Training for that "hunter movement"?
 
 

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Training for that "hunter movement"?

This is a discussion on Training for that "hunter movement"? within the Hunters and Hunter Seat Equitation forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Horse has only 90%movement in knee
  • Hunter under saddle horse heavy forehand

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    07-31-2012, 02:48 PM
  #1
Green Broke
Question Training for that "hunter movement"?

I realize some horses will just naturally have that flat-kneed ground-covering trot that denotes a top Hunter under saddle. My horse definitely doesn't have a LOT of knee action, but apparently I've been told she has more than they want to see in Hunters and that is why she rarely places in Under Saddle classes.

My question is...I know most of it kind of needs to be bred into the horse and it has to be their natural way of going, BUT is there anything I can do with training/exercises to encourage a more ground-covering sweeping type trot with less knee action?

Someone suggested aluminum shoes to me, but I've heard both ways - some swear by them and some say they don't make a bit of difference! My mare just got front shoes (steel) for the first time in her life (been barefoot for 11 yrs!) I don't have any "after" videos, but I do have some from just before I got them put on her. Don't really want to try aluminum unless I'm pretty sure it'll make a big difference.

Anyway, here's how she moves under saddle...(she's the buckskin):

This one was pretty darn dusty, so kinda hard to see most of it...(the barn's water truck was broken that day!)
     
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    07-31-2012, 02:51 PM
  #2
Showing
Honestly she blends in really well (ha! Not colour wise but movement wise) and you guys look amazing.

I don't see any problems... *shrug*

***I am not a hunter, but thought I'd comment because seriously you guys are awesome!
     
    07-31-2012, 02:53 PM
  #3
Green Broke
Well I really appreciate that, thank you! But I've been told she is an "average mover" and I would love to figure out some ways to help her to stretch out a little more and cover more ground...or whether that's even something you CAN train in a horse.
     
    07-31-2012, 03:33 PM
  #4
Started
She does pick up her knees into a choppy stride. She also looks heavy on the forehand. There's not a lot of cure for knee movement, breeding has a lot to do with it. But you might want to consider getting her on her butt and pushing her out a lot more. She doesn't need to go faster, just with more extension.

I like to do an exercise where I make a figure 8 using the whole arena. I will leg-yield the short side, keeping the sitting trot engaged and forward. Then I will push my horse into a extended trot through the center, change rein, and then go back to leg-yielding through the short side. I like to keep that butt engaged while pushing the forward movement, using only a light amount of contact in order to keep her head in a low position.

If you do any lateral flexion, I also flex my horse's head into the rail at the trot and drive from behind.

Rate your posting so that the horse is encouraged to take longer strides and not go faster. I also focus a lot on half-passes through the center of the arena and then into an extended trot.


I like the movement of this horse. He is engaged through the core with spring through his balanced movements, but he is not pushing fast.
     
    07-31-2012, 04:32 PM
  #5
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by oh vair oh    
She does pick up her knees into a choppy stride. She also looks heavy on the forehand. There's not a lot of cure for knee movement, breeding has a lot to do with it. But you might want to consider getting her on her butt and pushing her out a lot more. She doesn't need to go faster, just with more extension.

I like to do an exercise where I make a figure 8 using the whole arena. I will leg-yield the short side, keeping the sitting trot engaged and forward. Then I will push my horse into a extended trot through the center, change rein, and then go back to leg-yielding through the short side. I like to keep that butt engaged while pushing the forward movement, using only a light amount of contact in order to keep her head in a low position.

If you do any lateral flexion, I also flex my horse's head into the rail at the trot and drive from behind.

Rate your posting so that the horse is encouraged to take longer strides and not go faster. I also focus a lot on half-passes through the center of the arena and then into an extended trot.

I Got It Goin- Trot - YouTube

I like the movement of this horse. He is engaged through the core with spring through his balanced movements, but he is not pushing fast.
Yes she definitely has issues with getting on the forehand...hmmm so perhaps lots and lots of changes of directions and transitions could help her out? Because it DOES seem like when I push her forward, she just gets faster and choppier rather than using her hind more and getting stretchier.
     
    07-31-2012, 04:40 PM
  #6
Banned
85 - 90% of hunter movement is the horse's conformation.

Another 10 - 15% is training. A horse that's relaxed, forward, and pushing from the hind will be a better mover than one that's pulling itself along on the forehand or one that's disconnected back to front.

I think with Sandie's dressage training, she probably meets those criteria, and is moving pretty close to her potential.

As for aluminum shoes, they help tremendously if some of the knee action is caused by being sore footed or bruised, having tender soles or wearing heavy steel shoes. If the horse moves with a little knee action because they are conformed to move that way, well, changing shoes won't help.

However, it's not an expensive or invasive thing to try, so why not try it?
     
    07-31-2012, 04:50 PM
  #7
Started
I'm not a big fan of the change directions/transitions frequently. It usually gets my horses ramped up and unable to focus on their way of going.

What I would suggest is putting her in a large circle, then pushing her out from the inside and make the circle bigger and bigger, then push her hindquarters into the circle to make it smaller and smaller. Once she seems to have engaged her hindquaters, I would put her on the straight and let her be straight until you feel her "deflate". Once she deflates, I'd pick up and push her through a leg-yield down the rail and then let her straighten out once she picks up her stomach. If she drops again, I could either do the same or go into a half-pass, or go back into the spiral circle. I also use my spurs to support and encourage the horse to raise their stomach. I generally teach that an outside low spur is a pre-cue for the leg-yield, and after a while, a touch of the back spur should be all the horse needs to anticipate tucking up. It will take some time getting her to rate back her speed, especially if she hasn't built up her core or topline muscles.
     
    07-31-2012, 05:06 PM
  #8
Green Broke
Something else that might be of interest to note…seems lik lately it has been harder and harder to get her to move forward, it used to take nothing for her to move off my leg and now just to keep her from quitting on me takes inch long spurs and constant nagging!! what to make of that I don't know but I have gone back to carrying a crop to reinforce my leg rather than letting her get dead sided...but she is gettin to point where she is even ignoring the crop now!
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    07-31-2012, 05:07 PM
  #9
Green Broke
Pardon my spelling typos… I am trying to type on my iPhone while walking and it's not easy
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    07-31-2012, 05:09 PM
  #10
Started
Have you tried a Dressage whip? They are very effective at reinforcing the leg.
     

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