Without side reins-- head problems?
   

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Without side reins-- head problems?

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  • Side reins while riding to help the back end
  • Whst is the easiest bit to train a horse with

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    01-06-2013, 12:04 AM
  #1
Weanling
Without side reins-- head problems?

Hi,
My trainer about 2 months ago told me too use side reins while riding to help my horse round his topline and keep his head down.
He looks like a million bucks with them on but as soon as I decided to ride without them the other day: no matter whst I asked of him he would NOT round his head or keep it down, I decided to take them off because I want to learn how to get that without the gadgets.

What are suggestions for getting my horse to do the small things without the side reins as with? I feel without them on he just doesn't listen to me giving ques such as tightening the reins and using leg pressure,
Thanks!
     
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    01-06-2013, 12:19 AM
  #2
Super Moderator
Well, good for you for wanting how to learn how to connect the horse to the bit on your own.

However, without seeing a video of you riding, it's hard to really know what's going on. I mean no offense, but it may be that your horse does not want to connect to the bit and "round" becuase you don't have a steady enough seat. He may be going in such a way as to protect his back.
Or, as you said, he is not listening to you. The side reins made him HAVE TO go in a rounded neck way, because there was no real give. Moving that way can use more muscle, and muscles that he may not be used to using, so once the force is gone, he will revert to his easiest way of going.

But if you say he is not listening to you, you either don't have him thinking of you as important enough to obey, or, you don't know the correct way of asking. (And that's what you are asking about now, right?)

Would you consider posting a video for critique?
stevenson, 2BigReds and 66Domino like this.
     
    01-06-2013, 12:26 AM
  #3
Trained
Personally? I would change trainers. The second someone tells me to ride with side reins on, I immediately fear them. They are after shortcuts, and not looking to train the horse properly, and thus are not going to get my money.

Leave the sidereins in the tack room, and don't pick them up again. Ignore what his head is doing - correct riding NEVER comes from worrying where the horse's head is. Ride him forward into soft, kind hands, and let him figure out that contact is not going to hurt.
     
    01-06-2013, 01:30 AM
  #4
Foal
I agree that side reins are 'shortcuts' in a way. Though witout seeing a video, like tinyliny said, it's hard to really guage the situation. Try getting a video or explain more what you're feeling in connection with the horse.
Maybe try having your trainer give a lunge line lesson with you on the horse (experience level does not matter! This can help) and let you focus on your seat. Practicing transitions with your pelvis and seat, really let the horse know when you want him to relax, extend, stretch, bend... practice exercises to get better communication with the horse. You may see some progress.
Black Beauty 94 likes this.
     
    01-06-2013, 02:27 AM
  #5
Started
Agree with Chiilaa. Besides, riding with sidereins is dangerous - you never know if the horse will freak out, go up and flip. Know a few horses killed through using sidereins incorrectly (I.e. Too tight for the horse's level of training) on the ground when they freaked (one went up and hit head on rail, one broke neck), would shudder to think about riding in them, they were never meant for that.
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Chiilaa likes this.
     
    01-06-2013, 03:04 AM
  #6
Foal
To encourage the horse to lower its head, try increasing pressure on both reins, with your inside rein slightly higher and bent to the inside and the outside rein straight back. Increase the pressure steadily and don't jiggle or seesaw. When the horse's head lowers, reward it immediately by lessening the pressure. Your horse may not have enough muscle in the right areas to do it for long, so practice for a few minutes and then give him a long rein to let him relax. As his muscle builds up, it will be easier for him to move along. It will take a lot of work for him to be consistent, so just keep at it every time you ride.
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    01-06-2013, 06:03 AM
  #7
Green Broke
Mallory, you should not be asking from the front end, putting pressure on untill he relaxes his mouth is the perfect way to make a horse duck behind the contact.

TO get an outline you need to ride the horses back end up into a bridle.

OP - If I were you i'd get a new trainer, not only is riding in sidereins bad and not teaching your horse anything, it is also very very dangerous for both you and the horse.
     
    01-06-2013, 07:22 AM
  #8
Foal
I don't know what discipline you ride but in dressage everything comes from behind; horse steps under, lifts back, neck takes a natural arch. There are a lot of variables but in general think of it as though you are squeezing a tube of toothpaste. If your horse is weak or being lazy and not coming through from behind, you won't get that natural arch. What you're looking for takes a lot of time, strength and patience. Sure you can force it along and then you have a pretty head and the horse looks disjointed behind. Side reins are a tool to aid balance (not headset) on the longe. They are not used on horses who are not solid under saddle and should never be used for riding. Just because someone calls themselves a trainer and has students doesnt mean they are truly a trainer. Ride safe!!
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    01-06-2013, 02:02 PM
  #9
Foal
Sorry, I might not have explained myself well. I didn't mean to ignore the leg and seat aids or to throw away the reins when you get the position you need, just to lessen the pressure while maintaining a steady contact. Some horses with poor prior training will just run around with their head in the air out of habit or out of fear of getting their mouth banged when they reach for the bit. With this exercise, you teach it that it is okay for them to drop their head and they will be more comfortable when they do. When I first bought my horse, he never reached for the bit and this really helped him. Ymmv!
     
    01-06-2013, 03:33 PM
  #10
Weanling
Yeah, I would but I really don't have someone to take a video of me.

I have noticed that the side reins have been doing the work for me, because his head is round and pretty and it is forcing his head down. That lead me to not have collection in my reins.

Now that I took them off, as soon as I get contact in his mouth at the trot he will begin to pace. I hold steady and push him forward with my seat and get him back into a trot. Then I notice when I have contact in my reins, I am leaning way forward to get control of his head. I pull and release with each rein and he will lower it maybe two inches but not nice and round like in the side reins; and 3 seconds later he goes back up.

He is traveling in a very hallow back without them I have noticed, and at the canter too. He is still learning to hold his leads in the canter (He likes to switch them in the back) so that makes it even more of a mess.

I think he is just trying to not listen, because I know he knows how to respond to leg pressure and tightening, because he will usually listen at the walk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
Well, good for you for wanting how to learn how to connect the horse to the bit on your own.

However, without seeing a video of you riding, it's hard to really know what's going on. I mean no offense, but it may be that your horse does not want to connect to the bit and "round" becuase you don't have a steady enough seat. He may be going in such a way as to protect his back.
Or, as you said, he is not listening to you. The side reins made him HAVE TO go in a rounded neck way, because there was no real give. Moving that way can use more muscle, and muscles that he may not be used to using, so once the force is gone, he will revert to his easiest way of going.

But if you say he is not listening to you, you either don't have him thinking of you as important enough to obey, or, you don't know the correct way of asking. (And that's what you are asking about now, right?)

Would you consider posting a video for critique?
     

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