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Downhill serverely?

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  • Horse traing down hill
  • Training downhill horse

 
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    07-18-2010, 09:55 PM
  #11
Foal
Thank you :) and I will work on the top line!
     
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    07-18-2010, 10:04 PM
  #12
Trained
Haha thankyou Kitten_Val, it's all in good fun and I find changing horses like this actually more satisfying than going out competing.

Deerly, yep that's the same horse alright! I've got other photo's of her around somewhere that show that its definitely the same horse, but not on this computer. The biggest changing factor was getting her onto her hind legs. Once she could take her weight over her back end (no easy feat mind you when she was so heavily built on the forehand! It took A LOT of convincing and coaxing!!), her forehand started to come up, and then it was all about building topline, strengthening the shoulders and hindquarters enough to allow that enormous change of weight from forehand to hindquarters.

I love showing these photo's to people who think their horse is on the forehand/built downhill and they'll never be able to achieve anything with them :P Just goes to show what you can do with a bit of clever riding. I would say with great confidence that him being 'downhill' under saddle is due to your lack of understanding of basic dressage, and getting him forward so that he can take the weight on his hind legs.
Your first step is to find preferably a good dressage trainer, or at least a decent dressage rider/eventer that has a good understanding of getting a horse up and forward.
As for a few basic exercises, there are so many to do. Transitions are my favourite, but they must be ridden correctly to have any significant impact on the horse's way of going. Make sure he is excellent off your leg, so when you put your leg lightly on, you want him to react and go forwards immediately. When you can get him this sensitive to the basic leg aid, work on having him react to your back to slow down/stop. So look up, raise your chest, your belly, take your legs off, 'stop' your seat and sit deep on your seat bones. If he doesn't stop/slow from that, then use a little rein to give him the idea.

Those are the two absolute basics that I start with on any horse. You have to have a sensitive go and stop button at the basic gaits. When they'll react between gaits, you can start playing within gaits. Shortening the length of stride then asking it to go longer without loosing your rhythm. Lots and lots and lots of these transitions within and between gaits, with your horse reacting immediately to your leg/back will really help him to soften the forehand.
Frequent changes of rein will also help immensely, as each time you change rein the horse has to rebalance himself. Have a go with 3 loops serpentines, figure of 8's and changing rein across the diagonal and straight across the arena. You don't want to get stuck travelling 'round and 'round the outside track for half an hour achieving nothing ;)

Brodieluver26, he's a lovely horse! And certainly not built downhill, he's actually very level. Not uphill like a purpose bred dressage horse is, but he's definitely not severely downhill like my mare was!! Hopefully the above help will give you a good starting point until you can find a decent english trainer :)
     
    07-18-2010, 10:16 PM
  #13
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty    
Haha thankyou Kitten_Val, it's all in good fun and I find changing horses like this actually more satisfying than going out competing.
Yes, I can understand that. I worked with abused horses for couple years (just mostly on ground and trails), and the change in mind and attitude really makes you feel satisfied with what you do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty    
Make sure he is excellent off your leg, so when you put your leg lightly on, you want him to react and go forwards immediately. When you can get him this sensitive to the basic leg aid, work on having him react to your back to slow down/stop.
How do you teach them going off leg immediately? I mean some horses are really lazy (we have posts here all the time regarding this issue).
     
    07-18-2010, 10:31 PM
  #14
Trained
It's a case of pressure and release. Just like all other training. Put the leg on lightly, if you get no response, ask a little firmer, and if you get no response then go for the dressage whip and give a bit of a tap. *Usually* most horses will react to the tap if they're stubborn off the leg, and many of them will jump forward so be sure not to 'hit' them in the mouth when they do so. If the horse leaps forward and takes off, let it do so, and then bring it onto a circle and back to halt/walk (whatever pace you were at originally) and go through the process again. It doesn't matter that they leap the first couple of goes, because they are reacting positively by going forward to your forward aid and will soon figure out that they only need to go forward not launch themselves ;)

If you have yourself a horse who is painfully stubborn (I have only met ONE horse who I could absolutely NOT get forward, we tried everything with her, lungeing, lunge whips behind her, a good hard crack with the dressage whip on her backside, spooking for forwards with a plastic bag on the end of the whip etc. all as extreme measures and nothing other than having a horse in front of her, or someone shaking a bucket of food (haha!) would get her to go forward!!), then you can go for some more 'extreme' measures than a light leg and small tap.

One that I like is Jane Savoie's method. If the horse doesn't respond to the light leg, take both legs off for a moment, move them back slightly them apply them slightly behind the girth. Often that will wake the horse up and they'll go forward. It is the constant pressure on their sides that they deaden to, so if you're squeezing and squeezing with your legs and booting the hell out of the horse's sides, they're just going to brace and deaden to it. Where as taking the leg off completely gives them a moment of no pressure, and when the leg comes back on it 'shocks' them.

You can also try having someone in the middle of your circle with a lunge whip (if your horse know's how to lunge and isn't going to freak out at the whip). Ride a 20m circle around the person, and ask your horse for an upward transitions (i.e. Walk - trot). Ask as I first described (light leg, slight kick, tap with the dressage whip behind your leg) and if you don't get a reaction, have the person in the middle flick the lunge whip towards horse's hind quarters, and walk towards it's hindquarters if need be. This method doesn't usually take long if the horse is accustomed to lunging without a rider, and it will pick up quite quickly that reacting to the leg the first time means it won't get the lunge whip flicked at it.

The key is to remove all pressure the instant the horse reacts. I like to hold my reins at the buckle and hold onto the cantle of my saddle while doing these exercises with a green horse. Just makes sure you've got a stable, balanced and deep seat so you can stay on if they leap! You want the 'front door' to be totally open (loose reins), and the back door to be closed, as though they're an unwelcome guest in your house and your pushing the door shut behind them. So sit back a little, legs on etc. you want it all to come from behind.
If horse decides to be a little brat and back up or spin, keep maintain the pressure, don't touch to reins, don't move in the saddle etc. Just sit there, keep the pressure on and the second horse takes a step forward, release all pressure and allow horse to move off.
     
    07-18-2010, 10:43 PM
  #15
Showing
Thanks, Kayty! I do remember though reading somewhere the suggestion from the dressage trainer to ask for "forward" walk you have to alternate the legs. I mean when the side of the horse moves to your leg you squeeze with that leg, then other leg, etc. Is this a good technique as well? I'm just curious.
     
    07-18-2010, 10:50 PM
  #16
Trained
Yep that works as well for walk, but don't over do it. If you are constantly alternating legs, the horse will deaden again. As soon as the walk is forward and marching, take your leg off and allow them to just rest on the horse's side. You have to allow the horse to make the error. If you are always asking for more forward, not allowing the horse to make the error of slowing, you will have no 'go forward' button when the horse decides to be a bit defiant and stop on you.
The walk should be in time to 'Jingle Bells'. Yes all horses (other than ponies obviously and the absolute giant horses ;) ) The walk tempo should be around 95 bpm, put jingle bells on a CD and ride to it, you'll be able to feel when your horse is at the right tempo. For trot, try riding to Elton John's "Crocodile Rock" or "Hey Micky" (can't remember the artist of that one!), and canter use Jingle Bells again (yep, walk and canter should be the same, or VERY close in tempo believe it or not!). You may find it much easier to get the right tempo in all of your gaits with a lazy horse, or the opposite problem, as rushing horse, if you have music playing. You can concentrate on the beat of the music and you'll find that it seems to happen automatically as your body will ride in time to the music :)
     
    07-18-2010, 10:57 PM
  #17
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty    
The walk should be in time to 'Jingle Bells'. Yes all horses (other than ponies obviously and the absolute giant horses ;) ) The walk tempo should be around 95 bpm, put jingle bells on a CD and ride to it, you'll be able to feel when your horse is at the right tempo. For trot, try riding to Elton John's "Crocodile Rock" or "Hey Micky" (can't remember the artist of that one!), and canter use Jingle Bells again (yep, walk and canter should be the same, or VERY close in tempo believe it or not!). You may find it much easier to get the right tempo in all of your gaits with a lazy horse, or the opposite problem, as rushing horse, if you have music playing. You can concentrate on the beat of the music and you'll find that it seems to happen automatically as your body will ride in time to the music :)
Now THAT is funny! Lol! I gotta try it.

The problem I've seen in some horses though, after 2 steps (or even just one) of "forward" walk it'll drop back to the very slow one, so you have to use legs again (or alternate). Would that make it dead-sided then? If you have to constantly "encourage".
     
    07-18-2010, 11:07 PM
  #18
Trained
Haha yep that's how I learnt how to ride a correct tempo! Walk = 95bpm Trot = 150bpm Canter = 98bpm All approximate so give or take a couple of bpm, but have a look on the internet, or through your own music collection and find out which songs have those tempos, put them onto a CD and ride walk/trot/canter to the appropriate songs :) Always makes your ride more enjoyable too ;)

Ok, when they slow down again, as long as you didn't have your leg on them the whole time, giving them another squeeze won't make them dead sided. If you learn to time your squeeze well, and feel when the horse is going to slow, you can apply to aid before anyone even notices that the horse has slowed. It's when you've got that constant pressure on them that they become dead sided. Most horses, if the riders times their reactions appropriately, will come to realise that they may as well stay at the same pace until asked to change something, it's like installing gears on a car ;)
Riding to the music will help you though, if your horse likes to drop back, as you'll find that your seat maintains the tempo and the horse will stay with it. It's when your riding on you own, then often you can forget about what your seat is doing and it will begin to follow the horse's tempo rather than your own.
     
    07-18-2010, 11:10 PM
  #19
Showing
Thank you, Kayty! You are a great source of info!

P.S. I'm done bugging you for today (although it's probably day time down there ).
     
    07-18-2010, 11:12 PM
  #20
Trained
No problems at all. Yep it's only 1pm here :)
     

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