Inside Leg to Outside Rein
I've been trying to work more and more on this. I have switched trainers though, and it's leaving me a little conflicted. My prior instructor had me have as little contact on the mouth as possible. Keep a very soft feel, but try to use as much seat as possible. Drive with my seat to bring the hind end under me and let the horse round and carry himself.
I have ridden with two new instructors (who ride together frequently) and they have been talking more and more about inside leg to outside rein. However when I do this, I feel like I have way more contact than normal on the rein.
So from what I understand if I was going on a counter clockwise circle, my outside hand (right hand) would be remaining constant and steady. I would have a constant pressure on the rein in order to not let him pop to the counter bend. My inside, or left, hand would be giving and releasing asking him to give me bend in the neck. My seat would be driving his hind end up and into the bridle and my left leg would be squeezing on and off to ask for him to lift and bend his ribcage.
This makes sense in theory to me. However with my dressage instructor, I rode her horse (I believe he does 3rd or 4th level. Either way far more advanced than me.) and by the end of the lesson my hands were sore from trying to get 'bend' from the neck. When I thought I had plenty of bend and felt as if he was carrying himself, she would say MORE BEND. Very similar to when I was riding with my other (primarilly jumping) instructor, though I didnt feel like I was hauling on the horse quite as much.
It's very against what I am used to to use a lot of pressure on the rein. I want to make sure this is what I'm actually supposed to be doing,and they're not just asking me to force their head somewhere. I have heard the phrase inside leg to outside rein here and elsewhere before but I am still novice at my dressage understandings. I hate questioning people who are far more experienced than me but maybe someone here can clear this up for me.
Cookies if you got through that!
Here is your problem. The "neck" does not bend. You should have the neck flexed ever so slightly and that the "bend" or rather what I call flexion is at the pole with no more than the inner eye visible.
If you see the ground..in hand work done in this video you can see the "bend/flexion" I mean and whether doing the half pass or leg yield this is all you need.
So it sounds like it's more of a lateral flexion than bending the neck vertically and bringing the nose in? It seems like a really subtle thing other then a big -bend- like I was understanding it.
So my inside rein which is giving and releasing will be slightly flexing the neck so I can just see the inside eye. The inside rein isn't creating the bend/flexion at the poll. Is that right?
Inside aids being those to the inside of the direction of travel.
The inside rein creates the lateral flexion of the poll and in turn creates the arc of the neck to the inside. You should see the nose of the horse as lateral flexion is created at the poll.
Use your rein aids like riding a bicycle.....when the inside rein ask for direction the outside rein gives the same amount as the inside rein asks.
What it seems you were attempting is having the reins creating a bend from what the horse receives from the seat.
Most people over bend and then wonder why the front and rear ends never seem to line up. The horse goes crooked and balance is lost.
Certainly have an active hand rein but not to create anything but to follow and guide the power created by your seat, accepted by the horse and is transferred through the back of the horse to the bit/head/neck and poll.
This is called the shaping of the horse but it should not be done by over bending or "fixing" the head set.
See, this is similar to what I thought you were supposed to do. (at least in theory,doing it is a work in progress).
However in my lesson with both instructors I got the impression that it was a more vertical flexion than lateral that they wanted me to ask for.
I was always under the impression that at this point I really shouldn't be worried about the head in terms of being on the verticle/bending it/etc. So what she is trying to explain to me isn't that but creating a arc in the neck?
I think in trying to do what I was (mis)hearing I was creating too much bend, like Spyder mentioned. I would get good balance and movement and then I would try and create 'bend' and it would all get lost and discombobulated. I think I see what I was doing wrong now...
I was going to reply, but more experienced riders than I already have. However I would like to respond to this:
It is not questioning, or doubting, it is asking for clarification and understanding. Most instructors would prefer you do this than blunder on hoping that you are understanding what they are saying.
Good point, Alex. I guess I should ask my instructors the 'why' in my lesson instead of just how.
Not only the "why" but what should be expected when an action is done.
When I teach I explain and I also tell them what will happen when done correctly and what will happen when done incorrectly. I want any of my students to "feel" when it is wrong and if I did my job right, they will.
What I can't stand in a coach is the kind that stand and bark out orders and just keep saying..thats good, just keep on doing that. For even if they are correct in what I want I STILL want better. I also believe in NOT allowing anyone to continue ( I will stop them and re explain or change to a different method) when it is not coming together (hoping that it will I assume) for every step ridden wrong is one more step trained into the horse that is incorrect.
Anyway SD, my trainer/coach explains most things, the one thing she did not explain was the one thing I did not get. And like an idiot, I thought I understood but did not, so I bumbled ahead, and it took a long time of no progress, because she thought I got it, I thought I got it, but I was clueless.
I would suggest that when you don't understand something no matter how small, that you ask, it will save you a lot of time.
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