On the bit! - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-03-2011, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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On the bit!

I seem to have a pretty solid understanding of how to "push" my horse up into the bit. He's really quite nice when he frames up. However, here's my issue. Walk and trot are one thing but the canter, although nice and fluid, takes a TON of leg strength to keep him pushed up into the bit and collected under me. I can canter around the arena a few times, do a few clean collected lead changes, and then my legs start to feel like jello! I want him to feel confident with me, and for me to not be so weak that i drop him. But my legs are useless after a few times around. hahaha!
Okay... so work with no stirrups, right?? But if i do that then my legs are shot within a few mins into the ride and i need to keep him fit for the fast approaching show season. Any advice... some good work out tips? Hack ideas?

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #2 of 7 Old 03-03-2011, 10:18 PM
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I have no advice, just very curious if anyone has suggestions. I've also been pushing the limits of my muscles and finding the limits are not vast these days. I'm starting to think more in the line of foods to eat or vitamins to take that will help my muscles build up faster and also recover more quickly.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-03-2011, 10:27 PM
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My #1 suggestion would be to ride without stirrups. When I ride without stirrups, I first warm up, then take them off of my saddle. That way, they are not banging around on the horse's sides and they are not so easy to pick up when it gets difficult.

If you get tired, take a break and walk for a few minutes, but try to push yourself a little bit. When your legs start to ache, try going just one more time around the arena, then take a break. Over time, you will build up the strength in your legs, and, in my opinion, no-stirrups work makes you more aware of your seat as well.

I would always add that if you are in reasonably good shape and your legs hurt very soon after dropping your stirrups, you might be gripping too much with your legs. Allow the horse's motion and thrust to push you out of the saddle.

Also, besides riding, I also run, which is great for leg strength and cardio.

Hope that helps! :)
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post #4 of 7 Old 03-03-2011, 10:34 PM
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If you have to work THAT hard to get your horse forward, you are doing too much of the work. YOu need to work on getting him to move off your leg briskly and honestly. Until you have him light off the leg, you won't be able to get that collection you seek.

You ever heard of the dressage saying, "the lesson of the leg?"
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-03-2011, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oxer View Post
I seem to have a pretty solid understanding of how to "push" my horse up into the bit. He's really quite nice when he frames up. However, here's my issue. Walk and trot are one thing but the canter, although nice and fluid, takes a TON of leg strength to keep him pushed up into the bit and collected under me. I can canter around the arena a few times, do a few clean collected lead changes, and then my legs start to feel like jello! I want him to feel confident with me, and for me to not be so weak that i drop him. But my legs are useless after a few times around. hahaha!
Okay... so work with no stirrups, right?? But if i do that then my legs are shot within a few mins into the ride and i need to keep him fit for the fast approaching show season. Any advice... some good work out tips? Hack ideas?
Any video of you riding him?
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-04-2011, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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oooh video is a great idea. i will post something this weekend! He is pretty responsive to my leg. But he also tends to become pretty heavy on my hands. He seeks the bit and then i start to over focus on keeping my hands quiet, arms strong, and legs pushing him into the collection. He's a big guy and all this collection tends to be like a mack truck... esp when we're jumping.

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-04-2011, 10:31 PM
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If you have to use that much leg in the canter you are definitely doing too much work, either he is not responsive enough to your leg or perhaps he's also not strong enough to hold as much collection as you're asking for, its hard work for them too, i don't know your horses history though.
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