on the bit but SLOW.

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on the bit but SLOW.

This is a discussion on on the bit but SLOW. within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • When putting horse on the bit he slows down
  • Moved on the bit

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    04-04-2012, 05:37 PM
on the bit but SLOW.

So Cash will get on the bit, have a nice bend, work really well with contact and stay on the bit, but he slows wayyyy down and almost prances instead of tracking up in a nice trot. If I ask him to move out he immediately sticks his nose out.... Just keep working at it? I may be expecting to much. It just feels like we're doing a piaffe(totally not) instead of a trot.... We're only working on intro/training so I assume I'm just asking to much here, and he just can't hold it.
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    04-04-2012, 05:59 PM
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It will take time for him to build up enough muscle to keep himself rounded and moving forwards well, but once he does, he'll realize how much nicer it is than doing a girraffe trot.

I would personally warm him up long and low, don't worry about his head carriage, then gradually bring him up into himself and ask him for more contact in the mouth. If he starts to slow, have a fairly long crop with you and just give him a little nudge with it or even spurs if you're experienced with using them when he starts to slack off, without giving him any more rein. That should get him moving.
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    04-04-2012, 06:04 PM
If he's not tracking up, and pokes his nose out when you ask for impulsion, he's not really on the bit. Many horses fake head carriage very well. Think forward forward forward for awhile. Provide him with inviting contact and let him find it. Large circles are your best friend in this situation.
    04-04-2012, 06:33 PM
Ok so long and low, work on circles... knowing him he probably is faking it. When I was first working on him accepting contact he would still track up and he tracks up well at the walk.

When working on a long rein how much is too much? He sometimes reminds me of a western pleasure peanut roller other times a low set hunter, but usually stays pretty vertical.
    04-04-2012, 06:38 PM
With your elbows resting relaxed at your sides, you should still have a direct line from elbow to bit and be able to just feel your horse's mouth. The horse cannot stretch into contact if there's none there. Just play with it a bit. Do you work with a trainer?
    04-04-2012, 06:53 PM
Tuscaloosa is dominated by HJ, and my "trainer"(quotations because she was good but she is no trainer) moved, so for the past 3 months, my only direction is from a 2nd level rider at my barn... everyone else rides western. She helps me once every 2 weeks or so. I'm pretty isolated as far as trainers go.
I can travel to Birmingham to get "real" lessons, but it's a nice chunk of change to do it.
    04-04-2012, 07:01 PM
That's too bad you have little access to good trainers. Just try to think of it as pushing the horse into the bridle from behind. Have you ever read the book "Build a Better Athlete?" I found it good for grasping the beginnings of connecting my horse.
    04-04-2012, 08:23 PM
I just remembered a good exercise for connecting your horse from behind. On a very large circle at the walk, find just enough contact where you can feel the horse's mouth. Pick up a trot and trot an energetic forward trot. Do not fuss with the reins. If anything, plant your hands in front of the pommel and just keep your wrists and elbows supple enough to follow your horse's mouth. Once you have forward trot going, transition to walk for 3 to 5 steps and go back to energetic trot. Lather, rinse, repeat. The transitions get your horse to step under it's center or gravity aka using it's hind end. You will find your reins magically feeling more loose with each transistion. Take up whatever slack the provides being careful to thing push the hind end, not pull the front. It's a fantastic exercise for communicating what you want to your horse and for finding the correct amount of contact for you. Have fun with it!
    04-04-2012, 10:21 PM
Rhythm is the first step on the training scale. Without a good, forward rhythm then the horse cannot possibly be correctly doing any of the steps above it.

Forward and back transitions, spirals in and out and transitions in general will help you. You want to be feeling a strong, constant, but supple pressure in the reins from the horse's contact. It is not a dead weight, but a live feel. Up to 10lbs of pressure in each hand is OK as long as the horse is forward and in front of your leg.

Good luck!
    04-04-2012, 10:34 PM
I agree, id be concentrating more on the forward and less on the headset. The horse coming on the bit will come with time but first the other elements need to fall into place :) good luck!

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