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Needing advice about softening a stiff horse

This is a discussion on Needing advice about softening a stiff horse within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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        07-26-2013, 04:03 AM
      #11
    Foal
    I appreciate what your saying but we don't know what stage the horse is up to and maybe it's up to Helena to decide whether her horse is ready for lateral work or not. There was no saying her horse couldnt ride straight and forwards in the thread , if it had then I wouldnt have advised to bend it straight away. All I was suggesting was ways to unstiffen her horse , everyone's training methods are different and I'm not saying mine are perfect which they are probably not , but if Helena doesn't want to take my advice then that's perfectly ok! Thankyou!
         
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        07-29-2013, 01:06 AM
      #12
    Foal
    Lots and lots and lots of serpentines (try and fit more than just 3 loops in, try 4 or 5!). I have found that serpentines with a 10m circle at the base of each loop (when you are on the long edge of the arena for a few strides) is a great exercise. Also lots of leg yielding and shoulder in, and don't just restrict it to on a straight line, try it on a circle (much harder but achieves much better suppleness!) Try flexion and counter flexion on a circle (ie if you are on the left rein on a circle, try bending him to the right for a few strides, then back to left). Good luck! :)
    Skyseternalangel likes this.
         
        07-29-2013, 06:55 PM
      #13
    Showing
         
        07-29-2013, 07:36 PM
      #14
    Trained
    Yup, just pull on the horse's face until it gives.

    If that doesn't work, try see sawing - or better yet - a bigger bit!!


    Above all, your best resource is a good coach who will teach you to ride back to front and ride the horse round - not yank and crank into a frame.
    It is easy to pull, it is hard to ride.
    Weezilla likes this.
         
        07-29-2013, 10:51 PM
      #15
    Weanling
    That's not what the video was saying anebel.

    I agree lots of circles and serpentine's. Also play around with flexion and counter flexion.

    No yanking and see sawing on the mouth, but keep the contact.
         
        08-15-2013, 01:12 PM
      #16
    Foal
    I would also say lots of circles, serpentines, figure eights, transitions, half halts, stretchy circles, riding down quarter-lines, etc. Basically, I would be doing anything and everything to keep your horses mind busy. Switch things up all of the time. Maybe he is just having a hard time paying attention. :) I would also put your horse in a snaffle. If he/she can't do what you are asking in a snaffle, then generally, its time to go back and reteach.
         
        08-21-2013, 12:07 AM
      #17
    Trained
    Ugh, OP, please do not attempt to mimick that video. A horse plodding along on the forehand popping the shoulder due to the rider overbending the neck beyond the plane of the shoulder will get you nothing but a front heavy slinky neck horse.

    I agree with Anebel. Nothing beats a good coach who can get you started in the right direction. If money or availability of such a person is an issue, there is one book I really like for getting riders familiar with proper training. It's called Build a Better Athlete. It has 16 (?) exercises in it, each buildling on the prior exercise. I like this book because it very clearly illustrates what not to do.

    Also understand that dressage, first and foremost, depends on the rider having an effective seat. Lots of longe lessons and riding without stirrups will get you the muscles necessary to communicate well with your horse.
    Weezilla likes this.
         
        08-27-2013, 10:10 AM
      #18
    Yearling
    Gah! Please listen to MBP!! That video isn't what you need to soften at all.

    Also, no on the side reins. You need to teach your horse how to come up to contact and drive from behind without them, otherwise you are just getting the headset and more often than not you're also developing the wrong muscles as horses learn to resist to those aids.

    You won't get to use side reins in your test, so why practice with them?
    Posted via Mobile Device
         
        08-27-2013, 12:58 PM
      #19
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ninamebo    
    Gah! Please listen to MBP!! That video isn't what you need to soften at all.

    Also, no on the side reins. You need to teach your horse how to come up to contact and drive from behind without them, otherwise you are just getting the headset and more often than not you're also developing the wrong muscles as horses learn to resist to those aids.

    You won't get to use side reins in your test, so why practice with them?
    Posted via Mobile Device
    When lunging, side reins are actually the best thing to use to teach the horse about contact.
    When riding, think about your hands as being side reins - side reins never pull backwards! The action of a side rein is actually exactly what a good contact is like - very steady, the reins will not be taught unless the horse is driven/ridden up into them and there is a little bungee to the contact.
    So actually, side reins are great - it is draw reins, dugoges and other contraptions which make a "headset".
    Posted via Mobile Device
         
        08-27-2013, 05:21 PM
      #20
    Trained
    Thank you Anebel!!!!!

    How does one propose you drive a horse into a contact that doesn't exist? It's all good and well to rev the engine but if you don't contain that then you are simply driving the horse with more cower onto its front legs. Incorrectly adjusted side reins cause problems, absolutely, but if you know what you're doing they are an invaluable tool to help a horse to understand contact.
    Posted via Mobile Device
         

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    dressage, exercises, softening

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