Sawing - any thoughts? - The Horse Forum

 
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-02-2011, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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Sawing - any thoughts?

I was talking to a horsey friend yesterday, who was asking me how I'm getting on with my riding. She's about the same level as me - roughly two years of riding, working on becoming more of a rider than a passenger, now that I've ridden a few different horses, experienced all the gaits, etc.

In reply, I said that I'm riding a more forward horse so I can get her working correctly and 'on the bit'. My perception of being on the bit is not just a pretty headset but the horse listening to my aids and accepting a bit. She said that to get a horse on the bit, you just saw (give and take on both reins, one at a time). I've heard of this before but I don't really understand what you can achieve with this except getting the horse's attention, and from there comes my question - what is the purpose of sawing and is it helpful in any way?

I'm probably not going to go off and try it, since I have a fantastic trainer at my riding school and I trust her 20 years of experience more than 2, but it just made me wonder. Thanks for any input.
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-02-2011, 09:31 AM
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I don't know about sawing, but you can "tickle" the reins gently with your fingers (open and close your hand around the reins softly) to get your horse to loosen up, relax, and bring their head down.

When I think of sawing I think of yanking back and forth quickly and meanly.

I'm not sure what your friend means by sawing. But tickling the reins can help your horse loosen up if needed.
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-02-2011, 09:36 AM
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Sawing -- don't do it!

Trust your instructor. Yes, there is a technique of moving the bit back and forth in the mouth, but it should NEVER resemble sawing. It's very gentle and minimal.

Getting a horse "on the bit" starts by riding the rear end of the horse forward into contact.
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-02-2011, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aniranch View Post
Sawing -- don't do it!
Getting a horse "on the bit" starts by riding the rear end of the horse forward into contact.
This. The more you worry about what your horse is doing with it's head, the more you will lose the rest of the horse. Ride from back to front, and the horse will position the head themselves.

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post #5 of 10 Old 08-02-2011, 09:58 AM
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You should push your horse up from behind so that he is in front of your leg, but behind the briddle. You want to maintain contact with his mouth. People "saw" because that is what they are taught to do in order to get a horse's head down. But they are rarely taught why to do it. Over the years people have meshed together the lesson of half halts with what you refer to "sawing" and the out come is now tug on your horse's mouth to get his head down.

Keep an eye out for those trainers and stay away from them, they are not teaching proper or safe methods.
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-02-2011, 10:08 AM
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Behind the bridle, wetrain17? Could you please explain what you mean?

"ON" the bit requires the horse to be ridden into the bridle. Behind the bridle, to my mind, indicates the horse is behind the hand. That's surely not what you meant, right?
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-02-2011, 10:32 AM
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I suppose that terminolgy is not correct from the "norm" Most people would say that behind the bit/bridle is the horse avoiding stepping forward into contact, which is correct.

I refer to is as the opposite. I do this only because when I was learning the basics of dressage (i was 10 mind you) I was having a hard time understanding what my trainer was saying until she said "in front of the leg but behind the bridle" For some reason that clicked and I could visualize what she meant. Since then, I refer to it as behind the bridle. Sorry for the confusion. I guess its about time I stop saying that! Habits are hard to break...
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-02-2011, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your replies, guys. I too was taught that you work with the hind end and not the head.
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-02-2011, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wetrain17 View Post
I suppose that terminolgy is not correct from the "norm" Most people would say that behind the bit/bridle is the horse avoiding stepping forward into contact, which is correct.

I refer to is as the opposite. I do this only because when I was learning the basics of dressage (i was 10 mind you) I was having a hard time understanding what my trainer was saying until she said "in front of the leg but behind the bridle" For some reason that clicked and I could visualize what she meant. Since then, I refer to it as behind the bridle. Sorry for the confusion. I guess its about time I stop saying that! Habits are hard to break...

I can see how this visualization would be very helpful for a student to get the feel of having the horse between the driving and the restraining aides. I like that. Maybe better to say "in front of the leg and up to the bridle".

As to "sawing", if you pull alternating such that the horse actually swings his head from side to side, this is really ugly and not helpful. I do, however, use a ticking motion sometimes (as another poster mentioned). I will usually tickle more or exclusively on the inside rein, however, and my goal is to get the horse's attentionn and to have them soften in the jaw on that side.
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-02-2011, 02:51 PM
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Thanks for the explanation, wetrain! Now it makes sense to me.
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