Laying into my hands/bracing?!

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Laying into my hands/bracing?!

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  • Brace hands horse neck canter
  • Horse forum bracing with leg

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    09-25-2009, 08:30 PM
Green Broke
Thumbs down Laying into my hands/bracing?!

Bleh. Me and Chance did NOT have a great ride today. But one thing that REALLYYYY got to me was, she was VERY heavy in my hands[opinions?], and bracing her neck A LOT. She knows how to bend etc. But she was giving me the worst ride of my life! I mean she did w.t.c but it was beyond sloppy!


Every time she braced I would bump with the rein on w.e side she was suppose to be bending to. Which eventually it just got worse. And laying into the bit I would with bump her in the sides with my heels or kinda bump upwards with my reins gently. It worked for a bit then again just got worse.

This horse is to smart!!

Eventually I just gave up and called it a night we were riding for about 2 hours.
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    09-25-2009, 08:37 PM
Sounds like the horse needs balance. "bumping" doesn't actually DO anything other than jerk on the horse's mouth and then drop them - an overall unpleasant experience. And the best way for the horse to get away from that feeling guessed it - brace & lean. So in effect the horse gets worse the more you do it.

The horse needs to learn to carry themselves by moving forward first, worry about headset and bending LAST. All too often people are so concerned with headset that they lose impulsion and balance and end up with a horse in a false frame (regardless of discipline) and a horse that learns to lean on the rider for balance and support. No matter how pretty the headset may be this is 100% incorrect.

Work on balance and forward by riding on a very long rein getting the horse to move off the leg and driving forward through your body. Any slowing down and rhythm should be set by your seat and legs to check the horse and NOT your hands. As long as the reins are used for the horse to brace, brace they will, and the most effective way to correct this is simple - let go!

Once the horse can move forward, then and ONLY then can they learn to reach for the bit an accept contact with the rider's hands. Bumping is not contact, it's an incorrect means to try to get the horse to not lean that results in more leaning. A horse that is accepting contact will be soft and the reins will have very little tension but the horse will be able to feel and communicate with the rider based on very little rein movement thus eliminating the need for the bump as people call it.

Most importantly, do tons of trot. Better canter comes from better trot. The more fit the horse without a rein contact (on a LONG rein) the easier it will be to get the horse to bend and balance and reach for the bit!
    09-25-2009, 08:43 PM
Green Broke
Shes not being asked to have a head set. And I've been working on not cutting corners and bending through them because she use to just cut across them.

She was just putting her head out to the opposite side of the turn I was asking for and putting her ribs out there 2.

She's been trotting for 1/2 of her riding experience lol. She's JUST getting into REAL cantering work. We obviously have been cantering around for fun but never worked on it. She's 6. Was Broke when she turned 5.

She can ride without contact as well, I can pretty much drop the reins.. But then she just reaches all the way to the ground with her head and she gets lazy.

This is the first day she's actually done this sense I started riding with contact again. And I don't have "tight" reins I keep them loose/with slack.
    09-25-2009, 08:53 PM
If she's reaching all the way to the ground and getting lazy as you put it, you are not riding her with seat and leg and getting impulsion. It's up to the rider to move the horse forward and let the horse reach for the bit. Her being lazy and low means you lack forward and she lacks balance which is why she is bracing. The more you bump, the more she'll try to brace to remove the discomfort of the bumping on the reins. Bending doesn't come from the reins at ALL so her turning her head away from the reins tells me you need again to ride with more seat and leg to initiate the bend.

Reins are a suggestion of motion. Leg and seat are the tools we use to communicate with our horses as to how we want them to move.
    09-25-2009, 09:01 PM
Green Broke
Im not asking her to bend with just the reins. Im using my seat and legs as well. Lol

So what .. just loosen the reins more..and ask even more with my seat?
    09-25-2009, 09:04 PM
Green Broke
I was just thinking. I may have started to use my reins more today because I was getting frusterated. Hmmmm something to work on.
    09-25-2009, 09:07 PM
Originally Posted by HorsesAreForever    
I was just thinking. I may have started to use my reins more today because I was getting frusterated. Hmmmm something to work on.
it can happen subtly....and you may not have noticed, but they can't brace if there's nothing to brace on! Good luck!!!
    09-25-2009, 09:12 PM
Green Broke
Lol ty :)
    09-27-2009, 06:26 AM
To add to CJ82's excellent posts, I'd really focus on getting her using her hind end and doing exercises which encourage balance and bend. Big circles, shallow serpentines, things like that are very good. All while driving her forward into a light and soft contact. Work on your position as well, even more so, since even the most well schooled horses respond to the rider's lack of balance by bracing and stiffening in the ways you have described. When you ask her to bend to the left say, make sure you are not braced on the left rein or blocking her with your right hip or sitting too far back or too far forward. All of these rider errors are really common, usually unintentional, but can confuse a horse and as a result, they brace and act resistant to the aids. Also, do things like turns on the forehand to encourage her to move laterally off your leg. Most horses show resistance behaviours like leaning and bracing and so one when they are out of balance, their rider is out of balance, or both. The horse doesn't know that the best way to move while carrying a rider is by engaging their hind end and being light on the forehand. We have to teach the horse that.

It also doesn't hurt to teach bending and yielding from the ground. Natural horsemanship type ground exercises where you teach the horse to yield different parts of its body from pressure, depending on where you put the pressure, are very useful. Put pressure on the horse's shoulder and it should turn on its haunches. Put pressure at its flank and it should turn on the forehand. Put pressure just behind the girth and it should leg yield away from you. Exercises like that affirm the move away from pressure concept and improve lateral flexibility (if you do them right), sometimes with more clarity than riding if you are a less than perfect rider and can give conflicting signals with your body unintentionally when you're on the horse's back. Also a good diagnostic tool -- if your horse does a lovely leg yield from the ground but does a pish one when ridden, then it understands the aid but might be telling you that you're doing something confusing with your body that mixes up the signals.
    09-27-2009, 11:17 AM
Great posts CJ8Sky!

If you give your horse something to lean into, they'll take it. So, So, So many riders ride hands first which results in issues like this.

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