You probably don’t read these QOTMs to be told you’re all up the creek with horse problems with no solutions. In this case that’s just semi-true. Some problems have better solutions than dressage ones.
This is a tough one. It may just be that you can’t. Seven means his collected walk is “fairly good” after all, that is, without major flaws. Obviously the score implies that his rhythm is pure, and the “activity” comments indicate he’s putting himself into it.
The short answer is NO! Rearing is a complicated issue, and how people define it varies a great deal. Does yours get a too little light in front? Does he actually get his front end up in the air? Or does he do it to the extent that he appears to lack any sense of self-preservation—the “we are all going to die together now” mode?
In Training 3 and First 3 the figure for the trot and for the canter IS a loop. In the walk it is not. Then it is ridden like a “VEE.” Bend coming off the track at the corner, totally straight horse out to X, briefly bend as you change direction, straight back to the “arrival letter,” and a brief bend back onto the track.
I like this question and I am also pleased that turn on the forehand has been included in the First Level Rider Test. Just as in the distant past when leg yielding was deemed unsuitable for inclusion in the tests (See “My Leg Goes Where?” on the Media Productions page of the website), turns on the forehand have been eschewed by some who claim “It puts horses on the forehand.” Others insist that it should only be used at the very beginning of the horse’s training and then abandoned in favor of shoulder-fore and other movements. Having been trained for years in the Scandinavian tradition, where leg yielding is done without bringing the rider’s inside leg behind the girth and turns on the forehand are performed in motion—not from the halt—and always with the horse thinking forward into the reins, I reject those arguments.
This is related to the recent QOTM about the Rein Back. Sorry to say, we’re in classic Vending Machine territory again! Horses that “guess” just aren’t on the aids enough. Easy to diagnose, hard to fix, but you just have to be quicker and more innovative than he is.
Let’s take the second question first. If the Friesian’s Rein Back 1) comes from a balanced, immobile, and square halt; 2) if he backs maintaining a round topline without resistance; 3) if he marches back in unconstrained, relaxed (appearing to be) diagonal pairs; 4) if he stays straight; and 5) if he takes the desired number of steps and moves off promptly without squaring up first, you have just made a really good Rein Back! If he steps higher as a function of his breed characteristic and not from tension, the judge should totally ignore it.
I like this question because it’s one I was guilty of asking back in the day. Even watching Major Lindgren the first time at the National Instructors Seminar, I wanted to interrupt and say, “Why don’t you just tell her to . . .?”
This answer is easy, and I doubt you’ll find anyone who would disagree. Colonel Mustard with the lead pipe? Miss Scarlett with the candlestick? No, it’s you with the whip. Here’s why.
The short answer is YES. Followed by a large “But.” Your legs will get stronger; your horse may just become more dull. Lots of times strength isn’t the issue because as has been said many times, it’s not the volume of pressure on the horse’s sides (witness their non-reaction to the girth) that matters. It’s the changes in the pressure which convey meaning.