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Vicizmax 02-21-2010 12:21 PM

Problems, need help! (Position, leg yield.....)

So I a jumping horse, who has been jumping all his life (he's 13 year old now, so its a long time, of only jumping..!) and now that I got him, i want to teach him better dressage.

I HOPE YOU GUYS CAN HELP ME! I dont have any posibilities of getting any lessons at the moment, as our beloved trainer has moved to Dubai for a year or two to train horses there.. :/ So we currently have no dressage trainer. But I really need help! I'm not the most experienced rider, and I'm scared I will ruin my horse by ridding him incorrectly. So i'd rather not ride him than do something wrong. But that doesn't help the problems either, so I hope you can help me fix them.

He always used to have his head completely up and he would not relax. If you hold him too much (have too short reins and pull too much on his mouth, or have a martingale that is too short) he will stand on his hind legs..! When he started doing that, i got really worried because its obvious that i'm doing something wrong, and i dont want to make it worse..! Now its a little better. However, there are still some small stuff i REALLY need help with, because they are the small things that i'm scared could suddenly make it all worse and go wrong.

First of all, i started lunging him alot. I do it every other or every two days, depending on the amount of work he does (i never lunge two days in a row unless i'm sick).
I've been using this system while lunging:

..Which has helped alot! But it doesnt help everything.

When i ride him, i always start off with trying to get him in this position:

...And then slowly shorten up the reins after he's warmed up, then maybe go back to getting his head down again, and so on. Switching between head positions, trying to keep him wanting to keep his head down instead of taking it up.

However, when i have him in that position (picture above), its harder for me to slow him down, as he usually starts to go faster. I try to stop him using my legs, but that doesnt always work. So i have to use the reins, but he doesnt react, instead he just lifts his neck untill i almost have to lift it completely just to slow him down. And then he keeps his head there, and doesnt want to stretch his neck, even though i give him loose reins. And once he does, he speeds up again.. -.- It usually takes me an hour to get that position perfect!
Here he is where i pretty much give him completely loose reins, and he doesnt take his head completely down, and he speeds up a little towards the end, so I have too much loose reins to stop him:

So that was one problem (yes there's more.)

Another thing is, i dont know if I have him in the correct position throughout his body. Here's an example:
That would be an incorrect position. It seems right (at least the first time I saw it). The neck seems to be correct, and i cant specifically see anything wrong...

...But then I see this, which is right because the horse is using its back:

So then I got worried if i'm lifting my horses neck too much when i shorten my reins..? Because I probably would not see the difference unless i saw two pictures, like the examples above.
Could you perhaps see this short clip (i have no photos.. :/) and tell me if its more or less correct or if i should get him to lower his neck a little more so he can use his back better? Or if there's anything I should do to improve his position..!:

And final problem..!
When I do a (what i think you call in english) leg yield, he almost starts to stand on his hind legs, and almost does..! Perhaps i'm giving the wrong signals. But here's another short video where i show how he starts to stand on his hind legs... :/ From all my lessons where i've done leg yields, my trainers, my books, i'm doing the leg yield correct. However, his reaction to it is not right..! So maybe i'm doing something wrong after all..? I dont know. I myself cant see it, so perhaps you can, i hope you can.. :/

I know that was alot to read.. But if you can at least help with one problem, i'll love you.. :-P hehehe...
And I also know they're small things and perhaps I'm too worried, but I am, because I can feel that this horse needs to be ridden as correctly as possible, otherwise he will just resist, and be ruined.. And i really dont want that.. :/

~*~anebel~*~ 02-21-2010 12:43 PM

I think the key thing for you is going to be developing your consistency in the contact. In the stretchy work you need to still have a contact! He needs to engage behind to lift up the base of his neck and stretch consistently into your contact. Your hands need to be much much steadier to allow this to happen, shortening your reins slightly and putting your knuckles on his neck will help.
In the regular work, you also need to shorten your reins and put your hands on his neck. You are pulling on him to create a contact instead of allowing him to stretch over his top line into the contact.
In the leg yield video, you are reefing his face off before hand, so of course he will go up. All a leg yield is showing is that the horse is beginning to understand the lateral aids. He should stay straight and begin very shallow sideways movement, and be rewarded. If he speeds up, circle and half halt to bring him back and then try again. It is also far easier to leg yield to the wall then away from it.
In the video it just looks like he is confused because you are asking for three things. You want him to go forward so both your legs are on, you want him to tuck his face in and go slower so you are pulling hard on him and you have your one leg on even harder to get him to go sideways. He then gets very confused and tries to do what he thinks you are asking for, which is rear. Simplify your aids and once you are in a nice trot, go on the quarter line and ask simply with your inside leg for him to go to the wall in a nice easy shallow yield.

Good luck!

Spyder 02-21-2010 01:25 PM

Agree with anebel.

Asking too much all at once.

I would also question WHY are you asking for correct bend around the corner then CHANGINBG the bend to get the leg yield. Talk about making it so complicated for the horse.

As Anebel stated, make it simple. Turn your horse at the center or quarter line and ask him to leg yield to the wall. It is just that simple. Put light aids on him so that more forward is achieved than sideways.

So many people want the horse to practically go straight to the side and the forward motion is lost. It is incorrectly done if that happens.

Vicizmax 02-21-2010 02:04 PM

Spyder: Sometimes he "bends" himself, especially in the corners. I'm still practising making him go straight, where he doesnt start to stick his hindquarters to one side or something..

I can do a leg yield from the center, but thats not what I want.. I need him to be able to do it from the wall too, as I will be needing it in the easy dressage classes for competitions in future. He has to be able to do it from anywhere. I have no problems with him if I do it from the center.. :/

But thanks, I will try to do that see if it helps..! :D That really does sound like good advice, and i have realized that i have my hands too close to my torso, as I constantly have to slow him down, but at the same time I cant have too short reins because then he takes his head up and gets fidgity, and it all breaks down... But I will try the neck thing ;)

MyBoyPuck 02-21-2010 05:14 PM


Originally Posted by Vicizmax (Post 559518)
Spyder: Sometimes he "bends" himself, especially in the corners. I'm still practising making him go straight, where he doesnt start to stick his hindquarters to one side or something..


I know you asked about leg yeilding, but if your goal is to straighten him, shoulder-fore is your friend. It will also help fix the consistency problem by filling up the outside rein a bit more than if you were just traveling straight. Since your horse seems to get frustrated easily, definitely teach it to him at walk and only ask for a few steps at at time. Shoulder-fore is a fabulous movement because it is so subtle and you only have to use it for the strides that your horse tries to bring his hind quarters in. It will also help lighten up his front end a bit. It's the best tool in my toolbox.

Vicizmax 02-22-2010 12:47 AM

MyBoyPuck: That sounds like a whole lot of great advice, but I'm not sure what a sholder fore is..? (I live in Denmark, everything I know about horses is in danish, so i might now what it is if I see it, but otherwise i'm not sure.. :/)

Valentina 02-22-2010 05:13 PM

Starting with long and low is perfect for this type of horse. Then to gradually get his head higher try this - lightly squeeze with legs then when he steps faster/bigger holding outside rein steady squeeze/immediately release inside rein while pushing down on both stirrups at same time. Horse should naturally bring head up higher (and reins will be looser) BUT you should still have his back. Shorten outside then inside rein until reins are no longer loose BUT not tight. Allow a few steps making certain you still have his back (if not go back to long and low). When you have his back repeat again stil reins are a bit shorter.

At this point he might not be able to take a very short rein while keeping his back - he needs to go a long time and slowly develop and more upright frame while keeping his back.

Pict #1 shows him with a hollow back. If you had his back his body would have a nice bend from nose to tail (think bent like a whip is when you grab both ends and push down with a bow in the middle). He might have to go quite some time (6 months) at the frame in pic #2 until he naturally starts shortening the frame himself. The key is when he shortens the frame make certain you keep his back. When ever you loose it you must go back to long and low.

If he's rearing you need to ease up on the reins - he feels claustrophic and since you're pushing him forward/sideways but holding with the reins he feels like he has no where to go but up. Work from the ground on getting a reaction to your leg that means sideways. Take a blunt spur, stand on his left side bend him left with the rein and "bump" him on the side where your leg would go with he spur. If he moves even 1 step sideways (or even if he just takes the weight off that left hind leg) pet and praise him to tell him he's done what you want.

Repeat over days gradually getting him to move away more and more on both sides away from spur. That's the start of lateral work - leg yield - with young and inexperienced horses.

Vicizmax 02-23-2010 10:57 AM

Valentina: Wow, thanks alot, I really liked this advice..! :) I think I will try that, and get him to go long and low untill he does it from the moment i start trotting (usually it takes quite some time, maybe half an hour, before he stays down there himself and is actually "pulling" a little on the reins.. Well, not pulling, but he kind of puts a light weight on the bit instead of avoiding it.) But thanks, I will try this over a period of time, and see if it helps! :D I hope you will comment/critique again in future, as I'm planning to put up a new video, when I think i've achieved something with him :)

corporate pride 02-24-2010 09:22 PM

unfortunatly, my work computer won't let me access u-tube so i didn't c the videos.

i have a lazy horse that was hollow in the back for 4 years and i had a lesson last night and u wouldn't believe the extention i got, made my instructor eat his words!! hahaha
anyways, i found suppling exercises do wonders.
long and low in walk trot and canter on the buckle at the start with circles to loosen the horses muscles up. sowly pick up contact, to get a horse to engage from behind i will use my inside leg and squeeze and my inside rein lightly for him to come down, transitions r really important (i discovered last night) so soften ur horse in the bridle before u ask for the upwards and downwards transitions. leg yeilding u should soften ur horse in the bridle and move from the centre line to the outside track with inside flextion with shoulders leading. also using alot of halting then rein back 4 steps and straight back into a trot.
working on shoulder in and walking pirouette to supple horse.

make sure u have breaks (not the stopping type :p )and walk long and low to stretch.

i hope that made sense. if he can get my lazy hollow backed horse working in a 9/10 extention and enjoying dressage (both of us) then u've got hope :)

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