Help me fix my crotch hands!
As stated, I have crotch hands. I show stock breed HUS, and my horse responds to low rein play and pressure. I have trouble getting them back up after I take hold and release. If I take hold up in a true correct hands up position, he gets hollowed out and balled up behind the vertical, even with good forward leg cues. Trying to find a happy medium to keep him correct and pretty while not looking like a couch slob! It's been getting better since I was made aware of it and am thinking about it. Also being aware of my shoulders and keeping them correct seems to help. I have a good solid in-line seat but sometimes find my shoulders getting sloppy, especially as winter comes and I tend to hunch to an internal warming position for months LOL. Anything I can do/focus on to get back up and into line?
it's for this very reason that I think it's not good to teach a horse to come down off the bit into a "headset" by lowering the hands and fiddling the rein, then releasing when he's there, which sounds like what you have been doing. Now, your horse is used to that and does not know how to accept bit contact. When you lower your hands and fiddle him down, he is coming behind the bit, in a way. In that , he comes behind and down off the bit until you release, which says to thim "right here".
The way to be able to put and keep your hands up where they belong is to teach your horse to be able to accept contact with the bit. To do that, you have to only give a release when he is 'on' the bit, whether it's up or down.
For this, I would do excersizes riding him around and getting him to make contact with the bit, giving a small release , then taking up contact again and asking him to kind of "push" the bit out and forward, but not drop it or come behind it. And you never achieve this by lowering your hands or pulling him down. YOu might very softly milk the rein a tiny bit, just to give him the idea to focus on the bit, at first, but you try not to give up the correct elbow to bit line, even as the horse starts to lower his head.
Think of your thumbs as laser sights that come out of your straight wrist, and laser in to the bit. If you drop your hands, you will be lasering the ground, not the bit.
He is very accepting and soft on the bit. It's not to a headset, it's the natural way of going and how they are bred. Ok well some are put into the headset and it gets ugly but the good natural ones are not (more on that at the end, good news coming). I do ride with light contact in correct position, it's not a long rein western horse English tack thing. I think a lot of problem may lie in my wrists? Thanks for the laser pointer reminder on that. I tend to get slobby and break my wrists, it's a constant reminder to keep my thumbs up. Possibly in breaking them over it's inhibiting rein contact in the correct placement, and that's why I have issues at a correct height. Does that make sense? I don't care about "headset, a natural correct placement comes with correct movement. it's just how mine travels, naturally level.
I know this is a bit o/t, but..
The stock world bringing western horses into the English breeding may have started with good intentions, but I am relieved to see them moving away from it. AQHA has seen a bit of usef influence lately, nd I hope it continues and spreads to us in the paints as well. The horses we ride now wouldn't make it through a baby green course because theyd plow the first fence with their eyeballs. The emphasis on what they use now has put those who want to show flat and o/f in the place of buy 2 horses or choose one as I have. The judges are finally starting to get it, and some even placing the best mover above a little bit less of a mover with the right head. This is what we need, that is how it should be. Our eq classes were quite a joke for a while. It's getting better high level, and hopefully that will trickle down. A couple people I show with we're in the am eq at a weekend show and a judge talked to them about how none of their horses look or move like hunter horses, how they need contact and lift. This is encouraging. now we need to bring the movement factor back. The flat knees and big strides are great, but most are still too short strided/slow at the canter (I lap everyone), and lacking the suspension and "pretty" factor.
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