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Low hands help...

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  • It usef to be "keep your hands low when training a reining horse but now more people have their hands high
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    04-02-2013, 03:16 PM
  #21
Weanling
Agree with corporal and jaydees comments. There is a difference between hard hands and carrying them with proper alignment. Alignment is functional. Ideally that means NEUTRAL and receptive, and being part of an independent seat. Of course that takes awhile to develop. But the accepted 'rules' of ear/shoulder/hip/heel/straight line from elbow to horses mouth/upper arms hanging vertical help the seat function optimally. These ideas are based upon what I was taught, as well as starting 10-30 horses yearly, as well as many students from beginning to fei. And I also am a judge.

Book are great for thinking out theory, but time riding as well as training and teaching is living in the real world.

There is a vast difference between wide hands per se and 'funneling the horse into a connection. There are reasons for the use of the rein effects, and equally how close the hands are held and why.

Should the less educated rider express training ideals? Ideally they are given time to develop a seat on a lunge before picking up reins. On this side of the pond, it is rather learning equitation while learning how to train their horse. Nevertheless the closer to ideals they are, the more easily the horse will be trained. That said, it is all rather like learning to play chess, learning what action creates what reaction in the horse.

I agree that too many riders do 'hand ride' rather than let the horse meet the hand with steady connection. But low hands often are locked at the withers most often causes either resistance or over flexion. When I was young I also taught what you have stated: low hands/hold a strap/etc., and in the end the riders had much more difficulty in learning a correct upper arm positioning and in identifying the correct seat('s use). In the end the rider must learn the rein effects and a proper posture, each feeds back into the other.

NO one should have their hands to their chest, and should NEVER pull back...the horse meets the rider. That is why the rein effects, and the different rein holds, have always been taught. Those things are not what the pix of Gal/etc show.

When the rider is following the bascule of the horse (in walk, canter, jumping, and seeking forward/down/out/stretching), it is not just the elbow. The elbow allows for an up or down action, or can be opening(taking the upper arm forward). But for opening the shoulder socket must be part of that mechanism.(the same idea of our walking briskly). A very collected horse which is sitting more has need for use of its 'balancing rod' neck, it is more lifted/arced, the bascule is minimal at that point. The action is NOT pumping, it is holding a light connection with the mouth and allowing the horse to use its body. Collection comes after the steady connection, after bit acceptance morphs into the horse being 'on the bit' (with greater degree of longitudinal flexion), and after half halts can produce more flexion of the hindleg joints and a shorter base of support. IF the bascule or the horse is not allowed at the beginning, the use of the neck (in walk and canter) will be restricted. If that happens the horse's natural movement will be restricted, and they will either flex (at the wrong vertebrae) or slow (because of the lack of allowing the body's action).

EVERY rider learns to deal with their own anatomy, tall/short/long waisted/short waisted/etc. But the alignment of their spine is what allows the horse to be ridden 'from the seat'; that has always been required for refinement in riding. Here is a rider which is 5'---on a team--and carries her (shorter) arms vertically Google Image Result for http://equisearch-media.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/debbie_mcdonald_brentina_bulletin_400.jpg

Imho its always a refinement of equitation to allow for refinement for (ease in) training.
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    04-03-2013, 08:33 AM
  #22
Green Broke
Equitate sorry but I agree with Anebel.
Please do share your experiance, Anebel freely shares her experiance and how she obtained it She also freely shares photos of her riding (including I believe a video of a GP test).
Kayty also shares photos and evidence of her experiance.

I would pay good money to have a lesson of either Anebel or Kayty (next time you girls are in the UK you WILL come and give me a lesson) but you I have no idea about.

OP - I find that attaching a short strap between the d's of the saddle and riding with my pinkies hooked under it helps alot, more so than hooking fingers in the saddle cloth as I struggle to keep hold of that!
     
    04-03-2013, 11:50 AM
  #23
Trained
Ninjarider: Do you know WHY you ride with your hands too low?

I'm more of a western rider who uses a *******ized forward seat in an Australian-style saddle, so I won't offer any lessons in dressage. However...

It may be just a bad habit. Most of us pick up a few, and I've picked up more than most. But if it is a bad habit, then you simply need to get used to holding your hands elsewhere. When I started making the switch from using two hands with the reins to riding one-handed, I was amazed at how freaky it felt! It seems totally unnatural, and having only one arm ahead with the other relaxed at my side impacts my shoulder position, my seat, my balance - everything. No, I wasn't using the reins for balance, but the body position using two hands balances differently than when using only one.

If it is just a bad habit to break, you could try doing things like riding a western trained horse one handed & freak your whole body out, or riding with your hands too high (and a loose rein) for a few minutes at a time just to get your body out of its habit pattern.

It could be the horse you ride tends to pull your hands down. Mia has done that with me many times. She sometimes wants to feel a lot of pressure on the reins. I don't know why. She'll place her head lower and lower, getting more and more rein, then pop her head up and have a ton of slack. I'll take some of the slack out, then we start the cycle over again. After 10 minutes, she'll stop it and go back to normal - which is level head and slight slack in the reins, for us.

Where does your horse place its head? Big horse, small horse, big rider, small rider...they can all have an effect.

Talk with your teacher about WHY you put your hands too low. Sometimes it helps to shake things up. Borrow a western saddle, and use the horn as a guide (with my Aussie-style saddle that has a horn, my wrists [or wrist, singular] should be near the top of the horn).

Now for a pet peeve: Proper equitation for a sport is the form that works best at high levels of competition. It is a goal. And at high levels of competition, you have a very skilled and athletic rider on a highly trained horse.

My $1200 Arabian mare isn't highly trained. She doesn't spook nearly as much, but she still does the OMG Crouch about every 5 minutes on a trail. I injured my back on one side a few months after I took up riding, and the stiffness is only starting to leave. That still affects me every time I ride.

Riding is a lifetime journey, but you have to ride in the present: THIS horse, THIS rider, THIS skill level. Over a 5 year period, I'm finding my heels are sliding back toward my hip, but it would have taken concentration and tense legs to PUT them there when I started. Tense leg muscles hurt riding far more than heels a little forward.

A top dressage rider will ride differently than me. Duh! I'm not a very athletic, skilled rider! I'm a serious rider. I care about riding right. But taking up riding at 50, and riding maybe 3 hours/week, means Mia will never have the training to sustain a collected gait, and I will never ride like Gal or anyone else successful in dressage. Nor should I. Not my horse, not my style, not my goal. I can admire someone without needing to imitate them!

Instructors, IMHO, need to remember that proper riding is what works for THAT rider on THAT horse at THAT time, and be willing to flex as needed for the goals and training of the horse & rider.

Back to the OP: Talk with your instructor. Hand too low or high WILL affect your riding, your seat, your balance, your horse. Maybe post a picture. Then the real riders on this forum may be able to offer advice based on you and your horse. And if what I wrote doesn't help, then feel free to ignore it! I'm a beginner rider, and offer it FWIW.
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    04-03-2013, 12:41 PM
  #24
Weanling
Bsms, good points, well made. Agreed.

Faye, note that I said that at one time I agreed with the point of view of Anebel (who has posted a nice I-1 vid) also, but time and years of expirimenting with the long term application of different methodologies have changed my mind and what I suggest. The fix easily creates other problems, we pay our money and take our choice. And each choice comes with a positive side and a negative reaction. So, my suggestions are based on long term time-tests and how application of theories work on real time riding and horse's behaviors. (I have five students who have now created their own gp horses, two have done two, and one has developed five), so I have found how profoundly staying close to theory works in the read world. (And think that the OP's trainer makes those insights as well.) One of these days I might put together a site or pix, but it is simply a matter of time and priorities. Meanwhile, if people want to choose to think about the questions I pose or the info I offer, fine. But my specialty is developing useful aligned seats and changing riders into trainers with good timing (as well as depth in working with piaffe/passage with two of the top in hand trainers in Germany). No one is making another do anything, just always think out the long term results.
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    04-03-2013, 04:58 PM
  #25
Banned
Ugh I'm always being told to lower my hands, I'm short and when I start lowering my hands to close to the wither I find I tip forward because I'm reaching beyond what is a natural position for my arms/hands and my back starts rounding.......I ride on a very loose rein (reining) but have very very steady hands.....albeit a bit higher than what is preferred. But I have a good seat, open shoulders and steady hands......
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    04-03-2013, 05:11 PM
  #26
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muppetgirl    
Ugh I'm always being told to lower my hands, I'm short and when I start lowering my hands to close to the wither I find I tip forward because I'm reaching beyond what is a natural position for my arms/hands and my back starts rounding.......I ride on a very loose rein (reining) but have very very steady hands.....albeit a bit higher than what is preferred. But I have a good seat, open shoulders and steady hands......
We are ALWAYS working on things, if we don't ride every day. I was watching a tv trainer recently and was reminded that I look down too much. Isn't it great that every riding hour isn't in the show ring?
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    04-03-2013, 05:14 PM
  #27
Weanling
Quote:
Equitate, the fact that you quote a couple of riders who's horses may be at GP but deffinatly don't look relaxed or happy doing it, and riders who advocate Rolkur AND have been filmed riding in it for extended periods of time with horses with BLUE toungues tells me all I need to know about your style.
Actually that tells you nothing about me. I agree that are not relaxed nor happy, because the riders are attempting to ride the horses up and open when they are not schooled in that posture. I do not quote a pix, they are just the horse's de jour that I grabbed quickly to illustrate a rider arm posture (which they actually rarely show, hands are often low). Why not look for pix which I recommended of Richard Waetjen, Alois Podhajsky, or Karl Mikolka (who I saw ride and rode with in real time). I have been a passionate campaigner on the subject of broken postures/torqued curbs and rk since 1984 and Remmie at Aachen (before many were born) because of the profound effects upon the (purity of) gaits, the balance, and a number of other things. That said, one of the pix do show more traditionally schooling (with a small rider like DMcD). Like Maria Gunther (wife of Bubbi...a man with a really non rider proportion who was a top trainer), I support traditional training and can tell you biomechanically why I do so.
     
    04-03-2013, 05:56 PM
  #28
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporal    
We are ALWAYS working on things, if we don't ride every day. I was watching a tv trainer recently and was reminded that I look down too much. Isn't it great that every riding hour isn't in the show ring?
I do exactly the same thing - look down too much - and also slightly drop my inside shoulder. I have old pics of me from when I was a child and there I am - looking down. When I go for lessons the instructor/trainer is constantly yelling at me to not do it but it creeps back.
Low hands shouldn't mean fixed rigid hands - not sure if I would like to see someone other than a beginner using a neck rein to lock on too. Different horses also respond to different ways of riding and a well balanced rider with good light hands should be able to have their hands in pretty much any position and not cause pain to the horse.
I've seen some very good informative posts by equitate, anebel and kayty - people are entitled to have different opinions
     
    04-03-2013, 07:10 PM
  #29
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muppetgirl    
Ugh I'm always being told to lower my hands, I'm short and when I start lowering my hands to close to the wither I find I tip forward because I'm reaching beyond what is a natural position for my arms/hands and my back starts rounding.......I ride on a very loose rein (reining) but have very very steady hands.....albeit a bit higher than what is preferred. But I have a good seat, open shoulders and steady hands......

I'd rather have the problem of needing to lower my hands, than being told constantly to raise them. The latter is a habit that is much harder to break. Kind of reminds me of the way that it's much easier to break a horse of the habit of coming above that bit, than it is to break the hrose of the habit of coming behind the bit.
     
    04-03-2013, 07:39 PM
  #30
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporal    
We are ALWAYS working on things, if we don't ride every day. I was watching a tv trainer recently and was reminded that I look down too much. Isn't it great that every riding hour isn't in the show ring?
Ya and I ride five days a week......haha! I have come to the conclusion that my arms will not grow any longer no matter how many Cheerios I eat!! I beat the looking down habit - riding in a green reiner warm up pen will do that for ya! Lol!
     

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