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post #11 of 34 Old 04-01-2013, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Kayty View Post
It you start pulling agai st the saddle cloth/neck strap you know there's an issue to address.
There is no need to have a 90 degree bend in your elbows!
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Thank you for saying this.. I have been very confused on this since day 1 of learning.

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post #12 of 34 Old 04-02-2013, 12:00 AM
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Who's ranked #1 in the world right now in dressage?

And her elbows are far from bent. She has stubby arms (like me) and to get the independence of the hand she really does have to stretch out in front of herself.
I find I have to do the same thing, shorten my reins to the point where it feels like my elbows are locked and then I can't possibly pull.
If Edward Gal held his arms like that he'd be holding onto the horse's ears. So it does really conformationally depend on the horse and rider. Gal has to have bent elbows or it would be ridiculous, but he can press his hands into the neck halfway up and it looks normal.
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post #13 of 34 Old 04-02-2013, 02:35 AM
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Try riding with a whip sitting accross your hands, tucked under your thumbs. (like this, but with a whip and two hands)

photo (28).jpg

Concentrate on carrying your own hands with the whip still tucked under your thumbs. It will feel really weird but, it helps heaps! Also imagine you have cups of freezing cold water in your hands and hold them up, keeping them balanced and still. It works even better if you can get cups of freezing cold water to ride with... It really makes you think about where your hands are... lol
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post #14 of 34 Old 04-02-2013, 02:45 AM
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when you are riding, you know the old adage "thumbs on top!".

well, put your thumbs on top, and then think of pointing withe the very tip of your thumb, like a laser, straight to the bit rings. You can't point AT the bit, if your have your hands too low, because then you'll be pointing at the ground. lift up your hands, zero in on the bit and keep that laser pointed at the mouth, no matter where the horse puts her head, up or down.
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post #15 of 34 Old 04-02-2013, 07:25 AM
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No one is suggesting a 90 angle in the elbow, that would likely break the line straight line from elbow to horses mouth. The use of a bucking strap is really only for work on a lunge, to stabilize the seat. If used as a way to still the hand rather than stablize the seat, the upper arm is too advanced to a hang vertically. I too use to say to do this, years ago I too though this low/fixed posture was a good idea, but it is a bandaid. And over the years I have found it then just results in the student having to relearn, which makes it a waste of time. IF the rider is so unstable they need to hold it not to fall back (very beginning rider) fine. But its worst effect of all is that the action of the seat is compromised when the rider has learn to ride with an advanced upper arm.

And yes, the shoulder socket/elbow must allow the telescoping gesture within walk/canter (or the horse will end up nodding/become hyper mobile in the head/neck or slowing/resisting).

The length of the arms has NOTHING to do with it, it is rather they necessitate a different rein length. Oftentimes the arms look short because of the breadth of the rider. The compromise of the positioning of the upper arms (forward) WILL affect whether the seat is able to be used correctly, riders who advance the upper arms often end up having to rider btv in order to have the pelvis work correctly.

The height of the hands has a direct affect upon the behavior of the horse. Hands too low act on the bars, horse hollows. Hands steadily too high the horse will curl over. Hands too narrow befoe the horse finds the center will result in lack of sustaining the connection, hands too wide are slightly unstable. That said: a straight line from elbow to horses mouth is about 6" or more, and opening rein (not sustained open, but an action) helps the horse 'find the center' (And wide hands will prevent a horse who might run out at a fence from doing so.)

Hands which pull (back) is a specific use/action/manipulation, usually from too low/fixed hands because the riders are leaning over the hands. Without a developed/aligned/independent seat (which includes a proper holding of the reins/etc) will be for naught.

I DO have a problem with "low" hands, they are very agressive esp if the horse is low/closed, worse yet when they are too wide.

Keeping the hands narrowed does not prevent them from dropping. The rider has to think they are carrying a tray with martinis, if the tray is too low or forward the drinks will spill/slide off. The mouth is that fragile. Slightly wider (not stiff) allows the horse to find contact/proper bearing the most easily in training. Of course there is always a conflict of the rider learning how to sit/have aid independent aids and that needed for methodical training. And arm/hand out in front of the rider whether low or high will NOT be as stable as a hand which closer to the trunk because of a properly carried upper arm.

Look at the riders with the most proper (upper arm) alignment: Waetjen, Podhajsky, Klimke, or the newest: Google Image Result for http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02298/horse_2298958b.jpg or gal http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...Q9QEwAg&dur=70 (Remember too that these riders have narrower hands because the horses are fully trained).

Yes, the rider has to be able to use uberstreichen (give and retake the rein), but to develop self carriage in the horse means that the horse must be 'held by the seat'.

When the upper arm is in advance of the trunk and the horse 'gives to the bit' and flexes (should be only a mobile jaw but is often more), a rider will end up moving their upper arm backward until the hand is NEUTRAL (that only occurs when the rider's arm muscles are relaxed..and that is vertical/thumbs up). Hence the horse is NOT given reward for changing its behavior

What creates a sore mouth? An unstable carriage of a busy hand/arm. Action on the bars or sawing onto the tongue? . Those is an improper use of the hand in which half halts which are the result of a fisted action rather than of the seat or a use of the wrist slightly pivoting. Again, riders are not taught the rein effects as part of training.

Pressing the hands away from the body (except to follow bascule/allow forward,down,out in 'chewing the reins from the hand) are intentional actions for purpose for TRAINING the horse.

Sitting on a horse WITHOUT use of the hand/arm (ie on a lunge) shows independence. That is why the hands are dropped straight down from shoulder is done, to educate the rider's balance/seat. And to challenge the rider, to open the shoulders, etc exercises like backstroke, swinging, etc are done.
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Last edited by equitate; 04-02-2013 at 07:31 AM.
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post #16 of 34 Old 04-02-2013, 01:10 PM
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There are so many parts of that post I disagree with, starting with that young horses need wide hands. That's BS. I'm sorry.

I'm public with my riding but equitate I have yet to see a photo of your amazing riding skills. Yes I do compete and you may not respect my competition results, but my horses are happy and ridden correctly. My most recent trainee has been undersaddle for 8 mos and is already working very well in a comfortable manner and learning collection.

I'm sorry but I find it hard to believe anything written by someone who I believe has received their education from books. I have ridden my way to where I am and these methods have worked for me, my coach, her students, and now my students.

You are expecting an uneducated rider to hope on the horse and express training ideals? Most riders require 5-10 years of plain rider education before they can begin to think about really training in a constructive way.95% of north American riders have not received this training and ride from their hands. Which does make a horses mouth sore. Not having low steady hands, that will protect a horses mouth more than just putting your hand by your chest and hoping for the best a la someones methods that I've seen wreck more horses than he would have people know. A rider needs to learn, low hands are part of learning. When the hands are steady and not pulling, the the rider can begin to raise them and nothing needs to be retrained unless you are pumping like a rig worker wtc. Which is wrong. The upper arm is always quiet and the only mobile part to accommodate the horses movement is the elbow. This is because a collected horse does not use his neck and front end to get around. But those who have not ridden a collected horse do not understand this and advocate pumping the arms in walk and canter. Which does not promote a collected horse, but instead allows him to be strung out and using his front legs to get around.
The hand is not rigid, it is steady.

Also, yes arm length makes a huge difference in riding and anyone who says not is full of it. Rider anatomy makes a huge difference in riding. It's like Equine conformation. Unless you are advocating certain methods where everyone sits on the horse like a sack if potatoes, hands by their ears, pulling and doing a western jog and calling it "collection" because the neck and back are so hollow that the poll is the highest point. That is not classical dressage.
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Last edited by ~*~anebel~*~; 04-02-2013 at 01:19 PM.
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post #17 of 34 Old 04-02-2013, 01:36 PM
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When I taught I had several students with hard hands, who had started at other riding academies. I was using my safe horses, and I made them a 2nd set of reins from baling twine. The twine was tied from bit to bit, about the same length as the reins, and the students held these on the outside of their pinkies. This was a 2nd set of reins, similar to riding a double bridle. Every time they failed to follow the mouth, the twine dig into their hands, even though I insisted on everyone wearing riding gloves.
It isn't how high or low you hold the reins, it's how sensitive you are to the mouth. A horse moves his head back and forth at the walk and the canter. If you lock your hands at the walk or canter you WILL hit your horse in the mouth every stride. He keeps his head steady at the trot, and I learned to put my knuckles on the withers in front of the pommel, when I ride the posting trot. That's probably where this is from, teaching the posting trot. I like the idea of a neck strap. Even better, if you could spend some lessons on a very safe horse on the lunge, so that you can focus on your seat, first.

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Last edited by Corporal; 04-02-2013 at 01:38 PM.
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post #18 of 34 Old 04-02-2013, 01:37 PM
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anabel, every time I read one of your posts I want to be your riding buddy. =D

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post #19 of 34 Old 04-02-2013, 01:49 PM
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There is a time and place for riding with hands apart, and riding with hands the width of the bit. When you break a horse in, you need to communicate more clearly, thus you pull out for turning and sometime accentuate the rein aids to a novice horse.
For a horse broken to a discipline, you DO want your hands close together. At that point said horse should be able to be turned and halted easily in this way.
I school with almost straight arms, and either neck rein (which I teach ALL of my horses to do) or direct rein, hands ~ 5 inches apart. I've only owned 2 horses over the years that I could trust hacking with just a halter and lead--probably could have ridden both bridle-less, but they have both passed on. I always want enough rein to half halt and halt and turn. Even when I trail ride with a loose rein I still keep my hands on top of, or in front of the pommel, and I often choke up or let rein out during my rides. It's just become a habit, and I pride myself on keeping my horses' mouths soft, simply bc I want good brakes!
It's common sense, not a style.

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post #20 of 34 Old 04-02-2013, 01:58 PM
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The old fashioned UK instructors used to stress the importance of low quiet hands
However low hands in a novice can be a sign of a nervous rider that has balance issues though and is constantly wanting to stay close to the mane/neck
Some lunge lessons on a sensible horse would help if you can ride with your hands resting on your knees and also with folded arms to prove to yourself that you don't need to use your hands in any particular position to stay on board if you feel that is your problem
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