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~ Canter issues -- Trying to avoid a hard mouth

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  • Lauffer reins horses
  • How to use lauffer reins

 
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    08-22-2010, 05:48 PM
  #11
Weanling
@OP she is very unbalanced, she breaks into the trot in the corners and she leans quite a bit to the inside in the corners too. Getting her balanced would help quite a bit as she is also leaning on the bit. You seem to be telling her what to do with just rein and pulling her head around, she is constantly gaping her mouth and evading the bit(which in this case looks okay because it is your fault((no offense))).

First, you need to stop pulling on her mouth like that, turn her with your legs, and your seat by bringing your oustide leg back, inside leg forward and pushing her around your inside leg with your outside leg. Try to use as little rein as possible. Now, she must stop leaning on the bit. Don't give her anything to lean on. Don't hold her back with two reins. She isn't leaning on the bit too too bad. It's just part of her being unbalanced. She needs to get more relaxed and supple. If she speeds up, pull left-right-left-right very gently and slowly, we don't want it to be "sawing" on her mouth. Then half halt and sponge the reins. She has to still have forwardness so she doesn't draw back on her forehand though. It will take quite a few rounds around the ring until she is more supple.

I would start lunging her with side reins or slide reins(aka vienna or lauffer reins). She needs to bring that head down and accept the bit. She also needs to learn to go off leg pressure more so work on bending on small circles (walk and trot only).

From what I saw, her mouth gaping was from being pulled around by the mouth but if she starts doing it to evade the bit when you are asking her to supple and come down, I would suggest getting a flash nose band on her.
     
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    08-22-2010, 05:50 PM
  #12
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakley Eastern Miss    
Sorry to hijack the thread but I have a similar problems to you, my mare speeds up coming out of corners going down the long straight. I have tried circles but she is already going pretty quickly by that point, I also half halt in anticipation but im starting to think she has learnt this and just fights me. Again, she only does it in canter.

Do you think its a balance problem, do I just need to do more exercises to balance her? Any suggestions much appreciated
A video would really be great! You should read all the suggestions on this thread because no horse starts out cantering perfectly, many other members have already given lots of suggestions that I think can help you.
     
    08-22-2010, 07:21 PM
  #13
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by SPhorsemanship    
I would start lunging her with side reins or slide reins(aka vienna or lauffer reins). She needs to bring that head down and accept the bit. She also needs to learn to go off leg pressure more so work on bending on small circles (walk and trot only).
I think I might try this, sometimes I think she over responds to my leg, especially when im try to slow her. I grip with my legs to try and use them with my seat instead of my reins, sometimes I think it just encourages her to speed up.

Is it possible to do her any harm lunging circles in canter? The only reason I ask is because she (like mentioned below for OP horse) also leans into corners so I don't want to over work her if she is unbalanced. Should I start in trot first with smaller circles, then progress to canter on a larger rein?

Would putting the side reins on (loosely) straight away be too much to start off with, or does this help her become more balanced?

Sorry for all the questions, just realised how long my post is! Whoops! Thanks again
     
    08-22-2010, 08:09 PM
  #14
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakley Eastern Miss    
I think I might try this, sometimes I think she over responds to my leg, especially when im try to slow her. I grip with my legs to try and use them with my seat instead of my reins, sometimes I think it just encourages her to speed up.

Is it possible to do her any harm lunging circles in canter? The only reason I ask is because she (like mentioned below for OP horse) also leans into corners so I don't want to over work her if she is unbalanced. Should I start in trot first with smaller circles, then progress to canter on a larger rein?

Would putting the side reins on (loosely) straight away be too much to start off with, or does this help her become more balanced?

Sorry for all the questions, just realised how long my post is! Whoops! Thanks again
I think we need a lesson on half halting, I'll start with the proper contact. First of all, when riding and asking for a forward, swinging horse, you want contact with your lower leg, and you foot should be pararell to the horse with light contact(you legs should hang "like wet towels". Your thigh should be open and your hips should be open to allow free flow of movement. Your lower body should be relaxed and move 100% with the horse. You should be sitting up straight but relaxed and your elbows should be at your sides with bend and you fingers should be relaxed, your thumbs should be facing up. You should be looking forward. You should have light contact with the reins, sponging to supple the horse. To ask the horse to go forward: leaning back slightly, opening thighs and hips even more and rolling your pelvice forward, squeezing with calf, then inside of foot, and if needed with heel. With some horses, a kick. Your hands should move back and forth with the horse's head movement to keep the same contact. Now to slow down: You do not, whatsoever, pull back on the reins hard to bring the horse back. You should be sitting straight up, keeping the same contact with the lower leg but closing with your thighs(NOT grabbing with your knees). After closing with your thighs, sit deep in the saddle, moving with the horse, fully relax, do not rotate you pelvice forward as that is a forward aid. You ask the horse to come back and slow down, gently going left, right, left, right and then all in one block all forwardness with your hip and thigh as well as your core, holding the inside rein use your seat to pull back on the outside rein and sit(all very quickly). Every second stride do the half halt, if you are posting, do it when you are down. What many people do is sit deep, lean back, hold the reins, and grip with their legs; that all asks the horse to go forward and then lean onto the bit which just makes things worse. The horse will end up slowing down but only because of heavy pulling on the mouth.

All horses naturally lean in on circles. You don't have to lunge them at the canter, but it would be okay if you do a large canter circle(if the horse is over 4 years old). Bringing them onto the bit, I think will help, but don't start right away at the canter, that is too fast when they have just started in side reins. The horse does not get balanced on its own, the rider has to help the horse balance and there is so much to that, I would have to be right beside you telling you what to do. Ground training will help a little bit with balance so just start off lunging at the walk and trot in side reins or slide reins and then you can move up into the canter once the horse has a sense of what they side reins or slide reins are doing. When you start off cantering, just do a little bit(like one circle/seven or eight strides) and do it on as large a lunge circle as you can.
     
    08-22-2010, 08:17 PM
  #15
Weanling
Part 2:
These are side reins(without the donut):



And these are slide reins/vienna reins/lauffer reins


Don't attach them like this(the following): because that is for more advanced horses.


Side reins only allow the horse to move on a circle:

where as vienna reins allow for different head movement.
side reins

You want your horse moving long and low, that is how you start. You definitely want to start with them loose and just let her trot around and see that they won't give so she understands. If you put them on tight the horse can move forward and hit the bit and then rear up and flip over. Do at least a few sessions with them really loose(still with her head up). Then slowly make them tighter and I wouldn't use the vienna reins until she understands the side reins(if you use vienna reins) and the also start with those loose. Vienna reins can be so much better for getting the horse on the bit, long and low, as they aren't quite a solid piece of rope or leather. You can make home made vienna reins out of rope. They attach to the saddle or surcingle(so you would need to tie on a clip) and then go through the bit and attach like in the second photo to the girth(another clip).
     
    08-23-2010, 02:04 AM
  #16
Green Broke
That is some great advice SPhorsemanship!
     
    08-23-2010, 08:14 AM
  #17
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by SPhorsemanship
@OP she is very unbalanced, she breaks into the trot in the corners and she leans quite a bit to the inside in the corners too. Getting her balanced would help quite a bit as she is also leaning on the bit. You seem to be telling her what to do with just rein and pulling her head around, she is constantly gaping her mouth and evading the bit(which in this case looks okay because it is your fault((no offense))).
I see what you mean there, when going around a corner I usually have to squeeze her on to keep going or else she breaks into a trot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPhorsemanship
First, you need to stop pulling on her mouth like that, turn her with your legs, and your seat by bringing your oustide leg back, inside leg forward and pushing her around your inside leg with your outside leg. Try to use as little rein as possible. Now, she must stop leaning on the bit. Don't give her anything to lean on. Don't hold her back with two reins. She isn't leaning on the bit too too bad. It's just part of her being unbalanced. She needs to get more relaxed and supple. If she speeds up, pull left-right-left-right very gently and slowly, we don't want it to be "sawing" on her mouth. Then half halt and sponge the reins. She has to still have forwardness so she doesn't draw back on her forehand though. It will take quite a few rounds around the ring until she is more supple.
I really hate pulling on the reins like that, but sometimes I just feel that the only way to slow her down is by using the reins full force...it's frustrating.

I try to relax my whole body and as you could call it, go against the flow of movement (my instructor calls moving your hips backward), but with Night Heat it's really difficult and she will just carry on going until she starts to get tired.

I'll try the half halting with the sponging today if we do cantering in our lesson. Otherwise tomorrow and then I'll report back on how she responds to that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPhorsemanship
She also needs to learn to go off leg pressure more so work on bending on small circles (walk and trot only).
I do work on this with her a little bit in our flatwork sessions, but I'll try to work on it a little more.

Question: As I mentioned earlier, my instructor has gotten me to just canter Night Heat around and around until she starts to relax or get tired. I have done this twice so far, and when she starts to slow down I lessen the pressure on the reins and let my hands go nicely with her head. Will this help her in anyway?

Thanks again for the advice.
     
    08-23-2010, 08:51 AM
  #18
Foal
Thank you very much SPhorsemanship! I really appreciate the amount of depth you went into there, your post was very helpful

I don't think I grip with my knees or lean back too much but I will get my sister to watch me to see, maybe she will spot something I'm doing. She does lean quite a bit into corners so maybe my position changes to compensate that and as a result I give her mixed leg signals. I'll definitely give the half halt method a go, being an old girl she has had to get used to plenty of different signals over the years which probably doesn't help. I think if I start trying the half halts going into the corners then she might steady going out.

Pretty sure I have some side reins in my cupboard somewhere so I'm going to start with them first and just take it very easy. Im not competing or anything so I have no deadline and I'm hoping they will help to get her head into a better position. When she gets a bit excitable out hacking/trail, she works on the bit without me asking, but her head is far too tucked in for my liking. I have never asked her to be that tucked in and never would. If I start to very gradually tighten the side reins, I'm hoping she will realise the position I would like her to work in is nowhere near as over bent as that.

Slightly off topic, I find sometimes she thinks she knows what I'm going to ask and starts doing it anyway even though I haven't moved. I assume its just the know-it-all old lady in her. For example, like when doing a serpentine, she will just start turning even when I haven't asked. I'm going to get a flatwork book to make sure I am varying my schooling as much as possible to keep her interested. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can get her listening more to me and less to herself? Thanks again.
     
    08-23-2010, 12:17 PM
  #19
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by flamingauburnmustang    
I really hate pulling on the reins like that, but sometimes I just feel that the only way to slow her down is by using the reins full force...it's frustrating.


Question: As I mentioned earlier, my instructor has gotten me to just canter Night Heat around and around until she starts to relax or get tired. I have done this twice so far, and when she starts to slow down I lessen the pressure on the reins and let my hands go nicely with her head. Will this help her in anyway?

Thanks again for the advice.
It is very frustrating, but you have to keep trying! I know exactly what you mean. She doesn't take off on you does she? Even though you aren't yanking on both reins to keep her back doesn't mean you can't use any rein, she has to listen to you or she will learn to just move forward past the bit. You say "whoa", the half halt, then bend her head down the the inside and if she doesn't listen just make her stop without pulling on both reins at the same time but also being gentle. Pull right, left, right, left(absolutely not vigorously because that would be painful). That just makes it so she has nothing to lean on. If she still doesn't listen, then turn her around in a small circle, stop her, back her up and then do it again. Do lots of transitions from canter to trot to walk, and do all you canter transitions from the trot so she won't feel the need to burst into the canter. Also try cantering from an easy, relaxed trot, do two or three strides and then bring her back to the relaxed trot and keep doing that. She'll learn that she can't bolt into the canter because she will have to slow down back to a trot.

You shouldn't have a lot of pressure on the reins to lessen, and you should always be moving with her head. If your hands are just a block to her movement she will have to bring her neck up, and block with her lower neck muscles and then she will be much more tense and on the forehand. She goes way above the bit as seen in the video.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakley Eastern Miss    

When she gets a bit excitable out hacking/trail, she works on the bit without me asking, but her head is far too tucked in for my liking.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can get her listening more to me and less to herself? Thanks again.
So for the bold part, she is going behind the bit, and that is her evading the bit and your hand aids. You want her on the bit. You can tell because her head is probably way behind the vertical. You want their head on the vertical or slightly above it(that is hard to get on the lunge though)
The red line is the "vertical"

Most people ride their horse's behind the vertical, it is hard to to it properly. I would say though, that this is better than having their head way up above the vertical.

And for your second question, you should mix things up a lot. Even ask her to start something, like a serpentine or a circle and then stop that and do something else. Get pylons and move her around pylons, switch directions, then circle, then do a half circle...Get changing things up really fast so she'll have to focus on you to know what to do. Here's some books:

Http://www.amazon.com/101-Schooling-Exercises-Horse-Rider/dp/0715329758/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282580183&sr=1-6
Http://www.amazon.com/101-Arena-Exercises-Ringside-Guide/dp/088266316X/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282580183&sr=1-5
Http://www.amazon.com/Dressage-Exercises-Horse-DRESSAGE-EXERCISES/dp/B001TL020W/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282580183&sr=1-10
     
    08-23-2010, 12:49 PM
  #20
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by SPhorsemanship
She doesn't take off on you does she?
No, she doesn't just run away uncontrollably, she only does that when she really gets a fright, or cantering with other horses in the field, or when she gets too hyped up with jumping (which I'm slowly introducing to her again in trot).

Otherwise she just goes really fast and doesn't want to slow down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPhorsemanship
Also try cantering from an easy, relaxed trot, do two or three strides and then bring her back to the relaxed trot and keep doing that. She'll learn that she can't bolt into the canter because she will have to slow down back to a trot.
That also sounds like a good way to get her to canter slower, and as smrobs said, "canter with her brakes on". Thanks.

--------------------------

Todays lesson went really well with Night Heat. I tried the "one rein, one rein" while cantering combined with my thighs closed around her, and believe it or not, she went much slower than she usually does most of the time around. Every now and then when the horse in front sped up a little (we were riding in a group lesson) she also wanted to speed up but a few hard squeezes on the reins and she regained semi-sanity.

We were going over a few 40-50cm jumps at trot, and she even did well with those. She just pulled out once, but that was completely my fault, I was holding her a little too much and not giving enough impulsion for combination and she turned out at the second jump.

All in all it went good today. I will see how she goes tomorrow and then will update again. Again, thanks so much for all the advice! It's really helping.
     

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