"Lopes on a loose rein" - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 44 Old 06-16-2020, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
Is the horse supposed to go with its head way down like that? It looks a bit like a scolded dog.
That is something I'm critical of with this particular horse as well in addition to the short steps in the slow lope.

Have watched Andrea ride at least 50 futurity finals horses and would say he doesn't train them to do that. Some people like it, but I personally just like to see them carry their neck more or less level with their top line and look relaxed.

Same trainer on a different horse
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Last edited by jgnmoose; 06-16-2020 at 09:50 AM.
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post #22 of 44 Old 06-16-2020, 11:16 AM
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Gotta admit reining does nothing for me. In particular, that rider was leaning back and doing a lot of bouncing at the canter. As much as I like having my heels forward for some things, heels forward while leaning back at a canter is doing the horse no favors. There was some flopping rein going on too, which is different from riding with some slack. IMHO.

Nor do I understand why they put emphasis on a level neck - or lower. Folks have worked a lot of cattle over the years without having a horse with his ears below the withers. It is now something people breed horses for and their conformation can drive it. They will do naturally what would require abuse to get it from Bandit.

That aside...lopes (or canters) on a loose rein means to me that the horse is not going to get excited and speed up without being asked. Bandit can usually do it in an arena. On the trail, it depends. Bored or a bit tired? Yes. Another horse there - his previous life involved racing - or already amped up? Nope.

It also depends on how much value one places on control. Is the horse allowed to speed up, slow down or change gaits without being asked? I think most riders say "Heck no! Not if he is well trained!" I'm more inclined to say, "That works for me too!" Particularly when we are out alone. If he has some energy to burn and wants to canter, it is a great time to work on my canter skills. If he offers a big trot instead...well, that's fun too! And a lot of our "speed" work is in a wash, with deep sand alternating with rocks, so if he wants to slow...maybe he has a reason.

FWIW, Bandit seems to like more contact than I prefer. He is more relaxed and more eager to go forward with some contact, which can still happen with a bit of slack in the reins. Some feel with the mouth happens prior to getting all the slack out.

Of course, if one is trying to show off the horse in an arena, then a very obedient horse responding to subtle signals is often the goal of the ride. Done right, it is a thing of beauty. It can be done wrong as well, but that is a problem any time horses and humans mix.
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post #23 of 44 Old 06-16-2020, 10:35 PM
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I have to agree with @bsms on this one. I don't like the way they carry their heads or even the movement. They look broken to me and I'm a fan of reining.... I think it's really cool to watch but these two rides look weird to me. Pretty horses though.
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post #24 of 44 Old 06-17-2020, 03:27 AM
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From my perspective, whatever that's worth... I teach all horses to w/t/c on a loose rein, before teaching them to go with 'contact'. Tho I've had (& have one now) horses who, due to previous training, get anxious when there is no 'contact'. Or they take it as 'free rein' to do as they like. If a horse will not go on a loose rein, I take that to mean something's not right, not solid, missing...

BUT due to their previous experiences, I too have had horses who 'lose it' over a loose rein - eg. they don't just see what they can get away with or such, but they get anxious, worried. In that situation, just like other training, little by little is the key to changing their association/attitude about it, so they can relax & be confident under saddle, no matter how the reins are 'kept'.
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post #25 of 44 Old 06-17-2020, 06:59 AM
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@tinyliny I think that when you have any discipline that mimics the work rather than actually doing it in order to merely show the maneuvers that the horse can do, leaves it wide open for mans imagination. That is when things change After a time, it hardly resembles the original intent.

The above videos hardly look like this

Quite a bit of FEI Grand Prix Dressage hardly looks like this

I do think that some of the riding in the second video is a bit harsh
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post #26 of 44 Old 06-17-2020, 07:59 AM
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@LoriF those cow horses in the first video are unreal. They look like a completely different species to the horses I see every day. Amazing focus, athleticism and work ethic.
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post #27 of 44 Old 06-17-2020, 08:04 AM
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@bsms You will enjoy the first video, not a heel down or leg under the hip in sight and yet amazing and very effective riding.
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post #28 of 44 Old 06-17-2020, 10:56 AM
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@Horsef , when I first genuinely started riding (at 50), my mare was a spook monster. Most of the advice I got on riding, from local instructors or on the Net, was to keep shoulder / hip / heel in a vertical line. But that so obviously was NOT working when Mia would react. It was a cutting video that got me to try combining the advice from Littauer on what most people consider a jumping position and what cutters did when their horses crouched or spun. After all, Mia's spooks looked a lot like a good cutting horse moving...and it worked.

That was when I started to realize that there is a dressage seat (central balance), a forward seat (forward balance) and a defensive seat (weight well behind the stirrups). Then I finally started to understand what Littauer wrote about riding being balance in motion. I eventually concluded that all three approaches to riding had value and now find myself using all three during my daily rides. Often all three within a 5 minute period.

"At first when learning how to ride you must think about your position all the time, and in this period of your learning your picture matters a great deal. But later, when the contour of your position is correct when your spring, grip, balance, etc. are working effectively then there are only two criteria of your position; a) are you in fluid balance and rhythm with your horse or not? b) does your seat enable you to control your horse efficiently?" - Common Sense Horsemanship by VS Littauer
FWIW, I think all horses should eventually learn BOTH to spend lots of time on a loose rein AND to accept contact. Like riding position, there are times and situations where both are as useful to the horse as to the rider. Bandit had been raced using a bosal with a bit as an emergency brake. It was quite a surprise when I first trotted him and then asked him to slow using the bit. He slammed on the brakes like his life depended on it. He also raised his head high and my face got buried in his mane! So one of the first things we worked on was accepting the bit.

Not in the sense a lot of people use it when talking about teaching a horse to "seek contact". I disagree with how they go about it. But he needed to understand that I could take the slack out without causing him pain, and then learn I could use the bit to ASK him for things. Eventually that I could use the bit to ADVISE him on options that we were discussing.

Seems to me good riding includes both loose reins and contact. Like the various positions, I alternate back and forth on every ride. I'd hate to be limited to either / or.
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post #29 of 44 Old 06-17-2020, 10:14 PM
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@bsms fair enough points, but he is a 5 million dollar rider and neither of us are. So let's acknowledge that he must be pretty good at his job which is winning lots of money for his clients in competitive shows.

I think what you are referring to is the flying lead changes, which there are several of in the video. There are also some tight rollbacks which are a +/- deal and he nailed them. Remember that these are young horses, in this case a 3 year old stallion, and not getting the lead change at the correct spot is a point loss and potentially a zero score for being off pattern. $150,000 horse owned by a famous horseman, $5,000 in nomination and entry fees, everyone watching a famous trainer/rider riding a highly anticipated son of Gunner... Yeah I'm going to do exaggerated cues too if it means a + on all maneuvers and winning a check.

This is what people who don't show don't understand about showing. That's fine, and I'm not mad about it, but just have to point it out. We aren't talking about 16 year old Dressage geldings, it is a 3 year old stallion with a little over a year of riding.

On a typical modern Quarter Horse the head and neck will be roughly level with the top line when they are relaxed. This is not true of all horses, or all blood lines. It tends to be true of well bred performance blood lines of Quarter Horses, it is just their natural headset. Here is a video of Metallic Cat in Cutting.

I don't mind at all that some people don't care for Reining. At the same time I also know not many people can do it well either. As for the videos it is just an example of what a loose rein looks like, and a comment on where it came from.
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Last edited by jgnmoose; 06-17-2020 at 10:23 PM.
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post #30 of 44 Old 06-17-2020, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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@jgnmoose thanks for posting that video, it was really interesting. Really good-looking horse, too. I have two questions about it, though.

1. What were those noises throughout? Was it people? Why would they make that sound?
2. What is the point of having a rider? I mean, really. That horse, it seems like he knows what he's doing and doesn't need anyone telling him how to do it.

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