the REAL issue here? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 02-07-2010, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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the REAL issue here?

So my trainer came out and rode Ice for the second time on Friday. It was mostly a "getting to know you again" ride without any sort of real training going on. She decided that he needs a loooooot of muscle building and conditioning, and not necessarily more "training" per se. He went fabulously with her, but there were a few things that she did point out to me, some of which have been discussed and some of which have not.

The first thing she asked (I mean in the first ten minutes of being on him) was if he always set his head the way he did. I replied yes, because as far as I know, he does. I think that this is a lack of a top line and not using his back correctly, which means we'll be working on getting him collected. However, she could have also meant the second thing.

She noticed that he kind of tucks his nose into his chest while in a bit. I have not experienced this since I've never ridden him in a bit, so I can't say for sure, but I think he might just be trying to evade the bit contact. Could it also be just the fact that he's heavy on the forehand? She rode him in an O-ring 3 piece, but I didn't get a look at it so I'm just going to assume it was a french link (I know theres a discussion on the board about dr. bristols/ french links and their similar looks). However, I can say that while in a hackamore, he does seem to throw his nose out, and try to evade contact that way equally.

So is this just a matter of him needed more time under saddle? He's a 12 y/o OTTB but he's only been working under saddle for I'll say 6 months.
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post #2 of 3 Old 02-07-2010, 05:15 PM
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Tucking the nose behind the vertical as an evasion of the bit is related a lot to what he is doing with his hind legs. With a horse who is active and correctly pushing from behind is very difficult for them to also tuck up and evade contact. We know that the horse is working correctly behind when we feel an elastic contact up front, and that they are not when the contact becomes rigid, or in this case non-existent.
A horse that is on the forehand and off balance usually leans on the bit as a fifth wheel.
Basically, you just need to do a lot of strengthening, balancing and activating exercises to get him to engage his hind end and start to accept a contact. You are going to need to do a lot of transitions.
It is basically a riding thing, but the thing you are failing to realize is that every time a human is near a horse, training happens. You cannot just ride a horse around for the sake of fitness, there must always be a training goal, otherwise you are just training the horse to go around on the forehand and strung out for the sake of fitness.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 3 Old 02-07-2010, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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Well then perhaps collection is (or will be anyway) the training goal. When I was writing the post, I wasn't thinking of it in smaller ways, although those are just as important. When I said training I was thinking more along the lines of discipline-centric lessons, like barrel patterns and schooling over cross rails, that sort of thing. Just like you said, its basically a riding thing, and I tend to think of the basic things as well, basic, and so I kind of look over them in my head when posting, lol.

Right now I'm getting him over ground poles on a lunge line, and as soon as I can afford a new saddle we'll be moving in to under saddle work.
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