Saturday, November 28, 2015


I got pictures from one of the organizers of the High Country Working Equitation Club. They were pictures of the Ease of Handling and Speed Round, which I didn't have before. They are enlightening.

 Can anyone tell me how to teach him to stand square?
Do you teach it from the ground? I got docked on his stance every time he stopped.

 He stood quietly and without moving. I would have had a better score if he had stood square, and if his chin was tipped down just a bit. (Scored 6)

 I think he looks fantastic here. 
(I wish I looked better.)

 Geometry. Need to work on geometry.

 I like the bend and his reaching with the inside hind leg.
I wish I thought he was doing this naturally, instead of his leg collapsing from his injury.

 He looks pretty good again, but needs more inside bend.
(Scored 6)

 We both look pretty good here.
He's tracking up nicely.

Any time we get to something that requires backing, his head goes up in the air.
That is his look of concentration.
(Scored 6 - Needed to halt on approach to gate.)

 And we need to work on him picking up his feet when he backs, instead of dragging them.

 He's so good at the gate. He knows the moves without me even touching the reins, but he struggles to do it with any relaxation. He looks so braced here, even when he knows how to do the obstacle.

 He is able to relax once we are through it.

Ashke looks very relaxed here. Not worried about the garroucha.

 Picked up the ring.
(Scored 6 - loss of straightness after picking up the ring. Note the ear.)

 Dropping off the garroucha

 The two barrel obstacle.
(Score 5 - no bend or engagement)

 Not as relaxed as he could have been.

 We transitioned to a walk too soon.

 Halt not square.

 Score of 5 for the obstacle.

 No notes on his backing, so that must have been okay.

 Halted crooked, but square.

 Immobile. (Scored 7)

Moving between obstacles is just as important as doing them.

Geometry. Bend. Too darn close to the pole. Turns are not symmetrical left to right.
(Scored 7)

 Approaching the bridge.

I thought he did the bridge very well, considering the decorations.
(Score 7 - loss of rhythm over the bridge)

 Livestock pen. First time ever doing this.
He was very hesitant going through (noted as loss of rhythm) and we made our turn on the forehand way too close to the pen. We should have moved out a couple more feet and not rushed it.

 He did okay with this obstacle considering he had never done one before. And the decorations were very terrifying. (Score 5)

 We do not jump well to begin with. We had not jumped anything like this in two years.
I had schooled him briefly over two straw bales in the warm up pen, but he was still very suspicious.
We hit the pole. (Score 5)

 We stopped before the end of the corridor (should halt with my leg even with the final pole).
He knew we were going to back up and instead of standing still he fidgeted.
(Score 5)

 His reinback was better.

 He was counter bent on the sidepass. He will score more points if he can sidepass with the bend in the direction we are going. 

 And if he could do it without sticking out his chin.

He did better moving in the other direction. 
(Score 6)

We scored a 57.778 on the Ease of Handling, which was almost exactly our score on our dressage test. Those two tests put us at the very bottom of the scoring at the end of those two phases. We kicked ass in the speed round and ended up fourth. All I need to do is bring the first two phases up ten points and I could place in the ribbons. We can improve our transitions, our halts and our rhythm to bring the scores. And continue to work with Ashke to get him to relax through the obstacles he is familiar with.


  1. It looks pretty good Karen.. you guys have come a long way. The trick is not more obstacles as much as more correct flat or dressage work. That will make the obstacles go better all around. I personally don't practice the obstacles much.. Maybe two or so incorporated in my dressage work once a week if that much..And then they are props to make my circles ,halts and transitions better..I know how busy you are but any time you want help just call..

  2. My advice on getting him to stand square is practice, practice, everytime you halt ask him to square. I would start on the ground so he understands what you are asking. I would use a voice cue "Square" and when we teach the TR horses to square we put ur hand on the clip of the lead rope so we can give a very subtle cue for a small movement. I would also ask him to take a step back with each halt. This will set him up for the idea of rebalancing himself when he halts, and I think help with the anticipation and resistance to backing. Release the minute he shifts weight and softens. Your position looks pretty good, though there are always things we can tweak with the help of a good instructor. In some of the photos it looks like your pelvis is tipped slightly forward rather than being in a neutral position (this might just be an artifact of the photos) and that your elbows are sometimes stiff. Those are both things I struggle with, the pelvis from all my hunt seat training and the elbows just from personality--I guess.

  3. No help from me, but I think you two look very good.

  4. Gosh, this phase looks really difficult! It's a trail course plus a dressage test wrapped in one... yeesh! I thought you guys looks great and it sounds like you have a good idea of what to work on for next time.

  5. This looks like a freaking blast. And y'all look like pros. Very, very cool.

  6. To elaborate on the standing square comment above. It is broken down into steps. Starting with one foot in the right place at a time and as already mentioned starting from the ground. with a voice cue. ( I use "stand up" ) When one foot is in the right place or two feet in the right place then stop as the reward ,and go from there