A couple questions

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by crayon, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. crayon

    crayon Senior Member

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    So I've been getting Miss Crayon back into work, and I really want to be patient and figure out how to best work with the type of horse she is. My horse I had while I was away was much different and although she was less broke, much easier to work with on some things.

    1. Crayon has always been a bit tough to get going... But recently it's only at the walk. She will trot (or canter if she had the fitness) all day, but when walking she just drags herself along at a snails pace. Maybe I forgot how slow she walks because my other horse walked faster than any horse I've met. But anyway, she just seems so bored at the walk. I've tried circles and serpentines... things that might keep her attention. But she stops very frequently and sometimes starts looking around at other things... Walking around the yard where we don't normally ride helps only a teeny bit. I also thought, well, we could just trot most of the time... But she's not in shape for that right now, and I think walking is an important part. Any ideas?

    2. This has been an issue as long as I've had her... But she never eases into the canter. She always launches herself forward into it. Today we just tried for the heck of it and the same thing happened, but she's not really in shape yet to be cantering much at all. My concern is that I can never follow that with my hands and either slip the reins or catch her in the mouth (owie) and I don't want her to get used to either of those being the norm. Even after years of riding her I can't follow that with my hands; it takes me by surprise no matter how much I anticipate it. I know there's a more basic thing that needs to be fixed in order to change this... She even did it when she was in shape, even when I made she she was set up to transition to canter. She actually is almost better if I just drop the contact and don't set her up... but that's probably because I can't feel her lurch into my hands if I don't have contact. Could it be that she is pretty front-end heavy? She'll trot around pretty forward, working from the hind end into the bridle and looks pretty nice. If I shorten the reins too much she'll tuck her head into her chest no matter how much leg I add... and if the reins get too long she wants more contact... Could it be that she just doesn't care because her bit is a very soft and flexible rubber? This is probably a silly idea because I don't really think it's as simple as "Ow, I got popped in the mouth, let me make that a smoother transition so it doesn't keep happening." It must be something I have to help her with...

    Anyway... I didn't mean to write a book and I don't want to make things too complicated. I just want to ride her forward, up and into the contact, but still work with her personality type.
     
  2. tlwidener

    tlwidener Senior Member

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    Sounds like in both cases she's heavy on the forehand. Doing things to get her to engage her backend and hocks will likely help. I'd be moving her hip around and doing exercises to teach her to lift her shoulder.

    Also be sure you are sitting back and "pushing" or "driving" her with your seat when you ask her to canter.

    I find carrying a dressage whip helps me tremendously when a horse wants to drag its feet.
     
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  3. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

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    1. Walking. I hate a poky walk. One way to encourage a horse to step out at a walk is to use alternating leg. As the right rear leg comes forward, give a good dig with your right heel. As the left hind comes forward, good dig with the left heel. It encourages them to reach further forward with that hind leg, which naturally increases the stride, helps engage the hind end, and puts some pep in the walk.

    At first, you need to do this every. single. stride. And you need to do it with purpose. Because as soon as you ease up, the horse will go right back to meandering. Eventually, though, you can use lighter alternate leg to just encourage rather than the thumps you'll need at first. It takes a lot of work to get a good walk out of a horse that's been allowed to just poke. Blunt spurs can help. But it's a cue, not a punishment. If she begins to step out and walk on, ease up on the cue and only use enough leg to be a reminder.

    But don't let her poke ever if you don't want her to. It's exhausting but you'll never get a decent walk without working at it.

    2. Canter. She may be launching because she's so used to getting caught in the mouth. Loosen up, grab mane, and ask for canter. If she launches or lurches, so be it but hold mane and not rein so you don't catch her. Being out of shape makes for an ugly canter depart too, as does being on the forehand. But I kind of suspect that she's just trying to find a way to keep from getting chucked in the mouth.
     
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  4. palogal

    palogal Senior Member

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    She's heavy on the forehand. Unless she has some sort of health issue or is recovering from injury, she's able to walk, trot and canter. Laterial work and hill work will get her hips under her, which will help all of her gaits.
     
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  5. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    I’m with the group - likely on the forehand.

    That said, I wouldn’t school the walk much. The walk is the easiest gait to muck up. I would suggest doing more trot work or transitions & lateral work which will naturally improve the walk all on it’s own.

    As for the canter - if she’s on the forehand she’ll need to do a “mini rear” to lift the front end up to get started. It’s very common. Again, work in the trot and transitions between w&t&h to help, eventually you’ll get her stronger and the canter tranny will improve.

    In regards to the comment about her not liking a long rein (wanting more contact) or a too tight of a rein - your description tells me that she’s actually not truly connected over the back. If she was, she wouldn’t curl out, or request more contact, she would follow your hand where ever you put it and work with the contact thatyou’ve given her.

    Last quick comment - I agree with @bellalou about having to cue with each foot fall, but the timing described above is a bit delayed. Once a limb has left the groun you cannot have any impact on it’s flight path - it’s physically impossible for the horse to do that. So you need to aid the limb before/as it’s leaving the ground. While it may seem like such a slight difference, it really makes a big deal. I would agree to keep her walking & swinging through, but again, don’t push too hard as you can cause a good walk to go lateral with mucking it around too much.
     
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  6. crayon

    crayon Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone for the suggestions! She has onky been back in work for a couple of weeks so far. Before that she hadn't been ridden in 4 years and was pretty underweight until recently, so we were taking it slow and I wasn't sure if she was in shape to do much cantering yet.

    I will try holding mane for canter transitions for now and see how that goes. That lurch still happens when I ask for canter with no contact, but holding mane sounds like a good idea and would allow me to more or less keep the same amount of contact on thst transition. ^^
    I'm very excited to see the progress over the spring/summer.
    RnB, I'm glad you mentioned schooling less in the walk! I would pretty much get on and start trotting pretty soon after with my other horse... but something was making me feel like I had to walk and walk when I first get on Crayon. It's certainly not helping her warm up anyway with how she walks.
     
  7. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I don't think this is primarily about being on the forehand.

    crayon= So I've been getting Miss Crayon back into work, and I really want to be patient and figure out how to best work with the type of horse she is. My horse I had while I was away was much different and although she was less broke, much easier to work with on some things.

    After a long vacation and no training, she might be a very different girl. Or not. Plus now you are comparing her to other horses. For a long time in the past I think you only rode Crayon. So that means she's now getting compared to other horses. You just have to go slowly and get her fit and see how she is once she's been in work for a year or so. It takes about the same amount of time to get them fit again, as they were off of work.

    1. Crayon has always been a bit tough to get going... But recently it's only at the walk. She will trot (or canter if she had the fitness) all day, but when walking she just drags herself along at a snails pace.

    It surprises me that Crayon would be tough to get going. I thought she had a lot of energy. Oh well...How the horse walks is an awful lot about how the rider lets the horse walk. Since your other horse had a fast walk, she may also have not required a lot of leg. So now you're on a horse that really needs to walk forward, and doesn't and you have something to compare to. Now, by 'get going' I assume you mean both to get her into the walk, and to keep her walking at an energetic level.

    Okay. This is about how you ride. You need to think about getting a better reaction to your leg. Don't repeatedly squeeze, squeeze, squeeze with calves, or use your heels again and again and again, when she does not immediately respond to your leg. Don't push with your body, either.

    She gets one chance to react from your leg, and then you use your whip. How hard? However hard you have to use it to get a big reaction. She should leap forward, it's perfectly fine if she trots or canters or even tosses her head or anything else, as long as she leaps forward. And try to use the whip once per time. The timing is like this: leg-whip. She needs to INSTANTLY react to your leg or she gets the whip. Really. That fast. If you do this right, there is no more nagging, no more repeated leg aids.

    But here's the thing. I don't think Crayon feels really great, judging by your pictures. It may be quite some time before she really is very willingly forward, even if you really ride her 'off your leg'(like described in the previous paragraph). So keep your work very short and to the point. Two minutes of really forward walking is a million times better than a 10 minute struggle. Just quickly make the point and get off. At this stage she probably doesn't need much saddle time anyway. 15 minutes total, tops. Give her a couple breaks, too.


    Maybe I forgot how slow she walks because my other horse walked faster than any horse I've met. But anyway, she just seems so bored at the walk. I've tried circles and serpentines... things that might keep her attention.

    Actually, the more you circle and turn and serpentine, the more stoppy horses are. This is not something you do with a horse that is not forward. Stick to as much as possible, straight lines and keep her going forward. For now.

    If she is looking at something, bend her the opposite direction from where she is looking by using a very simple opening rein, at the same time, use your leg and get her moving again.


    But she stops very frequently and sometimes starts looking around at other things... Walking around the yard where we don't normally ride helps only a teeny bit. I also thought, well, we could just trot most of the time... But she's not in shape for that right now, and I think walking is an important part. Any ideas?

    As noted. If she really seems tired and weak, it may be better to longe her than ride her. In that case you might start with a few laps of walk, then 3 circles in each direction at a trot and forget the canter for a few weeks. That should be about five minutes. Done.

    2. This has been an issue as long as I've had her... But she never eases into the canter. She always launches herself forward into it. Today we just tried for the heck of it and the same thing happened, but she's not really in shape yet to be cantering much at all. My concern is that I can never follow that with my hands and either slip the reins or catch her in the mouth (owie) and I don't want her to get used to either of those being the norm. Even after years of riding her I can't follow that with my hands; it takes me by surprise no matter how much I anticipate it. I know there's a more basic thing that needs to be fixed in order to change this... She even did it when she was in shape, even when I made she she was set up to transition to canter. She actually is almost better if I just drop the contact and don't set her up... but that's probably because I can't feel her lurch into my hands if I don't have contact. Could it be that she is pretty front-end heavy?

    As an out of shape horse, yes, they're all, relatively speaking, on the forehand, but you're not actually primarily talking about a horse that's heavy on the forehand here. What you're describing is actually a horse that takes a first step of canter as a big stiff, uncollected step. You can throw the reins at 'em, you can try to hold the reins against them, neither works.

    Most people will tell you to pick up the canter from a walk, or slow way down in the trot. A too fast trot can be part of it, but in a lot of cases, the horse minces along slowly til you tell him to canter and then it's Launch the Space Shuttle all over again.

    This is in other words largely about stride LENGTH. That first step is just too big and the horse is too stiff. There are a lot of very classic dressage exercises to deal with this.

    Of course, you have to have a half halt. You can't just ride around with a 'floaty' rein and nearly no contact. You won't get the stiffness out of there. The stiffness is really a 'whole horse' stiffness, and your half halts at first work on the jaw, neck and poll, and later on the whole body.

    There really has to be a conversation going there, and you should be able to go in posting trot around a 20 m circle, bend your horse to the outside or inside of a circle(NOT NOW...LOL...I mean in general), slowly repeating that. Not abruptly, but to a slow count of 3 in each direction - ONE Mississippi, TWO Mississippi, THREE Missisippi, Chaaaaannnnnge the beeeennnnnnd. Slowly, through the same slow count. Don't bend abruptly or extremely. Just see the shine of the eye on the side you're bending on. Use a simple aid like an opening rein on the inside. Use your inside leg at the girth. (The 'inside' is always the inside of the bend, regardless of which direction you're going in the ring).

    Once you can do that, one very classical exercise is to only pick up the canter on a smaller (or small-ISH) circle and see if the bend of the circle helps you break up the stiffness. If you ride the circle with a good bend it can really help. And quite honestly most of the time you're bringing a horse back into condition, it's advised to canter on a circle and to count your circles and only increase the number of canter circles by a few each week.

    Another very classical exercise is to start a 'leg yield like' position at E or B (halfway down your longside of your ring, or area where you ride), and then pick up the canter in the corner. This leg-yield like thing involves a little bend to the inside, some inside leg at the girth, and then picking up the canter in the corner, when the horse has his legs under him and is less stiffened up. The leg yield is really a very good exercise for that.


    She'll trot around pretty forward, working from the hind end into the bridle and looks pretty nice. If I shorten the reins too much she'll tuck her head into her chest no matter how much leg I add... and if the reins get too long she wants more contact... Could it be that she just doesn't care because her bit is a very soft and flexible rubber? This is probably a silly idea because I don't really think it's as simple as "Ow, I got popped in the mouth, let me make that a smoother transition so it doesn't keep happening." It must be something I have to help her with...

    It's in large part about how you ride that moment of canter transition. You need to not lean forward with your upper body or give the reins markedly forward. You have to stay stable and just chill there, and prepare her by using one of those exercises to prepare before the canter depart.

    Anyway... I didn't mean to write a book and I don't want to make things too complicated. I just want to ride her forward, up and into the contact, but still work with her personality type.
     
  8. crayon

    crayon Senior Member

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    SLC, thank you for the well thought out response and suggestions. Just please try not to make too many assumptions about how I am riding regarding things that I did not mention yet. Although I think everything is just hypothetical examples and I'm just being sensitive because I'm starting a job that I don't want on Monday. lol :) Just so I can clarify a few things and make sure nothing is unclear:

    It surprises me that Crayon would be tough to get going. I thought she had a lot of energy... ...Now, by 'get going' I assume you mean both to get her into the walk, and to keep her walking at an energetic level.
    Nope. She has always been tough to get going. And once she does, it's pretty single-speed. And yes, precisely. ^^
    Okay. This is about how you ride. You need to think about getting a better reaction to your leg. Don't repeatedly squeeze, squeeze, squeeze with calves, or use your heels again and again and again, when she does not immediately respond to your leg. Don't push with your body, either.
    Ok, I am careful not to do things like this. I hate pestering her like that as much as I'm sure she hates it.
    She gets one chance to react from your leg, and then you use your whip. How hard? However hard you have to use it to get a big reaction. She should leap forward, it's perfectly fine if she trots or canters or even tosses her head or anything else, as long as she leaps forward. And try to use the whip once per time. The timing is like this: leg-whip. She needs to INSTANTLY react to your leg or she gets the whip. Really. That fast. If you do this right, there is no more nagging, no more repeated leg aids.
    Question on this... What if the only reaction I have ever gotten from the whip is her kicking out a leg and stopping completely? This has been something we've struggled with in the past and I ended up just not trying with the whip anymore. Perhaps it's time to bring it out again and see if anything has changed... So far I have resorted to using leg-extra rein against shoulder-immediate release of leg when she moves. I have noticed a slight improvement of her willingness to move forward over the past few rides. BUT I knooowww that is such an improper way to get a horse to move.. I practically cringe every time because I remember being yelled at for it as a kid.
    But here's the thing. I don't think Crayon feels really great, judging by your pictures. It may be quite some time before she really is very willingly forward, even if you really ride her 'off your leg'(like described in the previous paragraph). So keep your work very short and to the point. Two minutes of really forward walking is a million times better than a 10 minute struggle. Just quickly make the point and get off. At this stage she probably doesn't need much saddle time anyway. 15 minutes total, tops. Give her a couple breaks, too.
    I will bet money she's feeling less energetic than ever. From where she was in February, we are building her muscle completely back up (which is, once again, why I want to build her up gradually). She is just about the perfect weight now and looking much better. I did say she's been back in work for a few weeks, but we were actually doing lunge line work since a few weeks before then. So far rides have been about 20 minutes, mostly walking. But it's that sllooowww walking. And then short bits of her normal, forward trotting. Maybe today I can get a more forward walk (which I'm dying to get out of her) because that was how I had intended to be riding at this point.
    As noted. If she really seems tired and weak, it may be better to longe her than ride her. In that case you might start with a few laps of walk, then 3 circles in each direction at a trot and forget the canter for a few weeks. That should be about five minutes. Done.
    That is what I intend to do as far as riding goes. Hopefully we can get that forward walk. Rides so far have been a few laps of walk, and a few trot circles each way, and then some walking around the yard. She picks up the pace there a bit, so I guess I assumed she was just super bored. We only tested out the canter yesterday because I suppose I felt the need to see where she was at. Maybe with some proper conditioning, next time we try in few weeks or so her issues will already be sorting themselves out. We do lunge work about half the time now. That takes her longer to get going than riding. Her trot then is like her walk when I'm riding. It usually picks up after she's cantered a few circles. But I do notice her canter transition is smoother and the canter is more balanced. I guess that's what I would expect without her having to carry me as well. :p
    What you're describing is actually a horse that takes a first step of canter as a big stiff, uncollected step. You can throw the reins at 'em, you can try to hold the reins against them, neither works.
    Sounds exactly like what's happening, haha. Like I siad I have tried slowing down/collecting her trot more, along with just asking from her normal trot, with the same result.
    You just have to go slowly and get her fit and see how she is once she's been in work for a year or so. It takes about the same amount of time to get them fit again, as they were off of work.
    This is exactly what I'd like to do, which I why I was hesitant to do more trotting and less walking, more cantering, etc. I would like to get her gradually back into shape and make sure we don't skip anything.
    Of course, you have to have a half halt. You can't just ride around with a 'floaty' rein and nearly no contact.
    Of course there are half halts. Something my dressage-loving instructor stressed all the time.:D I have to admit, I did ride on a loose rein probably most of the year before I left home for 3+ years. This year I have been avoiding that because I would really like to sort out her training issues this time instead of working around them. She really does look for contact.

    The circle exercise sounds very similar to what I have started doing since she's been back undersaddle. Her bending is there but needs work, which I expect after all her time off! That first canter (yesterday) was on the circle. I asked her to pick it up once she was bending and traveling balanced. I'm sure if we keep practicing that it will help her transitions. The leg yield exercise sounds very familiar to me as well.
     
  9. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    SLC, thank you for the well thought out response and suggestions. Just please try not to make too many assumptions about how I am riding regarding things that I did not mention yet. Although I think everything is just hypothetical examples and I'm just being sensitive because I'm starting a job that I don't want on Monday. lol :) Just so I can clarify a few things and make sure nothing is unclear:

    I didn't say you did. I said don't. I don't know if you do or not. I do reserve the right to mention common pitfalls that I see 99.9999% of people doing....

    It surprises me that Crayon would be tough to get going. I thought she had a lot of energy... ...Now, by 'get going' I assume you mean both to get her into the walk, and to keep her walking at an energetic level.
    Nope. She has always been tough to get going. And once she does, it's pretty single-speed. And yes, precisely. ^^
    Then she needs to be trained to go at the speed you pick for her. That's really the fundamental issue here.

    Okay. This is about how you ride. You need to think about getting a better reaction to your leg. Don't repeatedly squeeze, squeeze, squeeze with calves, or use your heels again and again and again, when she does not immediately respond to your leg. Don't push with your body, either.
    Ok, I am careful not to do things like this. I hate pestering her like that as much as I'm sure she hates it.
    Do things like what? Squeeze again and again? Push with your body? Okay I think that's what you mean.

    She gets one chance to react from your leg, and then you use your whip. How hard? However hard you have to use it to get a big reaction. She should leap forward, it's perfectly fine if she trots or canters or even tosses her head or anything else, as long as she leaps forward. And try to use the whip once per time. The timing is like this: leg-whip. She needs to INSTANTLY react to your leg or she gets the whip. Really. That fast. If you do this right, there is no more nagging, no more repeated leg aids.
    Question on this... What if the only reaction I have ever gotten from the whip is her kicking out a leg and stopping completely? This has been something we've struggled with in the past and I ended up just not trying with the whip anymore. Perhaps it's time to bring it out again and see if anything has changed... So far I have resorted to using leg-extra rein against shoulder-immediate release of leg when she moves. I have noticed a slight improvement of her willingness to move forward over the past few rides. BUT I knooowww that is such an improper way to get a horse to move.. I practically cringe every time because I remember being yelled at for it as a kid.
    She has to learn to listen to your legs. That means she gets one light leg aid, one brief chance to respond, and then the whip.

    If she stops and kicks out, keep reapplying the whip until she stops kicking out and goes forward, even if it is one step forward. Or put up with her riding you instead of you riding her. Until she FLIES forward from the wind of your boot, she's in charge, not you.

    There are modifications, of course, but we still have to get that fundamental message across somehow: leg means go, no exceptions, no excuses from horsey. I've been on horses that were really bad to the whip. There are cases where I will use the rein end, but I eventually have to fix it, or I will use the whip in a different way, or on a different part of the body. For example, many young horses do better with a tap of whip on the shoulder, instead of the rump. Some do better with a tap on the TOP of the rump rather than behind your leg....sometimes the problem is that it IS 'a tap' and it needs to be more, the horse sees it as nagging rather than a command that can't be ignored. Sometimes it needs to be less, but there is a sweet spot there.

    But here's the thing. I don't think Crayon feels really great, judging by your pictures. It may be quite some time before she really is very willingly forward, even if you really ride her 'off your leg'(like described in the previous paragraph). So keep your work very short and to the point. Two minutes of really forward walking is a million times better than a 10 minute struggle. Just quickly make the point and get off. At this stage she probably doesn't need much saddle time anyway. 15 minutes total, tops. Give her a couple breaks, too.
    I will bet money she's feeling less energetic than ever. From where she was in February, we are building her muscle completely back up (which is, once again, why I want to build her up gradually). She is just about the perfect weight now and looking much better. I did say she's been back in work for a few weeks, but we were actually doing lunge line work since a few weeks before then. So far rides have been about 20 minutes, mostly walking. But it's that sllooowww walking. And then short bits of her normal, forward trotting. Maybe today I can get a more forward walk (which I'm dying to get out of her) because that was how I had intended to be riding at this point.
    I think you might benefit from having a heart rate monitor. I've been looking at some very cheap ones to use while training Wuss Horse.

    As noted. If she really seems tired and weak, it may be better to longe her than ride her. In that case you might start with a few laps of walk, then 3 circles in each direction at a trot and forget the canter for a few weeks. That should be about five minutes. Done.
    That is what I intend to do as far as riding goes. Hopefully we can get that forward walk. Rides so far have been a few laps of walk, and a few trot circles each way, and then some walking around the yard. She picks up the pace there a bit, so I guess I assumed she was just super bored. We only tested out the canter yesterday because I suppose I felt the need to see where she was at. Maybe with some proper conditioning, next time we try in few weeks or so her issues will already be sorting themselves out. We do lunge work about half the time now. That takes her longer to get going than riding. Her trot then is like her walk when I'm riding. It usually picks up after she's cantered a few circles. But I do notice her canter transition is smoother and the canter is more balanced. I guess that's what I would expect without her having to carry me as well. :p
    It takes her longer to get going on the longe than riding? That's not good, you need to change how your'e longeing too. It's not that you're actually doing anything technically wrong, it's more about tuning the intensity of your aids so you get a prompt response. Same basic philosophy, one signal with the whip and then a swift smack on the rear(or as noted, where ever works). She needs to go when told, even if now it's only one lap and then whoa, just make sure you say whoa and not her.

    What you're describing is actually a horse that takes a first step of canter as a big stiff, uncollected step. You can throw the reins at 'em, you can try to hold the reins against them, neither works.
    Sounds exactly like what's happening, haha. Like I siad I have tried slowing down/collecting her trot more, along with just asking from her normal trot, with the same result.
    Most people don't get this thing about the first big stiff monster step, but it's very common. I would not slow her trot too much, as it will make it harder for her to canter from the trot. She needs to be going across the ground - covering ground - at the trot. She can't be collected or slowed down right now.

    You just have to go slowly and get her fit and see how she is once she's been in work for a year or so. It takes about the same amount of time to get them fit again, as they were off of work.
    This is exactly what I'd like to do, which I why I was hesitant to do more trotting and less walking, more cantering, etc. I would like to get her gradually back into shape and make sure we don't skip anything.
    You can't really do much now, but you have to make what you do really count, be a real prompt reaction to your legs. Even if it's just one 20 m circle.

    Chuckle...one rather famous American dressage trainer got some laughs by dealing with one tough horse by riding him 5 minutes at a time...lol...10 times a day, LOL. The horse was responsive for 5 minutes so he said, alright, I'ma ride you five minutes. It worked...

    Of course, you have to have a half halt. You can't just ride around with a 'floaty' rein and nearly no contact.
    Of course there are half halts. Something my dressage-loving instructor stressed all the time.:D I have to admit, I did ride on a loose rein probably most of the year before I left home for 3+ years. This year I have been avoiding that because I would really like to sort out her training issues this time instead of working around them. She really does look for contact.
    Horses definitely will seek it out if given half a chance. If I recall you have excellent hands so I expect your horse would 'look for contact'.

    The circle exercise sounds very similar to what I have started doing since she's been back undersaddle. Her bending is there but needs work, which I expect after all her time off! That first canter (yesterday) was on the circle. I asked her to pick it up once she was bending and traveling balanced. I'm sure if we keep practicing that it will help her transitions. The leg yield exercise sounds very familiar to me as well.
    Yeah those are oldies but goodies.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  10. crayon

    crayon Senior Member

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    Yes, I mentioned I was pretty sure you were just stating common examples. Please forgive me, I'm just in a terrible mood lately. Finally got hired somewhere and THEN all the places I really wanted to work at want to interview me. Just struggling with figuring out what I want to do with life. I didn't mean to assume that you were assuming things and I value your suggestions very much!
    Yes, I meant that I am careful not to squeeze or kick again and again. :)
    Thank you for answering my question about using the whip! Of course I want her to be responsive to my leg like she should. It was just a problem in the past with her bad reaction to the whip and I didn't know what to do. So I will first try it behind my leg, and try it in other spots if needed, etc.
    Hmm, I've never thought of using something like a heart rate monitor. I'll look into finding one. I bet it would give me some guidance on how in/out of shape she really is.
    And I think it's time for a new lunge whip! Mine doesn't actually... make any sound anymore... And honestly I think somebody once told me that you should never touch a horse which the whip, I don't know where, so once I get to the point where she doesn't want to listen, I'm stuck. But you have given me the confidence that it's perfectly ok. It always seemed ok in my mind... better than nagging and nagging until she goes. I honestly think I give too many pre-cues on the lunge line... I use voice, then, a cluck/kiss, then swish the whip, then crack it, if it did that. Thinking about it now that just seems like that is totally ridiculous... I've been spoiled by having a very forward horse for the past year and gotten into such bad habits... I really want to fix it!
    Haha, If only I had time in the day to ride her 5 minutes 10 times a day... I bet it would do both of us wonders. I'm about to go out and ride and I'll probably post back here on how things go.
     

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