Hi guys, I've been having a hell of a time trying to get this one pony to work off her bum and keep her nose in. She kind of does at a walk, but once we start jogging the nose comes out and she gets heavy on the forehand. We're tried sea-sawing with the reins and keeping leg on her, but she is just not getting it and it is so frustrating. She will lower her head to the ground to get away from the pressure and for a split second she will have her nose in properly, but by time my sister or coach yells "SHES DOING IT!" at me she's gone back to her bad ways and I couldn't even feel the difference. She stops really quickly at a walk and jog, not so much the lope because she is so heavy on the forehand. I was just wondering if there are any other excersizes that would help her learn to do this? My coach also suggested a german martingale so my sister and I have been looking into them a bit, but I'm not really a fan of using stuff like that.
No no, I understand what you are saying. It's just so confusing to me because she first stretches her head out then puts it into proper position. I think I will let my sister have a go at it because she has some more experience with this stuff.
There is a great article at this website. Just click on it and you will come straight to the story called Head vs. Body - Collection of the horse blackhorseblog.com
It might really help for you to read this entire article, and I know if you ask her a question in the comments she will answer it.
Thanks a lot, that looks really helpful. And I do have a few hills around but they really aren't that steep except for the ones in the forest, which I try to avoid with this mare because it is so buggy during the summer and she goes crazy trying to buck mosquitos off.
I bring up the hills because it gives the rider the chance to just settle in and let the horse get under themselves as they walk down a hill.
A lot of folks will pull and force a horse into frame and if they were to use hills the horse will work the back end both going up the hill and coming down.
This is not the whole solution but is a good start for collection.
That is great advice Marecare but I have a small problem with my horse on hills. By the way where I live I am surrounded by hills, there are some pretty good ones in my back doorstep. I haven't really worried too much about collection yet but it is definitely looming as something it is time to begin dealing with.
I have tried to collect Phoenix once, just as a feel out to see how receptive she will be. This is tough to explain, she bent at the shoulder and leaned over the bit and then walked straight through/over it, can you picture what happened? I am not sure I have a better way to describe. Being of the draft type I understand it is her natural inclination to push with the shoulders (walking through fences is a case in point!).
Anyway, talking about hill work helping a horse with collection. When going down hill my horse tries to go down side ways, sort of zigzags with her body. She flicks her bum and minces down she seems to be very definite about not getting under herself. She is great on any incline, powers up like a machine but crap on the descent. Does this tell you something about my horse? Maybe some flexibility issues, do you have any suggestions?
Sorry Dynamite, not trying to hijack your thread, just also interested about advice on collection as I'm fairly sure my horse is going to be a tiny bit differcult.
The picture that I put up is a 3yo and we started by ground leading in the hills.
I had a person with another horse and we led both horses up into the hills and just sat there until they relaxed.
This was done over a couple of weeks.
Next we mounted up and followed the same route.
When I go down the hills I go straight down and the steeper the better.
You have to work up to this and the horse gets use to doing it.
The horse learns to slowly take one step at a time and REALLY get their rear end under themselves.
At first I don't ask for the head or nose to be low and over time they just start to lower it because it is more comfortable for them on the incline.
If the horse gets a little excited then dismount and walk down the hill.
If you leave them alone they lower their head to see the ground also.
The same benefit is there for the climb.
Keep the horse at the walk and they have to really push up the hill.
Keep them straight.
Do you believe in monkey see, monkey do with horses? I never took Phoenix onto steep inclines when I first started riding her and only built up to them over time. There were two things that she was good at, going down hills nice and easy and walking through little muddy creeks and ditches. When I started riding with my friend her horse does the mincing and flouncing sideways down hills and jumps every little ditch and creek. After two rides Phoenix began dancing and prancing down hill and jumping every little ditch where she was just walking easily through them. Monkey see, Monkey do, do you think? I have got her walking through things rather than jumping but the flouncing and dancing I have not been able to get a handle on. Perhaps I am going to have to work on one hill making her walk down it again and again (even just leading)until she starts to walk nicely again. Going up is fine. Maybe there is no point working on collection until she is walking down a hill nicely again.