Controlling the outside shoulder?
   

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Controlling the outside shoulder?

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  • Controlling the outside shoulder
  • Dressage controlling the shoulder

 
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    03-23-2010, 06:38 PM
  #1
Trained
Controlling the outside shoulder?

I seem to be missing a piece of the puzzle. I've spent the past 2 years working on training and first level dressage with my OTTB. We're getting very close to finding the elusive consistent contact that has always been my achiles heel. For the most part, we've got good communication with both reins, legs and seat. That being said, when he does try to avoid an aid, he always escapes out the same front passenger door, that outside shoulder. It is mostly when we're on his stronger side. It happens to be my stronger side to, so hopefully that cancels things out a bit. I'm just not sure where I'm missing it. If I'm on a circle, I try to keep that outside leg present but not nagging, I try to keep my inside shoulder open and supple since I am prone to locking it at times. I pretty much keep the outside rein practically touching his neck, but he still tries to blow me off. I think if he were more supple in that direction it would help, but I'm not sure on how to proceed. I already use leg yield, shouder-in and haunches-in to try to soften his stiff side. Any idea on what I might be missing? Sorry I wrote a book. I am just trying to provide as much info as possible.
     
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    03-24-2010, 04:51 AM
  #2
Trained
It sounds like it's an outside rein problem. You would be amazed at how much a horse can do with 5cm give in the outside rein. You need to close every escape point and leave only one option. So yes, outside leg but essentially your outside rein is what is going to keep that outside shoulder. If he tries to duck out with the outside shoulder, Give him a good hold with your outside rein (hold the saddle cloth if need be) and keep an 'open door' with your inside rein. Try to make it very obvious to him that if he ducks out with the outside shoulder, it is going to be hard for him, but if he goes where YOU want him to go, then life is far easier.
     
    03-24-2010, 09:24 AM
  #3
Trained
Yep, exactly as Kayty said - Outside Rein.

Nelson is very well known for popping that shoulder and the way I bring it back, or prevent it from popping, is by pressing that outside rein on his neck/shoulder.

When I rode with Beitre Herbeirt Siebel *sp?* one of the Spanish Riding School's riders/trainers a while ago, he said "Your seat rides the back end. Your legs ride the ribs, and your hands ride the shoulders"

That has always stuck with me. Your hands do not ride the mouth, they ride the shoulders. My rides have changed since I was able to experience his clinic.
     
    03-24-2010, 10:15 AM
  #4
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck    
I seem to be missing a piece of the puzzle. I've spent the past 2 years working on training and first level dressage with my OTTB. We're getting very close to finding the elusive consistent contact that has always been my achiles heel. For the most part, we've got good communication with both reins, legs and seat. That being said, when he does try to avoid an aid, he always escapes out the same front passenger door, that outside shoulder. It is mostly when we're on his stronger side. It happens to be my stronger side to, so hopefully that cancels things out a bit. I'm just not sure where I'm missing it. If I'm on a circle, I try to keep that outside leg present but not nagging, I try to keep my inside shoulder open and supple since I am prone to locking it at times. I pretty much keep the outside rein practically touching his neck, but he still tries to blow me off. I think if he were more supple in that direction it would help, but I'm not sure on how to proceed. I already use leg yield, shouder-in and haunches-in to try to soften his stiff side. Any idea on what I might be missing? Sorry I wrote a book. I am just trying to provide as much info as possible.

Your dressage whip does NOT have to be on the inside. Failing that you can use two whips (many top riders/trainers do).
     
    03-24-2010, 11:54 AM
  #5
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder    
Your dressage whip does NOT have to be on the inside. Failing that you can use two whips (many top riders/trainers do).
Thank you! Two whips works wonders on a horse who's too smart for one, and likes to wiggle the body at every opportunity.

I have also ridden the circle with counter flexion to help with this issue. And then to test it, ride the circle in shoulder-fore/shoulder-in.
     
    03-24-2010, 04:35 PM
  #6
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder    
Your dressage whip does NOT have to be on the inside. Failing that you can use two whips (many top riders/trainers do).
Huh? Dressage whip? I don't ride with a whip or spurs. My aids are all attached to me. Thanks for the tips. I agree it's an outside rein issue, but I am worried that if I shut the door more on his shoulder, he'll try to swing his haunches out to evade again, and then I'll have a new problem. He's a very willing, but very smart horse. If I correct with A, he gives me B. I fix B, then he comes up with C. I get a kick out of people who claim they're bored with their riding because I don't think I've worked on the same thing twice since I've had this horse. Mercedes, thanks for the suggestion. I'll try the counter-flexion idea. Sounds challenging but effective.
     
    03-24-2010, 05:02 PM
  #7
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck    
Huh? Dressage whip? I don't ride with a whip or spurs. My aids are all attached to me. Thanks for the tips. I agree it's an outside rein issue, but I am worried that if I shut the door more on his shoulder, he'll try to swing his haunches out to evade again, and then I'll have a new problem. He's a very willing, but very smart horse. If I correct with A, he gives me B. I fix B, then he comes up with C. I get a kick out of people who claim they're bored with their riding because I don't think I've worked on the same thing twice since I've had this horse. Mercedes, thanks for the suggestion. I'll try the counter-flexion idea. Sounds challenging but effective.
Counter flexion is another very good idea.

But basically you are looking at the wrong area to fix. I will flick my whip at a shoulder when I see it STARTING to deviate but the real problem in in the rear. You should look at getting a PAIR of whips for that way a correction can be made on either side of the horse IMMEDIATELY.

Your horse is crooked. If my horse swung his haunches out as an evasion for a correction then it is YOUR job to align the FRONT to the REAR not the rear to the front. Best way is to ride aggressively forward to straighten the horse.
     
    03-24-2010, 05:04 PM
  #8
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck    
If I correct with A, he gives me B. I fix B, then he comes up with C.
But eventually, the alphabet runs out of letters and so will he. So keep fixing. The bag of tricks does have a bottom, it just happens to be deeper with some horses.
     
    03-25-2010, 08:06 PM
  #9
Trained
Ahhh, you gotta love flexion. Right off the bat during out warmup, I started flexing his poll left and right at the walk. Immediately he started softening. As he's chewing politely on the bit, it occurs to me that I was trying to shut a door that was locked. I didn't have enough flexion and was blocking my own aids. When I started trotting, I went through my checklist and found that indeed was not asking for enough flexion when traveling on his stiff direction. I couldn't see his inside eyelash no less his eye. As soon as I fixed it, that outside rein magically started working again. I proceeded to have a fantastic ride as I trotted and cantered along the rail throwing in nice round 20 meter circles whenever I asked. Love those lightbulb moments. Flexion is the key that unlocks the horse. Thanks for the input!
     

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