Overwhelmed with confusion please help!

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Overwhelmed with confusion please help!

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    06-24-2011, 03:05 PM
Overwhelmed with confusion please help!

Morning guys! Im counting on you knowledgable people to help me to hopefully take this overwhelming confusion and desire to completely abandon anything even slightly resembling dressage and allow my mare to amble along on the forehand and somehow make my completely inept (aparently) mind grasp the concepts I am struggling to even semi comprehend!

So while I'm not ignorant and no dumb dumb lol I I sure feel like the biggest goon when it comes to dressage and the fact that I am getting conflicting answers from everyone makes me want to give up and just let my mare be a western pleasure or hunter. I have no interest what so ever in showing dressage or showing at all for that matter I do not want my young horse (4) to adopt either the western please choppy on the forehand horride way of going nor the hunter inverted frame. I'm not expecting her to magically turn into some PRE stallion or Totillias all I am asking for is for her to move as naturally as possible for her to with a rider on top but OFF the forehand and developing top neck muscles not under neck muscles. Tips please? Step by step very basic instructions pretend like you are speaking to a 2 yr old! Thanks!
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    06-24-2011, 03:28 PM
Using a dressage trainer would be my best bet. :) And as someone who started with green horse from almost ground zero (being a green rider)... Advices on internet are great but hard to implement when you don't understand the dynamics behind and don't have a knowledgeable pair of eyes watching you and telling you what you do wrong.
    06-24-2011, 03:36 PM
I just want to say that my Hunter does not have an inverted frame. Not much to offer in the way of advice because I am not 100% sure what kind of answer you are looking for if you think Hunters are hollow and inverted. But usually to get your horse off the forehand, you must be backing your hand up with leg.
    06-24-2011, 03:50 PM
Skye, I am so sorry that all the "advice" made you feel so conflicted. It is bound to happen. And certainly don't feel pressured to go all dressagey. No need. However, it might help to get a bit of instruction at the beginning.

Also, you don't hvae to ride dressage to encourage your horse off the forehand. If you look at videos of many of the best western riders, their horses are NOT on the forehand. So, it can be done in any tack.

You cannot MAKE your horse carry themselves on the hind quarter by virtue of tack of any kind. You can only encourage the horse to themselves change their own way of going. You don't shape them like clay, you ask them to change their own bodies. They know how to shift onto the rear. They do it every time they accelerate or go uphill, or stop suddenly and change directions, all visible in pasture playtime.

I think what you are thinkiing about is encouragein your horse to do this sort of self carriage while you are onboard. This is certainly a good idea , as it will prolong the useful life of your horse if she is not hard on her forehand.
The thing is, it is easiest for a hrose to go along on the forehand; requires the least amount of energy to move forward with a baisically "falling forward" method of carrying that rider.
Your job is to encourage and insiste, little by little, that she work more in a "carrying" way, with more weight in a vertical carry (hocks flexed and underneath) rthat than a horizontal "run forward" way of moving.

Dressage is theorectically meant to build this correct way of carrying a rider, in a step by step manner.

I dont' think I can explain it all on the forum

But you are right in that it is fundamentally asking for more push from behind while disallowing that energy to just fall out the front, thus changing horizontal energy into vertical energy. Make any sense?
    06-24-2011, 04:25 PM
I want to add on top of what tiny said... It's very hard to understand until you actually feel it (from my experience). There is no "step-by-step" instruction on how to bring it off forehead. It's really a gradual process.

I found this one to be quite helpful in understanding some of the basics: But you have to have horse, which actually moves forward to implement it.
    06-24-2011, 05:04 PM
Sorry Wancata I didn't mean to suggest that all hunter riders ride their horses in that frame! I myself am a hunter/western rider since I was 6 yrs old and won in many a hunter show and I'm not saying that all ride that way I was simply giving examples of extremes of each disipline to explain that I wanted somehting in the middle and well balanced and that I never plan on showing. I love hunters by the way so pls don't think I was insulting you!

Tiny liny Thansk so much you expressed exactly what I was meaning! I will keep doing hill work and turning on the haunches to encourage this!

I have had trainers help me but it just makes my horse and I more confused! I think what I am going to do is just ride her on a loose rein so she can stretch and just focus on getting her forward encouraging with my seat and leg then once she's going forward with impulsion I can ask for some light bend like serpentines to get that communication with the reins and then introduce some trot poles to get her thinking about picking herself up and maybe asking her to move sideways too? I think I've been worrying too much about terminology like long and low and on the bit and supple, flexing at the poll and getting all confused as it seems everyone I talk to has a differnent defenition of the same term which is beyond frustrating! Kitten Val I think you are right my problem is that I just don't know what it feels like so I don't know what im really asking for.

So what do you guys think of my plan? Feel free to be brutally honest! Lol
    06-24-2011, 06:41 PM
Forward is the foundation of ALL training. Get forward first! Just as you planned. If you get your horse to respond willingly and lightly to the forward aid, that is step one.
    06-24-2011, 07:00 PM
Originally Posted by To ride the sky    
I think what I am going to do is just ride her on a loose rein

Not likely to get very far this way.
    06-24-2011, 08:16 PM
Get yourself a good dressage trainer, start with the basics, you don't need to love it, but he/she will teach you the "correct" way of getting your horse to move and bend to you.
    06-24-2011, 11:04 PM
Originally Posted by Spyder    
Not likely to get very far this way.
I second this. Most probably what's going to happen is your horse will speed up (by going faster, not by going wider), and fall on forehead even worse. At least that was my experience while back.

Sky, you said you worked with trainers. Try to find another one. Look for dressage trainer with recommendations and successful students. Good trainer worth his/her weight in gold! He will NOT confuse you or your horse (moreover when a good trainer rides your horse you can tell it right away by just looking at it).

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