Getting that nose tucked - Page 2
 
 

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Getting that nose tucked

This is a discussion on Getting that nose tucked within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

     
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        06-11-2009, 12:50 PM
      #11
    Yearling
    Does anyone here know what muscles we're talking about?

    Does anyone know what muscles are built when she's held behind the vertical, and over bent?

    Or are we just suggesting things because they sound like they'd work?

    I'm the one that's probably going to get slammed, but what I am seeing is a gorgeous, gorgeous horse that is moving in a classically correct long and low posture and she is getting slammed for it!

    Look how far she's tracking up behind. Her back is raised, the front leg is free! This is due partially to the fact that this rider DIDN'T ask for her face, and DIDN'T overbend her.

    When the horse goes down into a long and low position, the nose starts to come out, as this horse here has done, to allow the base of the neck to come up, as well as the back (look at the air under her front right leg in the first pic!!). When the head is forced to be tucked or worse, over tucked, this shuts the energy from going up and out the way it is supposed to, and balls the horse up in the front. She is offering you something that is harder--by moving this way, she is lifting the base of her neck and arching the front half of her, rather then shutting down and pulling herself around on the forehand.

    Working her 'overbent' works the entirely WRONG muscles. Why does a horse's nose fall on the vertical? How?

    A horse's head falls on the vertical when the muscles are relaxed. The TMJ loosens, and the head virtually 'rests' on it's hinge, and what we end up seeing is a head on the vertical. When you pull a head there, usually you are just shutting down the energy and the horse will ball up in front, build incorrect neck muscle, and then pull themselves around on the forehand.

    Again, I really can't stress how much I am loving your mare at the moment. The neck muscles are GORGEOUS and correct!

    Anywho, if the head on the vertical is a result of relaxation and proper lift in the front... then what happens when you pull a horse's head behind the vertical and overbend them?

    The horse has to tighten the TMJ to keep the head behind the vertical, as well as tighten muscles it normally only uses for chewing. When you see horses in the ring with their heads behind the vertical and they look angry, this is why! It takes tension and effort to keep the head behind the vertical. It also doesn't build any of the muscles you'd want, it shuts the horse down (as your mare is trying to tell you when you work her in side reins!). Also, if you pull the horse's head back far enough, their breathing is impaired. (Think of a hose... and then bend the hose in half. Same thing!)

    I would really hate to see this horse get 'punished' whilst she's offering you something so great!

    Now, before I get jumped on because I'm a 'dressage queen' and this is not a post about dressage, I ride APHA hunters and some WP. Not dressage. ;)

    What I would do for the show ring:

    For YOU to ride a better long and low to help bring her back up further, you need more contact with the reins. She'll start to lean into the reins and REALLY stretch, and you'll feel weight in your hands. That's the last step of long and low, which is a wonderful stretch and training tool, especially for today's Hunters/WP horses. Sit up straight! Sink your weight in your heels. :)

    Otherwise, I would work on bending her. Use a fixed hand, and pull up and to the inside, making sure the bit is hitting her top lip. Fixed hand is important! When she gives to this pressure, you want to see her licking and chewing SOFTLY. This is when she releases the TMJ... and technically what you have to teach her to do is to relax and do LESS work, so that she drops her head on the vertical. Honest to god, I would only like to see her a little closer to vertical, and would love to see her nose poke out a little. I'm tired of the over bent, intimidated hunters in the ring today! (Judges will absoLUTELY pin a hunter with their nose a little poked out!)

    Start the bending at the walk, and when you can get her to lick and chew, start at the trot and work on bending her back and forth softly. Don't get mad or impatient, as you're trying to teach her to relax the jaw! Keep contact with her as well, as this will help teach her that when in hunter gear and in the show ring, she has to tuck the nose!

    I hope this helps, and if you need anything explained further, don't hesitate to ask. I absolutely ADORE your horse! (I actually want to use your second picture for my blog! Hehee)
         
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        06-11-2009, 01:40 PM
      #12
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mayfieldk    
    Does anyone here know what muscles we're talking about?

    Does anyone know what muscles are built when she's held behind the vertical, and over bent?

    Or are we just suggesting things because they sound like they'd work?

    I'm the one that's probably going to get slammed, but what I am seeing is a gorgeous, gorgeous horse that is moving in a classically correct long and low posture and she is getting slammed for it!

    Look how far she's tracking up behind. Her back is raised, the front leg is free! This is due partially to the fact that this rider DIDN'T ask for her face, and DIDN'T overbend her.

    When the horse goes down into a long and low position, the nose starts to come out, as this horse here has done, to allow the base of the neck to come up, as well as the back (look at the air under her front right leg in the first pic!!). When the head is forced to be tucked or worse, over tucked, this shuts the energy from going up and out the way it is supposed to, and balls the horse up in the front. She is offering you something that is harder--by moving this way, she is lifting the base of her neck and arching the front half of her, rather then shutting down and pulling herself around on the forehand.
    I disagree. Yes, she's tracking up, but she has absolutely no weight on her back legs and is extremely on the forehand. By nature, she appears to have a downhill conformation to begin with, which makes riding her up and forward essential to making sure that her forelegs don't deteriorate before their time. It really has nothing to do with her head position so much as the fact that the rider has no contact with her, so all that energy has no where to go except DOWN, which is exactly what's happening here. MyBoyPuck nailed it when she gave the analogy of the door having to be somewhat closed so that the energy can be contained and USED to get the horse to slowly take more and more weight on her hind end.

    I don't agree with the use of draw reins. They are a useful tool in some situations, but only if the rider is bang on in their usage. It should effectively only be used by riders that already know how to get a horse on the bit. Instead, if you do want to use a gadget, try bungee reins or those sliding side reins, because they have some give in them and they aren't directly connected to your reins, so have less of a tendency of forcing the horse behind the vertical.

    But really, the best thing I can suggest is transitions. Lots and lots of transitions, where you have a light connection with her mouth (and this doesn't mean long reins! It just means a soft connection with her mouth) and when you ask for a transition, you ask it with a half halt so that the weight on her forehand shifts back on to her hind.

    Good luck :)
         
        06-11-2009, 01:45 PM
      #13
    Trained
    Great post Skyhuntres, I couldn't agree more with you.

    I love it how everyone points out how to fix the horse, but no one points out how to correct the rider to reach the achieved goal of true collection. If the rider is out, so is the horse.

    This horse is on the forehand, back is droped, hind end is high and the horses hind feet are not reaching nor surpassing the horses front feet.

    Why????? Because the rider is heavy on the forehand!!!! Her upper body is drastically ahead of the verticle, all of her bodies weight is on the horses shoulder. Her hands are dropped, way too open of an elbow angle.

    The rider must be functional to create a functional horse.

    For the horse to do the long and low, the rider must remain tall, functional hands to support their horse, seat on 3 points and driving forward, while lifting the horses back up into her aids.

    You cannot drop your horse and expect them to do the long and low functionally. You still have to remain solid and functional to help their horse remain off their forehand and in the riders aids.
         
        06-11-2009, 02:38 PM
      #14
    Super Moderator
    I have my hands over my ears and my tongue is sticking out and I'm dancing in circles screaming lalalalalalala cus I like draw-reigns (although I do get them taken away because I tend to allow the horse to become heavy on the forehand). I think Angel is doing awesome and I love her horse and yes, she is a little forward and needs work and and and ... LALALALALALALLALLA


    Actually, there is a ton of great advice here....
         
        06-11-2009, 02:46 PM
      #15
    Started
    WOW!!! Thanks everyone for all of the insight. Before I get started there hasnt been any use of draw reins for over a year or so and after reading everything to this point I will not be using them at this time.

    So no excuses for me... I need help with English riding and once things settle down in my crazy schedule I will be trying to find one for lessons.

    Things that I gathered from all of your great responses is the following:

    -improve my body- pull my weight off from her front shoulders by pulling my shoulders back, and raise my hands. With open elbow angle did you mean I should have more of a 90 degree type? Also drive more with my legs then trying to push my weight forward.

    More contact with the reins I need to keep a feel on the mouth (not jerking but light contact). Im using a smooth snaffle with a smooth dogbone inside- she seems to go with it quite well. (It is a myler, level one I think-I would have to check on that).

    Half halts we have been working on those- Im thinking that they will get much better when I get a better seat under me... She has gotten much better with those though.

    Flexing more I start every ride with flexing and end with flexing but im guessing I could do more.

    Transitions Im assuming you mean practice going from a walk to trot back to walk then to canter, back to trot... so on and so forth. I started doing that to get her to not rush the canter and it seemed to help tons. But back to my body position if I start being more aware of my body it will help her even more.

    Hind end use By having more contact, sitting better, and driving with my legs she should start driving off her rear

    Alright thanks a ton to everyone again!!! I have something that I can work with for now.

    One last question: Should she feel heavy in the reins when she is going correctly? Menaing she I be holding her in position or will she just learn where to sit with little pressure? Or if she is heavy on the reins is she not driving enough with her hind end?

    Thanks some more!!! Im exciting to go ride tonight :)
         
        06-11-2009, 02:49 PM
      #16
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by farmpony84    
    I have my hands over my ears and my tongue is sticking out and I'm dancing in circles screaming lalalalalalala cus I like draw-reigns (although I do get them taken away because I tend to allow the horse to become heavy on the forehand). I think Angel is doing awesome and I love her horse and yes, she is a little forward and needs work and and and ... LALALALALALALLALLA


    Actually, there is a ton of great advice here....
    Lol... The advice on here is great- I need the help and greatly lack on my English skills. Draw reins do let the horse to get heavy- may be why I have a slight problem now. Thanks for making me laugh
         
        06-11-2009, 02:56 PM
      #17
    Yearling
    I'm going to have to disagree as well. You don't look at WP and HUS horses in the breed world and compare them to the same level or type of collection as a dressage horse. In the dressage world, the rump drops and the shoulder and head elevate. In the breed show world, there is no elevation of the head or neck... so the collection is much lower and basic. You want them working in a long and low frame, pretty much all of the time.

    I also disagree with 'shutting' the energy, because that tells the rider to close their hands and stop the horse, or control the energy, or channel it. And stopping has nothing to do with collection. Collection has nothing to do with pulling back on the reins. Collection comes from impulsion (the horse tracking up and pushing), and anything you do to stop the horse just does a disservice to the collection.

    I don't like draw reins either so I'll agree with you there. ;)

    In the first picture, the fence and the arena are going down hill so I think it's misleading. The second one is straighter, and the horse looks much better. You can see the quadriceps working, the horse lifting... I couldn't disagree more with you. This horse is using her back legs... just not in a traditional english usage of collection where the head is coming up and the rump drops because of it. You can even see the positive DAP, which although can often times be a sign of tension or green-ness, certainly is very hard to do if the hind end is not being used! Usually, for QH's it is the other way around--negative DAP because they are dragging so forcefully.

    For you, don't push your weight forward. Sit like you would in a western saddle! Think of your body as a captial 'D', with your chest and midsection being the bow of the D, and your back being the straight part. This will keep you straight with the right muscles, rather then just hollowing your back.

    When I do long and low stretches with my horses, you can definitely feel it when they stretch down and pick up that contact. They are using the bit as a tool to help them stretch. However, if she's heavy all of the time, she's probably leaning! So in the beginning, I would have just enough contact to feel her mouth. If she starts to feel heavy... drop the contact. She can't lean if there's nothing to lean against. ;)
         
        06-11-2009, 03:42 PM
      #18
    Weanling
    Mayfieldk - I don't care whether or not she's a quarter horse world champion cutter or a 4th level dressage horse. The same principles of english riding apply. You want the weight off the forehand. Quarter horses are built by nature to have more weight on their front legs; its why you see so many downhill builds. It enables them to be a bit lower to the ground in the way they travel, which makes it ideal for cutting cows. It's not ideal though for english riding. In fact, its the exact opposite of what you want. In english riding, dressage, jumping, whatever, the weight HAS to shift back to the hind, with their shoulders at least somewhat elevated. You have to be able to give that energy a place to go though. Without a connection to the reins, it poofs out (for lack of a better word) and becomes flat and downwards energy.

    So many riders run into problems with the "long and low". It is NOT throwing away the reins and allowing the horse to drop on to the forehand. It's letting them chew the contact out of your hand-while still keeping a good connection to their mouth- while still maintaining uphill movement. Their neck and poll drop, but most of their weight is still shifted on to their back end.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Angel_Leaguer    

    One last question: Should she feel heavy in the reins when she is going correctly? Menaing she I be holding her in position or will she just learn where to sit with little pressure? Or if she is heavy on the reins is she not driving enough with her hind end?

    Thanks some more!!! Im exciting to go ride tonight :)
    No, she shouldn't feel heavy. You should feel a little pressure from your connection with her mouth, but essentially it should be light, because she should be carrying herself. If you feel like she's heavy, she's likely on the forehand, and you just need to rebalance her with some half halts and a bit more leg.

    As for transitions, the biggest thing is watching your own body. I have tendency to allow myself to fall forward during transitions, and it makes a HUGE difference, because you are shifting all the weight-yours and theirs-to the forehand, which is counterproductive. So just be really aware of where your body is and make sure you aren't tilting forward.

    And remember, just take it a step at a time. Even if you and she can only maintain it for a few steps at a time, that's a terrific start
         
        06-11-2009, 03:54 PM
      #19
    Trained
    Rofl farmpony!!
         
        06-11-2009, 04:58 PM
      #20
    Trained
    One last question: Should she feel heavy in the reins when she is going correctly? Menaing she I be holding her in position or will she just learn where to sit with little pressure? Or if she is heavy on the reins is she not driving enough with her hind end?


    If she feels heavy in the reins, then you're just holding her together in a false frame. She is not in true self carriage. Just find the minimal contact and then use transitions to get her to gradually shift her weight more toward her hind end. If anything, you're initial minimal contact will feel lighter once she's more balanced. She needs to learn how to balance herself, so if she hangs on the reins, release them every few strides to give them a wobbly feel so she gets the idea that she needs to hold herself up. You'll find that once she's balancing herself from behind, her head will be that last place it's coming from. It's a wonderful lightbulb moment that you'll eventually experience and you'll never think about terms like "head set" ever again.

    Like others have said, you do need to help her out with your own position by making sure you are not in front of her center of gravity. I'm assuming since you ride western, you already know how to sit back, so just keep in mind to sit tall, open your shoulders and keep her shoulders free so she can do what is being asked of her. She's a beautiful horse. I'm sure you guys will get it sooner than later. Just be patient and don't ask for too much too fast.
         

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