May 30, 2015

Half pass/flying change advice?

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I haven’t posted in ages because Jake had tendinitis, and as a result had to have 4 months off and has only come back into work this month! But I have been riding my sister’s Quarter Horse, Flynne, for that period of time who has in the space of 4 months, moved from Novice to Elementary to Medium. However now that we’ve hit Medium level, he needs to flying changes, but we are struggling with them a bit and he even has my coach a bit confused about what he is doing; he does beautiful simple changes, can go walk/canter and canter/walk without any issues at all, his canter is balanced and bouncy (although he doesn’t have the natural bit moment of suspension of a horse built for dressage), his lateral movements in canter including the start of pirouettes are established, but he just can’t seem to wrap his head around the flying change? He seems to know what I am asking, because when I apply the aid he almost launches himself in the air and changes, but only if he has 2-3 strides of a very very fast canter first which is far from ideal. I have tried over a pole, tried asking on both a straight line or a serpentine, and I’ve tried asking from a half pass, but nothing seems to be helping; do you have any ideas?


Also I was wondering (photo attached), if the angle of his half-pass is okay? (the photo was taken just as we got to the wall)


Thanks in advance!

New pony

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I bought this new pony about six weeks ago as a little project, as she was a bit much (see pic with blue saddlecloth lol) for the young rider who had her. She’s 13.3hh and 6yo, and has had this year off as she was too hot and unsuitable, so it has been a bit of work to bring her back into work but she has turned around and started to settle down. I’m hoping to get her into some Pony Dressage in February, but I’m just wondering about her hindlegs – she has very expressive hocks, but they don’t really go anywhere, if that makes sense? She sort of lifts her hindlegs up and then places them back down in the same place until she has done a good 20 minutes of trotting, so I’m just wondering if there are any exercises I can try to get her to step through more? She is still a bit hyper-sensitive to the leg but is improving so any exercises or ideas would be much appreciated :)


Thanks in advance :)

Schooling clydie X

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Haven’t posted any pics of Jake in awhile because he’s been on strict box rest with tendinitis in his front leg so can’t compete him or work him until next year. Luckily though my neighbours (who I work their horses for) have been nice enough to let me ride and compete their horses if I want to so I have been doing a lot of work on this little horse. She’s a clydie X pony of some sort (only 14hh) and had a massive attitude which I really struggled with initially (after 5 minutes of any sort of work that wasn’t walking on a loose rein she would run backwards, kick her legs out, and throw her head up in my face), but after a lot of work, we finally have her using her strong will in my favour rather than against me. I was just wondering if her frame needs to lift at all? I just don’t want to work her in an incorrect frame as she learns things really quickly so I don’t want her to learn it wrong! Also are there any other big things to work on?

Jake schooling his freestyle test

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I’ve put up some photos of Jake’s medium, working, and collected trot from a few weeks ago when we were practicing for his first freestyle test (which he ended up winning); I’ve been doing a lot of work on getting him to ‘sit’ with my instructor and using himself, plus I took him to a clinic where he really seemed to take a step forward in working across the back and using his hind end. Based on these, is there anything I should be focusing on in particular? Thanks in advance :)

Jake winning grade 1

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Haven’t had any ‘new’ photos really of Jake for awhile; BUT, he did have his third grade 1 competition last weekend and managed to win overall champion (with 88% in one test, winning by about 15%!). I’ve got a great coach now who I’ve been working with for a few months and we’ve been focused on getting him to better ‘use himself’, as well as trying to get him to settle into the lateral work that he doesn’t like (travers is a problem; renvers and half-pass aren’t a problem though which is something I’m trying to figure out!).

From the three pictures I’ve posted above, is there anything that I should be focusing on? Also; I’ve been trying to find a way to develop that part on his rump that has sort of a ‘line’ down halfway horizontally-ish; would you know any exercises I can use to strengthen this area? I’ve been doing a lot of work within the paces (collected-medium-extended-medium-collected etc), as well as transitions (walk/canter/walk), simple changes, and a stack of lateral work (leg yield, shoulder-in, half-pass in trot & canter, walk pirouettes), as well as canter & counter canter, but no matter what I do, I just can’t seem to get rid of that under-developed bit of muscle! He had to have 6 weeks off in January with a leg injury and lost a lot of muscle then but has mostly put it back, aside from there!

Thanks in advance!


Jake’s second grade 1

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I’ve been having a bit of an ‘up and down’ phase with Jake lately, he did his first elementary and had a tantrum for about 80% of the test, doing small rears and hops, I wasn’t impressed at all! He has been very worked up lately, but in the last couple of weeks he seems to have settled himself back down, although isn’t working as well as he usually does when he goes into a test. We have a new instructor who has been great for developing his canter and he’s working a million times better than he ever has at home, we’ve added a flash strap to his noseband and now he doesn’t ‘grab’ in the downwards transitions and sits a lot better, and he’s a lot more ‘through’ and connected at home and in the warmup. However, (I’ve attached photos), as soon as he gets into the test, he just comes above the bit and stiffens across the back and makes it quite hard to get the flow of the test. He’s still placing well in the highest level Pony Club now (4th overall in the championship on the weekend) however I think I am missing something as soon as I enter at A because everywhere else (including the warmup in the exact same type of ring next to the one he competes in), he works a lot better than he does in the actual test. Any ideas are very appreciated!

Also I just sold miss Piglet, we had our last competition together on Sunday and I attached a photo because she was the star of the day! :)

Thanks in advance :)


Jake is back

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Jake has just come back into work (about 3 weeks ago) after his sesamoid injury and has been very sound, and seems to have a clearer head as a bonus. I managed to scrape him together in time for state championships which we had qualified for previously, and he did a slightly unfocused first test (he hadn’t been out in a fair while) and a lovely second test. From these photos, what should I focus on working on? He’s been graded up now so he has more laterals as well as collected work, and I’ve got a great new teacher who has been really helpful in getting him to ‘sit’. Any advice would be great, thanks in advance :)

First competition on Piglet

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I took Piglet to a horse trials this weekend on Sunday, as well as to my Pony Club rally on saturday. The poor thing has had a shock to her system coming from a day or two work a week to six days a week, on a diet, plus a lot of exercise (typical pony that explodes in weight over the summer!). Just wondering what to work on from these photos? I came 3rd overall (4th after dressage, jumped two clear rounds to move up a spot).

She’s just about the complete opposite to Jake so I’m still figuring a lot out with her, she tends to work behind the leg if she can help it and has much more of an opinion, plus is about half the height and twice the width!

Horse change

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Jake has hurt his leg so has had to have a few weeks off and has one more week off before I can start lightly working him again, but in the meantime I’ve been working Piglet; she’s a touch under 14hh, we think she’s either New Forest or GRP (have to do some research). Her owners have asked me to school and compete her until she sells (she’s just been advertised). I’m going to do some dressage with her and a bit of eventing, she is a very different ride to Jake (aside from the nearly 3 hands height difference), but I’m finding she is quite rewarding to work with. She’s not as forward and I’ve accidentally gotten into the habit of tipping my shoulders forward which I’m working on, but I was mainly wanting to know which frame out of these three photos is the most correct? She’s very willing to work wherever, but I’m trying to do some ‘fine tuning’ of the basics before I start teaching her some new things (her owner has moved away for a year and we’re hoping to make sure she sells to the very best home possible). Any other advice would be much appreciated! She’s on a diet but I’ve put her onto a more high energy feed which is making my life a lot easier in terms of getting her fat belly moving also

Schooling the Apex



Please judge :) This is Flynne, my sister’s 14.2hh QH Gelding and I at pony club today jumping the 1.05m apex. I got a funny line into it so could be a lot more central, but otherwise is there something we need to work on? Thanks in advance :)