Here is a situation which shows me how mind-opening this blog can be. I threw out an explanation of a strength/collection problem I have with Pete and everybody felt comfortable donating their thoughts. One of the biggest things I've learned since starting this blog is to open myself to the thoughts of other horsaii, even if it's a completely foreign idea to me.
My thinking process is better, my understanding of my horses is deeper and I am pretty sure I'm a better trainer now than when I first came here to the cyber-world.
I picked out the comments that seemed to hit the closest to home or gave me a good thought. How many places are there where you can get input from varying disciplines from all over the world?
Bif said-or just riding longer and longer oblongs, so he doesn't quite get to the point he needs correction.
I love this one. It's a perfect set up, especially if I make sure Pete's shoulders are upright through the turns. Travelling straight and strong will become Pete's reward.
Anon said-I'm just thinking is it possible to work out the distance/no of strides he can handle and then turn into the 1/2 circle maybe 2 strides before and then work on lengthening the straight if he's not ready to go outdoors.
Anon makes a good point. I have to focus my mind back to those hind feet and feel when the problem is starting, not after we're already in trouble. I have been correcting him after he's already fallen apart. If I can catch him as it begins it will turn into me helping Pete through a rough spot, not a disciplinary action.
HOC said-You know the feeling you get when you are out running, and you get to a downward slope? Suddenly your feet start moving by themselves, and if it is a steep slope they just take off? I believe that is what's happening with a younger horse on a straight line.
It starts out with a small imbalance with too much weight on the forehand, and if they cannot rebalance themselves it only gets worse/faster.
Exactly! You described so well what's happening here. It's definitely a strength issue, but he is capable of staying in the bridle if I can help him stay balanced. When we were in the mountains I worked on the "tuck and gather" as we went down the trails. I know he can do it.
HOC has a great discussion going on her blog about what kind of trainer do we want and what kind of student we are (wish I'd thought of it). Definitely worth stopping by and checking it out.
Londoner said- I think that (usually) lessens with experience, and stops as soon as it begins. I'm talking about those moments when you're cantering along, maybe you're with a friend, and suddenly you get that icy feeling in your stomach. The horse isn't necessarily going faster, but something has changed that renders you feeling very powerless.
I've mulled this over, thought about the times when I've been utterly relaxed at a gallop, or utterly terrified at a trot. It seems to me a combination both of a trajectory of power from the hindquarters to the front, and a psychical change of mind.
There is nothing scarier than the feeling that your horse has mentally 'checked out'.
This is close to what I'm talking about. The difference is Pete is such a kindly horse I don't get scared when he starts to run. It's a rare situation where I can sit back and think about how I can help him while he's burling around the arena.
Karen V said-Our horses can get discombobulated when we ask for speed. Getting them out on a straightaway, or on a real race track, with a solid buddy horse to run with, helps so much! They figure out that they CAN run.
It takes a few weeks of breezing, but then they "get it". Makes all the difference in the world! Especially if all we've been working on is bend, flex, and collection.
Love those barrel racers! I have to be honest. In the past I have allowed myself to be a tad superior when I was around barrel racers. But here we are talking about the exact approach I think will help Pete. It also will help me keep my brave on.
BrownEyed Cowgirls said Mugs-I know exactly the feeling you are talking about. My current barrel horse had/has a tendency to discombobulate like Pete. The only difference is Moon gets to pulling with his front-end rather than scrambling. Irregardless he will dump on his front end badly if allowed.
To me, it sounds like Pete is falling out behind, but being as experienced as you are, I'm sure you would realize if that was the case and could easily fix it.
Personally, I think it would help Pete if you hit those back roads at a long-trot. It's no problem to break it up with some loping and some walking. But make it all about business. In your mind, you have to be thinking about going somewhere...which I know you know how to do.
BrownEyed Cowgirl- For me, falling out behind happens when the horse is over the bit, or refusing to get on the bit but still framed up in the neck and shoulders without coming up from behind (false collection). Then he starts to let his hind quarters leak out the back.
In Pete's situation he is driving from the back to begin with, then he comes through my hand and over the bit. So his nose is behind the vertical, his poll tips over his nose, and I've got nothing through my reins.
It almost feels like we're going to somersault. Then his back hollows and the hind end just floats away.
Pete was long trotting the whole year we spent in the mountains. He's strong and sure in his trot, OK in the lope and falling out when we speed things up. But you're right, it's where I started strengthening him, at the trot.
Candy's Girl said- Lots of transitions. You know that point JUST before you feel it all go to shit? Ask for a walk or trot. Re-organize then go back up to the canter. I found I was doing a lot more trotting and re-organizing at first, but now he can hold a canter for several laps in the arena without getting that bolty-doesn't-know-where-his-legs-are canter.
I like this too. I think it would really help him to transition up and down and then go to loping through the whole exercise. I'm combining this with the oblong idea.
So there you have it. I swear guys, we could be an attraction at Disney Land.