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In a hunter hack class... *Pictures added

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  • #21
    As a dressager, then, you know the virtues of HorseSlacker going forward. Slacker being a slacker, are you sure he's "through"? IME, nice quiet hunters and HunterWorld can cause us to miss that.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

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    • Original Poster

      #22
      Originally posted by mvp View Post
      As a dressager, then, you know the virtues of HorseSlacker going forward. Slacker being a slacker, are you sure he's "through"? IME, nice quiet hunters and HunterWorld can cause us to miss that.
      I'm not following...can you try explaining that again?

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      • #23
        I like 1 & 4

        I don't think you can fox hunt in a tight "frame" and cover trappy ground. Remember the standard we are working towards. Even with his nose "poked out" he is balanced and together and could adjust himself with or without a rider'shelp if the situation warranted. He is using his backend and back - he's just not vertical at the poll. If I was the judge and asked for a collected or extended trot - which they used to routinely do - I would then expect to see the natural exageration of the backend/ rise in the back/and the flexing at the poll.

        He looks fun to ride!

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        • #24
          Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
          I'm not following...can you try explaining that again?
          'K, I think Horse looks stiff at the base of his neck. That's just a vibe-type impression I get. To me, that means, too, that he's not all the way relaxed in his back. But! It might be subtle and easy to miss because he is probably trotting with plenty of forward and length to his stride.

          A horse who is well-broke and quiet by nature can make us beg with our leg. I was worn down mercilessly by one of these. So at some point, we give up and settle for the most obvious signs of forward and relaxed.

          The OP isn't clueless and the horse is not ugly. I got technical here merely because she asked for help making him a little bit better. Her remark that these pictures of the trot are after he had jumped a course deepened by conviction about this. IMO, horses will trot the best, most "through" and relaxed over their back after the canter. If you don't see raised shoulders, a relaxed top line and reaching down in front at this point, you'll have a hard, hard time producing that in a flat class where you go to the trot from a walk.

          I hope I haven't been too hard on your horse or your training, OP. Apologies in advance if I have offended you. Let me know if I have interpreted the pictures wrong.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat

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          • Original Poster

            #25
            No no no, I am not offended in the least! Any advice to improve him is greatly appreciated.

            At home I can get a really really relaxed trot and he will stretch down with his head almost at the ground...is that when I should be asking for some kind of bend? Also, the canter is still very much a work in progress (does that have anything to do with it?). It is adjustable enough to jump out of and he pushes from behind, but the head and back relaxation are still not there. He's been in steady work about a month so this is all new!

            I just had the chiro/accupuncturist work on him Monday after noticing some back soreness and neck stiffness already, especially to the right. She did mention he was very stiff through the neck and worse to the right. Hopefully that will make a big difference.

            He is getting a little break until I get him started on a supplement for his sore hooves and some hoof packing shipped in for after workouts. Since getting him a year ago we've slowly been getting his hooves healthy but he's still a little footsore.

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            • #26
              Originally posted by HiddenAcres View Post
              I don't think you can fox hunt in a tight "frame" and cover trappy ground. Remember the standard we are working towards. Even with his nose "poked out" he is balanced and together and could adjust himself with or without a rider'shelp if the situation warranted. He is using his backend and back - he's just not vertical at the poll. If I was the judge and asked for a collected or extended trot - which they used to routinely do - I would then expect to see the natural exageration of the backend/ rise in the back/and the flexing at the poll.

              He looks fun to ride!
              The hunter world has been moving away from the foxhunting world for a long time. I would say the standards are completely different at this point (whether they should be or not is a totally different story!).
              http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
              Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

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              • #27
                Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
                No no no, I am not offended in the least! Any advice to improve him is greatly appreciated.

                At home I can get a really really relaxed trot and he will stretch down with his head almost at the ground...is that when I should be asking for some kind of bend? Also, the canter is still very much a work in progress (does that have anything to do with it?). It is adjustable enough to jump out of and he pushes from behind, but the head and back relaxation are still not there. He's been in steady work about a month so this is all new!

                I just had the chiro/accupuncturist work on him Monday after noticing some back soreness and neck stiffness already, especially to the right. She did mention he was very stiff through the neck and worse to the right. Hopefully that will make a big difference.

                He is getting a little break until I get him started on a supplement for his sore hooves and some hoof packing shipped in for after workouts. Since getting him a year ago we've slowly been getting his hooves healthy but he's still a little footsore.

                Warning: A total novel follows. Take what you like and leave the rest.

                There's a lot here to consider and tweak just a bit to make this nice horse even better.

                At the beginning and physical level. Foot sore will make just about any horse stiff/sore somewhere high up. Remember that this heavy prey animal had to hold his body in a new position to minimize that pain 22 hours a day-- all the time we wasn't lying down. The moral of the story, friends at home, is find and fix foot pain.... and then be patient as you fix the rest.

                But you do have to fix the high up muscular problems and the horse's habitual way of going. Chiropractic can be some of that, if the horse is very stiff and a real mess. IMO-- again, this is just on a very general "vibe" level-- lots of different movement is helpful, too. I'm a big fan of letting 'em roll often and also after work. That gives the horse a chance to free up parts of his body he'd like. Cheaper, easier than chiropractic. Of course, too, you need to ride this horse in the new "correct."

                So of course that starts with moving from back to front and forward. But the dressager would ask "Where does that momentum get stuck, traveling from the horse's hiney to his nose?" Most of the time, however, (and especially with a quiet hunter-minded horse plus our discipline that doesn't do the Germanic "send him forward!" type of training), you won't feel some point in his body where he's stuck and not relaxed. You'll feel a horse who says, "Meh. I'd rather not. I'll give you a pleasant ride and just pretend I didn't hear the request for bigger or more forward."

                And the thing he'd rather not do could be extend his trot (he'll also be slow to collect back up). Or he won't hand gallop without you having to continually pushing him. (Those are both about the forward impulsion being lost somewhere from the base of his neck back).

                With respect to a stiff neck, he just.won't.hold.the.bend. If he is asymmetrical, you find yourself always picking on that side of his mouth. Sometimes, you realize that he doesn't listen to your leg n that side. Or he won't offer more easily if you, say, had him bent on the quarter line and then asked for a leg yield out to the rail from there. With a stiff neck, your chiropractor will show you any issues he has with carrot stretches. Horses' asymmetries in the neck become really, really obvious with these!

                Those stretches over time do help fix, them, too. You might here crackling vertebrae low in his neck. (IMO, this is a precursor to OA in those joints.) You might feel the muscles at the base of his neck being bulky and a little stiff. Horses with issues here like even amateur massages that start at the front of the shoulder and go up the neck, loosening the whole thing. Have your chiropractor or masseuse show you. IME, you don't even have to do it well in order to have it be effective. You'll see it when you have loosened up the muscles your horse was holding in one position for too long.

                With respect to his canter and getting a looser trot where he can relax over his whole top line, I think this might come from just more correct work. Give him a chance to become strong enough to squat and carry his shoulders. I might focus my efforts on the trot you have after the canter. IMO, this version of the trot will be the.very.best the horse has to give at the time (because the canter did the work of engaging his hind end for you). So when you come down from the canter to the trot, take advantage of the opportunity! This is where you ask for a relatively low head (not on the ground) and some bending. If he loses impulsion at all, you go forward, back to that trot that the canter "gave" you. Straighten out if you have to, but when you get big trot back, you can begin your bending work again from there.

                All that really is just a trick the HunterPrincess can use to get the good, useful, engaged trot that the German Dressage Pushers get by just driving those horses up into the bridle. Those guys *know* they have an engaged hind end and can feel any blocked impulsion readily because nothing happens unless they have "forward" first.

                So under saddle (assuming his feet are fixed at the least and you are at least experimenting with rolling or giving him massages), keep doing what you are doing, and just pay a little more attention to that after-canter trot.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat

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                • Original Poster

                  #28
                  Thank you very much mvp! Very helpful. He is on field board, so has the opportunity to roll whenever he pleases.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
                    Thank you very much mvp! Very helpful. He is on field board, so has the opportunity to roll whenever he pleases.
                    Good for you for keeping him outside As God Intended. It will help his body, mind and fitness immensely. It will, however, making fixing his feet a bigger, more labor-intensive PITA.

                    If he's on his way with that and growing out foot (and environmental conditions aren't re-hurting them), I think the break you have planned will really help you guys out. No point is getting after a horse for more forward and some other stuff when you can just as easily Do Nothing while a pain problem resolves itself.

                    I think a lot so that I can be butt-draggin' lazy when it comes to riding 'em. I want what I want and I don't want to have to get tired getting it.

                    Best wishes to both of you guys.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat

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