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This is a discussion on Bending... within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Flexion and bending dressage
  • Bending in dressage

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    10-26-2009, 08:26 PM

Well my first CT with the horse I ride, Terminator, is in two weeks and she doesn't really bend. I want to attempt the W/T/C dressage test but... she doesn't bend. She was a trained barrel racer so her turns are superb but again, she doesn't bend. My former horse would either not bend or overbend (which we were working on when he left) and my current horse bends when he's listening.

So... any tips or tricks for making a Western trained horse to bend?

(I thought Dressage riders could help since Dressage horses are amazing =D )
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    10-26-2009, 08:33 PM
To help bend and flexion (it does actually help) get a carrott and make the horse follow the carrot and bend up down left and right about 3 times a day and they will be more supple and flexible
    10-26-2009, 08:38 PM
Shoot, forgot to say something =D

Termy does bemnd, but only when standing still or REALLY sharp turns. And she bends really well then. But walking, trotting, cantering... not so much.

And bubblegum, I forgot about that trick, thanks! =D
    10-26-2009, 08:42 PM
Whenever I see the shows with the mostly western trainers on RFDTV, the first thing they work on for suppling is to bend the horse around the inside leg. It's MUCH more extreme than the dressage version of flexion where you just flex the inside rein enough to see the inside nostil and eye. With the western guys, they pretty much try to get the horse's nose to touch his own belly. At the halt, drop the outside rein and then gently take contact on the inside rein and bring it back toward your hip. If the horse braces against the contact, bump her with your inside leg the get the whole body into the bend. As soon as she gives to the bit, release the contact. Repeat on the other side. Do it to both sides a few times until you get a response that your satisfied with. She'll probably turn around in circles before coming to a halt and giving to the contact. It's just her way of saying she's stiff. When my horse feels extra stiff, I do that exercise at the walk and apply my inside leg in a pulsing way to keep him moving. We bend around in little circles one way, straighten for a few strides, and then go the other way. It might work for you. Can't hurt to try.

If she supples to that, move onto shallow serpentines to try to keep her supple while moving without such drastic bending as the above exercise.

Good luck. Stiff horses are a challenge. It's like riding a piece of plywood.
    10-26-2009, 08:49 PM
Awesome MyBoyPuck, very helpful =D I shall try that ASAP.

And she's not really a piece of plywood... she just doesn't bend like an English horse should.
    11-02-2009, 04:05 PM
When a horse bends they bend in their ribcage - so they need the riders leg to bend around.

So if you're riding a circle to the right your right leg is at the girth and the horse is bending their ribcage around your right leg - NOT just bending their neck or not just putting their haunches in.

Teach the horse shoulder fore/shoulder in and haunches in then horse will be abel to bend, so you can warm up the bending at the walk which will translate to the trot and canter (if done correctly).

bending horse

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