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bouncing_ball

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She was competed by a pro at a metre just before being sold at auction to the dealer I bought her from. But was rushing and tense when ridden by a pro as soon as she was in England very shortly afterwards. So I think she has probably always been willing to try and therefore a good enough rider can mask the gaps. I can't and I would not want to even if I could.
I’m confused, I thought you took her to riding club camp snd jumping pretty soon after getting her home? And she was good?
 

bouncing_ball

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She is 9 this year. She has been signed off by the vet after 2 months of a vet -directed rehab plan for SI injuries. So we are back in full work. But with a focus on on-going core work ro strengthen her back. So lots of hacking, hills, poles etc and just starting to jump again.

We have done loads of poles/raised poles as rehab both inhand and ridden which she does not consider 'jumping' and is totally fine with. But at some point she thinks 'oh this is jumping' and gets tense. So now we are mixing up loads of flatwork stuff with the odd jump. Today was a Warwick Schiller bend to a halt from trot exercise - so a single x pole then bend to a soft halt with her attention on the rider. Took 4-5 goes before she landed and reconnected immediately and softly came to a stop. Before that it was land and run off. She's getting there.
Sounds like a good exercise, and good progress.
 

Ambers Echo

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BB wrote: I’m confused, I thought you took her to riding club camp snd jumping pretty soon after getting her home? And she was good?

She was ok in the summer but she had been jumped regularly by the schooling livery person. I have just messaged her and she said she rushed the fences at first but got better so when I first started riding her she was ok. But she then had several months without seeing a pole ib a jumping context.
r.
Yes I said that in my post. I took her to camp after 10 days of having her. But she had spent 2-3 weeks on schooling livery then. And yes she was fine but then had a long gap and she was not fine on her return to jumping post injury. I could just jump her a few more times and she would probably think 'ok this is ok' but I imagine every time we step up a height or put her under more stress she will go back to being unhappy so this time I am taking it right bacl to the beginning.
 

flying_high

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BB wrote: I’m confused, I thought you took her to riding club camp snd jumping pretty soon after getting her home? And she was good?



Yes I said that in my post. I took her to camp after 10 days of having her. But she had spent 2-3 weeks on schooling livery then. And yes she was fine but then had a long gap and she was not fine on her return to jumping post injury. I could just jump her a few more times and she would probably think 'ok this is ok' but I imagine every time we step up a height or put her under more stress she will go back to being unhappy so this time I am taking it right bacl to the beginning.
It seems a bit odd to me that she was okay jumping at lots of competitions abroad.

Comes to England and jumps okay at sales yard.

You take her to camp and she jumps with a strange non-professional rider, at a strange place, both poles and XC and she jumps okay.

You might expect a major loss of jumping confidence at each change, if her jumping confidence wasn’t solid?

You don’t think it might be a pain memory that is more recent linked to the SI injury and jumping in pain?
 

Ambers Echo

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She didn't jump ok at the Sales yard. I contacted the pro to ask her what she had been like and she said she was tense and rushing, 'numb to aids' but she got better the more she did at that yard. I don't know why she did not tell me that at the time but maybe she thought she'd fixed it.

But yes maybe it's remembered pain. But she was tense and sweating just schooling round poles set up between jump wings but fine with much more intense exercise that she did not label as 'jumps' so I don't think so tbh. Plus she was injured in a field accident. It was not linked to jumping in pain. Anyway whatever caused rhe problem, she definitely is stressed now. But I also think she will relax again quickly. We shall see.
 

flying_high

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She didn't jump ok at the Sales yard. I contacted the pro to ask her what she had been like and she said she was tense and rushing, 'numb to aids' but she got better the more she did at that yard. I don't know why she did not tell me that at the time but maybe she thought she'd fixed it.

But yes maybe it's remembered pain. But she was tense and sweating just schooling round poles set up between jump wings but fine with much more intense exercise that she did not label as 'jumps' so I don't think so tbh. Plus she was injured in a field accident. It was not linked to jumping in pain. Anyway whatever caused rhe problem, she definitely is stressed now. But I also think she will relax again quickly. We shall see.
Will keep fingers crossed, sounds like she has a thorough and considerate owner, taking time to get things physically right, and put in all the foundations.
 

Ambers Echo

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Thank-you! I am not a good enough rider to just control a horse who tries to take over. So I need to get her on-side anyway with a lot of back-to-basics work but i think that probably helps her too. Even if it takes me far longer to get anywhere.
 

Ambers Echo

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Another update: Multi-pronged approach to help her relax when jumping. I've started occasionally schooling her in her jumping tack with jumps up in the arena instead of clearing the arena and wearing her dressage tack. Partly to help me adjust how I ride in both saddles but also to get her more chilled around poles and jumps and in jump tack. At first she was clearly thinking "we are jumping" and locked on to any jump that crossed her eyeline. But now she ignores the jumps and I have started just randomly popping one then carrying on schooling as if nothing has happened. I have also taken her out and about twice more - to the tech arena at Somerford and to a SJ hire venue. The trainer in that awful lesson had me jump and halt in a straight line before the turn which I see the logic of, but it meant an abrupt, not very smooth regaining of control and a stressed Lottie. I tried someone else at Somerford and she wanted me to take my time to get Lottie back to avoid a fight. And to regain control of the canter smoothly then work the canter, then drop to trot then work the trot and then pop another log and repeat. It worked a lot, lot better and she was coming back to me calmly and smoothly much more quickly. Best of all she was not sweating up. Whereas a couple of weeks ago just working with poles out left her dripping. So not sure what was bothereing her but she seems to be making peace with the concept of jumps now.

We are in a decent routine of 6 days work and 1 day rest a week. I have built up the duration slowly and now adding more intensity too and riding on as wide a variety of surfaces as possible. I am very keen to be consistent and am using my lovely Secret Santa diary as my Lottie Progress Diary to plan and track every session along with a white board which has 2 weeks of work written up in advance and I have to tick off each session with a comment. It is really helping with motivation as so many days I'm tired, it's pelting down with rain etc etc and I am tempted to think 'sod it' but then having to put a cross next to a session is painful so I am getting them all done. Not missed a single training session yet this year. Though of course I adjust the plans if necessary. But my new mantra is I can only skip sessions in LOTTIE's interests. Not because I can't be bothered. Working so far. Feeling pleased with her progress and delighted with her attitude.
 

JGC

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That sounds like great progress, well done. I think you do a much better job than you give yourself credit for - I'd let you ride mine and I don't say that very often ;)

Is the two-week plan something you work out yourself or is it done with your trainer? I have a tendancy to skip sessions in winter (especially as I do have to adapt to weather - the school is still under snow and not open ...) and, hopefully, I am about to go back to two horses so I can't really afford too many off days. I think a plan/whiteboard might help.
 

Bernster

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Great update AE. I was reading your previous post thinking, I wonder how she’s dealing with the rushing issue, as I have the same issue with Bertie (to some extent). Then you posted! Makes a lot of sense. I’m going to try the schooling with the odd jump in between.

We have some of our same issues working over poles so I can practice without always having to be jumping, which sounds like something you’ve worked through and isn’t an issue now with Lottie.

I try to keep a diary but it’s of what we’ve done. I’m not great at planning ahead other than general aims. But I’m very task orientated and don’t like to fail, so your whiteboard idea sounds like it would really help to motivate me!
 

Ambers Echo

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Super happy with Lottie. Winds were too high for towing so I abandoned the Somerford plan and schooled instead. The wind was gusting over 50mph. The horses who had been turned out were galloping up and down the arena fence line as the field is bounded by the arena end. Leaves were being pulled off the trees and flying in our faces. We dealt with heavy sideways rain. And Lottie was a SUPERSTAR. She was a bit spooky for a few minutes then settled and got on with it. Her work ethic is remarkable.

Our focus was on smooth transitions between halt, walk and trot.

Derssage numpty alert: It was the best schooling session I have ever had and I am trying to articulate why. I am sure what was happenning is really very basic but I felt moments of connection that I have never felt on any horse before. And I can't really expain what was happening but maybe some of you can! (I am sure a lot of readers will be eye rolling that this is a revelation but anyway). Normally when I ask her to slow or speed up within the trot, one of 2 things happens: she does slow but she sort of also loses energy or drops behind the leg so when I ask for trot again - she is willing enough but there is this tiny lag as she gets back up to speed again. Or she is heavy in the hand and although she does slow, I know that if I soften the rein or stop blocking with my seat she will just speed up again.

Today I could ask and she would come back to me and I'd just sit on that. Soft rein, relaxed on top with her maintaining the rhythm. Right down to a slow jog. And then when I wanted more I'd ask and the energy was there and she would just surge forward. It felt totally unlike any other session I have had. I am buzzing. Poor Lottie - I was having such a great session that we were out there for ages. And came back in as wet as if we had been swimming on the sea. But so worth it.

A very happy AE today.
 

Ambers Echo

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Just to add - the thing that is puzzling me and felt different is that when Lottie was trotting slowly - almost jogging - I could feel that she was still right there with me and that energy was available as soon as I wanted it. But how did I know that? That might seem a really silly question but I honestly don't know.
 

Roxylola

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Just to add - the thing that is puzzling me and felt different is that when Lottie was trotting slowly - almost jogging - I could feel that she was still right there with me and that energy was available as soon as I wanted it. But how did I know that? That might seem a really silly question but I honestly don't know.
Feeeeeeeelllll
You're learning to ride what's under you instead of following direction 🥰
We abandoned somerford too - going tomorrow instead. A borrowed box and someone else's (and my) pride and joy in this seemed a bit foolish
 

Upthecreek

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Just to add - the thing that is puzzling me and felt different is that when Lottie was trotting slowly - almost jogging - I could feel that she was still right there with me and that energy was available as soon as I wanted it. But how did I know that? That might seem a really silly question but I honestly don't know.
Because you are creating impulsion without increasing speed she probably feels more powerful and collected. Love that feeling of really starting to gel with a horse.
 

Ambers Echo

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And just when it felt like it was going well!!

Frustrating lesson on Lottie. She is weak and unbalanced in left canter, rushes and falls in. And there were too many things I needed to do to correct it

- More effective use of inside leg to keep her out and stop her bulging into that leg
- More consistent outside rein
- Half halting with seat and outside rein to slow her down
- Flex and release inside rein to stop her looking to the outside
- Maintain my posiiton.
- Look where I was going (!)

It was too hard - I was doing everything mechanically with no timing or feel and she was just not responding. Outside hand was bouncing, inside rein was fixing, inside leg was ineffective, I was losing position. She was wall of deathing. Argghh what a mess. I stopped, saying 'I'm just training her how NOT to canter' and my RI got on to give her a better experience and end on a better feeling than my awful attempt. Still, the trot work was nice and I need to keep reminding myself that I am trying to do a hard thing well. And not every session is going to feel good. My RI says she feels a lot worse than she looks as she kind of throws you around but I think she was just being nice.

On a more postive note, at the end of the lesson I felt like there had been no harmony, no connection. So I tried some liberty with her to re-connect and she was fab. It's not something I have trained her to do. It's just something I enjoy occasionally and played around with with Amber and so I tried it for the first time a few weeks ago and she was totally disconnected from me. Would not be drawn at all. And just ran away from any drive aids. So this was a huge improvement and I ended up drawing and driving her all over the arena with her glued to my shoulder. Ending with a jog to a halt and she was happy to speed up then stop sweetly and wait to see what was happening next. She seemed very curious and relaxed about this new game so I will do more of this for sure. I guess she forgave my sh1t riding!
 

JGC

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That's the thing about riding - it is simultaneously ridiculously simple and excruciatingly complex!

My horses going well for a pro has always been something I've struggled with. But do you know what? There is nothing surprising about someone who has probably ridden for 1000s more hours and on 100s more horses than I have being better at it than me!

In a similar vein, I always used to get upset at not being great at playing the piano - but then I never practice! So now I have come to a place where I can just enjoy the practice and not compare myself constantly to "how I think I should be". And I am working hard to do the same for riding.

Paul Belasik tells a story in one of his books (can't remember which one, I'm afraid) about a very harsh dressage judge. Turns out that dressage judge was such a perfectionist that he hadn't ridden for years as he could never meet the ideal that he imagined for himself.

Sorry, AE, I might have wandered off topic a bit there :oops:
 

Asha

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If 'the details' could help I am all ears!
Im crooked, and Pip can be a little stiff/one sided to start with. Always has been. I took her for a full vet check the other week, as id convinced myself she must be lame. Spent way too many ££ to establish shes absolutely fine. Popped a pro rider on her, no problem with left rein. Had a lesson with my regular chap who made it clear what was going wrong. pro riders are stronger than me, and can just make it happen. We hadnt done flatwork for quite some time so she was a little stiff, so we did plenty of leg yielding got her going like she was precovid. Hey presto left rein canter was back, so much so she was offering it at every opportunity. I felt like a prize plum.
The fact that my left hip has been causing me problems has left me weaker there. Found a new physio and in one session has made more of a difference than all the physios put together. So it really was a combination of loosening us both up.
 

DiNozzo

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Next time it feels horrendous, get someone to video it. Especially if your instructor is there.

You can visualise it, rather than 'feel' it, and you can learn to match those things up. "if it feels like that, the instructor wants me to do this", and you'll have it so you can go back to it and hear those instructions again.

And also, your RI was probably telling you the truth 😉 and that it really wasn't that bad.
 

scats

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A little tip that I was taught many years ago that has never let me down with unbalanced/falling-in canters.
Sometimes, by putting your inside leg on an unbalanced horse, they either ‘prop’ against it, or you end up shifting the rib cage over and chucking them onto their inside shoulder. This obviously exacerbates the falling in problem.
Pop your inside leg a little further forward than feels right, sort of between girth and elbow. Then try and use your ankle rather than calf, sort of bend your foot in and just lightly support the horse. Then concentrate the rest of your energy on you and your position. The result is pretty much instantaneous. You can use this little nugget while you develop the canter and you’ll find you can eventually leave your leg in the ‘correct’ position.
It’s one of the most useful tips I’ve ever been given and it’s never failed me.
 

Ambers Echo

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Read something interesting the other day.

Author talks about neutral - horse feeling relaxed and contented in her 'sweet spot' and active neutral - horse feeling relaxed and contented while moving. The sweet spot could be in the stable or under a tree, active neutral is running or playing with the herd. The challenge is to help the horse find both neutral and active/neutral with us. He says it is very common for performance horses to have no 'active neutral' while working. They go into the ring, work, go back to barn and only relax there. So over time they get more and more wired.

This really fits Lottie. Lottie had no 'neutral' when with humans before. She would not just stand relaxed once you were on her. As soon as the bum hit the saddle she was offering movement, head tossing, chomping, pawing, fidgeting. I have done loads of work on this. Just 'reading the paper' while on her back. Mount. Do nothing. Dismount. Mount, sit there. Faff for ages. Amble a few paces, Do nothing again, Get off etc. She has become very good at being horse-as-sofa. And just chills out waiting for instruction. Now she needs to finds active neutral too while moving and especially while jumping.

I am sure a good rider could get on Lottie and hold her together to jump a round. But I still think she'd be tense while doing it. I remember that trip to Weston Lawns for a stay away SJ with Amber. Horses rearing, napping, spinning, spooking all over the place - then going in and jumping clear. I hated that. That's not what I want with Lottie.
 

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Caol Ila

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I like that article. I've been working on finding "active happy neutral" with my Highland, not because he's a super wired peformance horse (LOL), but to get him to a happy, confident space while out carrying a rider. Not tense, not trying to freeze and plant. I have been informed that freeze and plant is a go-to behaviour of the Dallas feral ponies when they are unsure -- he's not doing it to be a dick -- so I try to encourage him forward, but not too forcefully. Smacking him with the whip would probably be unhelpful. If he's really stuck, it's better to send trail buddy in front. If out on my own, it's better to get off and lead for a few yards. When he is pottering down the trail in a relaxed and forward manner, I try to sit as quietly as humanly possible and tell him he's the best horse in the world.

I would love to have Mark Rashid work with this horse -- I think Mark would understand him because he knows BLM mustangs -- but that can't happen because both the horse and myself have had fall-outs with the yard where he does Scottish clinics. You know about mine, but Fin had an entirely unrelated fall-out with them, all on his own! Amazing.
 

scats

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I’ve really turned a corner with Polly recently. She is the complete opposite of Millie- completely wired all the time. The second your bum hits the saddle, she’s off. She wants to go, go, go and is always such a ‘busy’ horse
She’s had a lot of time off over the years due to PSD and various other issues, so work has been inconsistent. But I’ve now got her to the stage that I can get on and walk her without her jogging and fighting to go. It sounds so simple but it’s been so difficult to achieve with her. The fact that our first trot of each session is now one that I have asked for is a massive breakthrough.
 

Ambers Echo

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I would love to have Mark Rashid work with this horse -- I think Mark would understand him because he knows BLM mustangs -- but that can't happen because both the horse and myself have had fall-outs with the yard where he does Scottish clinics. You know about mine, but Fin had an entirely unrelated fall-out with them, all on his own! Amazing.
How did that come about?

Mark might travel to a new venue? I hosted a Kathleen Lindlay clinic a while back and am hoping to persuade Tik Maynard to run a camp with me. If you can’t get enough people together for a camp you might find trainers will do 1:1s if they are nearby anyway. Joe Midgely is coming to our yard just for Lottie. Guy Robertson also does private sessions.

Trainers need bookings and while he’s in Scotland he might squeeze another visit in.
 

TPO

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How did that come about?

Mark might travel to a new venue? I hosted a Kathleen Lindlay clinic a while back and am hoping to persuade Tik Maynard to run a camp with me. If you can’t get enough people together for a camp you might find trainers will do 1:1s if they are nearby anyway. Joe Midgely is coming to our yard just for Lottie. Guy Robertson also does private sessions.

Trainers need bookings and while he’s in Scotland he might squeeze another visit in.
Joe Midgley comes to Scotland regularly and is back in Kinross in March. Can't recommend him highly enough, he has a really nice way around horses.
 
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