Riding with my seat, not my hands. - Page 2

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Riding with my seat, not my hands.

This is a discussion on Riding with my seat, not my hands. within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    05-29-2009, 08:21 AM
Pics of you riding him please :)
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    05-29-2009, 08:26 AM
Ha ha, of course!
I'll recruit someone to be camera lady, no doubt about it.
    05-29-2009, 10:43 AM
I had a trainer come help me with my colt and I had the same problem. He had me work on using alot of body language telling my horse to walk really really slow and then really really fast same with trotting..it helps your horse control his paces and it also helps to realize where your seat is. Also try and do a pushing passenger lesson...take the bridle off...or keep it on just don't use your reins and have someone take a lead and go through the paces. My guess is you need to work on your balance if your seat is off. Hope this helps
    05-31-2009, 11:32 PM
What works great for me is actually trail riding. In order to navigate up and downs of uneven terrain, you have to give your horse his head. Pulling on the mouth is simply not an option. Everything from the shoulders forward is his. It tunes you in really fast to where your seat needs to be for optimum balance in whatever situation you're in, and you'll find yourself transitioning up and down in gaits on seat alone in no time.
    06-01-2009, 02:16 AM
Part of what I was told was to not to just think about your seat but your shoulders. The position of your shoulders in relation to your hips can direct your horse in any direction . Lean forward to go faster , backwards for slower and rotate for left and right.
    06-01-2009, 01:05 PM
You can also do a lot of stuff at the walk that will help your horse to pay better attention to you. Do forehand turns and haunch turns. Walk in a square doing haunch turns at each corner and stop and back in the middle of each side. Do A LOT of transitions. And when you are trotting and you start to feel him speeding up do a 10 meter circle, don't pull on his mouth. This gets your horse really paying attention to you because he's not sure what you're going to ask next. It is also helping to get him off the forehand and collected.
Another thing you can do, start at the walk, give him a loose rein and then squeeze with your knees, push your belly out as hard as you can (using what's called you "bear down muscles") push your seat bones down and back and lean slightly forward. Your body will scream at you but stick with it and you will feel him slow and eventually stop.
    06-05-2009, 01:02 PM
Okay, the first problem I see in many of my students who have had some riding experience before they come here is that many of them have NO idea that there is more to a half halt then to pull the reins!

A half halt is an aide that incorporates many of our aides, not just our hands. Its not about pulling the horses face down, rather encouraging him to seek out the contact with the bit. It should be soft and light, not heavy and bracing. To half-halt you will add your leg, close your knee and thigh slightly, sit deep, bring the shoulders back a bit, slightly tighten your abs and lower back and then increase the pressure on the outside rein (the amount of pressure necessary will vary depending on several factors- only apply as much as needed to get the desired result) Your inside rein should only be engaged enough to keep the horse straight and with a squeeze and release - not a steady hold or you will allow the horse to hang or pull on it. This will be a process that will take between 2 and 5 seconds....

Most horses who already want to GO will only go faster if you just hang on the rein. It MUST be a give and take. If you are sure the horse understands pressure, then you may have to "turn up the volume", make a quick correction, then give and allow the horse to carry himself and respond. Sometimes we are afraid to get after our horses, so instead of making it clear what we want in a quick/slightly stronger correction, we nag at them by pulling or giving a bunch of half-hearted corrections.

The best place to start, as someone mentioned below, is at the walk. Get your horse to the point where you can walk/halt with very little to no use of the rein. When you've got that, move to the trot/walk/halt. Use a corner or wall if you need to.... ask a couple steps before the corner.

Another thing is reinforce with verbal commands. If you can teach the horse a good 'whoa' on the lunge and he knows 'walk, trot, canter' verbally, you can reinforce when you ask with your body.

Another thing you can do if you are far enough along in your education to be comfortable doing so, is go into a shoulder out or shoulder in. This takes much more effort from the horse and almost always results in a shift to the hindquarters and a more balanced, controlled tempo.

And, remember, this is a long process...good training doesn't happen overnight. It takes time, consistancy, patience and determination to get a truely intune horse.

Good luck! :)
    06-09-2009, 01:25 AM
When you get a trainer, ask them to put you on the lunge and take away your reins. I did this the other day with my trainer and it worked sooooo well. You really learn to move with the horse and to control with your seat and legs. It will take a while to get it but I think it is a great way to learn because you can't rely on your reins at all. Being on the lunge means it is safer and the instructor can help with transitioning down when needed.
    06-09-2009, 09:34 AM
Thanks for all the advice you guys, I'm already working on it and it's becoming much easier to stop him simply by sitting deep, and shifting my weight back slightly with little rein use. He's pretty much got it perfectly at the walk and almost as well at the trot. We've also been working only with his walk and trot with lots of transitions lately and he's doing well so hopefully we'll add the canter back into the mix soon.

Thanks again!
    06-13-2009, 12:53 AM
Sensitize your horse with the half-halts. I personally have always thought the half-halt should be called something different because it implies all hands. But, there are 3 basics to the half halt: drive your horse forward with your leg, close the fingers on your reins, and most importantly: GIVE when the horses flexes to the contact. This is softening. Do this over and over.

Thank you for posting this question, I am personally annoyed by how Dressage has this reputation of being heavy handed, when done right it actually the contrary. I recently had a friend say that dressage would be bad for her horse because we force their heads down. I said that wasn't Dressage, that was bad riding. What happened to Classical Dressage?!?

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