How low is too low? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 39 Old 11-01-2008, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
 
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I'm going to ride again on Monday so we'll see how he does at the canter. I had to take a little break b/c I pulled a muscle in my leg. All I've been able to do is walk and barely trot. However, this might have been the best thing for both of us. He is really softing up in the trot. I also realized that I was doing something wrong. When we were walking around I was dropping the reins too much and everytime I asked him to go faster I would collect the reins flaring them out before I grabbed them. So he started to realize that everytime I did that he would take a hold of the bit and pull. Rookie mistake... LOL.
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post #12 of 39 Old 11-06-2008, 10:08 AM
 
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Equinkel

Hello, I was reading your concerns and I hope that my suggestion helps. I used to have the same problem with my horse. He would get very heavy in front, more in the canter then the trot. The problem was that I rode too much with my hand and not enough with my leg. When a horse gets heavy it's because he is able to lean on your hand. This prevents him from balancing himself and for you to be more in your seat...you're probably leaning more on your knee rather then sitting deep in your seat. It took me a long time to retrain my hands and ride more off my leg. When your horse gets heavy and fast try this: pitch your reins at him (even though he will get fast) sit down and bump him with your legs. Your legs raise your horses head. You CAN NOT pull! Horses want to go slow. Remember hands forward and bump with legs until head rises. Bumping is a training aid...not something for the show ring. Oh, most importantly, please try not increase the severity of his bit. People like to do that first. My horse goes in a D ring snaffle with copper inlay and hes just fine. I don't like riding in draw reins because I'm scared I will get to hand-on, so I lunge in side reins a few times a week to make him stay soft on the bit himself and to stay balanced. Good Luck!
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post #13 of 39 Old 11-07-2008, 06:14 AM
 
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Great reply Patagonia...

Might add my twopence worth.

Difficult to say why he's doing this without seeing him. However, it's typically due to horses riding too much on the forehand.
If it is this - I would strongly reccommend not using draw reins, as they allow the horse rely on them for balancing. They are great for building muscle, but only once the horse has relaxed the underneath of his neck and can carry himself from behind.

First, I would trot your horse whilst standing in the stirrups and encouraging him to stretch down - this frees up his back and allows him to step under. If he's not tracking, then give a series of gentle taps with the schooling whip.
Once balanced, step into canter. Don't worry overly about getting the correct shape; instead sit back - don't let him pull you forwards... if your seat is vertical (or even a little too far back), the horse will find it difficult to drop onto his forehand.
Then ride with the leg aids: ensure legs are wrapped around the horses barrel. My instructor says it should work by a near inperceptable squeeze inward at the point all four legs are 'suspended', relaxing when they strike the ground. It should feel like you're 'lifting' the horse.
Again gentle taps with the schooling whip should help them engage their inside hind leg.

This should free up his head, and get him balanced, and a more comfortable ride for you!
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post #14 of 39 Old 11-08-2008, 11:59 PM
 
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How low is "too low" all depends on the type of riding you are doing.
Are you a dressage rider? H/J? HUS?
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post #15 of 39 Old 11-11-2008, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
 
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If I'm understand the advice from Patagonia: I should 'pitch' the reins at him to pick up his head and signal with the legs. I'm pretty sure this will cause him to go much faster and race around the ring. I'm ok with trying that but at some point I need to slow him down. what would be the best way to do that without pulling? Also, I would like to do this in a trot but I'm sure it will make him go faster and his nice slow trot will be fast and uncontrolled. Is it better to just let him rush around? As far as the reins go did you keep them pretty collected or give more rein? There are times when he's pulling down enough that it's pulling my whole body forward.

For ScarlettPompey; you said to encourage him to stretch low while standing to trot...that parts easy. How do I get his head back up? It doesn't seem like a good idea to make him go faster when his nose is a foot and half from the ground. You are definitly right about him being heavy on the forehand though.
Thanks for you help. I be riding again tomorrow. I'll keep you posted on progress.
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post #16 of 39 Old 11-11-2008, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
 
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as far as a discipline. All i know is that I want to start him over some jumps. Other then being heavy in the bit he has been a perfect angel for a retired racehorse!
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post #17 of 39 Old 11-12-2008, 07:26 AM
 
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Maybe, I should have emphasized the 'leg' bit!

Was trying to describe the feeling of 'lifting' with an inward 'squeeze' with legs at the moment of suspension... takes a bit of timing. It literally feels like your lifting the horse. Essentially working him from the leg aids; if he gets heavy apply more leg aid... don't worry too much if it's a little quick to start with, just use you seat (by restricting the rocking movement to slow him down). If he lowers his head again, immediately respond with the leg aids.

Getting the stretch beforehand was important (even with horses where head is too low)...
1. To stretch the back, so he can step more 'under' himself (for the lifting)
2. Balancing and calming before the canter
3. Demonstrating the correct head position, so you and the horse get to 'feel' what is correct and comfrtable.
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post #18 of 39 Old 11-12-2008, 02:25 PM
 
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If I'm understand the advice from Patagonia: I should 'pitch' the reins at him to pick up his head and signal with the legs. I'm pretty sure this will cause him to go much faster and race around the ring. I'm ok with trying that but at some point I need to slow him down. what would be the best way to do that without pulling? Also, I would like to do this in a trot but I'm sure it will make him go faster and his nice slow trot will be fast and uncontrolled. Is it better to just let him rush around? As far as the reins go did you keep them pretty collected or give more rein? There are times when he's pulling down enough that it's pulling my whole body forward.

I understand the uncertainty in this. I am sure that your horse will get quicker and race around the ring. Horses are very smart animals. They will try to 'bate' you into doing things so that they won't have to: as in balancing off your hand rather then learning to balance himself. I am not going to say that your horse will slow down tomorrow. It takes time and consistency. Try your best not to circle. Just go forward, sit deep and remember to keep your shoulders back and eyes up. Does your horse want to go forward and lean on your hand from the start of the ride? I am not a fan of people who get on their horse and start cantering BUT sometimes with younger horses you just need to go forward. And I spent a lot of time just getting on and going forward. A horse can't collect if he isn't balanced. Make him work...it's like reverse psychology. He wants to go fast then ask him to go forward but don't hold him up! do not collect him...light contact. While you are doing this, light contact, think even less contact. you need to ride off your leg not your hand.
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post #19 of 39 Old 11-12-2008, 02:30 PM
 
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Oh I just want to mention that all horses learn at different speeds. So do the riders. Patience makes a great horseman. I know that I want to do a lot more with my horse but a solid foundation...or better yet, each layer, will be beneficial for the higher degree of difficulties to come. Does that make sense?
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post #20 of 39 Old 11-12-2008, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
 
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I worked on a lot of cantering today and my guy was still leaning on the bit alot. I did try pitching the reins when we trotted and i thought that helped. I had not cantered on him in over a week so he started out really fast and he was coming off the rail but bending out (nose to the rail). I decided to just give him the reins and stop fighting with him and he actually slowed down and got back to the rail. I think my balance if a little off and my hand inconsistency is making the pulling a little worse. I will keep giving more rein and more leg aids. Keep the advice coming. I'll try to post a video soon.
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