Steering a brick wall... - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-07-2011, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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Steering a brick wall...

My new horse is extremely heavy on my hands. Hes like steering a brick wall. How do I lighten him up. I also find he travels on his fore. I try transitions to get him on the hind but dont feel a difference. any and all helpful tips are greatly appriciated as im doing research as well.
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-07-2011, 12:46 AM
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The first thing to do, at least as I see it, is to restore "meaning" to the rein. That means that when you put reins on, you don't release until you get a response, and when you get that, you give a real release. I would venture to guess that this horse may have spent a lot of its' life being ridden with the "brakes on". I mean, reins always kind of tight, and never ridden with really loose reins. Also, when the reins were applied, the horse resisted the pressure, so the rider kept it up and they ended in a kind of stalemate where the bit presskure becomes background noise onto which the horse just leans.j

You have to really watch yourself. When you put a rein ON, then you are doing it for a reason, right? Well, get that reason and don't settle for less. If you want him to bend to the right, then put a pressure on the right rein and dont give the rein back to him until he bends. THEN give him a lot of release as a reward. Make the pressure and the release really clear. No gray. ON and OFF. Don't leave the rein in the ON postition, but don't turn it OFF until you get an honest response from your horse.

This is how you build meaning back into the rein. When you are standing, resting, don't have any ON in the rein. Let them be totally OFF. don't pick up the rein when you ask him to walk off. Reins mean give your head , slow , turn or back up. They NEVER mean go forward. That's your leg/seat.

Really watch yourself and your horse. make sure that when you put a rein on it's for a reason and don't give up until you get an honest try from your horse.
Don't expect perfection, but he must at least give a real try, not a blaahhhhhh barge down on the rein.
You will be amazed at how the rein can regain meaning.

That's for starters.
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-07-2011, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you. Ive only had him maybe three weeks and have only ridden maybe 6 times and yes I think he was ridden on a tight rein in the past.
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post #4 of 4 Old 06-08-2011, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladybugsgirl View Post
My new horse is extremely heavy on my hands. Hes like steering a brick wall. How do I lighten him up. I also find he travels on his fore. I try transitions to get him on the hind but dont feel a difference. any and all helpful tips are greatly appriciated as im doing research as well.
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Here is a great article on lateral & vertical flexion. It helps get your horse mentally and physically prepared to respond to your soft cues. Preparation of the Horse

I used similar methods when I got my Thoroughbred Maddie with a very hard mouth. She would practically run through the arena fence when you put pressure on her mouth. She has the softest mouth around now (and I the softest hands.) :)

Here is another great reminder about rein management. It's a great article for any newbies too! :)
Reins Management

Taren Atkinson (Hoffo) of Copper Meadows Eventing in Ramona, CA has always told me and my girls to "never go faster than you can accurately steer." She helps us to focus on steering with our legs mostly and never going at an obstacle or fence faster than we can ensure the horse will take it straight. It's hard to slow down and take an obstacle at a trot or to have to walk and then then trot because pride tells us we can take it at a canter. What we have learned though is that we always want to ensure our horse's success and therefore reinforce that proper training and positive, successful completion of each question that is asked of our horses. We have had great results following her advice and taking baby steps.
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