break at the poll - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 02-15-2010, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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break at the poll

I was thinking about it and my first post about being on the bit, I didn't get the answers I was looking for, I was talking about breaking at the poll, but I said getting your horse on the bit

So I have 3 questions:
1.) Is breaking at the poll essential during beginning stages of training?(she knows basics)
2.)Will it come naturally through getting more impulsion, or do you have to have your horse on the vertical to get the impulsion?
3.)how should I go about teaching it, because of some previous posts about being on the bit made me weary that the trainer at my barn is teaching me to do it wrong.
4.)Should I be teaching her to give to the bit vertically?

She say's I should hold until she gives and then release, to get her to give to the bit, and this has sounded right to me until I started reading up on dressage, and it confused me because it sounds like the horses frame should come naturally through impulsion, but I may have misunderstood, as it may have been talking about through the body (i.e. Rounding of the back..etc.) ONLY.


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post #2 of 28 Old 02-15-2010, 12:09 AM
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It's hard to get impulsion with out softness through the poll but breaking at the poll doesn't mean you have impulsion. You are on the right track with the advice from your trainer.

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post #3 of 28 Old 02-15-2010, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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I know that it doesn't create it, but that's what I meant if it would help with achieving it. Thanks


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post #4 of 28 Old 02-15-2010, 09:44 PM
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My trainer tauht me to 'push' rena forward, then supple with the reins a little to encourage him to soften his jaw. Because sometimes when you push them forward, they brace with their back which gets them to clamp with their jaw.
That's how I got my horse relaxed and swingy through her back. That's how I get them over the back, which I think is the same thing that yoru trainer calls breaking at the poll :)

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post #5 of 28 Old 02-15-2010, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dani9192 View Post

1.) Is breaking at the poll essential during beginning stages of training?(she knows basics)
It is incorrect to be focusing on the head. When all is right in the world 'behind', the head looks after itself. The head falling freely from the poll is the result of engagement. So, in the beginning, you will not have it because the horse will not be strong or supple enough to achieve it.

Quote:
2.)Will it come naturally through getting more impulsion, or do you have to have your horse on the vertical to get the impulsion?
Impulsion is something different than I believe you think it is. Engagement first, THEN impulsion. Impulsion is the change of 'forward' energy into 'upward' energy.

Again, the focus is not on the head, but on the hindquarter.

Quote:
3.)how should I go about teaching it, because of some previous posts about being on the bit made me weary that the trainer at my barn is teaching me to do it wrong.
You don't teach it...as per what I've said above. It is a result of correctly riding the horse haunches.

Quote:
4.)Should I be teaching her to give to the bit vertically?
No.

First forward, then the training scale: rhythm/relaxation, suppleness, CONTACT (that's 'acceptance of contact, NOT 'on the bit'), impulsion, straightness, collection.

The head WILL be where it needs to be if you follow the training scale.

Quote:
She say's I should hold until she gives and then release, to get her to give to the bit, and this has sounded right to me until I started reading up on dressage, and it confused me because it sounds like the horses frame should come naturally through impulsion, but I may have misunderstood, as it may have been talking about through the body (i.e. Rounding of the back..etc.) ONLY.
The horse should 'seek' contact, not have contact 'taken'. When the horse is forward, relaxed, rhythmic and supple...the next step - CONTACT (acceptance), will be there. It is at THAT time that you may 'test' that acceptance by doing the stretchy trot circle; lengthening the horse's frame, then bring the horse's frame back up - the horse should not change its balance, cadence, tempo. If the horse does not follow the lengthening rein down, or the shortening rein back up, then the horse does not seek contact and therefore does not accept contact, therefore is lacking in one or a combination of: forward, relaxed, rhythmic, supple.
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post #6 of 28 Old 02-16-2010, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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how do I get her to seek contact?


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post #7 of 28 Old 02-16-2010, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dani9192 View Post
how do I get her to seek contact?
Very simply, with steady hands and riding from back to front, as others have said. Remember, she's going to be seeking/accepting not only contact on the bit, but from ALL of the aids if she's correct. Seeking contact with your seat, leg, etc. aids in addition to the bit. Contact is not about the bit alone, not in this sense. Sometimes I wonder how all of these head and bit centric terms arose when its really all about the back end. Classical lunging with side reins may be of some help to you and your mare, but do do that with a trainer since that can be tricky to do correctly and the last thing that you want to do is untrain before you can train.

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post #8 of 28 Old 02-16-2010, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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ahh! Everything is so confusing.. these are supposed to be things to get her to work over her back and it seems like you need to get them to work over their back to do these things.

Okay, so starting from scratch.. what should be the first thing I work on to engage her hind end?


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post #9 of 28 Old 02-16-2010, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Dani9192 View Post

Okay, so starting from scratch.. what should be the first thing I work on to engage her hind end?
I told you everything you need to know.

First forward, then the training scale: rhythm/relaxation, suppleness, CONTACT (that's 'acceptance of contact, NOT 'on the bit'), impulsion, straightness, collection.
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post #10 of 28 Old 02-16-2010, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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thanks everybody!
She accepts contact of all my aids so I THINK I have that down.
If she's forward, does it just mean she goes when I ask her to?
All of the rest will come through exercises?
I hope you guys don't mind all of my questions, it's just i'm trying to get started in dressage and I want to have a full grasp of everything before I do really. Since it's winter I figured it would be a good time to learn everything before I really start training for it this spring.


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