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How much contact?

This is a discussion on How much contact? within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Can you have too much weight in the horsesreins
  • How much contact is too much for reins on horse

 
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    09-24-2010, 11:29 PM
  #11
Trained
;) you got it
     
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    09-24-2010, 11:48 PM
  #12
Started
I hate it when I do this... I ask a question when I actually know the answer... Gahh.
     
    09-25-2010, 02:36 AM
  #13
Super Moderator
draping reins

Eliz,
You mentioned how in a trail class you feel the bit, then you give some slack in the reins . Is this like the photo in your avatar?
That is "drape" in the reins and it is perfect! Your horse is showing a connection to the bit that is so soft, the just the weight of the rein, draping down is enought to tell him that the contact is just right and he should carry him self there. YOu set the point of contact, but your horse has to either come TO it or avoid it by coming above it below it. Once he respects that place, he can stay so lightly off it that you can put a drape into the reins. You will see this in master Vaquero riders and classical dressger riding, in old illustrations too. He, by not taking the slack out of those reins, is recognizing the point of contact as the "limit" and is respecting that with a flexion of the poll .. Only , if the horse becomes so leary of contact that it comes BEHIND the vertical and becomes overly light (and your avatar is close to that point, but not there yet) then you don't have a two way conversation.
     
    09-25-2010, 01:45 PM
  #14
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzyrider    
by the way, are you australian?
Nope, I'm from the US

I have two horses I'm looking to train in Dressage, my 'Friesian Pony' Divo, and my MFTxTWH colt. Divo I'll be competing with, the colt won't be. He'll just be learning the basic halt, go, circle, work off the seat, collection, etc. Makes for a more rounded horse.

I just wasn't sure how much contact I should be having when training them. When you watch someone preform, it almost looks like they have a huge amount of contact with the horse. In reality they probably don't

I don't have Grand Prix dreams, just ones of flowing collection.
     
    09-25-2010, 02:09 PM
  #15
Green Broke
Yuck I hate contact no offence haha! I just started too and I hate it! Lol! Anyways I do it as much as I can get Cheyenne to arch her neck lol!
     
    09-25-2010, 02:22 PM
  #16
Started
I'll chime in, even though I'm rather low on the learning totem-pole on this topic.

The analogy that has worked the best for me is to think of contact as I would talking on the telephone:

- Slack = static-y connection, so keeping the slack out of the rein and that direct line from elbow to bit makes things clear and reliable.

- "Pulling" contact = screaming into the phone unnecessarily, or even like carrying on two conversations at once. The horse has a hard time discerning an actual rein aid from the heaviness

- Lots of weight = chattering away without engaging the other person in the conversation. The person on the other end will tune out and "lean" on your talking. The horse will start to lean on your hands. Worst case scenario, you get evasion - think about trying to politely end a conversation that you'd rather not have: that's effectively what the horse is doing by ducking behind the bit.

The aim is a static-free connection without pulling, and only enough weight to maintain that as a constant feeling. I find that when I ride to this ideal (of course, being careful not to neglect the importance of riding from behind), Scout really stretches forward and rounds over his topline, develops a nice amount of foam around his mouth and starts the beginnings of breaking at the poll.

I hope that makes some kind of sense... More of the ramblings of one of the consciously incompetent at truly correct riding.
     
    09-28-2010, 09:45 AM
  #17
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by twogeldings    
So, ideally, I should have light, but firm, contact? I ride in an eggbutt snaffle, western bridle. The Australian (unfortunately, a 16" seat) that I currently have is my first 'Englishy' saddle I've ever ridden in since a lesson a few years ago.
Yes - but the amount of contact will vary (depends on training of horse/rider and the horses behavior - if they're not listening to light request then we need to make request more definate).

The idea is to create "energy" with your seat and legs. Horse will move forwards and "hit" contact (reins with soft elbow anchored on your waist) and instead of speeding up or slowing down the horse will "give" over their back into the reins (when they do this correctlty you'll see a "bulge" in the middle of the neck). While this encourages them to give their back and use their entire body it also activates the hind legs, encouraging them to step further underneath their body and eventually "carrying" the rider and their body by "sitting" and taking more weight on the rear end.

Why do this? Because it makes the horse more maneuverable as they're not tripping over their front feet, falling on their nose (or over a jump). They can turn/jump more efficiently and it makes for a smoother ride (IF done correctly).
     
    09-28-2010, 04:20 PM
  #18
Weanling
I think most of us know the ideal. But that said, I see way too much pulling. (And I know I'm one of the guilty.)
     
    09-28-2010, 07:13 PM
  #19
Foal
I like to think about it as 'holding hands' with their mouth, not too tight, but not too hard. Be firm but soft. Probably makes no sense!
     
    09-28-2010, 09:48 PM
  #20
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
Eliz,
You mentioned how in a trail class you feel the bit, then you give some slack in the reins . Is this like the photo in your avatar?
That is "drape" in the reins and it is perfect! Your horse is showing a connection to the bit that is so soft, the just the weight of the rein, draping down is enought to tell him that the contact is just right and he should carry him self there. YOu set the point of contact, but your horse has to either come TO it or avoid it by coming above it below it. Once he respects that place, he can stay so lightly off it that you can put a drape into the reins. You will see this in master Vaquero riders and classical dressger riding, in old illustrations too. He, by not taking the slack out of those reins, is recognizing the point of contact as the "limit" and is respecting that with a flexion of the poll .. Only , if the horse becomes so leary of contact that it comes BEHIND the vertical and becomes overly light (and your avatar is close to that point, but not there yet) then you don't have a two way conversation.
Did I say Trail? I meant RAIL. Lol as in hunter under saddle (not to jump). It's not really A LOT of drape (as in WP, but more just like a little release to let the horse know that's where you want them). And yes, the arab style is more behind the bit than say a TB... though I'd much have them too far behind than to far forward ;)
     

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