I FINALLY figured out what I'm doing wrong! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-04-2013, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Western Massachusetts
Posts: 330
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I FINALLY figured out what I'm doing wrong!

So when I ride my Appy gelding, half the time he would act up and give me real problems while riding. By this I mean he would drop his head to his feet and fight the bit with all his strength. Everyone at the barn would just say, "Well, he's an Appy, they act that way sometimes." I even started believing it myself, and took every ones advice and would punish him, but no amount of punishment would stop this behavior.

Today I got there for my riding lesson, but my riding instructor called to an emergency meeting at her daughters school, so her mother graciously agreed to give me my riding lesson. I was thrilled because Linda was an instructor for over 40 years and one of the most accomplished riders I know. She had me tack up in English tack (I ride Western usually, but ride English during lessons) and head down to the arena to warm up while she helped one of the other girls with her OTTB.

I get down there and he is doing it again, fighting the bit and generally being an ass. I looked at my husband and said, "It HAS to be something I'm doing!!! Last week when I rode western, he was an ABSOLUTE dream."

Linda walked up shortly after and asked what the problem was. I told her that he kept fighting the bit. She asked me to take a lap around so she could observe. I did less than a 1/4 lap and she stopped me. She said, "Ok, the problem is you're moving your hands against his head and slamming the bit into his mouth. Shorten your rein so you can feel his mouth, when his head goes forward your hands should too."

I did as she said and presto! No more problem horse! I even found when I moved my hands it prompted me to move hips with him as well. I felt like for the first time Gaylen and I were one. We just clicked. She even complimented my seat and how "light" I ride. My confidence shot up and my riding improved completely. It was literally the MOST amazing ride of my life.

I almost feel like dropping Deb (my current trainer) and asking her mom to do it. Linda picked up the problem in 30 seconds, and Deb didn't see it 6 1 hour sessions. I'm over the moon right now, but nervous about talking to Deb about this. She is a good friend and I don't want to hurt her feelings, but I just loved Linda's style so much more. :/
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-04-2013, 11:20 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Connecticut
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Yep, you found proper contact, soft elbows and following the horse's head motion. Congratulations. That is indeed a big light bulb moment!

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-04-2013, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Western Massachusetts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck View Post
Yep, you found proper contact, soft elbows and following the horse's head motion. Congratulations. That is indeed a big light bulb moment!
I feel so stupid, it was such a simple fix! And I feel horrible for punishing my boy when all along it was my error. Thank God he doesn't hold it against me.
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-04-2013, 11:25 PM
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Location: Connecticut
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I learned a long time ago, few horses do things to be intentionally difficult. Most of the time, they are trying to tell us something. You were very lucky to find this out sooner than later. I still sometimes have to remind myself to follow my horse since I tend to lock my elbows. If I forget, my horse is always quick to remind me with a little tug on the bit. Kudos for realizing the problem was rider and not horse.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-04-2013, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Western Massachusetts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck View Post
I learned a long time ago, few horses do things to be intentionally difficult. Most of the time, they are trying to tell us something. You were very lucky to find this out sooner than later. I still sometimes have to remind myself to follow my horse since I tend to lock my elbows. If I forget, my horse is always quick to remind me with a little tug on the bit. Kudos for realizing the problem was rider and not horse.
I know now to trust my horse, and not everyone around me. He is the sweetest horse in the world (except when he is cinchy and nips, we're working on that) and tries his best to please me.
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-05-2013, 02:30 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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that's awesome! good luck with talking to your instructor about switching. I can imagine it must be nerve wracking. Sounds like it would be worth it though!
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-05-2013, 03:52 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Portland, OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstorres2566 View Post
I feel so stupid, it was such a simple fix! And I feel horrible for punishing my boy when all along it was my error. Thank God he doesn't hold it against me.
I've had a slip-up or two where I was overlooking an error of my own and felt bad for correcting Sam over it, and someone at the barn always tells me that having a horse is just like parenting it's ok to be wrong, and as long as your mistakes are honest and you don't act out of anger, your horse will forgive them.

"...and may your life be filled with good horses." Buck Brannaman

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post #8 of 12 Old 09-05-2013, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Western Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by SammysMom View Post
I've had a slip-up or two where I was overlooking an error of my own and felt bad for correcting Sam over it, and someone at the barn always tells me that having a horse is just like parenting it's ok to be wrong, and as long as your mistakes are honest and you don't act out of anger, your horse will forgive them.
Aw, thanks, that makes me feel a little better.
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-05-2013, 07:47 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2011
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That is awesome! Every ride is a new experience and I hope I never quit learning and growing as a rider
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-05-2013, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Western Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by womack29 View Post
That is awesome! Every ride is a new experience and I hope I never quit learning and growing as a rider
Thanks! Learning new things is exciting. Especially that Ah-ha moment!
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