Getting a horse to use its Hind and go on the bit?
Im new to this forum and this is my first ask!
So basically I wanted to know how you ASK a horse to work from behind and go on the bit with your hands/seat/legs. I ride a few horses at the moment, they know how to work on the bit and use there hind end correctly as ive seen other people ride them. When I ride them, its a completely different story. they are not engaged and on the forehand and they are not on the bit resulting there head not being on the vertical. I want to work the horse properly but I cant without doing these things. Obviously every horse is different so I wanted to know different ways of asking this to the horse.
I ride western. But I would imagine its the same concept regardless of your discipline. The way I was taught vertical flextion is to pick the reins so there is contact with the mouth and drive the horse forward with your legs, when the horse bridles up or gets vertical they find relief from the bit and your legs keep driving them forward, so your pushing the horse into the bridle keep in mind collection and vertical flextion are a feel not a look. The horse should not be pulling against you, and you should not be pulling the reins to keep the horse vertical. Your legs and seat do the communicating. The horse should be soft in the bridle. Don't know if this helps, it is harder for me write about it then do it why not just ask someone who you see riding to help you.
Although I mostly use a saddle with English roots (Australian stock saddle), my approach to riding is more western. OTOH, my favorite books on riding are based on a forward seat, which is usually considered an English style.
VS Littauer broke riding into 3 levels of control. The main thing that distinguished the move from elementary control to intermediate control was getting the horse 'on the bit', or riding with continual contact. He thought most riders could meet their riding needs reasonably well with loose reins, but encouraged any rider to eventually ride with contact: the intermediate level.
He said horse move their heads for balance, and the first requirement for intermediate control was to have a solid, consistent seat. That was because soft and constant contact with the horse's mouth required the rider to move their hands and arms to match the horse's head. If your hands can't move independently of your rump, then you cannot have soft contact.
Without knowing anything about your riding, I'd encourage you to not worry about how vertical your horse's head is. There are disciplines where a vertical headset can be the result of correct movement by the horse, but it flows out of the correct balance and motion of the horse's body.
But long before that step comes riding with contact. There are books written on the subject, but it mostly seems to me to combine a solid seat, soft following contact and having something to 'say' to the horse that makes the horse believe 'listening' to the bit is worthwhile.
If you have more information you can share on what type of English riding you enjoy and the background of the horse you ride, it will help others to give you a better answer.
To be able to ride a horse on a reasonable contact, and expect him to be accepting of that and soft enough that you could push him from behind into the bridle, you must first have a seat that is stable and independent enough to make changes to the contact, seperate from how your body might be moved around by the horse.
If you are not as advanced as these other riders who can create a working contact with this horse, then you should concentrate first on developing an independent seat.
Also, work on being able to follow the horse's motion with just enough contact that there is no snapping of the reins, loose/tight, loose/tight as the horse moves it head while walking. this is acheived by having soft enough elbows that allow you to move with the horse, following his mouth.
next comes the ability to make a more meaningful contact that is asking the hrose to flex and soften to YOUR hand. this is a simple explanation to developing contact. it is not collection, just contact.
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