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yanking on the reins vs being soft

This is a discussion on yanking on the reins vs being soft within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
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    09-27-2012, 09:59 PM
  #11
Trained
KatRocks--
I think I get what you mean now. I would still ale the boyfriend off the pony. Groundwork (I love Clinton Anderson methods for this) will do more for you and your pony. It will teach you how to control all the parts of your pony and will also encourage your pony to be more responsive to you. You certainly can try gentling your cues but I think starting over and encouraging the pony to respond quickly would give you more and better results.
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    09-27-2012, 10:10 PM
  #12
Super Moderator
A horse that is dead to the rein is often dead to leg and seat aids, too. I believe the rein has a clear place in making a good riding horse . It can be soft, but ONLY after the hrose has shown a willingness to soften to it. You can't make a hors that is hard in the mouth soft by only being soft to him. I mean, if you apply soft pressure and he leans on it, and leans on it, and leans on it, but he complies like a barge loaded with bricks, and you accept and reward that with a release, you are not making him soft in the mouth, nor are you making him responsive to the seat.

You make him soft by teaching him NOT to lean on the rein, and that comes from making leaning on the rein unsuccessful, but giving to the rein, successful. You might have to get really strong and hard, at first, to convince the hrose to give .
And staying in the place where he complies to softish hand, but is stiff and leaning on the rein in't helping anything either.

Most of us riders stay in th "gray" with our horses , 99% of the time. We are not crystal clear, do not require a clean response, every time. We get "good enough and go from there. I am just as guilty. But, I won't offer soft hands to a pony who takes the rein out of mine.

Yanking is another matter, however. Just about any uptake of the reins should be measured and even, in a match with the movement of the horse (mathcing his speed/gait). Slide your hand down the rein, pick the rein up. 1, 2, 3, 4. In a meaasured way . Yanking destroys any possibility to feel when the horse is thinking about giving and has a "try " to offer you. It is NOT fair and makes a resentful horse.
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    09-27-2012, 10:20 PM
  #13
Green Broke
I have a problem in general with the terms hard or dead mouth or sides.

Unless an animal has NO/ZERO sensory nerves, they can feel. The cues to stop, turn, go, back, are not required to be painful.

Can you feel a light touch your shoulder? Sure. Have you ever had someone touch your shoulder lightly to either stop you from saying something or to quietly let you know they are standing behind you? Probably.

You didn't need a painful pinch or jab to respond. Neither does your horse.

You can definitely lighten/reduce the cues it will take this or any horse to responde correctly. Just a matter of conditioning.
     
    09-27-2012, 11:24 PM
  #14
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
A horse that is dead to the rein is often dead to leg and seat aids, too. I believe the rein has a clear place in making a good riding horse . It can be soft, but ONLY after the hrose has shown a willingness to soften to it. You can't make a hors that is hard in the mouth soft by only being soft to him. I mean, if you apply soft pressure and he leans on it, and leans on it, and leans on it, but he complies like a barge loaded with bricks, and you accept and reward that with a release, you are not making him soft in the mouth, nor are you making him responsive to the seat.

You make him soft by teaching him NOT to lean on the rein, and that comes from making leaning on the rein unsuccessful, but giving to the rein, successful. You might have to get really strong and hard, at first, to convince the hrose to give .
And staying in the place where he complies to softish hand, but is stiff and leaning on the rein in't helping anything either.

Most of us riders stay in th "gray" with our horses , 99% of the time. We are not crystal clear, do not require a clean response, every time. We get "good enough and go from there. I am just as guilty. But, I won't offer soft hands to a pony who takes the rein out of mine.

Yanking is another matter, however. Just about any uptake of the reins should be measured and even, in a match with the movement of the horse (mathcing his speed/gait). Slide your hand down the rein, pick the rein up. 1, 2, 3, 4. In a meaasured way . Yanking destroys any possibility to feel when the horse is thinking about giving and has a "try " to offer you. It is NOT fair and makes a resentful horse.
This is a very good post, particularly the reference to riding in a 'grey area'. In this 'grey area', the horse goes alround ok. Everything is just ok. When I ride and train a horse, I don't want the response to my aids to be 'yeah... ok.... I'll get to it'. I want 'Yes of course! How much would you like?'.
Sometimes we do need to increase the pressure to get a response. Always beginning with the lightest possible aid of course, as this is what we want the horse to respond to. The horse isn't 'dead' in the mouth, it has learnt over time to ignore the sensation in its mouth. His previous rider probably rode with a constant backwards, 'dead' contant, not necessarily yanking on his mouth. If the horse receives no give from pressure when it gives a response, it will learn to ignore the pressure.
In re-educating a horse's mouth, we are teaching the horse that it has to react to pressure. Ask with a pinky finger at first, and gradually build up on the pressure. Yes, at times, the pressure might be significant, but if you give before your horse gives, you've taught him to ignore the rein again.
I now expect my horse to give its jaw and poll when I take up some rein. I expect lightness, I don't want a horse constantly pulling on my hands and expecting me to hold him up.
You can ask lightly all you want, but if the horse doesn't give to it, you're just reinforcing that behaviour.
My thought, is that it is far kinder for a horse to have one or two sharp 'wake up' calls, and spend the rest of its time then knowing exactly what you expect from it and how to react, than having a constant drag on the rein, or the leg etc. That is frustrating for the horse, AND the rider.
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    09-28-2012, 05:47 AM
  #15
Foal
Please ask your cowboyfriend to stand in front of you facing away from you.. grab a curb bit, attach some reins to it and then ask your boyfriend to open his mouth and please after inserting the bit ask him to close it again and stand still.. now you yank as hard as he does backwards and ask him not to react and still do as he has been so called taught.. just to accept this.. as this is what he is expecting the poor horse to do....
HONESTLY... some folks should only own a push bike......!
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    09-28-2012, 08:31 AM
  #16
Green Broke
Get your BF off this horse/pony.

Dead mouth and sides.. what that really means is the horse has been taught to resist ALL aids. The horse feels what you do.. but braces against or ignores your aids.

Having had a horse or two like this, I typically put the horse in thick snaffle and a flash or cropped nose band. ON THE GROUND I would ask, with a leading rein, for the horse to give to each side. The noseband supports the bit on the bars of the mouth and helps to prevent yawing.. so the horse needs to pay attention. Just a little at first. This allows the horse to accept rein pressure and give to it exclusive of all other inputs (like you sitting on the horse's back or forward movement).

For dead sides (after getting a yield with the bit) I used a dressage whip and pressure on the ground and a barrier in front of the horse (chest high is nice). Bring the horse up to the barrier and ask, with pressure, for the horse to move his hind quarters AWAY from pressure behind the girth (not WAY back as WAY back can make them want to kick). Back up your request with the whip (not talking about beating the horse.. just tapping very precisely and insistently).

Eventually, take the horse away from the barrier and use the rein to keep the horse from moving forward and allow him to turn his head as you put pressure on his side and ask him to move his hind quarters over. NOW, if you have done this right, he will turn his head softly and move his hind quarters over... and the instant he starts to move his hind quarters over (is committed to taking a step) you release all the pressure.

This process can take a few days.. and in the meanwhile, stay off the horse's back.

When you get all this going for you, try it when on his back. Use the barrier (I used a hitching rail) and start with just the rein request and then combine the rein request with the side pressure. Eventually, get away from the barrier and try it.. and see what you get. IMO this is the ONLY riding you do until you get at least 90-180 degrees of a 360 degree turn on the forehand w/o a barrier.

When you have this, start him over under saddle with serpentines, circles, spirals and so forth. Use TWO dressage whips and when you ask with your leg, back it up with the whip if he resists. Start slow.. walking is fine. You will need to retrain his brain AND his muscles to be flexible and non resistant. It takes time.

One horse sticks out in my mind that I did this with.. and in the end he became one of the lightist and most responsive animals you could ride. He would swap leads every stride and even learned to do a little levade. His half pass and his shoulder in/out was very responsive.

He was build like a plug.. and his conformation stopped him from ever achieving much.. and he had an osselet in his left front. He had no value other than meat.. but I had him for almost 20 years.. and he never was dead mouthed or dead sided after retraining. He was a horse I could get all this from with a simple rope around his neck and no other tack.. and the only horse I never sold. He died on the farm.
     
    09-29-2012, 11:38 AM
  #17
Foal
Thank you all so very much.
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