Sunday, May 25, 2008

Want a quiet horse? Be quiet!

I've mentioned Halfpassgal here before. From what I've seen, I'm a huge fan. Yeah, she's young enough to be fearless but I think we can all - fearless or not - benefit from watching how she handles explosions. Watch how quiet she is, how straight her back is, and how she sets up her upper body so that she stays on the horse. She does not lose her temper. She disciplines when appropriate but then it's over and she's back to being quiet. The horse is always rewarded for doing the right thing. I know someone already posted here that they thought about her riding and it saved their ass when their horse did something unexpected.

The thing I love the most here is that as far as I'm concerned, she's a rescuer. If she wasn't able to work through these horses' issues, eventually they were heading nowhere good. She is proof positive about what I always say - it's not the horse. A good enough rider really can work through the issues with virtually any horse. Riding lessons for you will fix so many issues that you think are the horse's - you just won't believe the difference, particularly if you're self taught and haven't ridden with a good trainer before.

http://www.youtube.com/v/tNMIz-RjJyw&hl=en


I'm going to see a mare tomorrow that was also reformed by the right young, talented rider. This mare was decreed to be "untrainable" by a Big Name Hotshot Kinda Trainer. Um, yeah. Well, now she's basically dead quiet and works cows and trail rides and crosses bridges and...you get the picture. The whole thing makes me giggle. I think Big Name Hotshot round penned her to death and shook ropes at her and all of that silly shit, and this girl's had the common sense to just be quiet with her and not expect bad behavior.
Look at the wild, untrainable mare. LOL.

36 comments:

Sagebrusheq said...

Very pretty rider Fugly, thanks. A few things come to mind. None of these horses were buckers they'd just gotten away with acting up in the past: crow hop= end of lesson- good horses that fell into less than capable hands-and who could blame them for coming to that conclusion. She certainly didn't. It's amazing how fast a horse comes around for a patient, confident, skilled rider. Also her refusal to let herself hit the dirt was nice to see for a change. And, as skilled as she is SHE HAS AN INSTRUCTOR.

Sagebrush

QueenSkankarella said...

This has got to be one of my favourite videos on the internet. She is an absolutely amazing rider. That sort of calmness is what I strive for with my horse, though I'm pretty far off from it right now, I'll admit.

verylargecolt said...

>>And, as skilled as she is SHE HAS AN INSTRUCTOR<<

Exactly. I am still laughing about the person who posted that I had no business training my own horse if I was asking other trainers for advice.

As I've said, I can't wait to start hauling the VLC out and taking lessons on him. I think we'll be doing that pretty soon.

3catcrazy said...

I do love her calmness . . . reminder that if I get another bucking episode not to freak out and bail. Just realized that some of those horses, esp. the bay, have huge movement. I am even more impressed.

Quiet hands, quiet seat. Everyone has seen the "crazy" horse who did just fine with a totally different rider. Or the "bombproof" horse who started acting up for the rider with the tightfisted, micromanaging reins and clenched seat.

As to lessons - it is really helpful to have someone on the ground who can see the whole picture. When you're riding you are concentrating on reins, seat, horse and maybe missing some little thing that pulls it all together.

Heidi the Hick said...

"Riding lessons for you will fix so many issues that you think are the horse's - you just won't believe the difference, particularly if you're self taught and haven't ridden with a good trainer before."

YES YES YES!

This is exactly why I decided to get myself all trained up to teach other people how to ride. I was self taught. Ok, well Dad-taught, as in, "Get back on that damn pony and show her who's boss!!!" He's a good gentle human being but that's how he was taught in the 50s, y'know? My riding training was spotty but I muddled through without ruining horses.

I realized at some point that my horse could be so much better with a better rider. I wanted to be that better rider!!

It also became clear to me, in my quest for improvement, that it's totally cyclical. I'd see crap horses become softer and more responsive under quieter riders, I saw my own horse's improvement, and I started paying attention to stories about horses going real nice for the trainer and then back to the same old problems with the rider.

I believe we're all trainers, but sadly we don't always realize what we're training into our horses. I didn't really want to be a horse trainer but I felt sorry for people struggling with their horses... and I felt even sorrier for the horses.

I've seen the young lady's videos on the other blog. Very impressive.

If there's one thing my hot lil half-Arab taught me, it's that he'd react. If I was nervous, he was too. The title of this post says it all. Want a quiet horse? Be quiet!

I'll never stop learning. What a joy.

barngal said...

I love that video. Does Halfpassgal post here? I have seen it many times before and still see different things each time I watch.Today I saw some moves that I am becoming more familiar with having a youngster (BCG) who is now becoming more fit. I am starting to learn what triggers them. Aside from feeling good, most of it is probably me. I feel that my seat is getting better but I still need to sit up!

As a younger adult I never had the money to pay for the trained horses. I found the problem horses were easy to get and I think taught me a lot. Yeah, some bad habits were added but on a whole I learned tons about me and the horse.

Last evening we rode outside in our field. It still hasn't dried out enough to not be slippery, so we were more careful on the turns.
I just wanted to canter. I really didn't know if we would, but for some reason, BCG wanted to also. We did...several times too. I can't say it was pretty but it was controlled and I was thrilled.

I have had instructors through the years, although most of the time, I was on my own. It's always nice to have a ground person and as much as you think you know there is always room for learning. I was fortunate to have very knowledgable friends as grounds people so I really wasn't without help most of the time.

Now, after many years out of riding, much older, I don't have the horsey friends and for instructors or trainers today...hmmmm everyone now has one! I'm for the most part, unimpressed, seeing some of the products in the showring. Sure, I can go to the big stables and pay the outrageous prices and then I can show with a trainer on my arm, but right now it's not in the cards for me. But next week I am going to be taking a few lessons at a stable that in my day (Jeez I feel old)was a nice place to take lessons. My first lesson will be on a school horse (yikes) then if all goes well, I'll take BCG. I'm open to help, but so far the video camera has been great!

EquineSpirit said...

"I am still laughing about the person who posted that I had no business training my own horse if I was asking other trainers for advice."

Thankfully I haven't gotten that attitude from anyone yet although I'm still waiting for it...LOL! Instead I get the "he's how old? and you've JUST gotten him under saddle!!" Oye...he just turned four so it's not like he's old or anything. He's an Arab who had a rough start and needed a LOT of maturing (both physically and mentally)...heck...when I first saw him just before his second birthday I swear I thought he was a weanling...he was literally THAT small!! And he was a nearly unhandled stud prior to that point and needed to work through trust issues and respect. He's now a very nice outgoing gelding who's doing very well and everyone whom he meets seems to love him! Anyway...LOVE that video...I hope someday I can be as good a rider as she!

June Evers said...

Hay, it would be nice to know halfpassgal's name as I think in 10 or 20 years, she'll be all over Dressage Today.

Good luck with the VLC. Thank you for all this blogging!

Snoopsincharge said...

ah, what wonderful seat, the world needs more riders like that.
two thumbs up.
And look at her wonderful hands, quiet and independent from the seat. This is how you get a horse on the bit - not by pulling his face to it's chest.

Sagebrusheq said...

Fugly wrote: >> As I've said, I can't wait to start hauling the VLC out and taking lessons on him. I think we'll be doing that pretty soon.<<

Same here. As soon as Merlin starts taking a little contact he's trailering to my lessons with me. At five he's old enough to go to work after some conditioning. Actually I'm reluctant to proceed very far with him in ring work without guidance so as to nip things in the bud or to not have to back up and fix others that I didn't foresee. I've never been so careful with a horse as I have been with this chile pepper. The next few months will just be slow trail riding and basic familiarity with the aids and the world outside his ken. Or that's the plan right now...
S

Truthseeker said...

'Calmness' is the reason I tend to excel in Western Pleasure training. I go into a Zen state of mind and get so into the moment that I lose track of all else except the horse. I get them so relaxed that they practically fall asleep.

However, I don't really have a 'calm' personality overall...as anyone who has seen me launch into a cussing fit at someone who has seriously pissed me off will attest. Sigh...I'm a work in progress.

Here are some pdfs from Jane Savoie that may be useful to timid and fearful riders: http://www.janesavoie.com/thanks_newsletter.html

verylargecolt said...

Stills of the rearing incident

Really educational to study. If she hadn't pulled that mare's head around the way she did, that could have easily been a terrible accident. She felt what was happening and reacted very quickly and effectively. I would have bailed, LOL, but that wouldn't have trained the horse anything. That mare learned that not only did she not get the flip she was trying for, she didn't even get the rider off! Rider-1, Mare-0.

MsFoxy said...

I don't know....watching that video just made me even more nervous about riding Foxy. I don't think that was the point! I'm only partly joking here.

That girl is awesome. I've seen the rearing part of the video before but not the rest. And as far as Whiskey goes, she is a mare that needs a job. Since she is so alpha, I guarantee she will run those cows better than half the horses out there. Nobody pushes her around! I'm glad to see her out and being useful...bet she would be a great "used every day" ranch horse.

cdncowgirl said...

WOW ~ Halfpassgal is a very good rider. I'd only seen the one video (rearing at the show). I have even more respect for her abilities now!

a beautiful disaster said...

i have to say that even though i've seen links to her videos on the other blog, today was the first time i actually look. and WOW. i can only hope that i look half that quiet sitting thought the crap i get...she seems to have a similar mantra as i do (and quite different to basically every trainer i've had) : real riding isn't being boss 100% of the time, it's knowing when to take charge and when to go along for the ride.

icepony said...

I, too, am extremely impressed by this girl. I don't reach that level of calm with Prozac and vodka, lol!

I have to admit to chickening out with my SOG yesterday. He decided he didn't want to be bridled, and I used up my tiny store of courage messing with bridling instead of riding.

On the plus side, I had encouraged someone I know through someone else to board at my barn for the summer, and she has! So now I have a riding buddy, and best of all, she's a "re-rider" who has worked through major confidence issues, so she understands what I'm going through. Here's hoping having a buddy will make my cup o' guts a little larger!

icepony said...

Oh yeah, have to add that I have an "appointment" with my new riding buddy at the barn this afternoon...so I have one more chance to make my week's goal of two rides by Memorial Day...still counts if it's ON Memorial Day, right? ;-)

Jackie said...

Halfpassgal is great...I hope she is reading all this :). Not only is she touching the lives of those horses, she is also influencing a lot of riders, too.

After watching her video over and over, I dropped my stirrups (and found out I prefer dressage length to hunt seat), took my dressage whip, mounted...and PrimaDonnaDiva was pretty good! I only had to use it once when I first asked her to trot (squeeze, say "Trot", take deep breath, relax and sit deep, and tap)...after that she w/t and t/c transitions almost like a trained horse...which proves to me she's been pulling some wool over my eyes (Nah, really?). I got "Big Eyes" when I switched the whip from my right to my left hand, and she did "haunches in" keeping her eye on it until I straightened her out, but after that she was so good. We quit after a few transisitions both ways, and she got a nice cooling bath (it's 80 and humid here...big change from last week frost!)

I have to say "thank you" again to all the advice and bits I've picked up from this blog...now it's time for me to take some lessons ;)

Jackie said...

Oops...meant to say "haunches out" ...wish we coud edit!!!

BuckdOff said...

Wow, I just looked at the rearing stills, it is amazing how she came out of that, I'm with you fugly, I would have bailed, but she is just amazing....

bluedude5 said...

its interesting to note that the way that halfpassgal reacted probably says that she has ridden this horse before and has had the same thing happen
bloody good riding, well done

Fleeting said...

Heh, I showed that video to a crazy Natural Horsemanship person and all they saw was how MEAN Halfpassgal was for CRANKING that mare's head around when she tried to rear and flip. Of course, she had never ridden a problem horse or seen how scary it is when a horse flips. My favourite part of the whole thing is that she just continues on, calm, relaxed... it's so awesome.

As for getting what you expect, I totally agree. I rode an OTTB the other day that is solely track broke... at first I treated him like he would break if I touched him because I was afraid of a blow up, and he was tense with a short gait. When I relaxed, I found he actually would bend and walk forward, and was absolutely chill.

serensk said...

Watching the "Breathe" video gave me the confidence to get up on my greenbroke mare, who had never cantered/loped under saddle, saying to myself, "if she bucks, I'll sit it like that." I already knew we were headed for disaster, green rider + green horse.

Good thing I got inspired. It's been three months and she's given me no such grief at all.

I've encountered the girl known on Youtube as Halfpassgal, on other forums (where she goes by a different name) and I'm quite sure she knows about FHOTD at least, if not this blog as well, and also knows what we all think of her amazing skills.

Chezza said...

Wow.....just a reminder to me of how important just GOOD riding is. Every time I have been "off" a horse it has been b/c when they did their 'thing' (rear/buck) I tried to GUESS what was next and sit forward or back (instead of staying balanced) and then when they switched tactics I was GONE. I have to say for that rear I would have been TOAST....How the heck did she get back up there and keep her WHIP in her hand. :D

crazyhorse said...

How many horses are ruined by people with a fresh idea that, after an expensive clinic or two, a carrot stick and a $200 'special halter', think they are trainers...
I watched that video of Halfpassgal about a yr ago and sobbed my eyes out...oh to be a young'n again. I rode fearlessly like that, I was the one that rode the bad ones, and now the bones say no...I totally LOVE how she gently but consistantly taps with her heels, no drumming, opens her arms wide to 'fence' the direction, and her hands are soft but encouraging...The whip stays off the frightened confused horse, and gently prods the stubborn 'let's see if you mean it' horse to keep it up...
If only everyone rode like that...

Today I moved Doofus into an english saddle...He was a little boogered and curious as to the new feel but I have posted in the stock saddle...we sat the trot around a few cones in the small arena after a check-see in the round pen (still being careful of my rotting back bone) and now I am excited to try loping him in the show pen under an english saddle. We are scheduled for a September show.

verylargecolt said...

I think that video is very inspirational. I also think I rode better today after watching it!

One thing I notice - it freaks me out when they get my ass out of the saddle, but that video is proof that just because they do, it doesn't mean you're coming off. A good leg and good balance can keep you on the horse even after they "unseat" you. Those horses bounced her butt out of the saddle numerous times. She stuck to them nevertheless. It just feels bad when you're riding it, but you can't lose seat contact and go "ok I'm toast" and give up. I know I have given up and let myself go off in the past and it's a bad habit to get into. Unless the horse is running for a cliff, or really is coming over backwards, you are almost always better off staying on - you just have to break through the panic and rationally decide to fight to stay on.

Heat Stroke in FL said...

I also love this rider. She has an amazing seat!

The rearing was amazing. I was blown away at her ability to stay on. Rearing makes me very nervous. I just had a horse on trial that I took back because he had rearing issues. I thought I had them solved, but butt head horse started rearing again one day after I pushed his buttons. The following morning, I loaded him up and took him back. Rearing is beyong my ability at the moment.

My new girl, luckily, doesn't rear, but she has her own issues. I just up dated my blog about her http://www.outofshaperider.blogspot.com

robyn said...

HPG is a real inspiration to me. I esp. like in the Breathe video when she is on the grey Arab--her hands are so giving, and she just waits and takes all the time the horse needs, until he finally decides it's okay to move forward.

Not too long ago, I asked my current instructor about when to discipline a horse; how to decide when they are misbehaving as opposed to that they simply don't know/don't understand. She thought about that for a few seconds and said "I like to give them the benefit of the doubt." That really made an impression on me--I tend to have an impatient, hurry-up attitude, and her statement made me think about how I could also give my horses the benefit of the doubt, that they might be afraid, hurting, worried; that they aren't "trying to piss me off" as I've seen people claim before.
Like HPG says, see it from the horse's point of view.

LoveWithoutLove said...

Just goes to show that horses CANNOT be put into cookie cutter programs....

autumnblaze said...

Her seat is everything my arab dreams mine would be! Hopefully one day! :)

By the way, VLC, I'm starting to love this blog more than fugly! I started riding at 18 and was still fearless, THEN.... Now I'm 25 and not so much. Through college couldn't afford lessons all the time and sometime rode with friends who would let me ride their horses. Well, after a pretty darn good crash off an OTTB that wasn't properly retrained yet (*I DO NOT blame the OTTB, I blame me and his owner, who was a moron, which I figured out after crash and really wish I'd have figured out sans crash).

Luckily, I've had good confidence builders and only one or two very minor unplanned dismounts since. However the fear from THAT fall still haunts me. Mostly in that I know the ground really can hurt that much. I have guts of steel on the ground that I wish I still took to horseback with me. They seem to get left on the mounting block...

Now I'm on a real gentleman, that likes to push buttons but is teaching me SOOOO much.I can ride him on my own but have a ground person when I can. He's forgiving - but not a dead head wimp and he MAKES me relax, think and improve. I thank him for his patience every day I see him. I would like to thank you for your blog because it exposes me to SO much good information and reminds me I'm not the only person alive who chickens out on horseback. :) I should post a goal - but all I can think of sound wussy to me!

BuckdOff said...

I showed my husband the "rearing" stills tonight, he agreed, she did an amazing job. Of course we both agreed if it had been me, I would have been dumped numerous times.....The woman just stayed with the horse, like velcro...

Windsong Stables said...

I just have to say that I think she is a GREAT rider. She is what Id LOVE to become with time and work, allthough id like to think Im on the right track.

Minus the fact that Im very chubby and out of shape right now (LOL)

Well, maybe these wonderful training blogs and videos will encourage people like me (well me!!) to get video and pics of our projects.

Long story short, shes quiet, consistant, steady, calm, yet firm about what she wants! I like her style ALOT!

Windsong Stables said...

I forgot to add that I NEED an instructor. Been a few years of schooling greenies without help, and Id love to find one... If by chance anyone knows of an amazing instructor in the lowermainland BC, Canada... Send them my way!!

www.windsongstables.tk

rachelek03 said...

are you KIDDING me? That grey horse looks like he is going to flip over backward! All she had to do is take one rein and BEND that horse. Its simple: bend the neck, get the horse to check in with you and continue. Works every time, and way better than holding a clostrophobic horse in a clostrophobic situation with you on his back.

Charlie Horse said...

For whomever said it would be nice to know Halfpass Gal's name, if you look at the stills of the rearing incident, it lists at the top the horse and rider's name (for ID from the photographer's company)...
So her name is Shannon Roepke. ^^

And I kind of agree on her response to the grey's freaking out. Yeah, she kept him faced in the same direction and refused to let the horse duck out and completely turn tail and flee, but the whole time I kept holding my breath because he looked like he was going to go up and over at any second... Though I do admire her calmness and ability to stay with him, I think it would have been better handled by reacting a bit more to prevent that kind of a situation. She's damn lucky he didn't get his hind end so far under him he couldn't recover from it...

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