Monday, October 24, 2016

Experimenting

My last lesson with my favorite dressage judge gave me several things to think about.  One of them, which I didn't write about previously, was the question "What goes through my mind in the trot?"  Sadly I had to face the fact that basically the only thing was "Oh god oh god oh my god."  There really wasn't any thinking going on because I was essentially just trying to survive.


I started puzzling over what is causing this problem, because a) there is no fear involved b) Stinker isn't going to dump me c) I am fully capable of having thought processes on other horses.  I realized that my main problem is I lose my balance in the trot.  Before anyone goes down the blame it on the saddle rabbit hole, there isn't a saddle in the world that can fix the problem.


When Stinker pops his head up and drops his back out, his hind end seriously lowers about four inches.  This knocks me off balance, because one second I can feel his back and the next it is just gone.  I am not a talented enough rider to be able to get my balance and to bring his hind back up under him.


Enter yet another of my random off the wall ideas.  Get a neck strap.  So I am now riding with a neck strap and people seem to think it is because he might buck.  That gave me some giggles (his attempts to buck are totally pathetic), but also it is rather depressing to admit that no he can't buck I just can't ride his trot.  Whatever, everyone at the barn already knows I am a total weirdo.


I have only trotted with him twice since I remembered to take an old stirrup leather out to the barn, but so far I am really liking it.  It actually has the side benefit of getting my hands out of my lap, since I can't hold it and have my hands in my lap.  It reminds me to give forward more and not hold so much.  When I lose his hind, I can use it for a bit of balance and get hind legs back under him.  And best of all I actually feel like I can get some decent trot.

14 comments:

  1. Irish used to do that exact same thing. He was also as stiff as a board so it was impossible to ride with anything approaching grace or elegance. I think that the strap is a good idea and I hope that it helps you through this phase (it is a phase, he will get better!).

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    1. Riding is hard enough when they cooperate, so when they don't it feels impossible sometimes. I'm really happy with the strap so far. :)

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  2. Dude neck straps are the truth. They can somehow magically solve all sorts of problems, are widely available, as simple and low tech as you can get, plus cheap, and yet somehow they still barely utilized.

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    1. Yep! Super stretched out stirrup leather that I hate for the win :)

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  3. I have a BIG NSH gelding and can understand you pain. He can be fresh. Some days he comes out, sticks his head up and just will passage -trotting level- around as a evasion. And I need to get him working over his back, and thinking about me. Sometimes lipizzan moves are included.

    If I KNOW he is going to be fresh, I tack him up in his western saddle. It makes me feel safer. I have the same leg as his dressage saddle, but can grab the horn if he is being naughty, or if I need to spin him around.

    When I learned I could ride him out, I learned I was more confident. I don't feel have the time to grab the neck strap with my guy when he is feeling fresh. Once he is working properly, I have the option to finish working in the western saddle- I can post like a champ in it... or swap out his saddle.

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    1. I can stick with the fresh and I'm not in any danger of coming off. It's just trying to maintain my balance and get his hind end back under him that I struggle with, so it's pretty easy just to hook a finger in the strap.

      But western saddle are nice for sticking with a horse. I grew up with that.

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  4. Glad you found something to help! I have a horrible tendency to rode with my hands in my lap, maybe I should try a neck strap too!

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    1. You can't hold it and have them in your lap. It could also be a good visual reminder.

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  5. I have different problems, but I swear the standing martingale we use EVERY SINGLE RIDE is really 99% giving me a neck strap and only 1% dissuading Courage's shenanigans.

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  6. Sometimes a piece of tack just needs to be dumbo's feather... and that is ok.

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  7. A neck strap is a great idea! Whatever works :)

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    1. I was quite proud of myself for thinking of it.

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