Sunday, August 31, 2014

Arrrghh!!! Rant on a OTSB’s Trot

Today I am going to be posting Playing Around With Tack Changes, a rant. 

/Rant Begin/

So I have been blogging over, and over, and over again about Copper’s trot and how it’s a gosh-awful ex-trotter OTSB bullet train for disaster* (don’t remember? Try here and here and here).  I’ve tried buying him a new saddle, changing my riding techniques, buying him a new girth and bit (more on that another time…) – I’ve tried longer walk warm ups, lateral work, spirals, circles, no circles, cantering, not cantering, just about everything I can think of, and to date, I think I’ve only managed to unlock his back successfully at a trot all of, oh, twice.  In the ten + years I’ve been riding him. TWICE!!!

To be fair, most of that time, I had no idea what I was doing or trying to achieve with him. All I knew is that he was hard to ride, and his trot was always “uncontrollable” for me. My Dad could ride Copper just fine, but I always struggled.

It’s really only been this last year or so, when I sold Joey and started riding Copper properly again, that I’ve really been delving into his trot work – the hows, whys and wherefores.

But for all the rider breakthroughs and ‘duh’ moments, like, yes, he really does need a new saddle, I still haven’t figured out how to get his back moving in the damn trot.

Which is only like the second gait. We haven’t properly worked at his canter for years! I started cantering him a little bit more recently to try and improve his trot but he’s gone back to his motorcycle hooning days because he is not balanced in the trot so he can’t freakin’ balance in the canter… ARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!

I seriously am so fed up right now. And the whole reason for this is that I asked an innocent question on a FB Dressage forum I’m a part of which ran along the lines of “I can’t seem to post to my OTSB’s trot so I spend most of the time doing a sitting trot – is this a training issue or a rider issue and do I need to fix it right now or wait for his trot to improve?”

Some people were all “No, it’s okay – it’s great you’re doing sitting trot” and others were asking if he was pacing, but the clincher comment and the one I immediately recognized as hitting the nail on the head was this one -

“It may be that he's too tight in the back - there are different side effects of tight back and too smooth to post can be one of them. That means he won't have any kind of swing and will keep his body still while just legs move - very possibly something useful from the track while pulling. If you're going at a quick tempo you should slow the tempo and work on balance which will help and allow swing.”

And I went Yes! That Is Our Problem!!

And then instantly fell into a spiral of doom, gloom and depression because….

I’ve been freakin’ trying to slow him down and balance him for what feels like a century. AT LEAST over a YEAR…

I can’t post to unlock his back and let it swing, because he leans into the bit and charges around on the forehand like a freight train at full speed.

I can’t slow him down posting or even in two point because he doesn’t listen to my seat and previously mentioned bullying through the rein aids and locking his jaw around the bit.

I can’t do spirals and circles to slow him down because all the handy lateral work has shown him how to evade through his shoulder and he basically shoulder-ins out of the circle and turns the whole things in a- ugh, I don’t even know what.

And, and, and…

Well, I just don’t know what to do with him at this point!! I’m at my wits end, so of course I’m going to go Google exercises to unlock a horse’s back at the trot and get it swinging. I don’t know if I’ll find anything useful.

If I don't, I guess I’ll try trotting poles. He at least has to use his back over them even if I still can’t slow him down.  *SIGH*

Dem Depressed Feels. I haz a sad.

/End Rant/


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