How do you avoid banging your knees on trees?
 
 

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How do you avoid banging your knees on trees?

This is a discussion on How do you avoid banging your knees on trees? within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Horse running into trees
  • Where do i put my legs if i want the horse to moe laterally

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    02-07-2012, 06:03 PM
  #1
Weanling
How do you avoid banging your knees on trees?

Last week we were out on a trail that wasn't much of a trail. The regular trail was horribly muddy and flooded in spots so we did a trail that wasn't all that blazed.

In some spots the trees were a couple of inches away on each side of me and I kept bumping them, but thankfully not that hard.

So say a tree is coming up closer on my left side and I want to avoid hitting my knee, I know I'm going to give pressure with my left leg/foot.
If I'm riding with two hands using English type reins, I always pulled with my left hand, kind of bending the horse's head to me and the combo of left leg, left rein helped me avoid the tree.

But last week I had split reins that were in a knot and I was neck reining. I'm still not good at this. After a year of English, both of my hands want to do something. What would be the best way to turn a horse away from a tree with this type of rein?

Same scenario, tree is coming up on my left.
     
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    02-07-2012, 06:28 PM
  #2
Weanling
I've heard of people tieing an empty rubber wheel/tire to either side of the saddle, and letting the horse teach itself not to run into a tree. But I don't think that's the kind of advice you were looking for

A lot of neck reined horses I know are really good at working off leg and seat, and the reins are just an 'enforcer', of sorts. If they're not really good at neck reining, or working entirely off your other cues, I have never had a problem with picking up the reins (or a rein) when really needed, even though you're not technically supposed to.

Is it someone else's horse you're riding? I ask because you said you're not familiar with neck reining. If so, perhaps ask the owner to show you the 'buttons'.

If it were me, assuming it was a well-trained horse, and the tree were coming up on my left, I'd put my left leg on or just slightly behind the girth, asking the horse to sort of go sideways or leg yield a bit. To keep it from just moving directly off (since I asked for more of a lateral movement), I'd use rein against the neck to keep the horse's body straight - if needed.
     
    02-07-2012, 06:43 PM
  #3
Super Moderator
YOu want to turn the horse INTO the tree, not away from it. With direct reining, I would pick up the left rein and tip the nose toward the tree as I am approaching it, put on the left leg and ask the horse to pay attention to that tree and move around it. If he doesnt curve in the body a bit and step more away from it, by golly, I will tip his nose so that he runs smack into it. He'll hit the tree, instead of my knee.

For neck reining, I am not as sure. I don't neck rein, but I suppose you can still reach down and take up the inside rein a bit more than the outside and tip his nose in tward that tree.
Druydess likes this.
     
    02-07-2012, 09:08 PM
  #4
Weanling
The horse belongs to the barn where I ride and he's used as a lesson horse for beginners so he's not exactly push button. You have to be more clear with what you want. I was giving pretty hard leg but he just kind of walked along, so then I had to use the neck rein like it was English reins and turn his nose right into the tree before he was like "Ahhh I need to move away!"

I know there's got to be a way to neck rein away from a tree with only one hand but I dont' know if the tree is on the left, do I swing the rein on the left side of his neck or the right?

I didn't get a chance to ask the BO what the best method was because there were so many others in front and then by the time the ride was over I forgot to ask.
     
    02-07-2012, 09:32 PM
  #5
Yearling
Since my horses all pack at one time or another, They have learned to avoid bagging the panniers on the trees. My knees are not near as big as a pannier.

If I am on a horse that crowds a tree, I lift my booted foot and push off the tree, trying as hard as I can to unbalance the horse. They learn pretty quick to give the trees a wider berth. Again, I'm sure that is not the answer you are seeking.

Horses ridden western style that have had proper training should move off your leg. So I would start with bumping the tree side of the horse asking him to move away from the tree.
     
    02-07-2012, 10:35 PM
  #6
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by Painted Horse    
Horses ridden western style that have had proper training should move off your leg. So I would start with bumping the tree side of the horse asking him to move away from the tree.
I will say that is true of proper training regardless of tack.

Tip the head towards the tree. Push the hindquarters away with your leg just behind the girth.

A leg yield by any other name.......
FlyGap likes this.
     
    02-07-2012, 10:38 PM
  #7
Foal
Quick and easy method if you are in a pinch and able place your hand on the tree ... with your hand on the trunk give a slight push it will actually shift your horse's weight (by shifting yours) away from the tree. You won't need to shove hard or you will destabilize your horse. Not always possible with low hanging branches but I have used this method for years even in thick stands of trees. A few times doing this and your horse will start to get the idea and balance himself.
     
    02-07-2012, 10:41 PM
  #8
Trained
On a western hore that neck reins very well they take flexion off leg and seat cues. For example, if I lay my left leg on Selena's ribcage, her entire body (Including her head and neck) will curve to the left around my leg. She will move her shoulder with the rein. She wil counter arc if I touch my left leg but pull my reins to the right. It's a bit differant than riding with two hands.

What I would do is just leg yield the other way honestly....
     
    02-07-2012, 11:07 PM
  #9
Green Broke
Most the time I just (tree on left) lay the reins on the left side of my horses neck and he'll step to the right a bit. If I need him to move more then I'll put some leg in it. One of the biggest things to remember is to not allow them to step back to the left until after your knee has passed the tree. On narrow trails they will want to step back just as soon as you release pressure.

Since neither of you are used to neck reining you will want to work on it a lot. That means as you trail ride treat every wiggle in the trail as if it was an actual turn. It usually doesn't take a horse long to pick up on what you want when doing this.
     
    02-07-2012, 11:21 PM
  #10
Yearling
I went through deep brush and trees on Saturday. I ride western and find if I kick my feet out of the stirrups I can be prepared to negotiate my foot and knees should my horse not give much room when I ask for a lateral move.

I also find halting the horse right before a tight path also allows him to respond to the cue. At one point on Saturday I halted and backed him up one step and gave a very firm "go RIGHT." I think the branch we walked around would've unseated me otherwise.

I firmly believe in guiding your horse, but I like my legs free to I can freely protect my limbs.
     

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