Serpentines Video
 
 

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Serpentines Video

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  • Videos of doing serpitines on my horse
  • Horse training, warming up, the serpentine

 
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    03-13-2008, 04:18 AM
  #1
Yearling
Serpentines Video

http://s242.photobucket.com/albums/ff28/akpaintlover/

Click on the link to DEZ 2008, it is the serpentines video.

Okay, this is for Appylover and anyone else interested. I know this is a very simple exercise, but it is very effective in gaining control over the horse's head position, softening their response to rein and leg cues, helping them with their balance, lightening them up in the body, and helping them learn to carry themselves well (and not lean on you). I have found when I warm up doing this for 10-15 minutes, everything about my ride is better. If I have a hard time with focus from him, I do some of these serpentines, and it really gets his attention on me as well as softening him up.

I do have to say that I have found the need to do work with half halts when I am interested in riding with more contact, but doing this exercise has even helped him become more accepting, and better understand the half halts. He used to gape a lot with any contact, but now, he know how to respond lightly to light rein contact so that he doesn't feel the need to gape.

In the video, I did no warm up before this, and for best results would spend about 5 minutes on the ground and then 10-15 minutes doing it in the saddle (or bareback in my case :) ), but of course this is a video. :)

I did show the video out of order because I have been doing this for so long now, that I go straight to trotting the serpentines, but when you teach it, you do it from the ground, then at a walk, then at a trot.

The concept behind it is to ask the head into a position by moving your hand so that they should follow with their head. Do not pull, but hold constant contact, and if they do not follow with their head, add drive from behind to drive their whole body into the position (that is why you see me waving the crop and smacking myself with it too). When teaching at first, it is best to start with just one side. It takes a while sometimes (my boy knows it, so that is probably not what will happen at first. When he gets his head into position, hold your hand steady, stop turning with him, and he will be stopped by running into your hand, then keep pressure and drive backward until he drops his head into the desired position when backing. Pat and give a rest to think and digest what was learned. Get one side down well, and then start the other side. You will have to start from scratch, as horses don't transfer ideas like this from one side of the body to another.

When you have it from the ground, use the same concept of ask with rein, enforce with drive from behind, and reward with release. In this case, when he gets hie head into the proper position, and his feet are following the direction of his head, release so reins droop, and let him go straight for a few strides before asking for the next turn.

Please let me know if I need to clarify anything. Appylover, I think that at least the ground portion would be useful for you with Vega right now, and Gem could benefit from it too...if he seems worked up and spooky, do it from the ground for a while until it is clear he is focused on you. This takes a bit of concentration and effort from the horse, so it does help them get into training mode for other lessons and exercises. :)

Give it a try. :)
     
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    03-13-2008, 01:01 PM
  #2
Trained
Quote:
The concept behind it is to ask the head into a position by moving your hand so that they should follow with their head. Do not pull, but hold constant contact, and if they do not follow with their head, add drive from behind to drive their whole body into the position
I don't really understand this. I see that you're hands are further apart and are up higher.

So basically, on the ground, once he gets his head into position, I back him up and then stop?

I will definitely try it with Vega, but i'm sure i'm going to have to let her get all her willies out before she'll start co-operating.

I'll give it a try, if not today, some time soon (my back in still kinda sore from the fall) and I'll record it so you can see what i'm doing exactly. I do have a crop, but I have no idea how she'll react to it.
I'll work with Vega, before I try it with Gem.

Thanks so much AK! :)
     
    03-13-2008, 05:56 PM
  #3
Green Broke
I found this very interesting but since I can't ride lexi yet could I just do this as a daily ground excerzise and does it have to be with a bridle or maybe can I use a halter and clip on rope reins???? Cause right now lexi needs a new bit and if I use the one she has now it will be very uncomfortable [its far to big]
     
    03-14-2008, 11:02 PM
  #4
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by appylover31803
I don't really understand this. I see that you're hands are further apart and are up higher.

So basically, on the ground, once he gets his head into position, I back him up and then stop?
Sorry it took so long to reply, I was at our 4H lock-in. :)

Okay,
On the ground, you only use one hand to direct the head. You hold that hand in a position that will ask the head to bend in slightly and come down at least level with the poll. Even if you ride english, the point is softening of response to the bit, balance, and drive. In your free hand, carry a crop. When you first ask her to walk out and get her head into position, you should not pull the head into position, but instead make a kiss, wave the crop, tap her hind with crop, whatever it takes to add a little drive. By adding drive, she will start to experiment with her head, and remove the drive when she drops her head to the desired spot and removes the pressure from the rein.

Also on the ground, when she does it well, to release, you stop following her with your body and hand, hold your hand firm. She will move into it when she keeps circling and when that happens she should dis-engage her hind. When she does that you move your rein holding hand toward her and drive her backwards. When she drops/relaxes/tucks her head stop & release contact. Pat her, give her a couple of seconds to think, and do it again. The backing just really seems to reinforce the concept of following the rein pressure in whatever direction. This will help her for when she is in the saddle to not brace against your rein pressure, but to follow it softly. Doing the saddle serpentines takes the idea to the next step for her. In saddle she should respond to one rein or both as long as your direction is clear. :)
The idea will not transfer from one side to the other, so you will have to re-teach when you do the other side. Work the ground until she really gets it before doing it in the saddle.

In the saddle, you will use the same concept. You will do nothing but loosely hold the outside rein with no contact. Lightly pick up the inside rein, and if she does not immediately try to bend in with her head, drop her head a little, and follow the bend of her head with her feet, add drive. You can squeeze, kiss, and then use crop/spurs to tap her...whatever driving method normally works for you. As soon as she does correctly, remove drive, give major slack in the inside rein, and let her walk out straight for a bit. When you are ready, do it again in the other direction.

Please let me know if something is still not making sense. Though it seems simple, it was really hard for me to get the hang of some of the finer points when I first learned it. :)
     
    03-14-2008, 11:12 PM
  #5
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by HorsesAreForever
I found this very interesting but since I can't ride lexi yet could I just do this as a daily ground excerzise and does it have to be with a bridle or maybe can I use a halter and clip on rope reins???? Cause right now lexi needs a new bit and if I use the one she has now it will be very uncomfortable [its far to big]
I think that this is a great daily exercise to do from the ground. I think it is a great pre-ride warm up/check in or just a great stand alone exercise to do for 5-10 minutes from the ground.

Since I have learned this exercise, I plan on using it with my young horses from now on. I think that if I had had this skill when I first started Dez, we could have skipped much miscommunication /stumbling blocks in training. I have used this serpentine exercise as a warm up, to get focus from my horse, as a foundation for Dez learning the spin and sliding stop (as getting his head and body into position is so important for those), and other things on a daily basis. Recently, it has also come in handy as I have started to ride with contact - with a little half halting, he takes the contact softly and just drives right into it. :)

I definitely think you could do this with a halter, because the major concept behind this is drive and softness of head. I would think it would just make Lexi that much softer and responsive for the future.
     
    03-15-2008, 12:08 AM
  #6
Trained
No that makes perfect sense now! And I could work with her every day on it, now that Tom and I will be up there everyday to take care of the Gem.
Did you read how the vet visit went today?
Thanks so much AK I totally understand it. And when I lunged her Tuesday, she disengaged her hindquarters, for the first time, and I wasn't really meaning too!

I'll keep you updated on how things go
     
    03-15-2008, 01:13 AM
  #7
Green Broke
Thanks I can't wait to try it out tomorrow ill have to watch your video again to make sure I know what im doing but it should be a ton of fun lol ill tell you how it goes!
     
    03-15-2008, 04:12 PM
  #8
Yearling
I look forward to hearing how it goes for you guys. I have found it to be helpful in so many areas.

Appy, I read about Gem and the vet...Have you guys decided against riding from now on then? Or are you going to re-assess after some pre-determined healing period? Are there joint supplements or a conditioning program that could help? If he does get sound enough for light riding again, you could turn him into a children's beginner, walk/trot lesson horse.

Six years ago, our 1988 QH gelding bowed a tendon so badly that the vet actually suggested having him put down because he was no longer usable. We were quite horrified. He was given a year to simply be a horse, and he might have been on some sort of bute regimen. Even after a year, his hind right cannon was like a solid stump. He was slowly worked into condition for walk/trot and the stump reduced a little to where you could actually slightly feel some tendons. Today, he is a great babysitter lesson horse (minus a few quarks like me having to saddle him because he is cinchy). He will always have a somewhat off stride because that leg is not the same, but we just keep him on light duty and avoid maneuvers using the hind end. He looks way healthier and his leg feels better than ever. Him being 20 now, being worked has really helped his top line and overall health.

I hope all goes well with Gem.
     
    03-15-2008, 05:20 PM
  #9
Green Broke
Couldnt get up to the barn today but im going tomorrow and ill do it then :)
     
    03-16-2008, 12:45 AM
  #10
Trained
Well for right now we're not riding him, I think even if he does get better. I suggested to Tom about ground driving, where he'll be able to do everything like being ridden, just without the added weight of a saddle and rider. Tom really seemed to like that idea, so we might go down that lane. We'll see how things turn out. I have that pessoa type training system that we might use on him after he isn't in so much pain to help build up some muscles in his back. I don't think we'll use him as a lesson horse because he already was, and it wasn't an enjoyable experience for him. If worse comes to worse, we'll just hand walk him everyday to keep him healthy and happy.

I'll try the serpentines with Vega tomorrow and i'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks so much for this AK!!
     

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