Riding Troubles – Free For All

A bunch of pictures where the horse looks Game On…

With stuff looking alright.  What’s fun with that, if it only lasts a few moments here and there..?

Today is Training Trouble Day!

Plenty of issues going on over here, wasn’t hard to pick some!  Come on, share your most pressing riding issues.  If anything, just to cheer me up.  🙂  I’ll go first!

She’s still very unsteady in the connection.

We’ll be going along nice, smooth, focused and together, and then tweeeeek!  She’ll shorten, stiffen, and wobble her neck.

twisted neck in dressage

Or, she can do a short, beautiful half 10 meter radius in canter, only to have major steering troubles on a 20.  Keeps you on your toes for sure.

dressage horse over bending to the stiff side
She’s still very wobbly. But in a stiff way. Like riding a frozen seal. Never rode one, but I imagine that’s what it would feel like.

Neck bulges out when going left, and does tweaky things at the poll when going right. 

Common for many horses to have the more difficult side on the right (which is a sign that they need to be able to stretch out the left side more.), but who’d think it would take this long to work through it.

Next, some new random spooking.

not leaning forward when spooking
More forward horse – more on the aids – more reactivity. At least in her case. So spooks happen some more.

Along with interesting naughtiness.

horse bucking from legs too far back

Spookiness by entire entrance of arena – didn’t happen the first month.  Ugly over-bending to the inside, sometimes the only way to get through there…

bending away from spookiy objects

Random piloting errors. 

This is coming on to the centerline…  Or more, “How not to come on to the centerline.”  I get sloppy in preparing, and then she’ll come off the outside rein.  This happens a lot when training on my own too much.

how not to steer onto center line


Lastly, here’s something I’d like to fix.  Tomorrow would be good…  Or at least half way fix, because you never really “solve” anything, just learn to ride it better.

Anyway.  Coming in through a corner, she feels fantastic, smooth, and light.

riding straight before a corner

Only to completely wobble away a second later!

horse over bending through corners

Here, friends, is where we are a bit stuck for now.  It’s simply too much for her.  Riding it more conservative, she’ll do just fine, but when she works a little more up, we tend to get all over the place because she’s not exactly through and I’m not doing the right thing for her there.

Very tricky and I’m not helping at all.  Few months ago, there wasn’t any problems with the corners, so I know I’m the one creating it.


Okido, that’s all for today.  Ending with Miss Lovely being lovely.

dressage horse stretching on circle
Let’s hear something about your troubles!! 🙂

43 thoughts on “Riding Troubles – Free For All

    1. I think this is a huge part of the process that many of us tend to miss out on. We get out to shows, and see all the pretty horses, moving so fluidly around, and it can feel a bit hopeless at home when things are going, ehrmmm, less than stellar.
      So, sharing some of the uglies here make it all so much more real 🙂


  1. the words I hear from my coach Lou Denizard most often are :”more bend, more bend more bend.” And heaven help me if what I produce is just more neck bend or more sitting on my inside seat bone or…..whatever. The trick it seems is I must learn to control the outside shoulder. Not more inside leg or more inside hand but more control of the outside shoulder. Will be working on that this coming week!!!

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      1. I also have not not onlynot “lose” that shoulder but I have to be able to place it ‘out’..His other exercise he has me doing is counter canter 15m circle in renvers. Oh…..not easy and that is where I really have to get the shoulder in the right place; to get it to the outside side instead of focusing on bringing the quarters to the outside for the renvers. AWK!

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    1. Would love to hear insights from the master on this!! 🙂
      Sometimes when I try to ride with control of the outside shoulder only, Valiosa will “stall” and shut down. So, obviously I figure out it’s too strong, but then we go back to crooked, and too much bend etc. etc. If there’s a magic visualization to use, I’m all ears!

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        1. OK, by the way. I think I’m finally done evaluating half pads. (In total, mixing it up with more than 6 of them, but won’t bore any one with details.)

          I’ll get a post up on it in the morning, since I promised 🙂 Nothing overly exciting, but definitely not what I thought…

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  2. Wobble hint: look at the photos where she’s wobbling, then look where your elbows are. Yeah, I know…it’s like a broken record (if anybody still plays records anymore). I just started riding again after 11 weeks, and guess where my elbows went.

    As for the unexpected spooking, that’s probably some inattention on your part. Most times just by watching the ears you can tell when the attention has drifted from the rider to some other extremely interesting (read: needlessly frightening) situation. If you can see it coming, you can get ahead of her and get her attention back on you, even if it’s nothing more than to urge her onward or away in the sense of “I hear you, let’s get out of here TOGETHER! I will SAVE you, you silly creature!”

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    1. So glad you’re back in the saddle – hoping the shoulder is doing OK!
      Yep, the elbows have become a large problem for me. Trying to remember if they always were. Or if it’s gotten worse…

      Today I was so happy at first because she was crazy forward, without being completely spooky. Until I figured out that she was actually ONLY crazy. In heat, and with so many strange feels inside that had to be expressed it felt like riding a waterfilled balloon.
      Once that was over (40 minutes) we went back to spookey. Then lovely last 5 minutes so that I could say we were done.
      Love mares!


      1. First time back on Charm (last Wednesday) I fell off. Or more accurately I should say the saddle fell off to the left and I parted ways with it. In all my years of riding I’ve never had a saddle slip before. I would love to say that she was sucking in a lot of air when I girthed her but I think more likely I just didn’t remember how tight it needed to be. I had even double checked it before I got on. She was,however, doing a lot of coughing and farting at the beginning of the ride. Anyhow, it’s my right shoulder that had surgery and I fortunately landed on my left bun. A very soft landing in recently replaced footing. So all is good. 🎠

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        1. So she went on an air-loss diet!!!
          Geeez, falling off! It’s been a while since I truly came off. Might just scare the pants off me by now… Good for you that you came away just fine! Hope the shoulder keeps improving, and that this won’t be a setback in any way.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. We’re doing fine. At the time, we were just trotting around in a tight circle, which I guess threw my weight to the outside. It’s not like my balance was the greatest on the first ride! So anyway, as she felt the weight going off the side she slowed down, and it was just sort of a slo-mo slide off to a soft landing.

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  3. Love it and love that you wrote it all, we all feel like everyone else is perfect at times, so it’s refreshing to hear when someone is having the same issues as a novice rider like myself. so firstly, thank you x

    I sometimes can’t get Moo through, that is because he is not in front of my leg. If i don’t have him in front of my leg then he just is off the contact, not bending and just being a lazy pon pon really. Making me work twice as hard, when the solution is just to get him forward. I guess i’m just trying to work on the basics, using my inside leg to outside rein. The good news is i never rode with my inside rein and i have the gift of having too little contact rather than too much, so from there at least i can work on it. I guess in my mind, even though i don’t have him on the bit, atleast i don’t have him in a Rolkur situation so i try to work on the positives.

    ah but i hear you!! Moo does a perfect 15m circle, like pegasus stuff that feels like we could pirouette easy. Next minute the corner before a medium trot seems all too much and i’m like what?????

    Love him though. and love riding. Love this post

    Mel x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes to this!
      We all do this, right!!? Thinking that others don’t have all these “problems” and that we’re the only ones who can’t even go straight across a diagonal 😉
      That’s what makes it so rewarding to write some posts like these – just hearing from others who have some of the same amounts of trouble. Maybe not the same issues, but troubles never the less.
      My only advice is to really focus on the good, pegasus stuff. Reward it! Pat yourself on the back for it, and focus on more, of just that. Ignoring the other parts, and it will shrink. 🙂

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        1. Makes it more fun for sure!
          Every time I think I simply just don’t have any extra time for blogging – it’s just as inspiring to see that so many others have the same challenges when I take a peek in here!

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  4. Nothing like a young horse to keep you on your toes!!

    Our biggest problem at the moment is… uhhh.. steering…

    We can turn eventually it just takes a bit more work due to the whole “only ever ran in a straight line” situation he was bred for.

    Luckily he is very honest about it, it is just a whole new ball game for him to understand and be able to do balanced. He tries but sometimes it feels like trying to turn a Mac Truck – especially when we go for a big canter he is quite happy to bowl along but piloting can become increasingly difficult.

    Little bites of the apple though 😉

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    1. Yeah. The steering. It can be painful haha. Some of that same stuff over here…

      Sometimes we’re almost on the opposite of the scale. If I really sit in to her in the saddle, the correct way, she’ll compact her legs, back and entire canter gait, until we’re only going short, short up and down. Not always that useful… 😦 Turning from there is really fun for her, she’ll do a great turn, but then loos ALL momentum, because, surprise, that’s really HARD work for the hind legs. And then we come to a stop. And she gets irritated about going again because she needs a breather of course.

      Problems on opposite spectrum, but challenging for both of us!

      I’d say checking out quarter turns in canter for you, if he can let you control him enough for that in that big canter.
      In the meantime, we’ll be going only up and down over here, ghaaaaa!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely something to work on in the future, at this point our dressage lessons are mostly focusing on the walk and trot as he has only been under saddle for about a month now 🙂

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  5. It’s so refreshing to see a realistic post, we’re all just human after all! My biggest struggle I’m having with my mare is fairly continuous; she’ll occasionally go into freight train mode and try to yank me out of the saddle, and then she goes back to behaving, as if nothing had happened. She is getting more consistent in the contact though, so maybe there’s hope after all!

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    1. Had that one for a long time. Would yank the reins out of my hands, nearly pulling me up her neck. We worked for a long time, at a walk, just lengthening and shortening over and over and over until she figured out that the reins were going to be doing things and that the contact was going to stay the same no matter what length they were. About two years later she finally gave it up LOL!

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      1. Hunkering down for the next two years over here… Maybe not even half as bad, she doesn’t yank me out hard, but the intention is there, and I tend to let her have it at the walk. A habit I need to stop!


        1. We just practiced lengthening and shortening as is done for the free walk, over and over as we were warming up for each ride at the walk. As some mistakenly believe, “free” does not mean no contact or throwing the reins away. I fed them out to her inch by inch, never losing my grip so she couldn’t rip. I think she finally got tired of hitting the bit and also realized she was going to get the long rein if she just waited for it. Give and take…when I gathered up the reins I again did it inch by inch and again she eventually cooperated when she realized no one was whipping her head up.

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          1. This is the ideal way that I would love to install. Very tricky over here. She gets very short in the neck and short short short everywhere. And usually stopping also 🙂

            Definitely a long-term project for us.

            Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi! Thank you for commenting and welcome to the blog! Glad to have you!
      Riding a really strong, almost bullying, horse is so challenging. It’s like we have to be a step ahead of them, half halting before they even can finish their thought of taking off. Easier said than done, when we’re up there, busy trying to control our selves and figure out where we’re going 🙂
      Seat bones plugged in firmly to the saddle is key of course. But mine constantly fly off…. 🙂

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  6. You’re doing great. Remember that when there is resistance from the horse or they try to find evasions, it’s because you’re doing something right; Doing it right is harder. Keep asking. Reward the try. Don’t get suckered into doing to wrong or giving them an easy out just because there’s less resistance from your horse. As she strengthens she will be able to do it all with lightness. Until then things will feel a little heavier or a little stilted and that’s OK. Two steps of perfect balance and thoroughness before it all goes to shit? GREAT! Reward. It’ll be four steps next time, and she will understand what the goal is.

    I just had a master class in this mentality at a clinic I rode in this past weekend and it helped me so much. The other golden nugget from that clinic was to reward by going forward. Nice straight leg-yield without too much neck bend? Go forward! Refresh that trot through the short side, and then get back to your lateral work. Correctly balanced lateral work slows them down, so it’s really important to go forward again afterwards, in whatever gait you’re working in. Walk breaks are for when you are changing the subject, or if you’ve taken your horse’s muscles to failure and they just can’t give you one more rep, so to speak–which happens, and it’s OK.

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    1. Love this!
      Thank you!!!!

      I have been very challenged in believing that I actually am asking her correctly. It is very easy to think that is simply too hard for her or that the rider is not doing it right.
      And then we back off instead. And in my case, yep there will be a walk break.
      In our last ride I insisted that yes it is possible for you to walk on the bit. And also to at least occasionally do a nice transition to trot from walk. On the bit… she can get very upset about that…
      But then she did give me some absolutely fantastic feeling Trot work. We ended it there and I really hope we can continue along this line!!


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