Finally got him to stretch...

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Finally got him to stretch...

This is a discussion on Finally got him to stretch... within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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        10-26-2010, 07:16 PM
    Finally got him to stretch...

    My horse Grumpy is a pinto Appendix, and has always been a little resistant to stretching down in our warm-ups and in the stretchy circles in Training Level and Prix Caprilli. On a typical Saturday, I go to another barn that runs a therapeutic riding program to volunteer. However, this past Saturday my BM was having her birthday party in the afternoon, so I went for a lesson Saturday morning and I finally got the idea of stretching into Grumpy's thick skull, LOL.

    We had a typical warm-up in the indoor arena, attempting to get him to stretch with little success. My trainer likes to mix it up a bit and had us move to the outdoor grass arena for the rest of the lesson. Once we got out there and picked up the trot again, Grumpy started using his hind end and reaching down towards contact on a loose rein.

    I have been working with this horse for a year and a half. When I first rode him, he was green broke. He's now super-responsive to leg and seat aids, but this was my first time getting a true stretch out of him and I just wanted to share this personal victory with you all.

    And I'm very glad that we achieved this, with the new TL1 having a stretchy circle :).
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        10-26-2010, 07:32 PM
    That's excellent. Of course the million dollar question is, can you remember what you did to finally get him to stretch? Every time I get something new and wonderful out of my horse, I'm never quite sure what I did!
        10-26-2010, 07:39 PM
    I sure hope so :). I rode him again on Sunday for a little while and he was stretching really well, but this weekend's going to be the real test.
    He's intelligent, but it takes a while to get the first step. Once he understands what I'm asking, he picks it up really quickly, so hopefully it'll be less difficult from here on out.
        10-27-2010, 11:20 AM
    That's awesome!
    If you do happen to remember just how to get him to stretch you should share. ;) I'm having a similar problem with my gelding.
        10-27-2010, 04:02 PM
    It took a lot of leg and a lot of timing. I pushed him forward more so than I have before on a long rein with a little bit of steady contact, and when he started to stretch down, I used my arms to give him a release while keeping the same contact, if that makes sense.

    I think the reason that it took so long was that my release wasn't quick enough when he started to stretch down, so instead of keeping the same amount of contact with his mouth, there was more.
        10-27-2010, 09:13 PM
    Very astute observation. Your description is good. Could also be that YOU have become a more balanced rider. IT's hard for a horse to do the stetchy cicle if the rider can't balance very well ove the back without any use of hand/rein to maintain balance. Give yourself some credit.!
        10-28-2010, 04:13 PM
    Thanks, tinyliny.

    We've been doing a lot of cavaletti, trot/canter poles, etc., which I think have helped both of us to be more balanced. We've started jumping, too, and since then I've learned to be a lot more precise in all of my releases and especially over jumps, so I think that may have contributed as well.

    stretch, using hind end

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