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Discussion Starter #1
l've been having some issues getting Thumper to really use his back at the canter. Before you say anything, l know that part of it is me, and part of it is that no one has ever asked him to do anything but canter in circles. Other people that l've seen on him have enough trouble getting him to slow down that they don't really think about getting him to do anything besides that. So any suggestions? Of course l'll ask my trainer about it, but l want to get as many ideas as possible, and she's out of town right now, anyway. Thanks in advance!
 
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Hmm... Try lots of transitions from trot to canter, canter to trot, trot to walk, walk to canter... You get my point. This should get him to use his butt and back... It worked for Jerry. Also, instead of trying to get him to stretch out, try to get a more up and down motion instead of a forward motion, that will make him round his back. (I think?) Don't hold me to any of that. I'm not too experienced with that, just saying what my trainer told me. :)
 

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If he isn't rounding his back, perhaps he is sore? Practical Horseman had a great article about back soreness and how to help it. Look in to that and see if it helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, l'll check into that. Actually, l think l remember reading that article! l'll check back and read it more carefully. ln the indoor arena, he's generally a bit better, but once we get to the outdoor he doesn't use his back, even at the trot. l'll definitely work on transitions more frequently, as well. Thanks for the suggestions!
 

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Alright, l'll try to get one up. l'll post a picture, as well. l know it's something that l'm either doing wrong, or just not doing at all, l just don't know what it is :)
 

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Here's a video... l realize that l'm really leaning forward, so l'm sure that this is contributing to the issue :S. These clips are two or three weeks old, and l've been trying to work on that, but of course it's nowhere near perfect :).


And some pictures, just to show what's happening... he starts to stretch out and loosen up a bit when l'm up off his back (usually more than in the second picture), still not anywhere near okay, obviously, but l can definitely feel the difference when l'm riding, which makes me think that maybe it's something l'm doing when l sit the canter.

 

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I dont have to many tips on collecting him, haha im working on getting my own horse to collect more at the moment, lol. But sit back, and more reaxed, it kinda looks like your forcing your position, just relax, sit back and deep (dont shove your seat into the saddle, relax into it) And lengthen your stirrups for flatwork,I ont know if you already have or anything, but ive always been told your supposed to :p
 

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l agree, l definitely need to work on that. l can't lengthen my stirrups in the saddle Thumper has, the stirrups are positioned so far forward on the saddle that it's nearly impossible to remain functional and lengthen the stirrups :/. l've been planning on asking my trainer if l can borrow one of the dressage saddles (that fits him) when l ride him so l can focus on him and not me, but l haven't quite gotten around to that yet :). The first picture is from March, so l've improved since then, but as you can see from the videos, l still have a lot of work ahead of me :). l'll definitely focus on relaxing, that's been a big issue with my riding :/.
 

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for being it a jumping saddle you are not going to be able to sit farther back with out pushing your leg forward into a chair seat. i actually think the angle of your upper body looks perfect. you need to get a bit more active with your leg though. it looks like he falls in a lot & your legs stay passive & just hanging their. use a lot of inside leg, also to help lift his inside shoulder you can lift your inside hand straight up [not back, in, or out though] at the same time you put your inside leg on.

in general it looks like you guys have made a lot of improvements =]
 

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for being it a jumping saddle you are not going to be able to sit farther back with out pushing your leg forward into a chair seat. i actually think the angle of your upper body looks perfect. you need to get a bit more active with your leg though. it looks like he falls in a lot & your legs stay passive & just hanging their. use a lot of inside leg, also to help lift his inside shoulder you can lift your inside hand straight up [not back, in, or out though] at the same time you put your inside leg on.

in general it looks like you guys have made a lot of improvements =]
Thank you for the advice! l'll work on that. And thanks; l feel that, while l still have problems with things like these, l'm really starting to figure him out :)
 

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i had a show jumper which carried himself very similar. i turned out that i wasnt that soft in the seat. after a lot of work with my self to improve this he also improved but not a great deal. even tho there was no head tossing i was told to get his teeth done. His teeth were done by a regular horse dentist and nothing improved. i then decided to get his teeth redone by Darren lynch it turned out that his front teeth were too long which was placing pressure on the joint in his skull( not sure what its called) this visit cost me alot of money but it was worth it. this horse was amazing after this visit. it was an instant change. not sure if this helps. it may turn out as you say that its something that your doing but it may also be something going on with thumper which no one is yet aware of good luck..
 

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Another idea.

We had a horse with a similar problem. We knew he would accept the bit and he would partially work into the bridle - he'd drop his nose a little and go a bit soft - but never quite there.
We knew this horse was capable and at the correct training level to achieve this.

Daughter had a couple of lessons with a new lady who actually got on him and battled it out with him.

It came down to leg, leg and more leg. Damned hard work (as doing anything properly is) but is was constant pushing with seat and leg. Not a kicking go faster kind of leg but a pushing leg in conjunction with the 'pushing' seat. (we had this bit).
The instructor, in the end, had to drop her hand low and get quite hard with the rein to make him lower his head - infact she overbent him quite a lot the first couple of times. When she got what she wanted she would release the pressure. Suddenly, the horse realised what he had to do with his head and it all fell into place.
We were able to go back to soft hand - but always and constantly lots of leg.

Wish I had a video to show you but I don't.

A dressage saddle will definately help you.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Another idea.

We had a horse with a similar problem. We knew he would accept the bit and he would partially work into the bridle - he'd drop his nose a little and go a bit soft - but never quite there.
We knew this horse was capable and at the correct training level to achieve this.

Daughter had a couple of lessons with a new lady who actually got on him and battled it out with him.

It came down to leg, leg and more leg. Damned hard work (as doing anything properly is) but is was constant pushing with seat and leg. Not a kicking go faster kind of leg but a pushing leg in conjunction with the 'pushing' seat. (we had this bit).
The instructor, in the end, had to drop her hand low and get quite hard with the rein to make him lower his head - infact she overbent him quite a lot the first couple of times. When she got what she wanted she would release the pressure. Suddenly, the horse realised what he had to do with his head and it all fell into place.
We were able to go back to soft hand - but always and constantly lots of leg.

Wish I had a video to show you but I don't.

A dressage saddle will definately help you.
This sounds a lot like what the clinician at a dressage clinic l went to said! l haven't tried this yet out of the clinic, because l don't want to work this way without my trainer to make sure that l'm doing it correctly.
Thumper was started in a twisted wire bit and ridden in that and a pelham for the first 9 or 10 years of his life (before he came to my barn where he was promptly put in an eggbutt snaffle), so he has quite the hard mouth. That's something we've been working on, though; getting him less dead to my aids.
l emailed my instructor, and l have permission to use another saddle on him when l'm flatting him. l think it will definitely help.
 

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...And some pictures, just to show what's happening... he starts to stretch out and loosen up a bit when l'm up off his back (usually more than in the second picture), still not anywhere near okay, obviously, but l can definitely feel the difference when l'm riding, which makes me think that maybe it's something l'm doing when l sit the canter.

So in the picture below you are fine, he is hollowing his back. So when you have him in this position bend him inside then outside then allow your elbows to come forward about 1/4 inch to encourage him to bring his head down (and use his back). Even better is to do the inside/outside bend at trot then as you push him forward and over his back ask for the canter (easier to get him to canter correctly if you ask for it correctly).

In 2nd picture you've hollowed your back - so instead of his energy flowing over his back into the reins your butt has pushed his energy out BEHIND you. And although you are riding in a forward seat try to sit more straight up and down versus leaning forward - that makes the problem worse. Again the inside/outside flexion should help him get round.

I had to ride my mare low and low (L&L) for about 6 months before I got a decent trot or canter because she liked to do the same thing (still does). So you start L&L at the walk, go to trot and the minute he tries to evade using his back there go to L&L then gradually allow him to come back up to a working frame.

Repeat for canter. Do realize he needs to develop the muscle to put and hold his body in the propoer position so you'll have to go back to L&L often in the beginning until he develops the topline to use his back effectively.
 

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In 2nd picture you've hollowed your back - so instead of his energy flowing over his back into the reins your butt has pushed his energy out BEHIND you. And although you are riding in a forward seat try to sit more straight up and down versus leaning forward - that makes the problem worse. Again the inside/outside flexion should help him get round.

I had to ride my mare low and low (L&L) for about 6 months before I got a decent trot or canter because she liked to do the same thing (still does). So you start L&L at the walk, go to trot and the minute he tries to evade using his back there go to L&L then gradually allow him to come back up to a working frame.

Repeat for canter. Do realize he needs to develop the muscle to put and hold his body in the propoer position so you'll have to go back to L&L often in the beginning until he develops the topline to use his back effectively.
Thank you so much for all the information! l'll definitely work on flexion during my rides. My trainer has been cracking down on me about riding more upright, even in a forward seat. She told me that although it'll take more muscle until l get there, it'll make me a whole lot more effective even when l'm up out of the saddle. So lots of changes between inside/outside flexion and long and low. l'll definitely focus on this. Thanks again for all the information!
 

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My trainer tells me to imagine I'm on a beach ball and to use my leg to push the ball forward. And to ride the whole horse! :/
 
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