Riding forward into the bit – eventually collection
 
 

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Riding forward into the bit – eventually collection

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  • Riding horse forward into collection
  • Riding into the bit

 
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    11-11-2008, 12:54 AM
  #1
Trained
Riding forward into the bit – eventually collection

Okay. I just bought a new horse, a 15.1h Australian Stock Horse gelding. Easily the best quality horse I have owned, and he has the best nature. The problem is, he was owned by a lady who was very NH (NOT a go at natural horsemanship, she just took it a bit far!) Who did tons of great groundwork, but never asked anything of him under saddle. Resulting in a lovely, quiet, desensitized horse who doesn’t have any forward. Since I got him, I have been working on yielding to my leg, which is a major thing for me. I know have turns on the forehand and backhand, can yield him over at a walk/trot/canter and beginning rollbacks. He has an awesome stop, but go is my problem. He has gotten a lot better. I have been doing a lot of trails with him, and letting him stretch out and have races with his friend pepper to learn that forward is ok, and is what I want. He was very dead to leg, so I worked off the system: Clicking to ask for forward, if not then squeezing with my legs, and then if not over under on his neck with my reins. He has now picked up moving forward off a click or a squeeze. The problem is all of this is on a loose rein. I can maintain a contact and forward, but it is only forward, he won’t work into the bit, and he has a consistently low headset, with his neck stretched out. He would make a perfect western horse I think, slide stops and backs off your seat! But I want to show him at breed shows, and for that I need a horse who works forward into the bit, with forward collection, with a frame similar to the one shown in the picture, and enough forward to hand gallop with a contact. Any one have any ideas? My problem is I have always had the opposite problem, horses I need to slow down, so this is new to me!
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    11-11-2008, 08:05 AM
  #2
Showing
There are several questions that I have, the first being his age and secondly how long under saddle?

I think one of the key things you said is that you just got him. If he has all the positive things you mentioned the rest may come with training. If I understand correctly, he moves forward but not at the right speed for your needs? He may just be best suited for Western Pleasure then the discipline you wanted him for.

Is that him in the attached pic? If so, he seems to be moving correctly at the trot.
     
    11-11-2008, 03:45 PM
  #3
Trained
He is 6, and I'm not sure how long under saddle but i'm guessing about 3 years.

At the moment, speed is not the issue anymore, he will move forward or steady to what speed I want, it is really only the riding into the contact. That isn't him in the picture, it's an example of what I would eventually like to acheive. I know it will take time, I'm really just wondering if anyone has workied with this type of horse before and has tips?

I don't ride western, so WP is out. I bought him for mounted games, which I think he will be perfect for as he has the speed and agility matched with a very calm mind. The reason I ask about this as I would eventually like to do some breed shows with him.
     
    11-12-2008, 07:51 AM
  #4
Banned
If he were my horse I would try free lunging him in a rig or some form of set up (like side reins) where contact is simply there.

The expectation would be that he would realize that contatct is not bad, that he CAN move into it. This method allows you to be able to focus on just one thing...driving him forward and keeping him forward. From there I would go into driving with two reins (long reining) then go with riding with contact.
     
    11-12-2008, 08:56 AM
  #5
Weanling
I don't think NH, regardless of how far is was taken, has anything to do with your issue. The horse was simply trained a particular way. If he was dead to the leg, that is likely a result of the previous rider and/or trainer. Going on a loose rein, without contact is considered a good thing in western disciplines. From the good slide stop you mention, it seems that's the way he was trained.

You basically need to re-train the horse to work with contact. That might be easy or not depending on the horse.

One technique I know is done from the saddle. From a stop, you use very light pressure on the reins (towards your hips) to bring the horse's head to the correct position. If no response, use a little more pressure (but not very much - you don't want to pull the horse's head into position). Once the horse even "thinks" about moving his head, release all pressure.

When you get this going well, start over at the walk. When you have it at the walk, start over at the trot, etc.

I have done this with my "western" horse with great success. He will usually carry his head well on a loose rein, but will also go well with slight contact. Unfortunately, it is much easier to demonstrate than explain.

You might also consider some work with an english trainer.
     
    11-12-2008, 11:43 AM
  #6
Banned
I agree with TD...sounds to me the horse was previously trained western...and different people use different cues for different things.

As an example: Some people here (Appylover for instance...sorry have to use you for the example lol) turn their horse differently than I turn my horse.
Appylovers: To turn right, she would use her right rein and apply pressure with the right leg so her horse, Montana would turn around her leg.
Me: To turn right, I use the right rein, and put pressure on my left leg to almost "push" him over there.

There is no set rules on how to train a horse, so maybe you're horse isn't understanding cues. If a western horse previously...try maybe taking off ALL contact with you're legs. I know some western horses that were taught to go faster when all pressure was off.


TD had good suggestions on how to get him used to contact
     
    11-12-2008, 02:33 PM
  #7
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by SonnyWimps    
To turn right, she would use her right rein and apply pressure with the right leg so her horse, Montana would turn around her leg.
Me: To turn right, I use the right rein, and put pressure on my left leg to almost "push" him over there.
You're doing it the correct way Sonny. A horse should always be taught to move away from pressure; so to turn right, (direct rein) you would use your right rein, and pressure with your left leg - your right leg should be there to support your horse or you can also move that leg back a little and use it to disengage her hind end as she turns right.
     
    11-12-2008, 04:14 PM
  #8
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by iridehorses    
You're doing it the correct way Sonny. A horse should always be taught to move away from pressure; so to turn right, (direct rein) you would use your right rein, and pressure with your left leg - your right leg should be there to support your horse or you can also move that leg back a little and use it to disengage her hind end as she turns right.
You are actually all correct.

When using the right leg in a right turn, you are still having the horse move away from pressure. As iridehorses notes, the right leg is there to support. Some people consider that leg as "something to bend around." It took me a while to figure that one out, since everyone has a different way of explaining it and I too viewed it as inconsistent with the move away from pressure concept.

When you turn your body into a right turn, your right leg naturally goes back and into the horse while your left leg goes forward and into the horse. By properly moving away from pressure the horse should "bend" into the turn, using your legs as guides. It is more of a "guide" than real pressure. Hope this explanation makes sense. It is easier to demonstrate than explain.
     
    11-12-2008, 05:34 PM
  #9
Trained
I just want to say first, he was never trained western. He was bred by a stud who focus on campdrafting, and the lady I bought him off teaches NH and also does a little campdrafting/team penning. So I guess you couldsay he was trained Australian, lol. Which is some of the same princinples as western (I think, I have never ridden western) but a lot more forward. A slide stop/rollbacks/haunch turns are all manouvers ridden in a stockhorse working pattern, and are performed from quite fast gaits, normally a hand gallop, only with a lot more contact than in a western pattern.

I also just want to say that i'm not blaming NH for the way he is, but I do think it is a contributing factor. He has been so desensitized that it has taken a lot fo work to get him moving off pressure the FIRST time. I also belaive, as a seperate issue, that the lady I bought him off was very passive in her riding, and never pushed him to do much at all. From talking to her, I got the impression she had only done a little arena work, and walked him around at a few competitions (not competing).

Spyder,I like your suggestion... Only thing is I don't have any lunging gear except for the lunge line... My pony has always lunged in just a halter, holding his frame. Lucky me! So I may have to invest in a roller and side reins, or borrow some. I have done a little ground driving with him, to help with the forward issue, and it has worked with him. So I think i'll give that a try.

TD, I have been doing what you suggested in regards to his carriage. Gently asking him to give to the contact, and the second he does, releasing pressure. He begins to look like he is nodding! He simply nods his nose down, then straight back up. Very funny looking! But I will definitely keep going with it.

Sonny, once I have him travelling the speed I want I do take my legs off, unless I need to straighten his body/yeild him over, and he is learning how to maintain his speed quite well. We have the forward established fairly well now, it's mostly keeping this WHILE keeping contact and him yielding to the bridle that i'm after now.

He is working well off my legs now, this I am happy with. TD I use my legs in a turn the same way, if I am looking for an even bend around the turn. Inside leg in the same position, but strong for the horse to bend around, and my outside leg back a little pushing them through the turn. When I am riding games,I have a few different turns. For a turn around a barrel ( that I am picking something up off ) I use a lot more inside leg and inside rein, as I need to get close eonough to pick up the object, but they CAN NOT drop that shoulder in and take the barrel. If I'm turning on a pole, I almost want a rollback, so it' a lot more outide leg to push that shoulder around, and my inside leg back a little to engage that hind and push it around.
     
    11-12-2008, 06:13 PM
  #10
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by wild_spot    

Spyder,I like your suggestion... Only thing is I don't have any lunging gear except for the lunge line... My pony has always lunged in just a halter, holding his frame. Lucky me! So I may have to invest in a roller and side reins, or borrow some. I have done a little ground driving with him, to help with the forward issue, and it has worked with him. So I think i'll give that a try.

Use the saddle itself to hook up something. It is surprising just how much the horse will teach itself given the option that they simply must do it. You will also see just how balanced your horse really is. An agile horse can run to the fence/wall and without breaking stride turn and change direction. The less agile will break gait but continue forward but turn at a slower gait. The ones with problems will come to a halt or walk and eventually make the turn.

This is how you should access a young horse when watching it free. By adding some restriction (like side reins) you are making that horse THINK about what it is doing and I have always found that horse will figure out what is being asked....from there the door will be opened.
     

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