Getting your horse on the bit/ How do you train it?
   

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Getting your horse on the bit/ How do you train it?

This is a discussion on Getting your horse on the bit/ How do you train it? within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • How to train horses
  • Reward horse gon on the bit

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    07-07-2012, 09:06 AM
  #1
Foal
Getting your horse on the bit/ How do you train it?

How do you reward when your horse goes on the bit?

I have always done it like this:

Ride inside leg to outside hand and as soon as I get a response reward with the inside rein and a pat. I would repeat until they got the message of 'this is what I want when I ask'. Unfortunately this only worked at a very slow tempo and was never consistant, and never worked when doing circles etc (they would become a giraffe). It isn't really working for me though; it takes forever and they never truly keep that frame.

How do you do it? I have always ridden inside leg to outside hand so I'd appreciate if it relates to this.


How do you reward when your horse goes on the bit?


Thanks!!!!!!!
     
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    07-07-2012, 09:55 AM
  #2
Trained
You have lessons with a good coach, you get a feel of it on a schoolmaster, and you read and read and read until you realise that 'on the bit' has nothing to do with wiggling the horse's head down and going slow because it's easier ;)

You ride forward with both legs, into a consistent elastic contact on both reins (not pulling back), maintain the tempo and hind legs with your seat....
Maybe you should just search the dressage section for 'on the bit' and 'collection' threads ;)
     
    07-07-2012, 09:55 AM
  #3
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by thekingdomofthehorse    
Unfortunately this only worked at a very slow tempo and was never consistant, and never worked when doing circles etc (they would become a giraffe). It isn't really working for me though; it takes forever and they never truly keep that frame.
You need more bend through the body

But yes, your reward is the give so that he knows there is softness there and won't tense up. If your horse isn't used to working from the hind end properly and coming up over his back, keep in mind that it is hard for him and that he will need to build all the right muscles. As he does it will be easier for him to keep moving from the hind and up into your hand.

You sound like you are on the right track. Are you working with a trainer?
     
    07-07-2012, 10:02 AM
  #4
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shasta1981    
You need more bend through the body

But yes, your reward is the give so that he knows there is softness there and won't tense up. If your horse isn't used to working from the hind end properly and coming up over his back, keep in mind that it is hard for him and that he will need to build all the right muscles. As he does it will be easier for him to keep moving from the hind and up into your hand.

You sound like you are on the right track. Are you working with a trainer?
Yes, I do have a trainer. But unfortunately she has gone overseas for a month and this was where we stopped..
     
    07-07-2012, 10:03 AM
  #5
Trained
Giving the reins when the horse drops its head isn't much of a reward. Suddenly the contact is gone and the horse throws its head.
A horse should be very established in the contact before you start giving away the reins. I got very, VERY told off by my coach, who rides at an international level, for giving away my inside rein by less then 2cm, to scratch a green horse's neck when he came through. I got told off, because at this stage in the horse's training, it is not yet balanced and confident enough in the contact yet, to support itself when you give a rein away and change your balance. The best reward you can give, is to cease applying the aid.
For instance, if you have been asking for the horse to step laterally on the circle, you'll have your inside leg on the girth and so on depending on what movement you're asking for. As soon as you get the requested movement, you don't completely abandon the horse by dropping your contact. You MAINTAIN the contact and the movement, without increasing pressure by way of applying an aid. Just leave the leg quietly at the girth, keep the contact, and the horse is happy.
kitten_Val likes this.
     
    07-07-2012, 10:07 AM
  #6
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty    
Giving the reins when the horse drops its head isn't much of a reward. Suddenly the contact is gone and the horse throws its head.
A horse should be very established in the contact before you start giving away the reins. I got very, VERY told old by my coach, who rides at an international level, for giving away my inside rein by less then 2cm, to scratch a green horse's neck when he came through. I got told off, because at this stage in the horse's training, it is not yet balanced and confident enough in the contact yet, to support itself when you give a rein away and change your balance. The best reward you can give, is to cease applying the aid.
For instance, if you have been asking for the horse to step laterally on the circle, you'll have your inside leg on the girth and so on depending on what movement you're asking for. As soon as you get the requested movement, you don't completely abandon the horse by dropping your contact. You MAINTAIN the contact and the movement, without increasing pressure by way of applying an aid. Just leave the leg quietly at the girth, keep the contact, and the horse is happy.

THANKYOU! Exactly what I needed to hear :)
     
    07-07-2012, 04:34 PM
  #7
Foal
If you're without a trainer for a month I would focus on just keeping the horse 'as is' so to speak. During warm-up, work on riding your horse forward into the contact before doing anything with the reins. Initially just keep a soft, elastic connection with the mouth. Ride circles, serpentines, and don't forget to change direction a few times.

Once warmed up, ask for flexion inside leg to outside rein as your trainer has been working on. Reward the horse 'giving' to your aid by softening your contact and keeping your leg on to maintain action/forward. At first (and this especially applies to young horses) the horse may not be able to maintain flexion for more than a few paces before he (or she?) comes back up. When he does, start over. Ask again, inside leg to outside rein until he responds.

What's important to realize is that being on the bit is a dynamic process, especially with young horses (or horses who are new to dressage). It's not a matter of trying to figure out the button to push & voila: horse on bit. Going on the bit (or offering longitudinal flexion/bend) is the result of the horse being forward, balanced, and seeking the contact with the rider's hands. It takes strength for the horse to be able to maintain it, and it also takes skill on the part of the rider. Once you've felt it, you will know what it's supposed to feel like.

Question: does your trainer have you ride the horse FDO (Forward, Down, Out) at all?
     
    07-07-2012, 04:44 PM
  #8
Trained
I'm actually going to sub. I have a way that has worked how I normally teach it, but our 3 yr old is having a lot of trouble getting it so I'm searching for other methods. Some things Kayty said should be helpful to him, as always she gives excellent advice. :)
     
    07-08-2012, 08:23 AM
  #9
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty    
The best reward you can give, is to cease applying the aid.
For instance, if you have been asking for the horse to step laterally on the circle, you'll have your inside leg on the girth and so on depending on what movement you're asking for. As soon as you get the requested movement, you don't completely abandon the horse by dropping your contact. You MAINTAIN the contact and the movement, without increasing pressure by way of applying an aid. Just leave the leg quietly at the girth, keep the contact, and the horse is happy.
I agree with this completely. Something my trainer once said while riding my mare really stuck with me. My mare was locking up in her jaw and generally being resistant to bending. When she finally did soften and bend, my trainer said to her, "See how pleasant I become when you do your job?" As riders, it is our job to first get the horse working correctly, and then quietly support that correctness once the horse offers it.
     
    07-08-2012, 10:04 AM
  #10
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty    
Giving the reins when the horse drops its head isn't much of a reward. Suddenly the contact is gone and the horse throws its head.
A horse should be very established in the contact before you start giving away the reins. I got very, VERY told off by my coach, who rides at an international level, for giving away my inside rein by less then 2cm, to scratch a green horse's neck when he came through. I got told off, because at this stage in the horse's training, it is not yet balanced and confident enough in the contact yet, to support itself when you give a rein away and change your balance.
Not sure if this was in response to my post, but "giving" or "offering" as I'm used to hearing it and "completely abandoning contact" (what you seem to be describing) are markedly different. From my own experience I can say that developing the level of contact that is truly correct, stable and distributed evenly has taken a while to learn and changes as you grow as a rider and team. Furthermore, and if that wasnt hard enough, it is different for every horse, making it even MORE elusive for someone learning.

What I think tends to happen in an honest effort to master this (especially with no trainer from the ground and without a schoolmaster) is that the rider will brace against the horse, horse will brace against rider and tense up, which really gets nothing done. Some horses will even take this opportunity to lean against the riders hands and freight train onto the forehand. So explaining and learning to follow, with softness and offer self carriage is is just as if not more important than asking.

Just a thought, I have no idea what this pair's issues are! (that's not a cut, we all haven 'em, and anyone who says they don't is a liar.)

OP all of this stuff is hard to learn, too and at the end of the day, no post on the Internet or page in a book will let you feel what you need to feel and that's where you really learn. Real time explanations from your trainer will be the best. (I realize he/she is not around).
     

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