Horse is heavy on my hands, how to fix?
Note: I ride him in a kimberwicke bit and with prince of wales spurs. i DO NOT own him.
i just started to work with this horse in July of 2012 and i've been working on his english pleasure specifically rounding his head and keeping him light on his feet. he does round his head but after a few steps he's back to sticking his nose out and pulling. i then hold him and squeeze until he gives me his head and i feel his hind legs come under him, then i release. <-- this is what my instructor has told me to do. i also told her about this problem and she told me to halt him, back him up, make him stand there for a bit, then continue trotting and do the squeeze and hold technique.
i have been doing this when i ride him but he isn't really responding and since i ride in a group lesson she doesn't have a lot of time to really focus on us.
when i canter him is when it gets really bad, he sticks his nose out and speeds up. i do the squeeze and hold technique but when he responds to my hands it's only for a few steps. i can tell it doesn't look pretty at all. this also effects our jumping because he speeds up really fast as we get closer to the jump and it throws our striding off. i do pull back but he doesn't respond at all.
i was wondering how to fix this, it is obviously effecting our riding completely and i feel like we not improving at all. show season is around the corner and i really want to make some more progress with him.
i am i expecting too much from him too fast? is what my instructor telling me to do right? does it have to do with the way i'm riding him? any tips will be awesome and i will try them at my lesson.
sorry this is so long.
trot. lots. get ride of the kimberwicke and the spurs, and let the horse trot til he's fit enough to canter slowly. slow canter comes from better trot.
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Try him in a french link, full cheek snaffle.
Do a lot of transitions. Trot, walk for two or three steps, then trot again. Serpentine, keep him moving forward, stay soft in through your elbows and strong through your core muscles. Transitions, transitions, transitions! Always be doing them!
Ok so I'm going to give my two-cents as a dressage rider. From the sounds of it, what you are asking your horse to do is go in a head-set. That just means he has his head down and looks nice and pretty - in his head/neck that is.
Going in a head-set doesn't mean he is under himself. If your horse was carrying himself then he wouldn't feel heavy in your hands. Of course you should feel a connection but definitely not a heaviness. It sounds like he's on his forehand because he wants to stick his nose in the air and run around.
Now half-halts are great, in fact they are a bit like what you described you are doing. It's just like giving your horse a pause up front to let the hind end up catch up and get underneath them. You should do them every single time you feel him start to get strung out. Also use your seat - don't let him pull you forward. Sit strong and use your core to bring his front end back to you.
Transitions are excellent and I'm glad you do the trot-halt-trot thing. I like to trot then halt, immediately back three or four steps, and the instantly pick up the trot again. This makes him use his hind-end actively. But it doesn't do any good if you let any time go by in between the transitions.
Always remember to be quick to reward of course. Soften your hands when he is going well to give him incentive to carry himself.
It's usually easier to work on in the trot so stick to that until you feel he has gotten a little better.
As for the canter, some things I like to do with my boy when he gets on his forehand is to do spiral circles. I start him out on like a twenty or fifteen meter circle and spiral the circle in until its like he's doing a canter pirouette. Then I let him out of it for a couple steps and continue.
Transitions from walk-canter and canter-walk are great as well.
Move his shoulders around too. Perhaps try some different lateral exercises.
Remember to really sit back and use your own weight to bring to shift his balance back. Don't really worry a whole lot about his head in the beginning. It will come once he isn't leaning on your hands.
I probably could go on and on but yeah if you have any questions feel free to ask :-)
Nice!! It's great to see people of different disciplines agreeing xD
Could be several reasons - but PROPER transitions (making horse come undreneath it's belly with its hind legs) and lots of HH's will help.
At this point I'm guessing the proper muscles are not yet build up to allow horse to carry itself for very long.
Another thing I've found is that rider can NOT have back arched - that "points" your 'butt bones' backwards (and sitting on front pubic bone), instead ensure that the second you get on your bones (hips) are rolled forward UNLESS you are doing a Half Halt (HH) or rein back - then you can arch your back.
very good advice. May I add, that if the horse is leaning on the bit and getting strong, you must give him MORE of a release when he does give to you. If you ask him to give, he does, and you take up the slack he created, then he has no reason to give anymore because he is right back on hard contact again.
So, for awhile, do exagerated half halts; firmer rein contact, get a give and give a much bigger, more dramatic release. He may take the slack back very rapidly, but you have to give him a bit of trust an see how long he will carry that loose rein on his own.
your goal will be for him to be soft on the bit by choice, eventually, so the bit starts to have more meaning, rather than it just being a "hand brake" left on all the time.
Also, remember to ask more with the inside rein for the softening, and release more with the inside rein. And be sure you are not leaning forward when you do this and that you, yourself kind of breathe out and think "slow" when you ask for the half halt, with a kind of sinking down into your core, a kind of gathering and pausing of the energy back toward the center of gravity of you an the horse.
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