Keeping horse on bit?
I recently began riding this horse after her main rider went away to college. It is rather difficult to bend her unless she is on the bit. I can bend her without her being on the bit, its just harder so i try to have her on the bit when we are working on something. The trouble is when i do get her on the bit, i can only keep it for a few steps to a long side of the ring. She is normally a very forward horse but when she is on the bit she will slow down and when i ask her to step it up, she will come off the bit. I have an instructor, but i am only taking group lessons so she is unable to watch me all the time. So can i have some help please?
This is a difficult question to answer via the internet, it is really best to have a one-on-one lesson with an experienced trainer to help you with more complicated issues. However, the insight I have (keep in mind Im not a dressage rider or anthing) but if the horse wont move off your leg without coming up off the bit, shes probably not really on the bit to begin with. Focus on riding the horse up into the bridle from the leg (dont try to pull the horses head down/in and then get her moving forward). Focus on bending with inside leg into outside rein once the horse is forward, witha soft give and release on the inside rein.
Hope this helps!
This happened to me (if I processing your description right) for awhile on my horse. one reason was because my hands were steady without being in frame, but once I got in frame they started vibrating (stupid hands!) later on, the reason was because I was using a little getting into frame, but stopped once I got it. Then when we slowed down I started squeezing again and Lennon took that as a "I'm not going to do it" kind of thing. Or, you're not using enough leg in the first place and when you get into frame you don't have enough energy to stay there.
Remember, always back up your hands with your legs... Actually back up your legs with your hands is how it should be said.
I am taking "on the bit" as a term for some collection alright? :)
So first of all...if your horse slows down while "on the bit" then when you ask her to move more forward she "gets off the bit" or in my words hollows...then you can, "only keep it for a few steps to a long side of the ring." there that is a tell-tale sign she isn't truly through or connected over her back. Perhaps you should focus a bit more on getting this horse a bit more honestly through...not just in a pretty head-set. But easier said then done;)
As for the bending: it sounds like she is really stiff. Doing some flexing work, on circles and on the rail, are the best things to do. Try some over-bending, some counter-flexion, just get her to release her neck. She will never be to truly collect if her neck is tense....her back is probably tense as well. Do some long and low stretchy circles as well to flex her neck longitudinally as well as the lateral flexion stuff. Until she is free with her neck, don't try to get her "on the bit." This might mean several rides where you don't do anything but flexing and some relaxing exercises.
Good luck...hope it helps a wee bit!
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