Friday, September 23, 2011

Standing Still.

Yesterday, being Thursday, T and I went on our regular weekly trail ride. Summarized, it was lovely, the weather until the end was warm, and the company was awesome. I must admit though that the ride highlighted an 'issue' of training I'm going to need to dedicate serious time to this winter.

Standing still.

Wow. My horse HATES standing still. He has zero patience. At the mounting block, he wants to wander off. As I get on, he's already moving. If asked to stand for more then 30 seconds, he's fighting to move off. He just won't STAND.

On the trail, T's horse Chico is a VERY slow walker. We'd stop to let her catch up, and after a few seconds, Moon would want to move off again. He's throw his head, spin his bum, back-up or try to yank the reins.

It was irritating.

I WANTED to spend a lot of time getting him to realize he's not going to win, but I felt like I was turning T's 'lovely trail ride' into a training session for Moon and I. Probably not fair. So while I worked on it as much as I could, it wasn't where I wanted it at the end.

My intention now, is to spend a ridiculous amount of time making him stand. No more just 'getting on' when he's wandering away at the block. If he walks off, dismount, bring him back to the block, and do it again. I need, once again, to out stubborn him.

He likely won't get worked this weekend (going to a farm auction with my folks tomorrow and TRYING to see if I can spend Sunday helping out a lady with her fiber production animals...because someday I want goats and sheep of my own!), so Moon likely won't get his much needed 'lesson' on standing till Monday.

Tuesday, my saddle (or box full of really expensive rocks...still not sure which) is supposed to be ready for pick-up at the border, so I'll probably leave work early and make the hike down.

Which means he only really gets one more practice before next week's lesson. However, he was doing some nice t-o-t-f on the trail (while we waited) and leg yielding.

T asked me how to ask for a turn-on-the-fore, so here's my aids on that one:
1. Halt
2. Ask for bend in the directions you want them to circle.
3. Outside leg on the girth.
4. Sit with more weight to the inside
5. Inside leg touches/taps just behind the girth (Consider this the 'pivot point') to move the bum around.
And voila.

While I'm on it, I'll attempt the shoulder-in aids, as I had a couple of requestsin my last post...I admit, I'm still working on this one!

W says it's easiest if you come around a corner, so you already have inside bend.
For me, she said to think about leg yielding into the rail. So I'm going to be applying my inside leg as his belly swings. This drives the bum towards the rail.

Then you lift and place his shoulder to the inside. For Moon, this means that I lift and place my hands, my outside hand goes at his neck and my inside hand opens up. This maintains his bend to the inside.

Look across the ring like you're trying to go to the opposite corner. Put your seat weight to the inside as though you're leg yielding. And voila (not really, but we can pretend).

...I actually LOVE this website when it comes to learning progressive dressage moves!

And that is the shoulder-in.

We're going to be doing a LOT of this over the winter. W says that it's the next step to develop and improve our canter circles. This helps him learn balance with a rider on.

5 more days. : ) On Wednesday, W said everything was ready for our move-in, and now it's just a matter of counting down the days. I think Wednesday will be an early Christmas. *hopefully* I'm thrilled to think about his stall sign going up, and placing a real dressage saddle on a rack dedicated to him. This weekend I'm going to sew a new saddle cover for the wintec (or rock cover...), wash my winter blankets and just do a lot of general prep for the move. Have to haul my tack trunk out and get it cleaned and organized too!

I'm also thinking about taking one of my cheap halters and converting it to a safety release halter. Not sure how just yet, but I figure I can rig something up. My reasoning is because his new blanket needs it to keep the hood up, and I don't want him getting accidentally injured in the paddock.

While I've been at it, I dug around online to figure out our costs for next year's show season. We're bound and determined to go, even if we only compete walk-trot (I hope that he's ring-ready enough for training level by mid-summer though).

Below are my estimates. I'm aiming at this point to attend at least 2 regular (schooling or non) dressage shows (doing 3 classes a piece) and at least 1 fun show. I'm amazed to learn I'll have to get a sport license, and think that next year is probably the right time to also test for a couple of Equine Canada rider levels at the same time...assuming we're ready!

One time fees:
Dressage Winnipeg Membership : $25
Manitoba Horse Council Membership : $50
Equine Canada Membership : $10
Equine Canada Bronze Sport License: $20 ($25 subsidy from MHC)
TOTAL = $105

Average Show Fees:
Per Test Fee : $25
Stabling Fee : $45/day or $65/weekend
Admin Fee : $25
Drug Testing Fee : $3.50
Dressage Canada Levy : $7
MHC Levy : $3
TOTAL (assuming 3 classes) = $178.50


Average Schooling Show Fees:
Per Walk/Trot Test Fee : $15
Per Training+ Test Fee : $18
Stabling Fee : $45/day or $65/weekend
Admin Fee : $25
Drug Testing Fee : $3.50
Dressage Canada Levy : $7
MHC Levy : $3
TOTAL (assuming 3 classes) = $154.50


Fun Show Fees:
Dressage Test Fee : $10
Fun Class Fee : $5
Haul-In Fee : $10
Admin Fee : $15
MHC Levy : $3
TOTAL (assuming 3 classes) = $58


Required Gear:
Short shirt and collar
Dressage show jacket
Show gloves


  1. The trick for standing still is for the horse to learn that it's a good thing - most of the time we're always asking our horse to do something and the horse often thinks they're always supposed to move - and for the horse to choose, itself, to stand, rather than being held in place. I've got some patience exercises on the Softness sidebar of my blog, if you're interested, and there are also some exercises on how to train the horse to stand still for mounting.

  2. Showing is so expensive! This fall, I am going to total up what I spent on my horse this summer between gear, competitions, trailering and lessons. I will post it on my blog, but it's not going to be pretty.

    Thanks for the breakdown of the shoulder-in aids and for the link.

    Handsome and I had some real mounting block issues over the winter. Sounds like the same as Moon: walking off while I'm still getting on. Handsome got so bad that he would try to dart off when I still had one foot in the stirrup, and when someone was holding him, he'd try to push into the handler too. It was extremely dangerous.

    I went back to the footage I shot of Lee Smith at the 2010 Horse-3 event in Brandon: Lee calls this "moving the feet," and she says all horses that are nervous or excited will have a hard time standing still. Without making a big fuss, she slowly takes control of the movement - she actually pushes the horse to keep moving until it's asking to stop (kind of like taking the fun out of it).

    I would stand on the mounting block and gather my reins. If Handsome walked off, I would hop down and drive him in small lunge circle. When he started licking, I would bring him back to the mounting block and try again. I did this incrementally over a few sessions until he gave up and let me climb on and off and my leisure.

  3. Mmmm...great thought Kiirsten! I love the idea that he makes the decision that listening to me is easier! : ) I'm gonna watch the video and see if we can do it too!

    I'm also VERY interested to see you grand total for showing. OMG is it money consuming! Maybe if I can just stay a couple bucks under your total, I can convince the boyfriend that I'm doing it "on a budget" ; ) Do you think H/J is more expensive then dressage? It's way more competitive here, that I'm wondering if that drives the fees up or down...

    Kate, I browsed your blog again, but you're a pretty dedicated poster! 6 pages in I couldn't remember what I was looking for anymore! : )

  4. Look in the sidebar - the softness one - there's a list of exercises, including patience and mounting - good luck!

  5. I'm trying to teach Ritchie to so shoulder-in.
    I'm teaching him how to do it on the ground first.
    Good luck with the shows and teaching him to stand still.
    Glad you had a good ride.