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post #31 of 50 Old 01-08-2009, 10:17 PM
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I don't know how to really explain any better either, but what Delete has said goes against any practical training. She may like skipping steps and having a horse moving improperly with holes in its foundation, but it doesn't make a well trained, good horse.

Just an example, a friend of mine just bought a $7000 pleasure horse. She is hauling to a trainer once a week to help her fix his poor training. The trainer started at the head, got the headset that she wanted, then slowed him on down. Poor horse is so incredibly stiff, terrified to move out, and is missing half of his basic training.

Take the advice of the majority, work on getting you horse to use itself correctly, I promise, the rest will follow. If you can't send the horse to a trainer, or even go ride with one once a week or something, at least save up money and do one session. Then you will be able to ask tons of questions and be in a much better spot than you are now. Get some books, learn about dressage- it is the basis to all riding. Follow the training methods they use for classical dressage and you will end up with an amazing horse with a great foundation that uses itself properly. I wish you luck with your mare, and hope that you are able to learn about training horses the proper way. I know how it is starting out on your own, and not knowing a lot. I was there, the difference- I went to trainers, not to ride, just for advice. I read a ton of books. I watched trainers at shows work their young horses. It can be done, you just have to find the right people to help you get to where you want to be.
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post #32 of 50 Old 01-08-2009, 10:27 PM
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My experience (I'm not trying to be mean):

I've worked with a trainer for many years and he tied horses heads down by tying the reins through the stirrups and behind the cantle. It MADE the horse hold his head right. At first they'd lean into the bit, but eventually they got smart and put some slack in the rope.

BUT, they didn't learn to soften up. They learned: Do this cus it hurts less. Their mouths weren't soft and they weren't flexing correctly, it was artificial, but it was the "look" that is wanted. However, when you have the look AND feel it works much better and the horse is a lot better to ride and does better at competition (I've learned this too).

To get the "feel" of lightness AND the look I use mostly Clinton Anderson's technique. You hold both reins at a stand still. preferably one a little tighter than the other because then it is harder to brace against the bit. And the instant you feel the neck and lower jaw release you drop the reins. You keep doing this until she fully understands and then you can get her to hold it for longer periods of time. And then get her to do it when you are walking then trotting then loping and backing. This also REALLY helps get the nice rounded back
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post #33 of 50 Old 01-09-2009, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by GottaRide View Post
Stop wasting everyone's time.
Oh harsh . See, i'v known Harlee for years now, and that how i trained MY horse. She can attest for this, i win quite alot. So thats what has worked for me and my horse. Im just putting my 2cents in. Lordy and i get attacked. Im going to hold my tongue here and not say anything that will get me in trouble. But i find that insulting. This is a place for adivce, that was my advice wether you agree with it or not.
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post #34 of 50 Old 01-09-2009, 11:27 AM
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Oh but then again, thats on the 4h and state level so what would i know.
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post #35 of 50 Old 01-09-2009, 01:51 PM
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Alright. I didn't feel like going through all the posts (dearie me.) But I thought I'd put my two cents in.

I really dislike draw reins for western pleasure because it usually just dumps them on the forehand. The most important thing I'm going to tell you is right now: When your horse is loping and moving off of her hind end correctly, the 'headset' will come naturally. It's simple mechanics. When she can use her hind end and lift her back, the neck comes down to balance out the upper half of her body.

So what happens if you put her in a 'frame' before she's properly moving on her hind end?

She dumps on the forehand.

Ditch the draw reins, and the first thing you have to teach her to do is to accept normal rein pressure. The problem you're running into right now is that when you grab at her to fix her in draw reins, she has no other option but to put her head down. When you grab at her in regular reins, there is no 'downward' pull, so her head goes right up.

Start with one rein, and flex her to the inside whilst keeping her on a small circle. When she gives her head and relaxes, release the rein. You might have to bump her lightly with your inside leg to get her to soften, but you cannot skip this step. She needs to learn to RELEASE when you pick up the reins! If you pull her to the inside and her head moves but you can still feel a pull on the reins, she's not releasing. Wait, however long it is, for her to release. This needs to become automatic. And of course, do the same in the other direction.

Once she's relatively good flexing to side to side, now you start to straighten her head out. Use your inside rein more then the other, and the outside rein 'bumps' LIGHTLY to get her to give her face. When you are going straight, you want her to drop her head on the vertical. Try not to teach her to go behind the vertical, it does nothing for collection.

Once you can get her face in this method, then you move to two reins, or one hand. When you pull up with both reins lightly, she needs to give her face. Remember, start out light and stay there until she releases.

You can't skip these steps if you want her to learn to be really soft in the bridle. Draw reins just don't cut it.

As for her headset and frame, just work on getting her to give to the bridle. As she gets softer her neck will relax, and as you push her on, she'll learn to carry herself and you'll watch her neck just fall into place. When you get there, then you can start asking her to keep it there for consistency.

Hope this helps!

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post #36 of 50 Old 01-09-2009, 01:51 PM
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Ehh ok sorry. I need to not get mad. Sorry that what im saying is the complete opposite of what you all are saying and whatnot. Its just what has worked with me, and i have seen work for other people. But fine, i wont say another thing on this post.
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post #37 of 50 Old 01-09-2009, 02:00 PM
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I'm sure it did work for you, Delete. But there is a lot of incorrect training going around in the WP world because it teaches a horse to be heavy on the forehand, but in a pretty frame. And you can win a lot this way, because right now, judges are looking for consistency, not correct movement. When you said that headset is everything, I agree with you to some point. In the showring, headset IS everything. If your horse has a bad headset, then you won't place.

But that doesn't mean you train it before you train proper impulsion and collection.

If a horse is consistent, AND truly working off it's hind end, its going to beat a consistent horse moving on the forehand every time. It just takes longer, but in the end, you have a better, more-broke horse for your efforts.

Dressage in Jeans - My blog with dressage tips for happy, relaxed horses, specifically for those who ride dressage in western saddles, no saddles, cowboy boots, or jeans. ;) Also now with cute pygmy goat pictures! :P
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post #38 of 50 Old 01-09-2009, 02:05 PM
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Yes but my horse is not heavy on the forehand, i spent all last summer correcting it, like i said in the beginning i thought that draw reins were the wonder tool. But i don't hardly use them anymore, maybe once a month just for the heck of it. But whatev. Its cool.
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post #39 of 50 Old 01-09-2009, 02:57 PM
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It is always ok to disagree with a training method and it's really helpful to explain WHY you disagree with one but let's all keep it friendly pretty please!

I like draw reigns for people that arent quite getting headset and I'll telly ou why! LOL... I do know that you run the danger of putting your horse heavily on the forehand, BUT... I would so rather see that then someone snatching at their mouths to get headset and that tends to happen when the rider "doesnt quite get it" yet. Headset in some ways is like jumping... One day a light just pops on and you are like... OH.. that's how I get it... until then you are getting left behind over the jumps, jumping too early, popping the horse in the mouth at the landing etc... then one day the light pops on and you've got it...

I think draw reigns are ok. If the rider tries hard not to become dependent on them and you are careful not to allow your horse to move on his forehand but it's hard. It is REALLY hard to push them forward, but hold them back in a frame, maintain headset consistency. It is not easy to hold them in a frame with loose reigns. Draw reigns are not evil when used properly.......

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post #40 of 50 Old 01-09-2009, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm. I apparently have a lot to take into consideration.. I think I'm going to ditch the draw reins to see how that goes...I'm going to get a trainer and go to some lessons and see how things go..

Any more advice?

The more, the merrier, and the more I learn and eventually know

"Doing what you like is freedom, liking what you do is happiness."
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