Sunday, September 14, 2008

A new Willow video!

:01 Nice, straight center line. I'm a little disappointed to see that Willow's frame doesn't look all that different from May, even though she feels much different.

:24 Decent travers! Could show a little more bend.

:35 Ugh. I'm still letting her get strung out too much. Half halt!

:41 I like the transition from travers to shoulder in.

1:13 Decent shoulder in.

1:46 Good medium! Just needs a little more elevation.

2:15 Still wishing she was a little more put together.

2:31 Watch the left side of your screen for Lucy the border collie puppy.

2:50 Canter is still big and boundy, but nothing like it was in May!

3:12 Watch our struggles with small canter circles!

3:49 Good simple change through trot.

3:58 Hey! Look at that! Some elevation! Even though she's a little above the bit.

4:27 I think maybe this is an 11-meter circle. Look at my outside leg! Busy.

4:43 I hope the simple changes through trot are this good when we compete.

4:50 Here I spend a little time on quick transitions to get her off my hand. You get to see just how much she likes the whip. And I'm only lightly touching her.

6:30 Some resistance, but I'm happy she's taking it up instead of diving down like she used to.

6:57 That, there, was a 10-meter circle. But the quality of the canter suffered.

7:09 Behold the elevation! Good girl!

7:22 Baby canter half pass. More at 8:00 after a brief argument.

8:28 Some mare-ishness about the whip. Again, just touching her lightly.

8:40 Baby trot half pass. More at 9:00, 9:20, 9:39. Watching this, I hear Wolfgang's voice in my head: "Get the butt! Get the butt!"

OK, everyone tell me if I'm just seeing what I want to see, but I see a more collected horse at the end of the ride than the beginning. Not yet second level material, but there are flashes that look pretty good from time to time. Willow's a big girl--she topped out at 16.3 1/2, with a long neck and back--and I just keep reminding myself that it'll take time for her to build the strength she needs.


AnnL said...

She's lovely! Looks like a real sweetie! She has nice, lovely, relaxed gaits, excellent rhythm, good balance.

In the beginning she looked like she was in a nice, relaxed, training level shape. At the end, her neck was UP more, as you noted, but there was no rounding, either in the neck or the back.

IMHO, I think you should shorten the reins...alot. This will help both of you. As long as the connection stays relaxed and not tight and tense--do lots of giving with 1 rein, then the other and sometimes both to keep her from leaning and help her stay loose and elastic, not bracing. But, the shorter rein will help you stay at or in front of the vertical.

You have a tendancy to go a bit behind the vertical with your upper body and sometimes you pull back on the rein (notice your elbow goes behind your hip). Shorter reins will help you maintain a more correct position and have quieter aids that she'll be able to accept better. Notice that when your upper body goes behind the vertical or your elbow goes back, she fusses with her head.

Also, for the 1/2 passes, as soon as her butt starts trailing so much, forget the 1/2 pass and continue straight, collect her up, back into shoulder-in position and start again. Maybe you'll only get 2 good strides of 1/2 pass, then go straight again, but this will be far more helpful to her than letting her trail her hindquarters so much. It will also help keep her relaxed and confident in her work, not worrying about doing something that's hard. Yes, it's hard work, and she has to work hard, but let her know that you only expect as much as she can do.

Keep giving her the time she needs to develop her strength and she'll be awesome. Take it slowly, you're right not to want to rush.

Just my thoughts on 8 minutes of video. Some of it was hard to see on my lousy monitor here. I hope some of it is helpful.


halfpassgirl said...

Thanks for the feedback! I agree that I need to shorten the reins, but it has been easier said than done with Willow. When I go shorter than I have her here, she holds a lot of tension in the throatlatch and poll.

I asked the assistant trainer at my barn for some advice on breaking up the tension, and she gave me some ideas that seem to be working. I hope in my next video that you'll see a difference!