Saturday, July 23, 2011


Possibly a good thing, but one never knows for me.

I've had a week to go over the rides from the show last Saturday here's my list of what was good and not so good.

First the good:

1. Transitions were light and right on the mark

2.  Bends were correct

3. Was balanced - both of us

4. Aids were effective and Rosie was truly working with me

5. Halts were straight and square

6. Steady contact was kept at all times, and Rosie was round and moving through her hind quarters.  I believe there was only one time where she went on the forehand.  I caught it immediately and corrected it.

... and the not so good
1. Circles SUCK !  I need to use more leg and less hand to get the bend.  Left is better than right

2. More forward at the walk - both medium and free

3. Free Walk - need to train "stretch down".  Rosie really has no concept of this.

4. Diagonals need to be straighter.

5. More Straight from X to C  as well.  I think she's walking off a bit crooked and I'm correcting.

In-spite of these things I can honestly say that for Intro B - Rosie and I rode to the best of our abilities.  She gave me everything I asked for even if it was a bit sticky to the rights.  We got all 6 and 7 with a lot of "Correct" comments - most of the criticism is in regards to needing to be more forward.

Ok so what is next...
Well - first we learn to canter!  I say "we" because I'm sure her big stride is going to be a completely new adventure for me.  Not to mention I've not cantered much at all since I hurt my back a year ago.  I'm going to have to learn it all over again.

I need to figure out how to get her to stretch down at the gaits.  With Bonnie I'm able to alternate pushing my legs into her barrel as she walks to naturally drop her head.  Rosie is a different story.  She is so large I'm having issues doing that .. short leg syndrom!   Any idea's on this one?

Straightness will come with confidence so not so worried about that, but I will be adding more straight line work to our sessions.

Forward movement is most likely my fault.  I need to be more fit to handle her forward movement, not to mention the confidence and trust in Rosie.

Bends to the right - she often feels like concrete against my right leg.  My trainer said I'm not strong enough to move her over, but honestly I want her moving off my leg at a feather light touch so I don't want to start super strong.    I'm thinking more right circles, keeping things as light as possible and making sure I'm staying as correct and balanced as I can.  I'm toying the idea of using my spurs at first but not sure.  I open to suggestions on this one as well.

My goal - Training Level
Time Line - Same Show Summer 2012

I'm not rushing anything at all for the sake of competing.  I'm treating the shows as my reward for the progress I've made in our training.  "Our" because I have to learn the movement correctly, then train Rosie, hopefully correct as well.


  1. That was a good evaluation. I'm not a show person, but I believe circles are tough for everyone - shower or pleasure rider. Since you're giving yourself a year, I would stay away from the spurs and continue to work with your leg - just my humble opinion.

    Best wishes,


  2. a great assesmant of your show experience , lots of positive, and some great goals to move forward with .

  3. It's good to be able to honestly evaluate yourself and your horse.You've got plenty of time to accomplish your goals with Rosie. She's such a wonderful horse. I hope you two have fun figuring things out together.

  4. hi! my mom ghm sent me a link to your post. congratulations on your successful show! rosie is adoooorable! :-)

    in your 'not so good' section you mentioned a problem with circles and i thought i might be able to help. but i don't want to contradict your trainer or any of the work you have been doing if you feel it's working well for you, so feel free to disregard any of this.

    you mentioned that you thought the problem was too much hand and not enough leg. in my training i often find the problem is exactly the opposite. usually the problem is the specific rein aid being used, rather than the 'amount' of rein. leg rarely enters into it, and may actually be a hindrance, especially on a horse that is not very forward to begin with, as they tend to become confused and dead to the leg if it is used for anything other than creating impulsion and direct lateral movement.

    not to plug my blog (i don't keep up with it very much), but i've done some posts on the subject that might be helpful:

    these are the two most important rein aids for circling/bending-

    (this one will also help with your 'stretch down' believe it or not - disengaging the brachiocephalic muscle on one side of the neck with a direct flexion tends to relax the underside of the neck, free the shoulder and lower the head while engaging the trapezius, which helps raise the base of the neck and round the topline naturally (among other things); it can be used to lead the horse into a good stretch...)

    feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. i'm happy to help if i can.

    good luck!

  5. Sounds like your show went well - and you've done a nice honest assessment - congrats!

    My problems with circles usually stem from inadvertently pushing my horse in or out by not being evenly balanced and weighted in both my stirrups. We're working on forward also... most likely contradictions in my aiding here as well.

    Seems like our horses usually give us what we ask for, whether it is what we wanted or not ;)

  6. Well, there's more good than bad. You should be very proud of your progress. You're doing a great job and it's good that you recognize that, too. I think it's wonderful that you're using the shows as a reward for all your hard work. You're making them a fun thing for both you and Rosie to show off all your skills. Way to go!

    And I know I've said this before, but I really love your header. Gorgeous photo and moment!


  7. Nice reflection and self-evaluation. You've got a great foundation to work from as you pursue your new goals. You've done a great job with Rosie. I bet her canter is going to be awesome.

  8. Strength - when I ask for something with legs or rein, I always start off asking as lightly as possible. Vibrate the rein or a light touch with a leg. Then I start increasing the pressure. It's that "ask, suggest, tell" thing. It never ends up as a kick or a yank, but I will end up thump-thump-thumping my heel into Dixie's ribs if she's blissfully ignoring my "ask." When she's "on" and listening, a light touch still gets the job done. Anyway my point is you're not dooming yourself to heavy-handedness if you have to thump around at first - just make sure you clearly ask as lightly as you expect her to understand, THEN move up to stronger aids.

  9. Good for you and Rosie. I agree with the humble opinion above...forget the spurs. Too many people jab their horses with every step that is taken... It may take longer without them, but your horse will love you for it.

  10. you are going great and it was nice to read your evaluation of your ridng. You are honest, but realistic and kind to yourself .....thats great. I think you are on track with positive goals.....FANTASTIC

  11. Well, we can work up to cantering together. You have to relearn, and I have to learn in the first place. Even on Jaz, it just feels so BIG. I look forward to reading your progress.

  12. Jeni-Please see the Black Stallion movies...especially the first one. You will love it.

  13. Congratulations on doing so well. For a small woman like you on such a big horse to achieve such great results is really commendable for both of you. Here's my opinion for what it's worth, having recently gone from Intro to Training Level - your 'good' list is really important basics and the 'not so good' is really stuff that just needs practice. I agree with you that you want your horse moving off of a light aid. I've had trainers say the same to me (stronger leg) and I don't agree. HAving said that, it isn't easy and Rogo still ignores my leg too much on his left side.
    Circles and straightnes just need lots of practice in my opinion. For bending (to help circles too) try the loop to the 1/4 line and back from training level 3, first at walk, then trot.
    To stretch down, try feeling just the tiniest bit on the inside rein and releasing the outside (even though you're on the diagonal think of an inside flex or try it on a circle first) as you give. Your horse should reach down to try to re-establish the contact with the outside to match the inside.
    Great plan. Good luck with cantering. You'll do well. I'll look forward to hearing baout it.


Happy Trails!