. I hope that she has many great years with your family.

                          So, the saga with the leased large pony, C, continues. Our trainer starting singing "I hate you, I love you" every time my daughter jumped around on her in her lesson this weekend. The pony really is perfect at home in all situations, never a hoof out of line. While we look for a replacement the owner has offered to school her at an upcoming show and also do some "road trips" with her to neighboring facilities to try to simulate the show atmosphere to see if we can rehabilitate the herd bound issue. She hasn't had this problem in her past show career which was mostly outdoors, so we shall see if we can address the issue.

                          My horse has been really responsive lately -- meaning that she will whoa when asked -- and I'm enjoying her adjustability and wondering if I've gotten better, or she's gotten better, or if this is just a phase before we go outdoors again in the spring. In any case, I'll take it!



                          • Faye The right horse will turn up for you. I think its wise to think through what you are doing, and decide how much you can take on board. Having a horse is not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle. It takes a lot of time and energy, and money, and you want to enjoy it, not stress about it. I really admire how honest you are being about the whole situation. And so glad to hear that Toffman is doing better-- poor fellow, he has been through a lot.

                            Greys Fingers crossed it all works out for you. It all sounds very exciting.

                            Paradox You look amazing I love your seat over the fence. And your horse. It all looks so fab, smooth, and effortless.

                            Fox-- yikes, what an adventure, so glad your horse kept his head and you are both OK.

                            I know I am missing tons of people...

                            PH and I did another lesson at the new barn. What they are doing is basically ground work with good old fashioned cowboy stuff for riding-- yes, you could call it NH but that term is so loaded it makes me want to run a country mile. And this is not silly magickal unicorn gimmicky stuff... I grew up around cowboys and Western riding and recognize this for what it is... The trainer is not selling majickal sticks or DVDs or anything... he just about gives away his time, in fact, he will give it away if you need something for a few minutes and you are not in a lesson, no pressure to sign up for another lesson, just, whenever I want to again, no worries.

                            Anyhoo, long story short ( sorry, I am somewhat defensive in my own head about all of this-- and trying to reconcile all of it, but the thing is, trainer assesses PH as needing to come off his forehand, yes, he does, of getting him to build up his rear and use it more, and thus build more topline, yes, yes, and everything I have done up til now has made some progress but... only to a point, so if this works.... well.. then, it is worth trying...) I was riding PH in a halter, with the lightest of contact, and he had such a lovely fluid stop off my seat, like I barely wiggled, and boom, stop. Amazing. Talk about feeling with your horse. And his face-- he is happy. He was relaxed, soft, he looked amazed at things, in a good way, he looked happy. No tense, anxious, fussy argument. And the look on my horse's face did it all for me-- wow. We are going to keep down this road-- and see where we go. So far, so good.
                            A canter is a cure for every evil. ~Benjamin Disraeli


                            • sun- fluid stops are magic, I agree. I felt like supergirl when Pony stopped without reins, just a tad of seat and thinking to close my upper thighs.

                              skitten- do you do suppling exercises with Rebel, like leg yield, side pass, collection/extension at the walk/trot or even canter? Learning to balance the horse can help set him up for success and decrease the stumbles and increase your center of balance/ability to use your core to support Rebel.


                              • Went to another B show this weekend, was 3rd and 7th over fences (in the a/a's) out of 12 and 3rd in the under saddle--even though we stopped for a potty break in the middle of trotting the 2nd direction. We have our first A show together April 1st. Which braiding for should be interesting since his blanket hoods have rubbed his mane down to a couple strands over the winter. Attached a pic from last weekend

                                Will hopefully be moving up to the 3'3" A/O's sometime soon.


                                • Thanks everyone for the feedback. I will definitely work on the hip angles, I can see it clearly now that Greys has pointed it out. Can you suggest any riders that I can find videos of that can give me a nice image of how it should be?

                                  Foxglove, he does seem balanced in the counter canter once there are nice big turns and tends to favor his right lead. In lessons we work on getting the correct lead over jumps and we only get it about 70% of the time. I will try using my outside leg like you suggested, because opening the rein over the jump doesn't seem to be a clear enough sign for him.

                                  Originally posted by luckymaverick View Post

                                  skitten- do you do suppling exercises with Rebel, like leg yield, side pass, collection/extension at the walk/trot or even canter? Learning to balance the horse can help set him up for success and decrease the stumbles and increase your center of balance/ability to use your core to support Rebel.
                                  Maverick, in our warm ups we do a lot of collection and extension in the trot and 10m circles and serpentines. The day before this competition we spent an entire lesson doing this type of work along with spiral ins and he became so rounded and relaxed. If I can translate what we've learned from those exercises into cantering between jumps, it would be a lot easier for him!
                                  All of this is in the trot, I will ask my coach what canter exercises we can do to help. We would only really do nice big canter circles to get him working through his hind.

                                  I have also recently started doing a bit of low level dressage so I hope this will help us with balance and improving my aids and my seat.

                                  Rebel has taught me a lot and I value our partnership. I think I've made a lot of improvement within the last year but I still have quite a ways to go I wish I could lease him and do a lot more work with him!


                                  • RRB: I vote for both you and horse getting better!!

                                    Hunter: Congrats!!! Super cute picture, looking forward to more of your adventures!

                                    Skitten: Nice round! You've come a long lots from your first video, i forget, about a year ago? Rebel seems like a fun horse to learn from! Greys and Fox gave you some really good feedback, and I'm not at a level where I can really see what went wrong, only thing i noticed were the wrong leads (or cross cantering). My pony seems to land on the right lead if I can get my act together and look where I want to go, have you tried that? I am not coordinated enough to open my reins :P Also, can you do a simple change to correct the lead? Just my thoughts.

                                    Toffee seems to be doing well. There are some foaming stuff coming out of his wound almost like hydrogen peroxide and he was like this from the clinic so I suppose it's okay. I continue to clean his shoulder so that the discharge won't bother his skin. He is trying really hard to be a good boy.


                                    • Skitten, great advice so far! I will also comment on the pulling thing. How old is rebel? I ask because when my older horse, Chico, started pulling after jumps, I had his hocks injected. That helped a lot. I think he was maybe a bit sore. Seemed to help, so maybe it's something to consider.

                                      Keep at it!

                                      Tiger, oh, so sorry about the dog! Of course you had no control over it, but I know how hard it is. I get distressed over hitting a squirrel, or a bird, so hugs!!

                                      H*H, congrats on a very good show. Love the pic!

                                      Sun, all good horsemen/woman, no matter the "discipline" can teach us something! Enjoy it.

                                      RRB, I hope you're able to find the right pony match soon. In the meantime, it's probably good the owner is helping school the pony! Fingers crossed.

                                      Faye, I agree with your decision to pass on the horse. I would have as well. There will be others when the time is right. Or when the time is "more right"....as we all know, we tend to find the right horse when we're not looking!


                                      Thanks, all, for your kind words and your advice on lead changes. I think I *KNOW* the concept, just can't get the timing. I'll work on it and as for help next lesson. When I worked on them with other trainer with Chico, he just got upset about it and would eventually start bucking. So I backed off. I figured at his age (it may have been physical), he deserves not to be drilled. But now with my youngster and with Katie, I need to get them.

                                      Haven't ridden since Sunday due to weather. Today might be a good day to ride, though.
                                      “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                                      ¯ Oscar Wilde


                                      • Hey Faye, I sure have! My confidence went up but I'm trying to get all of the little details right. Other coaches tell me I need to look where I want to go; I seem too engrossed in the jump I'm approaching. I'm getting better at it but it's all about timing and I haven't gotten it down yet. I need tons of practice and have only really started cantering courses in January.
                                        I don't think Rebel can do flying changes very well but I'll ask my coach if she has any horses that can, so I can practice the aids. She's more concerned about me keeping my rhythm than trying to change things up in between jumps just because I'm not that experienced yet.

                                        Paradox, Rebel is about 15 years old if I remember correctly. He is very stiff on his left side from his racing days. The riding school has a Dutch trainer working with him and he seems to be improving so far.


                                        • No updates from me here. We have been working on canter departures for the past 2 weeks lol. I have now another ugly habit to break: tilting forward when giving aid to canter....and not sitting up and on my butt! We added a bucking/grab strap to the saddle for my to hold on to with my outside hand to keep the outside rein straight and connected. I haven't ridden since Monday only because work has been giving me lots of overtime and I just feel dead tired Hopefully I can muster up the energy to drag myself to the barn through rush hour traffic after work tomorrow...

                                          On the upside: Dover has a $25 off $150+ purchase (until this Sunday) with free shipping on orders over $100...So I snagged a pair of Tredstep Donatellos for $175. These will be my first ever pair of tall real-leather field boots...Sooooo excited!