Help on bending through the body... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-23-2010, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Help on bending through the body...

I'm a a newbie to posting. I hope someone can take some time to help me out here.

I have a four year old green cob, backed one year ago. I have lessons from the guy who started him and really, all is going well, slowly but surely.

The situation at the moment is failure to bend through the body and follow the nose especially when his mate is off to the side or the gate is calling!

we've been working solidly in walk and there's no problem.

Moving on to trot recently and I spot a problem. On a left circle, he's looking right. We can manage a good curve in certain areas of the arena but near his mate, near the gate, trainer out of the centre etc and he's just arrogantly head to the right, body moving left.

I've looked in all my books and I really want to work on it before my next lesson but nowhere really states how to correct this issue. My books just outline what is desirable- not how to fix the issue.

I'm weighting inside seat, outside rein against neck, inside rein raised slightly, looking where I'm going, inside leg on girth, outside back, moving his buddy, rewarding appropriately and on and on. We're doing loops, serpantines, figure eight's.

What's the next step? What am I missing? How do I work on this?

Any wise words? Much appreciated...
offinthedistance is offline  
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-23-2010, 08:51 AM
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You have to learn how to teach your horse to 'stay between your reins and stay between your legs' properly. In other words, you have not taught him to 'follow his nose'. Horses do not HAVE to follow their noses --- They follow their shoulders --- as you have found out.

You are 'holding' [or trying to hold] your horse from going where he would rather be by using your reins. But, instead of your horse following his nose and going where you would like him to, he is pushing his shoulder and ribs out and following them where he would like to go.

You need a MUCH more active or forceful inside leg to keep him from diving or drifting into his circle or toward the gate or friends or ???. Your reins only point your horse's head a certain direction. You CANNOT make him go there with your reins only. You need to use your legs [or a stronger aid now that he has learned that he does not need to listen to your legs] to make him follow his nose.

The same is true when a horse ignores your inside rein and drifts out toward the gate or any other place your horse would rather be outside of your circle or riding area. Then, you need a stronger outside leg.

You absolutely DO NOT want to pull on the reins harder to get your horse to go where you want him to go. He will just over-bend, forcing his weight and momentum into the shoulder on the outside of that bend and worsen the problem. Trying to pull him into his turn or out of his circle only results in his learning to 'lean' on that rein and over-bend more and more.

Once you have his head turned slightly [where you can barely see the corner of his inside eye], you do not put any more pull on that rein. From that point on, it is your leg [or firmer aid like a crop], that actually make the horse follow his nose.

The object is to teach your horse that he must stay between your reins and your legs. Any time he is pushing against either a rein or a leg, he is not doing that. This is the most important thing for each horse and rider to learn. NOTHING else can be accomplished until a horse willingly stays between your reins and legs.

ALL LEAD PROBLEMS not related to lameness or pain are also the direct result of a horse not staying between the rider's reins and legs.
Cherie is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 12-23-2010, 09:51 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Western MA
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I did a lot of ground work, getting him to yield his hindquarters and then when I asked him to bend in the saddle I actually put my inside foot farther back at first. That seemed to help.

Oh, and welcome to the forum! :)
momo3boys is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 12-23-2010, 01:14 PM
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Thank you,

You do not keep a horse between the reins and your legs with more ground work. You have to be going forward.

I find the best way for me to teach a horse to respond correctly to my leg is to practice 'leg yielding' exercises. These should be done, first at the walk, then at the trot and finally at the canter.

When you get a horse to travel 100% between your legs and reins, then you can proceed to more difficult exercises like a true half pass at the trot and canter and can teach a horse to yield its hind quarters into the center of a circle. These exercises work into flying lead changes and other more advanced work.
Cherie is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 12-23-2010, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2009
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That makes sense.

Thank you. I'm off to try it out... will update...
offinthedistance is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 12-27-2010, 10:55 AM
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Location: arizona
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Funny...I start training to properly leg yeild by ground work first.
Emmy2 is offline  

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