I wish we wouldn't fight, but how can I get him to listen?
I ride this horse named Dakota on Wednesdays in my lessons and.. let's just say we don't get along too well at the trot or canter. It seems like we are always fighting with each other. He will be counter-bent around the turns and so I add inside leg and squeeze my inside rein a bit, but then he just turns in. So I try to bring him back to the rail and BAM! counter-bent again. And that is just trotting... when I try to canter him, he puts his head down by his hooves and gets really heavy on the forehand. Then, when I try lifting one rein to get his head up, he bucks! Sometimes he turns in to the center, too, and when I try to get him back out, he trots. It seems like we're constantly fighting each other, and when we finally get around to jumping, we're both exhausted. I wish we wouldn't fight, but how can I get him to listen to me? He seems completely dead to my aids!
The problem is that you are thinking one dimensional and your horse is taking advantage of it.
Care to elaborate? I have no idea what that means or how to fix it. lol
Your horse falls in and you correct him. Then he counter bends and you correct it. All of this is done after he has made these moves so you are always following him with corrections.
Start to anticipate him...feel when he is going to do these moves you do not want and correct or change what you are planning before he does.
I can bet dollars to donuts that you are doing all this riding on the track in the arena or outside...right?
Yeah, in a small indoor arena. Today, I was sick and sore so I just decided to let him go around without interfering. It was much more pleasant, but he was all counter-bent and gyrating all over the place. =/
What can you do, as the rider - to correct the counter bending - or prevent the counter bending?
Ok - so lets picture ourselves in the saddle right now, going to the left. Where would your seat need to be? Your legs need to be? And the reins need to be?
This is what I've learned:
Seat: Horses move under your weight, I learned that my first day in the saddle... so, I'm guessing you'd want to sit deeper on your right (outside) seat bone.
Legs: Inside leg on behind the girth.
Reins: Shift your hands to the left, and more tension on the inside rein?
shift your hands to the left?
Do something different. Instead of always correcting him, and feeling like you're constantly telling him he's doing the wrong thing, how about switching it up a bit and go with his ideas. So your going around and he's bent the other way. So what. Bend him the way he wants..try making what he's doing part of your aids..so that in reality, you're always working together, and not against each other. Little by little you'll find by doing that he's not thinking about his own agenda and he's just going with you because you're going with him. You can go it in alot of way too. Like, ever ridden a horse who jumps from right to left, or left to right? My horse did- bad. So after 1 lesson of telling her to jump from right to left, when I wanted her to ride straight, there she was. Horses go far with us when there is more reward than punishment. Especially if they don't understand. It's easy to get sucked in that everything must be "just so" and that if it isn't, then it's not right. I look at thing from a little different perspective. Say your horse leans in one direction. Well, you go with it until you feel him adjust his balance, and then you ride off straight again. Or you have a lazy horse and you're trotting around your ring. Instead of the annoying nagging game, ride him into a downward transition the second you feel him decide to slow down and then bump him back up into trot. Pretty soon, it's easier to remain steady and forward than doing so many transitions. And all the while, you are keeping him on your aids. It may not be "picture-perfect" or show ring material, but you're on your way to a more pleasant partnership with your horse. :) LOVE the paint pony, btw. ;) Im partial to paints.
Instead of making the problem about the horse why dont you ask your instructor what it is that you could do differently.Have you ever just got on the horse and relaxed and had a bit of fun.Sometimes me included we get so caught in the effort of learning to ride we forget that we should also be having fun.The horse at the end of the day is doing is best to understand what we want-if the message isnt clear how can he do it. Next time think horse .......
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