Getting your horse on the bit/ How do you train it? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 14 Old 07-12-2012, 03:23 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
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Originally Posted by Kayty View Post
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.

Kayty, I just had a crystallizing "OH!" moment. I feel so stupid for not realizing it before. I've been asking for the contact then when I get it, stop asking and a couple strides later give a little scratch on the neck and then getting annoyed when an hour later he's still not being so consistent in contact lol #feelsabitdumb
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post #12 of 14 Old 07-12-2012, 04:17 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Some times Llanelian - North wales, sometimes Hull in East Yorkshire (UK)
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I find it very useful to reward the horse for going correctly.
I use my voice and let him know what a good boy he is being (he desperatly wants to please).
Dropping your contact is counter productive, so pats or scratches on the neck are out, but giving a young horse reassurance that he is doing well can help enormously.

Ride from the back end and the rest falls into place naturaly.

RIDE your horse FORWARDS and keep him STRAIGHT

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post #13 of 14 Old 07-17-2012, 07:10 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: TX
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My measly limited amount of dressage training with my trainer/USDF judge (she's judged up to *** events) taught me that 'on the bit' doesn't mean I am the one putting the horse there, he is the one seeking it out.

Does that make sense? I'm still learning, but I can understand the concept when she explains it to me that way - my yellow horse caught on very quickly and he actually 'asks' for the contact but never once leans on me.

The first lady I went to told me 'drive-drive-drive that horse into the bit' - man all I got was a ticked off horse and a bad attitude. I met this other lady who helped me SO MUCH.

But we learned it from the ground up - first with rhythm and feel, and then thru half halts and inside/outside rein and such like what is discussed here. It was just patience and lots and lots of repetition, in little steps with me asking and he giving.

In fact, he started offering up the piaffe on his own (my instructor has seen this before with other horses) with a series of half-halts after a few months. Of course there is no way he was 'fit' to sustain this! But what the heck?? It was cool, we took pics and then I dropped everything to get back into distance training......

Here is a tiny photo from his rudimentary piaffe that he offered up on his own....he was by no means muscled up to sustain this (neither had we gotten to the proper levels of collection and lacking at so much more), but it was worth of capturing a pic to show what good communication can do...who knows what he could have done with a few more years under his girth working those basics...

koty 9-2-08.jpg
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post #14 of 14 Old 07-17-2012, 07:13 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: TX
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Originally Posted by faye View Post
I use my voice and let him know what a good boy he is being (he desperatly wants to please).

MEE TOOOO - I'm always talking to them and making sounds but the trainer hates it because I can't talk to the horse in a test! I just have to learn to be super quiet because I can't stop talking to my horses.........LOL!
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