Is my horse off the forehand? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 14 Old 04-11-2012, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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Is my horse off the forehand?

Used to I would have to constantly use my legs to get my horse to drive forward and my hands to help get his head down, but recently he has been keeping his head and neck down while trotting and cantering without me having to ask him. Does this mean he is coming off his forehand and more onto his hindquarters because he moves with his head down more naturally and on his own?
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post #2 of 14 Old 04-11-2012, 06:50 PM
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Used to I would have to constantly use my legs to get my horse to drive forward and my hands to help get his head down, but recently he has been keeping his head and neck down while trotting and cantering without me having to ask him. Does this mean he is coming off his forehand and more onto his hindquarters because he moves with his head down more naturally and on his own?
Can't be sure, but that might be your horse using his back without being nagged to do so. Did you feel kind of higher up on his back (did it feel rounder?)

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post #3 of 14 Old 04-11-2012, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, especially while cantering. It felt so much better.
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post #4 of 14 Old 04-11-2012, 06:52 PM
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Horses will learn to carry their heads down and can still be really heavy on the forehand. If you aren't sure if you "feel" the motion then the easiest way for me to check is by my halt. When I ask for the halt and he stops with his rear end first, then I have a good idea that I'm on the right track. Feeling it is a lot harder then people make it sound in writing. I'm just now getting to where I think I've got the feel... I can tell you that when they are correct it's a very powerful yet controlled feeling...

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post #5 of 14 Old 04-11-2012, 06:55 PM
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Yes, especially while cantering. It felt so much better.
Yeah then he's probably using his back then! When a horse is off the forehand, you'll feel him get lighter on the front and heavier in the back. My horse is still green so I haven't felt it yet but a few times when I asked for the canter, he scooted his butt underneath for a few seconds and it felt crazy powerful.

Make sure you keep your horse balanced with those half halts and keep asking for forward. He'll get there eventually!

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post #6 of 14 Old 04-11-2012, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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It feels really different; like when we was strung out it would feel really flat and his head would be high and I couldn't feel a good distinct 3 beats. The other day I was cantering him and when we first started I asked him to slow down and collect a bit and from then on he held it by himself, I didn't have to change him in any way- he was slower, his head was lower, and he felt 'round', and I could feel the 3 beats really well through my seat. It was fun because I had never felt a canter that good before!
He's had some WP and HUS training, but it's been a while, so I think it just had to come back to him. When he's moving that well he just feels so focused and good! :)
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-11-2012, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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I could definitely feel when his hindlegs came under him, I felt like a 'push.'
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-11-2012, 07:29 PM
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I could definitely feel when his hindlegs came under him, I felt like a 'push.'
No way of knowing unless we see a visual like a picture or a video, but awesome that you had a nice canter :)

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post #9 of 14 Old 04-11-2012, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry, no pics of that ride :( but next time.
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-11-2012, 08:25 PM
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Without a video it's impossible to tell you, as your description of how he's working may or may not be correct.
My new horse hasn't been ridden in 12 months, but because of his build in front, when under saddle he naturally wants to carry his head and neck in a false 'on the bit' frame where he feels really comfortable and I could sit on him all day. BUT, he is very much still trudging along on his front legs and most definitely not off the forehand.
To an inexperienced rider, this would probably feel like the horse is 'collected'.

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