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Me again :D !!

This is a discussion on Me again :D !! within the Horse Riding Critique forums, part of the Riding Horses category

     
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        07-31-2011, 12:27 AM
      #11
    Super Moderator
    That you can see his shortcomings and have a plan on how to improve them, and recognize improvement, it's all good!
         
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        07-31-2011, 09:37 AM
      #12
    Green Broke
    Hi Apachie, what a cute boy you have!

    Before I get into too much of a critique, I have to comment on a couple of things that I see that I really like: Your upper body is in a nice position - you have a straight back but not locked into shape and you keep your shoulders back for the most part. I like that you are looking up and forwards in all (but one ) of the pics. Also, nice job keeping your thumbs on top, one of the most common faults and so easy to forget about!

    The things I would work on to would be firstly to ride with a soft and elastic contact which just means that you give and you take. But never wholly one or the other.

    There are a couple of consequences of riding with an unforgiving hand; firstly the horse will resist, bracing their neck against the pressure. This is where they have their head up and will feel very rigid in your hands. This is not a good thing as any aids you give to a horse when they are in this position will fall on deaf ears so to speak as they are simply too tense and the bit is in the wrong position in their mouth (photos 1, 7 and 8).

    Once they give up trying to brace against you, they will instead try to evade the contact altogether by putting their head low and tucking it in. You can see in some pics that he has his head low, trying to avoid the pressure with his mouth gaping (pics 2, 3 and 8). Also not a good postion to be in because again, all aids that you give a horse when they are in this position will be rendered ineffective.

    I also notice that he is stiff and a little counter bent in some pics, particularly pic 6. For the horse to be soft he must be able to flex correctly in each direction. Think of it this way: If you are riding a circle to the right you should be able to see his right hand side eyelashes without moving your own upper body. He has a tendency to lock his shoulders and tip his nose to the outside.

    Now that I have bashed a bit, there are a couple of pics in there that look like good starting points to begin with: Pics 4 and 5. All it would take from those pics is to unlock your arms a little (relax those wrists and elbows!), give a little more with your hands and allow him to walk freely and use your seat to encourage him to reach with those HQ and shift some of his weight off his forehand.

    Now, for things some things to try:

    1.) For a horse that rushes, I use lots of changes in direction and gaits. Whatever you do, don't try to hold him back with both reins because it is not effective and will be detrimental to further training. Instead, try exercises that keep him thinking about you rather than rushing - combine big circles with small circles, throw in some figure of eights, serpentines.

    Add some transitions into that mix, particularly walk/trot transitions, I like to do this on a figure of eight pattern. Think of them as two trot circles with 4-8 strides of walk in the middle.

    2.) Do you 'walk' you hands at the walk? My suspicion is either that you don't, or you aren't enough. That means that your hands follow the natural motion of his head, they shouldn't be locked into position as a proper relaxed walk requires the head and neck to 'bob' a little and your hands should follow this movement to allow him to truly relax into the gait and encourage a nice swinging walk.

    3.) For the bending I like to use lots of spirals where you start on one rein (say the right) and begin a large circle. Look for those eyelashes! Then gradually bring the circle in closer, ask/talk with your inside rein (remember, never constant contact - squeeze and release) and use your outside rein to control speed. Use your inside leg to ask for bend, think of getting him to wrap his body around that inside leg. Your outside leg is for support and to prevent the opposite shoulder from popping out. Once you have 'spiraled' in, spiral out again. Then do the left rein, same concept but opposite aids.

    4.) Lastly, a good warm up is crucial! I spend 10-30 mins warming horses up mostly at a walk. It is the time to get the muscles warm and get their mind focused so encouraging a good free walk and then introducing some leg yielding (have you worked on this before?). Use your seat and legs to encourage him to stretch down into your hands rather than trying to use your hands to make him stretch down. Don't worry if it doesn't happen instantaneously, my girl can sometimes take a while to do this! But I don't start a workout until she is ready to listen, your workouts will be of much higher quality if you start them out right.

    Sheesh, that was a long one ha.

    Good luck!
         
        07-31-2011, 07:21 PM
      #13
    Foal
    As you already know, your reins are too short. Even if he tried to relax, he'd have no where to go. I'm glad you posted the pictures where he put his head down as it tells a lot about things. What you see is a horse evading the bit. He momentarily (likely a few strides) tried to duck out of the contact the rider made for him. The reins were too short making it no more comfortable to work there than with his head up, so inevitably he reverted back to the more comfortable giraffe position. To correct this cycle of poor contact, you are going to learn how to ride this horse without the hand brake on.

    Do your walk work on the contact like you are in the pictures. Put some tape 1" in front of your thumbs. When you are trotting, do not shorten them any further than that, remembering to keep your hands together and out in front of you. I know he's rushy, so you are going to have to use your reins briefly (plus a whoa with your seat and legs) and then let go again. These rudimentary half halfs I call "checks". It's sort of like down shifting one gear at a time until you get the gear that you want. It help if you think to keep your "hands on the neck" by just touching your pinky finger on his mane above the withers (not locked down). He's not tracking up and holding a lot of tension in his body. He won't be able to let go of that until you let go of his face. Switching the bit isn't always the answer, but I might try to find something thicker/milder while you both are still figuring things out. Do make sure it is pulled up into the corners of the mouth and not hanging loosely in the mouth.

    Good luck and looking forward to future updates.
         
        08-01-2011, 02:59 AM
      #14
    Green Broke
    Thanks for all the tips everyone. I definitely have gotten into a bad habit of riding the brakes with him because he is rushy. I will definitely loosen the reins some. Also no I don't ride with that contact at a walk, I either have an extremely loose rein or I only take up any major slack. I also do follow is head bobbing at a walk. Also with my old instructor I was constantly being told to take up more rein.

    I will try those exercises you mentioned sarahver. I already do do a couple of them which have helped a lot. I just wasn't doing them when these photos were taken because I was trying to make it easy for photos to be taken.

    ETA: I just checked the photos and the walking ones make me look like a liar about the loose reins I'm not sure what was going on there now.
         
        08-01-2011, 05:33 AM
      #15
    Green Broke
    Also forgot to add thanks for the completment on my boy
         
        08-01-2011, 11:56 AM
      #16
    Yearling
    I'm very, very far from expert, but have been riding a rather rushy horse for a year now, and she's made a lot of progress in keeping a more reasonable, while still forward, tempo in the trot. Advice from my trainer that seemed to help us turn the corner: "ride the trot you want." That is, if she's rushing, be very conscious and deliberate in slowing your posting to the tempo you want to see her in. If she misinterprets and gets too poky, give your own motion a bit more "umph" and think "forward." It's taken me awhile to be confident enough in my own body/seat/posting motion to do this on a longer rein than I was used to, but I do think it's helped us to work with that basic "ride the trot you want" framework in mind. Good luck! It feels so good to make progress!
         
        08-01-2011, 05:26 PM
      #17
    Green Broke
    Yes that is what I do to slow his trot to how I want it. Though sometimes he ignores it for awhile and I start to use the reins when I really don't want to.
         
        08-01-2011, 06:04 PM
      #18
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by egrogan    
    I'm very, very far from expert, but have been riding a rather rushy horse for a year now, and she's made a lot of progress in keeping a more reasonable, while still forward, tempo in the trot. Advice from my trainer that seemed to help us turn the corner: "ride the trot you want." That is, if she's rushing, be very conscious and deliberate in slowing your posting to the tempo you want to see her in. If she misinterprets and gets too poky, give your own motion a bit more "umph" and think "forward." It's taken me awhile to be confident enough in my own body/seat/posting motion to do this on a longer rein than I was used to, but I do think it's helped us to work with that basic "ride the trot you want" framework in mind. Good luck! It feels so good to make progress!

    This is very good advice. I often use the "slow your own posting " techniqe to get the horse to match me. I forgot to mention that, but this sharp person did.
         

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