How do I slow her down?
I've been riding for around 1 3/4 years now. I can walk, trot and canter comfortably and have been over a few crossrails (that's not really related to this just wanted you to know xD).
Lately, I've been riding a very forward mare. She is very well behaved, halt/walk, walk/halt, walk/trot, trot/walk and trot/canter transitions whenever I ask for them. I can get her to slow down or speed up her walk and trot too. However, as soon as we go into canter, she doesn't exactly bolt, but it's nowhere as near as controlled as it should be. I just can't stop her. The only thing that stops her is something physical - aka the horse in front, but this isn't really an option as some horses kick and she should listen to my aids anyway. The first time I rode her was in October and she was fine then, listened to me perfectly, but the next time I rode her was after the snow so she was very fresh and went fast. She's been let out to the field overnight and even went on a rideout just before my lesson. And like I said, she's fine at the walk and trot, just the canter.
She's ridden in a double bridle. Although I'd ride her in a snaffle if I could, it's not my choice as she belongs to the riding school. I don't really know how the double bridle works, I'm pretty ashamed to say that all I do is pull back as I would on normal reins so some tips on this would be apprecciated, just don't murder me. ;)
Thanks for your help guys. :3
eeeeek this sounds like my friend lol, she has the same with her horse, he is a very strong (but lovely) cob/hunter and he is basically all muscle and when he goes there is no stopping him, she rides currently in a tom thumb and has better luck in that then in the double, he just pulls his head in with the double and goes off like a battering ram!!! it seems the position of pulling the head in just aids his neck muscle and helps him go, as it gives him something to tank against, the only thing we can think of is something that stops him hunching up and tucking his head in, but i'm sorry to say as yet we have not found anything that works so please post if you do, because i am sure your not alone with this problem, but if you can, try a tom thumb bit, know they can work on jumpy horses but also calms bolshy ones, good luck x
Since I do not know exactly what the mare is used for, it's kinda hard to give advice on tips to stop her, but in my experience with horses who don't know how to calm down at a canter I always teach them how to one rein stop. Teach the horse, at the walk, to be light on the bit, and to yield her hindquarters. when you ask for a tight turn, she should be disengaging her back legs (if you watch a horse turn, they actually almost cross their back legs when doing a tight circle, I call this disengaging their hind-quarters) She should be light, giving to the bit at every turn. Once you have her doing that really well, try it at a trot. Ask the horse to trot, and then ask her to disengage her hindquarters. After a few tries, you will notice she will slow and pause down to a walk, even if for a split second at first. Then you can expand that split second, ask her again for the turn, and then ask for a walk. Keep practicing this at the trot, ask for the turn, then she should be walking after disengaging her hindquarters. Keep practicing. Trot, ask for the sharp turn (disengaging her hind-quarters) and then walk. Shell soon learn that when asked to turn tightly it means slow down. then, in a controlled area, ask for a canter. After a couple of strides, ask again for the turn, disengaging her hindquarters. The process will be the same as when you taught her to come down from a trot to a walk, it takes a little time, but then its kinda like an emergency brake when she learns how to do it well. I use it even on seasoned horses to calm them down in the spring. If she ever gets too excited at a canter, just use the emergency brake to calm her down, and then ask again for the canter when she is calm. shell learn she wont get far unless she is calm and collected. I have seen this used on many horses, and I have personally used it on many hotheaded arabians I have helped train. :)
Sorry for the novel but I hope it helps! Let me know if I can clarify!!
No offense Lakota, but she can't do a one-rein stop if she's riding in a double bridle and doesn't know how to use it. If you're riding this horse without taking a lesson and there's no one there explaining to you about how to use the double bridle, abandon the curb rein. I would tie a knot in it so it doesn't hang too low and then just drop it on the horse's neck. Then you can focus on the turning exercises Lakota suggested while using the snaffle only. Don't move up to the canter until you feel you have complete control turning, stopping and slowing down at the walk and trot. If you don't even know how a double bridle works then you shouldn't be using a curb bit. Turning is much more important than stopping as you can control the speed of a horse that wants to rush in the arena by making them go in small circles. If the horse canters too fast on the straight stretches along the rail, circle back and make smaller circles on one end of the arena until the horse slows down.
none taken :) I will be the first to admit I've never used a double bridle, nor do I know the proper way to use it, thats why I put the little disclaimer at the front of my message. I'm glad somebody replied who does know how to use one.
I've just found a video of her, I don't know if it'll be useful, but you can have a look if you want. YouTube - 19.03.10 steffi... lesson at godley stud riding school :-)
It gets interesting at atound 2:49 when you can see that she's speeding up at the canter and only slows down when she loses her footing slightly near the end. When I was riding her, she started cantering at really fast immediately, not like in this video when she speeds up.
Right, so she's a riding school mare that's mostly used for flatwork & some hacking and the occasional jumping.
Lakota, I'd be very willing to try your exercise but the simple matter of fact is that it's a group lesson and my instructor would simply not let me go off and do my own thing.
gottatrot, I've seen her with the curb rein completely taken off, or knotted like you said, so I'll ask my instructor if this is possible.
Please remember that she's not my horse so I won't be able to change things like her bit, or what we do in lessons. I apprecciate the suggestions but they're not possible.
Thanks guys. :)
just pretend your riding with a single bridle hold your heels into her side pull back on the reins
Does you instructor know you don't really know how to use the reins?
In the video the horse looked tense & resisting the bit at all times. Even her trot is tense. There was no release for him no matter what she did. She looks like she just wants to get the lesson over with.
As you are limited on what you can do to help her slow, relax & collect, because you only ride her in lessons & everyone has the same trouble with her I don't think there is much you can do besides sitting deep, keeping your legs off her & trying to slow your seat.
The best thing would be to have her pulled from the lesson program while she gets re-schooled correctly. I don't see that happening too often with lesson program horses, though it should.
She looks responsive & willing, very pretty too.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't do that. I think that mare might literally explode.
How well does she halt from the walk? I could be completely off, but my prediction is that when you ask for the halt, she leans against your hand and takes 4 or 5 extra steps before actually stopping. Am I right?
If I am right, the problem really needs to be fixed at the foundation.
A lot of times with horses that run off at the canter, the problem is most easily fixed from the walk. Take a ride, and spend half of it walking and halting until she is REALLY paying attention and halts instantly when you ask her to. I know it sounds boring, but I swear, it will be the beginning of the solution to your problem.
Double bridle instructions: First, make sure you're holding the reins properly. The curb rein (the rein attached to the lower part of the bit) goes below your pinky finger, and the snaffle rein is held as usual. It should look like this...
Next, since you have been riding for less than 2 years, forget about the curb rein. Keep it with a good amount of slack in it. Now you're essentially riding in a double bridle like it isn't a double bridle. Kind of silly, really, but you have to make the best of the situation.
One of the best things I have ever learned in riding is the finger technique. You don't actually have to pull your hand back for any reason...ever. Your hands should never be clenched into fists...ever. Your hands stay in the same position the hold time. So, here's what you do: Secure your reins gently between your thumb and forefinger (they should be going over your forefinger just in front of the second joint). This leaves your other three fingers free from much responsibility, and they should remain generally "fist"-shaped, but loose. So, instead of pulling back, you close all your fingers. Then, you "give" or "release", by simply opening your fingers. Horses actually respond waaaaaay better to this than pulling back to halt.
So, next time you ride that pretty mare, get on her, walk her forwards, loosen the grip of those three fingers, breathe out deeply, and then close your fingers on the rein. In a perfect world, on the first try, she will halt, and you can immediately loosen your fingers, and then go on. Note: If, instead, she leans against your hand, close your fingers and count to 2, then open your fingers and count to 2. If you simply continued with your hand closed or worse yet, pulled back, she would just brace against it. She's much stronger than you, so I think she has the upper hand in that game.
Ideally, you want her to learn to halt or expect to halt just by you breathing out. Horses pay a lot of attention. :) Anyway, you essentially want her to be stopping instantly, on a dime, from the walk first. Then introduce trot-halt transitions. Same deal. Lean back a little so you aren't unseated by the transition. You need to be getting instant responses from her. THEN, when you ask her to canter, keep your hands and arms soft and relaxed, and breath out if you feel her speed up a little. If you have done your homework properly, she will be expecting a halt, and will slow, then you close your legs to ask her a little more forward, and repeat as necessary. I would also do lots of canter-trot transitions.
Hope that helps; sorry this is so long! :)
I have my own concerns about a rider starting out using a pelham but for the moment I'll leave it :wink:
Now, was that you riding the horse in the video? If so here are a few considerations for you:
1.) Give with your hands a little! You are literally attempting to brace the reins (both of them I might add) in an effort to keep her at an even pace. This causes your horse to brace against the pressure. Whilst it may work for a few strides, once she braces against the pressure and stiffens her jaw/neck muscles she is free free free to take off. You need to ride with soft hands. Get her working FOR you, not IN SPITE of you.
When she canters, your hands should gently rock with her natural motion to allow her to relax onto the bit and the contact to be even and consistent. Use the snaffle rein to keep a nice rhythym and get her flexing a little more to the inside. I think you should be doing plenty of walk and trot serpentines to encourage her to relax her neck and back muscles and encourage her to flex in each direction before you even ask for a canter. Set yourself up for success!
Have a look at the video of her trotting at 1:26 - your hands are stiff, low and there is an incredible amount of pressure on both reins as you struggle to get her to lower her head. She is resisting heavily - have a look at her neck and the way her mouth is open. Not a happy camper at all. Work on having her supple in the bridle before you do too much more.
And get off that lower rein!
2.) Your position needs some adjusting. Have a look at the video from 2:41 - your lower leg has slipped quite far forward putting you in a chair seat. The distributes your weight to the back of the saddle allowing your legs to slip forwards. When you look at a photo of yourself you should be able to draw an invisible line from your eye to your knee to your toe and another line from your shoulder to your hip to your heel. This puts your leg neatly under you, just at or behind the girth and sits you up tall in the saddle, much more able to use your seat effectively.
Good luck and talk to your instructor about the correct usage of your tack, it is very important to your education and also to your horses happiness under saddle!
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