Asking my horse to flex?
   

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Asking my horse to flex?

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  • Cues for flexing a horse
  • Horse asking to flex left

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  • 1 Post By waresbear
  • 1 Post By usandpets

 
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    05-06-2012, 12:04 AM
  #1
Foal
Asking my horse to flex?

Hello!

I was just wondering about the proper way to ask my horse to flex. I know he has been trained to do it and I think it would be a useful exercise for the two of us. However, we are in that awkward spot where the horse is trained but the rider isn't.

What is the proper way to ask him to flex left and right? I think I have trouble understanding how it is different from a "turn" command. I ride western, if it makes a difference.
     
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    05-06-2012, 12:35 AM
  #2
Green Broke
Are you asking on the ground or under saddle? Assuming under saddle. Start with on the ground first so you know how. Under saddle, a turn is slight contact, just enough to turn, but to flex you bring the horses to the side and wait for the horse to "give" to the pressure. Slide you're hand half way down the rein and pull to your hip. Wait for the horse to give and create slack in the rein, then immediately release. Give a big release by "throwing" the rein back.
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    05-06-2012, 02:22 AM
  #3
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by usandpets    
Are you asking on the ground or under saddle? Assuming under saddle. Start with on the ground first so you know how. Under saddle, a turn is slight contact, just enough to turn, but to flex you bring the horses to the side and wait for the horse to "give" to the pressure. Slide you're hand half way down the rein and pull to your hip. Wait for the horse to give and create slack in the rein, then immediately release. Give a big release by "throwing" the rein back.
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Do you do this no matter what bit the horse is in? A solid mouth curb, too?
     
    05-06-2012, 02:29 AM
  #4
Super Moderator
I ride in a snaffle, no shanks at all. So, I direct rein mostly, though a person can neck rein in a snaffle any time you want, as long as the horse knows the cue.

I think of flexing the horse as a way to reinforce his connection to the rein. I don't flex him at all if he is already lightly followoing the rein. Follwoing the rein means that if I pick up the right rein to go right, the horse turns his head at the poll, looks to the right and then he follows that head turn with his neck and body and thinks in that direction and goes that direction.
If I lift the right rein and askf or the kind of following the rein to the right, but the hrose stays looking forward, stiffens his neck and jaw and resists the rein, then he needs to be reminded about the rein and what it means . So, I lift the same rein higher and ask him to fles his neck around and to rock his body back a bit. I do not loosen my hold on the rein until he starts to willingly bring his own neck around, and I even look for his eye to roll back and indicate that he has given up the thought that was focussed out forward and is now thinking back to ME. When he stops pulling back on the rein, then you give him a big release. I also like the horse to step under and disengage, but if he changes his mind and flexes softly to the rein pretty quivckly, then I don't need to make him fully disengage his hindquarter.

I know , that was way more than you wanted to hear. Between me and USandpets you can get the general idea, no?
     
    05-06-2012, 02:33 AM
  #5
Trained
There is several ways to do this from the saddle and different degrees of flexion none of which I can explain accurately to you without being there with you & your horse. Rider position & horse's flexibility levels come into play so I would hate do you more harm than good.
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    05-06-2012, 04:31 AM
  #6
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
do you do this no matter what bit the horse is in? A solid mouth curb, too?
I flex in a curb too. Once they are immaculate at it in a snaffle, I generally just pull up the inside rein, and limit the motion from inside shoulder to shoulder. Just to put that nose in and open up the neck and shoulder.
     
    05-06-2012, 10:54 AM
  #7
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
do you do this no matter what bit the horse is in? A solid mouth curb, too?
I don't use solid curb bits. It's either a snaffle or a split curb bit. In my opinion, a full/solid bits are used on finished horses that neck rein very well and you wouldn't need to be flexing. If you're riding on one of those, I think you'd be experienced enough also to already know how to flex. I do know that's not always the case though.
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    05-07-2012, 08:46 AM
  #8
Foal
I have to subscribe to this thread, I'm having a similar issue (horse more trained than the rider!)

My horse WAS flexing beautifully. My trainer had me move him from a curb bit, to a three piece snaffle for some refresher. He is 17 and is clearly well trained, but I don't know much about him. He doesn't mind the bit at all, and he was flexing beautifully, but not he's pulling and fighting me non stop on it. If I keep completely off his mouth and neck rain and leg cue to turn, he's super responsive, but he won't flex anymore for me. I know this is a horse with a rider problem, and my trainer is out of the country for another week or so. I was just working on what the flexing, good "whoa" from seat only and some walk/trot transition, in the indoor arena only as per her instructions, but we're coming a little unraveled.

There's some great information in this thread already, so maybe we have to go back to flexing on the ground...

Good luck on this - you're not alone!
     
    05-07-2012, 10:29 AM
  #9
Green Broke
When you flex them on the ground, you don't have to use a bit. Start with flexing in the halter so you can get the hang of it first and not be worried about pulling on their mouth. Then you can start with a bit.
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    05-07-2012, 11:23 AM
  #10
Weanling
One thing I do with all my horses whether in the saddle or on the ground is as I am asking them to flex, I say the word "stretch." They learn that when I say stretch that they are supposed to flex so I barely have to put any pressure on them. One of my horses I just tap her side (when on the ground) and say stretch and she does it.
     

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