Getting the "long and low" frame?????
HI! 8) I'm new to this forum and I have a question. I just finished reading the thread on getting your horse on the bit, and I have a related, but deeper question. Buck and I have just started our relationship recently! I have no problem getting Buck on the bit, he accepts contact well. His head does come up when I ask for walk/trot transitions and his trot is very short, stiff, and choppy. I want to encourage him to stretch out and down. He seems very responsive to my leg and rein aids and I don't want to do anything that will compromise that. So, what things can I do to get him to start stretching out and down? He is very upside down (lots of muscle under the neck and not enough over the top) and I want to encourage those topline muscles to develop so I have a better ride! I thought of using ground poles to trot over and maybe alittle lunging with some side reins just to give him an idea of what I want. He carries himself this way whether I'm in the saddle or not. :roll: Thanks in advance!
I recommend ground poles, to trot over. Also you could put chains around his pasterns like a bracelet and those should help him stretch. Also wear splint boots and bell boots, they help the horse stretch out because it's extra weight on their legs their not used to.
:D Thanks for the advice! I never thought about the added weight thing!
Very welcome, hope it works.
Yes, trot poles will help. I would also encourage you teach him to stretch. Take the rein like you're asking for the headset, and squeeze and release and ask him to drop his nose down. You use the same aids as you would to get a headset, but when he drops his head down more past the point of his usual headset, release your hand forward as well to encourage him to take the bit and move his nose to the ground. This will take a while, but it's very worth it. Eventually you want to be able to get him to trot forward with his nose practically on the ground while you ride on the buckle.
That brings me to my next point: if your horse is losing impulsion when you ask him in a frame through your transitions, then something isn't right. Forget about the headset for a few minutes and just make him trot forwards. Impulsion should come before headset, and the horse shouldn't lose impulsion while in a headset, so take him back to square one - just get him moving forwards. Once he's been moving forward for a few laps around the ring, slowly ask him to come to a frame, and ask him to keep the same impulsion while you're doing this. Take impulsion over the headset.
Once he's holding the headset and impulsion at the same time, take a sitting trot - remember, the trot-walk transition should come fom the seat. Your sitting trot (when asking to walk) should indicate to him that this is your way of saying "yellow light - watch for the red!" and then sit deep in your seat and ask for a walk. Once your horse starts walking, DON'T QUIT RIDING! As SOON as he takes his first walk step, move him into a nice working walk.
The same is for the walk-trot transition. Get your horse walking comfortably in the frame, then give a check-give with your rein, indicating that something's going to happen, then ask him into a trot with your legs. Don't change your hands, seat or leg while doing this - if your horse is putting its head up, that tells me that you may be losing contact while asking for the change of gait. Once he starts trotting, then make him work forwards RIGHT OFF THE BAT - don't let his trot to get choppy. Don't worry about the head - if it pops up for a few strides, fine. At least he's working forwards. Once he's okay with working forwards from the transition, then you can re-introduce the frame.
I'm not sure that horses will stretch forwards because of "extra weight" of splint boots on their legs, as it is such a small fraction of extra weight. If anything, they may get more animated with the front legs as they try and get used to it. I have never experienced a longer trot due to splint boots or bell boots - they're meant to protect a horse's legs, not add weight.
..but if it works, let me know...
Hope this helps!
hehe thanks :oops: the highlighted word "impulsion" makes it look like I use it too much :P
Darn I just watched a Clinton Anderson clip on that and do you think I can remember what he said :? It really sounds like what Justdressageit said but he added that you needed to work on lateral flexing as well as flexing at the poll. He was trotting his horse out while doing serpentines flexing laterally with each turn. He said that will get the horse to automaticly drop at the poll. Wanting to keep the top of the poll even with the withers at all times. It made sense. Sorry wish I could remember more.
Thanks, JustDressageIt, that all makes perfect sense! I think I have a lot to work on with Bucky! I know he has had some training because he responds well to all my aids, but he just doesn't carry himself well at all. I need to start with impulsion like you said, he doesn't have that either. I just thought that he couldn't possibly have proper impulsion until he had the musculature to produce it. I don't see how he could come through from his haunches through his back until he got his head lower and built those muscles along his topline. I may be wrong on that, though. He hasn't been ridden in at least a year or more and he's only 7. He is a registered QH, but looks more like a TB, about 16 hands. Like I said in my first post he has alot of muscle on the underside of his neck and nothing over the top (ewe neck) and that has to influence his way of going, right!? He just doesn't "feel" relaxed under me. I feel so much tension when I ask for anything other than walk. I know that will come with time, we are just starting (I've ridden him maybe 4-5 times). Thanks for your help!
No problem! Thanks for reading my "novel" haha!
Regaring impulsion: it means getting your horse to move forward off your aids. Just get him moving forward when you ask him to, THEN worry about headset. You're correct, proper impusion means they are moving from their haunches through their back, however I'd rather see a young horse moving freely through their back and legs than forced up in a frame where they're stuck and not moving forwards. However, at the same time, you need your horse to be supple in order to get a free, loose trot.. see below.
Yes, many horses I've worked with have started out with an "ewe neck" like you said, and didn't know how to come to the bridle. I didn't worry about that until I had good forward movement.
Another thing I'd like to mention is that if the horse feels stiff underneath of you, you should really work on lots of bending and circles before you even ask him to flex to your hand. Think serpentines, cirlces, counterbending, and stretching (like I explained in my first post) will really help with this. Extensions, collections, etc... Lots of stuff to supple him up. :) If you have any questions, please do PM me!!
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