new horse...won't flex laterally under saddle - Page 2

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new horse...won't flex laterally under saddle

This is a discussion on new horse...won't flex laterally under saddle within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    07-14-2013, 11:27 PM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
I use one rein stop, if necessary, and I always stop the horse with (seat first , of course) one rein more firm than the other, thus encouraging some softness to one side with the jaw. Softness in the jaw helps with softness in the body.

If you teach the stop with just asking the horse to put it's head over to one side and stop, usually the horse is stopping with it;s weight still on it's forehand, kind of like it is hanging over a cliff. You want him to stop softly and to gather his weight back a wee bit over his hind legs. If he stops leaning forward , over his front legs, the second you give him the rein, he will fall forward. In fact, he never really stops, he just "pauses".
He has never GIVEN to the rein through his whole body, he has just broken at the neck, hauled his head to the side, and waited for you to quit this silly stopping and pulling so he can go back to the direction his mind is still fixed on.

So, having him give to the rein AND step under with his hind and disengage is part of teaching a one rein stop, IMO. You wont' always need to go that far, the full disengagement, but you do this to teach him to connect the rein with his "engine" (the hind legs), and to learn to give through his whole body, and not just the neck.
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    07-14-2013, 11:34 PM
Have you have him looked at by a chiropractor? Could be he has trouble turning his head due to a misalignment somewhere in the neck/poll area.

My moms gelding had a hard time turning his head left and could not reach his shoulder/girth area. He should have been able to reach past his hip. After an adjustment, he is doing much better and is way more comfortable in the saddle.
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    07-14-2013, 11:35 PM
Sounds like poor saddle fit or something else like exposed nail?

But seriously he's new at this, of course he's going to explode if you put such an intense degree of flexion at first... you need to build up to it slowly.

Also he could be sore from his new 'job' per say so a chiropractic eval wouldn't hurt.
    07-14-2013, 11:41 PM
^ I have no idea why that happened. Probably something to do with leaving HF up and putting my phone in my pocket lmao my bad.
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    07-15-2013, 02:15 AM
Originally Posted by LoveMyToby    
That helps a lot. So I was doing ok when he would trot/stop and lope/stop with using just slight pressure on one rein and my seat? He was stopping just not yielding his head. So stopping with one rein and not disengaging hind end allows him to stop on his hind end since that is the motor!?

I would not disengage the horse every stop. I only mentioned that because it can become necessary if the horse is braced against the rein in a stop.

Great that he stops, but wouldn't it be nicer if he stopped willingly, softly and without resistance? So, when you ask him to stop, you are asking him to also be a bit soft in his face, too. To get that, you may have to hold off giving him a release until he does give to the rein, and if he braces really hard, you need to ask a bit more firmly, (raise the rein more upward), and "take him back into his hindquarters" if he can't /won't soften. Keep asking for flexion until he gives, and if you have to ask so much that it requires a full disengagement of the hind, then do so. Hopefully, the next time you won't have to do that. He'll give a lot sooner, with no need to do a disengagement, But whenever he stops, he should give to the rein and stop without bracing/leaning hard on the reins.
    07-15-2013, 09:18 AM
Green Broke
Do you say "Whoa"? Most of my horses know that means stop WAY before I get on them, and most get way LESS than 2 months ground work before I get on them.

And, pain or no pain, I think you missed a signal from the horse way before your unintentional dismount.

Before I watched another CA video, I would spend the time to learn what my HORSE is telling me, NOT CA. The horse will tell you how it feels, when it is ready.

Best Wishes,
    07-15-2013, 12:23 PM
Ok, here's another one. How do you folks feel about ground driving/long reining until i'm able to ride again? And Tiny, he was stopping willingly with one soft rein and i'm afraid I've completely lost that along with confidence on both his and my part. That'll take time and patience to rebuild. Also I DID miss a cue from my horse before my unintentional dismount. The one that said if you don't let my head loose i'm going to bust your butt! I should have just asked for him to disengage his hindend and be soft through his mouth AND body instead of just flexing his head back. Hindsights always 20/20
    07-15-2013, 03:54 PM
Green Broke
Horses don't learn by rote (2x2=4, c-a-t spells cat). Every horse is different. NH clinicians are experienced trainers who know this, but for simplified marketing puposes, neglect to relay this. They have editing on TV and videos, so you may never SEE how they actually achieved the "softness", or whatever it is.... I was going to say "end result", but that's the funny thing about horses....there is not one. It is a constant, on-going give and take(not 50-50) relationship.

Why would you have "lost" anything? If the horse knew it, he knows it now.

    07-18-2013, 03:16 PM
In my opinion, ground driving or long lining is an absolutely crucial part of training. I am a HUGE fan of it. I think you should do a ton of if before you get back on. It worries me a bit that you are already up on the horse and needing this lateral flexion "to teach him how to steer". Steering imo needs to be taught before a rider steps up, otherwise it's just kind of like getting in a car with no steering wheel. It might be alright for a while, but best case scenario you're just a passenger at the mercy of the car/horse/whatever, hoping for the best if something happens.

It sounds like there's something bigger going on. Either he's in pain or uncomfortable or things are moving a bit fast for him, or maybe the signals aren't coming through 100% clear to him, which may be why it's not translating over to the under saddle work. Hard to guess over the internet though.

From the limited information here, if it were me I would definitely do a ton of ground driving, get him good and solid with everything there first. Steering, backing, whoa, drive him all over the darn place. In the round pen/arena, around the farm, over obstacles, trails, around scary things, everywhere you can ride you can drive him. Definitely get your saddle fit checked by a real professional too so you know 100% that it fits, don't just take someone's word. A horse in pain can't learn anything. Then you get back on him and introduce everything you've been working on under saddle again. If you've done the driving right, everything should still be there and you can just get on and go pretty much.

With ground driving you can get a horse pretty darn broke long before you ever swing a leg over, and then when you go to get on they already know their job, and they just have to adjust to a person on their back. Not a person on their back AND trying to balance AND steering AND new sights and sounds AND that spooky shadow over there. Etc etc etc. It can quickly get VERY overwhelming for a young horse. And that's another important thing, really reading the horse and paying attention so you don't put too much on them at once. It all should be very simple, easy, step by step, building onto the next thing.

Ground driving is that link between ground work and getting on, you couldn't pay me to skip that step!
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