Build Suspension - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 11-14-2011, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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Build Suspension

Hey guys!

I was just wondering what some exercises are to get lots of suspension in my horse's gaits?

I heard my trainer talking about how one particular horse (who is ridden Western) would be good for dressage because of how suspended his gaits are. I ride with the girl who owns the horse, have even ridden him myself, and I can tell what she's talking about. I would love for Shamrock to be able to have that as well!

Let me know if you know of ways to accomplish this! Thanks!
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post #2 of 23 Old 11-14-2011, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahkgamble View Post
Hey guys!

I was just wondering what some exercises are to get lots of suspension in my horse's gaits?

I heard my trainer talking about how one particular horse (who is ridden Western) would be good for dressage because of how suspended his gaits are. I ride with the girl who owns the horse, have even ridden him myself, and I can tell what she's talking about. I would love for Shamrock to be able to have that as well!

Let me know if you know of ways to accomplish this! Thanks!
Posting a video or at least a picture would give us some idea of how he goes now. This would be the same for your other thread on extending as well.
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post #3 of 23 Old 11-14-2011, 09:25 AM
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Agree with Spyder... also, correct me if I'm wrong, but the way I've found best to achieve suspension, with my old horse, was to make sure he was really sat on his hind legs, working really well from behind, and making him pick his back up, inside hand was up slightly, and more impulsion from my legs.

I don't, however, know how to 'teach' suspension to a horse. That'll come later in mine and Duffy's education! So Subbing!
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post #4 of 23 Old 11-14-2011, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by DuffyDuck View Post

I don't, however, know how to 'teach' suspension to a horse. That'll come later in mine and Duffy's education! So Subbing!

The answer is in this thread but you will need to read it thoroughly.

The mysterious half halt, causes and effects.
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post #5 of 23 Old 11-14-2011, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Spyder View Post
Posting a video or at least a picture would give us some idea of how he goes now. This would be the same for your other thread on extending as well.
I posted this video for a critique on another thread, not entirely sure how helpful it will be for this in particular though.. Haha. But here it is:


I'll try to film another one soon!
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post #6 of 23 Old 11-14-2011, 06:19 PM
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I posted this video for a critique on another thread, not entirely sure how helpful it will be for this in particular though.. Haha. But here it is:

Shamrock's Come A Long Way! - YouTube

I'll try to film another one soon!

If we base an answer on this video he is not ready for extensions and does not have the foundation laid to start any suspension work.
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post #7 of 23 Old 11-15-2011, 02:26 AM
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Suspension comes from collection, which comes from lots of hard work, correct training, knowledge and timing from the rider and building of a horse's strength over time.
Some horses naturally have a lot of suspension in their paces, it is bred into them. Many of the warmblood breeds are now being bred for loftier paces. Thoroughbreds, QH's and many other breeds, are bred to move flat to the ground, so getting suspension in their paces is much more dependant on collection and correct work.

Based on watching the first 30 seconds of your video, I have to agree with Spyder. You and your horse are not ready to move to collection and therefore development of suspension in his paces. You should start regular lessons with a proven dressage trainer to begin working on the Training Scale - developing first rhythm, then relaxation, contact, impulsion, straightness and finally collection (suspension comes under this bracket). This is a process that can take months to years depending on your horse's level of training and your knowledge and skill as a rider.

This also applies to your other post regarding extension of the gaits. Extending the gaits is much harder than it looks, a far cry from the backyard riders version of putting leg on and running the horse onto the forehand so it is forced to take longer strides with the front legs. True extensions require a great degree of balance and strength in a horse, which will only come when the horse is working consistently through, and has begun some degree of collected work, allowing it to put more weight over the hind legs, which will give it the pushing power required to extend it's gait and body without losing balance or rhythm.

Nothing in horse training ever comes easy or quickly, be patient, be prepared to put in the hard yards, and you will reap the rewards.

~Horse & Hound Artistry~.

Website: www.horseandhoundartistry.com
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post #8 of 23 Old 11-15-2011, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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I figured he might not be ready for it yet, I was just wondering for future reference. He's green broke, I've had him for around 6 months, and have taught him literally everything he's doing now. He was somehow taught that leg pressure meant to back up.. even with no contact on the reins! Now he can & willingly walk/trot/canter.
From my other thread with this video, someone said he looks like he's on his front end a lot. We've been doing lots of transitions (walk, halt, back, then trot off 10 strides & start again), lots of circles, serpentines, and trotting poles to get him to carry himself better. From what you guys can see (this video isn't that great of him, I must add, I'll film another one soon), what other comments and suggestions do you have for me to work with him?
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post #9 of 23 Old 11-15-2011, 08:50 AM
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The one thing I would like to point out here is that suspension is a natural aspect of a horses way of going. You can develop his balance and self carriage to make it possible for him to carry you with the same level of suspension he can display at liberty, but you cannot actually increase the amount of suspension he has. What a horse does when he is free and at play is the very best we as riders can ever hope to accomplish with him under saddle.
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post #10 of 23 Old 11-15-2011, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty View Post
Suspension comes from collection, which comes from lots of hard work, correct training, knowledge and timing from the rider and building of a horse's strength over time.
Some horses naturally have a lot of suspension in their paces, it is bred into them. Many of the warmblood breeds are now being bred for loftier paces. Thoroughbreds, QH's and many other breeds, are bred to move flat to the ground, so getting suspension in their paces is much more dependant on collection and correct work.

Based on watching the first 30 seconds of your video, I have to agree with Spyder. You and your horse are not ready to move to collection and therefore development of suspension in his paces. You should start regular lessons with a proven dressage trainer to begin working on the Training Scale - developing first rhythm, then relaxation, contact, impulsion, straightness and finally collection (suspension comes under this bracket). This is a process that can take months to years depending on your horse's level of training and your knowledge and skill as a rider.

This also applies to your other post regarding extension of the gaits. Extending the gaits is much harder than it looks, a far cry from the backyard riders version of putting leg on and running the horse onto the forehand so it is forced to take longer strides with the front legs. True extensions require a great degree of balance and strength in a horse, which will only come when the horse is working consistently through, and has begun some degree of collected work, allowing it to put more weight over the hind legs, which will give it the pushing power required to extend it's gait and body without losing balance or rhythm.

Nothing in horse training ever comes easy or quickly, be patient, be prepared to put in the hard yards, and you will reap the rewards.
Unfortunately, I don't believe we have any dressage instructors where I live. :/ My trainer knows very limited dressage work. However, she was talking about trying to get one of her friends who does dressage in a nearby city to come do a clinic at our barn. Which I'm definitely going to attend if it happens!
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