I'm not sure how to make my horse bend in a circle? - Page 2

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I'm not sure how to make my horse bend in a circle?

This is a discussion on I'm not sure how to make my horse bend in a circle? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        02-16-2011, 04:20 AM
    Green Broke
    Ok thanks i'll have a look
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        02-16-2011, 07:32 AM
    If you have a round pen, do lots of circles, and whenever your horse bends to the outside, a quick 180 degree turn towards the middle and back the other way. Simple and it works.

    Also, if your horse is ever not submissive laterally a one rein stop in the direction the horse isn't submissive helps.

    This is a subject where a lot of people use artificial aids to help but I don't recommend that.
        02-17-2011, 03:27 AM
    Green Broke
    Ok I tried the advice that I found on redtree's thread. It definitely made him bend a lot better but he still didn't get that when I put my inside leg on him he was supposed to move out into a bigger circle. Its almost to the point that he's just doing turns on his hindquarters. Also today he started backing up on me whenever I tried to get him to go further out into the paddock. I was confused because he has never done this before he is always the horse your trying to hold back from going faster. A couple of times he really chucked his head up and I thought he was going to rear. He has reared a couple of times in hand when he's frustrated or scared (mainly when the dentist was doing him). I could tell he was getting very fustrated underneath me. At first I thought I was holding the reins too tight when I asked him to go forward but I had the reins very loose so there was no way I was holding him back. In the end I was having trouble getting him to do anything so I finished as good as I could by getting him moving a couple of steps in the direction I wanted then stopped riding. My mum said he just put it over me but I was confused because he's never done that in the 2 months I've had him and I don't want to get him in any bad habits. I'm starting to get really frustrated that I don't have any experienced horse people to watch and help me because I am by no means experienced with horses.
        02-17-2011, 03:49 AM

    It sounds like the both of you are frustrated now. Could be you are expecting too much and not breaking it up into small enough pieces.
    I think John Lyons says that if you horse doesn't do what you ask and it's 'cause he doesn't understand, you need to back up to the place where her does understand and go just to there, no further, then little by little work to the next place .
    So having your horse (name?) flex from side to side, just a bit, from the halter would be rock bottom preperation for getting good bend. Do that until that is really successful. Then flex more and then flex and step under with hind.
    Once you have that on the ground, bridle up and do it under saddle.

    Go slowly, mix it up and do some nice old canters the way HE likes, too.

    If he cannot bend due to physical stiffness, then you have to get there slowly. His body has to change a bit, and that takes time.
    Always give plenty of rewards and breaks.

    Full body bending is almost an illusion. The horse cannot really bend his body very much , except in the neck area. He can, however, tuck his pelvis under (like you may see him do whe he is pooing). Doing this allows him to reach his leg further under his body and even cross toward the very middle or infront of the outside hind leg when going on a curve. THIS is what we feel and what makes the barrel of the horse swing to the outside. Feels like horse has a lot of bend (and he has some) but it's the stepping under and across toward the outer curve that we feel as bend. THIS is what engagement means.
    That will be what you want to see happening, but don't expect it tomorrow. Start small and end on success. Have fun and don't practice the same thing every day.

    Take a video sometime. Wish I was there to hang out and play horses with you and your guys.
        02-17-2011, 04:39 AM
    Originally Posted by apachewhitesox    
    It definitely made him bend a lot better but he still didn't get that when I put my inside leg on him he was supposed to move out into a bigger circle
    does your horse have a good sideways movement from a standstill?
        02-17-2011, 05:23 AM
    Green Broke
    I'm definitely not moving forward unless I know he definitely can do the step before with ease. He flexes from side to side very easily since I got him. That's one of the few things he could do well. He is better on one side then the other. I do also just take him for a bit of a run while I'm riding I normally do bending/flexing for a few mintues (5-10) depending on how well he is responding. Then we just run around and do stuff he likes then come back to work on it a bit more when he has relaxed again.
    About moving sideways under saddle he only turns no moving sideways. On the ground when I first got him all he did was go forward, stop and back up. I have worked on moving off pressure with him and he is improving he now moves his hindquarters with little pressure (depending how much attention he has on me) moving his forehand requires a bit more pressure but he is getting better. Just moving sideways is non existent.
        02-17-2011, 06:27 AM
    Originally Posted by apachewhitesox    
    About moving sideways under saddle he only turns no moving sideways.
    that's a bit of a problem. Your trying to "push" him out onto a bigger circle while maintaining the bend of the left/right circle (a sideways movement)

    At best you won't be successful in fixing the issue of him not bending in a circle, at worst you'll desensitize him to rein aids by conflicting those aids with leg aids which he thinks mean steer. I'd suggest you speak to a trainer IRL. With my personal horses I don't do much sideways either, but sideways is a great thing to do to loosen up their ribs and flexibility, and really helps getting them to bend appropriately when circling.

    As a horseman i'd recommend you do lots of sideways and see if the problem persists. Sideways is just a combination of yielding the forehand, and yielding the rear quarters at the same time, so seeing as you know both of them, be creative in getting a sideways action going.

    What I do is put one leg on, then if they yield the hind, I immediately follow the movement with yielding the fore. And if they yield the fore (more likely), I immediately follow it with yielding the hind. Eventually the horses get it that if they yield one more than the other it's just going to end up with me asking them to yield the other one then resting for a short while, so they yield both at the same pace. Though there are many tried and proven methods.
        02-17-2011, 06:34 AM
    Green Broke
    ^^thanks I'll keep that in mind and try this.
        02-17-2011, 06:45 AM
    Also if the horse goes forward from the leg, keep that leg on while using the reins to ask the horse to backup. 1 leg should never mean go forward.

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