Encouraging a horse to come up and carry himself straight - Page 2

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Encouraging a horse to come up and carry himself straight

This is a discussion on Encouraging a horse to come up and carry himself straight within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    12-02-2013, 05:34 PM
A video would be helpful. However there are some good suggestions here regarding body position and rider crookedness affecting the horse.

A few other things to work on are your outside aids, and a few exercises. First of all, you must always ensure that the outside leg is slightly further back than the inside leg and that the horse responds to it in the corners by bending his haunches in and around.
The most helpful exercise for this is to trot all the way around the school, and put 3 10-12 meter circles on each longside, focusing on bending the haunches around such that the hind hooves track into the front hoof prints. Then do it in the canter with 12-15 meter circles.
Other things to do are leg yield in travers in canter, counter leg yield in canter (ie yield right in right lead canter) and spirals in and out with trot canter, and canter trot transitions.

Basically, you want to get him used to bending more around your inside leg, by using your outside aids.
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Ninamebo likes this.
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    12-02-2013, 05:40 PM
I believe that it is driving by cueing as the lead foot is hitting the ground to encourage your horse to drive harder with the next stride. Think of sitting on a snow saucer and pushing yourself with your arms to start sliding down the hill. (It's snowing SOMEPLACE in the USA right now, so I though that the analogy is apt. =)
OR think about a football receiver driving forward and pumping legs as the defense is chasing him and he wants that TOUCHDOWN!! (Did you'all see the end of last Saturday's Alabama/Auburn game?!?!? 109 yards and THAT receiver was REALLY moving.)
After landing your horse at the canter his front is "DOWN," BUT he has already committed where his BACK feet will hit.
(for the right lead, for instance)
When his L hind hits he is UP, when the R hind and L front simultaneously hit he is level, but when the R front hits he is higher in the HQ. You cue THEN, so that he reacts by reaching further with his HQ's for the very next stride.

Personally, though, I prefer downward transitions and lots of half-halting.
Ninamebo likes this.
    12-02-2013, 05:52 PM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
this is intriguing. Could you explain what you mean by riding the down stride, as opposed to the up stride?
Oh gosh.. bear with me, as now I'm standing up in my living room riding my imaginary cantering horse figuring out how to word this…

Basically when you think of a horse cantering they are rocking forward, up and under, then repeat, yes? So in theory that is what your hips should be doing with the horse so as to encourage and direct their forward movement without impeding it. Now imagine riding the cantering horse but instead your seat rocks slightly forward, down and back in the saddle. That "down" motion that your pelvis makes is at the exact time that the horse is trying to make their "up" motion, but the riders seat bars that from happening effectively, thus the shoulders cannot be freed up and will throw the horse on the forehand.

Sky- it also applies to the transition as well, but it's mainly all of it as a whole. I, too, constantly must practice my T-C transitions so as not to rush them.

I hope this all makes sense and I don't sound as though I've completely lost my marbles.. I think I'll try making a short video of this on Max as he's highly sensitive to the seat and, like I mentioned previously, a slight change in my seat completely altered his quality of the canter instantly, he comes off the forehand and doesn't dive in with his shoulders, is generally more upright and freer through his back. Maybe it would make a bit more sense to see it, this is proving challenging to describe..
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    12-02-2013, 06:02 PM
You haven't lost your marbles. As a former teacher, I KNOW that not everybody understands ONE way of explaining something. **hugs**
Personally, I would advise cavaletti work to engage and STRENGTHEN your horse's HQ's.
IMO he is falling forward bc he lacks enough muscle. Dressage movements are VERY PHYSICALLY TAXING. You don't see a stallion displaying at the Piaffe all day with mares. He only does it when he wants to make a statement.
TB racehorses Passage when they REALLY want to go but can't and people can't tense up and hold their muscles for very long bc it creates lactic acid. ONLY GOOD SOLID MUSCLE enables horses to perform these movements. When they are willing but unable then they fall forward, like you described. You might want to spend the winter muscling your guy up. =D
jaydee likes this.
    12-03-2013, 04:29 AM
Green Broke
Anebel, here is a video of our last lesson, we have improved massivly since then and please ignore the dodgey start, he threw me off balance because I had to boot him in the ribs to get him shifting (pony club kick style), It would have been a perfect instance of when to use a whip, except for the fact that carrying a whip on him has a tendancy to land me in A&E
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    12-03-2013, 04:42 AM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by faye    
Anebel, here is a video of our last lesson, we have improved massivly since then and please ignore the dodgey start, he threw me off balance because I had to boot him in the ribs to get him shifting (pony club kick style), It would have been a perfect instance of when to use a whip, except for the fact that carrying a whip on him has a tendancy to land me in A&E

To me you look quite unbalanced in trot (with your lower leg slightly too far forward) and rather flappy, I would be sorting that out before working on canter. In canter you appear very active and mobile, so I would be trying to keep more still and deeper in the seat and carry my hands more but they need to be far more still. I think there are some quite basic balance issues for you to sort out in yourself before the horse will be able to himself beautifully.
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    12-03-2013, 09:17 AM
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After watching your video I would suggest that you concentrate on getting him a lot fitter and work on increasing his strength in his quarters - get up those welsh hills - before you even think about cantering in smaller circles or any shoulder/quarters in at the canter
He's trying his little heart out and you're a very strong rider but his paces are what I would describe as 'running' - very flat, too fast and with no real elevation from collection that would suggest that he's really engaging his back end effectively and pushing himself into your hands so everything just looks rushed and disunited
    12-03-2013, 09:41 AM
After seeing the video there were a few things I noticed, first being the transition from the trot to canter, it seemed rushed and as though he fell up into it- that bad start alone will cause problems for you later in your canter work as now you already have one thing to fix in the gait. If that happened I would bring the horse back down and try it again, making sure to check and not let him rush the trot and run up into it.

As for what I was mentioning before about up/down striding, you seem to do a bit of a mix. As Clava mentioned, you have quite an active seat, but, (and I think I heard your instructor mention this as you were riding) if you thing of sitting deeper, then riding Up on his up stride, you may get a slightly more upright canter out of him.

Your legs seem to be pretty active- is this due to trying to keep your balance or is it for keeping him active/ awake?

Overall I can tell you both are working very hard at what you do- so keep it up! :)
Corporal, Clava, jaydee and 2 others like this.
    12-03-2013, 11:58 AM
If you kick him you have to be prepared for the reaction. Especially in youngsters we always have to be cautious that we don't bump the horse inadvertently when they react - either from a reinforced go or stop aid. So often I see folks not careful with legs when mounting and the horse bolting, or not careful with hands when kicking and catching the horse in the mouth and the horse becoming resentful and behind the leg.
The number one issue here is your hands. They are excessively busy. The horses head is moving left right left right almost constantly. In the crudest form, your legs are the gas pedal and your hands the brakes - this is why you have difficulty getting him to go - you are always standing a little on both pedals, and especially the brakes.
I would like to see your reins bridged with hands about 4" apart and for you to consistently be focused on pressing the hands down and away from you. A bucking strap would also be useful to grab onto so you can't just fiddle up front.
Then you must press your heels down and weight your stirrups and stop nagging him with your leg. Make clear aids and expect clear reactions.

Right now he is quite pulled into a frame up front with nothing really happening behind, so fixing your bad habits and his are top priority. However the exercises I suggested still stand. I see no issue with the horses strength, just that he is confused and in a bad habit. Once you fix these things, the transitions will sort themselves out.

Good luck!
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Corporal, Ninamebo and sarahfromsc like this.
    12-10-2013, 03:01 PM
[QUOTE=. . . Riding too much the down stride and not enough the up stride... [/QUOTE]

That makes SO much sense. So I tried it yesterday. . . Impossible!? How do you ride "up" when your horse is moving down (last footfall)? I'm obviously missing something!

This was also mentioned in a recent dressage magazine, in their rider critique article. I can see where she could be loading the horse; what I can't figure out is how she should look.

Pictures, anyone?

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