Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Video Lesson #15: Back On Track

The last video lesson I posted, I was frustrated with the ride and lacking in confidence.  Between D and S, I got back on track.  While this ride didn't go exactly as planned, it was much better and I remembered to ride.  Overall, I was much happier with it, and as an added bonus I managed to get this one edited, so there isn't the four minutes of me wandering around setting up the camera system.

The List:  This is getting more complicated and isn't an exact checklist anymore, but more of here are exercises to utilize as necessary.

One Loop Serpentines
Three Loop Serpentines
Leg Yields
50/50 Split Canter and Trot
Canter to Trot Transitions at X
Trot Lengthen on 20 m Circle
Spiral Circles at the Trot

My Initial Thoughts:

I did get a good enough trot that I did some one loops.  I did canter quite a bit.  The main focus of this ride was to get the right side softer and maintaining myself.  I tried the spiral circle exercise and never got the right feeling, but I do think the pseudo spiral helped.  The exercise was to really focus on the spiral out part of the circle to get him heavy in my outside rein.  Once I had him there we could go straight and as soon as he lost that feeling we were to go back onto the circle and reestablish the feeling.

At 9:17 we had a terrible canter transition (scooting for the win), but I let it slide since he was getting stuck and I wanted to get him forward.  I figured picking a fight about the transition would cause a mental meltdown, since he was already pushing the limit.
I am still letting him get his head up too high and I need to take his neck away more, but we had some nice moments.  I am much happier with this video and my confidence/riding is much more effective.  As a side note, I hate how much my confidence is linked to my riding.  Sometimes I need to just shut my brain off, because it gets in the way.

D's Thoughts:

I was successful using the spiraling (Yay, because I thought they were iffy at best.)  5:23 and 27:20 were two places that I actually got his neck taken away from him entirely.  I need to be able to get this feeling all the time.
I also need to work on sitting longer (D has been telling me this since I started riding with her.), because I get too quick in the rhythm.  In addition, my leg is getting better (I am not kicking him in the shoulder), but it still needs to go back farther.

I got some of the best stretch at the trot.  Keep in mind this is very relative and that Stinker's favorite position is giraffe neck with nose tucked.  And we also had some of our best walk work.  This is huge for us.  The walk has been a struggle from day one.

I need to be careful about my rein length.  There are times (6:14 for example) that I ask him to bend to the inside, but don't give my outside rein and allow him to stretch.  He can't give if I don't allow him to give.

I also need to work on my timing.  Around 9:00 he got frazzled because I stayed at the trot too long.  I needed to get the small give and move on, rather than harp and get him frazzled.  For now small is ok.  I need to remember to ask, get, and move on.

I also need to work on not locking up in the transitions (10:46).  When he locks, I lock my arms and it is ugly.  I need to shake my arms out, spin him around, spiral him back out, and canter.  This needs to happen every single time he locks up like that.

Lock Elbows=Tense Inverted Horse

The canter is getting better and more relaxed.  I am now ready to try spiraling in the canter.  When the circle gets smaller almost ask for a trot, and if he trots that is ok right now.  I just need to get his adjustability more fluid and improve our balance.  When he gets in the super tense canter (it feels like a bolt almost), I need to shut it down.  He is bracing in his neck, so I need to take that away and remind him to be fluid.

Also, I am suppose to start adding in circles in the corners.  Right now he launches himself out of the corner and circling will help us to maintain a rhythm and force him to pay attention to me rather than say "We go NOW!"

Again, I need to be better with my hands and when he asks to stretch, I need to be giving and allowing.  He already has a tendency to curl, if I never give forward he will stay like that.

Overall, I need to pay attention to our balance, take away the neck, and make sure I am giving at the appropriate moments.  The circles and spirals will help to set up our balance and take the neck away.  And I have permission to try a few rides without the draw reins to help me with the giving moments.


I think we have been doing really well lately.  He has given me a couple of really nice rides that made me so proud.  I have gotten some really nice three loop serpentines and excellent trot work.  There are improvements in the canter, and I am learning to get the feel for the larger trot.

He still isn't lifting his back and really moving the way I know he can.  I am really hoping an appropriately fitting saddle will help this.  S's saddle is a little too small and I can't blame him for not wanting to lift and push into a too small saddle.  In the mean time, I am really trying to limit the number of rides, because I don't want to sour him due to the saddle fit.

Ignore me and look at the neck.  No under neck!!!

We have been doing a fair amount of ground work.  I lunged him over a cross rail and he is so adorable.  I think if we can get him consistent on the flat he will be an amazing jumper.  Sadly I did not get any video of it.  We also went on a bareback trail ride, which was lots of fun.  I love riding bareback and I love that he is ok with it.  Although he is so freaking uphill that I pretty much have to grab mane the whole way so I am not sliding off the back.  But I love his ears and his march when he gets going.


  1. I just love how expressive he is! Dont beat yourself up. Your improving as is he! I know though getting frustrated comes with the territory...just stay focused! You both got this!

    1. Thanks! I am feeling really confident that we are going in the right direction and the upcoming boot camp will be really helpful (that is if the wheels don't fall off because we are in a new place).

  2. lol your feelings about bareback trail rides do not match my own ;) then again our trails are pretty much entirely steep hills and twisty turns so... maybe that's it haha. glad it was a more inspiring ride this time around!

    1. I grew up riding bareback (mainly because I always wanted to ride and was too short to saddle my horse) so it takes me back to that. But I've also been told I'm insane because I will gallop bareback. To me it is super freeing and very relaxing.