so what does it feel like when a horse does this??
I got into a habit of riding on a VERY loose rein and only steering with my legs.
I've been trying a few things and getting used to having contact with my horse's mouth again.
It's really hard to get her into a nice moving-out walk, and then when I pick up my reins and try getting her to look for the bit, I feel a constant pressure. Does that mean she's leaning on the bit?
I feel like I'm taking her around in circles /:
When she takes the contact and leans, do you feel her back and shoulders come up underneath you, or do you feel like your shoulders are being dislocated from their sockets?
She slows down a little, but I feel like she tenses up. Not like she's relaxed and comfortable moving out.
No, it's not like she's pulling the reins out of my hands, more like she's not giving at all. Kind of hard to explain how it feels.
practice taking up the pressure slowly, and see if she matches you with equal pressure. You do NOT want that. you want her to feel the bit, to have enough contact with it that YOU can feel her mouth (i.e. you can feel if she is mouthing the bit, if pushes it with her tongue, etc) but you want her to carry the weight of her own head and body, never to use the rein to help carry her head.
you want to be able to shorten further, it you want to, and she'll bring her head even closer to you, and lift even more, and the opposite; if you ease your hands forward, you want her to follow the bit forward, but NOT fall so fast and hard forward that she pulls them out of your hand, or you stop being able to feel her mouth.
What I meant by you not wanting her to mathc your pressure is that you don't want the horse to increase her push against the bit for every ounce of pressure you put on it. it's her responsibility to set how tight the contact is. If you take up contact, and she does't want it, she can come off the bit by lifting her head . If she does that too much, it's her evading the bit, and for that you must ask for more impulsion from behind so that she comes back to meet the bit.
when she meets the bit, but does not lean on it, you give her a tiny release to tell her that there is where she should be.
If she doesn't, I'd work on getting her to soften to the bridle. Steady inside, gentle supple with your outside hand and bump-bump with your legs.
I use steady outside and use a more active hand (like a very minor tickling) of the rein with the inside rein.
I may do that as well, I find sometimes horses will get over bendy that way though too. It will also depend on the horse as well and how much pressure you place.
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