English riders do you ride on contact on the trails? - Page 2
 
 

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English riders do you ride on contact on the trails?

This is a discussion on English riders do you ride on contact on the trails? within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • What does gather your reins mean in english riding?

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    08-26-2013, 10:54 PM
  #11
Trained
I ride an Australian style saddle with a western Jr Cowhorse Dogbone bit, so my comments might be as confusing as my riding style, but...

1 - If the horse has an unbalanced GAIT, then I'll work with her in the arena to get it better. If she (Mia) has a gait where she is way too far forward (canter), then cantering is arena-only until I'm fully confident (not yet) she is cured and will carry herself in a more balanced manner. Mia has gotten so far forward cantering in an arena that I thought we might flip. She's better, but we have more arena work to do before I trust her on the trail at a canter.

2 - If the horse isn't paying attention, or is nervous, then I may ride with some contact. Western one-handed style, that means lifting the reins and letting the leverage amplify the change in weight to create an awareness that I'm there. The Jr Cowhorse has a ratio of 1.25 to 1, so a pound on the reins is 1.25 pounds in her mouth. That is small enough I will sometimes ride with 2 hands, most of the slack out, pinkie on the rein and playing with it a little. I wouldn't do that with Trooper, because Trooper is an ex-ranch horse who doesn't want someone in his mouth. Mia likes it sometimes.

I will also start moving her feet - from the left side of the trail to the right, or a quicker walk, followed by a slower one, followed by a light jog - something, ANYTHING to remind her I'm there and paying attention.

3 - Rough terrain/falling. I give her all the slack I can so she can move her head as needed to keep/regain her balance. That is why I think it is important to work on self-carriage in the arena as well. I have no objection to riding with contact full time, but I also want her to learn to take care of herself (and me).

For situation #3, I think of this 1890 poem from Australia:
He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,
He cleared the fallen timber in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat -
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringybarks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent.



As an interesting historical note, some argue the real-life inspiration for the above poem was a ride made by Charlie Mac (Charlie McKeahnie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). If so, his luck ran out 10 years later when he died riding horses...

BTW - in addition to being a confused rider, I'm not an expert in anything. I'm certainly not an expert in riding with contact, on the bit, or anything English!
     
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    08-27-2013, 12:27 AM
  #12
Trained
I ride my horse on the buckle if we are just walking along a trail and the footing is good. If I am in a place that has dangerous footing, I will gather my reins and collect my horse. I often trot or canter without much if any contact, but I will take all the slack out of the reins so that I have them ready if I need them. My horse is so used to a loose rein on the trail that she gets annoyed if I make her stay collected for too long.
     
    08-27-2013, 04:22 AM
  #13
Foal
It varies on what we're doing. Not much different than in the ring, except there's more on the buckle relaxed walking time than in the ring. If we're just walking along and not working on anything, I'm on the buckle. I pick up my reins and some contact for trotting and cantering. Varied contact if I decide to do some ringwork type riding or just play around on the trails. I give him his head for tricky footing so he can pick his way through, unless there's some particular reason not to.
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    08-27-2013, 04:32 AM
  #14
Super Moderator
I ride with a contact in traffic for safety, but drop it on the quiet roads, but sometimes I school on a hack so work on shoulder in, travers etc. so have a contact

(obviously anything faster than a trot is with a contact as my TB would give me too fast a gallop without one!)
     
    08-27-2013, 04:40 AM
  #15
Weanling
It depends if my mare is closer to or in heat. If she's feeling Mother Nature's urges she is irritated which means she is more likely to throw a tantrum, scare herself, lose focus, grunt more deeply for her grain than usual, then have an emotional breakdown when I leave her to go home.
After the dreaded cycles conclude I can walk on the buckle of my reins anywhere.
     
    08-28-2013, 12:19 AM
  #16
Weanling
Thanks for all your comments. I'm going to give up half halting for the time being on the trail unless I need to. It was getting irritating, at least to me.

Anyway, on our last ride out, I rode with a lighter contact and he didn't root for more rein, so that's a good thing!
     
    08-28-2013, 02:35 PM
  #17
Trained
I want to add that if you trust your horse BUT you horse isn't versed in trail riding, try riding with a stronger bit. "Corporal" (1982-2009, RIP) was ridable with a snaffle pretty much all of the time, BUT when I went trail riding, I rode him with a curb. If he spooked--show me an Arab that DOESN'T enjoy recreational spooking!!--I could pull him back. Funny, he NEVER bolted, but that's what you get when your horse has miles and miles and miles on them.
bsms and Celeste like this.
     
    08-28-2013, 03:41 PM
  #18
Foal
I would say your issue is riding with a mesh fly mask. I see them as acting like sunglasses so its one thing in an open field, but I would never ride in a shaded area. Most likely he just couldn't see very well , especially if he has been fine for several months. Get one of those fly fringes if you want to stop flys. I think a loose rein is fine as long as you have the reflexes to grab them quick in an emergency - which beginners often don't.

As a rider in the Uk on roads and busy bridle ways I will always ride with some contact.
Corporal likes this.
     
    08-28-2013, 03:50 PM
  #19
Trained
I really like the idea of the fly fringe, but I prefer this.
Basic Crochet Fringe Fly Veil - Statelinetack.com
     
    08-28-2013, 04:10 PM
  #20
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporal    
I want to add that if you trust your horse BUT you horse isn't versed in trail riding, try riding with a stronger bit. "Corporal" (1982-2009, RIP) was ridable with a snaffle pretty much all of the time, BUT when I went trail riding, I rode him with a curb. If he spooked--show me an Arab that DOESN'T enjoy recreational spooking!!--I could pull him back. Funny, he NEVER bolted, but that's what you get when your horse has miles and miles and miles on them.
Agree
I think that bolting after a spook can be a learned habit - in fact bolting on its own the same so a stronger bit can help a lot.
If you ride your horse in a way that you are always alert enough, strong enough and fast enough to contain the spook it usually never goes beyond a jump on the spot and they learn how to control their fear/flight reaction
Corporal likes this.
     

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