Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Monday, April 23, 2012

In the Arena #117 - Time keeps on slipping...

Deep into planting season around here - sorry for the sparse posting. I started a few, but just wasn't feeling it. I did manage to get horse time in, thank goodness.

We have had two productive groundwork sessions and two productive rides. After a ten day break, Val was pretty up and distracted during the first session - boogeymen at the back of the property and all... Head up, barging around, not with me. Luckily I was having one of my more patient days. After a few sharp corrections + letting it go immediately, we got on the same page. I worked on Val moving his shoulders freely - especially turning away from me. By the end we were gelling. Today I had Val from the beginning - we concentrated on his hindquarters and finished with some clicker work. Let me just say, Val is a pro on treat related activities.

Next, a bareback ride. I was hoping to address my crookedness, and stretch out my hip and thigh. Yes, and yes. I did almost the whole ride on the buckle, and Val was moving like a little reining pony. Note to self: watch that you don't block with the reins, your horse maneuvers better when you don't really use them...

On Saturday we saddled up, and had absolutely our best ride ever. Our warm-up went smoothly, transition to contact as well. I took up the most contact ever so far, and my horse snorted out many thank you's throughout the ride. Can someone explain why I resist taking contact when it makes my horse feel so good?! He was relaxed and responsive, swinging his rear end. We've been building up our stamina too - more consecutive trotting, less resting. While our contact basically rocked, energy still has a ways to go, but we did keep it up up through the corners. Transitions were good. My focus in coming rides, will be generating forward without annoying Val with my aids.

Things were going so well that I thought I'd turn on the camera. While documenting rides is super helpful, I seem to lose some steam, and / or get self conscious, less relaxed. Around here, when people ask how the surf is, it's always like, "oh - you should have seen it yesterday." That's how I feel about videoing. The break I take to mess with the camera interrupts the momentum, and I always wish I'd had the camera on for the whole ride, but who wants to wait eight hours to upload? And no one wants to watch all that, including me. That said, I have some stills to share from the video I took Saturday - highlights if you will.


Thanks so much for all of the observations and constructive criticism of the videos I posted recently. I want to respond in general - I have a hip issue (old injury) that contributes heavily to the drawn up right leg / bracing against the iron. The right shoulder is bum too which likely doesn't help. My stirrup leathers are even, I rotate them periodically, and I check that my saddle is centered before I start my ride. I am always more even in the saddle when I ride bareback or drop my stirrups. I need to zone in on what happens when I give a leg aid on my right side - reviewing my videos has been helpful. So have your suggestions - very much so. Again, thank you.

Okay - so I had my first less than kind feedback. It went back and forth between harsh critique of my position and riding skills (repeating what I said in my post, but meaner) and numerous tried and true dressage rules - practically lifted verbatim from one of my favorite dressage master's books. I got the impression that the motivation behind it wasn't sincere helpfulness. Something didn't ring true. The commenter obviously had not bothered to read my post or the many thoughtful comments that preceded theirs, but jumped straight to the video. A click on the commenter's name revealed someone whose only profile information was that they had joined blogger in April, and had no profile views yet. On a whim, I looked up their curious screen name, the definition of which is a pejorative UK slang meaning "foolish incompetence." Welcome to the round file. :)


  1. Oh darn, I missed the comment;) I'm guessing you removed it.
    I have mixed feelings about seeking out advice from the blog world, fifty different people are going to tell you fifty different things and a lot of people are going to be speaking in "terms"; they just read it out of a book but have never actually ridden it or even know what it looks like so to me I feel like since I have two trainers, that's all the advice I can afford, I can barely keep up with their dueling opinions! That is also why I keep my mouth shut, err fingers quiet, on critiques. I thought Val looked how my old guy use to look when we lived in Texas and I tried to make him work on a hot day; "How would you like to trot along carrying my rear end in this weather!?!"
    On another note, thanks for reminding me about Trumbull. I emailed them and they responded within 20 minutes. If I can sell my two saddles that don't fit either of us, I may just be able to swing one of those fancy saddles!

  2. First: Stevie Miller is annoying! More VF pls thx! ;)

    Do you have a Mac or a PC? With either computer type, you can edit down your videos to just post a clip or two - so you could push the record button and do your whole ride (if you have enough space in the camera) and just upload the pertinent bits. It might take an hour to get the whole movie "processed" on your computer to the point where you can edit it, but it's a lot better than 8 hours to upload the whole thing! I only really know iMovie on the Mac, but if you want to email me I'll try to help you suss it out on the PC - funder at gmail.

  3. Sounds like great horse time to me. We all struggle with our various physical issues, and just being aware of them is important in itself.

    The round file is a great thing at times . . .

  4. I think ya'll look pretty darn good! Sure one could nitpic away but what is the point. We are our own worst critics!

    As for physical things! Ha! got ya beat. My bones are shorter on my right side - short enough I walk with a slight limp and I'm always over compensating to the right in the saddle because I always feel cocked to the left...

  5. You and Val look and sound like you are doing wonderful to me, but what do I know. Also, I adore Steve Miller. Have fun and enjoy your spring!

  6. It sounds like you've had some productive sessions with Val.Like how he gets back into work ethic so quickly after some time off. I love this horse.

    I don't critique because I don't think I'm qualified and too many opinions will just get you confused on who to listen to. That said I feel that anyone who does critique should do it in a tactful way if they have something less than encouraging to add. A lot of people think they know more than they do and that's why we have the good old round file...

  7. Sounds like things have been going GREAT!!!

  8. Your left shoulder and elbow look beautiful in the trotting shots taken from the side. Released and connected to your horse. Val is stepping into the rein nicely, too.

    Thanks for sharing. I know what you are saying about posting video.

  9. horsemom-

    You know what they say - ask three horseman, get five answers. ;)

    My motivation for posting video is not to get advice, although I have received some insightful feedback. I appreciate people taking the time to view my elementary efforts. Assessing is not obligatory. ;)

  10. GHM-

    I don't feel qualified to critique at all. I try to lend encouragement and positivity.

    My ex trainer was just saying to me today, that the lighter your heart is, the lighter your horse will be. :)

  11. Congrats on your best ride ever! That's so cool.

    I know what you mean about getting self-conscious when recording. I absolutely can't stand my riding - it makes me cring. I only see my mistakes.

    I just read another blog where someone new left a harsh and hurtful comment. Sounds like it's going around.

  12. I hope it didn't sound like you and Val don't look good when I said "but what do I know" in my comment above - I just don't know anything about how a rider should look. I thought I used to know, but then I relearned everything I know about horses! Val looks light and happy to me so that tells me that you are riding perfectly!

  13. Congratulations on your ride! It sounds fantastic!!

    I video myself a lot, but it seems to make me ride differently. Even if it's just attached to a fence on a tripod, something about knowing it's forever on "film" makes me nervous. So I know just how you feel!

  14. Sorry to hear that you had negative feedback. My two cents: take what, if anything, you can get from what was said, even if it wasn't said sincerely, and move on. By actually considering the content and thinking about its merit, you neutralize the negative.

    I've discovered with writing that even the harshest criticism is helpful if I can disengage the part of me that wants to get an A+ on things, and wants everyone to love my work, which is simply never going to be true! (not saying you wanted that in response to the video - just sharing one of my issues!)

  15. billie-

    I agree that there's something worth listening to in (most) every comment. And though I am pretty type A about my dressage aspirations, (despite our training deficit), I don't harbor illusions about my riding.

    There was tons of by the book dressage advice in this one, but the tone was very rain on your parade - mocking really. And - they recommended that Val needs lots of lunging in side reins to improve his "frame".

  16. If they recommended lunging in side reins and used the word "frame " that's your first clue that they need to get lost!

  17. Happy are we, for you and Val gorgeous horse, on that ride!! When it is smooth and flawlessly forward, calm ...oh , you'll callback on it, for a longtime to come!!

    Sorry about the less than helpful critique. Blow it away girl!


I love, love, love my readers, and knowing that you've stopped by - it really makes my day.

However, to avoid the new illegible blogger word verification, I've added comment moderation. Lesser of two evils.

Please don't let this stop you - keep those comments coming!! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...