Getting horse to use its backend...&& Opinions on pessoa - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By xxBarry Godden
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-19-2011, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
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Getting horse to use its backend...&& Opinions on pessoa

Hi everyone.. been a while since I've last been on here..
I have a 5 year old appaloosa.., he's quite long in the back
Only this year have I started doing a lot more work with him, although I'm having a bit of trouble getting him to balance himself and to stop using the reins as a balancer.
When I canter him he uses he forehand way to much, and leans on me to balance himself. I didn't realise how bad it was until the otherday i fully gave him a loose rein and he just raced and went into the middle of the school nearly falling over, he races round corners too. So I want to get him using his backend more and more in an outline so he can balance himself.
I tried lunging him again the other day it was the first time i managed to get circles of canter where he was attempting to "run" straight out the circle and yank himself in the mouth from the lungline although he still pulled quite a bit (he was on a wide circle). He seemed to calm down after a bit and slowed down his pace even though he was still pulling and was still stretching out with his head up quite a bit. I'm going to do more lunging with him and keep to just trot when riding him as if he can't canter nicely and balance himself on the lunge will be harder for him to do it with me riding him
I was wonderin if anyone had any ideas to how I can get him to conform himself a bit better?
I've heard of pessoas and heard quite a lot of positive feedback from them as they dont force their head into a position and dont constantly pull at there mouth.
I was wondering what you guys on here thought?
Any advice would be grateful :)
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-19-2011, 08:58 PM
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What about his TROT? You won't get nice canter till you get a nice balanced trot with impulsion. Also the horse should build proper muscles (which is not a fast process) to be able to carry self (and rider) balanced. And proper muscles can be build only with correct riding. Not saying you ride incorrectly , just stating a general fact.

My horse is long, with short legs, and downhill. Not the best combination. Took me lots of time to get her trot to the point I feel it became balanced and she moves round (and couple months to just build all those muscles).

Do you work with the trainer? The best would be to take some lessons with the dressage trainer - good one can do wonders for you and the horse!

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

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post #3 of 6 Old 08-22-2011, 11:19 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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I have a few suggestions, and I hope they might help you. =D
Try lunging over poles on the ground. If you have any cavelleti, use those as well, when lunging.
Clinton Anderson has some videos to watch. Particularly, watch those on yielding the hindquarters, and backing up, again working the horse first while on the ground.
Yielding to a stop at all gaits (watch his videos, season II for some tips) will help.
Watch Clinton Anderson Downunder Horsemanship - Riding With Confidence Free Online
Do you use all of you aids to halt? I was taught when asking for a halt to:
1) Stop following with my body
2) Squeeze my calves to cue "forward", while at the same time
3) Stop following with the bit, which is the same whether direct reining and riding with a slack rein.
I believe, as those that I've studied, the EVERY movement for a horse is a FORWARD movement, even backing.
I also believe in using half-halts. It's a lot like pumping the brakes on your car, and gets your horse to engage his hindquarters without slamming into his mouth, or pulling hard on it.
I recommend that you read this, because his book changed the way that I ride and train. this, too:
The Complete Training of Horse and Rider
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-22-2011, 03:23 PM
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If you learn how to use it properly then the pessoa will probably help you.
But first go find someone who knows how to fit one and how to use one.

It is important to build up the exercises slowly. Start off with twenty minutes from walk, trot and, eventually down the line, canter - preferably on a daily basis. The muscles must be given time to build up.

Now I am assuming you know what "in a rounded outline on the bit" means. The difficulty for lots of riders is that they know how vaguely to lunge the horse in an outline, but later they can't sit in the saddle and get the horse to work in an outline under saddle. Your own seating position has to be correct and you must have sensitive hands.

Remember, to move forwards the horse has to shift its bodyweight back over the hind quarters and that the horse's spine is stronger if in a curve.

Take you videos of the horse now, then after a month video again.

But to achieve all this you need a fenced area and a flat sandy surface to work in. I'd suggest you let a good physio check over my horse's back before you start.
Use a very mild bit - say a french link.

The Pessoa has done marvels with my own mare but it has been a very clever horse lady who has produced the results. The trainer has to know what he/she is looking for and how to get it. What you don't want to do is to cause the horse muscular pain against which it will rebel.

Consult the Sustainable Dressage site.
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Last edited by xxBarry Godden; 08-22-2011 at 03:26 PM.
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-23-2011, 03:26 PM
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Thanks, Barry Godden--I didn't know that my "Bitting Rig" was a Pessoa. I noticed that my instructions suggest 3 settings. Have you trained with all 3 of them, and have you encountered any resistance?
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-23-2011, 04:18 PM
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US Bitting Rig = UK Pessoa - maybe?

regarding adjustment : At the time we had several 'novice' horses on the yard and each one was lunged on the same pessoa, which was the only rig we had.
The rig was adjusted to suit each horse.

It has been the expertise of my friend the rider/trainer who has made the difference to my horse's performance. When lunging she always fits the pessoa which my mare now accepts without hesitation.
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