Following your horse

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Following your horse

This is a discussion on Following your horse within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        02-11-2013, 09:54 PM
    Question Following your horse

    So for a while, I've been trying to get my horse to relax, but allow me to keep contact on the reins.
    I'll have to get a video, so you can see what I'm doing, sorry for not having one now!

    I have no problem following her head at the canter, that's easy. (I do have a question but I'll get to that later)

    At the trot, I feel like I can't follow her. Maybe I'm off in following? Her head is generally very still at the trot. Is that because she is tense? She feels very fluid and comfortable and her head is low, not straight off her back, but it's relaxed looking.
    Also, I've been trying to push her forward when her head is low, but she brings her head up as if she's nervous, not a lot, but she does bring it up some. Perhaps she just doesn't get it yet. She'll relax again, but it's when she slows down. I feel like we're getting nowhere, and I really don't want to screw her up!
    Also, with the contact, even when I have contact, I still feel as if she's just going through the bridle. Sometimes she'll tuck her nose in, which is just a frame, she's not using her back.

    As to my cantering question, how can I get her to relax? I think she's very on the forehand at the canter (and probably is at all the other gaits as well)
    She's a pacer, and she hardly uses her back legs at the canter. Sometimes she will, when I really try to use my seat and get her to roll back more. When she does this, her head is up. Like, really up, and that's what I don't want.
    Does she need more practice cantering correctly before she can drop her head? When I follow her, I use huge movements with my arms (for now) with the came amount of contact, maybe it's too much?
    I ride her bareback a lot, and when we do it's always just for fun, but when I do, I ride her with a very loose rein, and her canter is so much more comfortable and rolling. Her head is low, and she seems more balanced. Maybe it's my saddle that's making it feel less comfortable to me.
    Could my hands be distracting her at the canter? Or am I still following incorrectly?

    A striding question now: At the trot I can get her moving out, not full extension but bigger strides, I can also make her shorten her strides. I know it's not collection, but she is listening to me.
    When I do this, I'll make my post smaller, and use a little pressure on my reins. Is this okay? I feel like I shouldn't use my hands at all for that, but son't I have to at first, to help her understand?

    I should be at the barn on Wednesday or Thursday, so I'll get a video then. Thanks for reading!!
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        02-12-2013, 01:33 PM
    Super Moderator
    It sounds to me as if your hands are the problem but I will wait for a video before I comment.
        02-12-2013, 02:23 PM

    At the trot, her head should be fairly steady. There's not the "pendulum" swing you get with the walk or canter. (Trot is a diagonal gait, not lateral like walk & trot.)("Bobbing" their head at the trot is a sign of lameness!)
    She probably needs more canter practice. Try to keep the contact consistant, but with the lightest possible pressure. Controlling your breathing can help - breath in for two strides, then out for two. Make sure you're not leaning forward too much. Try to find the balance point where you are pretty much motionless, letting your arms follow her, and letting her move beneath you.
    I would try letting her canter on a fairly loose rein, then gently picking up contact. In your head, count 1-2-3, 1-2-3, in the rhythm you want. Breath in rhythm. Make sure you are not speeding her up by gripping too much with your legs.
    Good luck! I'd love to see a video!
        02-12-2013, 07:10 PM
    Well, hopefully, school will be canceled tomorrow, and I'll get one then. Otherwise not until Friday. Thanks guys!

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