Keeping those hands still..

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Keeping those hands still..

This is a discussion on Keeping those hands still.. within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    07-07-2009, 07:28 AM
Keeping those hands still..

During my lessons on the school horses, I can put them on the bit really well in the walk, and can control them (i.e keep their head down and give some rein when its down)

But whenever I trot or canter, I struggle soo much in keeping my hands still and in the same spot and its a constant battle of getting their head down, good spot, then my hands move, they get more rein so they move their head up, I take it back down etc etc.

Has anyone got any tips on keeping their hands nice and still and in the right position? Sometimes as practise my instructor will get me to hold onto the edge of the saddle blanket while trot/canter to keep my hands there, and the horse just holds their head sooooo well when I have them still like that. But I just can't seem to do it otherwise. Its not like my hands are flying all over the place, they just move in a very subtle way and I hardly notice it.

Thanks in advance.
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    07-07-2009, 10:40 AM
The hands are suppose to move at walk and canter in conjunction with the normal head movement a horse makes at those two gaits. It's at the trot that the horse's head doesn't move. Regardless though, the hands should never be static. They shouldn't bounce up and down, but they are always giving subtle little aids, whether that be a squeeze of the pinky to go from passage to piaffe, or a check in the wrist as part of a loud half halt on a green horse.

Dressage has absolutely nothing to do with putting the horse's head down, holding the head, taking contact and all that you've got going on. You're riding your horse's head when you should be riding his hindquarter. Nothing good ever comes of holding your horse's head in a set position and all you do is teach the horse how to brace and evade.

I can't even begin to tell you how to fix what's going on because you're missing the most basic premises of riding.

Get thee to an instructor.
    07-07-2009, 10:55 AM
Thumbs up

Try not wrapping your pinky around the reins. With me it helps but it might do the exact opposite for you! Hold your thumb tighter and trust me it will get tiring! If you have to take your thumb and overlap on to your indexfinger that means your hands will be tighter so it just might work.!
    07-07-2009, 11:02 AM
You don't need an instructor to do this. My horse is home and I got 24 ribbons at 4 shows. Aqha shows. You don't need an instructor!!
    07-07-2009, 11:09 AM
If the OP believes that the problem is not being able to hold her horse's head down... than she should probably get an instructor. I agree 100% with Mercedes. You goal in riding is not to force a horse's head down but rather to ride them up into the contact. Never to pull them into it. If the horse isn't engaged, forward, and moving properly than keeping his head down will accomplish nothing.
    07-07-2009, 11:44 AM
That all depends if you have a green horse or a horse that just dosent undertand what you want. I find it easy to take to reins apart and gently pull back. Your hands will not be still at the moment but it will make them drop their heads. Your horse just dosen't understand what you want. And it may take months to keep your hands still and drop jis head. I know I never got any help on this at my barn but I do agree with gillian. If the horse isn't engaged get it to go foward then work on the head.
    07-07-2009, 07:35 PM
I have a similar problem where I drop the contact and find it hard to keep a constant contact at canter and sometimes the trot, if I have a constant contact Cessie works through into it and works with her head in the perfect possition.
    07-08-2009, 12:21 AM
Green Broke
STOP "trying" to keep your hands still. Instead, focus on relaxing and loosening up your hips, back, shoulders, and elbows. In order for your hands to remain still, the rest of your body must be relaxed and moving with the horse. Use your hips, waist, and elbows and "shock absorbers" for your body's movement. Keep your shoulders relaxed, allowing your arms to almost "dangle" from your body.

The only thing that should be a little tense are your abs. Tensing your tummy, JUST A LITTLE, (like you're going potty ), will help center your seat deep in the saddle. Tuck your bum under you a bit, open your hips and stretch your legs down and back (you may need to lower your stirrups a hole). You should feel a light stretch at the front of your hips/pelvis. Hold your stomach muscles just barely, while relaxing your back, shoulders, and elbows. It's a bit like skipping, chewing gum, and texting at the same time, but you WILL get it if you practice.

Once your seat is deep, your legs are back, and the rest of you are relaxed, you will find that you have solved the issue of your noisy hands! Everything comes from the seat. Once you fix it, many of your other issues will be gone.

I also agree that holding the head down shouldn't be your goal. If that's what your trainer is telling you, and he/she isn't helping you to quiet your seat and hands, then you should look for a new instructor.
    07-08-2009, 12:25 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by HorsesHorses08    
you don't need an instructor to do this. My horse is home and I got 24 ribbons at 4 shows. Aqha shows. You don't need an instructor!!
AQHA shows are not Dressage shows. Small Dressage shows are usually judged with the same standards as the "big" shows. In Dressage, it's all about the percentage score on your individual ride, not necessarily the ribbon or placing against the other riders.
    07-08-2009, 04:25 AM
Sorry I think there has bene a misunderstanding! I dotn have my own horse, I just go to lessons everyweek, and the horse I am riding is a schoolhorse. Been there, done that. He is definitely not green and has been doing dressage for about 10 years. Not continously, I mean he has been trained to do it for that amount of time.

My instructor is basically just trying to get me to practise putting him on the bit, and giving some rein when he's being nice with his head. And if he moves out of that nice position, to put a bit of pressure on the reins, to try and get him to accept it more. She is teaching me, not him.

Thansk for the tips everyone!

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