Expecting an exciting delivery...

TPO

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We sent him some video of Lottie: her grumpy behaviour in the stable & her rushing over poles - and he’s going to come next weekend to give me and Lottie’s sharer a lesson. His feedback so far is just as we expected: she is tense/stressed around poles/jumps. Looking forward to it x
I think it'll be money well spend. He's as good on their backs as on the ground. Just a lovely, decent, down to earth guy and his interactions with the horses when not "doing" anything says a lot (IMO).
 

Caol Ila

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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.
You don’t know if you don’t ask. Maybe he’d be keen to help a fellow Coloradan.

Foinavon’s ground manners are awesome— I don’t know if the training yard in question did that, or if it was the trainer who tamed and backed him. But I’ll give them a bit of credit.

Under saddle, however, he was a mess. I knew he’d been ridden a grand total of twice before first trainer had a bad accident (not on him) and had to stop working. From what his previous owner said, it sounds like he did his wild pony freeze-and-plant at the training yard, and they interpreted it as being dominant and stubborn (rather than scared and overwhelmed by life), and told his owner that he’d thrown a “tantrum” but they had powered through it. They said he could maybe be a trekking pony. Or an unridden therapy pony. Clearly, they didn't think a lot of him. It has taken me six months to bring him around to the idea that arenas are kind of fine and not like walking into Mordor or the Blight (pick your favourite fantasy series), so whatever they did to “win” when he had "tantrums" was maybe not the most effective horse training going.

If it had been a normal breaking yard, I would have been less annoyed, but -- same as with my old horse -- they have an epic amount of PR plugging themselves as horse-centric/natural horsemanship/problem horse/ yadda yadda gurus. I am not a guru; I'm not Mark or Tik or Joe Midgley or Warwick Schiller or any of these people. I'm a muddling one-horse amateur, an extremely average rider, but I can get through to this horse. He can't be that difficult.
 
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Ambers Echo

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So Fin was backed at the place Mark R does his clinics? You can’t get away from there!

Never meet your heroes, eh. I think Mark R is the real deal. But if he’s supportiing people who obviously aren’t then that is very disappointing. It’s hard to believe after all these years of doing clinics with them that he wouldn’t have noticed a bit of a skills gap between the marketing hype and the reality!!
 

TPO

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So Fin was backed at the place Mark R does his clinics? You can’t get away from there!

Never meet your heroes, eh. I think Mark R is the real deal. But if he’s supportiing people who obviously aren’t then that is very disappointing. It’s hard to believe after all these years of doing clinics with them that he wouldn’t have noticed a bit of a skills gap between the marketing hype and the reality!!
Equally I know numerous people who have trained at that yard/with her (with and without Mark), and they have nothing but good things to say about them. There are at least two sides to every story.
 

Ambers Echo

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Not to mention - after all these years of doing clinics with them, why aren’t they more skilled?

My favourite part of Mark’s training is the way he views issues as a sort of puzzle.
Takes a step back to work out the WHY of behaviour.

So long term students of his with their own training yard just going with the lazy assumptions of ‘stubbornness’ and beating on him beggars belief really.

Maybe a good metric for evaluating a horse trainer is to look at their students? Buck Brannaman has trained Betsy Steiner (Grand Prix Dressage Rider) and - I think- Beezie Madden. Mark ?
 

Ambers Echo

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Equally I know numerous people who have trained at that yard/with her (with and without Mark), and they have nothing but good things to say about them. There are at least two sides to every story.
Yes fair enough. But writing off a pony who an amateur then does very well with is not really a very good look! And this isn’t hearsay- this is CI’s actual experiences with her own horses
 

Ambers Echo

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Well changing the subject back to my efforts to raise my game for Lottie: today I have an Ingestre day: classroom session, giving a lunge lesson, having a lunge lesson, having a group supervised schooling lesson, then private jump lesson. Then going to work Lottie! Wish me luck 😂
 

Red-1

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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.
Hey, I would be onterested in any interesting clinics you run. Could board my horse nearby or whatever.
You don’t know if you don’t ask. Maybe he’d be keen to help a fellow Coloradan.

Foinavon’s ground manners are awesome— I don’t know if the training yard in question did that, or if it was the trainer who tamed and backed him. But I’ll give them a bit of credit.

Under saddle, however, he was a mess. I knew he’d been ridden a grand total of twice before first trainer had a bad accident (not on him) and had to stop working. From what his previous owner said, it sounds like he did his wild pony freeze-and-plant at the training yard, and they interpreted it as being dominant and stubborn (rather than scared and overwhelmed by life), and told his owner that he’d thrown a “tantrum” but they had powered through it. They said he could maybe be a trekking pony. Or an unridden therapy pony. Clearly, they didn't think a lot of him. It has taken me six months to bring him around to the idea that arenas are kind of fine and not like walking into Mordor or the Blight (pick your favourite fantasy series), so whatever they did to “win” when he had "tantrums" was maybe not the most effective horse training going.

If it had been a normal breaking yard, I would have been less annoyed, but -- same as with my old horse -- they have an epic amount of PR plugging themselves as horse-centric/natural horsemanship/problem horse/ yadda yadda gurus. I am not a guru; I'm not Mark or Tik or Joe Midgley or Warwick Schiller or any of these people. I'm a muddling one-horse amateur, an extremely average rider, but I can get through to this horse. He can't be that difficult.
I have ridden with Mark quite a lot, both in England and America. I would say he is the real deal. I had a Kathleen clinic in England too., it was fabulous, as well as riding with her at Mark's/Dave's. In fact, the clinic I went to here was her first solo clinic when she set up separately from Mark, she was great!

I have also visited the yard in question. I found them to be on a different wavelength. They do have nice stabling, and say the right things initially, but I found them fairly intractable in how they actually operate. I also watched them give a lesson on a school horse which was obviously... erm... unlevel. There seemed to be little progress but much oooh-ing and ahhh-ing about how well it was going. It was actually painful to watch, so I stopped watching.
 

Red-1

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AE, I had a fab lesson on my new horse (which you inspired me to get!) yesterday. But, that was on the back of a lesson last week that was not great. The fact that I felt we weren't going well, however, is what inspired me to listen closer and actually follow through on what the trainer was telling me.

It was the same as she had told me before, but it was apparent that, until I actually achieved the next step, we were stuck. I upped the game. I needed to flounder to commit to the next step. Fingers crossed the stuckness will make more sense as time goes on, as it was a couple of days before my brain worked through it. I had thought I WAS doing it before, but it took a lesson where I felt bad to realise it was my insides that had to let go and change, not just my hands and legs!
 

Ambers Echo

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Thanks Red-1 - that makes a lot of sense. I am generally avoiding canter in schooling because it feels horrible. I canter to warm her up - often in light seat - but trying to work the canter in a frame and with a bit of quality just feels awful. My RI gave me a bit of a bollocking about that saying she genuinely WAS hard work, especially on the left rein, and I needed to work through that. It needs to feel a bit messy before it is going to feel better. It just feels unfair on Lottie! Which was my logic behind Ingestre - get better on school horses and then transfer those skills to Lottie. But school horses aren;t weak, unbalanced or falling in! So I need to actually work through her specific issues to improve them.
 

Marigold4

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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!
I sympathise - it's so hard to follow some many different instructions! I used to have a lot of "maintain your position" and rein instructions when I had lessons and this is what I've learnt recently that has helped ...

I have only just started to get the hang of really sitting properly on my horse and it has started to make a huge difference to my hands, my position and my straightness. All the time I thought I had an "independent seat", I hadn't really "got" it - my seat wasn't neutral at all and I was using my hands and seat and upper body to compensate. But instructors weren't really adressing the main problem - my seat - they were just trying to fix the symptoms arising out of not sitting properly.

Now I am learning (early stages) to properly SIT on my horse, my hands don't come into play nearly as much, I'm steering with my legs and fingers and everything feels much better and stiller. A real lightbulb moment for me that sitting properly fixes so much else. Difficult to explain what it means but Enlightened Equitation videos are great for this.
 
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southerncomfort

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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.
I really like this. It definitely resonates with me.

Bo is such a busy, busy little pony. He goes at life at 100mph. From the moment I get on he's trying to anticipate what I'm going to ask him to do and it doesn't help that he's so responsive that I swear he can read my mind.

I'm definitely going to try the getting on, getting off, just chilling out exercises that you did with Lottie.
 

Caol Ila

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So Fin was backed at the place Mark R does his clinics? You can’t get away from there!

Never meet your heroes, eh. I think Mark R is the real deal. But if he’s supportiing people who obviously aren’t then that is very disappointing. It’s hard to believe after all these years of doing clinics with them that he wouldn’t have noticed a bit of a skills gap between the marketing hype and the reality!!
He was backed in 2019 by a good trainer at his old yard -- who I know, and she said he was a very good boy, super easy to back -- ridden away twice, and then sat in a field for almost two years (through no fault of his own). He was sent to that yard for re-backing, essentially. I viewed him a week or two after his return from the training yard, so it all would have been fresh in his mind.

Yes fair enough. But writing off a pony who an amateur then does very well with is not really a very good look! And this isn’t hearsay- this is CI’s actual experiences with her own horses
It has taken me six months to get the little guy going in arenas and hacking alone. He did not steer reliably when I bought him, so it's significant progress. Obviously if you're a trainer and you've got a horse in for 30 or 60 days or whatever, you don't have that kind of time. On the other hand, I'm not a professional, and I wasn't in a rush or trying to do anything by a certain time, so why push him?

In fairness, as AE knows, what happened with my old horse wasn't a training issue. I think moving her was the right decision, and I think they were genuinely concerned for her welfare. However, the way they handled it was less than ideal.

I have ridden with Mark quite a lot, both in England and America. I would say he is the real deal. I had a Kathleen clinic in England too., it was fabulous, as well as riding with her at Mark's/Dave's. In fact, the clinic I went to here was her first solo clinic when she set up separately from Mark, she was great!

I have also visited the yard in question. I found them to be on a different wavelength. They do have nice stabling, and say the right things initially, but I found them fairly intractable in how they actually operate. I also watched them give a lesson on a school horse which was obviously... erm... unlevel. There seemed to be little progress but much oooh-ing and ahhh-ing about how well it was going. It was actually painful to watch, so I stopped watching.
I rode with Mark at that yard some years ago. I thought it was alright, which is why I ended up there as a livery, very briefly. Mark and Chrissie were wonderful, and that clinic did wonders for my riding.

To kind of go back to the original topic, I think Mark's aikido-inspired approach would really help Fin find "safe and neutral" when he goes to plant-and-freeze mode. Kathleen Lindley would probably be very helpful too. I have no transport so can't get to Kinross, but I'm on a big yard. There might be enough interest there.
 

Ambers Echo

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Hey, I would be onterested in any interesting clinics you run. Could board my horse nearby or whatever.
.
I often arrange stuff on the yard- mainly because it is a way of me affording training myself. Nicola Wilson has been. She was ace. Kathleen stayed with us for 3 days and ran clinics each day - she was very interesting to chat to about her life with Mark R and Buck B. Joe would come back too if there was interest. I can pm you or stick a post up if that's allowed. I don't make any money from clinics so it should be ok to let people know I'd have thought.
 

Red-1

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I often arrange stuff on the yard- mainly because it is a way of me affording training myself. Nicola Wilson has been. She was ace. Kathleen stayed with us for 3 days and ran clinics each day - she was very interesting to chat to about her life with Mark R and Buck B. Joe would come back too if there was interest. I can pm you or stick a post up if that's allowed. I don't make any money from clinics so it should be ok to let people know I'd have thought.
Either a Pm or a thread would be OK, I think, especially in the regional boards?

BTW, the thing that clicked for us after the not so good lesson was about him not being infront of the leg. He would do as I asked, but I was always chasing.
 

Ambers Echo

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I can't even begin to exoress how happy I am right now. I took Lottie to Somerford yesterday rescheduled from last week. And then I had a lesson at a SJ venue today. My confidence has been on the floor in terms of how realistic eventing was ever since Amber retired. Amber was my horse of a lifetime and she gave me so much belief. I had plans and dreams with her and really believed we could get there together. Then she was retired and it all fell away. Toby came along and we never gelled. He was sweet and willing but I never got to grips with riding him. I came to the conclusion that I just couldn't ride and that Amber had masked my incompetence. Operation Learn to Ride has left me feeling as though I will never ever get any better because although I had good lessons and glimpses of nice work I have also had plenty of frustrating lessons and work that felt rubbish.

Then there was a long injury layoff. And when I started jumping Lottie early January, once I got the all clear from the vet, she was wired and wild. The idea of eventing her seemed a million miles away. I have no idea why she got her knickers in a twist quite so much about jumping. I sent a video clip to the trainer Joe Midgley who's opinion I really respect, who said she was tense, stressed, not coping. It was not enthusiasm or greenness. I have approached that in multiple ways - all focused on getting her brain rather than just contolling her. I have no idea what has made a difference. Or whether actually it was just repeated exposure that has led her to calm down. But the last 2 days she has just felt like a completely different horse.

Yesterday she was onwards but with happy ears and no sign of stress. In between jumping lines I could drop the reins on her neck to video my friend and she went from super keen to horse-as-sofa instantly. Then today we were jumping curving lines, doubles, related distances and making tight turns. She stayed with me for courses of 7/8 jumps in a row. She felt fab.

And best of all was my confidence just flooding back. I was on a horse I love, maintaining the rhythm, staying balanced, seeing strides and moving with her. I have not felt that for SO SO SO SO SO long.

I am literally crying with gratitude and relief. I have a pony partner again and I can't wait to see where this year takes us.

 

bouncing_ball

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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.
who is the author? Is it from a book or magazine? Thanks
 

Ambers Echo

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Another dressage lesson after the frustration of last week. And it felt loads better. Hurrah. Maybe you need to work through those awkward 'this feels awful' sessions to get better. Instead of backing off in case you ruin your horse!

I've lunged her doing loads of canter-trot-canter transtions and schooled the canter once since last lesson and then it was much better today.

A couple of progress pics. She is muscling up too.

 

Ambers Echo

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Well she's been a bit wild again. But to be fair the weather is horrendous, she has not been turned out much and she is very fit now! Had a dressage lesson and my RI got on first as I have struggled with her running through the bridle and was not sure if it was my lack of communiaction or her being rude. Verdict was she is being rude BUT if you get too strong with her she tenses up and gets worse. So you have to sort of cajole her patiently into maybe slowing down sometime this side of Easter.....

The advice was to release wherever possible. Really focus on instantly rewarding those brief moments of coming back to me to encourage her to listen. Plus lots of lateral work and circles to provide as many opportunities as possible to release and let her travel at the pace set and not speed up. The aim was to find as many ways as possible to show her that life is much nicer for everyone if she just maintains the rhythm I ask for.

By the end of the lesson it was getting better and what seemed to work best was doing loads of transitions and looking for every opportunity to release and move hands forward. Also sitting trot was helpful. She has a lovely trot and when I ask for a bit more she feels great, but she can only manage about 6 strides before she starts taking over again. So I was asking for a transition within trot back down to a more collected trot after 4. And just repeating that over and over. We will get there. The promising glimpses are really nice.
 

wills_91

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You don’t know if you don’t ask. Maybe he’d be keen to help a fellow Coloradan.

Foinavon’s ground manners are awesome— I don’t know if the training yard in question did that, or if it was the trainer who tamed and backed him. But I’ll give them a bit of credit.

Under saddle, however, he was a mess. I knew he’d been ridden a grand total of twice before first trainer had a bad accident (not on him) and had to stop working. From what his previous owner said, it sounds like he did his wild pony freeze-and-plant at the training yard, and they interpreted it as being dominant and stubborn (rather than scared and overwhelmed by life), and told his owner that he’d thrown a “tantrum” but they had powered through it. They said he could maybe be a trekking pony. Or an unridden therapy pony. Clearly, they didn't think a lot of him. It has taken me six months to bring him around to the idea that arenas are kind of fine and not like walking into Mordor or the Blight (pick your favourite fantasy series), so whatever they did to “win” when he had "tantrums" was maybe not the most effective horse training going.

If it had been a normal breaking yard, I would have been less annoyed, but -- same as with my old horse -- they have an epic amount of PR plugging themselves as horse-centric/natural horsemanship/problem horse/ yadda yadda gurus. I am not a guru; I'm not Mark or Tik or Joe Midgley or Warwick Schiller or any of these people. I'm a muddling one-horse amateur, an extremely average rider, but I can get through to this horse. He can't be that difficult.
Mark done a clinic at a yard I was on, years and years ago, and possibly because of close connection to the yard I assume you are referring to Rd run by MH? Anyway, he may be willing to travel to you as you are more likely to be closer than the yard I was at.

Sorry to Hijack your thread AE, I am an avid lurker reading updates. 😂
 
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