Heavy on my hands? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 04-02-2010, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Wink Heavy on my hands?

Hi everyone!

We are working on collecting my horse, and he doesn't want to quite hold himself up ;) He is more balanced to the right, so there isn't as much hanging, but to the left, oh goodness, not the most comfortable...

My trainer said when he starts to hang on your hands, add leg and raise your inside rein, then put it back down. I understand the concept, but for some reason I'm having trouble with this =/

I tried asking her, but since I don't really know what the trouble is she couldn't explain it. How hard am I supposed to lift my rein, how high, how long should I wait for him to respond, etc. etc?

If you could just give me a how to response that would be great =] I always have trouble with the stupidest things

Thanks!

Oh, wanted to add, we are currently working on balancing him and suppling exercises, too, but I have a feeling part of this is a lack of respect thing...so with the combination of the two things should get better! =]
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post #2 of 12 Old 04-02-2010, 06:47 PM
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I have no idea what your trainer is trying to get you do. The best way I've found to encourage a horse to stop being heavy is a lot and a lot of transitions, change of direction, etc. Also, he can't lean on you if you don't give him something to lean on. Gather him up and drop him on his face. Lather, rinse, repeat. And I just want to point out, if he is heavy in your hands, he is not collected.

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-02-2010, 07:46 PM
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When your horse is heavy in your hands - it means you need to get his engine behind moving faster. As the horse learns to balance, rock back onto his haunches and begin collection, his body must also become shorter.
The act of being "heavy" upfront is an evasion to two things - the shorter frame and the amout we are asking the horse to "sit".
When your trainer is telling you to put leg on and raise your inside hand, it is in effect a half halt (although by the sounds of it - not a very effective one) where the goal is to re balance the horse onto his haunches.
Just keep playing until you find a circle of aids which works - and don't be afraid to do a million transitions. Sometimes the best way to teach the horse the beginnings of collection is to do a transition from trot to walk, and instantly (as soon as the horse takes 1 walk step) go back into trot and repeat a few times. This is in effect a half halt because it should engage the horse more and as he starts to anticipate the transitions he will get quicker behind in the down transition. Which is what we want!

Good luck!
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post #4 of 12 Old 04-02-2010, 08:04 PM
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From the correction your trainer is asking you to do, it appears your horse is dropping his inside shoulder. By asking you to lift that inside rein, she is wanting you to encourage the horse to lift the shoulder back up and with your legs drive the hindquarters further under the horse.

Like Anebel's suggestion of transitions, loping squares is also a great exercise for getting those shoulders up. :)

Regarding your questions as to how hard, how high, and how long, those answers take "feel". Practice a lot with your trainer there and let her/him talk you through it.
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-02-2010, 08:33 PM
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I'm glad you posted this! I'm bookmarking it to read the responses later (loads of things to do today). I'm having the same trouble with my mare. Granted she is a large draft but I've seen some Clydesdales beautifully collected and we're slowly aiming at that goal. My trainer has told me basically the same thing, pick up the inside rein, sit up straight, gather her, and keep her going with leg. It works great clockwise for her (that's to the right I believe, horrible with directions). She's very heavy and leans going to the left counter clockwise. Then she trips because she's dropping that shoulder and startles herself silly.
If there is anything I can do to help keep that shoulder up counter clockwise that adds more to the inside rein I'd love to hear it. My trainer is going to get on her one of these days but she's conditioning horses for show at the moment. So far Caleigh's come along way just not in the counter clockwise direction.

she's possibly outta wack too so that's something to think about. Her butts not traveling in line that direction. Last time her neck at c2 was out.

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Last edited by drafts4ever; 04-02-2010 at 08:36 PM.
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post #6 of 12 Old 04-02-2010, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamrideredc View Post
My trainer said when he starts to hang on your hands, add leg and raise your inside rein, then put it back down. I understand the concept, but for some reason I'm having trouble with this =/

. . . How hard am I supposed to lift my rein, how high, how long should I wait for him to respond, etc. etc?

Oh, wanted to add, we are currently working on balancing him and suppling exercises, too, but I have a feeling part of this is a lack of respect thing...so with the combination of the two things should get better! =]
Hanging on your hands means he's on his forehand. You want his hindquarters more under him and that's why you add leg. When people are first learning this, they tend to ask for way too little! And often you actually need to soften your rein pressure a little at the same time -- soften but don't drop him -- if it seems tricky, it's because it is.

With any correction to the horse, especially in the saddle, the horse learns *on the release.* So when doing a half-halt, which is what this is, the horse doesn't truly understand until you "put it back down." But you can't do that until you get at least some response. Again, it's a very delicate balance. Lifting the inside rein would be to bring up his inside shoulder, but when you do this you also need to keep your outside rein strong.

How hard, how high, how long, only your instructor can tell you as she/he watches you do it. Often as you're learning something the instructor will have you overdo it until you (and the horse) get at least a crude idea of it. Right now my instructor is telling me to stick my feet more forward at the canter even if it feels wrong to me -- "I'll tell you when you're doing too much." When you don't yet have the feel, you have to rely on your instructor's eyes. We don't have eyes here on this BB.

I don't understand what respect has to do with suppling. As you ask your horse to become more athletic, it takes time just like it would if you had to. I've found that concentrating on what I can change in myself (riding better) produces better results than trying to analyze my horse's mental state. The more finesse, clarity, and consistency I can give to the horse, the more softness and suppleness I'll get in return.
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-02-2010, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamrideredc View Post
I tried asking her, but since I don't really know what the trouble is she couldn't explain it. How hard am I supposed to lift my rein, how high, how long should I wait for him to respond, etc. etc?

If you could just give me a how to response that would be great =] I always have trouble with the stupidest things

Any instructor that can't explain to me what they want or the effect or any reasoning behind it would not be hired to come back.

What your instructor is attempting to do is what anebel stated in its basic/crudest form.

The main flaw in this is that it works on one set of diagonals but has zero or little effect on the other.
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-02-2010, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder View Post
Any instructor that can't explain to me what they want or the effect or any reasoning behind it would not be hired to come back.
i could not agree more. if she is getting you to do this yet cant explain why, then how are you to know if what she is getting you do is correct?
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-03-2010, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses guys! I have been doing a lot of transitions, but when we do downward transitions he is using my hands to balance himself. So if that's the case, how will transtions work...? I understand Anebel's method, with just one step in-between, so maybe I'll just stick to that.

I'm taking a lesson today and plan to ask a ton of questions, so we'll see how this goes =]

Last edited by dreamrideredc; 04-03-2010 at 12:13 PM.
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-03-2010, 12:19 PM
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Regarding your instructor and them asking you what to do... this is how I see it... its like telling someone how to ride a bike. Straddle it, put your hands on the handle bars, lift your feet, and paddle your legs.

Yep, that's how. But take someone that has never ridden a bike and watch them struggle at first. It helps to have the teacher there talking them through it and giving support until they "get it".
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