Getting that nose tucked
Wow... its been awhile since Ive been on here!!!
Anyways April and I have been working alot on English riding- a lot of work with getting the canter even and nice flowing and our trot is starting to be more flowing as well. But that dang nose!!! I try to hold and when she gives in i release and then right back out it goes... I do it over and over but she doesnt seem to hold it for me. If I really hold to force her to keep it tucked she will throw her head down to fight against it. Is there any other exercises I can try? She will naturally keep her neckline even. I attached a couple pics of us at the trot so you can see what Im talking about with the nose.
Thanks in advance!!!!
She might not have the muscle to hold it and I think for some horses it might be a conformation thing, I am just throwing ideas out though lol
If you're asking for contact, your reins are way too long. There's so much emphasis on riding back to front these days, people get confused and forget that you still have to shut the door up front or all that energy you're trying to create will go right out the other end. In both pics, I would suggest moving your hands forward. They should be in front of the pommel, not over it. Raise your hands up about a pinky length above the withers. Take up the slack in the reins so that you can just feel your horse's mouth. Ideally you want to create a straight line from your elbow to the bit. As you walk along, focus on following the motion of your horse's head with your hands, so that you're keeping a constant but soft contact with her mouth. It can be very difficult to find the ideal contact spot where you're not pulling on her mouth, but you haven't thrown it away either. Try establishing the contact with her head poked out like it is in the pictures. Your goal is the get her to where her nose is just in front of the vertical. At this point, time to switch your thinking away from the reins. Now your job is to use your seat and legs to drive her up into the contact. At first you just want ask for a more lively walk, just enough to give her the idea that you want a little more. If she braces against the bit instead of softening to it, try some circles or serpentines to start suppling your horse around your legs. A supple horse is ultimately what creates a balanced horse. It has zero to do with the head. Make sure you're providing a nice, soft leg for her to bend around. Once she starts to balance herself, she'll start to feel lighter in the bit and hopefully chew on the bit a little. You'll find yourself taking up slack in the reins as she becomes more balanced and becomes shorter in her frame and she engages her hind end. There's like a zillion more pieces to this puzzle, but for starters just find ideal contact and then drive her more forward into that ideal contact and see how she responds. If she has never moved this way before, please know that she will be using a different set of muscles than she is used to, so don't ask for too much for too long. Sorry I wrote a book. good luck.
I'm not sure if this is exactly what you are looking for, but it might help a bit. The Three-Second Solution: Putting Your Horse On the Bit
MyBoyPuck- thanks for the "book"...lol- it really helps a lot. I have a tendancy to have let my reins have slack (the western in me I guess), I will make more of an effort to keep contact and to also bring my hands forward. I have been working on getting her soft on the bit so I will just continue. Thanks again and I will really work on what you said.
anrz- thanks for the article, when i get a some time I will read through it.
ilovelucy- i dont think it is a conformational thing- I just think it is a training thing. Thanks for a reply though
haha your welcome :) I wasn't sure I had just read somewhere that it COULD be more difficult for a horse whose conformation was different or wasn't used to it....but I think myboypuck summed it up nicely lol
i think you should first tighten you reins and keep one hand steady and you play with the other. and drive her forward with you legs into you hands.
and also if that doesnt work try and bridge her.
I'm going to get slammed but here go's...
My suggestion is to use some draw-reigns for a while. Over set her if you need to (be careful not to fall heavy on the forehand) You need to help her to build the muscles she needs to tuck that nose. As for the reigns I think they are great for HUS.
You would kick but in a hunt show right as you are, but for AQHA type stuff... You need to dust off your draw-reigns for a while... just my thoughts on it... she's cute.
Farmpony, that's not a bad idea. If adjusted properly to where they only function as a backup to the reins, it would assist her in finding the proper contact. The only reservation I have with this horse, is she is currently not used to any contact. She might perceive draw reins as too restrictive and panic if they're too short. She looks like a nice horse. I'd hate to see her first experience with contact be a fearful one.
Angel Leaguer, if you try draw reins or side reins, please keep them as long as possible while still having soft contact until she gets the idea.
April has had draw reins on her before… she is fine with them for the most part but she just gets a little crabby when I hold her with them and then ask her to lope- she gets confused with the “you are holding me back but wanting me to go forward???” I used them on her early on last summer but this summer I was trying to do without them and her head level is good but just the nose which them makes her appear stung out even if she isn’t. My mom suggested the use of draw reins as well- don’t rely on them but use them as an aid. I probably will throw them on tonight and gently use them.
I just started breaking April out into English this spring so we have come along way (the whole me using my legs to get her to move out was a touchy subject…lol). I need to personally find myself a trainer for a few lessons since Ive never really had formal English lessons but im starting to enjoy riding it- I took April to a show a couple weeks ago and we placed 4th out of 9 in English pleasure… it was the nose and the rough right lead that prevented us from getting a higher placing (I was still happy that we didn’t buck, or jump, or freak out…lol)
Thanks for the help and I will let ya know how the ride goes tonight!!
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