Bending/Softening Exercises
 
 

       The Horse Forum > Training Horses > Horse Training

Bending/Softening Exercises

This is a discussion on Bending/Softening Exercises within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Softening exercises
  • Beneing exercises for young horses

Like Tree5Likes

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
    12-30-2013, 12:05 PM
  #1
Foal
Question Bending/Softening Exercises

I have a 4 yo Mustang gelding that I purchased about 3 mo ago. He was pulling on me quite a bit and fussy with his bit, tossing his head, trying to chew on reins, etc. I finally found a bit he likes and we've been working and he's doing great. However when he gets cranky and wants to do other things besides what I'm asking he pulls on me. We've been doing lost of flexing with his head/neck, yielding hindquarters and even some forequarters on the ground. I also understand that I need to soften his ribcage in order for him to get soft/supple and that will in turn resolve the pulling on me. My question though is what exercises are effective for bending/softening the ribcage?
     
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
    12-30-2013, 01:41 PM
  #2
Weanling
Nothing will resolve the pulling until you have his total respect. He pulls because he is arguing "no, I want to do this". This is common with young horses, he is an adolescent, I did not always go with those in charge when I was a teenager, same thing. There are many different techniques to cure this, but it mostly takes time and effort on the rider's part.

Good luck
Phura likes this.
     
    12-30-2013, 01:57 PM
  #3
Green Broke
I would suggest setting up some poles (not unlike a pole bending competition setup) and working him around individual poles as well as weaving through them. Start with the poles further apart and at a walk and as his skill level and understanding of what's going on increases then start working them at a trot and once that's good then move the poles closer together and continue. Two important things to work on here: 1) make sure the trot is balanced in that he is working off his hind quarters and that he is not throwing himself around the pole or dropping his shoulder when he's making the turns; 2) be very conscious of how you are sitting and balanced and that you use your weight and legs as part of the turning process (don't just pull him around with the reins).

Also, don't over drill on this stuff. Do it a little bit and then work on something else or go for a ride down the road. This helps keep him mentally fresh and doesn't over strain muscles that are not conditioned for this kind of work.
Phura likes this.
     
    12-30-2013, 02:20 PM
  #4
Foal
I agree with what has been said, and as Sorrel3 specifically mentioned, time and consistency should help your problem. However, for flexing of the rib cage, bending circles will help. The softer your horse is with lateral flexion, the easier circles will be. Choose a direction and circle the horse, maintaining forward motion. Bend their head by lifting the inside rein to your hip. Press with your inside leg in the center of their barrel to encourage the rib cage to move out, and use your outside leg to keep their shoulders from dropping if needed. After the horse gives his nose towards your foot, and is moving forward, release the pressure on both the reins and through your legs. Be sure to completely restart the procedure in the opposite direction. If the horse is struggling to maintain a forward motion, ask for less bend in the beginning. Resistance through the mouth is often a result of a stiff body; therefore, bending through the midsection will encourage the horse to soften through their head.
Phura likes this.
     
    12-30-2013, 02:38 PM
  #5
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by sorral3    
nothing will resolve the pulling until you have his total respect. He pulls because he is arguing "no, I want to do this". This is common with young horses, he is an adolescent, I did not always go with those in charge when I was a teenager, same thing. There are many different techniques to cure this, but it mostly takes time and effort on the rider's part.

Good luck

I think this is a good point. Though your horse cannot be allowed to pull you all over the place, it is worth considering that the horse is not suddenly becoming stiff becuase he's stiff. He is probably becoming mentally resistance due to his frame of mind.

Maybe, you are boring him and he see's no purpose or reward for doing what you ask. Maybe you are leaning on his mouth, maybe you are endlessly bending his head around, or maybe you're asking too much of a young horse. I really couldn't say . But try to find places for him to be successful. If you are asking for him to give to the rein, if he does give, give him a good reward and maybe quit. Don't do it over and over again.

Too many people haul the horse's head around to their knee, while he's standing still, over and over again. The horse never really softens to bit nor connects that to any kind of bend in his body, he just allows you to haul his head around real far while his body stays stiff as a board. And having his nose on your knee means nothing if the head is all twisted to the side and rolled over in order to reach there and he's forced to lean way forward on his front legs. When people haul the head around, against the horse's resistance, you end up deadening his response the rein in his mouth and you "break" the body in half because the rein no longer connects to the hind end. So, like a semi truck cab can turn hard one direction and the whole body of the truck keep going forward, you break the head and neck off of the hind end and lose control of the whole horse.

Horses that are ridden this way end up having "rubber" necks. You put on a bit of rein and they just come around to the side, avoiding the rein, and run right through the shoulder.
Beling likes this.
     
    01-01-2014, 11:59 PM
  #6
Foal
Has anyone had the issue of bending a horse and then they stay there? Even with a very quick release, since I taught it to him. He just keeps his nose there.
     
    01-02-2014, 12:05 AM
  #7
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by armyrdr    
Has anyone had the issue of bending a horse and then they stay there? Even with a very quick release, since I taught it to him. He just keeps his nose there.
That sounds like the opposite of a problem ;)

But really, if he's bent in a direction you don't want, walk him forward- it will unkink any imbalance he just went into, or move his barrel to the opposite side.
Phura likes this.
     
    01-02-2014, 12:44 AM
  #8
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by armyrdr    
Has anyone had the issue of bending a horse and then they stay there? Even with a very quick release, since I taught it to him. He just keeps his nose there.

This is kind of the "rubber necked" issue I was talking about. It become them doing a bend out of a rote response, rather than them following a feel that you put on the rein. And it becomes so automatic and can become a kind of evasion.
     
    01-02-2014, 12:55 PM
  #9
Foal
Thanks so much everyone for your feedback! I understand some of this is typical young horse behavior. I remain calm and am trying to simply find that balance of reasonable expectations and continuing to move forward. We don't drill on exercises as I try to keep it interesting. He's a smart horse so I try to be sure to keep his attention and enjoyable for him too. Additionally, there's no denying that I'm new at this and have only had my own horse for 3 years. I do my best in terms of feel and always release pressure at the slightest try or improvement. Since I'm a novice, I also have a trainer that I worked with on my last mare and still continue lessons as needed with my new gelding. Here are some additional questions :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Die Sehnsucht    
I agree with what has been said, and as Sorrel3 specifically mentioned, time and consistency should help your problem. However, for flexing of the rib cage, bending circles will help. The softer your horse is with lateral flexion, the easier circles will be. Choose a direction and circle the horse, maintaining forward motion. Bend their head by lifting the inside rein to your hip. Press with your inside leg in the center of their barrel to encourage the rib cage to move out, and use your outside leg to keep their shoulders from dropping if needed. After the horse gives his nose towards your foot, and is moving forward, release the pressure on both the reins and through your legs. Be sure to completely restart the procedure in the opposite direction. If the horse is struggling to maintain a forward motion, ask for less bend in the beginning. Resistance through the mouth is often a result of a stiff body; therefore, bending through the midsection will encourage the horse to soften through their head.
I tried circling him and he gets cranky so I try to do a few circles, do something else, then come back and circle again, etc. I notice when I release the pressure, he goes back in the direction he wishes. Also, how do I know if he's dropping his shoulder?


Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
I think this is a good point. Though your horse cannot be allowed to pull you all over the place, it is worth considering that the horse is not suddenly becoming stiff becuase he's stiff. He is probably becoming mentally resistance due to his frame of mind.

Maybe, you are boring him and he see's no purpose or reward for doing what you ask. Maybe you are leaning on his mouth, maybe you are endlessly bending his head around, or maybe you're asking too much of a young horse. I really couldn't say . But try to find places for him to be successful. If you are asking for him to give to the rein, if he does give, give him a good reward and maybe quit. Don't do it over and over again.

Too many people haul the horse's head around to their knee, while he's standing still, over and over again. The horse never really softens to bit nor connects that to any kind of bend in his body, he just allows you to haul his head around real far while his body stays stiff as a board. And having his nose on your knee means nothing if the head is all twisted to the side and rolled over in order to reach there and he's forced to lean way forward on his front legs. When people haul the head around, against the horse's resistance, you end up deadening his response the rein in his mouth and you "break" the body in half because the rein no longer connects to the hind end. So, like a semi truck cab can turn hard one direction and the whole body of the truck keep going forward, you break the head and neck off of the hind end and lose control of the whole horse.

Horses that are ridden this way end up having "rubber" necks. You put on a bit of rein and they just come around to the side, avoiding the rein, and run right through the shoulder.
We were making good progress with him pulling on me and softening. I try to be as light as possible, and am trying to teach him I only ask with an ounce of pressure first. However, our last 2 rides weren't so successful. It was cold and I was trying to find his places to be successful but I did feel a bit discouraged. While I don't drill on these exercises as mentioned above, he's already trying to bend around as soon as we stop or I try to tip his nose in for a circle. I suspect he's trying to be evasive as he doesn't love to circle and I know is common. I have no illusions that he's heavy on the forehand and really needs to learn to use his hindquarters. Any suggestions?
     
    01-02-2014, 01:09 PM
  #10
Super Moderator
When things get sloppy, ride him out foreward. Too much work on bending and flexing and nitpicking on his mouth will kill his forward. Ride out on a loose rein and let him just GO! This will freshen him.
     

Tags
bending, exercises, ribcage, softening

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
bending exercises BarrelracingArabian Horse Riding 7 08-09-2012 03:27 PM
Bending exercises Kymbadina Horse Training 6 11-19-2011 12:07 AM
Bending Exercises? lilruffian Horse Training 5 04-18-2011 11:35 AM
Bending exercises Kymbadina Horse Training 7 01-12-2011 07:44 PM
Bending Exercises? AngelWithoutWings54 English Riding 2 06-06-2010 07:45 PM



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:03 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0