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Double Bridles

This is a discussion on Double Bridles within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Lateral flexion difficult in double bridle

View Poll Results: Double Bridles
They are a great teaching aid 22 51.16%
I use them all the time 0 0%
They are unneccesary and cruel 4 9.30%
Don't have an opinon 17 39.53%
Voters: 43. You may not vote on this poll

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    12-28-2012, 01:29 PM
  #131
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnavas    
What we really want is for the horse to stretch it's neck over the nose - imagine pushing the ears forward away from you rather than bringing the nose in.
i just wanted to say that that (quoted above) is a FANTASTIC visual - thank you for sharing! :)
     
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    12-28-2012, 02:17 PM
  #132
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnavas    
If there is problems with crokedness then it is imperitive that you school in a snaffle as the horse MUST go forwards first in rhythm, then comes suppleness developed through systematic work in the school, circles, loops and serpentines for lateral suppleness and transitions between and within paces for longitudinal suppleness. When the horse is supple he is more able to maintain an even contact, neither raising his head above the bit, becoming overbent or leaning on the bit.

The double will mask many of these symptoms and will often stifle forward movement - the horse feels improved but often is not working throough.

The curb for a time will encourage the horse to bring it's nose in as the chain acting as a fulcrum tightens around the jaw, and the leverage generates poll pressure. What we really want is for the horse to stretch it's neck over the nose - imagine pushing the ears forward away from you rather than bringing the nose in.
I've been working the last 6 months on getting my very high headed arabX mare to stretch down. She had absolutely NO Rhythm when I first rescued her, could not halt squarely with out taking three to four funny steps, totally untrusting of any bit/leg pressure, over flexes at the pole, and very anxious.

But now I can honestly say that she WANTS to stretch down -- It feels good to her! I do serpentines, other exercises and just now started leg yielding. Teaching a horse to stretch benefits the horse so much and it is a SHAME more people do not understand its importance.

I am slowly asking my mare to bring her front end up (after doing the above exercises for about 10-15 min) and gain a little more collection, but then I release her and let her stretch. And I know she is understanding what I am asking her because she does not over flex half as much as she used to

Oh, and for bits, I alternate between a baucher bit and a french-link (I'm trying to see what she feels more comfortable in) She does not chew as much with the baucher so maybe she likes it more?

I do not believe in draw reins at all or putting more metal in the horse's mouth. Unfortunately, I have a friend who owned a beautiful 17H OTTB and she used a lot of hardware on him:

I watched her ride him one day and it was incredibly frustrating because her position was falling forward, her arms/hands were strait and very low and never let the horse stretch. She tried keeping him locked in frame but his back was completely hallowed and it looked like he was prancing on his toes... :(

She loved him very much but she was doing everything wrong . . .
Weezilla likes this.
     
    12-29-2012, 11:42 AM
  #133
Weanling
Horses to NOT 'like to carry themselves crookedly', they do so because they are out of balance. And if a horse is hollowing, it is because of a reaction to the rider's hand or timing.

If a horse is pushed into over tempo, it will tend to hollow. And, It is up to the rider to learn how to properly apply a half halt (not push with the leg/hold with the hand), but to pulse an aid. And most times hh are lightly vertical, not with a fisted hand. Of course the kind of hh chosen (bilateral/diagonal/lateral) depends upon what is required of the horse. IF a hh works properly the horse will flex all the hind leg joints more effectively and shorten the base of support. I would say if the horse is crooked, then it is the type of hh chosen.

I do believe that a rider should learn to use a full bridle as they go up the levels, complete with the 8 different 'reinholds' as needed (including 2:2 (normal hold/schultheis/etc), 3:1 (for starting horses), 4:1 (helps with piaffe). The uses of the bits are very distinctive/specific and for FINESSE (snaffle is to be more up/open/active, curb to lower/close). If a curb of the full bridle is chosen only to 'fix the situation' the horse will likely become more crooked as a reaction.
     
    12-29-2012, 02:21 PM
  #134
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by equitate    
Horses to NOT 'like to carry themselves crookedly', they do so because they are out of balance. And if a horse is hollowing, it is because of a reaction to the rider's hand or timing.

If a horse is pushed into over tempo, it will tend to hollow. And, It is up to the rider to learn how to properly apply a half halt (not push with the leg/hold with the hand), but to pulse an aid. And most times hh are lightly vertical, not with a fisted hand. Of course the kind of hh chosen (bilateral/diagonal/lateral) depends upon what is required of the horse. IF a hh works properly the horse will flex all the hind leg joints more effectively and shorten the base of support. I would say if the horse is crooked, then it is the type of hh chosen.

I do believe that a rider should learn to use a full bridle as they go up the levels, complete with the 8 different 'reinholds' as needed (including 2:2 (normal hold/schultheis/etc), 3:1 (for starting horses), 4:1 (helps with piaffe). The uses of the bits are very distinctive/specific and for FINESSE (snaffle is to be more up/open/active, curb to lower/close). If a curb of the full bridle is chosen only to 'fix the situation' the horse will likely become more crooked as a reaction.
Horses do carry themselves crookedly - just like humans they will have one side more dominant than the other. If they didn't carry themselves crookedly then we wouldn't spend many hours doing exercises to straighten them.

Hollowing can be the result of a number of things - not just the effect of the rider on the horses back, including pain from ill fitting tack and injury. Horses with sore hcks will often move hollow.

Please explain your technical jargon! Highlighted in red
     
    12-29-2012, 06:07 PM
  #135
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnavas    
Horses do carry themselves crookedly - just like humans they will have one side more dominant than the other. If they didn't carry themselves crookedly then we wouldn't spend many hours doing exercises to straighten them.

Hollowing can be the result of a number of things - not just the effect of the rider on the horses back, including pain from ill fitting tack and injury. Horses with sore hcks will often move hollow.

Please explain your technical jargon! Highlighted in red
I'm inferring that it's the different ways of holding the double reins that is being referred to? Although each has pros and cons, once you've found one that works well for you it's not imperative that you ride in all of the holds... as long as you ride correctly in whichever hold you choose it shouldn't matter *that* much.

Just if you're interested: Double bridle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
    12-31-2012, 12:13 AM
  #136
Weanling
Over the years, from starting youngsters who most of the time ARE straight, and from experimenting with having a left handed rider ride my horses as well, I have found horses to be remarkably straight. Why? Because they are quardrpeds, and we are bipeds.

We spend hours straightening them because they are trapezoidal in shape (wider behind than in front), so we must either align inside fore/hand (greener horses) or outside hind/outside front (trained horses capable of greater lateral flexiblity). For greater reference on this read Maringer's Horses are Made to be Horses.

Horses when they are free are merely up/open/free/active. The response to the (rider's) hand is just that. We either inspire confidence or do not. Yes, horses can be off (which is clear), or have sore backs (which is equally clear).

A half halt is usually a vertical action (to effect the corners of the mouth) and therefore change the balance of the horse and hence how the hindlegs are used (this action is usually bilateral: meaning both hands are lightly lifted). There are also diagonal hh-which is inside leg to outside rein (for straighten), and lateral hh (ie inside hand/inside leg-ie for leg yielding). Effective hh change the action of the hind legs, flexing all the joints more effectively.

Are you asking what the kinds of reinhold (ways of holding the snaffle, or the snaffle and curb) are? Not sure what you are asking? 2:2 means two reins in each hand, 3:1 (means both curbs and the outside snaffle in one, and a single snaffle in the inside), and 4:1 is all the reins in one hand. (A good reference for this is Podhajsky and the french cavalry manual). Each of the reinholds have a VERY specific action of the rider and therefore a very specific (set of) reaction(s) in the horse.
     
    12-31-2012, 12:52 AM
  #137
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by equitate    
A half halt is usually a vertical action (to effect the corners of the mouth) and therefore change the balance of the horse and hence how the hindlegs are used (this action is usually bilateral: meaning both hands are lightly lifted). There are also diagonal hh-which is inside leg to outside rein (for straighten), and lateral hh (ie inside hand/inside leg-ie for leg yielding). Effective hh change the action of the hind legs, flexing all the joints more effectively.
So regarding this - my gelding has a strong tendency to lead with his shoulders in the leg yield and just walk/trot diagonally... we're not ready for it in canter yet... so I have been advised to half-halt him with my outside rein and shift my inside leg back a little. Is this correct?

His response is usually to give me a leg yield but with excessive flexion of the head/neck. I feel like I'm asking wrong, but this is how I was told to ask by a friend who rides third level, so I'm not sure...

I bring him into it with a bilateral half halt to straighten him and shift his weight to his hindquarters [he is very long so this is difficult and he struggles to maintain it], and swiftly following, a leg and weight aid. I get the best, straightest results if I keep looking straight ahead. I have him quite good and soft in walk but haven't managed more than half a step in trot. If I don't lead with the bilateral half halt he ignores the leg aid completely.

This is a horse that has been incredibly stubborn about his laterals - the person who helped me teach/re-establish the leg yield was shocked at just how hard it was - but I now ride with a whip and on occasion spurs, and he is better. He is best in a 'false double' - pelham with double reins - I think because I can lift his shoulder more easily, but still reasonable in a snaffle.

The pelham is our jumping bit, but before I put him over any fences I always warm him up on the flat and run through everything we have been working on, hence I know he seems to go better in it. I would actually jump in a true double if he had the room in his mouth for two bits purely because the more refinement we have, and separation from snaffle/curb action, the happier I am that he has the option to respond to a light aid first.
     
    12-31-2012, 01:05 AM
  #138
Weanling
Perhaps this needs a separate thread (about LY). If a horse leads with the shoulders they are too bended imho, rather than just lightly flexed at the atlas/axis. Ideally start it in walk (perhaps in trot, imho rarely in canter). And also realize there is LY on a diagonal line (straight through the body), and spiraling out (with bend) with is yielding to the leg (rather than LY per se).

Think about inside aids asking the horse to move/over (pulse/relax). If the horse starts to lead use outside hh to go again straight (parallel to the long side). There are MANY thoughts of where to use the inside leg. IF one starts with head to the wall LY, then it might be used behind the girth, but generally speaking it is pulsed closer to the girth.

Also if there is excessive flexion, ask why. Too much inside rein? Not keeping the outside connection? Working head to the wall helps both the rider and the horse learn what keeps the horse straight through the body, and what combo creates too much angle or too much bend, etc.

For sure the rider should look straight (between the ears), which in LY is slightly away from the direction of travel (vs into it in half pass).

Horses are not stubborn about much, they merely look to the path of least resistance. That is why LY head to the wall (initially) is the best plan, and ALL lateral work is initially only held for a few steps.
     
    12-31-2012, 01:17 AM
  #139
Trained
Yes too much flexion is an issue, but only once I get him to move his butt and shoulders sideways at the same rate - otherwise he just takes half a step sideways with his shoulders then goes in a straight line! This is what I mean by leading with the shoulders... he ditches the lateral because it's easier and he's lazy.

I think too much inside rein is the issue with the excessive head/neck flexion when he DOES offer something remotely resembling correct leg yield, I have a really bad habit of taking up too much inside rein doing the basics so it wouldn't surprise me if I was worse doing laterals. I definitely don't drop the outside connection because if I do he always "leads with his shoulders". We can get a decent shoulder fore and I've gotten a few strides at a time of travers in walk and trot but leg yield for some reason is an utter nightmare. Most likely I'm asking wrong especially if he knows shoulder fore and travers. We can get a stride or two of the very beginnings of renvers as well but this is not established... heck I don't even know if I'm asking right, I'm more of a jumper rider than dressage... and what I do know is mostly self-taught.

I think this horse is better educated than he's letting on to be perfectly honest! He is VERY clever [half Arab] and if he's smart enough to fake lameness, which he has done on several occasions, he is most certainly smart enough to play dumb. I want to see him go under a more experienced dressage rider than myself.

Edit; I might create a thread specifically for LY later, if concentrating on giving him more room with the inside rein doesn't work. We do our LY starting from a straight line because I can't for the life of me coordinate myself to even ask for it with the circle/spiral exercise!
     
    12-31-2012, 01:46 AM
  #140
Weanling
Horses do not 'ditch things' or pretend lamenesses. They merely take the path of least resistance to work around the roadblocks we create.

Realize that for some horses LY is very difficult (and not a good exercise) because it is so imbalancing. (It is NOT a traditional exercise because of the lack of bend.)

Meanwhile pulse the aids, or do spirals (circle from one end that eventually goes to the other end of the arena...'en-larging' on the open side (ie moving from A to C).
     

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