The Art of Natural Dressage

Working with the Horse's Initiative
It is currently Sat Dec 14, 2019 6:38 am

All times are UTC+01:00




Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 66 posts ]  Go to page Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:34 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:15 pm
Posts: 584
Location: Georgia (USA)
Thanks guys. :D Maybe I was alittle over-paranoid. It is after all my first video ever posted.

His walk feels huge at times. It's a bigger movement than any horse I have ever ridden - even the 16 and 17 hand thoroughbreds I rode as a kid! It's good to feel him walking like that right now, gives me hope that atleast his body is cooperating part of the time.

I have not played with the trot as much as I could have lately. Maybe going back to shorter distances would create a more relaxed transition, but I guess that partly depends on the problem of why he's tensing in the first place. I don't know how much any residual back pain, heel pain etc play into this. For me - I know I anticipate a rough transition often and tense. :blush: But if I sit like a sack of potatoes - it's great but then I bounce a bit and he stiffens even more. I'll have to play around and see if we can find the in-between... It has struck me as odd how he can be SO loose and happy and free one minute and at the slightest hint of trot he's stiff as a board. :sad: Although I wonder also if he suffers from some left over anticipation of pain that isn't there anymore (getting banged in the mouth for taking off etc.).

I wish I could just totally relax, but then I relax everything and I'd just about fall or bounce off. I can't seem to find the middle! Grrr. :rambo: I know my ankles are VERY stiff and defensive and I have questioned if that's part of my problem for a long time. One was sprained 12 years ago and has never been the same since. I tend to stiffen it to protect it when his gait gets rough.

As for the reins: I was inspired by Sue's seat videos to let him out on a completely dropped rein as I worked on my seat. And I still really want to do that! Once they put the gate back up :sad: I don't like how the reins flop sometimes, but at the same time if they are shorter with a light contact on his nose my muscle memory takes over and I want to 'grab" at his head and influence it. I had to remove everything familiar to me about reins - to keep me from grabbing him in the face. It works 90% of the time right now. They are thin beta (biothane) reins and they're very light. I actually thought they would be too light - but now I LOVE them! :yes:

But don't worry! Every perspective helps and I have learned a TON from the people here who have ridden western. :yes:

_________________
Diego's Journal
There's no more looking back - no more grey skies black.


Top
   
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:09 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
I can't begin to express in writing how tickled and pleased I am to read about your saddle fitting and learning to ride treeless adventure.

I broke out laughing at your description of the problems of "relaxing."

I will be the first to admit that as a teacher I've used the word "relax," when what I really meant was, "release the tension and stiffness," in this or that body part. I mean of course, that the student maintain the required muscular tension to keep from collapsing and continue to maintain certainly alignment with the horse, and gravity.

I think how often when we teach we fail to hear outselves as the student hears us, and think that what we just said conveys what we actually want.

I recall an elderly riding instructor with too many years of teaching in this way that would snap at her little students, up there on their great big horses, and yell the same word over and over again that ordered them to do something they could not possibly do, nor could I or anyone else. They poor things often would have tears in their eyes from trying and failing.

The sack of potatoes reference reminded me that I do it myself and teach my students to do it for certain things - mostly downward transitions, or to encourage the horse to relax if they exhibit tension and anxiety.

Remember, Diego is, if going a bit rough and with occasional bobbles, learning to carry you in a rather different new way. Almost like being green and learning how to adjust to a human on his back as a new thing.

He looks fantastic in the vids, just as you do by the way, though of course I can't make out your hips. Yes, I think a time or two you might have been forward of the vertical, but not to the point it unbalanced him, only possibly miscued him a moment but he figured it out and soldiered on nicely. You and he have such rapport.

As he and you learn this saddle, and you return to a quiet seat under control of your inner core, I am sure you are going to have a great surprise - he is going to extend and collect in ways you may never have felt before.

It's most exciting when it happens. The thrill is huge.

Be sure and keep the spine flexible and let your pelvis rock forward and backward and side to side. It's kind of a circular feeling, as though your are rolling each hip forward individually one following the other. I sometimes, when I get it right recall walking in the ocean shallows about hip deep and having to push forward with my hips to progress. They had to roll just like this.

But when you do it LOL, relax.

Not to the point of melting down off the horse, of course.

Walk and canter are the gaits for it, while sometimes even the trot can be a part of it. The medium trot. Extended and collected, for me at any rate, both ask me to rock back just a shade, and let, if the horse's movement calls for it, my spine to flex so that my hips move forward just slightly ahead with each diagonal thrust of the horse's legs.

Truly demanded in the big big trot with long strides and forehand reaching of leg and shoulder. Of course it can smooth out so, when the horses condition and conformation can finally handle those big extended movements. You can tell they are when the can do extended trot and you have an uphill feel as though a great deal of the horse is in front of your leg. It is not a gait on the forehand, as some would have us believe.

The horse has to be as close to perfect balanced for and aft centered weight distribution. Very much a whole body experience.

I haven't ridden a horse capable of it for many years, but look forward to it again one day. I suspect Altea may be able to do it. Your Diego, with that lovely shoulder, and powerful croup can, for sure.

I have to wonder if he really has any residual back or heel problems. He seems relaxed and relatively supple in the vids. I can't help but assign that to you and he learning this new saddle, and once he gets it ......woooooeeeee..... are you both in for some fun.

What a sweetie Diego is. Such concentration and focus.

And you, well YOU are doing, I think, much better than you might think. I present to my eye what I think of as a combination of natural ability combined with expertise from study, practice, and focus. You have a handle too on "intent," which I admire. I'm often catching myself in my attention deficit disorder mode, and have practically grab myself by the scruff of the neck and drag me back to focus and paying attention.

Hopefully you'll give us more videos over time so we can mark progress with you.

Yummie stuff.

Don, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

_________________
Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


Top
   
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:29 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:15 pm
Posts: 584
Location: Georgia (USA)
:D
I want to compile some of this discussion about Diego's movement to my diary so I can think and mull over it... Forgot to mention to Birgit - Diego is 21 currently. And our previous training was in dressage and eventing.


Rode for about 15 minutes lastnight. I can tell in someways I'm settling in to the saddle. But there are a few things I wanted to discuss.

Falling forward -
I still notice I'm occasionally slipping or wanting to fall forward in the saddle. I will be walking fast or trotting and suddenly notice I can't close my legs around Diego - I look down and my legs have completely hopped over the knee rolls! :ieks: And lie on top of them. Not comfortable!
This isn't due to the cantle... I took the rigid piece of it out so it is lower and soft, and I moved it back to create a larger seat. Kind of frustrating. I do think when their product comes back out I may purchase another seat cover so I have 2 - 1 with knee rolls and 1 without.

Panel Observations/Questions -
- I took the Ghost pad off lastnight and girthed the saddle on over a contoured cotton saddle cloth. I saw immediately that with the panels now wider across it lies directly on the front part of his withers. maybe when his back fills out we'll be able to ride with less padding but it made me realize quickly that I needed to put the Ghost pad back on.

- I'm still not sure I've got the panels where they need to be. Maybe I should take more pictures of JUST the saddle on his back in relation to his spine. I did widen them but the edges of the panels still touch his spine in some areas. Does that mean it's still too narrow?

- For the people who haven't seen this saddle in person - the panels are substantial but not *tall* so currently if I move them outwards away from his spine they will fail to lift it off his spine as a treed saddle would.

Which brings me to...

- Josepha - you said add padding to the Ghost pad (very cool design BTW). Since I've never done anything like this before, what kind of padding would be best? Can I buy foam at a craft store? Or are there ready made inserts for sale somewhere?

I think this might be the key - widening the panels more and stuffing padding directly under the pad area that carries my weight.


And back to riding for a moment. I have the stirrups positioned in the last slot, further back. When walking this feels good and right. Someone, I think Sue asked me if I could stand up in the stirrups though and balance without feeling tipped forward or backward. The truth is I'm not sure I've felt that way in any saddle for many years! So I cannot figure out if I've got an adjustment wrong or if something is just wrong with my body. Sometimes in these stirrups I feel tipped backward, sometimes, I tip forward and fall on his withers instead. It's a toss up. I DO notice though that anytime I add weight to my heels for the trot - my whole leg slides forward. Part of my problem I think!

_________________
Diego's Journal
There's no more looking back - no more grey skies black.


Top
   
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:34 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
Posts: 760
Wow, this is all tying in with so many questions I have about treeless vs. treed saddles, padding, the way stirrups are hung, leg position. I'm afraid I sure I won't confuse the issues even more. :funny:
I'll start with something that might be helpful, the padding issue. I made a pad from wool felt that I have used in several situations when I needed to create more spine clearance. You could easily make something like it yourself.
Here's a picture:
Image

I made this two years ago and now would probably move the the second layer of felt further to the ouside to create a wider channel but you get the idea. I used a 3/8 inch wool underpad to make this although I bet you could just buy the fool felt by the yard on the internet.
The good thing with treeless saddles is that you don't have to worry about making them too narrow by adding padding.
I'm curious to know, though, how much the stability of the saddle is compromised by adding more padding. Maybe a very non-slip pad like a Skito would be better?
This also raises the question if a treeless (softer) saddle needs as much spine clearance as a treed saddle. Maybe soft contact is ok?

I was talking about Donald the other day about dropping weight in my heels and how it tends to bring my legs forward. For me the answer was to not have my heels lower than my forefoot but Donald was describing the difference between dropping your heels and raising your toes (contracting the muscles in the front of your calf) with the second one not leading to your feet coming forward (hope I got this right :huh: )

Colinde, is some of this transition to the treeless harder for you because your dressage saddle had blocks that kept your leg in place? Maybe it's just a matter of conditioning your muscles to do that. :)

Hope you don't mind my experimenting with my half-knowledge here, I love thinking these kinds of things through. :D :f:

Birgit


Top
   
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:57 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
May I suggest, with the posting and two point, that in addition to dropping your heels you develop the habit of pronating the ankle.

Certain questions arrise when I suggest this, one of the most important the issue of relaxation. I think I addressed this earlier when I mentioned you pointing out the feeling you were relaxing right off the horse at times. Trust yourself.

One can not more ride a horse in complete relaxation than they can walk down the street doing so. The issue is tension, and relaxing and tensing parts of the body are just part of adjusting to movement and even simply maintaining and upright body.

There is no question that pronating the ankle and dropping the heel creates some tension in the lower leg, but just as some areas of tension allow other area to relax tension so does this.

So what is the use of it? I creates a locked triangle of stirrup treat, stirrup leather, lower leg. The small amount of movement needed to cue or adjust to very large movements of the horse can't cancel out this secure platform.

Like many new skills this can be uncomfortable while becoming conditioned to it. Your calf and achilles will have to relax and stretch, and that's likely to create tension for a time until the limits of stretch are reached. Then you can relax the calf.

The other area of the leg that will always be slightly tensed, in a good way, is the muscle that runs down the front of your shin, the tibialis anterior. It's the same one that is tensed when you drop your weight into your heel and lift your boot toe.

Image

Image

This muscle is the one, if underdeveloped, most involved in shin splints if I understand my human anatomy correctly. Mine is overdeveloped, even after 40 years of not riding in eventing and stadium jumping. A weak underdeveloped undersized tibialis anterior has a great deal to do with coming off the horse when you wish not to.

One modest sized muscle in the lower leg is the focal point for a good secure seat that is a comfort to the rider and to the horse.

At a certain level of development through use and conditioning it will stop being highly tense have the feel of just sustaining tension ... that is a feeling of preparatory flex for the coming movement, in walking, running, etc. On the saddle it remains quiet but helps maintain the angular lines that create the locking force for the lower leg to the knee.

But the pronated ankle -- isn't that a bad thing? Absolutely if you are on the ground running, walking, turning, etc. On horseback however it adds that one other angle of tension to create the sturdy and steady platform to post, to jump and land, to absorbe the impact of hard galloping.

You are creating a tiny three sided triangle down at the ankle joint, from the stirrup to the joint. So often we struggle with large muscle or large muscle groups to develop a better seat when this tiny little foundation is still not attended to. When it is watch your core strength suddenly come into play and your center stabilize. Want to rock your pelvis with the horse. Stabilize you leg from the knee down. Want to take the big jumps? Pay attention to developing this knee down configuration.

Why does it work this way?

If you are standing on the ground and roll your ankles outward, like a kid on iceskates for the first time, you risk sprain - and you can feel this easily. Don't push it of course if you do actually try it.

On the other hand, if your roll your ankles inward, the same kid, after fighting to get upright on iceskates will then drop the ankles inward, at a certainly point, due to the bone structure of the ankle, and bringing into play extremely strong tendons, so that the risk of strain is near zero. You can feel this easily by doing it.

It's not comfortable at first if you are not conditioned for it. The way my students practice it in the school is to respond to my voice request, "show me the bottoms of your boot-sole."

A nice effect, two in fact, then happens when this configuration is done. The knee tends to turn into the saddle, and the heel accepts more weight flexing more deeply.

The overall effect is to create a kind of iron triangle. Nothing much can move any further, so you can absorb shock in the bit of springiness that is left, which also allows you to have less loss of stability in sudden unexpected moves, meaning you will greatly increase you chance of quick recovery, or not even need to as you move with the horse without displacement of your center.

An unpronated ankle allows for a floppy leg that destabilizes under impact or pressure. Long before it can bring shock absorbing elements into play the opportunity is lost from too much range of movement.

Evidence?

Read the comments and watch the rides, or even study the stills of the great Olympic and international stadium jumpers.

It is considered by the best a personal failure, a riding and seat fault, if they ankles lose pronation during jumping. In fact you'll see that as they take their round during it's entirety they are riding with this leg and ankle position.

It is smooth, safe, powerful, and the horse loves it. It does so because the riders center moves far less over the horse's center. Must of the control of rider balance is felt by the horse as being directly over the fastening of the stirrup to the bar. Just, as I read your comment, you seem to be seeking as you fit and work on your saddle.

You may have learned this long ago. It's taught by many, and originated with first Caprilli the Italian captain responsible for the evolution from the backward seat (leaning back to take rough country and jumps), to the "forward," or huntseat. Vladimir Littauer authored some books that expanded on it more. Some riding groups, such as college teams in hunt country (Sweetbriar in Virginia I think it is) being one of them studied and learned from a contemporary and colleague of Littauer, and really perfected it.

I learned it from an employee of mine, a Sweetbriar grad, I hired to teach riding where huntseat had never been used before. The change in riding, the increase of safety for riders, the extent to which a horse could go increased immensely. I, her boss, mentored under her direction and instruction.

My own riding changed dramatically and later I went on to compete. I have never come off a horse at or over a jump. And the fews time's I've come off in other situations I was not fully in the saddle with this leg configuration. My last fall, in fact, I was half way up on Altea, and Bonnie in exuberant play was sure we wanted to all bump each other, and knocked me down. Had I been aboard I doubt she could have gotten me off even at my age.

The first horse I took on training, after 40 years of never having ridden, was a bolting shying funny but dangerous Morgan gelding. He did bolt a couple of times. I did not come off. He was used to people falling off him and not getting back on.

To end, it's only fair that I point out the conditioning necessary for this leg configuration as part of the seat. It's not easy but for most people it comes on pretty fast. With you, considering you have a problem ankle it not only may take longer but your doctor may advise against it. I don't have a solution for the latter possibility. I don't know the nature of your injury and could not comment.

You need to both stretch the calf and achilles, and tense the tibialis anterior. To do this stand with either a two by four under the balls of your feet, preferably with your riding boots on, our feet about a foot apart, more or less depending on your leg length. Drop into a soft easy limited two point stance and relax your weight into your heels, then pronate your ankles.

Do not do any stretching exercise to the point it hurts. Do not do this one until it hurts. Muscle soreness from exercise is okay but still don't overdo. At first holding for fifteen seconds will seem a long time. Keep building, very gradually, you ability to do this. I say, given the apparent area of your riding arena that when you can do a full circuit in two point in this position you'll have it down.

If you've already learned this before feel free to laugh at me for being such a pedant.

You will reduce your falling forward, and you will feel more stable, and it will allow you to post very low to the saddle, a more desirable way to post and the horse Diego will love you for it. High posting makes horses tense and crasy much of the time.

As to your saddle being part of the problem?

Likely you need to find a way to tip the seat portion of the saddle backward to level. Riding a dead level seat as part of a saddle is a learned skill. Without a front and rear rise to cup you into place it feels pretty insecure at first. It is like riding bareback, but that is the effect I think most are looking for with treeless. Time in the saddle is going to make a huge difference too.

That will require you to trust your body and forget too much direction and instruction (EVEN MINE) ... and just enjoy.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

_________________
Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


Top
   
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:11 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:15 pm
Posts: 584
Location: Georgia (USA)
Birgit wrote:
I made a pad from wool felt that I have used in several situations when I needed to create more spine clearance. You could easily make something like it yourself.

Wow! That pad is too cool! I just did a search for industrial felt online and after about 10 minutes found a seller on Ebay who has 36"x36" sheets... hmmmmmmmm. Felt would be perfect cuz it's not as difficult to cut and rigid as plastic materials, but it's not as wimpy as craft foam. I could just cut shaped panels and slide them into the pad pockets. Cool! 8)


Quote:
I'm curious to know, though, how much the stability of the saddle is compromised by adding more padding. Maybe a very non-slip pad like a Skito would be better?

I'm curious about this as well. D's spine holds things on pretty well right now - but this is what I dislike about padding - the more there is, the more disconnected I feel from him. I might as well be perched on a camel. As for the slipage - here is a picture of the Ghost pad. The underside is made of a semi neoprene/rubbery material like the top green you see...
Image

I thought it would stick like glue but Diego quickly got a dusty layer of dirt on the pad and it doesn't stick much more than any other pad. I think it's shaped spine seam is it's saving grace. ;) If he were sweaty it would be different but with a dry, dirty/dusty coat nothing sticks.



Quote:
This also raises the question if a treeless (softer) saddle needs as much spine clearance as a treed saddle. Maybe soft contact is ok?

I have also been pondering this... because in some ways it is like one big pad with some shape. I think the key is when weight is put in the stirrups. But I'm going to keep playing with this. I know for a fact that it's laying on his spine a bit right now and he hasn't bucked, kicked or pinned his ears about it, or pinned his ears about being mounted or girthed. But then again those equivalate to him screaming... he's often fairly tolerant and stoic about bearing discomfort.



Quote:
Donald was describing the difference between dropping your heels and raising your toes (contracting the muscles in the front of your calf) with the second one not leading to your feet coming forward (hope I got this right :huh: )

Huh... I had NEVER heard this. Of course it was always "Put weight in your heels! Get those heels down!" in classes. ;) When my ankles got stiffer that became harder and harder. I will have to see how the "lifting" works!

Quote:
Colinde, is some of this transition to the treeless harder for you because your dressage saddle had blocks that kept your leg in place? Maybe it's just a matter of conditioning your muscles to do that. :)

It is possible. Back when I rode everday and was at the top of my game I rode mostly in a minimalistic "close contact" huntseat style saddle. Low cantle, short flaps, very minimal knee rolls and fairly short stirrups. I'm convinced I was aided by the lack of things to brace against. There is a picture of my dressage saddle on the very first page on my diary, and yeah... it did have LARGE knee rolls. I probably learned to pinch with my knee & swing my lower leg back into place when my leg would travel forward. :blush:

Quote:
Hope you don't mind my experimenting with my half-knowledge here, I love thinking these kinds of things through. :D :f:

Birgit

Oh it's great to have the ideas thrown around! When I first got the saddle and was sitting there adjusting it I felt like "Oh this is going to be great. It's be easy to fit him - I've read up about all this. And then we'll just settle into getting used to it!" After 2 days of worry and frustration realizing I was in over my head I realized I needed to get advice and opinions. LOTS...lol... if IS Diego's back we're talking about after all!

_________________
Diego's Journal
There's no more looking back - no more grey skies black.


Top
   
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:31 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:15 pm
Posts: 584
Location: Georgia (USA)
Gah! We posted at the same time Donald. =p

I've read you guys description of the 'ankle lock' in the Centered Riding thread a while back. Interesting, and makes alot of sense. I am sure I did this automatically back when I jumped regularly.

Thing is... even just reading this makes my right ankle hurt. :sad: See, the inside of my right ankle, at the bone and below the bone still hurt me with frequent standing or use. It aches inside and I don't know why. The sprain happened 12 years ago, in socks on the kitchen floor. Foot turned in and I landed on it and came crashing down. I'm assuming the tendons on the outside were torn or sprained. I was inbetween pediatric and regular doctors at that time so we didn't get good info at ALL from the place that did the X rays. :sad: They just said rest, ice and elevation which we already knew. I never did any stretching or flexibility training with it - wasn't taught how. I can tell it's healed alot tighter than it should have and even though it *feels* tough my body reacts very gingerly still, afraid of pain.

I have determined most of what I know (about my ankle & lower leg) by the threads & info in which YOU GUYS discuss this stuff 8) so that should tell you how new this info is to me about my ankle. In october armed with this knowledge I discovered what feels like a syst on the back of my right achillies and have had more aching pain inside the joint. :sad: Big bummer. Combine that with me riding in hiking boots for the added ankle flexibility (and they fit better than my boots) and I practiced the 'lock' in my 2 point back when D and I were trotting on the road. Apparently the bobbing and shock absorption the achillies has to take in that locked position is too much - I had major aches and some swelling the next day. I've been struggling with swelling and pain ever since. Can't exactly just up and go to the doctor either so I've been trying to treat it myself.

I think if I had kept up a calf/ankle excercise routine and stretching that I'd been doing last year this would not have happened, but I slacked off on my excercise this year and still continued to do demanding things - hiking steep grades, running with my horse and riding jarring gates in 2-point alot.

While the lock may be my best option - the added pain of stressing the inside of my ankle by pressing it inwards is sometimes quite painful. Not sure what to do about it for the moment.... Although I think I may very well benefit from strengthening the muscles on the front of my shins!

_________________
Diego's Journal
There's no more looking back - no more grey skies black.


Top
   
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:12 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
Oh Colinde,

Please do all you can to get to a doctor (podiatrists work as high as the ankle) and get that Dx'd and Tx'd.

I am here to tell you that at 75 I now pay dearly for having done the "tough it out" most of my life. I have a great deal of pain walking. I'll probably have to have surgery at some point. I hurt my feet considerably as a youngster by participating in rigorous athletics with poor support for my feet, and poor coaching that didn't have me exercising and performing properly.

I took a broken leg from a horse kick and and had to let a gynocologist cast it (there was no other doctor at the remote area I lived in at the time and he was passing through on rounds of the islands). A bone specialist didn't see me for weeks and complained that I should never have been put into a cast and that such breaks heal better under a simple ace bandage wrap, and staying off it for 6 weeks. He warned me that I'd probably have problems my whole life from it.

An hour of driving, for instance, and my hip locks up and I have shooting pains and a miserable neauseating ache deep in the joint. Weather changes start a nagging pain. I should have seen doctors for possible corrective surgery back in the year I took the hit from the horse.

Same with my hands. I've mistreated them most of my life. Now the arthritis is setting in. I should have cared better for them, but toughed out injuries instead. Now I'm paying.

Get that ankle attended to. Your description scares me.

Do NOT do the conditioning I suggested for building the ankle for pronation and toes up.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

_________________
Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


Top
   
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:21 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
Posts: 760
Colinde,
so sorry to hear you are having so much trouble with your ankle. I have to agree with Donald, don't go through the pain at all, even if it means having to ride without stirrups altogether. Get at least some new pics of it and talk to a podiatrist and physical therapist. You will find that your body is otherwise forced to compensate with different muscles which will lead to problems further up the leg, just the same as with horses. You deserve better, please take care of yourself, you are doing it for your horse! :kiss: :f:

Birgit


Top
   
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:26 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
Posts: 760
I thought of another pad that would solve any slipping problems, but this one's quite pricey, it's called Dixie Midnight. Some of my long-distance trail riding friends swear by it both for the horse's comfort, non-slip and easy to clean features.
Should come right up if you google it. Stay away from cheaper knock-offs though, they tend to wear the hair off.

Birgit


Top
   
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:20 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:15 pm
Posts: 584
Location: Georgia (USA)
Thanks guys... I'll post more updates about my ankle in my diary as I find out more (have been doing alot of research).

Thanks for the pad idea Birgit, it's quite pricey but I can bookmark it for later. Goal today is looking up that Ebay seller that has industrial felt. I think this is my short term answer! :)


Couple of questions or ideas I'm toying with about Diego's movement and the saddle....
I mentioned he seemed stiff and I still feel that he was a bit, despite being well warmed up. The walk was excellent but his trot - from what I'm used to, seemed just mediocre. The ears constantly flicking back and the tension in the upper portion of his neck give it away. He rarely ever carries his head as low and relaxed at the trot right now which is what i'm keying in on(but he did this summer on occasion!). Plus when he is truly loose in the trot and lifting his back his neck arches slightly...

ALSO - I can't remember where I read about this but isn't there some correlation between the tail sticking out and the spine? Something to do with spinal tension or pain? Now i know a fair amount of horses that hold their tail out just because... so I'm not saying that's 100% the case but I noticed his was sticking out a fair amount from time to time.

Currently it's hard for me to tell which is going on
-What's simply muscle weakness
-or Pain from my weight on his body
-or Pain from saddle

I'm not saying he has all this but there was one other video clip I didn't post, and it was the last taken where I posted all the way around the arena. Diego didn't like something about it and his ears started flattening more (and he got even slower/less engaged). No idea what it was but I stopped trotting after that.

_________________
Diego's Journal
There's no more looking back - no more grey skies black.


Top
   
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:03 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:15 pm
Posts: 584
Location: Georgia (USA)
:sad: Still frustrated over this. Diego gave me reason to believe lastnight I may not be fitting the saddle right still


SO....

-Panels should be atleast 3-4" apart and not touch the side of the spine in any way -right?
-Soft gullet of the saddle should or shouldn't have ANY contact with his back?
-Are there specific pads people use with the Ghost pad to "pillow" the panels up?


I think I've got the position and girth position of the saddle right. Now I just need help with these questions.

_________________
Diego's Journal
There's no more looking back - no more grey skies black.


Top
   
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:50 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 5:52 am
Posts: 1852
Location: Taiwan, via NZ
Hi Colinde,
Thanks for all the useful info you've been posting!

I've been almost on the brink of buying a ghost.. but having looked at your photos and videos and listened to your description, I think I'm going to hang on to my money and save for something else.

I could well be wrong, but I suspect that the issue you're having with feeling like you're falling forward off the front of the saddle may actually be the fault of the saddle design. Not the lack of blocks, but the way that the saddle is sloping from the front to the back, and just sort of falls away off the wither. It doesn't seem to me that the panels are helping to give it any support at all at the front, but they're lifting your butt up higher at the back. I noticed this in the pictures of the saddle sitting on the horse, and in your position riding. (And you're doing a GREAT job of keeping your balance despite that difficulty. You look really nice most of the time! :) )

I got one of those Cashel Soft saddles when they first came out years ago, and had the same problem of feeling like I was going to fall off the front of it. Well.. it wasn't just a feeling. :roll: When I had to use a little rein tension to slow my OTTB down from a trot (she was still transitioning and we were working on just trotting ten steps or so and then walking again) I popped right off the front of the cantle. Came quite close to being the end of me, because I was using those terrible plastic western stirrups that come with the Cashel as stock. My foot slipped right through and the stirrup jammed on my ankle. I was sitting on her neck and had to let go of the reins to concentrate on shaking my foot free and pushing myself back into the saddle. But the time I'd accomplished that she was in flat racing gallop, and the only thing for me to do was bail and hit the ground running before she arrived at a double right angle corner with concrete walls leading onto the road.. :roll: )Well.. that's a story.

But anyway, the point is, when I look at your pics of the ghost, I see this same configuration. Your butt and back of thighs are lifted away (even though fairly close, it's still raising you somewhat off the horse) while there is almost nothing between your knees/front inner thigh and horse. So it's setting you up at a downward/forward sloping angle. Blocks would prevent you actually being able to pop off the front, but you'd still have that falling forward feeling. It might be okay on a really wide round horse with big shoulders to compensate. I don't know. But I think I don't want to find out. :green:

My Torsion ExtraLight is also totally minimal under the inner thigh and knee, but it doesn't set me up in this same precarious position because it has some rigid support that stops the saddle from pulling down at the front, and it's also just as minimal under the back of the thigh and butt.. Which is why I'm not happy with it for longer rides on my more angular horses. :roll:

Maybe a Sensation would work.. Wish I had the option of trialling saddles.

Regards your rising trot, it seems to be as I suspected. Can't really tell where your stirrup position actually is. (Your body looks in very nice balance though!)
But, for whatever reason, (possibly habit from using a saddle with more forward placed stirrups) you have quite a lot of forward backward movement in your seat when you post.

Easy to fix because you're really in a nice upright position.

Imagine yourself as a concertina. The angles in your hip, knee and ankle can open and close. But there is no movement at either end of the the concertina. Your feet and your shoulders/head should remain in the same position relative to your saddle/horse.

Good way to practice this and eliminate the swinging forward and backward in feet and head is to do lots of standing in your stirrups, (keeping ankles flexed) and see if you can keep your balance there without falling forward or backward. Put your arms out wide and fly. This will get your feet correctly positioned under you. Then practice going up and down, in balance like this, and staying up for a few beats each time. It's easy enough to keep your balance by leaning forward as you're going up and down.. but when you try to stay up, if you're leaning forward to achieve balance, you'll topple. Once you can do this at the walk, try it again at the trot. And you'll soon find the spot. :D

NICE VIDEOS! Good on you for posting.

(A thought about Diego's bad reaction to saddle - Experiment might tell you something more conclusive if you tried the Ghost again after trying the pad. Perhaps he just didn't want to be ridden and had something else in mind, but after you punished" him by going away, he decided that he wanted to be with you enough to let go of his idea and let you put the saddle on. Or it could have been aversion to the ghost as you say.sigh.. so complicated isn't it!)
:D :D

_________________
Image
I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,
But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


Top
   
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:52 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:15 pm
Posts: 584
Location: Georgia (USA)
windhorsesue wrote:
I could well be wrong, but I suspect that the issue you're having with feeling like you're falling forward off the front of the saddle may actually be the fault of the saddle design. Not the lack of blocks, but the way that the saddle is sloping from the front to the back, and just sort of falls away off the wither. It doesn't seem to me that the panels are helping to give it any support at all at the front, but they're lifting your butt up higher at the back.

This make me feel better and worse at the same time. ;)

But y'know... you bring up an interesting point. It IS padding my rear UP which makes me feel more disconnected from him. I truly think 90% of this feel could be eliminated by using the saddle with a regular saddle cloth, no frills. Unfortunately right now I need padding under the panels to get it off his spine until muscle builds on either side. :sad:

The other huge realization is his conformation - I'd forgotten. Diego has what I consider extremely narrow shoulders/chest compared to most other horses of his size that I've know. The very first time I sat on him when we tried him out, (I was 11) they hoisted me up there and I remember looking down and feeling like I was sitting on a fence board. Granted his barrel is much bigger nowdays but his shoulders will never change in their internal anatomy. That may give a while different aspect to him in this saddle.


Quote:
Good way to practice this and eliminate the swinging forward and backward in feet and head is to do lots of standing in your stirrups, (keeping ankles flexed) and see if you can keep your balance there without falling forward or backward.

Yeaaaahhh, I haven't been able to do that very well in years. :ieks: LOL
Maybe I should try more of those exercises regularly though, if it's just a practice makes perfect issue then I feel alittle more hopeful. I realize half of me is made of jello anyways now compared to when I was at the peak of my riding game. ;)


This does give me some ideas though. Maybe I can successfully use the felt pads (that I'm about to go out around town looking for) to help pillow-up the front portion of the panels and leave the back part alone. That might help bring the seat into balance again...

_________________
Diego's Journal
There's no more looking back - no more grey skies black.


Top
   
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:30 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 5:52 am
Posts: 1852
Location: Taiwan, via NZ
Quote:
This make me feel better and worse at the same time.

Yeah, sorry about that.. Thought about that as I posted.

Sounds like the felt pads in the front could help a lot.

Definitely, it's a matter of practice!! You will get it back again.
How awesomely cool to still have the horse you got when you were eleven. Wish I still had the horse I got when I was about that age. :)

_________________
Image

I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


Top
   
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 66 posts ]  Go to page Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next

All times are UTC+01:00


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Limited Color scheme created with Colorize It.