Quick post: what should be organized first: the horse or the rider? and what IS organized when we are talking about dressage?
Hi. March Magic dressage in Williamston mostly had lovely cool weather. The Ag center is spectacular. The management was successful and organized. I only had one student come with me: Susan on Bodie, a Palomino QH gelding. They showed first level test one and four. Every test scored right around 64% - 65% and he placed in three classes, winning one of them. Big classes, I might add. As for Welle the tigress: She went off her grain Saturday but happily ate grass. So, I spent almost all my extra time hand grazing her in the back field behind the farthest arena. Although she was crabby for our Sat afternoon PSG, we got a 66%, just like on Friday. However, on Sunday, she was feeling better and lifted the score to 71% and the winner only had a 72%. Loved it. Had lots of fun.
The warm up arenas were busy. Bodie is easily intimidated and reads the "mood" of other horses in the arena. If one rider is particularly stressed, then Bodie usually picks that one to shy away from. Susan has a lot to deal with. At this show, one particular rider with "bad vibes" decided to extended trot her horse right in front of Bodie and another horse. Both of the cut-off horses were frightened. Bodie completely panicked. Although everyone lived, the real stab came when the rider (a pro actually!) said to Susan "Oh, did I scare your little pony?" Argh. Bodie is 15.2 by the way. It is so cool that Bodie, recovered fully, and went in and won the AA division!
Regarding arena manners: always pass behind a horse, never in front (such as crossing a diagonal). Always pass left shoulder to left shoulder (such as coming down a long side toward another rider). Circles stay to the inside, straight lines to the exterior. Lateral movements have right away almost always. Walking and halting should never be done on the track; stay to the inside. Hope that helps.
Cheers! Just got back from the Williamston show.... great weekend! Lots of successes.... really tired. So, what scoop do you want to hear about? Chat, Stats, gossip, glam, drama? Hit 0 Comments at top right corner to let me know. I'll get to it tomorrow. Stay dry, Ni Ni.
The training concept for today: balance Once, I overheard a student complaining to her instructor about the "out of balance" comments on her test sheet. She said, "he stayed on his feet the whole time! So, he seems fine to me!" ...hum. Perhaps you need to raise your standards? A lot.
Balance comes from fine tuning the use of your aids to keep your horse on your perfectly balanced seat. It is at the very essence of dressage. There are many balance bobbles that can happen before falling occurs. Those balance bobbles are visual mishaps and result in negative modifiers on your test scores. Vivid awareness of the balance concept will get you half way there. Then, there are exercises and tools your instructor can use to help you master it. Master it you must.
Cheers! Here is a quick Winnie update: she is lunging with side reins. They are still adjusted too long to be helpful to her. I will adjust them shorter over time so she gets used to the new balance request and developes strength over time. Also, I have sat upon her and, with Bob leading, schooled walk and halt and turns. Many more repititions of that lesson will be needed to build those "buttons". Welle update: we have entered March Magic PSG. I am very happy with how she feels at home, however, I haven't had a lesson since last fall. I need to get some trained eyes on her soon. I am very optimistic about this season for her. Very. ... on another note: has anyone told you about the elastic fist for holding the reins? Ever heard of the two fingers of elasticity? That topic is soon. Send in comments about connection or rein holding etc. if you like.
"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have and only you should determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." - Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)
Hi again! I have added a new link to the "Links Page" for a very good product. Our barn aisle has often been complimented on its beauty and functionality. Woodstar products made the stall bars and stall doors. Their standard were very high, their customer service very pleasant, and they delivered their excellent product at the right time. It was so easy! Thank you Woodstar! The Taylor and Caron barns also have used Woodstar stall products. Check out their link.
When the wind blows strong, when wild weather shuts you in for days, when a young horse experiences new show grounds, or you move to a new home, are all times when the choice to lunge a horse before riding is a good idea. To preserve the "virginity" of a horses' delicate mouth a trainer should not attach a lunge line to the bit on a potentially wild horse. The handler needs to have a valuable piece of equipment that reserves the delicate mouth for delicate tasks. The halter is not that equipment. There is nothing on a halter that will give a bolting horse a cue to turn (toward the lunge trainer). That is extremely important. Halters aren't well padded or fit securely around the head. The classical lunge cavason is the tool for these occasions. The nose-front attachment gives the horse a cue to turn. On a well built cavason the nose is thickly padded and the lunge line attaches to a ring on a jointed structure that allows for the curve of the nose bone. The eye piece is often mistaken for a throat latch like a bridle. Cavason's do not have a throat latch at all. The eye piece goes infront of (below) their jowel and is fitted snuggly to keep the cheek pieces from being pulled into the horses' eyes. Common manufacurers of this equipment, sadly, do not build the eye piece correctly. "People in the know" sometimes take their common cavason to a leather worker and have the eye piece put lower on the cheeks so that it goes nicely below the jowels. Lunging with a cavason is also good for gait analysis because it has minimal influence on the horses' natural gait choice. Also, babies who are learning early lunging techniques should not lunge on a bit. First the babies (young horses) must learn basics: to go fearlessly "in front" of the driving aids, turn their bodies the same degree every stride (for a continuous circle), half halt and halt on the aids, yield to pressure and maintain rhythm.... before they lunge using side reins or lunge on the bit. Babies need time to experience the laws of physics (gravity, speed and momentum, mass, centrifugal force and balance) before they deal with side reins, or the weight of a rider, etc. Side reins are an asset to help the horse understand how to conform with needs of a rider before they have to deal with the weight of a rider. Starting a horse on side reins is systematic process and requires understanding of the horses' perspective. Handlers must get education before they try to train a horse to safely and happily accept lunging and side reins. I believe good lunge training always helps the horse. I teach young horses to lunge peacefully before backing (breaking). So far, I am quite happy with results. In challenging circumstances, I am always very happy to have the tool. I am happy if I see the horse remember the basics and the laws of physics when a wild wind blows up their tail and a Fresian stallion goes bucking through a new show ground. Hey, it happens!