You’re doing it wrong!

On Wednesday I, Jumper Girl had my first lesson in a very, very long time (almost 2 years).  I was both excited and terrified.  I loooove lessons, but I knew the bad habits had been creeping in.  I may have been imitating a motorcycle from time to time and my elbows seem to have developed an allergy to my sides.  The pics have been burned.

The Very Opinionated Mare has been schooling fairly well, but there were those few little issues I wanted an outsider’s opinion on.  Since I could finally afford it, DE recommended a coach and away we went!

It was fantastic!  I was told (repeatedly) to focus on lifting my inside shoulder as my primary aid through turns. (Oops!  I do know better.)  To open up her stride at the trot in an uphill manner we worked on tightening my lower abdominals to shift the angle of my hip when I post, lightening my seat and allowing her to use her back more.  She was sucking back a little when asked to do lateral work, so I was made to shift my weight to the outside of my stirrup and brought my lower leg back slightly.  This stopped my knee from pinching and interfering with her shoulder on the back half of her stride.  We’re far from perfect (don’t tell The Mare that!), but we’re moving better, are more relaxed and in sync and she’s waaaay more responsive.  These teeny, tiny little adjustments in position (half an inch here, two degrees there) have made such a difference!

And then I see a video like this one.

And I just want to scream.



DE in: That poor freaking horse is so cranked in he literally can’t use his shoulders!  He’s got some great natural swing to his movements but the aptly named “Asshat” is so heavy on his hands (and light on the leg) that the poor horse is being prevented from using his natural talent.  PEOPLE LIKE THIS GIVE US DRESSAGE RIDERS A BAD NAME! (such as Asshat)  Do we all remember the training pyramid?

Yes? ok good.  Now look at where contact is! It’s way the frak in the middle – it’s not first on the list!  People! Stop cranking your horses head around in an attempt to show a nice frame when your horse’s hind end is miles behind!  Say it with me now: EVERYTHING COMES FROM BEHIND!


I’m thinking of starting a group for riders similar to Alcoholics Anonymous: Improper-Use-of -Training-Aids Anonymous.  The whip is there to back up your leg! As in, when your leg is ineffective, you tap with the whip so that next time you get a response from your leg! GOOD GAWD THERE IS SO MUCH WRONG WITH THIS VIDEO I COULD GO ON FOREVER! (This is why I left the “We’re just angry about this one” post to JG, she’s a teensy bit more concise than I.)  You can see the horse’s lips moving when he passes by closely.  It’s  like he’s saying “please help me! I’m such a pretty horse, just imagine the expressive gaits I would have if only I were allowed to move!”

Does anyone, ANYONE AT ALL, know what the rider was trying to accomplish by practically ripping that horses face off? Repeatedly?!

Freaking Asshat!


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Posted on September 17, 2011, in Bad Riders, horse and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Same school of thought as Anky I’m afraid though even Anky is softer with her hands. That horse is so hollow through the back the rider looks like he’s sitting at the level of the elbows of the horse (exaggeration I know but still!) Poor thing, this horse is going to have some serious back problems very early in life. Beautiful horse, Terrible trainer.

    I run a rider critique group on facebook and unfortunately you see young riders doing this all the time. the horse is cranked in and rider had an iron fist on it’s face just to give it a pretty “headset” (I HATE THAT TERM). I see it so often I’ve almost put the critique “make sure your driving your horse forward into the bit not pulling your horses head back into frame” on copy paste so I don’t have to type it every time I post a critique.

    I think a lot of the issue is kids with horses, but without lessons from a good trainer and they try to copy what they see from highly trained horses, but they go about it the wrong way because they don’t know how to achieve it.

    • “Beautiful horse, terrible trainer” That’s what I thought! I couldn’t watch all of it, the way that guy was pulling on the horse’s mouth was pissing me off. I’ve done many mistakes and I still have a lot to learn, but I would never, EVER, pull on a horse’s mouth like that. UGH!

      I don’t believe Anky is softer with her hands, I believe she hides her cruelty better IMHO.

      Speaking of critique, can you link me to that critique group on FB? I could really use some good critique.

  2. All we have to do to see the evidence of poor training is to look at these horses without a person on them. Many horses (this one being no exception) show the evidence of improper muscling…. sway in the back from atrophied stomach muscles, over muscled under neck muscles and improperly breaking at the 3rd vert, instead of the poll.
    I HATE the articles that point to a horse obviously behind the bit, and say “Perfect! Right on the vertical!” Seriously?! Any moron with a straight edge can see the fail!
    So many disciplines are guilty of a legit training method being bastardized by uneducated hands…. over-flexing a very stiff horse for a moment doesn’t bother me, wadding a supple horse up and never letting go is giant fail. Asking for a counter-bend to bring the shoulder up and the back end through is a great tool, but riding the horses nose on your boot toe, alternating sides while loping (hang your heads in shame AQHA lemmings) is ridiculous. If we see a trainer do something and then win a class, we should ask why that tool was needed and if it is applicable to our situation. Copying it and multiplying it blindly is asshattery in the purest form.

    • It’s so true about the muscling. When I started riding The Mare, she looked like she had a short and inverted neck. She won’t ever have a truly long one, but it seriously appears to be about 6 inches longer now and way better proportioned, just because she’s no longer being cranked into an artificial “headset”.

  3. Just UGH. That horse would be super cute sans asshat too. UGH. That horse’s poor neck and back. Even my fat half Belgian has a better muscled neck, and its NOT breeding let me tell you!

  4. And the real problem is that judges WILL mark you down for a correct headset with a vertical nose. Even my trainer, who doesn’t believe in rollkeur and ALWAYS rides the right end of the horse tends to go for the behind the vertical…because if she didn’t, she wouldn’t win anything. But she doesn’t do it by cranking his nose in.

    I’m riding a horse she started right now (she wants me to take him but I just can’t afford board) and he is already so supple and nice.

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