horse leaning forwards and how to slow her down? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-10-2012, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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horse leaning forwards and how to slow her down?

The horse I rode for my last lesson kept leaning her head forward when trotting so much to to point where my arms were really aching. When I wanted her to slow down I pulled on the reins a bit and that made her pull even more I asked my instructor about if afterwards and she said to give a little kick when she pulls, I said that I was worried that she would run into Charlie (the horse in front) but my instructor said that Charlie won't do anything and he will stop her from speeding up. I was just wandering if there was anything else I could do other than run her into the horse in front.

Also Annie, the horse I was riding, likes to go really fast and I have trouble slowing her down, so if you have any tips on how to get her to be more steady that would be great too (I already pull on the reins a bit, squeeze my knees in and push my heels down when I am trying to get her to slow down). She just doesn't seem to listen to the commands. I was trotting no stirrups (while holding onto the saddle) and she dashed into a canter and wouldn't stop until she almost ran into Charlie even though I was really pulling on the reins. I keep getting told that I won't hurt her and that I need to pull on the reins more, but I do pull on them quite a bit and when she was cantering off it was quite scary because I can't even trot well without stirrups, let alone canter. My instructor said that I must have tried to grip with my heals which made her canter, but I don't even remember doing that If I did do that, is there any way to not do it?
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-10-2012, 07:08 PM
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To get your horse to pick its head up you do want to squeeze a little more , but not to the point where you would run into the horse in front of you . And you should never ever EVER be so close to the back of another horse that you could run into him , even if your trainer says he would never kick out , if something spooks him he WILL freak out and probably kick your horse . Another trick to get your horse to lower it's head is to massage the reins slightly , don't pull so much but just squeeze the reins like your squeeze water out of a sponge . To slow your horse down sit back on your but and sink into the saddle but keep your abs tight , don't just flop around like a sack of potatoes . Be sure that when you push your heels down your not bracing in your stirrups , causing the girth to squeeze the horses belly and make them go even faster . Also , don't pinch with your knees , but rather use your inner thigh muscles to hold you and to post at the trot .
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-10-2012, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by vergo97 View Post
I keep getting told that I won't hurt her and that I need to pull on the reins more, but I do pull on them quite a bit
I am going to go with "GET A NEW INSTRUCTOR". If your current one tells you that you can't hurt the horse by pulling hard on the piece of metal that is in the horse's mouth, alarm bells should be going off. Of course you can hurt her! It's one of the most sensitive parts of the horse's body - that's why the bit goes there.
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-10-2012, 08:32 PM
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The easiest way to get a horse to raise it's head is to squeeze (or lightly tap, NOT kick) with your heels. This also means GO, so while doing that pull gently on the reins, see-sawing them slightly if there is no response. When you first get on a horse, the horse will try and figure out what it can get away with. Especially lesson horses, because they are often working with young or inexperienced riders. If you let your horse get away with a vice, like lowering it's head without permission, it will notice that and take advantage of you. Naturally, it is more comfortable for horses to carry a low head, which is why they try to lower it. Tip:when riding, always try to keep the poll of the head higher than the withers.

As for the speeding up.....if you're creeping up on the horse in front of you, slow down (sometimes easier said than done) and do a small circle. Or cross the arena and put distance in-between you and the other horse. When your horse starts to speed up, it is easy to go into panic mode and stop thinking. Well, the horse can easily do the same thing. It is important to try and keep calm, remember heels down shoulders back, sit up straight, firm grip on the reins. Don't just be a passenger, and don't let the horse try and run away with you!
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-10-2012, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Skulby93 View Post
The easiest way to get a horse to raise it's head is to squeeze (or lightly tap, NOT kick) with your heels. This also means GO, so while doing that pull gently on the reins, see-sawing them slightly if there is no response. When you first get on a horse, the horse will try and figure out what it can get away with. Especially lesson horses, because they are often working with young or inexperienced riders. If you let your horse get away with a vice, like lowering it's head without permission, it will notice that and take advantage of you. Naturally, it is more comfortable for horses to carry a low head, which is why they try to lower it. Tip:when riding, always try to keep the poll of the head higher than the withers.
No. Just no. The best thing to remember while riding is to forget about the horse's head completely.

Pulling, tugging, see-sawing the reins will only make a horse heavy on the forehand. It will NOT encourage a horse to raise it's head.

In the OP's case, I bet this horse is ridden constantly by people with hard hands, since this is what the trainer appears to encourage. It is lowering it's head to brace against the rider's hands, because leaning on the contact is easier for the horse than carrying itself properly.

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post #6 of 14 Old 03-10-2012, 09:28 PM
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Well you didn't answer her questions at all...I would like to hear your opinion? I was not talking about long term training.
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-10-2012, 10:28 PM
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If the horse, as I think it is in this case, is a schoolie, then there is nothing to be done but find a trainer that knows what they are doing. If the trainer says to be harder with your hands, they are so unbelievably wrong that it warrants moving trainers already. That IS my advice in this case - there is nothing to be gained by staying somewhere that is teaching you incorrectly.

Mods, grant me the serenity to see the opinions I cannot change, courage to change the ones that should change, and the wisdom to spot the trolls.
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-10-2012, 11:02 PM
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I agree soft hands are ideal, but if you're on a lesson horse that is routinely getting away with leaning on the bit all you have to do it tell it to hold up it's own head. My instructor says to always have about 5 lbs of pressure in each hand, although I don't necessarily agree with that. Anyway, vergo97 if the horse is speeding up i would just stop and have him settle down.
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-10-2012, 11:14 PM
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If you're past the point in your riding where you can walk/trot/canter well, it's time to find an instructor who can move you onto the next level of active riding. This horse needs half halts. If this instructor will not teach you how to apply them, move on.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-11-2012, 12:02 AM
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You say you cant trot realy well and the horse took off on a canter on you?
I'd ask for another horse, you are learning to ride, ive seen so many accidents where beginner riders got put on a horse that was too much for them at that time and the horse took of, they didnt know what to do at all, panicked, clung to the saddle and sped the horse up. theyve ended up in situations from falling off and breaking bones to loosing all confidence in slowing horses down and going faster then a walk. I think you should ask fo a change of horse or look for a better place to ride. some of the things your instructor has said have put up red flags :/
Good luck!

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