Expecting an exciting delivery...

Bernster

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You seem to be on a similar journey to me in many ways. I used to brace and hold when Bertie lost balance (he speeds up and runs through, particularly on the downward transitions). Not quite cracked it but it’s def better. We still need to do circles and shapes to balance him again. My current target is to be able to do a decent canter to trot transition without losing balance for a few strides!
 

Ambers Echo

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Always lovely to read an update from you!

Out of curiosity, what do you think makes her want to run through the bridle - is it just a busy mindset, always wanting to be finishing one thing and getting started on the next?
I don't really know and am open to suggestions. She actually does not get strong out hacking which is odd. Can happily canter along and stop when asked! So I don't think it's that she is super forward and keen all the time. That was more Amber who did everything at pace - even just ambling in walk on a hack was a power march. But I don;t really get the feeling she is stressed either though does gets stressed if we argue about it. And did get stressed over poles initially but seems to have relaxed now. I also don't think it's lack of balance.

I wondered whether she thinks she is meant to take over? She was a show jumper in her previous life and from my admittedly limited experience with the world of affiliated show jumping, riders seem to be fine with horses taking over! As long as they get round fast and leave the jumps up.

A local pro posted her winning round at the SunshineTour the other day on FB. And I thought it looked horrendous! Horse had his head in the air, lots of pulling and flapping, horse fighting all the way around. But he jumped a fast clear and the comments were all super positive. And I have never forgotten how badly behaved the horses in the collecting ring at Weston Lawns were. Rearing , napping, barging, spinning, literally cannoning off poor Amber. I ended up warming up in the lorry park as the warm up arena was just chaos.

So maybe it's that! Maybe she was just allowed to/expected to take over more or less. But then again I probab;y don't know what I am talking about. The SJ horses are being ridden by people a lot better than I will ever be so what do I know.

As I said - open to suggestions and ideas! My RI sees it as a schooling issue. I was hoping the nh trainer Joe Midgely could get me more in tune with her brain and so I could work with that as well as her body. But he cancelled at the weekend, unfortunately.
 

Bernster

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Ah interesting. Bertie is more of a sj - his issue I think is lack of balance in the sense of not having the strength and core yet to maintain himself and maybe not understanding what’s being asked of him now in the flatwork. Maybe they are ridden more from the front, and with stronger rein contact? He also doesn’t really respond to my half halt, unless I do quite a strong aid. I’ve not found many gears within the paces either but that may be due to my rubbish riding.

It’s interesting unpacking it all though and working out where the buttons are, and installing new/different ones with a different rider.

ETA I actually find him easier to ride round a course but I think I’m not so concerned about the quality of the work (other stuff taking up my brain space), and the aids can be a bit less refined when you’re wanging around jumps (but I appreciate we need to stop wanging around a course!).
 

Ambers Echo

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Juat a few more SJ musings. At a recent lesson I jumped an oxer that was on the short side of the arena then turned to a double along the long side. There was a fair gap between Oxer and double. Lottie landed, locked onto the double and then jumped those. She did not accelerate but equally she totally ignored my half halt to balance round the turn. My RI said 'fabulous'. I said I didn;t think it was fabulous as she was just ignoring me and while I knew she wasn't going too fast , I hate that sense of the horse paying no attention to me. She said Lottie was just getting on with the job and I was lucky she was happy to do it. Get out of her way and let her get on with it! So perhaps she is used to being allowed to make decisions. Perhaps that really is a useful trait in a show jumper?
 

stangs

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I suppose a good show jumper needs to have a brain of their own a lot more than a dressage horse does to get horse&rider out of awkward strides without gaining any faults, so maybe that translates into wanting a horse to have a bit of a "I've got this, shut up already" attitude? Then there'll be a lot more adrenaline circulating in their systems that they'd have during a flatwork session, so some of that as well. Not to mention, with SJ the horse has a concrete idea of what's going on - they can see a jump, they know to jump it - whereas dressage is so abstract - they're completely relying on the rider to say what's next - that it doesn't allow for the horse to form its own opinions really.

Or maybe she's so accustomed to moving at her own rhythm that she struggles to balance at a more collected rhythm? Or she just doesn't see a reason to collect/steady her gaits in the arena, which she associates with SJ, which might be why the issue doesn't exist out hacking?

I wonder what would happen if you did a flatwork session with loose reins? If it is a SJ association that makes her strong and not a busy mind, then surely, after a bit of time trying to figure out what you wanted, she'd soften and relax, as she definitely won't have memories of SJ schooling without a contact.

(Excuse the unstructured and poorly worded tangent!)
 

Caol Ila

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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. 😂
Aye. That's it.

Good to know, although it's all academic this year, as his website suggests he has no plans to travel to the UK anytime soon. Understandably.

My little horse, however, did a 30 minute schooling session today. We had the arena to ourselves. He did walk and trot, some circle-esque figures, some straight-ish lines. He's wobbly and all over the place in the contact, like any green-as-grass horse, but for the most part, he was calm and willing. Towards the end of the session, I could walk him on a long rein, and he was stretching into the contact.
 

JGC

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She whickered to me today as I approached her stable :):):)
I don't feed her so it wasn't that.
Fabulous! Lovely milestone.

I know what you mean about the SJ - my gelding would canter round pretty slowly but I found it terrifying because whatever I did, he would just trundle along with exactly the same stride length, not listening to input on my part. I got a nasty habit of more or less freezing three strides out as I would just be waiting for him to pick his takeoff spot - I had no choice. My current mare has a pony brain and if we get into a sticky spot, she can work things out for herself BUT she will adjust shorter or longer and rebalance when I ask and I much prefer jumping with other, even though she can stop (there's always a reason why she stops, mind)!
 

Ambers Echo

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Had a fabulous weekend with Lottie and thought I’d just reflect a bit (whittle on). I like re-reading this thread as it’s the full story and sometimes I can get so focused on the details and frustrated by individual schooling sessions that I lose sight of the big picture

Lottie has everything I like in a horse in spades: clever, kind, hard working, independent, bold, safe, sane, sassy, forward, sure footed, sensitive, expressive, athletic. If I have learned one thing it’s to trust my instincts on whether a horse is right for me or not. I was very fond of Toby. I enjoyed riding him at times and we had some very good experiences together. I tried hard to love him and develop a stronger bond with him because I could see he had many wonderful qualities. But I just didn’t ever truly connect with him whereas his new owner worships the ground he trots on. I kept him a year which was about 10 months too long as I knew straight away that he wasn’t really my kind of horse. So lesson learnt. That feeling of excitement, that spark needs to be there from day 1. Given that feeling, I can work through all manner of issues. But without it, I just don’t really feel happy even if the horse is not causing any problems. A good day with Toby led to ‘I really should keep him’ and a bad day to ‘no he’s not right for me’. With Lottie a good day leads to ‘I am so excited and happy’ and a bad one to ‘how can we sort this out.’ She is 100% the right horse for me. And I knew that the day I met her.

Talking of ‘bad days’ this thread provides welcome perspective both in what truly matters and also on overall progress. Seeing the big picture instead of week by week obsessing over things!

I was worried sick when she went lame that she was not coming back into work. And yet here she is, fit and well and working hard. I need to never lose sight of what a gift that is. But also she has come on a lot since she arrived. She was initially described by the pro on the sales livery yard as uneducated with no idea what a contact is. Not on the aids, not straight, not supple. A “wibblwobbly plank of wood!”. 8 months later she has gone out and scored 69.54 in her first dressage test. And judges are saying she has ability and there is lots to like. And she was so rideable in the tests. She was lovely and light and obedient.

She is also calmer over jumps so although she is very experienced as a showjumper, I want her much more with me and much more relaxed. That is a work in progress but there is improvement and best of all she now seems happy jumping, not stressed. I spent ages wondering if I was overthinking the jumping and sent video of her jumping to 3 trainers who all said she was stressed/tense. But now she is happy and relaxed which is fab. Though she still tries to jump ANYTHING that passes her eyeline. I need to be so careful wen I finish a round not to just stop riding and expect her to stop as she will still be looking for the next fence.

On the ground she is much softer. She loads like a dream, is no longer any problem at all to catch, (comes over to be caught), enjoys a good groom, lets me hang out in her stable and recently has started whickering at me in the stable. (She whickered at me in the field a lot earlier than in the stable). Does over-react and flinch sometimes, is still head shy – particularly round the ears. Still pins her ears at people approaching her stable but with much less ‘heat’ and if you just stay there she puts them forward again quite quickly and accepts a stroke. I think that will also keep improving as she's a sofy underneath!





And it’s camp next week – hurrah. Onwards!
 

ycbm

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AE from the pictures, there's been an enormous improvement in your position and balance over a fence. It looks like you're going to have a lot of fun this summer!
.
 

Ambers Echo

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Well camp was incredible:I focused on the jumping and she was ace SJ and XC. So I’ve entered our first event as we have now ticked off dressage in the boards, an SJ course and XC on grass and she’s been great in all of it. So we are as ready as I’ll ever feel, I guess.

Edit of the dressage and camp if anyone is interested.

 

Ambers Echo

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In the interests of transparency - that’s my RI in the dressage. I selected the wrong clip but can’t be bothered to change it now as I’ve put the music on. Lottie looked nice in my test too but I looked rather less elegant!
 

Ambers Echo

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She can add nursemaid to her list of qualities.

Amber and Lottie are in the same barn with another horse between the 2 of them. Last night Lottie was really unsettled - pacing, wouldn't eat her tea or her hay. Nothing seemed to be wrong at that time but a while later the YO checked on them all and the middle one appeared to be colicking. YO, owner were up all night with her with vet coming and going. Lottie spent the entire night nosing her through the bars or nuzzling her round the door. She would not rest but stayed guard all night and every so often would nose the YO's shoulder as if to say 'you need to do something'.

Amber ate her hay, went to sleep and ignored everyone!

Horse is much better now after being tubed overnight and Lottie has finally relaxed and been yawning away. Bless her.

 

Ambers Echo

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Update! Gosh where has the time gone. A lot has happened over the last 6 weeks. We went eventing - yay- - and she was AWESOME. Double clear our first time out with just a handful of time. We then went again and this time I had a bit of a nightmare on the SJ wuith 2 rolled poles and a satnav error for 12 plus time. But another XC clear with 2.4 time despite going wrong. (Let's not mention dressage.....)

So last night I took her evening showjumping to restore some confidence. (Mine not hers! She is plenty confident enough). Entered a very local show and went straight into the 80 class to replicate eventing. She felt great. Controlled, rideable. The course had both tight turns and some long runs between fences so she needed to be listening and not get strong. And bless, her she was fab. I made a total ballsup of 10-12 though. 10-11 was on a curving line then straight on to 12. I saw a longish stride to 11 and was already looking at 12 when she hesitated, chipped in and cat jumped. I had committed to the long stride and was ahead of the movement, landed in a head on her neck after 11. She was already locked onto 12. Argggh. I thought this is not going to end well but managed to haul my arse back into the saddle just in time for her to jump 12. Bless her she just did her job despite the total deadweight numpty swinging around on top. So that was not a good place to end, so I ented the 90. Our first round at that height and she flew round. Super confident, and I rode better so it felt a much neater, more organised, round. I thought we were clear but they called 4 faults so she must've rolled a pole somewhere. But I am super happy with her.

In other news, I went on holiday which co-incided with the warm weather over Easter and the grass started growing. She had more turn out and less riding while I was away so I thought I'd come back to a fatter, more chilled out horse. But as soon as I got back I could see she had dropped weight and was looking more grumpy. Skin was duller too. So I immediately assumed hind gut issues again and have got her off the grass. I did not know grass was implicated in hind gut acidosis. I always thought the more turn out the better for gut health. But actually it makes perfect sense that if sugar in feed is an issue, so is sugar in grass! So she is now in during the day and out overnight and is already looking and feeling better. She is clearly sensitive and will need to be managed carefully but luckily problems show themselves quickly so she's not one of these who looks fine while actually really suffering.

I am so happy that after a pretty awful start to our jumping partnership she is now listening, waiting and giving me such a good feel around courses. I can't believe I am jumping 90 courses on her. I never got above 60 with Toby in over a year. But a confidence giving jumping horse is worth her weight in gold. Just need to sort the dressage now.......
 

Asha

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Great update AE.

perhaps give dengie healthy tummy a try. Since I’ve put mine on it they’ve all seemed so much happier .
2 of them had the poo tested so I know they where a bit unbalanced in that area .
 

Ambers Echo

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Great update AE.

perhaps give dengie healthy tummy a try. Since I’ve put mine on it they’ve all seemed so much happier .
2 of them had the poo tested so I know they where a bit unbalanced in that area .
Thanks for reply. I looked at loads of feeds but decided to steer clear of alfalfa based chaffs in favour of honeychop. To mix in with pink mash.There is no reason to think she is sensitive to alfalfa but honeychop is a nice soft chaff and I've got the calm and shine version for extra oil. ANd she has the yeast, protexin and pre/probiotics in the mash and in her supplement.
 

Ambers Echo

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So proud of Lottie so I thought I’d do a picture story of our day out at Chatsworth. We entered the 90cm Arena Eventing at Chatsworth International Horse Trials. It is the most incredible venue with many sporting stars competing in classes up to 4*
Nice entrance!!
D87441E7-E007-4FC6-83A5-ECEF8768082A.jpg I
The site is huge so there was a lovely 20 minute hack to get to the Arena Eventing. It was a super buzzy atmosphere but Lottie was cool as a cucumber and I just couldn’t stop smiling on the hack down. I was nervous but also just overwhelmed and excited to be there.
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I had walked the course the night before and knew exactly where to start from to get a nice line to the first. But I was totally thrown by having to salute the judges and by fence number 1 being taken out so it started at 2. I have no spatial awareness so finding the first fence from the wrong part of the arena was beyond me. Literally 🙈 I crossed tracks looking for it which was not a great start! But once we were off I began to relax and started to have fun. Lottie was mega. Bold, keen but listening. Half way round I started grinning at every fence!
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And kept grinning 😀

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She jumped so confidently. I am pinching myself that after a dodgy start to jumping she has just blossomed. Happy ears every fence! Rolled a pole but was never going to stop or run out.
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I am so happy with her, so proud of her and so, so excited about where next…
 
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