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Author Topic: The Counted Walk- Dr Bill Sanders  (Read 14793 times)

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Offline christuris

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Re: The Counted Walk- Dr Bill Sanders
« Reply #105 on: April 17, 2011, 03:42:59 AM »
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  • Just a quickie to comment on my rides today, well, mostly the one on Comet.  We just went down the trails late this afternoon, after taking Xino down to the flatlands to work in the arena, and we worked on counted walk on and off a lot of the time.  He was going waaaay too fast, meaning the tempo was too fast (it always is), but on the way back, he was going really slowly.  Then I decided to try it from reinback and he went more slowly still!  Amazing!  I decided we needed to occasionally really trot out from it -- forget going out in collected trot for now as he needed to get some energy in him, and I was afraid of losing that until he got the hang of a really slow counted walk.  So we alternated with reinback/counted walk, reinback/trot.  I haven't ridden him much in the last month or so as I've been concentrating on Xino so much so we've kind of got out of practice... 

    It's interesting, as doing a reinback is diagonalized, so perhaps one has a better chance of getting a diagonalized walk doing it this way, rather than slowing down, as Racinet suggests.  Is that why Bill suggests it, Heather?

    I don't think I've ever been this persistent with him in this exercise, and I was concentrating on getting the withers up, which I think I managed to do, and I also used my seat/back more than my hands, allowing them to loop just a wee bit occasionally to see what would happen, and he did keep his self carriage more and more.  However, he's still got this habit of moving his head around, up and down, so I'm not sure what that's all about -- perhaps my hands just aren't steady enough...  I tried planting them on the saddle, but then he just went way down!  It may just be a matter of persisting with the half halts to get him to keep his head up.  (Resistances of weight.)

    I had to be very careful not to use too much seat or he would stop, so it was great to experiment with it and see if I could keep him going as he was going sooooo slowly towards the end.  I cheated a couple of times and used a little leg on one side!  Hopefully my holding aids stopped holding!

    I did more rockback with Xino, and he had a hard time in the middle of the arena doing it (I'd never tried it there), so I copied Lyndsey and backed him up to the arena fence (it's one of those bouncy ones) and he did really well with that, and I ended up actually getting rockback in the middle of the arena, with no backward steps!  No spins today, although we got several head tosses and shakes, and after ignoring it didn't work, I made him work doing one-rein stops and shoulder-in!  That taught him a lesson!  He had his first flat shoes put on the other day, so I was curious to see how he'd go, and I found him stepping out even more than before, which was nice.  His trot was nice and comfortable today (it hadn't been the last few rides in the arena) so that was good.

    One exercise that we did was the "waltz" where you go from reverse pirouette to direct pirouette along the fence (almost the same as turn on the forehand/haunches, but with the bend the opposite way) and he floated in one direction, but had a hard time in the other.  But after some practice and slowing down on my part, he got quite good at the "bad" direction.  (Try doing that on the side of a hill!!!!)  We're actually doing travers these days -- both horses -- and Xino's were really nice today.  Even the ones in hand a la Marijke de Jong!

    So it was a super day, although I'm totally exhausted now, so I'm going off early and hopefully doing it all over again tomorrow!

    Christina
    Indian Hills, Colorado
    www.AlphabetRanch.com


    Offline Lyndsey Lewis

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    Re: The Counted Walk- Dr Bill Sanders
    « Reply #106 on: April 17, 2011, 01:36:12 PM »
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  • Lyndsey,

    Yes I know what you mean about the closed throat latch but the work is so soft that I dont really mind that, I know that BB gets his horses working more 'up' so this may just be a stage. I mean laterally rather than curled up, the bend is not from behind the shoulder so is not fully from poll to tail, which as Omar said on the other thread, puts the horse on the outside shoulder. In all giravolta type work we want the outside shoulder to open as much as possible.



    So if I understand this right, the bend is too much JUST in the neck? Hmmm...I think this is the trouble I'm having with all my horses. It feels like their heads are loose and snaky but the body feels like it 'crabs' sideways instead of just stepping forward....hard to explain but you probably know the feel. However, they have had the whole winter off basically so are bound to be stiff for a while...??

    I got this great video of two of my horses doing this the other day and accidentally left the zoom way zoomed out so all you see is the trees in the next town and the odd bit of brown... :rant: And now the weather has totally packed up....crazy rain and wind. The dogs won't even go out to pee! But....this week is supposed to be nice so I'll have another go at it and try and get a video.

    Thanks Heather!
    Lyndsey Lewis

    Offline Heather

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    Re: The Counted Walk- Dr Bill Sanders
    « Reply #107 on: April 17, 2011, 04:27:59 PM »
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  • Glorious day here Lyndsey :whistle:!! Hope it improves this week for you weather wise. I do know exactly what you mean if the horse 'crabs' sideways- it should feel fluid but through the whole body, not just from the neck area. Will await more video! :nod:

    Offline sixfootblonde

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    Re: The Counted Walk- Dr Bill Sanders
    « Reply #108 on: April 18, 2011, 12:38:39 AM »
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  • So if I understand this right, the bend is too much JUST in the neck? Hmmm...I think this is the trouble I'm having with all my horses. It feels like their heads are loose and snaky but the body feels like it 'crabs' sideways instead of just stepping forward....hard to explain but you probably know the feel. However, they have had the whole winter off basically so are bound to be stiff for a while...??

    This is the same with mine too. Look forward to video. :)

    Offline Candypony

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    Re: The Counted Walk- Dr Bill Sanders
    « Reply #109 on: April 19, 2011, 10:29:45 PM »
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  • Just to say this thread has been a fascinating read this evening - not sure how I missed it before...  what I liked too was that I would see something and think something - only for someone a bit later on to actually type it.  eg - I thought there was too much neck bend in the last video too...

    so many comments - all out of order now!!

    1) I don't think I've ever been trained by someone who talks about counted or school walks. But I do regularly use very collected, very straight work - in walk mainly - to connect Candy and get her to lift through her withers. It's also the time when I really find the alternate leg aids works for me (I don't carry a whip - but do wear spurs occasionally - and yes, we school in a double).

    2) This works is certainly where our passagey-piffle has come from - but I don't expect or ask for that to be piaffe on the spot yet - same as when I ask for a canter pirouette, I don't expect it to be on the spot either - not because I don't want it.  I do, but Candy still needs to build the muscle tone to be able to perform the movements without tension - and that takes time. 

    3) which brings me to the point that surely by asking for gradual improvement/ expression / whatever, then that work helps build the muscles needed? I don't understand how we can expect a horse to build the necessary muscle without gradually increasing the ask - which might mean a level of tension for a while? 

    4) I DO use in hand work - but have mainly done this in the cavesson, not the bridle. My training is such the less experienced in hand riders/trainers can mask crockedness in the work with the reins. By working the horse in the cavesson - or even free which we were progressing on my last Marji clnic - then straightness and true self carriage are easier to identify (although less easy to fix!)

    5) Heather's first point on why she doesn't compete I think is interesting - that a test demands a movement NOW.  Personally I think this is why competing is harder than a training session at home - but surely if our aim is to have a horse soft, engaged and ready to perform whatever we ask - then actually competing is simply a chance to demonstrate to others that we do have a horse trained to this level..? and is actually what we're all actually aiming for?!?

    6) Finally - I know this is something that I disagree with IW on - I believe that starting more "advanced" work is actually a means to improving the basics.  If we all waited to perfect a 20m circle before we progressed then we'd never actually leave the arena!!  But for me the key is not working on the higher stuff whilst neglecting the basics - but continually going back and checking and improving the foundations.

     For me at least, I know this works - I experienced Candy's best canter ever on Saturday - when the overall feeling was of being scooped up by her back and carried upwards - whilst being soft in her jaw and neck. And this on a horse that basically couldn't canter 2 years ago. For me, and for my horse,  the more French approach is working...

    Right - late for bed!! Hope at least some of that makes sense!!
    Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those doing it - Chinese proverb

    Sally - West Sussex, UK

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    Offline Heather

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    Re: The Counted Walk- Dr Bill Sanders
    « Reply #110 on: April 20, 2011, 06:19:58 PM »
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  • Sal, IW is not at all about perfecting the 20m circle, quite the contrary! I think she is just going through a doubting stage as to what is ethical in training a horse for our pleasure, and what isnt. It is a minefield of a subject in its own right- so subjective and personal too!- so this is what it is about, what we should expect of our horses, period.

    Offline janehon

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    Re: The Counted Walk- Dr Bill Sanders
    « Reply #111 on: April 20, 2011, 11:19:43 PM »
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  • That was a lot to catch up on!! Think some of it has gone over my head tired as I am, but can't sleep cause I hurt too much so catching up here instead!

    The bit about some tension being understandable while learning new things was what I was trying to say in my last post about Hon at the clinic, but various people said it better than me.

    I have good news after todays lesson too. I was able to make use of our poor imitation of counted walk (I feel a fraud calling it that because it isn't yet) in the warm up - we did some slow trot work, although not quite as slow as Heather had us going, and then we opened her up a bit and I had a really nice soft working trot with out much in the way of hard work by me. No stick, no spurs, just a touch of my legs to go. I was feeling really bad and riding like a right idiot - I was wobbly and crooked so it wasn't our best work but it was doable and that was pure and simple beacuse I din't have to nag her and she softened on her own which she would never have done before. OK it wasn't consistant but it proves it can happen so thank you very much. I'd never have felt confident to try this work with out having you teach us the basics - Thank you. It brought a tear to my eye this evening, I was feeling so useless and incompetant but my little horse was actually nice to ride and for the first time ever I felt like she really helped me rather than taking the mick. :wub:

    To me the important thing to remeber with this work is that the seat does most of the work - not the hands. I find I am using a lot less hand than I did before. Heather would be the first to agree it was very hardwork getting Hon to soften using fingers and forwards, using this work she does it almost on her own. When she's being spooky I have to ask for her attention but in general she is much, much better. And when allowed a bit more forward the work is already softer and more relaxed.

    Offline Candypony

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    Re: The Counted Walk- Dr Bill Sanders
    « Reply #112 on: April 21, 2011, 08:30:13 AM »
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  • Sal, IW is not at all about perfecting the 20m circle, quite the contrary! I think she is just going through a doubting stage as to what is ethical in training a horse for our pleasure, and what isnt. It is a minefield of a subject in its own right- so subjective and personal too!- so this is what it is about, what we should expect of our horses, period.

    hmm yes, I think I had noticed it had progressed to that... for me I consider two things - firstly that my horse 3 or 4 days of the week does exactly what she pleases within the boundaries of the yard routine - she gets turned out, she gets fed and someone even collects her poo up for her! For the rest of the week she might be asked to do an hour of "work" - not a hard bargain in my book. 

    Secondly I'm not at all convinced that horses don't enjoy being challenged and feel proud of themselves when they feel stronger and more capable and more in tune with their rider.  Maybe I'm anthropomorphising (blimey is that a big word) - but I do liken it a little to when a human decides to get fit - at first it's horrid, everything's hard work, you ache afterwards, you even risk injury if you're not careful - but gradually things get a little easier - sure you still challenge yourself but the point at which it's really hard work moves.  To watch a horse ridden that has been trained with patience but fair discipline for me is like watching ballet - joyful, light and thrilling - but I'm equally sure that it's very likely that not one of those horses WANTED to start the work at the beginning so the human made that decision for them.  Poise takes strength after all.
    Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those doing it - Chinese proverb

    Sally - West Sussex, UK

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    Offline night-mare

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    Re: The Counted Walk- Dr Bill Sanders
    « Reply #113 on: April 22, 2011, 11:24:01 AM »
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  • No I dont think you are  anthropomorphising CP or not a lot anyway. Heather was laughing at my mare at her last clinic as she apparently was looking very smug when we got something new correct. She is not a straightforward soul- my mare that is , not Heather :o, and i need to be tactful and clear but she positively flounces when she knows she has been clever :rolleyes:
    My dtr's little eventer was a real stresshead if he got something wrong- he was a very competent 2* star boy who really knew his job. He would actually stamp a front foot if he or she messed up and make the most ridiculous faces and noises when he had been particularly clever- in his opinion :dev:

    Offline Heather

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    Re: The Counted Walk- Dr Bill Sanders
    « Reply #114 on: April 22, 2011, 04:22:08 PM »
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  • I agree absolutely Chris- certainly many horses have very unique characters if they are allowed to express themselves, within safe boundaries of course! Your mare is one of them! She is almost pony like in intelligence- despite being over 17 hands! She is a hoot, but then that is because you have not repressed her natural sense of humour.  :nod: Lovely, lovely mare- so elegant, and such a character!