lonesomeequus

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:smileywavey:

Hey everyone! Not much to update on the mare; there's been a lot sapping my extra energy lately, and I haven't been able to ride as much as I'd like. We had a truly awful ride on the 15th; she was entirely distracted and very offended when I tried to get her attention. A short 15 minute hack turned into about an hour of us clashing, but I rode her last Friday and today, and she was pretty good both days. I am going to try to sell the dressage saddle I have; it's a Crosby Prix St. George Sofride and not nearly wide enough for her, and the saddle that a barn buddy and board buddy, Ardent, is kind enough to let me use for her doesn't seem to fit now that she's not a jiggling tub of lard anymore. I also can't stay back in it for her canter. I brought home a Barnsby from the tack store to try on her today and it wasn't wide enough. I'll probably end up getting something synthetic with a changeable gullet, but we'll see. I have to get the other sold first.

Bear with me, I have a photo dump. :ashamed0002:

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Handsome gal.

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She IS capable of lifting at the canter...lol

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(one of Ben, because he's prettyful)

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At the beginning of today's ride. She was highhh as a kite.

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Few more, hold up!

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By the way, I badly need to work on my hands and arms in general! Yuck!

Very very up...lol

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If we can get to where we look like this with the picture NOT being a bit tilted, I will be ecstatic.

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Just to demonstrate her airborne trotting capabilities... (ignore my hands, going for the mane!)

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After a couple times over a steprail/small jump. It really does help her lift, or I wouldn't torture myself.

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:smileywavey: Thanks for looking!

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I feel your pain. I went through the saddle fitting thing. The right saddle will make a huge difference though. I kind of like the pic from the begining of the ride. Yeah I like the high energy ones.

Oh you can sneak a couple more pics of Ben in. he is very handsome.

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Thanks! c.s.a., I think I'm going to go with a Wintec...I rode her in one today and it made a world of a difference. I'm still far from perfect, but felt like I had a better chance of working on my position in that saddle. I will have to get one with a smaller seat and get the wider version (although still with the Cair system), but I was able to stay back a whole lot better.

This is usually the part of the canter stride I look most ridiculous (as in, usually right here, my hips are in front of my toe...eew.). Need to work on expanding myself upwards and back; I seem to want to ride in the fetal position.

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And here's another of Ben :)

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I agree, your position does look better and less braced in the wintec. With the other saddle your heels are a bit too far behind you in some shots, which then tips you forward through your pelvis, which might be exacerbating the issue with your hand placement. Sometimes, ya just gotta love a Wintec!! They work well as an "in between" saddle when working on fitting up a horse. I wish I had a wintec dressage...my stubben is too narrow now that my mare has become miss fatty while I was off adventuring on an island! grr.

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please ignore my comments if they are unasked for feedback, but i just love this horse so feel compelled to make a few observations about you. (you looked a lot different in the original pictures you posted of you trying her out and after you got her home).

i see everything braced, hollow back, pushing down on stirrups and absolutely no "give" in your arms. then i look at that picture of you on ben, and that's a different person!! i know you're bareback in that one, but you look so relaxed and happy (not fetal to me), and your horse looks exuberant, relaxed and happy. in contrast you look like you and the mare are in constant "conflict".

what i've found helps bracey riders is to distract them: (how about those yankees? who do you think is going to be tapped as romney's running mate? what did you have for breakfast? or my favorite: "now hurry up and relax" LOL.)

like i said i just love this mare and see so much potential in both of you. do you have eyes on the ground that can give you feedback?

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Oh, you're fine! I'm finally learning to take constructive criticsm as I get older, and what's in the pictures is plain as day! I'm obviously riding too forcefully and not sitting up and relaxed. I don't know when I turned into such a lousy rider, LOL. I never get a chance to ride with a trainer, unless I can sneak into one of BO's baby classes on a Monday, and I know a coach would help a lot! Better yet, a clinic... :crazy:

Also, Ben is an extension of me, I'll never ride anything better than I ride him. :flirt:

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here is a little tip for you: you are NOT a lousy rider.

you are SOOO pretty, (if bracey), on this (gorgeous) mare and of course gorgeous on ben. if life is taking something out of you, how about if you take a well deserved break and get back to having fun when you're in the frame of mind to not want to brace any more? im sure she won't mind. hey! i've been there beautful girl(s).

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Pehhh. :indifferent: I'm very hard on myself; that is probably why I've slowly pushed myself into the forceful way I ride.

Come from Germany and sit on her. lol.

I think I'm going to ride her bareback for a while...that usually helps me. As long as I don't fall off; she IS quite powerful...lol

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Okay, I've been riding her bareback the past week, and she and I are both a ton more relaxed. Or, she is more relaxed, and I am as long as she doesn't get too much air under her. It is somewhat miraculous that I can sit her trot, but it is noticeably easier without a saddle. I haven't cantered her more than a few strides down the long side since I'm chicken and she's so thrusty, but I'm working up to it. I'll try to get some video, maybe tomorrow. Meant to this morning before work, but I just couldn't get out of bed!

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good for you!! i know it can be scary to ask for the canter from a horse who has that much power, but please don't try to stop her when she starts to "lift off". go into your fetal position---better than bracing.

or just do the transition thing in your butt--two strides and back down to the trot (or walk).

"transitions, transitions, transition"--that's what gerd heuschmann, rainer klimke (deceased), and klaus balkenhol say is the BEST way to get a horse's attention and cooperation.

bareback is great. just don't forget that someday you'll want to ride her with a saddle and stirrups again. learn not to brace anywhere--the horse hates that. tough for all of us.

you've got my support!!

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hi pintobean! i just got back from a week in l.a. toting my hand-luggage (always) with my right shoulder leading through security checks because i carry all the crap on my left shoulder. i think it your case it is your right shoulder on that pretty mare.

start saddling from the right for a while, getting on from the right. she sure is pretty and so are you!

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Super cute mare. An ill fitting saddle can make a world of difference and can def be some if not all of the reasons she is being pissy and giving you attitude. I am not always a huge advocate for lungeing but I am dealing with Rex giving me crap when asking him to pay attention instead of socializing (hes about to turn 5 and its that stage...) and he will keep sucking back no matter what I do and it just is not productive. So Ive been having to get off and lunge and then get back on and tada great ride. So maybe you could lunge her first (not running her around to get her energy down but to do purposeful lungeing with side reins, encouraging her to relax and let go of her back and underneck). I used to have to lunge Layla before riding b/c she just did not understand how to relax with a rider up. So I would lunge first, get her stretching and swinging, and then get on and build from that.

BTW... here you go

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I'll admit I know nothing about English horses but that mare is Georgus!!! And I love that colour of bay is so pretty. And of corse Ben is very handsome haha. I do know (and I dont think it matters what sport you do with horses) A well fitting saddle makes a horse so much more happy to work for you. Good luck with finding the right saddle :)

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KrazyTBMare, thanks!!!

Tiny update...A board member who is very very awesome in dressage visited me last month, and she had miss mare looking fab.

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I took Benny to a dressage clinic a couple weeks ago. I was supposed to take Tuesday, but there was a slight confusion with her Coggins and I couldn't take her. The clinician worked A LOT on my position; fixing my badly tuned hunter tendencies, basically. She told me there are four things she wants me to work on: thighs against the saddle, change the weight distribution of my leg (from most of it going into my heel to 80% in my thigh and the rest in my heel), using my core muscles better (which means, like, at all), and also using my lats. And bend my dang elbows, but we all know that! Let me tell ya...I am sore from changing these things! She is hopefully going to come to my barn to work with my boss and I once a month, so I will get the opportunity to ride Tuesday with her. Hopefully I can improve some things before then. Also, the saddle situation is going to have to change yet again. I never did get mine sold, and therefore never bought a new one, especially since I have the mare up for sale, so I've been using a school hunt seat saddle, and it is no longer a good fit on her with her muscles changing, and I feel like it's so flat in the front that it doesn't do me any favors anyway...sigh. I really don't want to buy a horse a new saddle when I'm trying to sell her!

These are from yesterday...my camera died within the first five minutes, before either of us really relaxed or warmed up. Of course.

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My favorite from the day

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What do you think? No change, positive change, negative change?

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pinto beans (i thought you were up for sale in canada haha) you look really in harmony in that last pictue with your mare. the first picture of your friend up i don't particularly like. i bet the mare is just pushing really hard against the pressure. is this the mare you are selling? if so, i'm sorry to hear it, i just love her.

you look lovely and i think you've made a lot of progress. just try to *relax* some more :smilie: .

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They decided to keep me :D

I guess that's an awkward moment; she was asking her to stretch and the mare took up all the reins and was asking for more.

Thanks so much. I'm hoping relaxation will come as I start to get stronger and more accustomed to the changes I've made. I'm also hoping to get to ride with this clinician a lot more, as those changes are literally from one ride with her. I have the mare "up for sale" and she's listed online, but in a lackluster ad with no photo and I'm in no hurry because I really do enjoy her, she's a big sweetie, and Boyfriend has gotten attached to her (doesn't help that I swear she likes him more; she must be a man's horse at heart).

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i agree that whatever the trainer asked you to do WORKED. everything looks so much less bracey, your back and arms are a lot softer, and i love what she did with your hands and apparently so does the mare :smile: . she could teach you a lot (horse i mean) with time.

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Well that's good, because she is coming to our barn this Sunday for another clinic! :yahoo: I will try to sweet talk Boyfriend into hanging out with the camera...this time with a charged battery :rolleye0014:

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Here's a quick video from today. Incidentally, it IS put together from the end of the ride to the beginning; I didn't realize it til I started putting the clips together and was too lazy to start over. I haven't quite figured out my video program entirely.

I. hate. my. arms. And therefore my hands. I think I just need a ground person to tell me to bend my elbows, get my hands out of my crotch (pretty sure if I fix one, the other will come automatically) and pull my right shoulder back, because when I feel like I am doing those things, I obviously am not. I also need to work on my core strength a whole lot; hence the wigglewormyness at the sit trot....but as yesterday was the first time I was able to sit her trot more than five strides at a time, I'm okay with looking sort of crap right now.

I would also like more weight into my knee; I feel like I'm faking it? It's so hard not to stick my heels down and brace like a hunter! I also feel like my right leg isn't around her as much, perhaps a result of whatever makes my right shoulder go nuts. Or vice versa. But I am serious; I am going to fix these things. I already feel my horse so much better after just two clinics with this lady. One more on the 30th unless something changes, and then one every month. I am so excited. I didn't get to ride Tues with her the first time since I messed up the Coggins (think I mentioned that) but I did get to take her on Wednesday, and the clinician thought she was "just stunning", which made me feel great until I realized no one complimented poor Benjamin :crazy: Poor boy lol.

ETA: I did get off and fix the saddle once, since it slid up at one point...that's what I get for letting Boyfriend do the girth. lol. He's trying.

Edited by pintobeans

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two things struck me right away when i watched this video: 1) you guys don't look like you're *fighting* all the time anymore, and 2) your back has become so much softer. your elbows, however, appear to be welded to your forearms LOL. they are joints and therefore flexible. try just flexing them softly while you're watching t.v., reading, or talking to an (understanding) friend. try *pushing* that left shoulder forward rather than *pulling* the right one back.

i keep a daily journal to keep track of what i've been doing, where i've been and where i'm going so to speak. i think that anytime somebody wants to keep moving forward keeping track of your progress is important. i drive a one-in-hand as well as ride, and i was helping a friend with her young new forest pony a couple of years ago. we were in the dressage arena, and my friend was kvetching about the fact that the mare kept dropping her shoulder into the left corner; i just looked at her and said "carol, 6 months ago this pony would occasionally rear when you were trying to harness her. now she stands like a sleeping pill and you can fumble around and take as much time as you want, and you can do it ALONE. i call that "progress"--forget the left shoulder".

i think you've both made pretty dramatic progress. a picture can say a thousand words, and this video has a lot of pretty images.

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Good point on the progress, nick. Thank you so much for your encouragement! I'm trying sooo hard to fix the shoulder. I've tried bringing the left forward, but I tend to sit forward and that seems to exacerbate that. I feel like there's a brick wall behind my right shoulder. The journal is a good idea; I started my blog with that exact intention but I am so bad about updating it. We are definitely getting along better now that I'm not forcing her, and being more understanding of what my position does to her ability to comply with what I'm asking of her.

Here's a few from today.

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I think I was sit trotting here.

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And my fave:

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nice!

question: did you ever have an accident or some kind of incident that resulted in that right shoulder being blocked? i had the same issue but in my left shoulder for a while, which went all the way down to my left hip resulting in my horse chronically cross-firing after two rounds. i went to see a feldenkrais (google moshe feldenkrais) practicioner who was able to help me straighten it out. just like we check out physical reasons when horses are "blocked", while it could be a *habit* on your part, it might not hurt to have it checked out and try something like feldenkrais, acupuncture, etc. you might be *crooked* somewhere. (fyi, tellington-jones came from feldenkrais).

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Interesting! I've had some falls but the only one I would count as a hard enough impact was last March, and I was already crookedy then. I started going to the chiropractor last year, and from the x-rays, one side of my pelvis was a full side higher than the other, and my spine is off center to the left. So I feel that it's a base-crooked thing that has also become habitual. I do have an interesting possible theory: Marco, the little QH pony I had for two and a half years, had a bit of a crooked sacrum. I wonder if either he caused my crookedness, or I caused his.

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hmm... could be. just a tip looking at those last pictures again. instead of pulling your shoulders back, do the pilates thing and pull your breast bone UP. then your back won't hollow out. (if you hollow your back she'll hollow her's, which she did briefly in the video until *you* got soft again.)

gorgeous horse and very pretty images of BOTH of you.

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that second pic WOW, just WOW. the mare looks spectacular and your shoulders look SO much softer.

one question though. it *looks* like you're relying a bit on that inside rein for the bend. every german instructor i've ever had a lesson with (this includes the classical dressage types) has said inside *leg*, outside rein. while at first it sounds a little contradictory if you think about it it does make sense. you bend the whole rib cage with the inside leg while using the outside rein to let the horse know not to get off the whatever line you've picked and outside leg a little further back to keep the hinduarters with you. if you rely on the inside rein you often wind up with a horse rubbernecking and the hindquarters slipping away. of course this does involve you making a pretzel out of yourself haha. (and people say riding isn't sport..)

think "banana".

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Thanks! Yes, the instructor wants me on the outside rein, but that's my horrible right side that I am *still*fighting with. :( I think it's more that I am able to function on the 'keep the outside rein" she tells me, but the right side is still collapsing on me and straightening the elbow. lol

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are you still planning to sell her? seems like it would be a shame--you have become such an elegant rider since you've had her.

(you know what they say, "you never get the horse that you want,you get the horse that you need")

as far as that inside right rein goes, think about putting more weight in your outside stirrup when you start to feel like she's falling off the line before you do anything else.

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