Collecting while riding
I don't know the history of my mare before hand or how she was ridden, but I'm beginning to think that she was ridden English before hand. I'm wanting to learn to ride English and I plan to take lessons during the summer when I'm not in college, but for now what would be the best bit to use?
I'm using a D-ring snaffle that is jointed and it worked well for both of my Quarter Horses that I owned. Krista doesn't mind the bit and works well off of it, but when I try to collect her she fights against it. She recently had her teeth floated and she takes the bit without problem, so I don't think that it's a mouth problem. Maybe since I'm a western rider that she may be slightly confused by my commands? Can someone give me some advice as to how I can switch from western to english without lessons for awhile? I don't want my mare to be confused (she only seems to be so when I try and collect her) and I know that I'm not experienced with that. I take full responsibility. (:
When you say that you try to collect her I think you mean you try to get her to soften to the bit, right?
I mean, as you may have noticed if you've spent any time here, there are some amazingly long and varied discussions on the true meaning of the word collection and how that differs from what is commonly meant by that word.
That not withstanding, The D ring snaffle (you said jointed, did you mean two joints or one?) is a really good all around bit. IF you horse is being resistant to it and bracing or fighting against your attempt to create a firmer contact, then perhaps a loose ring french link might be a good try.
I have been told that the loose ring disallows a horse to brace against the bit a bit more than the D ring. I find the loose ring french link bit to be my allaround favorite. But for a green horse who doesn't know how to steer or follow the rein at all, a full cheek snaffle or D ring is a better choice becasue of the straight edge that puts pressure along the side of the mouth when teaching the hrose to flex right or left to rein pressure.
To build on what tiny said about the loose ring being a better option, a bit with a middle lozenge piece seems to be enjoyed by a wide variety of horses.
Regardless of what your current definition of collection is, in the english world, your goal is to forget about the head, engage the hind end and contain the energy with a supple outside rein. Think "stretch forward" into bit. Ride forward on large circles with frequent changes of direction. The circle helps the horse balance and step into the outside rein. Give her a loose enough rein where she can stretch her neck, but tight enough that she can eventually get to the contact. Be very consistent and patient while she learns.
First off, I want to say thank you for the responses. I appreciate it. (:
Yes, I want her to soften to the bit a little more than she does. She doesn't chomp or anything of the sort, but I find that she resists a little bit.
She's a nine year old National Show Horse. I heard that they tend to be a little hard to ride, and it doesn't help that I've ridden one way when I believe she was ridden english.
Sypder, I'm definitely keeping this in mind for the summer months. (: If anything, get a trainer for me. ;)
I'll have to check out the bit that you suggested. I'm wanting to get another bridle and I'll just fit the new bit to that headpiece. I'm also thinking that to get her to soften to cues when I'm aboard I'll do some more poll flexes and work on her responsiveness. Like I said, it may be a mistake on my part as well.
She doesn't seem to like to ride collected, but more with a loose rein.
EDIT:: Thank you for your response. (: This is very helpful. I was looking for some excercises that would help "engage" her in an english style. I know it can be somewhat similar to western in certain terms, but until I can take lessons in the summer I have to try and learn small things on my own. I'm very patient with her and I always reward her when she does something right. I'll try these excercises the next time that I take her out to the arena!
JP Korsteel Oval Mouth Loose Ring - Loose Ring Snaffles from SmartPak Equine
This is the bit I was talking about when you get the that point.
You are nowhere near collection. What western trainers define as collection is not it. You are dealing with acceptance of the bit, contact, and throughness.
Read this: The Art of Classical Riding--On the Bit
And this: The Art of Classical Riding--The Half Halt
The Art of Classical Riding--Good Basics
The Art of Classical Riding--Good Basics II
NSHorses tend to have a very upright neck carriage by build. It can be hard for them to bring their head down and not brace against the bit, and having them move around "giraffing" is hard on both horse and rider. Such a horse makes it hard for the rider to become stable enought to then give the hrose a quiet enough hand to get it to trust and come to the bit. IT's kind of a vicious circle.
That's why I would consider doing what Puck suggested, the relaxed circle with encouragement to come to the outide rein, reach for the bit and carry it downward and forward , be done at the walk for some time , at first. That way your seat can be stable , allowing you to be effective.
Once you speed up, things get that much harder.
See my previous posts for some resources to help you teach her how to willingly accept the bit and more contact.
I like classical dressage so much because it is a centuries proven, methodical way to train and strengthen your horse without forcing them to do anything. But also I understand many don't like it precisely because it is not based on forcing the horse, but on strengthening them to the point where they can and want to do every harder tasks, culminating in true collection.
Thank you. (: I'll check these out and excercise what I learn the next time I'm with Krista. Poor girl, I know that she is confused. It's not so bad with my Quarter Horse. I ride western and she was trained western. Haha.. Krista is just like, 'Okay, loose rein is fine, but what're you trying to do now?'
I looked at the first link and I find it extremely helpful. I appreciate it!
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