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-   -   How much Contact should I be having?? (http://www.horseforum.com/english-riding/how-much-contact-should-i-having-142596/)

amg800 11-05-2012 07:13 PM

How much Contact should I be having??
 
I have really been trying not to pull really hard on Scout's mouth since he likes to take of with me. Howver its really hard when I loosen my contact so that I can feel the corners of his mouth he jerks his head in the air. So I try sea sawing with my fingers and he lowers his head and sometimes goes all the way down and pulls on me then I let up and he jerks his head up again. On top of all this I am trying to control him cause he is speeding up! I am really trying to be aware of how much contact I have should I be pulling SUPER hard on his mouth? I know horses mouths are very sensitive but if I try to have a little contact he just throws his head up! Please respond I would like to know! If this isn't clear to you just let me know cause its kinda hard to explain this :?
Thanks

Kayty 11-05-2012 07:18 PM

You are having this problem because you are riding his head, not his body.
As soon as you start to focus on bringing his head down, especially by see-sawing his mouth, you cause problems.

If I were teaching you, I would have you place your fists on the horse's wither, with the reins just short enough to have a feel of the horse's mouth. Then have you ride forward, concentrating only on the hind legs travelling forward.
He is most likely pulling on you and speeding up, because he is on the forehand. Which is in turn somewhat caused by the fixation of dropping his head, not working his hind legs. Combat this by riding transition after transition, millions of them every ride. Change rein, change pace, change tempo within the pace, rein back, leg yield etc. Shake it up! Keep changing the work and asking more of your horse, so that he HAS to engage his hind legs to remain in balance and prepare for your next request of him.

Right now - forget that he even has a head.

equiniphile 11-05-2012 07:21 PM

See-sawing is bad. It encourages horses to soften at the poll, sure, but it only works off of irritating pressure.

A few questions....

What is the bit? You don't want consistent contact with any shanked bit. Assuming this is a mild snaffle....

How is your own position? Without a knowledgable pair of eyes on the ground, it can be hard to tell if you have busy hands that might be irritating him.

Has he been checked for pain? Back pain, dental problems, wolf teeth?

Assuming he checks out okay in all of the above, I'll let the more knowledgable members help you with the training aspect of it.

amg800 11-05-2012 07:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kayty (Post 1745684)
You are having this problem because you are riding his head, not his body.
As soon as you start to focus on bringing his head down, especially by see-sawing his mouth, you cause problems.

If I were teaching you, I would have you place your fists on the horse's wither, with the reins just short enough to have a feel of the horse's mouth. Then have you ride forward, concentrating only on the hind legs travelling forward.
He is most likely pulling on you and speeding up, because he is on the forehand. Which is in turn somewhat caused by the fixation of dropping his head, not working his hind legs. Combat this by riding transition after transition, millions of them every ride. Change rein, change pace, change tempo within the pace, rein back, leg yield etc. Shake it up! Keep changing the work and asking more of your horse, so that he HAS to engage his hind legs to remain in balance and prepare for your next request of him.

Right now - forget that he even has a head.

Ok Thank you I will try that. However if I do that he will stick his head as far up as he can get it to go and he will go SUPER fast if I don't pay attention to his mouth should I still do that then?

Kayty 11-05-2012 08:04 PM

Yep. Riding multiple transitions and changes of rein will help. If he wants to take off, rather than pulling long and slow on his mouth, MAKE him halt. Stand for a moment, and then go back to your work again. Hauling on a horse's mouth does nothing but make them lean more against you. Make it quick and sharp if you do need to correct for running against your hand, and then take the pressure off and ride quietly again.

It is a matter of patience with these training issues. We all want it to happen 'now', get his head down now, make him collected now. It just doesn't happen that way. Be patient, ride forward with quiet, still hands, and his head will eventually come back down to a better level, where he will also start to seek the contact and come onto the bit -correctly - rather than being pulled there. It might take weeks of riding 5-6 days/week in this manner, but it WILL happen.
If he is throwing his head to a dangerous level, you can try putting a market harborough on him for a few rides to give him the idea that his head doesn't need to be up in the air - simply to make it safer for you. Possibly this behaviour is stemming from him not being able to rely on the contact you are providing for him. If he's being constantly bumped in the mouth and see-sawed, the usual reaction is to either suck right behind the vertical, or throw the head in the air.

amg800 11-06-2012 07:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kayty (Post 1745736)
Yep. Riding multiple transitions and changes of rein will help. If he wants to take off, rather than pulling long and slow on his mouth, MAKE him halt. Stand for a moment, and then go back to your work again. Hauling on a horse's mouth does nothing but make them lean more against you. Make it quick and sharp if you do need to correct for running against your hand, and then take the pressure off and ride quietly again.

It is a matter of patience with these training issues. We all want it to happen 'now', get his head down now, make him collected now. It just doesn't happen that way. Be patient, ride forward with quiet, still hands, and his head will eventually come back down to a better level, where he will also start to seek the contact and come onto the bit -correctly - rather than being pulled there. It might take weeks of riding 5-6 days/week in this manner, but it WILL happen.
If he is throwing his head to a dangerous level, you can try putting a market harborough on him for a few rides to give him the idea that his head doesn't need to be up in the air - simply to make it safer for you. Possibly this behaviour is stemming from him not being able to rely on the contact you are providing for him. If he's being constantly bumped in the mouth and see-sawed, the usual reaction is to either suck right behind the vertical, or throw the head in the air.


Ok THANK YOU so much! I really appreciate it I am gonna see if I can ride him on Wednesday and I will try that with him. :D Thank you so much!


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