Operation: Learn To Ride

milliepops

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I agree with others who say move on from the trainer who is draining your confidence. I like a fairly tough and direct trainer but they have to be able to be constructive and give 'homework'.

Re: the rushing problem, I read an article recently that talked about the difference in half-halt for dressage vs. jumping but I can't find it for the life of me! I thought it might have been George Morris but I can only find a few words in articles featuring him, so maybe it was WFP or Christopher Burton. The premise was that the dressage half-halt uses the seat / thighs but a half-halt when jumping can't, so it has to rely on body weight and often you need to train from the rein first and sensitise to the body weight. Sorry I can't find the article :(
it's a long time since i had anything that jumped to any level but this makes sense to me. I don't half halt on the flat by gripping but by "stopping" my seat, but i couldn't do that in 2 point or a light seat, its more about bringing your whole self back a bit (and yeah, using the rein when necessary).

i agree there's probably way too much different information coming in at once here. if the RS horses make you feel like you can ride, and the training there makes sense, can you take lottie there? it feels like you need to get a basis of sound understanding and competence between you before having nice trips out with big names or amazing facilities. trying to do it all at once seems to be making it all a lot harder.
 

Roxylola

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Oh that;s interesting. It would make sense that different discpline and saddle needs different approaches. And maybe I did look all over the place trying that in the wrong place. Incidentally it was not on the approach a fence but on the flat between fences but I can still see why the saddle might not lend itself tho that aid really. Does there ever get to a point where you can just feel what to do/not to do. I am so literal. If I am told 'squeeze the thigh to slow down' I just will. I won't think 'that won't work here' or sense wrong place/wrong time. Though I guess if I spent more time on it I would begin to realise she is not responsing well to it?

Thanks!
Um, yes, and no. You're the type that will always want to analyse things so while you're unconscious competence will grow I think you'll forever be picking the why apart. Riding different horses will help build your tool kit, its then finding the confidence to experiment with those tools
Have you considered taking lottie to ingestre for a lesson or two there? Rob I know is super practical and good at making riders understand what's working and why, hes also not overly picky- if its working but looks a bit rough he's not too fussy about that.
Fwiw, and you probably know - the trainer in question does sometimes have nick from meadow productions with her to do you a training and best bits video. I've had a couple that have been fab. If you stick with her it might be worth asking if she has any dates planned with him, or even emailing him to ask if he could do anything.
 

Ambers Echo

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Thanks for all the feedback. Lottie was actually very well behaved and I have now made sense of what happened and why the feedback felt so discouraging. So I am feeling much more positive. Thanks LEC, J1ffy and Roxylola in particular for successfully managing to translate lesson instructions when you weren't even there! Very helpful (and impressive!)
 

Skib

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The stopping with your seat can be done with your legs (reducing swing of barrel) when your seat is out of the saddle. That is what we were taught.
As an adult learner, I remember the exercises in both trot and canter. Done mainly out hacking.
Trot rising, trott sitting and trot in light seat, keeping the rhythm.
And canter in forward seat, then sitting without slowing the canter.
 

milliepops

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Yep, many roads to rome & all that ;) i never find it that helpful to think of closing my legs to slow a horse as it can easily push you off your seat if the horse is not that sensitive. it sounds like its making OP tend towards gripping instead of just giving an aid, that, or the horse requires too much input at this stage for an aid like that to NOT lead to rider clamping :p from OPs photos it appears that more softness is needed in the hips/knees so i am just thinking personally if that was me i would work towards using my upper body to aid and keep the seat and lower body a bit stiller and more draped/secure. though there are, obviously, many ways of reaching the same end.
 

Ambers Echo

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Interesting lesson at Ingestre. I was in a group and we all just got given a horse and told to 'improve it' riding in open order. We had to warm up w/t/c for a few minutes then decide what horse needed to work on and get on with it. Zero instruction beyond that. I found the lack of instructrion really disconcerting but the horse did improve loads in the session. Started stiff and behind the leg, ended supple, swinging and moving really nicely in a nice frame. Every so often we had to stop and explain what we were doing and why. So I was happy with that and I think having to think for myself is probably going to be very helpful though I did spend the first 20 minutes thinking HELP!
 

teapot

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Interesting lesson at Ingestre. I was in a group and we all just got given a horse and told to 'improve it' riding in open order. We had to warm up w/t/c for a few minutes then decide what horse needed to work on and get on with it. Zero instruction beyond that. I found the lack of instructrion really disconcerting but the horse did improve loads in the session. Started stiff and behind the leg, ended supple, swinging and moving really nicely in a nice frame. Every so often we had to stop and explain what we were doing and why. So I was happy with that and I think having to think for myself is probably going to be very helpful though I did spend the first 20 minutes thinking HELP!
Sounds beneficial!


I call it supervised schooling - it's a very good technique if you're used to coaches talking non stop, or not used to riding different horses and simply having to crack on with improving while testing your own feel/knowledge out.
 

milliepops

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I did a lot of that at the RS when doing my exams. I was riding lots of different horses independently in my job at the time so it came pretty naturally to just hop on and assess what was going on, thats what we do every day on our own horses after all. was it being watched in a lesson environment that made you feel disconcerted AE?
 

Ambers Echo

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I am not great at schooling on my own anyway. I tend to have lessons, then get given homework which I practice till the next lesson. Which is ridiculous because I train my horses in other ways and am very happy to think through gaps and to try and fill them. I’ve taught Lottie to be caught, to drop her head for the bridle, to stand still at the mounting block, to lead politely, to lunge off voice aids. And I’ve set up poles exercises keep her focused and listening instead of thinking ‘poles = stress and speed’. I am confident in working with a horse’s brain. I just don’t have the confidence to feel what to do ‘technically’ if that makes sense. But forced to answer questions on ‘how does he feel, which rein is better, what does he need’ I could do it so I need to have more faith in my own instincts I think.
 

scats

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Interesting lesson at Ingestre. I was in a group and we all just got given a horse and told to 'improve it' riding in open order. We had to warm up w/t/c for a few minutes then decide what horse needed to work on and get on with it. Zero instruction beyond that. I found the lack of instructrion really disconcerting but the horse did improve loads in the session. Started stiff and behind the leg, ended supple, swinging and moving really nicely in a nice frame. Every so often we had to stop and explain what we were doing and why. So I was happy with that and I think having to think for myself is probably going to be very helpful though I did spend the first 20 minutes thinking HELP!
That sounds like a really helpful session. Riding different horses without instruction is great because it helps you to develop feel. I think you need to trust your instincts more, because if you improved the horse without instruction, you have clearly felt and recognised what needed to be done, and then implemented it successfully.

I have always had natural feel on a horse, but I used to find it (and still do, at times) frustrating that sometimes what I felt underneath me wasn’t quite ‘right’, yet the instructor would be showering praise at me because the horse obviously looked good from the outsiders perspective… yet I would be aware that the horse was ever so slightly popping on one shoulder, or tilting it’s pelvis a minuscule amount. Enough that I felt there was a slight disconnect. Yet I would watch a video back and it all looked lovely, but what I felt under me wasn’t quite perfect and that would really bother me.
 

View

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AE, for more advanced riding school clients, unless it's a really rider focussed issue that needs work, I tend to use supervised schooling a lot in lessons, and try to develop feel, technique and confidence this way. Lots of conversation around what are you feeling, so how do you think you could correct this, what else might you try.

Scats, I encourage my clients to give me this sort of feedback e.g "that looked better, but how did it feel" or "looking better, what would you want to improve or do better" - and I'd let you guide me as to whether to repeat the exercise, or try something else that might be more beneficial.

As soon as people can W, T, C, stop/start/steer independently, I start asking them about feel and getting them to think about what aids are actually asking the horse to do. The amount of talking I do depends on how the client learns/develops, and right from the start it's all about working with the combination that we have on that day.
 

Ambers Echo

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Another supervised schooling session - this time on a dressage schoolmaster with HUUUUUGE paces. Just when I think I am getting somewhere a horse comes along to say: "you think you're balanced, well sit to this." I felt ok in rising trot but changing the diaganol was just embarrassing, not to mention canter - trot transitions. :rolleyes: I did spend the lesson working more on me than on the horse, doing lots of transitions and changes of rein. It got better. A bit.

Lottie is quite a big moving horse too and getting bigger as she gets stronger. So all good practice.

Onwards!
 

Ambers Echo

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I'm loving my Ingestre days! Yesterday I rode 3 horses and lunged 2. Next week I am having a jumping lesson after the supervised schooling session. Eventually I need to calm down but I am doing my Stage 2 Teach and need to be there for that anyway so am just having group and private lessons at the same time. It's an amazing place. And SURELY I will eventually learn to ride! I need to up my game to be good enough for Lottie. She is such a star that she deserves a partner who can ride her properly.
 
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RachelFerd

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I'm loving my Ingestre days! Yesterday I rode 3 horses and lunged 2. Next week I am having a jumping lesson after the supervised schooling session. Eventually I need to calm down but I am doing my Stage 2 Teach and need to be there for that anyway so am just having group and private lessons at the same time. It's an amazing place. And SURELY I will eventually learn to ride! I need to up my game to be good enough for Lottie. She is such a star that she deserves a partner who can ride her properly.
Agreed it is an amazing place. I go down alternate Wednesday mornings for stg 3 teach stuff and it's like stepping back in time to a wonderful gentle world where the only thing that matters is riding beautifully...
 

stangs

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Seething with jealousy over here, Ingestre and the instruction sounds wonderful. Please do keep updating this thread - I'm living vicariously through your posts.
 

Ambers Echo

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Feeling a lot happier suddenly.

After that very frustrating lesson I did swap trainers and have been back to the technical arena twice with a new person. It was 100 times better. At that earlier lesson I was told to jump then halt in a straight line immediately to slow Lottie. It felt like a battle, wound her up and made her worse in terms of rushing. I switched to a new trainer who told me to embrace her willingness to travel forward and redirect the energy instead of suppressing. Use turns and more technical lines to get her listening and 'with me'. Suddenly we are both loving life!! SO I have gone from jumping a telgraph pole and screeching to an awkward halt to cantering much more freely round 70/80 fences. Happy ears and no sign of stress of tension in Lottie and she is much more rideable. Hurrah.

I have also gone back over old video and spliced together short flatwork clips from Nov, Jan and then this week. I still wince looking at it but there are clear improvements in both Lottie and me. I think you sometimes need to look back to realise things are slowly getting better. The day to day sessions don't give you that sense.

So feeling pretty positive at the moment.

Ive paid up at Ingestre till March 10th bcause I wanted to do my 2 Teach in April. But they have pushed the date back till October. I can't afford to go every week till then and I'm worried I'll forget everything if I stop going and wait till then. So not sure what to do now.
 

Bernster

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Sounds so good! Well done 👏

I wish I’d kept a diary as I think I’ll forget the ‘journey’ I’ve had with Bertie (I have forgotten a lot of it with Finn). It feels like really slow progress, 8 months and we still haven’t cracked the canter. But it’s been steady progress throughout, so I need to remember that.
 

Ambers Echo

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Steady progress is my aim. I’ve struggled to gain any consistency over the last couple of years either in lessons on other horses because of lockdown or because of not having a consistently sound horse. But Lottie is fit and well and we are finally stringing weeks of good work together. It shows!
 

teapot

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Feeling a lot happier suddenly.

After that very frustrating lesson I did swap trainers and have been back to the technical arena twice with a new person. It was 100 times better. At that earlier lesson I was told to jump then halt in a straight line immediately to slow Lottie. It felt like a battle, wound her up and made her worse in terms of rushing. I switched to a new trainer who told me to embrace her willingness to travel forward and redirect the energy instead of suppressing. Use turns and more technical lines to get her listening and 'with me'. Suddenly we are both loving life!! SO I have gone from jumping a telgraph pole and screeching to an awkward halt to cantering much more freely round 70/80 fences. Happy ears and no sign of stress of tension in Lottie and she is much more rideable. Hurrah.

I have also gone back over old video and spliced together short flatwork clips from Nov, Jan and then this week. I still wince looking at it but there are clear improvements in both Lottie and me. I think you sometimes need to look back to realise things are slowly getting better. The day to day sessions don't give you that sense.

So feeling pretty positive at the moment.

Ive paid up at Ingestre till March 10th bcause I wanted to do my 2 Teach in April. But they have pushed the date back till October. I can't afford to go every week till then and I'm worried I'll forget everything if I stop going and wait till then. So not sure what to do now.
Great news re new person and lesson, sounds great!

Re your exam, the 2 Teach is fairly generic, do you have to do it at Ingestre? Appreciate it's easier knowing horses, facilities etc, but is there anywhere else in travelling distance?

From what I know about Ingestre through a friend who works there, they could just be as likely to push the October one back too. Depends how they're feeling towards the BHS that day ;)
 

Ambers Echo

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At the risk of embarrassing myself by posting the bleedin' obvious, this felt like a useful insight for me. So I am sharing in case I am not the only person who is overly literal in lessons :D

At my last dressage lesson I was advised to give the inside rein by scratching the neck with the inside hand.
Then during the SJ warm up I was advised to give the outside rein - scratch the neck with the OUTSIDE hand.

This greatly confused me but I did as I was told then asked my dressage trainer about it yesterday.

She said that I was probably being told to give whichever rein was overly fixed. That the instruction was not because giving one rein away was the 'right way' to ride but was a correction to a problem. Once I stop fixing I can try and ride with even pressure down both reins but I need to solve a problem first.

Total face palm moment :rolleyes: And goes back to feel again. I get told something in a lesson than just mechanically practice it - scratching Lottie's neck with the inside (or outside) rein with no feel for why that is needed. So frustrating.

Have also had a few more Ingestre sessions and literalness and lack of feel is showing up there too. I few months ago I rode a fairly chunky, heavy black horse who was behind the leg but very well educated up to Advanced Medium. He moved well and I was told afterwards he goes as well as the rider is going. A few weeks later I was given another chunky, heavy, black horse who I assumed was the same one. So in my head I was riding an educated school master. And the horse underneath me felt like a shuffly donkey. I got so frustrated with myself for failing to get a tune out of this 'lovely' horse. Until half way through the lesson I stopped and said 'what am I doing wrong " the instructor said "what makes you think it's you"? I said isn't this horse a well educated school master? Nope. Completely different horse. Lesson there on ride the horse underneath you not the one in your mind but equally I should have FELT that these 2 horses were nothing like each other.

Today I had the dressage one again. And I really tried to trust my instincts and feel what was happening. He did move very nicely and improved during the supervised schooling session so I think it is slowly coming. It is not so much that I can't feel, but that I just don't. I rely on instruction and not enough on my own sense of what is happening underneath me. I am just so worried about messing the horse up that I over rely on exercises and drills and the last thinhg anyone told me. But I need to step up now and just ride with more sensitivity. And I am far less concerned about messing the school horses up than Lottie so that is a good place to practice.

Onwards!!
 

DiNozzo

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Today I had the dressage one again. And I really tried to trust my instincts and feel what was happening. He did move very nicely and improved during the supervised schooling session so I think it is slowly coming. It is not so much that I can't feel, but that I just don't. I rely on instruction and not enough on my own sense of what is happening underneath me. I am just so worried about messing the horse up that I over rely on exercises and drills and the last thinhg anyone told me. But I need to step up now and just ride with more sensitivity. And I am far less concerned about messing the school horses up than Lottie so that is a good place to practice.

Onwards!!
I think it's because you care so much. Horses are like kids; they're very forgiving so long as you have good intentions!

And also, especially at Ingestre, you can't much them up so badly that they can't be fixed! You are better than that already, and their training is so solid already. Give yourself a break lovely, you're learning!
 

LEC

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If you care about your riding it never goes away. My latest obsession, and when I say obsession, it literally is. Is about leg pressure jumping - what does more leg mean? Should you have a constant pressure or ride with a passive leg? I am literally asking every single one of my well educated horse friends and watching hours of video looking at peoples legs. I just feel I have zero feel at the moment but it’s also combined with zero practice.
 

Bernster

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My OH used to ask why I still had lessons, as I knew how to ride. Hah.

Especially when what I’m learning on Bertie feels like the most basic stuff - downward transitions from canter! But it’s not basic, and it’s about finessing to improve things and expecting a higher standard of work. None of that is easy.

Do you school much outside of lessons? I don’t practice enough on my own so sometimes by the next lesson I’ve not really worked enough on what we did last time, which impacts my ‘feel’ and ability to think on my own.
 
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