RioTollerAgain

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  1. Bradoon Bits

    There is also a regular (non-bradoon) KK 14mm double jointed snaffle. It's a little hard to find; I think Dressage Extensions offers it. http://www.dressageextensions.com/ProductDetail.asp?KEY=1074
  2. Guess Who Is Back! (pics)

    Congratulations!!! So, what's the plan, Stan? Is Prince home for retirement, or back to work?
  3. Hang In There, Guys!

    http://www.useventing.com/competitions.php?id=1860#
  4. Purpose Of The Double Bridle?

    The purpose of the double bridle is two-fold. 1) It allows refinement of the aids. But this only will work if the horse is already very accepting of the bit and rein aids. 2) It tends to encourage the horse to raise his head a little. If this is done in conjunction with a hind end that reaches well under and a supple topline, you get increased collection. (It is NOT to have increased stopping power in the front as you kick harder with your spur. :) ) If you want to introduce double bridle, go ahead as long as you're sure your horse is comfortable with bit and rein aids. If you have any doubts along that line, you may want to wait. But when you begin introducing double bridle, you should ride in double bridle only on days when you intend to do the easy work. Since your mare tires in collection easily at this point, I'd say that when you use double bridle, for the time being, keep it very simple. No collection, just simple transitions and circles, serpentines, etc.
  5. Buying A Young Horse?

    This particular quote really jumped out at me because it is such a common misconception. Yes, it is true that many horse problems are man-made. But it is also true that all horses are individuals and come with their own innate problems. I always laugh when I hear "I want a young horse so I don't have to deal with someone else's problems." I have broken in many young horses ... in one memorable stretch of time I had seven 1 1/2 year olds and two 3 year olds at the same time (and for 2 - 3 years.) They all had similar breeding (except one) and very similar, almost identical handling. And yet, they were all different. Two were extremely sensative and remembered any tiny little mistake. One was willful. One had a natural tendency towards having an overly upright neck and sucking back behind the leg. One was very laidback and forgiving of anything. One really dug himself on the forehand. Etc. So remember, buying a young, unbroke horse does NOT mean it will come free of "issues." Issues are sometimes caused by people, sometimes made worse by people, and sometimes, it's just how that horse is (one of those young horses, for no reason anybody knew, was afraid of her own tail.) I always tell people, "If you buy a high strung, nervous horse and train it really well, you will have a well-trained, high-strung, nervous horse. And if you buy a lazy, ultra-calm horse and train it really well, you will have a well-trained, lazy, ultra-calm horse." In other words, the basic nature is, what the basic nature is. So, what do you look for in a young horse? Well, since you posted on the dressage board, are we to assume you are looking for a dressage prospect? If so, what are your goals? Do you want to reach international levels? Or will you be happy if you and your friend can aspire to 2nd or 3rd level together? For most people, the most important thing is a great temperament and soundness. With those two things, you can have a lot of fun for a very long time. With that in mind, if I'm looking at a 3 year old, I want to know that his parents, but especially his mother, have amiable temperaments. I don't worry too much about breed, as you find different temperaments in all breeds. You will find that certain temperaments come in certain families, though, and that is important to know if you can find out. Secondly, it helps if both the mother and father are or have been sound for most of their lives, or barring that, that any unsoundness is not the result of just the course of life and work. In other words, if they suffered an accident, unsoundness is acceptable. Otherwise, it really isn't. (I know one broodmare who was hit by lightning. That's an acceptable reason to be unsound!) Even on a young horse, get radiographs! Lastly is talent. If you have aspirations to compete heavily in the higher levels, you'll put more emphasis on this. If you mainly want a friend, it's not as important. As for what I expect a 3 year old to be doing ... I think it is helpful if a 3 year old is under saddle. I would like to see him standing for mounting at the block, walking, trotting, and cantering both leads (although if it takes a few tries to get the right lead, that's okay.) I want to see that he is basically accepting the bit, but I'm not worried if his contact isn't consistant. If he falls in or out of the circle a little, that's okay, but I don't want to see extreme deviations. I want him to sensible if he goes out on a trail ride with his buddies in all three gaits. I want him to behave for basic daily routines, such as picking out his feet, saddling and bridling. I don't expect him to be perfect for clippers, or even for getting on the trailer, but he gets bonus points if he is. If the 3 year old in question is not yet under saddle, that's not the end of the world. But I want to see that he is used to people and respectful of them. The walk is the hardest gait to improve, so I like to see a good, four-beat walk that swings through his body and his hind feet step at least into the hoofmarks of his forefeet. If I'm really looking for a competitor I also want an uphill, 3 beat canter and rhythmic trot with obvious suspension.
  6. The "soft" Hand

    This is always such a more difficult topic than it sounds like. It seems that a "soft hand" should be something we simply need to learn to do as a rider and then that's it. And to a certain extent that's true, but that's not the whole story. In order to have a truly "soft" hand, such as the left rein that we see in KTS's photo, it is essential that the horse have a soft jaw. If the horse does not do his part in the contact, then you can't get that feeling. The horse must not only be soft through his jaw, cheek, throat and poll, he must also reach for and establish the contact on his end. One of the hardest things of all is to teach a horse to have that softness while mounted by a rider who doesn't really understand how to achieve it. Or vice versa, to teach that softness to a rider who is mounted on a horse with a tight jaw. Riders on horses who haven't learned about contact tend to be either too harsh with their hands, either jerking, pulling, tugging, or bracing; or they tend to be too permissive, allowing the horse to do whatever he wants as long as the rider doesn't have more than an ounce of pressure on the reins. Both are wrong. When a horse is still struggling to understand how they can do their part to create softness and take responsibility for contact, the rider sometimes has to be willing to have a strong rein. But they must also know how to help the horse release the contact, and they must be spot-on for giving softness in return as a reward for the horse's softness. And they need to do that giving by the millimeter so that they don't end up throwing away the contact and giving the horse nothing. And they need to be really quick to correct any errors the horse starts to make. The sooner you can correct contact errors, the less extreme they become and the more subtle and gentle the corrections can be. If you wait until the horse really has gotten out of whack, then it takes more effort to get the correction. Even with a horse who is tight and has bad contact habits, there are things the rider can do to make sure his part of the bargain is as correct as possible. Definitely don't let your hands get wide and low as that tends to create a bracing/pulling action. If you need to place one hand wide and/or low it should be very brief, it should be just one hand, and you should get your hands back to the right place quickly. Lateral bending helps horses with contact issues to sort them out because when they are bent laterally they have to have contact only one rein (the outside) and that's easier than trying to get correct, even balanced contact on both reins at the same time. Hence the reason for working on circles, serpentines, and broken lines. Even if the horse is tight and pulling or jerking, you want to keep your elbows by your sides with a straight line to the mouth. You can soften the three lower fingers in each hand and your forearm muscles when you want to reward a horse's positive response, or provide some resistance by tightening these fingers and forearm muscles. You shouldn't need to move your arms a great deal. And finally, although you must be willing to work through contact problems, you must always be on the look-out for a positive response from the horse so that you can soften your muscles and have a gentle contact, even if it for a brief moment. The more frequently you can find these good moments, the more often they will happen and then the more consistant they will become. But if you just try to be "soft" all the time, you will actually create a horse who has tension. Even if he tends to look pretty and keep his head in the right place, you'll find that he'll brace against you for downward transitions, and be difficult to balance in really round circles and lateral work.
  7. Clinic W/ Mb

    LOL, you guys are so funny. :) I didn't think posing the riddle would get such a response! Anyway, no, I didn't get pictures this time. Maybe next time.
  8. More Jag Video

    Hmmm, to raise your leathers a hole, or not? Well, leave them down for a week or so and see if you get more comfortable with it. I'm sure you'll give us more video later, yes? Have fun at your lesson!
  9. More Jag Video

    I definitely am seeing improvement already! :) I read the comments about posting ... both the suggestions that you do it and your reply that you feel like your body is quieter when you are sitting. Then I went back and watched the video a second time. If you feel like your body is quieter when you are sitting, it is because in the sitting trot you really do tend to hang on to the reins. I'd say that at this time, your sitting trot does not have an independent enough seat and I'd definitely avoid it for now. Part of that could certainly be because Jag isn't working through his back yet. Young horses, (or horses in retraining) that have tight backs can be VERY hard to sit the trot correctly. Also, I would go ahead and shorten your leathers one hole. At least give it a try for a few rides and see if it helps to stabalize your lower leg (and as a result, your body.) Again, on young horses or horses who don't yet lift their back, you sometimes need to ride with a slightly shorter stirrup because you can't yet really meld your two bodies together. Definitely work on riding figures other than a circle. More broken lines, serpentines, and straight lines are good practice. As for riding a circle, remember that a round circle is a result of a horse who is straight and consistant. (Straight here means the amount of bend equals the line of travel, so more bend for smaller circles, less bend for larger circles.) When the shoulder pops out, the circle will have an outward bulge at that point. When the shoulder drops in, the circle with have a flat side. So, it is more important to be aware of your horse's body position than it is to follow a specific track. You can make a circle that may seem round because you stayed outside your cones, but if you managed that "circle" by pulling the nose one way or the other you haven't gained anything. Instead, be aware of balance issues and shoulder placement. When you have control of the shoulder and the haunches, your circles will be round and you won't have to worry about where the nose is. You're doing a good job. Keep it up! I'm pleased with the improvement already from the last video to this one.
  10. I Am Alive!

    Congratulations!!!!! Well done! Was it your first ever show also, or just his? What is the rest of his breeding? Arab and what? He looks great ... wonderful job grooming! When's the next one?
  11. Clinic W/ Mb

    As most of you know, I was riding 5 - 7 horses a day a few years ago, before getting pregnant. Some people seem to be able to ride practically up to the day they give birth, some get back in the saddle with in a month ... or even a few weeks. Such was not to be my luck ... a rather difficult delivery and hellish (and hellishly long) recovery meant I spent a full year out of the saddle. *sigh* That also meant my various steeds ... the ones that weren't sent home or passed along to a different rider ... also had some time off. LOTS of time off. So, needless to say, unfit and unpracticed I get the joyful experience of starting my guys back up again. More or less from scratch, it seems like. One of the steeds in question is an OTTB who belongs to some friends of mine. We have hopes that he'll make a low-international level eventer ... some day. He has a truly excellent walk and canter and his trot is adequate and correct, if not actually his best gait. The biggest issue with Lync is that he has a tendency to get tense very easily and that tendency is exaggerated when he leaves the property. Especially in this case, since it has been quite awhile since he's been anywhere. And I've only been back in the tack about a dozen times, so it's not like we're well practiced. Anyway, getting to the point, I took him to a clinic with MB from HTF. (Everyone know who I'm talking about?) Lync was extremely nervous, as we expected, but one nice thing about Lync is no matter how upset he is, he will NOT buck, bolt, rear, or otherwise make an attempt to put you in the dirt. Our ride was right after lunch, so I took the opportunity to enter the arena a good 15 minutes prior to my scheduled ride and start warming him up. This was the first time I'd ever ridden with MB and I was a little embarrassed to be seen by him for the first time (and also seen by the various auditors) on a horse who was going .... sideways. And not because I was asking him to. By the time my session actually started, I had a horse who actually released his neck and back for short 5 second intervals and we were starting to get somewhere. MB was great and really did help me focus on what needed doing and by the end of the ride we had worked on everything this horse knows (not a lot, he is still green off-the-track) and had a horse who (mostly) focused on his work and (occasionally) worked through his back. MB has a very calm, straightforward method of teaching. There's not a lot of lecture and he guides you through exercises as you do them. Lync still gets a bit excited in the trot/canter transitions, so we worked on leg-yielding in the corner to the transtion which helped and I hope perhaps in the next 3 or 4 rides to actually start being able to get transitions that don't include a head-toss and a leap. (LOL) We also did a lot of shoulder-in and 10 meter circles in trot, and shoulder-fore in canter. MB liked the straightness we were able to show him when going away from the auditors, but we never did get the same straightness when riding towards the auditors. (LOL) All in all, I found it VERY useful, and I did more sitting trot than I've done in ... oh, well, I guess about a year! My abs were a bit tired. Next in the arena was a woman with a mare for an in-hand handling session. I was after that with my 4 year old Trak stallion, also for an in-hand handling session. I'm taking my stallion to the Trak inspection this fall, and although I've handled mares and foals at inspections, I've never handled a stallion at one. I actually hope I'll be able to hire a professional (that I know) for the inspection because it is, after all, a one shot deal, but if I can't I need to be prepared to give him the best opportunity I can to show well. My stallion is VERY quiet and well-mannered, which was great because we were able to get right to work. First, I introduced to MB my husband who was going to be performing in the role of assistant (whip handler.) My husband is not very horse experienced and has NEVER even seen a whip handler, so this session was definitely as much for my husband as it was for me and/or my horse. We began with making sure I had a good halt and that the stallion sat down in the halt. The interesting part about this is that MB uses body language for this. I didn't quite get it at first and MB took over to show me what he meant. Two repetitions and both my stallion and I figured out his method (although I'm sure I don't execute it as well as he does.) Walk, halt. Walk, halt. Walk, halt. And meanwhile my husband is learning to walk, halt as well. (grin!) After awhile, we moved into trot work. Again, the goal here was control and not the BIG TROT. As he explained, you can't get a good BIG TROT if you can't control the horse. So we did a lot of jogging (in the deep sand) and working on trot, halt. Trot, halt. Trot, halt. And my husband got to practice, too. MB made a point to remind me to VERBALIZE my intentions so that my whip handler would know what was coming. If I plan to halt and don't tell him, he may drive on when he sees the horse slowing. So, communication is very key. At one point, I said to my husband "We're going to halt at C." After the halt MB laughed and pointed out that there were no letters posted in this arena and that when I said we'd halt at C, my husband had been looking wildly around ....where is C????? So, we sorted that out ... even in the absence of actual posted letters, C is half way along the short side of the arena. After we had done that for a bit, we tried to get some big trots, but I don't think it went very well. The stallion was a bit tired, I was exhausted, and keeping up with the horse in the deep sand of that arena was a serious challenge. MB also commented that he thought the horse was getting tired because his movement was becoming flat. So, we took a break to work on setting up. Getting the open stance set properly proved to be easy. Getting a great "look" from my calm, quiet, and now tired stallion was a bigger challenge. He looked drugged, or asleep. A plastic bag helped a bit and MB then made sure I knew what kind of paperwork and other prep work I would need to take the stallion to the inspection and then we were done. The horse who came in after us was a 2nd level mare for riding. Well, it turns out that every spring around March, she spends a couple of months having trouble with her hormones. Even though she is on regumate, she spent the first 20 minutes of her ride stopping dead unexpectedly and calling to my stallion (who OF COURSE answered ... it's too bad the trailers were within easy hearing distance of the arena.) I felt bad about that ... you don't want to go to a clinic and spend time on something like that ... but thankfully the rider is a semi-professional who understands her mare has to work even if a boy is around, so she wasn't angry with me. (Not that it was my fault that she was scheduled immediately after me, but you know how it is.) So, we had a great day, and I found it all very motivational. I'm ready to put my pregnancy behind me and get riding!
  12. How To Correct Over Bending?

    Ooops, I just realized there's a page 2 and I haven't read it yet, so if I repeat something someone already said .... I apologize! Just a couple of quick things. First, although lunging is really great in many ways, I do have to disagree that you can't teach a horse to work in a tempo from his back. If anything, if a horse is not inclined to work in a tempo on his own, I find it easier to regulate from his back. One of the great things about lunging, though, is you get to SEE how your horse reacts to things. Does he step under during downward transitions, does he reach through during the canter transition? If the rein contact bothers him ... when? Is it during the upward transition? The downward transition? Etc. If you have never used side reins before, I'd like to make a note on the comments that stepped you through a session in the side reins. First, the first time you ever use side reins on a horse, it should be several holes LOOSER than having his face at the vertical. Also, attach the reins a little on the high side. Yes, he may "escape" by raising his head, but it also keeps them from having a panicky meltdown if they find the contact scary the first time. If all goes well, you can either shorten the side reins a hole or two half way through the work, or lower them (making sure you loosen them more if necessary to keep them from becoming shorter due to positioning them in a different place.) Once your horse is really good with side reins, you actually use a different protocal. I agree with PMJ that the half halt is a whole body thing, not just a seat thing (and certainly not just a hand thing!) And I love what she said about the half halt on a well trained horse being a "monitoring" half halt a lot of the time. Because a lot of the time, that's what it is. Even on the younger horses, as long as they have learned what is meant by the half halt aids. Sometimes your half halt says, "can you bend your hind leg more?" or "are you going to wait for me?" or "how about straightening that shoulder a bit more?" It can even simply say "are you listening?" On a horse like yours or Sylves (or the TB I'm riding these days,) the half halt can also say, "Don't Run!!" But think of it like this: A bunch of kids are running down the barn aisle. If you stand in their way, they will plow right past you. If you say "Don't run!" in your drill sergeant voice, they will walk. For awhile anyway, and then they'll run again and you say "Don't run!" again. If they are at your barn for any consistant amount of time, they soon learn not to run. And if they decide to run anyway, just seeing you at the end of the aisle will put a stop to the running. But if all you ever do is stand in the middle of the barn aisle, they'll just keep blasting past you. When you hang or pull on the reins and try to muscle your horse slower, you're kind of like the person trying to created a blockage ... and it doesn't work. But if you say "Don't run" and then relax, they usually listen. For awhile anyway, and then you'll need to repeat it until they get the idea. At first you may need to repeat every three or four strides, but eventually you'll only need to repeat it now and then, and you won't need your drill sergeant "Don't run!" anymore; you'll just need to raise your eyebrow (so to speak.)
  13. Broiling A Steak Help Now

    Wonderful!!!! Okay, it was at the top and I put it on high and that did the trick! Delicious! (That didn't take long, did it?) Thanks again, everyone!
  14. Broiling A Steak Help Now

    You guys are the best! My husband didn't believe I could get quick and accurate cooking advice on horsecity and you all come through!!! I'll let you know how it came out! Thank you, thank you, thank you! (And I'll check the bottom drawer AND the top. And use high. Thank you!!!!)
  15. Broiling A Steak Help Now

    Also, on an electric oven where is the broiler?