Jackie Cochran's Blog (467)

Comfort, Revisited



The past two weeks I have been reminded by the mares I ride that horses REALLY appreciate being comfortable. The past few months I have been using the Micklem multi-bridle with snaffle bits (Dr. Bristol egg-butt and today a copper roller eggbutt snaffle.) The mares I ride do appreciate the multi-bridle, though I have had to modify some things to keep them comfortable.



Two weeks ago I changed the reins I use with Mia. The old ones I use are well broken in and I have…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on November 29, 2009 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Getting my Knees into the RIGHT PLACE



I have been spending these last two months TRYING to get my body into the Forward Seat. Though I am showing great improvement in the stability of my lower leg, I am having great difficulty in keeping my knees in the knee roll. I start out great, but as the horse moves I find that my knees migrate back toward the stirrup leathers, robbing me of both my security and my main shock absorbers. I was beginning to despair, as nothing I did kept my knees in place in the saddle, unless I…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on November 22, 2009 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Dumb, Dumb Me



I have been riding the Welsh-Arab mare Cider for a few years off and on. All this time she has been trying to get to her owner, Shannon, in the center of the ring whenever I tried riding her around the ring on loose reins (we call it her nose dive.) Since I had gotten lost in the glory of coordinating my aids to get the responses I want I mostly used this irritating habit as a wonderful chance to practice coordinating my aids properly. And I can get her to go around the ring on…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on November 15, 2009 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

Drill, Drill, Drill



First I want to thank all you people who made it through my Forward Seat Riding blogs. I found these lists in books I had never seen, or not seen for decades, and I just could not resist sharing them with all of you.



When I compare my seat with the Forward Seat ideal I am overwhelmed by my many faults. It is impossible for me to keep more than ONE thing in mind at a time, much less twelve! I concentrate on my feet and my hands wander about. I try to grip with my upper…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on November 8, 2009 at 1:00pm — No Comments

32 Faults in Position to Avoid While Jumping



Jane Marshall Dillon owned, directed, and taught riding at the Junior Equitation School in Vienna, Va. from the 1950's into the 1970's, where she taught the Forward Seat. In 1961 her wonderful book "Form Over Fences" was first published. This book is unique, it only deals with the jump, and has lots and lots of pictures to train the reader's eye, both of…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on November 1, 2009 at 12:00pm — 4 Comments

The Forward Seat Position for Jumping



The Forward Seat position for jumping adds several features to insure rider stability during the horse's vigorous movements while jumping. All the features of this seat work together, and if one is wrong then the whole position is weakened and the rider can interfere with the horse. While there are a few very talented riders who do not have to have a proper position over jumps, the normal rider will be much more secure and will interfere with the horse's efforts less when riding…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on October 25, 2009 at 10:30am — 1 Comment

The Forward Seat Position for Fast Equitation



The Forward Seat position for fast equitation is quite similar to the Forward Seat position for slow equitation. There is a logical progression in learning position in this system since riding forward seat requires physical strength, and it takes time for the rider's muscles to develop and get strong. Though the differences between the slow equitation seat and the fast equitation seat are few, they are important to develop a secure jumping position. I am quoting the same books…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on October 18, 2009 at 10:00am — 3 Comments

The Forward Seat Position for Slow Equitation



This description of the Forward Seat for Slow Equitation is from Vladimir S. Littauer's "The Forward Seat" (1935) p.34-36, with additional comments from "Common Sense Horsemanship" (1951, 1974) by the same author p. 61.



I have gotten questions about the Forward Seat position. This is probably the best description of the American System of Forward Riding. In the next two weeks I will write about the position for fast equitation and the jumping position.



This…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on October 11, 2009 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Sometimes I feel like I'm back at square one, again



This week is my first full week at using the bit.



It is interesting how the mares differ in their reactions to the change. Mia is becoming much more cooperative at obeying the bit, and she is still giving me great contact. Of course I spend a part of my riding time on loose reins. This mare is starting to stabilize (keep the same speed until the next aid.) Twice when I stopped using my leg she continued at the same speed completely on her own on loose reins!!! One was…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on October 4, 2009 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Hallelujah, I can ride with a bit again!



It has been sort of rough the past few weeks. My husband got the flu, then I started having an exacerbation on my MS, then I got the flu and could not do much for two weeks. Luckily I do not have permament harm this time, so it is back to riding!



Every year after the summer blahs I always worry if my hands are good enough to ride in a bit. Forced by the bad effects of the heat on my MS I HAVE to ride bitless during the summertime. I am so grateful for the cross-under…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on September 27, 2009 at 9:00am — 4 Comments

What Horses Mean To Me



I met my first horse (a TB I think) in 1957 in Chile. He was sooo big, and sooo tall. This horse was kind, when my little finger got taken into his mouth with the treat, he pushed it out with his tongue before chewing.



My mania for horses gave me a sort of stability through all the moves of my father's Foreign Service career. I got to ride in the foothills of the Andes, this sort of spoiled me for normal trail riding. Then my family rode on the white sand beaches in…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on September 7, 2009 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

Some Small Signs of Progress



Another wonderful week, in that I got to ride 3 times. If my energy keeps up I could get to like this!

Although the heat has started to moderate down here in NC, it is still incredibly muggy. I am grateful that those horrible flies I call buzz-bombers (you know, the ones over 1" long) have yet to appear in great numbers.



Mia surprised me Friday. The jumps in the arena were being re-arranged, with various parts of jumps temporarily being stored just outside the…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on August 31, 2009 at 2:30pm — 4 Comments

Sweet Sweet Cider



This was a wonderful week. For the first time in three months I got to ride 3 times in one week!

I got to ride Mia twice at Debbie's, which was nice. Even though it was still hot on Friday I gave up ignoring Mia's hooves and hoping that what the farrier did would be enough to see her through. So I got out my rasp and hoof knife and started on her front feet, trimming the sole a little and evening out her hoof wall. Her back feet may have to wait a few weeks as I get…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on August 24, 2009 at 1:00pm — 9 Comments

I'm so tired



Well this week I got to ride Friday and Sunday on Mia and Mars. I did not get too tired from riding Mia, the poor mare was still sore from her last trim, very reluctant to extend, but being the Arab that she is she tried to do everything I asked for even though she hurt. So I practiced my jumping position at a walk, trotted some and worked on my leg position. I did not get terribly tired.



Then on Sunday I rode Mars. He is getting resigned to being ridden again, but I…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on August 17, 2009 at 11:30am — 8 Comments

Reading Dusty Tomes of Horsemanship



I started reading non-fiction books about horses for about 47 years ago when I got my first serious horse book "Cavalcade of American Horses" by Pers Crowell. Since then I have been trying to read just about every non-fiction horse book I have run across. In 1963 I got access to books on HOW TO RIDE in my junior high school library and have been reading books on how to ride ever since. In high school I finally got access to two serious riding books, "Common Sense Horsemanship"…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on August 10, 2009 at 10:00am — 3 Comments

I did not melt in the rain



This morning the ground was wet, so I looked at the TV weather and it looked like there would be a tiny gap with no rain, so I decided I would ride anyway. Shannon thought her ring would stand up to it as we are mainly riding at a walk now. I got to the stable, it had stopped raining, so we tacked up.



Mars was a little happier today, I changed to my dressage saddle, and Shannon said he…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on August 2, 2009 at 1:00pm — 2 Comments

Mars, my stern instructor

Today I got to ride Mars at Lanolin Farm. Since Shannon had gotten all her horses in the small paddock, Mars decided to cooperate, let himself be caught at the first try and did not make too many faces over being groomed and tacked up. Just think, Shannon did not have to convince a running, bucking and kicking pony that it was time to be ridden. Sounds good, doesn't it?



But when I got up on Mars's back he WAS NOT HAPPY. Reluctant to move forward, extremely reluctant to walk in a…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on July 26, 2009 at 11:00am — No Comments

Accepting intermittent contact



Every summer I have to face the fact that my normally good hands deteriorate. My tremors increase, the sensitivity of my skin decreases, and my responses slow down. The horses I ride notice this long before anyone else, and by various means they tell me--hey, time to go bitless.



The first signal of my degredation comes when the horses I ride ACT like they are on full contact, but when I see my reins they are slightly sagging. My horses are still perfectly willing to…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on July 20, 2009 at 11:00am — No Comments

Accepting what the horse offers



Last Sunday I got to ride at Lanolin Farm, and I got to ride Mars again. Now Mars had been on an extended years long vacation due to the arthritis in his knees, and finally Mars got sound enough to ride. Mars does not necessarily WANT to end his vacation, he really likes hanging out with his buddy/girl friend Cider in the cool shade in the one place with a nice breeze. He does NOT want to carry me around in the hot sunshine, doing boring circles around the ring. It took Shannon…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on July 13, 2009 at 10:00am — 9 Comments

Rehabilitating Mia



Last July Debbie (my riding teacher) asked me to ride an Arab mare called Mia who had been abandoned at her stable. She (Mia) suffers from arthritis, and back then nobody was riding her, and as her arthritis got more painful she moved less and less. Debbie figured that I would be more patient with Mia than other riders, and being handicapped myself, that I would have more sympathy for her. Debbie just wanted to get the mare moving again, with a hope of working her up to a lesson…

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Added by Jackie Cochran on July 7, 2009 at 3:30pm — No Comments

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