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i think hunting improved my dressage

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  • i think hunting improved my dressage

    I was thinking of posting this in the dressage forum, but feared that some of my dressage friends heads may explode

    I think that hunting this year has improved both my horse's dressage. (or my riding )

    horse#1. 17 ottb. competes novice eventing and moving up has 3 lovely gaits. he has always just pissed and moaned about dressage. we would get decent scores in competition but alot of "against hand or needs to be more through" comments etc.

    it has always been an effort to get him to stay soft, leg yields were easy peasy but he just hated lateral movements and acted like a shoulder-in was just a HUGE pain and effort to do (pin ears, swish tail and groan). he rarely would do a lead change without running into it, etc. (but on xc / hunt no problem). He was never a bad boy, but sometimes keeping his attention on the flat work was an effort. ... I haven't had a dressage lesson since october and have been schooling many movements but nothing outstanding has happened..then yesterday OMG.

    finally did some indoor arena work (lately been practicing dressage in the fields, arena gives me asthma probs). He was round, soft, through the back, huge trot strides even for sitting trot. Unbelievably attentive.. I could collect, extend, shoulder-in that were perfect and light (no groaning, hollowing or fighting)....i even got a correct half pass (bend in the direction but not as deep cross-over as one sees in Grand Prix but correct). I could half pass to centerline, change bend and half pass back to wall without losing temp or bend. He gave me a perfect right to left lead change up and through his back. the other direction is his harder direction and only got the back to change at first..but still. Then he'd stretch way down for stretchy trot and walk. he rarely attempted to hollow his back too. a friend was there who has seen my past rides. she watched us and when I finished we looked at each other and said " WHERE THE H*LL DID THAT COME FROM?" It was a blast and he was so happy. I worked him half the time i usually did, but he was so wonderful I wasn't going to jinx it and stopped!

    horse #2: young wb first year hunting. she just couldn't figure out why the effort for a half halt or that gaits weren't walk, trot and run like mad. she has learned that a half halt to rebalance isn't something to get all mad about and ignore. now she could whoa on a dime and that wasn't a problem. She learned that she was half-halted that it was to rebalance before a fence (which made it easier to jump) or to slow down/listen/collect up..she was tripped a few times due to running up on horses due to ignoring her rider. lately she has been easy peasy, stretching out for trot work, lovely balanced canters and no flat runs. she is so sensitive to the rider now that i just need to barely wiggle my pinky and sit up and she'll half halt..and not run around like a nut! she'll collect and lengthen without getting too fast. she loves to jump and has gone from "weee lets jump" and go at it mock 5 to waiting for her rider. she will leg yield and is learning shoulder-in and is understanding the bend and not just throwing her shoulder out. I believe that the hunting helped her connect the dots why we school things.

    can't wait for my next dressage lesson just to be brought back to earth
    I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!

  • #2
    Kudos to you and your horses

    I think sometimes the horses need to understand there is a reason for learning to move a certain way. Once they can see that you are giving guidance for a reason...move over to give the hounds the right of way...they are happy to do it. So glad they are both doing well.

    And great of you to quit while you were ahead. No sense boring them with the same stuff if they've got it down pat.


    • #3
      Well - yeah !
      ... _. ._ .._. .._


      • #4
        You have forward now. Your horse has learned to listen and not waste his energy. The movements are easier from all the work on hills and very uneven ground. The jump now makes sense. Wait until you try eventing again. It will be so much easier!

        You the rider, have learned that you can't hold your horse up and force balance for many hours at a time. Your horse has had to learn to balance in any situation and watch for holes at the same time. Footing is not longer a big deal.

        The warm up ring will be easier, too.
        Enjoy the improvements!
        Intermediate Riding Skills


        • #5
          Hunting makes most things better, IMO.

          Now, go post that over in Dressage. I wanna see some heads explode.
          ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~


          • #6
            Yep, forward in dressage (what a novel concept), not only a horse has to learn that there is reason to the madness, but also the rider.

            And yes, do post it on the dressage forum!


            • Original Poster

              ok..here goes...
              I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!


              • #8
                KA BOOM

                yada yada you'll ruin.....ect. BS.

                Whats all that training for, if not some useful purpose like hunting?
                more hay, less grain


                • #9
                  Originally posted by bigbaytb View Post
                  ok..here goes...

                  Ooooo - you're brave. And a little crazy. I like that!

                  (my 'best' dressage has been done in the hunt field. )
                  Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                  Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                  -Rudyard Kipling


                  • #10
                    Thanks, Whicker!

                    Originally posted by whicker View Post
                    You have forward now. Your horse has learned to listen and not waste his energy. The movements are easier from all the work on hills and very uneven ground. The jump now makes sense. Wait until you try eventing again. It will be so much easier!

                    You the rider, have learned that you can't hold your horse up and force balance for many hours at a time. Your horse has had to learn to balance in any situation and watch for holes at the same time. Footing is not longer a big deal.

                    The warm up ring will be easier, too.
                    Enjoy the improvements!

                    Last winter in a dressage barn helped my eventing and my first real full season of hunting. (I know, I know...duh!) And now that we're back in the dressage indoor for a few months, ummm, the dressage is going really, really well. So, Whicker, I'm looking forward to getting outside and seeing your predictions come true.

                    And, OP, you go! I'll come over to the other forum to check the body count and provide supporting fire if necessary.
                    <<Reste sur le cheval.>>


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rivenoak View Post
                      Hunting makes most things better, IMO.

                      Now, go post that over in Dressage. I wanna see some heads explode.


                      • #12
                        Denny needed

                        Denny will want a heads up for the dressage post. He will have some fun with this, too.

                        I rode upper level eventing at the same time as I foxhunted my big time horse. The hunting kept him fresh and happy. The dresage made it possible to love doing it. Many of the upper level riders did it as part of the training process.

                        The one interesting part was competing at Radnor 3 day during hunting season. Dressage was run at the same time as the Radnor Hunt was meeting in the same place. It was quite obvious who were the horses who hunted, when the they heard the horn and hounds.
                        Intermediate Riding Skills


                        • #13
                          Oh goodie! I think......

                          I'm glad!!! Goodie!!!
                          Of course, I haven't got a clue what you said or described but I'm glad! Sounded good!
                          I don't know none of dem big dressagie words!!! I DID understand easey-peasey tho'!!! So what happens if a hunting persons head explodes?!!! Is that bad?
                          Will I be banned to the dressage forum ?(which would be the equivalent of sending me to a foreign country....)


                          • #14
                            Wateryglen, you are a natural! You just go and do it without knowing the dressage language.

                            It is the same stuff that you do to keep your hunters going for many years without injuries....and opening gates without getting off.
                            Intermediate Riding Skills


                            • #15
                              It's the perfect fit. Hunt all winter and show dressage all summer - my redheaded TB mare loved it. A slow day whipping in is the perfect place to school, extended trot can be perfected, with great gusto, in the field as can all the lateral stuff.
                              ... _. ._ .._. .._


                              • Original Poster

                                yeh..my mare has developed a fantastic extended trot this year during the hunt...she figured it out on her own....but alas, i've only gotten it once "on purpose" in the arena..so i have to figure out what I'm doing wrong

                                wateryglen: I think we all get showered with port and sherry....or bourbon and beer...if a hunt person's head explodes!
                                I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!


                                • #17
                                  Hunting definitely improved my score

                                  The year after I started hunting my event horse I won four events at Novice. It really opened up his stride.
                                  -Painted Wings

                                  Set youself apart from the crowd, ride a paint horse, you're sure to be spotted