Originally Posted by rolf4life
Originally Posted by jazzyrider
to get all this happening properly you want to ride your horse forward with impulsion but create a 'wall' with your hands that doesnt stop the forward movement but brings the horse back off the forehand bringing the hindquarters 'under' so to speak or engage the hind quarters.
I'm not sure I understand how to do this...Should I just keep light contact with the reins and drive her forward with my legs?
yes you want to drive her forward but i wouldnt suggest light contact.
heres the difference between light contact and what i call 'engaging contact'
in this one i had light 'low' contact. she is 'on the bit' so to speak but isnt really engaging her hindquarters much and is pretty heavy on the forehand
in these i have 'lifted' the contact (my hands) and picked up the reins a little more giving me more contact with her mouth and she has engaged her hindquarters more. we still have some work to do though. excuse my equitation in these pics too. bad back, dropping shoulder blah blah lol
even though ive picked up my contact i am still driving her into my hands. it doesnt mean we are cantering madly around it means that im pushing her energy forwards but blocking/controlling the speed at which she goes. so she is moving forward but cant 'take off' meaning she has to come back and under a little. there goes my terrible explanations. its easier to do it than explain it for me :)
once again i hope that has helped a little :)
p.s. start at a walk. as you are walking feel the move of the barrel (belly) of the horse. as it sways to the right apply a tiny bit of pressure with your right leg. when it goes to the left apply a tiny bit of pressure to the left. at the same time you are keeping your contact. do this in a 20m circle to start with. having the almost constant pressure on your inside rein helps your horse soften which is the beginning of acceptance and engaging.
also, your horse has to have the muscle to hold a engaged/collected position. the first pics where my mare is low and not engaged was in the beginning when she was unbalanced, stiff and heavy on the forehand. after months of work both in the saddle and on the ground and she has started to build the muscle mass she needs to hold a collected frame.