Softening and rounding
 
 

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Softening and rounding

This is a discussion on Softening and rounding within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Chambon correct fitting
  • Step by step fitting of a gogue

 
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    01-06-2010, 06:21 PM
  #1
Weanling
Softening and rounding

I just recently broke my mare and she is good on the bit I can get her to do an ok shoulder in and she has done one flying change but my problem is softening her mouth and to get bowing a little because natrauly she carrys her head high.here I post a pic of her the way she normaly walks trots and canter she is not alway that bad but that is how she carrys her self even in the paddock
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    01-06-2010, 06:54 PM
  #2
Weanling
If she is "just broke", I would give her some time. She is not used to the weight of the rider and it's usual that horses have problems with balance. They use the head to improve the balance. If it is longer time from breaking, I would mayby try lounging on leather chambon (not gummous!) or gogue. She will find herself balanced with lower position of the head and will make back muscles. Bu be careful not to do chambon/gogue too short! Start with loosen totally, and shorten it step by step. Firstly in the right lnght she will maybe fight with it, but she will sure understand soon that if she gets her head down, she will get rid of the pressure on the head. Remember it's also getting her unbalanced, so try firstly only at walk and do not trot until she is totally balanced in walk. Cantering on chambon and gogue is extremely hard for horses, so wait till she is perfectly okay with trotting, trotting over cavalettis, and start cantering again with loosened chambon /gogue
     
    01-07-2010, 02:06 AM
  #3
Weanling
No just broke to the bit the saddle has been 4 years
     
    01-07-2010, 04:18 AM
  #4
Weanling
And does she do it also while lounging? And in the paddock? I would get a vet to see if she has her back alright. If yes, try to lounge with the chambon. It will teach her to get the head down and forward, using her spine>>making muscles and improving balance. After she will go fine on chambon, you can try gogue, again firstly loosened, fitting to the right length with the time. It will lead her head in the right position. But be careful not to shorten gogue too much-you will end up like Anky van Grunsven with heads of her horses biting their shoulders! If you are not experienced with using these things, get someone experienced to show you how long it should be. There are ilustration photos.

GOGUE:


CHAMBON:



Remember also, that both chambon and gogue must be longer for cantering than for trotting because of head and neck movements. And making them too short will bring a lot more disaster then benefit!
     
    01-07-2010, 06:45 PM
  #5
Weanling
Um her back has been check but even as foal she held her head high it's just her breeding arab when I ride western she sticks her heads down but any contact and her head goes up with softening is there any way to help have a really soft mouth
     
    01-08-2010, 03:40 AM
  #6
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by angelsgrace    
Um her back has been check but even as foal she held her head high it's just her breeding arab
>>so I advise you to go for chambon. Firstly she will maybe be fighting against it, but she will understadn soon what do you want from her. She will learn how to stretch her head low-deep-out and how to cope the balance with her head down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by angelsgrace    
when I ride western she sticks her heads down but any contact and her head goes up
<<I think she had some bad experience. Maybe you have uneasy, not still hands. The bit can be lso too sharp or made of bad material. I woudl advise you to borrow from someone bits with apple flavour, it's bolder, so for more sensitive mouths and it tastes well. Or go for sweet iron bit. Make sure your hand are perfectly still.
There can also be problems with horse's teeth. Did the vet check them also?

Quote:
Originally Posted by angelsgrace    
with softening is there any way to help have a really soft mouth
>>you have to have perfectly still hands not to disturb her in the mouth. You should maybe try some more bold, thicker bit, which are not so sharp, they are more tolerant. If she has really soft mouth, maybe she is afraid of being on the reins. If she had thicker bit, it will soften the pressure in her mouth and maybe she will go on the rein better.


>>Is she alright being on the reins on lounge? MAybe you can try running side reins. Make them long enough... but thee can be easily made in bad way and that makes much more damage than profit then... You shoudl make sure that someone experienced will watch you and correct the length of the side reins in propriete way.
     
    01-08-2010, 06:41 AM
  #7
Weanling
Bits with flavours (apple,...)


Bits for soft mouth


Or maybe she is just not comfortsble with something in her mouth. Did you try to rid eon parelli halter? Or bosal, hackamore?
     
    01-08-2010, 08:42 AM
  #8
Started
Sorry if I missed it earlier, but what bit are you riding her in now? Design, material, etc.

I know that you didn't ask for critique on the picture, but it looks like your elbows are well away from your sides, and your hands a bit high. That can really impact the horse's head carriage.

My advice to you is to check tack fit/adjustment. Poor saddle fit or bit/bridle adjustment problems can be the root of a lot of horse posture problems. Always rule out physical pain first.

Next, reassess your position. I was having similar "softening and rounding" problems, and I took a step back and looked at my own equitation, which was a major part of the problem. I dropped my stirrups a couple of holes, got my elbows back by my hips, and focused on sitting back and deeply instead of tipping forward, and got an instant positive response from my horse.

You shouldn't be pulling on the horse's mouth at all. I see in your profile that you do Parelli. I like a lot of what NH has to offer, Parelli system included, but one of my beefs with NH is the vertical flexion by pulling the face. I teach mine lateral flexion and the one rein emergency stop, but vertical flexion does not collection make. I leave the vertical stage of the flexion alone, and I'm doing more of a classical dressage line of work for my horse from that point on. True rounding and collection comes from riding from the back end forward. Contact is very necessary, as acceptance of not only the bit but all of the aids. Rein contact should be like holding hands; constant, unchanging, but light. A conversation. Here's a pretty good article: The Art of Classical Riding--On the Bit If you click on "The Riding School" in the upper left hand side of the navbar at the top, there are tons of other articles that might interest you and be helpful. I especially recommend the articles on classical seat, hands, and Long and Low.

Using a chambon or gogue may be helpful to you, but I've never used one personally, so I can't say much about either except that if you go that route to be sure that you have someone who is experienced working with those tools to help you.
     
    01-08-2010, 10:11 AM
  #9
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by angelsgrace    
I just recently broke my mare and she is good on the bit I can get her to do an ok shoulder in and she has done one flying change but my problem is softening her mouth and to get bowing a little because natrauly she carrys her head high.here I post a pic of her the way she normaly walks trots and canter she is not alway that bad but that is how she carrys her self even in the paddock
From this picture your horse is not ready for shoulder in or any flying changes.

The horse is totally inverted and needs a ton more work in getting her to pay attention to you (assuming you are sending the right signals).

Scoutrider is right, more lateral flexion is needed and stay away from artificial aids (like the chambon or draw reins).
     
    01-08-2010, 11:11 AM
  #10
Yearling
Wow..
Great comments from Scoutrider and Spyder.
This is a concept that some people will have trouble with. Scoutrider stated..

"True rounding and collection comes from riding from the back end forward. Contact is very necessary, as acceptance of not only the bit but all of the aids. Rein contact should be like holding hands; constant, unchanging, but light. A conversation"

This is so very true. A conversation that does not happen over night. It is a process that will take some time.
From the photograph it seems as though your riding with your leg a bit far forward as well as the other things mentioned, the leg could just be the funky angle of the picture
Scoutrider also made another great comment about "rider position" I have this problem when riding sometimes. I will know when I am not in the right positon when a certain horse I ride will get "caty-wompus" "off-contac" what ever have you... One of the first things I check is my seat hands leggs etc.

It is my opinion that one must have a pretty solid seat and rider position to correctly ask/apply the aids for the particular concept or maneuver.

I also have to agree that if you are asking your horse to perform a flying lead change or a shoulder in, it is way to soon to be doing this.

Do you have someone that can help you with this concept? Maybe take a lesson from a good instuctor? I really love Classical Dressage and an instuctor that is well versed in it would be so very benificial to you.

Other things to check.. when were the horses teeth floated?

Sometimes when we find we are somewhat struggling with a particular thing, it is a good idea to a.) take a step back before trying to go forward with a new concept and b) seriously consider asking for help and guidence from a professional.

I think that if you can get some help from an instructor you will be amazed at how much you will learn and then begin to understand. This will help you to achieve your goals...
Good luck to you and keep us all posted on your progress...
HP
     

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