Hands, reins and contact (warning: rant)
   

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Hands, reins and contact (warning: rant)

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  • Bolting kimberwick

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    01-25-2014, 08:02 AM
  #1
Weanling
Hands, reins and contact (warning: rant)

I had posted a thread on this forum asking for help with a horse that is rarely spooky but violent when she does get that way, and after some thinking I realized that my horse has been most prone to act this way under saddle when riding in one particular D ring snaffle...

When we were having trouble with bolting more than three years ago, I had her in the D-ring. At that point she was new to me, somewhat green, and her surroundings were entirely new. So I blamed it on lack of exposure (which I'm sure contributed to the problem), put her in a bit that gave me some emergency brakes and started racking up the miles. After switching her to a kimberwick (with a slightly different mouth piece), she calmed down a lot. Once again, I attributed it to the hours under saddle and exposure that were helping her calm down.

However, I don't like the kimberwick. She's learning to lean on the curb and too much play in the rein encourages her to tuck her nose behind the vertical and put her head down very low, which is making a horse that is naturally heavy on the forehand even heavier on the forehand. I figured I didn't need my emergency brakes anymore, so I switched her back to the D ring a little while ago... where she had another bolting episode. A bird took flight near her and startled her. I was frustrated with her, and once again, blamed it on training. There MUST be a way to get her to stop bolting!

But then I got to thinking. She's not afraid of birds. I've had birds fly out in front of her/right next to her before and not had a reaction like that, perhaps a small bobble or a look in that direction, but nothing that can't easily be ridden through and ignored. I did some more thinking and realized that when I ride her in the snaffle. She rides with her head higher (which was an intended goal) but also with her nose sticking stubbornly in front of the vertical, and her neck is somewhat tense. We lost that relaxed arch that we had in the kimberwick and I'm pretty sure I could feel some hollowing through the back.

I posted on this forum, and another forum asking for advice on bits and what bits I should try next since this particular snaffle is clearly not comfortable for my horse.

Instead I got ripped apart for having a horse with a bolting problem, told it was a training issue and that I should train her to respond to pressure in the D ring that she hates. No one seems to believe me that she is not normally tense and prone to bolt. I kept being talked to as if she had been bolting all along, so I posted this video just to prove that my horse does, indeed ride calmly.

After I posted the video, I was again ripped apart for my hands and the amount of contact I use. I was told I have no idea what real contact is about and that I have a "flutter rein" which is apparently detrimental to a horse's training. Keep in mind, I said I didn't use much contact in the kimberwick because I didn't like how my horse responded to contact in this bit, hence the hunt for a snaffle. And this video is more than 3 years old so some things have improved since then. I've also been riding and competing stock-type hunt seat with this horse, where less contact and a longer, lower frame is desired (only because I rode appaloosas before this and have been working with the same trainer).

I will be starting regular dressage lessons in the spring which should help me adjust my riding style to the type of horse that I now own and help me lift my horse off her forehand. I am aware of our biggest downfall, and I thought I made that clear in my original post.

Watch this video and tell me, do my hands/reins look really bad considering the discipline I've been trained in?


Feel free to watch some of the others on my channel if you need more to go off.

Sorry for the long post! I needed a little rant in there!

But seriously, if you think my hands really are that bad, I want to know! I want to know if I've been taught wrong all this time, and what I can do to improve on my own until I am able to start lessons with a different instructor in the spring.
     
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    01-25-2014, 08:05 AM
  #2
Trained
The video is blocked!
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    01-25-2014, 08:14 AM
  #3
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsygirl    
The video is blocked!
Posted via Mobile Device
Hmmmm..... worked for me, could it be because you are on a mobile device?

.
     
    01-25-2014, 08:18 AM
  #4
Trained
That should not make a difference...it says it's blocked bc of copyright...I'm guessing music?
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    01-25-2014, 11:28 AM
  #5
Green Broke
I can't give you an opinion on the threads where you were "ripped apart" for one reason or another, because I don't recall ever seeing them.

Overall, I think your hands are nice. I think they should be just a titch higher, but that's probably just personal preference.
I /do/ think you could have better contact and work her into the bridle more. Again, it's not a huge deal, but I see room for improvement.
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    01-25-2014, 11:36 AM
  #6
Weanling
The thread where I was ripped apart was not on this forum. Thanks for the input though. :)
     
    01-25-2014, 11:38 AM
  #7
Showing
What discipline would you *like* to be critiqued under?

As a pleasure rider, you're fine. As a hunter/jumper or dressage rider, your hands are waaaaaaaaaaaay too low and your reins are a million miles too long, your elbows are bowed out.

As a pleasure horse, your horse is fine. As a hunter/jumper or dressage horse, he is strung out, not working back to front, and has only been taught "head down" because of the bit, not working through his back.
     
    01-25-2014, 11:48 AM
  #8
Showing
Do I see spurs and a whip? And that bit is the kimberwick?

I ride dressage, but I am also a regular pleasure rider.

Your hands are a little busy in terms of movement up/down but they are also kind of passive. The rein length is fine but it'd be a little more effective if your reins were shorter. You carry your hands pretty low, instead of keeping them aligned to your horse's mouth (hence, passive) An easy way to tell if they are aligned is to extend your pinkies and if they point to the bit then they're ok. If they're too high, your hands are too high. If they are low, then you need to raise your hands.

If you have whip and spurs...why? One should be enough of an aid (I prefer whip, honestly, because it trains the horse to stop ignoring your leg with or without a whip)

~~

About the D ring snaffle bit, it sounds as though that bit wasn't working for your horse. They can't talk so instead they have to show us if they don't like something. Sky used to bolt with a loose ring snaffle, his way of saying he wasn't a fan. We changed to an eggbutt (albeit it was not big enough) and he was much better.
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    01-25-2014, 11:54 AM
  #9
Weanling
The original post is the same one, copy & pasted that I posted on this forum. I got much gentler answers here! I'm cool with constructive critique and some of it was, but I can definitely see a lot of snarky undertone to some of those replies!

Moderator note: links to other forums are not allowed. Link has been removed.
     
    01-25-2014, 12:08 PM
  #10
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
Do I see spurs and a whip? And that bit is the kimberwick?

I ride dressage, but I am also a regular pleasure rider.

Your hands are a little busy in terms of movement up/down but they are also kind of passive. The rein length is fine but it'd be a little more effective if your reins were shorter. You carry your hands pretty low, instead of keeping them aligned to your horse's mouth (hence, passive) An easy way to tell if they are aligned is to extend your pinkies and if they point to the bit then they're ok. If they're too high, your hands are too high. If they are low, then you need to raise your hands.

If you have whip and spurs...why? One should be enough of an aid (I prefer whip, honestly, because it trains the horse to stop ignoring your leg with or without a whip)

~~

About the D ring snaffle bit, it sounds as though that bit wasn't working for your horse. They can't talk so instead they have to show us if they don't like something. Sky used to bolt with a loose ring snaffle, his way of saying he wasn't a fan. We changed to an eggbutt (albeit it was not big enough) and he was much better.
I started her out in spurs because she was super dead sided. I used the nudge with the inside of the heel, if no response, turn the heel out and use the spur. It worked effectively. The ask, then tell method usually does. I haven't used a spur in years. If you look at my more recent videos, you'll see that.

The dressage whip is not a "go" tool so much as a hip maneuvering tool. At this point we had still not perfected our side pass and I would practice it along the fence line periodically throughout our ride. I would use the dressage whip to press to her flank as I moved my leg back to give her the cue for "move your butt". She's such a long horse and without someone on the ground pushing her, it was hard for me to relay the message that when I put my foot "here", I want you to move the part of your body that's three miles behind that location. Haha. It also worked. I don't carry a dressage whip anymore either. I do still carry a crop through. I generally don't use it, but every once in a while it's nice to have to use as a leg reinforcement or an arm extension to reach her flank or hip.

In this video, I was going for the "pleasure rider". Up until now I have only regularly taken lessons from a pleasure instructor, and I have only done HUS and obstacle trail at stock-type open shows with this horse, because this is what I'm familiar with. I have had two dressage lessons but that does not make me a dressage rider in any way.

In the spring I /will/ be taking dressage lessons and moving away from the pleasure style, so I would be receptive to any tips on what to do to achieve more of that.
     

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