Bend darn it Suppling Exercises Tips please!!!!
Well guys my darling Mel is really starting to shine and go quite well but being a OTTB he is stiff on his right rein surprise hehe.
He bends to the outside sometimes he will give in and work well to the inside but normally it's a bit of a fight.
I have only really started focusing on his flat work, was focused on his weight & a bit of fitness before. But was hoping you guys might have some great tips for his suppling on that rein cause he goes just lovely on his left rein. I have been riding inside leg on hard outside rein holding & inside rein opened this seems to work quite well & lots of circles/surpintines(Sp?)/figure of 8s. But I am sure there are some cracker ideas out there :)
definately do lots of circles, patterns etc that will ask him to bend his neck.
Don't ask him to bend his neck all the way, you don't want him to strain muscles. If he even turns his neck an inch, praise him and let that be the end for that day....then slowly you'll get more bend and more bend.
It's just like you, if you would never bend your neck to the right, after a while your muscles would become stiff for that one side and it would be painful if someone came and just pulled your head to that side.
When dealing with muscles I love to take my sweeeeeet time, because it can be easy to pull something (mainly for me it's because I know how it feels to get pulled muscles lol).
Here's how I start every ride to warm up, get supple and loose.
At the walk -- bend to the inside 5 strides, then bend to the outside 5 strides. Do this both directions. Don't fight to get a perfect bend - just give/take give/take and ask for the bend, then on the other side.
Then, do the same at the trot.
We start every ride this way just to get warmed up, and eventually (takes time and patience and ability for your horse to develop!) each ride is looser.
My mare is pretty stiff all the time, but I find with a lot of loose rein work she relaxes-- especially at the trot and when we do things like trot poles or trot over little crossrails. (under 18'') I've also been working on bending her neck all the way to my heel before and/or after I ride, and even though her neck pops and cracks, (she's always stiff as a board) she understands what I'm asking and gives.
Also, it may sound bizarre, but if you stay directly behind your horse's ears when you go around corners or do circles at the trot and keep your hands relatively close together and quiet with soft contact and use a lot of inside leg, they'll bend. The most important thing is not leaning into your turns even a little bit.
I actually like to start all this from the ground, before I ever get on a horse.
I'll stand beside them, and if I want them to turn their head to the right, I will flip the rein over the neck (as I would were I to ride) and pick it up until there is enough pressure for him to begin to turn his nose.
Keep your other hand on the other rein (although loose) to hold him back should he try and turn towards the direction you are pulling.
Once they get the hang of flexion, and realise they just have to bend their neck around, I usually tie the rein back around to the saddle and let them be. They'll spin around a bit, and as soon as they stand flexing nicely and relaxed for about 30 seconds, I walk over and release them.
Then as soon as you get on, all you have to do is pick up that rein.
Mine learn pretty quick that no leg mean flex, leg means turn.
Good luck with him. :)
I think that your problem is not only the horse being uneven, but also you :)
Anyway.. my advice is to turn the toe of your outer foot in, towards the horse. Keep a very light but steady contact with the outer rein.
Turning the toe will move your hip so that you push his shoulder in, and stops him from pushing it out. The rein will keep him from turning.
When I do this (cuz I'm rather bad at riding yet :P) three things might happen; the horse bends through the body and normally lower her nose and work.
Or, she she starts to walk sideways out, in which case I almost always realize I'm yielding in my side and pushing her out with my other hip...
Or, she turns around, away from my outer leg.. and then I've forgotten the rein or my inner leg :P
sometimes it helps to fiddle lightly with the inner rein, and stop as soon as she gts the attention in the right irection. (when this helps she has normally found something very interesin in the far distant and is ignoring me.. x)
I'mnot sure if this will help..or if I managed to explain how I mean, but why not try it? :)
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