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Sam's Coming Along...Side Reins/riding at the same time; How's he look?
So, here's a pic of Sam 'n me, we put side reins on him and it really improved his self-carriage. He was really playing with the bit - hence the visible tongue!! I know his poll should be the highest part of his body (right?), but he was all over the place with his head. Some of the pics his poll was closer to being highest.
So what do you think of Sam?
How do I look?
I see a horse that's broken at the 3rd vertebrae and not really working through his back - he needs to have greater impulsion from his hindquarters so he can drive his hind legs up and under his body. He is not tracking up either. I would suggest you take more contact (read: NOT pulling, just keeping contact with the bit) so he has your hand as a guide for where he should be; if he can't feel your hands, he doesn't have communication with you. He needs to SEEK that contact.
You look okay, you need to concentrate on keeping your eyes up (he won't change color and his head won't fall off if you don't stare, I promise!), shoulders back, and your toe pointing more forwards rather than ducked out like it is.
Overall you two look like a nice pair, and I'd love to see update pictures in a while.
How old is he? He looks young. I agree with JustDressageIt.
I do not know how common it is to ride in side reins, but personally I do not think it is super safe. If the horse was to come up and start to freak out you would not be able to get them off very quickly. If you are an experienced rider you might try draws or a martingale occasionally, instead of the side reins under saddle. At least with the martingale and draws you can release completely should the horse have a less then stellar moment. Just my .02
... Ok I'm going to be nice, and at least the side reins are loose.
DO NOT EVER ride with side reins. It is extremely dangerous to even lunge in them if you don't know what you are doing. Because they are rigid and have no give if a horse gets frightened, hits them, pulls them taught and can't get away from them there is a very high likelihood of him rearing and flipping over backwards. While this is VERY scary on the ground, imagine what it's like from the saddle.
If you are going to use some type of artificial aid to artificially induce a "frame" then at least use something that you can drop if the horse gets scared and rears, like a german martingale or even draw reins.
I agree with JDI mostly.. but I would prefer that you just learn properly how to ride a horse round rather than rely on leather to hold his head down. The most likely reason his head was unsteady, is because your hands are, and you didn't have enough impulsion for him to be physically able to hold a steady contact.
I do agree about the side reins, I just wasn't going to get into it.
Just to give you a picture of what he looked like before, imagine a camel's neck. UCK!!! He has tried to rear WITHOUT side reins (he didn't get very far, let me tell you:)!), and he does not have enough muscle mass or incentive to try to rear.
anebel: Sorry, but we were in a sixty-foot round pen, Sam was very relaxed, and my own mother was standing right there, the only reason we tried riding with side reins was because we know his attitude and how lazy he usually is and how he hardly ever puts up a fight. Impulsion? He was trained as a race horse, and he has NO impulsion.
He is thirteen years old, according to his tatoo.
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