PDA

View Full Version : balancing on reins at canter



ride-n-tx
Oct. 13, 2007, 01:10 AM
i was just curious to see if any of you had some suggestions that would help...

i recently got a pony to ride that has a few issues that we are ironing out. he has a hard mouth and can be very strong for a little guy! i can get him to soften and lighten up in the walk and the trot by doing lateral work and wt transitions, but the canter is another story. with his usual rider he will get into the canter by doing that quick pony trot and then falling into the canter. he balances by leaning on the reins and gets very heavy.

does anyone have any suggestions for teaching the pony a better balanced canter without getting too much in his mouth?

merrygoround
Oct. 13, 2007, 08:42 AM
You can save your body, by putting him on the longe and allowing him to find his own balance. Under saddle, transitions are the way to go. The only way to improve the canter is, to canter. If he will do a S/I ask for your upwards from that. Also be very sure to have him going forward strongly at the trot.

Reiter
Oct. 13, 2007, 11:49 AM
He can only lean on the reins if the rider lets him! What happens if you canter on a loose rein? Will he fall on his face? ;)
He's traveling on the forehand and needs to be rebalanced in all gaits and once he gets off the forehand the canter will be better to! It will take time and should come from your seat, not the reins!

ride-n-tx
Oct. 13, 2007, 09:24 PM
i rode the pony today. Reiter, yes he almost fell on his face when he didn't have the reins to balance on (it isn't that far from the ground, lol!). i.e. he falls on the forehand and gets faster and faster. but we did have some decent departs today which helped. it would help if he understood half-halts, but he is still very bracing.

i liked merrygoround's tip of SI to canter depart. he is still a little shakey on the lateral work but it all helps. anyone have similar exercises?

QH_Dressage
Oct. 14, 2007, 05:00 PM
Give him the reins. Let loose and hold the buckle! If he rushes, do a quick half halt, then let the reins out again. Use your seat and leg to steady him as much as possible, and your motion to slow him down.

If that fails, try a waterford bit and lots and lots of half halts.

aussieannie
Oct. 14, 2007, 07:30 PM
i was just curious to see if any of you had some suggestions that would help...

i recently got a pony to ride that has a few issues that we are ironing out. he has a hard mouth and can be very strong for a little guy! i can get him to soften and lighten up in the walk and the trot by doing lateral work and wt transitions, but the canter is another story. with his usual rider he will get into the canter by doing that quick pony trot and then falling into the canter. he balances by leaning on the reins and gets very heavy.

does anyone have any suggestions for teaching the pony a better balanced canter without getting too much in his mouth?

This is quite radical but it has worked many times for me when retraining race horses to dressage.
You have to be in a safe area that is closed in, ie a small paddock or an arena.Start with your normal routine and when he leans on the bit to balance let him go. You have to stay balanced your self though
He will canter very fast and you will have to be brave not to pull him up. (thats what he wants) Every now and then gently pull on his mouth. If he leans harder let him go. It took me 3 hours on one horse but the next day it took 30 mins and the next 5 mins. He learnt that pulling back meant a long session. He also learnt to balance without me pulling, because I wasnt. There is alot more to this techniquie but in a short para gragh try it. If you lack confidence have some else around at the time and allow alot of time. This has worked so many time s for me cheers aussie annie

CatOnLap
Oct. 14, 2007, 07:47 PM
aussieannie, this is precisiely the technique I was taught by an old race horse trainer to "get the pull out of em"- more than 30 years ago! We worked in a large grass hunter ring.

ride-n-tx
Oct. 14, 2007, 08:54 PM
thanks guys. sounds like a good idea. i'll give it a try!

Hony
Oct. 14, 2007, 09:06 PM
You can save your body, by putting him on the longe and allowing him to find his own balance. Under saddle, transitions are the way to go. The only way to improve the canter is, to canter. If he will do a S/I ask for your upwards from that. Also be very sure to have him going forward strongly at the trot.

This is great advice. If you just drop your reins then you also drop any connection you have with the horse and he won't be able to come through. If the horse is through it will lighten up in front. My suggestion is more leg, use a cirle and shoulder in to ask the horse to engage more.

jesterjigger
Oct. 16, 2007, 05:35 PM
In addition to dropping both reins, you could try giving with just the inside rein. My horse leans on the reins a bit, it doesn't sound like it's as bad as your pony since he isn't anywhere close to falling on his face if I released the reins, but it helps me a lot to just move my inside hand forward a few inches for five-ten seconds, then take the contact back. It really does help to keep him much lighter, and I don't lose all of the contact by loosening the reins completely. Or, it might be something you can try after he lightens a little using the complete release.

ride-n-tx
Oct. 16, 2007, 06:37 PM
just an update...the pony has gotten much better in just a few rides. he is much more relaxed and consistent now. the canter is more balanced and even the canter departs have vastly improved. what seemed to work was lots of bending and flexing, checking the connection in the canter, and good ol' transitions.

Gunnerhorse
Oct. 18, 2007, 03:24 AM
If that fails, try a waterford bit and lots and lots of half halts.

Why is it that you are recommending a waterford in this situation? Just curious as to your reasoning as it's the bit I've been thinking of trying with my horse. I've used a loose ring KK Ultra on him for a long time but, based on how he's been going- difficult to soften through jaw, neck and poll, come off forehand,(ie balance on the hand/rein), resist by raising head and using muscles on underside of his neck, I'm beginning to think he doesn't like the tongue pressure. I rode him cross country the other day and used a mullen mouth pelham for the first time and he seemed much more content. He doesn't need a strong bit like a pelham in the arena as when he softens and comes through he is VERY responsive to all aids. It's just getting him there that has become very difficult the past couple months. (This was his first time cross-country in company and since he can get excited out there alone... :yes: )
I had his teeth done about 4 months ago, and looked at again 2 weeks ago when dentist was out. He's also gotten chiro and massage recently.
I've thought of saddle fit and have ridden him in 3 different saddles past few weeks and don't find that any of them make a difference as to whether or not he's resistant. Some days he is and I can work it out of him and have a productive ride, and some days I can't get anywhere at all.
So I've thought maybe a bit change is in order to something not jointed.
Any thoughts, or suggestions of other bits, or exercises to try, always appreciated,

Ghorse

tollertwins
Dec. 18, 2007, 01:59 PM
Try the mullen w/o the curb and see if he's still happy. I put one of these on my pony (e.g. didn't hook up the curb) to see if it would stop his fussing when I got on.

Damned if he didn't take one or 2 fuss-steps and then just drop his head!

NOMIOMI1
Dec. 18, 2007, 05:32 PM
If he cant half-hault how are his haults? Are they prompt? One of the horses I ride is pony like and she needs some walk halts and trot halts every day to warm up off of the forehand.

Gracie
Dec. 18, 2007, 07:30 PM
Be sure to insist from the start on clean transitions. For example, if you want to canter from trot, then do so while maintaining the rhythm. If you want to canter from walk, then do so -- no trot jig steps allowed.

goeslikestink
Dec. 18, 2007, 07:40 PM
back to basic keep the horse soft with your hands and light in the leg use your seat
and give direction from your legs to push the horse from behind up into the bit
a horse thats hard in the mouth hasnt be tuaght properly so needs to go right back to basics before you can canter so he can get balanced using half halts in every transitions
this will collect him up
to start doing half halts go down gears into walk then half halt to stop nowhere for the horse to go but halt

thisalong with lenghtening ans shortrening his strides will balance him working the horse from his hinds to his poll so he ralexs the yaw
do not pull or jab the horse -- be soft in your hands and light in your legs

do you know how to do the half halt stride always use a square school for schooling then it s keep the horse striaght and forwards

goeslikestink
Dec. 18, 2007, 08:06 PM
the half halt for those that dont know how to perform one

start of in walk in an active walk in a striaght line with your legs close to your horse sides
but without actually pushing close your fingers on the reins and then soften immdeaitely so that theres no resistence to the horses mouth and at the same time push a littel firmer with both of you legs keep the contact with both reins to follow the movement the horse will you will feel the horse surge forward. to start with it takes a horse 3 or 4 strides to responsed to the checks with dinky fingers

it must always be a check never ever lead into the temptation to pull or hard pull or jab the horse

start 3/4 little finger checks with dinky fingers over 3/4 strides then over 2 then over 1
and eventually into the half stride no matter how long it takes
alway proceed a half stride with an active walk trot or canter or what ever
always try to mantian rtyhem and out line throughout the movement and be vigilent of any advasion which could be
if your horse lifts its head hs a hollow back, or shows other signs of discomfort its most probaably becuase your hands are set
as in rather than making the signal and following the movement in trot the movements the same again do it over 2/3 strides till mastered then do it in canter
start with check check check push push push over 2/3/4 strides
until you can go actively from a half stride

the practical side of this firendly pace along with trot is that the horse is fully balanced during different paces and change of pace is used and is one off ther basic movment in showing jumping which allow you to in form the horse as with any transition you are going to do something different - ie change of pace giving the horse a clear signal and direction

Valentina_32926
Dec. 20, 2007, 02:02 PM
i rode the pony today. Reiter, yes he almost fell on his face when he didn't have the reins to balance on (it isn't that far from the ground, lol!). i.e. he falls on the forehand and gets faster and faster. but we did have some decent departs today which helped. it would help if he understood half-halts, but he is still very bracing.

i liked merrygoround's tip of SI to canter depart. he is still a little shakey on the lateral work but it all helps. anyone have similar exercises?


Another one that works is do 1 step oif leg yield to outside then ask for canter depart. Both exercises make horse step UNDER their body with inside hind leg - gets them to carry their weight versus falling on nose. Also - be sure rider keeps shoulders back and doesn't lean forward during transition (and during ride).

ride-n-tx
Dec. 20, 2007, 10:14 PM
The pony was having hock problems, so he has since been retired. Thanks for all of your thoughts and ideas!

slc2
Dec. 21, 2007, 11:12 AM
That's good, that may have been why he did not want to carry himself, assuming anyone ever taught him how to carry himself, which is a big assumption....it's great the pony has someone like you who cares about him and his welfare!

Advising people to lengthen the reins til a horse isn't pulling, or to 'let go the reins' is the wrong advice.

The rider DOES indeed have to be very clever with his hands, and try very hard to supple the horse without giving him a 'fifth wheel', but it's hardly so simple as just let those babies flap in the breeze, and horsey will learn a valuable lesson if he falls on his face, and all will be well forever after.

That surprised reaction from the horse when the reins are let go - that's a danger signal. It's NOT a 'yay' moment. It's BAD. and it is NOT a solution. And no, before anyone starts screaming that I'm advocating the complete opposite - holding the horse up with a tight rein, I'm not advocating that, so don't even bother going there.

Some time ago I wrote that 'ball park' thing, where there was a a limit to how far the horse stretches out, a limit to what the reins lets him do, and a sort of flexible barrier at that limit, not entirely give, not entirely take, something much harder and more in the middle - just the right amount of give, just the right amount of take - and many times, help from an instructor to know WHERE that ballpark needs to END...and that ballpark needs to end WELL BEFORE that point where the horse is simply losing his balance and everything's going to hell in a bucket!

When the horse is off balance; letting the reins makes the horse MORE off balance. It is not just for pretty that one wants a horse balanced; being this off balance can cause the horse to stumble or even fall with the rider. Advising someone to just let go the reins and the horse will learn a lesson if he stumbles or falls is - it's irresponsible and dangerous advice. And it is given so many times here. This advice is made no better if it just so happens that once or twice the horse doesn't land on his face and somersault over on top of the rider; more's the pity, it just spreads the idea around that this is a really cool way to handle the problem. As so often is the case with horses, what SOUNDS logical just doesn't work. This doesn't work. I recall very well what happened when I followed this advice - I wound up on the ground, with the horse's back on top of me.

Horses learn to go more balanced by sensible, practical work at the walk and trot first and then at the canter, in simple basic things like bending, half halts, and learning to be softer and flexible in the hand - no, not overbending, no, not going in a false posture forced there by the reins, but really being through, really being supple in the classical sense, being BALANCED - there's a reason dressage exists. Basic, elementary dressage work develops balance, it's not possible to ask for 1-2 exercises, it's not possible to create it by dropping the reins, the best answer if one doesn't know how is 'get lessons' - it's a very general and broad concept that is the real answer to, 'how do I get this horse to stop pulling at the canter'.

It's not just using the reins that creates balance, of course, the hind quarters need to work harder to carry a horse in better balance, and the rider has to ride with his back, sitting upright and helping the horse to balance, and learning to 'hold the horse on his back', or 'hold the horse on his seat' with a steady, firm posture in the saddle.