Tuesday, February 07, 2012

New Phil video

I'm sure you want to see the 3rd post in the show series, but this is not it.

What this is is a new video of Phil, taken tonight. I sent my trainer my last video, and here are the highlights of her suggestions -

* Remember the training pyramid - relaxation, rhythm, and contact. His rhythm looks good, and the contact improves when he's relaxed.

* He needs to respect the half-halt more - or I need to be more effective in giving it, or both probably! So do more transitions, and give more definitive half-halts.

* Add transitions within the gaits, and some leg-yields.

* Overall work on suppleness and having him be deeper in the contact - more seeking the bit.

So I have been working on all of these suggestions, and I think things are improving. Here is the new video I'm sending her.

What do you think? I think he's slower, and deeper, and you an see that I'm giving on the inside rein more without it being a huge issue. I think he still has moments of resistance, and moments of crookedness, but I think it's better overall, and certainly better with the contact. Right?


Stacey Kimmel-Smith said...

I think the way his neck is stretching forward in this video. He looks like a really sensitive/reactive ride. Do you do any sitting trot with him? I wonder if he might like the security of a seat in the saddle.

Jennifer said...

Right away, first thing I see? Shorten the reins. Why? You're going from no contact, to stiff contact. Pop in the mouth - Ouch! Second reason, your hands are right up against the saddle - broken line from bit to elbow.

Is there any benefit to working on forward before tugging on his face? I see his nose wiggling side to side, and it seems every time you tug on the reins, he slows down, which makes the trot look more like a jog, ew...

Is your heel behind your hip?

Phil seems to be dragging his right hind some - look at all the dirt ....

Marnie K said...

Much nicer! Keep up the great work!

Sand. said...
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Dressage Mom said...


I do some but I feel that he's not working over his back enough to do a lot of sitting trot. He gets anticipatory about the canter too. We'll get there...


I straighten my arms when he stretches down and into my hand. It would be very hard for me to keep the perfect length of rein all the time, so instead of constantly taking up on and lenghtening my reins, I bend or straighten my elbows. And yes, my leg falls behind my hip. He pulls me forward and out of position. I try to keep my seat but sometimes it's hard. And I think he's kicking up more dirt on that hind leg because he's crooked. We are working on that too.


Yes I keep my elbows straight when he stretches down. I'm not going for perfect position, but I know what it should be. And I'm not asking him to collect. I'm actually asking him to stretch down and into the contact! But he wants to "set his head" like he was taught to before, and that was with a higher neck so it appears like an upper level collected frame. I'm trying to retrain this but it's not easy. Still certainly a work in progress!!

Anonymous said...

I think he looks better, more consistent than the last video. I do agree with trying to get him out of the head lock postion. Maybe think or try some 2 point? Like a "stretchy circle". Let him carry himself forward into the bit a little without you on his back. He may not have the stenghth to do it at first but work up until he can do figure 8's with his head out and down. Then you can start to work on bringing him more into the contact. Thanks for being so open and sharing with your issues.

Dressage Mom said...


We are working on the stretchy circle, but it scares the snot out of me. To have that long of a rein on a horse that has been explosive in the past is frightening, and I'm not as young as I used to be. We can get somewhat of a stretch, and I try and maintain a light contact. If he was in full stretch and decided to check out and bolt I'm not sure I could save it - meaning I think I'd be eating dirt. I'm quite certain he never did any stretching with his previous training, so this is all new to him. He's getting it, but we still have a lot of work to do.

And Marnie - Thanks. :) I do think it's nicer. Not perfect, or great, but better than last time. And that's what I'm shooting for - steady improvement. :)

Jenflex said...

This may sound a little odd, but how is **your** breathing? I agree he looks much nicer, and agree with the slow steady progress, but I still see tension on both sides. Was wondering if you were to take some deep, big, sighing breaths if it might help you both release some of that tension.

Dressage Mom said...


You are absolutely right. I'm not breathing properly, and I carry a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders. I need to work on this!

Scarlett said...

Jennifer is on to something - his contact is way too inconsistent and I think its because he's not moving forward into it. Your hands are fairly steady, so I don't think its your hands causing the head wagging and in and out.

The fact that he gets behind the verticle ALOT makes me think he's not truly working forward. I'm learning the hard way, "Forward is the only way to fix most problems, even on a spooky, crazy horse."

I would work on lots more forward in side reins on the lunge. Get him in a place where the contact is consistant and a happy place.

My guy is being worked by the trainer on similar issues - contact, carrying himself, and crookedness on the lunge - her philosophy is to make him better first without the weight of a rider to influence him -its one less variable for him to struggle with. IT has amazed me how she's been able to work "Forward to the contact" and "Forward into straightness" all while on the lunge, with and without side reins. I've been forced to learn in spite of myself.

This would also solve your fear of the bolting problem.

Good luck. He's a super cutie, and those Arab's - they are great little tryers, but also can be a handful. And athletic little buggers. :)

(and p.s. like Stacey, I just went through another saddle debacle. Sigh)

Wiola said...

Much better! :) I would totally agree that you need more suppleness & relaxation before his contact improves further and I can really see you're putting that work in.
Yes it looks ugly at times but you are brave posting "the work in progress" videos which is great to see!
What I like the most is that he looks more trusting and calmer :)

Val said...

He looks like he is much more accepting of the contact and trying to stretch more going right. I remember that this was his stiffer side before.

I like slow trot spirals and small circles within a big circle to encourage the horse to stretch and let go. I am sure that you are well aware of these simple exercises, since you are a very accomplished rider. Phil looks like a wiggly guy, which is not an easy ride. I can see your progress.

Anonymous said...

Compared to the last video, I do see improvement. He's much more relaxed now, and seems to be enjoying himself more.

As with others who commented, I still see straight elbows, his poll is not the highest point, and you're always looking down.

That being said...I totally understand how you have to try to undue previous training by teaching him a different way. It's hard; I have a gelding who has the same issue...bad prior training that needs to be undone. I think that's harder to fix, than training them from scratch...they seem to get confused and frustrated more often than a true greenie.

Your philosophy is the same as mine: as long as there is progress in the right direction, it will all come together in time!

Thanks so much for posting your journey...you are a much braver soul than I!!!

susieqhammer said...

hi! I am new to your blog and I respect what you are trying to achieve, But! and there is a big BUT going on here with me. You seem to be full of excuses and "afraid" issues going on here which you are transmitting to your horse. I agree with Jennifer-you are going around with no "communication" with your horse and in return there is no "security" within him that makes him trust you as the leader in your dance together. keep your elbows by your sides and ride with your core. When you do this, he won't be able to, as you said, pull you up and out of the saddle. Also, do yourself and him a huge favor and have your saddle checked by a bona fide saddle fitter. You will be amazed at the difference! good luck! I will be checking back with you to see how you are doing. Your Phil is adorable and I wish you both the bestest!

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