Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Video Lesson #13: Overachiever

The List:

25 Minutes Total
3 One Loop Serpentines Each Direction at the Trot
1 Leg Yield Each Direction at the Trot
1 Canter Entire Arena Each Direction with Circles at A and C
1 Lengthening

The Results:

25 Minutes Total
3 One Loop Serpentines Each Direction at the Trot
1 Leg Yield Each Direction at the Trot
1 Canter Entire Arena Each Direction with Circles at A and C
1 Lengthening (I did not try this because I never felt like I had a good trot)

1:50  Right lead canter
6:59  One loop serpentine (left 1)
7:24  One loop serpentine (left 2)
7:45  One loop serpentine (left 3)
8:20  One loop serpentine (left 4)
9:09  One loop serpentine (right 1)
9:45  One loop serpentine (right 2)
10:33  One loop serpentine (right 3)
12:14  One loop serpentine (right 4)
12:48  One loop serpentine (right 5)
13:38  One loop serpentine (right 6)
17:54  Left lead canter
22:08  Leg yield (left 1)
25:22  Leg yield (left 2)
25:48  Leg yield (left 3)
27:25  Leg yield (right 1)
28:33  Leg yield (right 2)
So cute (him not me...ignore me)

My Thoughts:

This ride did not feel very good.  Everything felt choppy.  In hindsight, I should have taken the time to fix the arena back to the large size, but he was already impatient and annoyed with me, so I didn't.  I have two thoughts on why we were so choppy and it is probably the combination.  One, my hips have been super tight (to the point where my back has been hurting) and he is very sensitive to this.  So I think the tension in my hips are making him antsy and that makes him choppy.  Two, he is anticipating the canter.  Circles used to be his happy spot to relax, but now I am feeling him get more and more antsy when we circle.  I think he is expecting to canter and I need to spend part of the time just going back to walk trot and not canter.  I didn't try to lengthen, because I never felt like I had a trot where it was good enough to push for forward.

Thoughts on me:

I am doing the weird lean forward thing again.  I think I am doing it when I want to get him to stretch forward and down.  I was also struggling with an effective half halt.  It seemed like the majority of turns he would try to rocket out of them, and I couldn't half halt him in an effective manner.  My leg needs to come back about six inches to be in the correct spot.  I also seem to be getting dumped off the left side.

Legs out front, butt out behind, leaning forward, elbows not bent...

Thoughts on him:

I felt like I could never get him to just drop his head and relax.  We would get a few strides, then it would be back to head up bulging under neck.  I don't know if on days like this, I should just scrap the plan and really work on getting him to relax.  Or if I should just try to work through it and keep encouraging him to stretch down and continue with the plan.

D's Thoughts:

D was super impressed with our left lead canter (actually both ways, but the left is harder).  And she thought we actually looked more confident in the canter than in the trot.

She also wants me to use the draw reins more on days like this.  He was more up and I was a little off, the draw reins are supposed to set a ceiling for him, but if I don't shorten them up he never hits the ceiling.  She isn't worried about me abusing them, because I never really get them activated in the first place.

I am supposed to shorten my reins (about half the length) and be more proactive in the trot.  When he gets tight, I need to take his neck away and let him know this is not an option any more.  I am also allowed to do more canter and sit in the canter instead of my crappy two point in dressage saddle attempt.

I also need to have confidence in myself and my ability to ride him correctly.  I get tight and tense and that compounds onto him.  We get in a vicious cycle, and I need to have confidence in myself and break this cycle.

New Checklist:

30 Minutes Total
15 Minutes Trot
     4 Three Loop Serpentines with 15 m circles at the midline
     4 Lengthen Trots on 20 m circle (lengthen one half bring back other half)
     1 One Loop Serpentine each direction
15 Minutes Canter
     Canter entire arena with 20 m circles at A and C and 15 m circles at E and B
     4 Canter to Trot Transitions on the diagonal with the transition at X

All of this is in addition to the old list.


  1. it seems like he's walking longer and better at the beginning of each video - and actually at each gait he seems to be covering a little more ground with every step. i see what you mean about not getting a consistently softer and relaxed back and neck - but the moments you *do* get are showing a lot of potential :)

    1. He really is improving. Sometimes I get caught up in the negatives and forget that. He has soooo much potential if I can figure out how to harness everything and direct it towards the good. The dressage judge that I clinic with semi regularly said that if he ever figures out that the person on him isn't going to kill him he will be fantastic. So there is that...

  2. I second emma and the getting softer and relaxing will come with time once he starts trusting his balance. That canter looked so much better!

    1. Thanks. I really am proud of where we are at considering the EPM issues.