Monday, August 13, 2012

Training 3: Not our breakthrough ride, but...

Ri and I went to a Bucks County Horse Park schooling show last Tuesday. Training 3 was probably our better test -- we got a 68% despite scoring a "2" on one movement (you'll see what happened in the video). Have to say, the footage looks a whole lot better than it felt.

No, it is not our "breakthrough" test where we fix our canter and the departs and the other glitches we've struggled with, but I do like these things:

  • He's steadier in the bridle
  • Our trot halt and halt trot transitions aren't bad
  • The upward transitions to canter are improving
  • The canter work is a bit more controlled -- my efforts to keep things collected did result in a loss of balance that threw us into a trot, and out, and in, through two movements that call for canter throughout. Oh well.
Ri felt "against my hand" in the warmup, wanted to look at everything, and it continued into our first test. The second test, I admit I was perturbed, and I "set my hand" creating human side-reins, and got very forceful with my seat. Not something I'd want to do every ride, but it did mask an issue for four minutes!


  1. Great test. Nice to see how Riley is progressing.

  2. I know you don't like riding him aggressively forward and well into the bridle may not be whatyou want to do, but it worked. Too often, we mistake "light" for a lack of contact and connection on the rein. "Light" should really be that active contact you get when the whole horse is stepping into the bit, and often, in the early phases of training can put quite a bit of weight in your hand. Over time, as the horse's balance improves and half halts get him to carry himself more and more on the hind end, the weight becomes less.

    Riley may well need some more of that "throughness" at this point in order to be steady and use himself correctly into the transitions.

    Good test, either way. Little glitch at the end of that first canter, but otherwise some nicely developing steadiness.

  3. He didn't feel laterally supple and it felt like too much of his lower neck muscles were engaged -- moreso in the first test (which you'll see soon) than the second one. We seem to do this dance of not enuf... just right.. Whoa, too much! contact as we work. It's clear to me that he is trying hard to find where he needs to be -- not blowing me off, just struggling a bit to work in the parameters I give him. I don't always help him enuf...

  4. wow! you guys look much steadier than a few shows ago! kudos on good progress. I'm struggling with the same concept with my mare (in the same tests) at the moment as well. She's listening, but is more of a ping pong ball between my aids then maintaining a steady contact/balance/etc. Of course, horse eating flowers lurking just beyond the rail aren't helping our matters at all either...

  5. I can definitely see the "steadier in the bridle" going on and that's great! I also agree with the judge who told you not to spend too much time at your current level, because boy, you guys are soooooooo close to extension on those trot diagonals - REALLY nice!

  6. He looks good, despite the one blip. Canter looks nice and elastic and pleasant. Good luck to you both!

  7. I thought your breech color went really well with Riley's coloring.

  8. To improve the overall picture: White or cream pad, white gloves, lighter breeches. Difficult to see you when it's "low light" like it was in this test--early a.m., late afternoon, overcast, ??

    Just taking hints from an article I read a dozen years ago about clinic attire ...

    As for the test itself, Ri looks happy in his work, you have good energy going forward and the canter thing will continue to improve. And you're right--he IS steadier in the bridle.

    Good job!

  9. A nice ride! Some things you might consider to help with his "lightness and steady contact" would be to open up your inside rein and almost give full release of it while keeping a steady and almost firm contact with your outside rein. In schooling this will look like you have a slack inside rein and a tight outside rein. But you can not do this without constantly using your inside leg to encourage him to step through with his inside hind leg.

    The opening of the inside rein and the pushing through with the inside leg encourages forward momentum without confusion and frustration from the horse. Keeping too much contact on both reins while pushing and pushing forward can cause the "behind the verticle", lack of impulsion, frustration, dropped back, and lack of collection. Consider adding multiple half halts and full transitions between gaits while keeping the inside rein "pushed forward", steady contact on the outside rein, and pushing forward with the inside leg. It will encourage him to lift himself up and not count on you to hold him together.

    Keep up the good work!! :)


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