Lack of bend
for the dressage natsi's:
my horse (having a holiday atm but..), when I ask her to leg yeild, to the left, she twists the left side of her face up to the sky. I apply the same cues in this direction that I do in the other and on the other rein she's fine.
Coming into the leg yeild, I use a half 10m circle, but from the opposite rein, to prepare for half passes which we will be working into once this is down pat, to begin with asking her the flex and bend in the direction of travel, then i straighten her.
She is fine if i just travel down the quarter line and yeild back to the wall.
I can assure you she's not sore or out anywhere (through her poll, neck and back) and she never has been.
I have put this down to her not wanting to bend her body.
She gets stroppy in 10m circles until she's completely set into them, and rarely travels through her corners (the arena is weird shape so generally I cut certain areas off not having to ask for the bend anyway)
Does anyone know any BENDING exercises? not flexing, just bending (or flexing incl as it all comes together anyway.
the flexing exercises i do is flex inside out on the circle-down the long side.
i was thinking about setting up a maze of poles and asking her to walk through them, with tight turns, keeping her between the poles will make her bend her body, just until she supples a little.
also serpentines, but wanna wait until we're slightly furthur along to do that because the change of direction just puts us off atm.
help me pleasee :)
put a rope halter (well I think any halter would do, but I always use a rope one) and get a long 12 -22 foot lead. Take the lead and fold it in half and toss it over her neck just to keep it there. Then stand back to where you would be in the saddle...put your one arm aorund her back, and then take the other hand and pull the lead towards your other armpit...if she fights do NOT give in...for the release is the reward. Even if she only goes a tiny little bit, release and pet her. And continue..soon she'll be able to bend easier. And do this on the other side also
Re: Lack of bend
Start with the basics - does she bend and counterbend each direction? Can you circleher on a true bend and a counterflex?
Here are some grea bending exercises (fresh in my memory, this is what Maia and I are working on!)
1) Circle to the right 20m, true flexion, when you reach X, do a 10m circle, then do another 20m circle to the right in true flexion. When you reach X again, ride as straight a center as you can, then switch bends and circle true flexion to the left. Do a 20m circle to the left, then at X circle to the left for a 10m circle, then do another 20m to the left - then switch back to the right.
Once both of you have gotten a hang of this exercise at a walk, do it at a trot.
Once you are comfortable with true flexion both directions, make one of the 20m circles a counterbending circle.
2) Do 10m circles at each of the major dressage ring letters (a, c, m, b, f, h, e, k) and the straight lines in between in true flexion. Once she is comfortable with this, ask her to counterbend the straight lines, and do true flexion through the circles.
Once she is okay with the counterbending on the straight lines, then add a 20-m counterbend circle at both C and A instead of true flexion 10m circles.
3) Do counterbending leg-yields along the wall, making a 40 degree angle to the wall.
4) Do counterbending loops - from K to X, bend the horse to the left and leg yield across. Then from X to H, bend to the right and leg-yield to H. Repeat on the other side.
5) Start a 20m circle on true bend, then spiral down to the middle to do a 10m circle, then counterbend that 10m circle for a couple rounds, then leg-yield back to the 20m circle. Keep the counterbend for a half circle, then ask the horse to true bend again.
6) Start a serpentine, and switch flexion (always remaining on true flexion) for each loop. Make an S-shape in the middle if you need to to help her through the transition.
Once she is okay with this, then keep ONE flexion through the whole serpentine, so she is counterflexed for half of it. Do this each direction.
Okay, I think I've spewed off enough exercises for now! Let me know if you want more!! :D:D
JDI thanks for a great start, i really like the one of leg yeilding in counter bending then back out..
any more excericies you can give would be fantastic, the more the merrier :D
Following what JustDressage It said... all are great exercises.
Lots of simple bend changes as well will help. Also doing the single loop exercise (which I assume you are familiar with bc you do dressage? but I'll explain anyway real quick)
tracking left, push deep into the corner asking for left bend, leave the rail and touch the 1/4 line, asking for right bend. travel back out to the rail, touch the rail and deep into the corner again in left bend.
It's a simple exercise that really gets the horse bending off of your seat aids.
I also think serpentines are the way to go... I knwo you said she is having a little trouble balancing right now, but as she does them she will find her balance and the better she gets with the bend changes the better these will go. You can do soemthing simple like a 3 loop serpentine so that you arent making any hard turns, and remember the half halt before asking for each new bend.
Also, on a 20m circle you can try this...
true bend, the using your thighs only (not your reins) ask her to move her shoulders in and out on the circle. Push her in for a circle, the push her out for a circle. Once she has it, you can do it every few strides, in and out. Then switch to trueflex, straight, and counterflex on the same circle. (Dont flex and move her shoulders around at the same time though, as it may blow her mind a bit).
the Teardrop exercise also works well... Coming down the center line make a chain bend changes but hooking 10m circles together... ie - track left 10m (a full circle) as you cross center line change bend to right, track a full circle, then as you cross the center line again change to left. Continue from A to C, or C to A.
Re: Lack of bend
The fact that serpentines put you off at the moment again tells me you need to work closely with a trainer on the ground that can actually TELL you not only what to do but WHY you do it and WHAT you expect from each exercise.
Re: Lack of bend
She's stiff through bending-I know this.. She is ALWAYS warmed up properly, I won't bother going into detail but I can honestly assure you this is the case..
I will continue to think about half passes and will not stop, due to ambitions, goals and training reasons. My horse already, half passes to the right. Just not the left.
Letting me know that all of my thoughts are ok, but not too useful, is not what I intended these replies to be about.
any exercises will be great guys. Will try to hop on her soon, and just show you in a movie what I mean :)
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