Long and Low? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum

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post #11 of 19 Old 10-11-2013, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by gypsygirl View Post
I used to have the same problem with my mare. I fixed it by getting her super collected at the trot for a few strides. Then I would literallythrow the reins at her while putting my calf on. IIf she ran off I would squeeze with my thigh. When you start so collected you put yourself in a place to push them up into the bridle.

When you change the length of the horses neck you force them to balance differently. This means if you allow them a longer neck, they are also able to take a bigger step behind. This is why when teaching them to stretch you can throw the rein at them. Once they get better at it you can maintain a soft feel.
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You are thinking VERY backwards! Collection happens from a horse that already understands how to work up into a bridle. Gradually the balance achieved from working into the bridle at the working paces, can be developed into collected paces.
By pulling the horse back into a short trot, and then throwing the reins away, your horse has only two choices. Throw the head into the air to stay in balance, or throw the head towards the ground to stay in balance. Either way the horse is on the forehand and the backs stiffens. The bigger hind legs happen because they have to catch up with the front legs. If you trip while running, and try to save yourself, you naturally start taking longer, exaggerated steps and if you're lucky, you don't fall.
Imagine if we were standing facing each other, holding both hands. If it is my job to hold you in balance, while you lean backwards. You are relying on my to stop you from falling. What happens if I suddenly let go? You end up flat on your back and you're probably not going to trust me near as readily next time we try the exercise. It is no different for a horse.

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post #12 of 19 Old 10-11-2013, 10:10 PM
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I don't think you understand, my horse does know how to collect correctly..I just could not get her to stretch and push into the bridle enough. I in no way at all pull her tight and then drop her, there is no pulling at all.

Maybe I'm not explaining well enough, but what I was trying to explain help my horse stretch correctly. She did not understand that she had to push on the bridle in the stretch and now she does.
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post #13 of 19 Old 10-11-2013, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Kayty View Post
I couldn't let this post slide without saying something, sorry!
You are thinking VERY backwards! Collection happens from a horse that already understands how to work up into a bridle. Gradually the balance achieved from working into the bridle at the working paces, can be developed into collected paces.
By pulling the horse back into a short trot, and then throwing the reins away, your horse has only two choices. Throw the head into the air to stay in balance, or throw the head towards the ground to stay in balance. Either way the horse is on the forehand and the backs stiffens. The bigger hind legs happen because they have to catch up with the front legs. If you trip while running, and try to save yourself, you naturally start taking longer, exaggerated steps and if you're lucky, you don't fall.
Imagine if we were standing facing each other, holding both hands. If it is my job to hold you in balance, while you lean backwards. You are relying on my to stop you from falling. What happens if I suddenly let go? You end up flat on your back and you're probably not going to trust me near as readily next time we try the exercise. It is no different for a horse.
My words, exactly,. Well, not my words. Mine would not sound that good.
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post #14 of 19 Old 10-12-2013, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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Kayty: Thank you for all of that advice! I am having a flat session on him tomorrow and will try out what you suggested. Whenever I lunge him with an outside rein he completely tweeks his neck to the outside though. Even when its super loose! Any suggestions for that?
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post #15 of 19 Old 10-12-2013, 09:29 AM
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The more the horse marches forward, the easier it will be for him to stretch into contact. Make the walk huge, make the trot huge. This is great for suppling. The horses enjoy this so much once they figure it out. Start out just asking for a little low. Make sure the horse opens it's throat latch area throughout. This work is the best for building the topline, stretching the topline. Horses with tight backs or sore backs should be ridden like this for months.
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post #16 of 19 Old 10-12-2013, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lchad View Post
The more the horse marches forward, the easier it will be for him to stretch into contact. Make the walk huge, make the trot huge. This is great for suppling. The horses enjoy this so much once they figure it out. Start out just asking for a little low. Make sure the horse opens it's throat latch area throughout. This work is the best for building the topline, stretching the topline. Horses with tight backs or sore backs should be ridden like this for months.
My horse needs his topline built which is exactly why I'd like to try this. You say make sure his throat latch area is open - I KNOW he does not open this area, but I'm just not sure how to communicate to him that I want him to do that. There is a dressage trainer at my barn that I am going to probably take a few lessons from. She is pretty expensive though, so it is something I will have to budget for! For now I am going to take a video of myself asking to try and see exactly what I'm doing wrong so hopefully I can work on fixing it.
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post #17 of 19 Old 10-12-2013, 03:51 PM
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It takes practice. You have to teach the horse to accept contact of the reins. Not heavy contact, but consistent contact. Light contact is better. When I'm teaching a horse, I get my horse to trot big by using my leg. I have steady contact with the bit. I will let my reins slide 1" and I will wait for my horse to go down 1" and get the contact I had before. If the horse does not seek the contact 1" lower, use your legs to ask the horse to go get the contact. One inch at a time. At first the horse may only hold it for 1 stride so you can widen your hands briefly to take up the slack in the reins. Then shorten your reins. Ask again. If the horse is good at 1" of more rein, let out another inch. Eventually the horse will follow the reins right down and out. You also want to reward the horse when they seek the new contact by sitting quiet with no legs to tell them "yes that is what I was asking".

I think it is money well invested to take a few lessons. You can also have the dressage trainer teach your horse and then you can learn.

If your horse's back is inverted or sore, this is a great warn up and cool down. Building up the topline is a long process but worth every second.
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post #18 of 19 Old 10-16-2013, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you again for the advice everyone!

I worked on long and low today (after the massage therapist said NO collected work today) and I applied some of the techniques you guys suggested. I started off by shortening my reins much slower, which really encouraged him to stretch down. Also when I felt him drop but sucking up I pushed him forward, as suggested. Duh! Why I didn't think to do that before is beyond me. Anyways we got several really nice stretchy trot sides both directions. Finally making progress, woo hoo!

Thanks again
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post #19 of 19 Old 10-16-2013, 01:22 AM
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nice work! Glad you could get a few strides to get the way it feels.

I often do it on the trail (since I do way more trail riding than arena work) and when I can only do walk rides (due to MY health issues, not the horses), I ask the hrose to really WORK when he goes up a hill. I do long and low UP a hill, at a walk. This really stretchs his back and makes him have to work hard with his hind end and push up that hill.

When I get him to carry the bit down and forward , as described , I then ask him to kind of (and this is my own visual image) "step over the rope". I think of the line from my right hand, down the bit, through his mouth, out the bit and back to my left hand , and over my shoulders back to the right arm , as kind of a "hoop", that I lower in front of the horse, , that is a few feet off the ground, and I ask him to step "through" that hoop. Of course, he isn't actually stepping over anything. But thinking of the bit and my arms as forming a hoop through which he energetically steps up and pushes through helps to get him to connect through his back to his hind end and stay connected to the bit and pushing. So, it is a true excersize, and not just him dropping his head from the wither and letting it hang while he meanders up the hill.
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