How to help heavy hands - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-13-2011, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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How to help heavy hands

Ill be the first to admit I have pretty aggressive hands. Im told all the time I need to be softer by my professors. What are some things I could do to help improve my hands?
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-13-2011, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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whoops I could have posted this somewhere other then training. Sorry I was in a hurry
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-13-2011, 11:05 AM
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Is this talking about school or riding?
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-13-2011, 11:18 AM
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Ill be the first to admit I have pretty aggressive hands. Im told all the time I need to be softer by my professors. What are some things I could do to help improve my hands?
TAKE a lead rope in each hand and have someone hold the other end like they were riding and your hands are the bit. Walf forward and have the person behind you walk with you and guide you were to go, You will feel the slightest pressure. Then have them be light and rough so you can feel the difference. You should also steer so they can react to your guidance and see what it feels like. I think you will be suprised at how little pressure is needed
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-13-2011, 11:36 AM
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Great idea churumbeque.

Also, make a concious effort to be sure that when you are riding you elbows should be like an elastic, move with the horse - a rider should bend and release at the elbow.

Another idea to try, is to a spare stirrup leather, strapped around the base of the horse's neck. Have someone assist you and go on a lunge line and you will hold the neck strap with just enough pressure that it is not loose at the horse's breast. Try to keep the same amount of pressure on the strap while walking and trotting. The posting trot can be especially tricky. Use this as a fun supplement to help become more aware of the importance of this element in riding.

Good Luck!

"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle ~ Winston Churchill"
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-13-2011, 11:53 AM
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I briefly ran into this problem with my mare. It is so easy to develop hard hands on a horse that expects you to carry it, lol.

Are you heavy handed because your horse is heavy? If so, it will be beneficial to work on your horse at the same time. With my mare, we did tons of transitions. At the walk, ask your horse to woah by taking a deep breathe in. On your exhale, tighten your tummy muscles, close your fingers just enough to squeeze the reins, and sit deeeeeeep in the saddle. In my experience, 9 out of 10 horses will at least hesitate.

Give your horse a chance to show that he can be soft. Maybe you have it ingrained in your head that your horse isn't. Try asking for things super gently. Give him a chance to respond. Once you can see how little pressure your horse actually needs, it's easier to be more forgiving with your hands.

Essentially, I tried riding with just my seat. I had light contact, but really tried to work on controlling speed, tempo, bend, etc with my seat. All it took was for me to realize my horse could be soft as a butterfly to lighten up on her.

I hope that helps!

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-13-2011, 12:04 PM
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Good perspective riccil0ve, in addition, I always speak to my horse. He can slow his gait, halt, trot etc from verbal cues. Not great in the show ring, but certainly helps for at home training as an extra tool to go along with the deep seat work. Just a suggestion.

"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle ~ Winston Churchill"
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-13-2011, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Well yes at school. I ride a variety of different horses in our program and as of right now I have a very hard mouthed horse which I feel makes it more difficult for me to work on being slower and softer with my hands. My professors always tell me "Say pretty please, then please, then do it, then D*mnit do it" but with my hands. Iv always always have had harder hands. Thanks everyone for your suggestions I will definitely put them to good use and try them out!
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