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emeraldstar642 07-18-2011 12:40 PM

Bending Excercises
 
I recently started riding a young green lesson horse. He is pretty stiff and hasn't been properly taught how to bend around corners. Even when I'm riding him along the outside of the arena, I have to make him turn at the corners (by using my inside rein and a heck of a lot of outside leg) otherwise he will keep going straight towards the arena wall and then break stride so he can turn at the last minute, dragging my outside leg against the wall. (He did that the first time I got on him, but I quickly learned my lesson :P)

I'm experianced enough that I can keep him under control, but it's still a challenge. I can't lose my focus for a single moment while riding him, because I am always needing to help him around turns and keep him from crushing my leg, while still maintaining a nice even stride. Like I said, he's fairly green. So I want to go back to flatwork excercises to improve his flexibility and my riding technique.

So first of all, are there any riding errors I might possibly be making that could restrict him from bending and turning properly? (as in, is there anything I should or shouldn't do?) I know he's green, but I also know that a horse is supposed to 'reflect what the rider's doing in the saddle', so I just want to make sure that I'm riding correctly and effectively.

I ride him twice a week, once in a lesson and once on my own (in exchange for the volunteer work I do). What are some good excercises I can do with him to help improve his bending? And how do I break his habit of coming too close to the wall?

I should also mention, he is not ridden very often, only about twice a week. (Yes, I know it's bad, but I can't really help it because he's not mine.) Most people don't like to ride him because he's a more difficult horse. I'm one of the only ones.

Anyways, sorry for the long post. Thanks

Cinnys Whinny 07-18-2011 01:04 PM

My Cinny had this problem when I first got him, he was very very green. It is good that you ask what you yourself could or could not be doing wrong. It sounds to me like you are not using your seat to ask for the turn. When you ask with your inside rein you should also be shifting a little more weight into your inside heel, inside hip and make sure you open your shoulder, don't let it collapse forward (I have a bad habit of doing that myself)...almost like you are turning your whole upper body in the direction you want to go... think of it as pointing at your goal with your belly button and the middle of your chest, or trying to (you don't want to twist enough that people really notice or to make you actually sideways). Also, you should be using some inside leg. Inside leg along in shift of weight/balance says to turn, outside leg only says how wide to turn...you use it to make the circles bigger or smaller.

emeraldstar642 07-18-2011 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cinnys Whinny (Post 1101117)
My Cinny had this problem when I first got him, he was very very green. It is good that you ask what you yourself could or could not be doing wrong. It sounds to me like you are not using your seat to ask for the turn. When you ask with your inside rein you should also be shifting a little more weight into your inside heel, inside hip and make sure you open your shoulder, don't let it collapse forward (I have a bad habit of doing that myself)...almost like you are turning your whole upper body in the direction you want to go... think of it as pointing at your goal with your belly button and the middle of your chest, or trying to (you don't want to twist enough that people really notice or to make you actually sideways). Also, you should be using some inside leg. Inside leg along in shift of weight/balance says to turn, outside leg only says how wide to turn...you use it to make the circles bigger or smaller.

Alright, thanks. I have a feeling you're very right. I guess I never really thought about the inside leg thing, because I was always so caught up in keeping him away from the wall with my outside leg. But I will definately try it. :D I usually try to use my seat, but I haven't been paying much attention to that lately so you're probably right, I'm most likely forgetting. I'll make sure to pay attention to that the next time I ride. Also, I often have noticed my inside shoulder collapses, any tips on remembering to keep it up?

Thanks again :P

Cinnys Whinny 07-18-2011 01:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emeraldstar642 (Post 1101145)
Alright, thanks. I have a feeling you're very right. I guess I never really thought about the inside leg thing, because I was always so caught up in keeping him away from the wall with my outside leg. But I will definately try it. :D Also, I often have noticed my inside shoulder collapses, any tips on remembering to keep it up?

Thanks again :P

I wish I had a tip on that outside of recording an mp3 that repeatedly says "wantch your shouler" repeating over and over on your ipod...I have none ha ha.

Something I have also learned is that when you turn the horses head, his rear will swing out so if you want his rear end/flanks away from something you turn them towards it. Barrel racers use this...if a horse is too close to the barrel, they turn them tighter into it so that their rear end swings away and prevents them from hitting it.

An exercise you might want to try at the rail is to ride on a more inside track...instead of being right on the rail, try to ride as if there is a horse between you and the rail. Later you can try different tracks and get your horse used to going where YOU put him, not where he puts himself.

emeraldstar642 07-18-2011 01:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cinnys Whinny (Post 1101152)
I wish I had a tip on that outside of recording an mp3 that repeatedly says "wantch your shouler" repeating over and over on your ipod...I have none ha ha.

Something I have also learned is that when you turn the horses head, his rear will swing out so if you want his rear end/flanks away from something you turn them towards it. Barrel racers use this...if a horse is too close to the barrel, they turn them tighter into it so that their rear end swings away and prevents them from hitting it.

An exercise you might want to try at the rail is to ride on a more inside track...instead of being right on the rail, try to ride as if there is a horse between you and the rail. Later you can try different tracks and get your horse used to going where YOU put him, not where he puts himself.

Though I appreciate the advice, I don't really think turning his head towards a corner will help much with bending. :)

However, I will try the other excercise and see how that goes, so long as there aren't jumps in the way. :/ Thanks!

Cinnys Whinny 07-18-2011 02:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emeraldstar642 (Post 1101193)
Though I appreciate the advice, I don't really think turning his head towards a corner will help much with bending. :)

However, I will try the other excercise and see how that goes, so long as there aren't jumps in the way. :/ Thanks!

I didn't meant to turn it towards the corner, just something to keep him from rubbing you on the rail.. when he gets too close, turn his head into the rail and his hind will swing out and keep you from getting your leg crushed.

emeraldstar642 07-18-2011 02:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cinnys Whinny (Post 1101266)
I didn't meant to turn it towards the corner, just something to keep him from rubbing you on the rail.. when he gets too close, turn his head into the rail and his hind will swing out and keep you from getting your leg crushed.

Oh ok, I get it now :-)


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