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Flamboyant
Dec. 26, 2007, 11:02 PM
I have recently started dressage lessons and am quite enjoying it. However, I am having one issue I cannot solve. When I have a contact and start working on bending, my horse immediately slows down to a very slow pace. My leg seems to do very little. She goes well off of my leg in every other situation.

I have used a dressage whip in the past, which was my coach's suggestion, but I find my horse is too forward when I ride with one.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get her moving more forward while I have contact?

Update on page three!

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 26, 2007, 11:14 PM
Just throwing out a few possibilities -

(1) are you possibly inhibiting her when you ask for contact? ie leaning forward, or blocking with your seat, or something similar? Could there be something different about your position?

(2) you say this occurs when you ask for bending. Is it possibly a balance issue? If your mare (for example) is not very supple in her shoulders, she will have to slow down to maintain her balance.

Forward should come from behind, and that takes strength, the bending requires suppleness. Is it more difficult on one side? That may help you to decide where the problem is. And as far as too forward - the idea, I think, is to "gather up" and focus the forward energy. Think of it as being contained and recycled behind as opposed to shooting out the front end.

STF
Dec. 26, 2007, 11:20 PM
(1) are you possibly inhibiting her when you ask for contact? ie leaning forward, or blocking with your seat, or something similar? Could there be something different about your position?



I think so too. I bet your blocking her with the inside rein.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 26, 2007, 11:21 PM
I am very talented. I can block with more than just the inside rein!

Flamboyant
Dec. 26, 2007, 11:22 PM
Just throwing out a few possibilities -

(1) are you possibly inhibiting her when you ask for contact? ie leaning forward, or blocking with your seat, or something similar? Could there be something different about your position?

(2) you say this occurs when you ask for bending. Is it possibly a balance issue? If your mare (for example) is not very supple in her shoulders, she will have to slow down to maintain her balance.

Forward should come from behind, and that takes strength, the bending requires suppleness. Is it more difficult on one side? That may help you to decide where the problem is. And as far as too forward - the idea, I think, is to "gather up" and focus the forward energy. Think of it as being contained and recycled behind as opposed to shooting out the front end.

Of course, it could be me as I have not seen myself ride (I probably should try to get someone to video me, to see what is going on).

It possibly could also be balance for my horse. What exercises could I do to improve her balance?

She has had two months off and has only been in work for the last two weeks, so I wondered if it was because she wasn't as fit as she used to be, until I remembered I had the exact same problem (actually I have always had this problem when I would take up any contact) with her before.

She definitely identical on both sides.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 26, 2007, 11:32 PM
Forward, I think, must come first, before contact. I think it is important to get the hind end moving well, articulating, and the back swinging freely. Especially in winter, when weather precludes working consistently, and the footing precludes my horse moving about easily (he's outside 24/7), I tend to warm up, under saddle, by letting him stretch his back and just asking for forward, with little or no contact.

And they needn't be stiff or unsupple all over for there to be an issue - this is true for you as well. If you lock or tighten even just some of the fingers on one hand, you block everything.

My trainer had an interesting exercise for me to try: on the ground, gently massage a part of the horse - say the croup - then "feel" the corresponding part in your body. I think this helps you to be more aware of the horse's body when in the saddle. And, funny as this might sound, don't think of yourself as a two legged rider astride a four legged horse. Feel that you are four legged. This helped me release my "poll" - it is amazing how much your horse mimics you. This is another reason why groundwork is so incredibly useful.

retrofit
Dec. 27, 2007, 08:06 AM
It is easier for a horse to shuffle & back off when they bend instead of using their whole body. You need to have a more elastic contact and be quicker to correct that backing-off in order to keep her forward while she bends.

Think about driving a car (especially if you've ever had an old car without power steering). It's a lot easier to turn the wheel when you give it some gas. Same thing for the horse. Push her into a circle or bending line. Concentrate on the rhythm & thrust of the hind legs as you bend instead of concentrating on the bend.

This is just part of your learning curve with dressage. Keep at it!

slc2
Dec. 27, 2007, 08:34 AM
That's very good that you observe that and are eager to correct it.

This is a very common problem.

Just about every horse will slow down when the rider tries to work on bending and establishing that connection. Especially when it's a new thing it can be really hard for the rider to go forward and to keep bending and keep a contact.

Most horses - MOST - haven't been ridden 'into a connection'. To them, 'connection means stop', you take up a contact with the reins, and they stop. And they KEEP thinking that in the circles and alot of their work...the rider really needs to urge them to go forward INTO the connection, and teach them, 'hey, it's alright, you can go!' Usually horses like it very much once they figure out it's ok. It's just that they've been taught any time someone touches their mouth they should stop.

You aren't using enough leg, most likely. You're concentrating so much on doing bending and such, that you aren't riding forward enough with your leg.

Try 'building a bridge', meaning make kind of a transition from 'no contact' to 'a little contact' for the moment, and 'a little bending'.

Try this. Establish a very briskly forward posting trot, post on the inside diagonal so you can urge your horse forward more effectively. Take a very light, soft contact with the reins. Does he slow down - push him forward to the correct rhythm. Ride as large a circle as your arena allows - or ride around the arena - the whole arena, making very shallow, wide corners, not riding deep into the corners.

Bend only by shortening your inside rein ONE INCH - just barely enough that you can BARELY see the shine of the horse's inside eye. Just a bit of it, you should not see his whole eye - that's too much bend.

Now GO! Go REALLY forward. More than you might think you should - urge the horse out to the bit and urge him to take a contact, and when he does, say 'good boy!' and go on- more! Do that for just a few minutes, and then quit, and walk on a loose rein, encouraging your horse to put his head down and really stretch the reins, EVEN if he pulls on the reins.

Most people - MOST - they slow down on circles, though most people after a while, get so they don't slow down on large circles, only smaller ones - the goal is to keep the same tempo, connection and forward activity on any figure - large circle, small circle, straight, corner, etc.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 27, 2007, 09:01 AM
slc2 - great post!!! It's such a hard concept for me, that there's flow to the aids, not that you give an aid, stop, start. Riding the hind end through so that your horse brings your hands and his mouth to you - what a wonderful feeling when it happens, but so opposite what so many of us do!

Pookah
Dec. 27, 2007, 09:10 AM
Kudos to you for realizing this and fixing it now. This is really the basis for doing dressage correctly for many levels to come, so you are very smart to really fix it right now. You already have a lot of good suggestions. I often tell people to think of asking the horse to take a bigger step with every stride; for some reason, thinking of continually increasing the horse's stride tends to make you push the horse for forward without rushing, and to do it continuously. Working on these concepts outside of the ring sometimes helps, too, because both you and the horse tend to "think" more forward outside of an arena.

BarbB
Dec. 27, 2007, 09:11 AM
You say that when you use the dressage whip she is 'too forward'
Are you comfortable with the feeling of impulsion when she is really using her rear and pushing off every stride?
If you are not totally comfortable with the energy then get comfortable with it first. Encourage her to go forward, push, use her rear and forget about bending. Work on contact and connection with forward so she understands what you want and you are comfortable with the feeling.
Then start asking for bend.
An exercise that I learned to keep the motor running while you are bending or turning or whatever is to do big loopy serpentines rather than work on a circle. Concentrate on straight and forward when you are preparing to change the bend in anticipation of the turn. If you feel a surge of impulsion at that point then she is off balance when bending and/or turning and when she regains her balance at that point she can use her rear better. When you can do the loopy turns and changes of direction without feeling like she is stalling and starting and sputtering then you are keeping her balanced. Then you can move on.
I used to work around the jumps in the arena. Big circle here, little circle there, zigzag around another jump, long straight line. It taught me what he felt like when he was balanced, or off balance and showed me when I was bending his neck instead of his body and what that did to his balance.
Often on a circle the balance just gets worse and worse as they tip in and the engine just dies.

slc2
Dec. 27, 2007, 10:21 AM
Well, that's the problem.

'Going forward' from the whip isn't impulsion. Going fast isn't impulsion.

I understand that many people new to dressage may be afraid of what is really just a 'working trot', a bit more active and faster than the ordinary trot a relaxed, unfresh horse offers on his own. It can be quite a shock after a western jog and lope or a hunt seat trot with a 'daisy cutter' action and a long low stride.

And I understand they may feel uncomfortable if they just sense the horse is 'falling in' when turning or scurrying along taking quick, short strides into the ground that may seem very fast and out of control. I think most beginners would be surprisingly comfortable at a canter or gallop if the horse was balanced, but they don't know how to balance the horse, and they're unlikely to be on a horse that balances itself or is so schooled that it balances itself for even part of the ride (that sort isn't usually a school horse). All this is unlikely to be correct unless the student is sitting on a longe horse being handled by a very skilled trainer.

It's unlikely the horse will be balanced and straight enough to do impulsion in most cases with a beginner rider. It's not realistic to expect that.

And for a beginner, I mean someone new to dressage, generating impulsion isn't something they're going to be doing for a long time. Not real impulsion, which is harnessed energy, contained energy, all that wanting to go forward meeting an educated hand, and half halts.

It involves a whole big huge slice of the training pyramid, something it's not fair to expect someone to create right away.

Impulsion involves a great deal of tuning of the aids and coordination of the aids, and a super position on the rider - stable and still, going with the motion yet not interfering with the balance. And it involves a trained horse - if I understand right, the OP's own horse isn't trained in dressage, and she goes home and rides it after a dressage lesson, and tries to duplicate what she felt in the lessons - is that right, OP?

In that case, it's quite likely that the horse simply IS too fast when she picks up a whip. Many horses associate whips with 'you better move quick and be nervous!' rather than it being an encouragement or reinforcement for a leg aid.

And in most cases, it's going to be a darn long time before the rider can create activity and meet it with a hand, create half halts and channel that into impulsion!

The fundamental principle here is you can't create impulsion with a whip. You can create activity, but you can't create impulsion.

Impulsion is created by creating activity and MEETING it with the hand. Making half halts and recycling that energy. The 'circle of the aids' is no baloney. It's real.

At times with impulsion, the horse has a really very frank 'contact', it at times can be quite strong, but it's a flexible giving connection within that strongness, and it's not that the horse is leaning on the bit for balance, he's just that good at going to the bit and stepping both his hind legs into the bit.

What a beginner does in his lessons, is to work to have a little contact with the bit, and some activity - a marching, active gait in which the legs are lifted clearly from the ground, the joints of the hock and knee are bent and straightened freely and smoothly, and the horse happily and clearly accepts the bit, taking a contact on both reins, bending left when circling left, bending right when going right. And if the new rider can make all that happen, they need to get a Nobel Peace Prize! It's enough expectation to just do that at first.

That's one of the big pieces of impulsion that has to be there, but it isn't impulsion...not quite....not yet. It's a darn good start, though. But that IS all one expects of a beginner at dressage.

JB
Dec. 27, 2007, 10:33 AM
I have used a dressage whip in the past, which was my coach's suggestion, but I find my horse is too forward when I ride with one.
Is she too forward? Is there such a thing as too forward? ;) Are you just not used to what forward really is? I can tell you that coming from Hunter Land, *I* had no idea what forward really was! :eek: Or is she just rushing off her feet and going fast ;)


Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get her moving more forward while I have contact?
I have been dealing with this with my WB gelding for a while now. It's a challenge. Part of how you deal with this will depend on your definition of "she's too forward with a whip". If she's just fast, then IMHO don't worry about the contact for now, but get her to accept you having the whip and moving off your leg first.

You will have to use a whip (or spurs, but whips are better for this IMHO) if she is slugging off your leg when you take contact. As others talked about, there are lots of ways your body can block her, but with my WB he has 2 lines of thought when allowed - hand = slow/stop, and leg = go, but getting the concept of hand = containment AND leg = go is what we're working on ;) I use the whip...a LOT. He's getting it.

CatOnLap
Dec. 27, 2007, 10:36 AM
Moving off too fast from the whip is a desensitization problem in training. It is a different problem to correct. Myself, I would use that energy initially to correct the lack of forward, but the horse would be desensitized to carrying the whip within a ride or two. So it would be transitional to the proper aides only.

The quickest way to get your horse going properly? No one is going to teach you on the web in a thousand words what your coach can teach you in person in a few minutes at the beginning of each ride.

(As the OP says she is a beginner,) it might be very helpful to have your trainer or coach ride the horse for a few moments first to establish a balanced forward way of going, then have you get on so you get the feel. You are training the horse every moment you ride, so right now, you have trained her to go slower with contact and that is not easy for a beginner to correct, as you have discovered.

That is the fastest and best way I know of learning how to correct the problem on your own horse.

If you were learning in another country, a properly schooled horse would be used to teach you this. There are very few true school horses available on this side of the pond.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 27, 2007, 11:12 AM
What an informative thread for me as well!

Now that I understand the difference - the "fast" is kind of falling out the front. I know, I'm a geek, but I try and carry this mental image from my old chem texts - the part where, in a reaction, the intermediates or products are at their most stable. In chem, that's "low energy," so for dressage I think of it as "containable, focused energy" - so that you could, in theory, go from a balanced halt straight into a balanced trot.

slc2
Dec. 27, 2007, 11:27 AM
Desnsitizing horse from whip - I don't think of it as desensitizing, so much as teaching the horse what the proper response to the whip is. Not run away, horse, but make energy, push harder with your hind legs.

Conservation of matter, I suppose it's really conservation of energy though, if no matter what you do, all you are doing is just shaping or channeling impulsion in different ways.

The key is not producing activity - anyone can do that. Yah horsey yah!

The key is capturing it. That is what makes it impulsion. Capturing it without destroying it(too much hand) or distorting it(making crooked)?

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle sort of?

cuatx55
Dec. 27, 2007, 12:15 PM
This is very common!!! Make sure you mentally and physically "get" what tempo is the correct pace for your horse. Get a portable metronome and set it to that pace. Videotape your lessons and see if you can tell what it looks like when he is forward vs lagging behind. So then you will have a clear understanding of the goal...How to keep this momentum?

-NO NAGGING with the legs.
-Keep a connection with the mouth that contains but does not block the energy.
-keep the thighs loose and ankles supple to also keep the energy flowing
-INSIST on prompt response to the leg and respect for the whip (sometimes you have to just do it and not worry about the horse. They need discipline that is fair and kind...as long as you are in a training program with a responsible coach you aren't going to be too mean to your horse.)
-Work out any lingering tension in the arms and hands so you create a spot for the horse to be
-Do not work on too many circles until you are really really forward and consistent in the tempo on the long-sides.
-Give yourself time! Months! Years? It does really take a looooooong time to get this. Getting a good connection with proper energy is quite a hard thing to do.
-Keep the horse strait but overall do not worry about the contact while you are establishing the "go button"...gradually you can introduce contact slowly.
-Work on picking up the reins after a free walk so your horse doesn't go "WAHHHHH" and throw the head up. This will help your overall connection and get the horse to realize he can trust you.

Flamboyant
Dec. 27, 2007, 02:12 PM
Wow! There is definitely a lot of very useful information in this thread!


You aren't using enough leg, most likely. You're concentrating so much on doing bending and such, that you aren't riding forward enough with your leg.

To be honest, I do not have enough strength to be using any more leg. My coach saw this and that is why she suggested the dressage whip. I spend the entire time squeezing/kicking trying so hard to ask my horse to move forward, I find it difficult to even concentrate on the bending.


Impulsion involves a great deal of tuning of the aids and coordination of the aids, and a super position on the rider - stable and still, going with the motion yet not interfering with the balance. And it involves a trained horse - if I understand right, the OP's own horse isn't trained in dressage, and she goes home and rides it after a dressage lesson, and tries to duplicate what she felt in the lessons - is that right, OP?


My horse is definitely not a dressage horse. She has done hunter in the past with her last owner, and very little with me. I do not have lessons on a dressage horse, I have them on my own horse and a dressage coach comes out to me. This is partly making things a little more difficult, but I do not have a dressage barn in the area to even take lessons at.


You say that when you use the dressage whip she is 'too forward'
Are you comfortable with the feeling of impulsion when she is really using her rear and pushing off every stride?


Sorry, I should have been more clear. With a dressage whip, she gets a bit rushy. Transitions look horrible, especially the trot to canter, as she rushes into them. She does not settle at all (unless we are walking) the entire time I hold the dressage whip.


Most horses - MOST - haven't been ridden 'into a connection'. To them, 'connection means stop', you take up a contact with the reins, and they stop. And they KEEP thinking that in the circles and alot of their work...the rider really needs to urge them to go forward INTO the connection, and teach them, 'hey, it's alright, you can go!' Usually horses like it very much once they figure out it's ok. It's just that they've been taught any time someone touches their mouth they should stop.


Yes, that is exactly it. My horse is very used to any pressure on the reins means slow down or stop. It is a whole new world to ask her to move forward with some pressure on the reins.



(As the OP says she is a beginner,) it might be very helpful to have your trainer or coach ride the horse for a few moments first to establish a balanced forward way of going, then have you get on so you get the feel. You are training the horse every moment you ride, so right now, you have trained her to go slower with contact and that is not easy for a beginner to correct, as you have discovered.


That's actually definitely a good idea to try!

slc2
Dec. 27, 2007, 02:19 PM
You have a problem. The instructor has said to use a whip, your legs aren't strong enough yet to go without, and you don't want to use a whip, because the horse feels too fast then.

Look at it that way, and it's an unsolvable problem.:)

And you'd have the same problem whether the trainer rides your horse or not.

Soooo...How about looking at it a different way?

~Freedom~
Dec. 27, 2007, 02:27 PM
I have recently started dressage lessons and am quite enjoying it. However, I am having one issue I cannot solve. When I have a contact and start working on bending, my horse immediately slows down to a very slow pace. My leg seems to do very little. She goes well off of my leg in every other situation.

I have used a dressage whip in the past, which was my coach's suggestion, but I find my horse is too forward when I ride with one.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get her moving more forward while I have contact?


Be nice if you could get a video so we aren't just talking in a vacuum.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 27, 2007, 03:23 PM
Just asking...as you may have some specific issues.

My horse had to learn that the dressage whip was an aid, an alert to the muscles that I wanted to activate. I best learned how to do this myself by having my trainer work with me on the ground, doing lateral movements - I'm so spatially/left/right challenged that the whip was used as a "This muscle group gets activated" statement. However, poor Ted obviously had been exposed to a different sort of use for any whip. Any use of the whip - just raising it, or moving it, was a signal for him to escape. We spent a while on the ground simply desensitizing him, so that his entire focus wasn't on that stupid whip! (In fact, I never used the whip as an aid before, I would only use it in a show, and then only to carry in whichever hand was the direction I needed to turn at C after the initial halt, salute).

Another issue I have, personally, is that when I try harder, I tighten the very muscles that should be relaxed. So I think I'm asking for something, but in reality, I inhibit. And then, there are degrees of asking - ideally, I want my horse to respond to a 1 or 2 aid, as opposed to a 7,8, 9, 10 aid. But if you keep asking 5,5,5,5 all the time, it's just noise, regardless how sensitive they are.

I have to say, though, I am really impressed. You're just starting dressage and you're thinking about these things. I didn't even know enough to ask and I thought I was doing First Level.

slc2
Dec. 27, 2007, 03:47 PM
It is kind of amazing, frankly. Makes me think the OP has a lot of potential in dressage:D.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 27, 2007, 03:56 PM
I know, I know!!! Not like me!!!

I keep thinking, what if I had started when I really was 26????

I have this thought at the back of my mind, that Ted keeps thinking, "If I can just hold on long enough, eventually she'll "get" it...she can't be that stupid and clueless!"

slc2
Dec. 27, 2007, 06:57 PM
Baloney...YOUR horse sits up nights thinking, 'God, Please don't EVER let me get sold', LOL!

I actually think a great many horses really like their riders and don't particularly care that they make a mistake now and again or aren't perfect. I think horses like their familiar routine and their familiar people. I don't think that they care if we're not Olympians.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 27, 2007, 09:13 PM
I think you are right. It is amazing to me how tolerant horses are, but still be educators. Once Ted knows there is a better way to do something, if I have achieved it even only once, it's as if he maintains me to that standard. But he also tolerates me crawling my way back to that same level, trying to figure out how I got there the first time.

Must be all those peeps.

ride-n-tx
Dec. 27, 2007, 09:15 PM
slc2, i think that is the best thing i have read on this forum!

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 27, 2007, 09:27 PM
I agree - I also found the descriptions very helpful - thanks again!

JB
Dec. 27, 2007, 10:18 PM
To be honest, I do not have enough strength to be using any more leg. My coach saw this and that is why she suggested the dressage whip. I spend the entire time squeezing/kicking trying so hard to ask my horse to move forward, I find it difficult to even concentrate on the bending.
Your horse can feel a fly land on the end of her hair. She can feel your leg. The deal is to train her to be as responsive to move forward (sanely) off your light leg as she is to shake the fly off.


My horse is definitely not a dressage horse. She has done hunter in the past with her last owner, and very little with me.This issue isn't about dressage vs hunters (vs anything else). A hunter should be just as responsive off your leg as a dressage horse. Up to about second level, there really isn't much difference between a Hunter and a Dressager ;)


With a dressage whip, she gets a bit rushy. Transitions look horrible, especially the trot to canter, as she rushes into them. She does not settle at all (unless we are walking) the entire time I hold the dressage whip.
What does she do if you're just carrying the whip - is she more "looky"? Just the same? A little more tense? If so, start there - carry it with you ALL the time. Use it to rub her all over from the ground. She has to learn to accept its presence. Beyond that it's a matter of continuing to use it if she ignores your leg and telling her that running off isn't allowed. Rushing into a transition isn't acceptable ever, doesn't matter if it's rushing off your leg or spurs or the whip :)


Yes, that is exactly it. My horse is very used to any pressure on the reins means slow down or stop. It is a whole new world to ask her to move forward with some pressure on the reins.Coming from Hunterland, I totally understand this. I might suggest getting her hot off your leg first, then add the contact you're looking for. That way you have the Go to back up her perceived Whoa. Trying to take the contact without having Go gets very difficult.

Flamboyant
Dec. 28, 2007, 12:57 AM
It is kind of amazing, frankly. Makes me think the OP has a lot of potential in dressage:D.

Thanks for the inspiration! You just might be seeing more of these types of threads from me in the future; I really do thrive on learning more!

You know, I've ridden for years (about eight now), but I think I have always wanted to do dressage deep down. When my instructor was talking about how I needed to be harsher with my hands to get my horse into a frame, I actually used less pressure on the reins, cause I knew there was a better way out there! I read lots and lots about how it should be, left my barn (as they did not allow outside coaches), and went in search of a dressage coach. After two lessons (with two different coaches, who I cannot decide between), I am just thriving to learn more. I do not want to find the quick way like I had been previously taught, I want to find the RIGHT way because I know when me and my horse get it, it will be the best feeling in the world!

All these years I have been just trotting or cantering around the ring, not feeling like I was actually achieving much with my horse, and now I actually get an opportunity to feel like I am doing SOMETHING!


Your horse can feel a fly land on the end of her hair. She can feel your leg. The deal is to train her to be as responsive to move forward (sanely) off your light leg as she is to shake the fly off.


Except without any contact, she IS very responsive to my leg. So, I need to teach her now that just because she has some pressure on the reins, it does not mean she cannot maintain that forward motion we had before!



This issue isn't about dressage vs hunters (vs anything else). A hunter should be just as responsive off your leg as a dressage horse. Up to about second level, there really isn't much difference between a Hunter and a Dressager ;)


I always knew they were quite similar. Except, I have never really been a true hunter (even though I was technically taking hunter lessons for many years) and although my horse was a hunter, she has not been doing too much with me for the last two years I have owned her.



What does she do if you're just carrying the whip - is she more "looky"? Just the same? A little more tense? If so, start there - carry it with you ALL the time. Use it to rub her all over from the ground. She has to learn to accept its presence. Beyond that it's a matter of continuing to use it if she ignores your leg and telling her that running off isn't allowed. Rushing into a transition isn't acceptable ever, doesn't matter if it's rushing off your leg or spurs or the whip :)


You know, its funny. She is absolutely fine with having the whip just around her. I have used it to school her in hand before and she doesn't bat an eye at it. I can even ride with it while she is walking and she doesn't even seem to know it is there. It is as soon as we start trotting that she becomes rushy.

JB
Dec. 28, 2007, 10:30 AM
All these years I have been just trotting or cantering around the ring, not feeling like I was actually achieving much with my horse, and now I actually get an opportunity to feel like I am doing SOMETHING!
I know exactly what you mean - just wait until you and your horse start getting this "elusive" impulsion and acceptance of hand and leg - the world you will find that opens in front of you is :eek: :eek: :D


Except without any contact, she IS very responsive to my leg. So, I need to teach her now that just because she has some pressure on the reins, it does not mean she cannot maintain that forward motion we had before!Can you define "she IS very responsive to my leg"? I think it might help here. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being "go you slug, go!" and 10 being "wheeeee!" (neither of which are desirable), how does she react in the walk/trot transition, and the trot/canter transition? What does her head do, what does her back do?


You know, its funny. She is absolutely fine with having the whip just around her. I have used it to school her in hand before and she doesn't bat an eye at it. I can even ride with it while she is walking and she doesn't even seem to know it is there. It is as soon as we start trotting that she becomes rushy.
This is what makes me think that her "responsiveness" off your leg might be a little more rushy than it is correct, but I might be wrong. Can you rub her with it while on her? Under what circumstances do you use the whip, and where exactly do you use it?

LarissaL
Dec. 28, 2007, 12:16 PM
I can even ride with it while she is walking and she doesn't even seem to know it is there. It is as soon as we start trotting that she becomes rushy.

It is probably worth noting that some people have trouble keeping their soft balanced hands when adding a whip into the mix. Is there the possibility that your hands become a bit more unsteady in the more active gaits with the whip? Or that when you do try to or have tried to correct her with the whip, you inadvertently jangle the bit around? Perhaps she could be associating the whip with not only the desire for forward but also confusion with the bit.

goeslikestink
Dec. 28, 2007, 04:57 PM
Baloney...YOUR horse sits up nights thinking, 'God, Please don't EVER let me get sold', LOL!

I actually think a great many horses really like their riders and don't particularly care that they make a mistake now and again or aren't perfect. I think horses like their familiar routine and their familiar people. I don't think that they care if we're not Olympians.

sl2 is right
drop the whip and use your legs
look mate 1-- 1st we have to get the horse going - some people ride as they right therefore horse is advasive on the oppsite rien so you have to give as in you give horse becomes even
and there fore can bend

if the thing is lazy or to sharp then you got to be sharper with your aids simplest way
is to kick and click at the same time-- into gallop-- yes folks into gallop bring back to walk
whilse doing this keep your legs still and light and hands soft as butter

kick and click and asked again do it till he gets it in his brain as a good idea
then he will learn to go of your heal--
its not being strong in the leg itsd knowing how to use your legs
once hes go it into his brain he will go off a tweak of your heal its that simple so ditch the whip
besides one whip only keeps the horse straight on one side--
if i was on your neddy i owuld use 2-- open up y thumbs keeps the whip on rump close my tumbs keeps the whips off rump
and the horse has nowhere to go but dead ahead so unless you using your whip correctly ditch it and use your legs after all if competeing we cant use whips

slc2
Dec. 28, 2007, 05:47 PM
I will say something that sounds harsh - the only way your legs will get stronger is if you use them. I think I kinda agree with goeslikestink - at least based on the descriptions given here.

Put down the whip, use your leg, keep using them til you get the result and the tempo. Do it for 2 minutes, the next ride do it for 3 minutes, and so on.

If you feel uncomfortable with what the whip does, put it down, for now.

But seriously - even Heather Mason, already an accomplished dressage rider in America, when she went to Germany, said 'I was not exactly expecting to go that forward'.

When you're new to it, the right amount of activity can feel really surprising. I know a lot of people don't want to go like that, because it involves trusting yourself and the horse. But eventually, yes, you will find that 'a correct trot' is really surpsingly forward.

I recall with Bionic Pony, having a clinic with Carol Grant, I think it was. And she kept saying, 'come on, make that pony move!'

At one point, I felt like I was flying around the ring, I was panting, the pony seemed to not even touch his feet to the ground, the scenery was FLYING by, I had tears in my eyes from the wind, I could see his damned KNEES for heaven's sake, and she yelled out 'THAT'S....NOT....ENOUGH - COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!! That is BARELY a working trot!'

LOL! But oh god did that change things. REALLY. It makes everything so much easier for the horse to do. And once used to it they love it. Work becomes a time for them to enjoy the poetry of their own bodies.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 28, 2007, 06:15 PM
When you do get that feeling - omg - it is so different. There is just so - much - that is there.

egontoast
Dec. 28, 2007, 06:24 PM
Um...yeah...totally:confused:


Put down the whip, use your leg, keep using them til you get the result and the tempo. Do it for 2 minutes, the next ride do it for 3 minutes, and so on.



Ah, no. The kick,squeeze harder and harder does not work. WRONG!

You train your horse to go from the light aid by employing the whip as back up. There is a sequence to get there and almost any decent horse trainer can help you with that.

Kicking harder and harder DOES NOT WORK. PM if you want. I don't feel like debating this basic training method.

slc2
Dec. 28, 2007, 06:28 PM
ok, so after the pony, I get Mr. Evil. And Mr. Evil actually had a way of making it SEEM like he was really going, he'd actually grunt and huff and puff and really make a lot of effort and I'd be up there thinking, 'god...dang...great', and some little kid on an arabian with 4 inch long legs would go mincing past me taking tiny little steps....now THAT was wierd.

Once...ONCE, i was riding him and my friend's greek orthodox priest father comes walking down to the ring looking for her, and my trainer yells, 'SEE? You're going so *** ****** slow I had to call a priest to give you the last rights!'

Finally after years of lectures along the lines of 'CAN YOU IMAGINE YOU MUST DELIVER THE DIPTHERIA SERUM TO THE SICK CHILDREN IN NOME....BEFORE THEY ALL DIE??', l one day I just sort of figured him out and we go just FLYING with this half pass across the whole ring, my trainer says, 'Nice to see you GOING SOMEWHERE!'

The only thing that's funnier than us trying to get all this is the stuff our trainers say about it.

JB
Dec. 28, 2007, 09:05 PM
Ah, no. The kick,squeeze harder and harder does not work. WRONG!

You train your horse to go from the light aid by employing the whip as back up. There is a sequence to get there and almost any decent horse trainer can help you with that.

Kicking harder and harder DOES NOT WORK. PM if you want. I don't feel like debating this basic training method.

I agree here. If I had never started using a whip, I would not have a forward horse in the least. And trust me, it's NOT due to lack of my leg strength. It's NOT about leg strength.

slc2
Dec. 28, 2007, 10:02 PM
Sorry, no, a beginner should NOT be training their horse to light, 'wind-of-my-boot' aids, fine tuning the horse to run from the wind of his boot.

No. Not til she's a LOT stronger. And that takes time 6 months or more (depends on how often the rider rides, and how vigorously) - it is a huge transition to go from another type of riding to dressage.

And no - the aids are not backed up with the whip. Not on a horse the rider says the whip causes horrible transitions and a scrambling, frantic gait.

There is a time when that is appropriate, there's no indication that's now.

You need strength in your legs to nail your dressage position. Use your legs. Squeeze, tap, tighten it up, loosen it up and use it soft and loose, etc. That is what makes the riders leg. Your leg is what strts to make your position. If instead of using it every time you start out by using the whip you won't develop your leg, your fitness OR your position. Your horse responds to your leg in a way you're comfortable with, so that's the best thing to do right now.

Each rider needs to be doing something that's appropriate for where they're at. If the rider is uncomfortable with what the whip does to her horse right now, the first and foremost is that she be doing something she CAN do right now. Something she's confident in and can pull off, something that improves her right now for down the road. Position horse and rider for success.

ride-n-tx
Dec. 28, 2007, 10:57 PM
i too came from the hunter world so i know what you mean. i agree with egontoast and JB on use of the whip. first of all walloping your horse on her sides with your boots and spurs is painful for them and is against the whole idea of working with the horse towards less resistance. second of all it is disruptive to your seat to be constantly trying to kick the animal and will just push her on her forehand. escalating the intensity of your leg aid does not work! the more you use your legs the more you will get in their way and block the horse. besides, the OP has indicated that she is a competent rider and she can walk trot and canter. it's not like she can't ride a horse at all!

if you want to get her sensitive to your leg keep a secure position and just encourage her forward with your legs (without altering your seat!) and reinforce with the whip. the reason that i know this is because i have a horse that can be quite a slug. i realized that when i used too much leg it threw me out of balance enough that it was hard for him to give me the forward that i was asking for. it takes some coordination to maintain your body position while giving gentle squeezes, but you will get good results.

it is much easier to work with energy that is already there than to have to create it from scratch. if she is more forward with the whip, great! just work on redirecting that energy into a round, well balanced frame with impulsion.

Flamboyant
Dec. 29, 2007, 01:59 PM
Can you define "she IS very responsive to my leg"? I think it might help here. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being "go you slug, go!" and 10 being "wheeeee!" (neither of which are desirable), how does she react in the walk/trot transition, and the trot/canter transition? What does her head do, what does her back do?

This is what makes me think that her "responsiveness" off your leg might be a little more rushy than it is correct, but I might be wrong. Can you rub her with it while on her? Under what circumstances do you use the whip, and where exactly do you use it?

Well, she does things pretty quickly when I ask. When I think canter and add a tiny bit of outside leg, she canters. Now and then it may take a couple of strides before she does canter. So maybe I do need to work on her responsiveness.


It is probably worth noting that some people have trouble keeping their soft balanced hands when adding a whip into the mix. Is there the possibility that your hands become a bit more unsteady in the more active gaits with the whip? Or that when you do try to or have tried to correct her with the whip, you inadvertently jangle the bit around? Perhaps she could be associating the whip with not only the desire for forward but also confusion with the bit.

That is very possible. My hands are not as steady with a whip as they are without.


The kick,squeeze harder and harder does not work. WRONG!

You train your horse to go from the light aid by employing the whip as back up. There is a sequence to get there and almost any decent horse trainer can help you with that.

Kicking harder and harder DOES NOT WORK. PM if you want. I don't feel like debating this basic training method.

I do understand both sides to this argruement, but I think I am starting to think that using a whip for a while might be a good idea. I kick and I kick and I kick, but it doesn't make anything better. If anything, she might just be learning that she can ignore my aids.


it is much easier to work with energy that is already there than to have to create it from scratch. if she is more forward with the whip, great! just work on redirecting that energy into a round, well balanced frame with impulsion.

That makes a lot of sense. When I work on bending, I spend most of the time trying to use my leg more or kicking to just get her to move forward and not spending the time working on the bending I was trying to work on.



Each rider needs to be doing something that's appropriate for where they're at. If the rider is uncomfortable with what the whip does to her horse right now, the first and foremost is that she be doing something she CAN do right now. Something she's confident in and can pull off, something that improves her right now for down the road. Position horse and rider for success.

It's not that I am uncomfortable with what the whip does, rather it is just that it does not have the results I wished it did. But then again, I have only used a whip a couple of times and never stuck with it because at that point I had no reason to be using a whip.

egontoast
Dec. 29, 2007, 03:06 PM
This article describes pretty well the method used by many to train the horse to go from a lighter aid and to avoid the trap of kicking harder and harder, thereby dulling the horse to your aids.

http://www.todayshorse.com/Articles/HorseFrontDriver.html

You need not train the horse to go from your windy leg as slc fears. You train the horse to go from whatever aid , such as a squeeze, that you wish him to go from. You have to be disciplined and consistant and never forget to give the horse the chance to go from the light aid.

Rusty Stirrup
Dec. 30, 2007, 06:45 AM
Egontoast's post is right. Don't go down the more leg road. To me it sounds like a fitness issue at this point (you said the horse has only been back in work a two weeks). If the horse when asked, feels 'too forward' maybe work on the longe for the rider's confidence is called for. You must really be thinking forward also. Can you hack out in the open?

slc2
Dec. 30, 2007, 08:45 AM
yeah, i know. don't use more leg, use whip. very classic, very correct. right by the book.

if your legs are that weak, how will they ever get in shape if you never use them? using more leg is not how the person should ride forever, and i agree it isn't the ultimate goal - but nor and i talking about clubbing your horse to death with your legs or hurting them, as someone accused me of.

i've seen instructor after instructor insist their new dressage riders use their legs to get fitter - it works, for hunt seat converts, it's almost a necessity, not only to get them fit, but to break up that hunter perch, soften their ankles, just get their bodies moving independently instead of all in a unit - this is a really serious problem for hunt seat converts - they don't use their legs in the same way as a dressage rider. if they do use their legs this way, their position is stronger and more correct, and they are more secure and deeper in the saddle. they're fitter, softer, and more correct in the saddle.

the old story is when switching from hunt seat to dressage, i moved to a new town and rode in a hunt seat lesson and the instructor was screaming, 'This is the ONLY PERSON IN THE CLASS WHO IS USING HER LEGS PROPERLY', and the next day - the next DAY, in a dressage lesson, the dressage instructor put her hand on my shoulder and said, 'you have GOT to learn to use your legs!' ideally, it's through longe lessons, exercises in the saddle - AND putting down your whip.

egontoast
Dec. 30, 2007, 09:11 AM
yeah, many of us have heard, multiple times, # 6547? in the ever changeable self congratulatory anecdote collection. Not every situation is exactly like something out of another person's life story.

This is not a question of what's 'classical', it's a question of what works.

Leena
Dec. 30, 2007, 09:21 AM
Soory to catch it late and while I did not read everything here are my thoughts:

Getting a horse forward request a good control of the engine; the horse has to respond to a light leg.
Having said that the biggest ennemy is hands and rider position. When hands are not quiet, when rider does not have independant seat, he won't be able to move his horse forward while managing the contact. The horse won't go on the bit with such an erratic rider, loosing balance, getting instable hands.

If you want to improve your horse, get yourself longed, improve your rider stability and then you will be able to understand the movement and become effective.

I just sold a good 1st level mare, very forward and within one month with a supposely riding in contact, she was behind the legs, behind the bit, almost behind the barn. It took me 5 minutes to put her back to work but the new owner has to improve and get longed a lot otherwise they won't go anywhere.

Good luck !

JB
Dec. 30, 2007, 10:05 AM
I agree that every rider needs to have a certain amount of leg strength, because strength = control. However, it seems that some folks are assuming that this rider has weak little fly legs. IMHO there are better ways to develop a stronger leg - stirrupless riding, bareback riding, off-horse fitness - because to try to develop a stronger squeezing leg WHILE trying to get said horse hot off her leg is going to result in a horse who becomes more and more dead to the leg, most likely. And, face it, some horses NEED something more than the leg. Like I said, leg alone would have NEVER gotten the forward that I have now (and we still need more!), and I do not have weak legs by any means - I run, use the elliptical, can squat with 145lb, can do extensions with 100lb, and can do leg curls with 65lb. Not exactly weak in any direction.

EqTrainer
Dec. 30, 2007, 10:41 AM
:lol::lol::lol:
Oh yes, it is true - JB is one strong woman! She makes me look puny. If it were about having stronger legs her horse would have been much, much more forward when I met them. Instead, she was pushing him more and more with her leg.. and he was sucking back more and more. She knows better now!

Strength in your core is essential. Strength in your LEG, well, not so much. Enough strength to control your movements is necessary, enough strength to kick when necessary is necessary. But if I am looking for a rider to be stronger it is usually in the middle of their body, not the bottom.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 30, 2007, 11:30 AM
Absolutely. because otherwise, how could riders who are parapalegic or without the use of their legs get their horse on the bit. And they do.

EqTrainer
Dec. 30, 2007, 12:19 PM
Absolutely. because otherwise, how could riders who are parapalegic or without the use of their legs get their horse on the bit. And they do.

Another one of the great mysteries of dressage revealed, DGRH :winkgrin:

It's your seat, not your leg, that gets the horse on the bit.

cinder88
Dec. 30, 2007, 12:26 PM
Are you from the "more leg", "stronger leg" school of thought? If you are, you're traveling down an exhausting road. Do you really think you can squeeeeeze a lengthening out of your horse? The fact is that you don't make a 1200 pound animal do anything. You teach him a non-verbal language and train him to respond to the words in that language through repetition and reward.

This is Jane Savoie in the article Egon linked. She makes a lot of sense. Get her two "Cross-training" books...they are fantastic for people starting into dressage from other disciplines.

Cinder

PS...when you get to the teaching of the half-halt, ask us what we think of the 3 second rule... ;(

slc2
Dec. 30, 2007, 03:24 PM
I am not from the 'if it don't move use a stronger leg' school (worked with someone for years whose favorite phrase was 'don't ride like a *** ****** pony clubber', as a local pony club instructor had all her kids lifting their legs off their horses and thumping them resoundingly down on the horse - so loud it spooked other horses in the ring) either and I understand the other points being made. And I'm still stickin' with my story. if every time you want to go more you instantly go to the whip, you will never get any leg, and some day, you will not be permitted to use a whip in a class, or you will forget your whip, and you won't be able to get your horse to go. someday you may be on a horse that doesn't tolerate a whip. there is a point when the rider does need to develop some leg, even if he tries to fool himself into thinking he'll never need it 'because you should ride with light aids'. it is a misconception and a twisting of riding principles to say that since you should ride with light aids, you should always go to your whip so quick.

it isn't brute strength one is after at all, but breaking down the position of the rider so parts of the body can move independently (the same reason a very effective exercise is to ride with one hand lifted over one's head or in front of one's face, and uh, yeah, i'm not suggesting that's a correct way to ride, it's an exercise too), strengthening the smaller muscles in the leg and core. i know weight lifters than can leg press 600 lbs and they can't give a leg aid to a horse. it's not brute strength at all - it's freeing up and specific muscles. rest assured, i don't expect any of you to agree, and that's fine.

egontoast
Dec. 30, 2007, 03:40 PM
The whip is not used in place of a stronger leg.

The whip is used to train the horse to go from a lighter leg.

JB
Dec. 30, 2007, 04:44 PM
if every time you want to go more you instantly go to the whip, you will never get any leg,
Where did anyone say to instantly go to the whip? Nobody did. The answer is the same - use the leg you want to always use, try a little harder, and if it's ignored, use the whip. Big difference.


there is a point when the rider does need to develop some leg, even if he tries to fool himself into thinking he'll never need it 'because you should ride with light aids'. it is a misconception and a twisting of riding principles to say that since you should ride with light aids, you should always go to your whip so quick.
No one disputed the need to develop some semblance of leg strength, as strength = control.

I also don't understand why one shouldn't aim to ride with light aids. Isn't that was dressage is all about? Isn't that what good riding is all about?

SOME horses will respond to a heavier leg as the "whip", and that's fine and dandy - my OTTB mare is one. My WB is NOT, although he's better now than he was. One can argue how many increases in leg strength one needs to use before going to the whip.

At what point do *you* say "ok, leg is being ignored totally, time for the whip"? I'm honestly curious.

With my WB, it's to the point that he DOES get the whip when leg is ignored, instantly. Why? Because a heavier leg does not impress him at all. It gives him zero incentive to try to avoid it the next time. So why should I continue to go through light intensity leg, a bit heavier, a little heavier still, THEN whip, when the middle 2 steps make no future impression on him? The whip is what makes him respond to the lighter leg the next time.

goeslikestink
Dec. 30, 2007, 04:54 PM
quote from my instructor who s a be and bsja accredited trainer and who competed for uk
stirrups are for decoration
ok
let me put if in full swing for original poster drop the whip
and use what you got ie legs seat and hand they are your aids


lazy horse can be just as much a chanllenge as sharp ones and more often than not the tactic used on a lazy horse are used on a sharp one
and they really make you work as in work, they require mental and pysical effort
by the rider.
so op got a lazy horse, so before you can attempt any dressage you got to wake the neddy up and motiviated before you can make any contact with him,, dont constantly kick in to walk nor trot so we start at walk
hold your legs on his sides kick and click sharp tiny weany ones as soon as he reacts you take your leg off we want him to go imediately he is asked to then you can get him back

to sharpen your leg aid try to ride with your legs looser away from his sides
and then give a sharp kick and click when he reacts let him go forwards and pat him
if you do enough times the horse will learn to go off your heal
you have to stay firmly in your saddle and let the horse go forwards freely dont jab him in the mouth
dont hang on the horses head keep your hands still and work from an independant seat

an indepedant seat moves with the horse let your hips swing to take the movement
without effecting your arms or legs so the horse is bouncy soetimes they leap forwards but thats ook
your hands and legs must stay quiet not jabbing or pulling it will deepen your seat and develope you as a rider

what you need to get is quick strides of trot not big slouchy sloppy ones and dont stay in the same rhtyem for to long changing rythem will connect him to so hes not out in his neck and keeps his hind quarters underneath him
so keep lenghtening and shortening your strides
then ask for halt click and kick and gallop dont squeeze like no tomorrow keep your legs light
tonce trotting
keep your legs away from his sides unless you need them then kick and click and ask for go again and bring him back again you need to be quick and sharp to antispate his antispation
dont fall into i am working harder than him recognise it and extend his work load
extend his moving when he responds and keep him going


plenty of transitions and shortening and lengthening your strides will make a horse fitter and more balanced using your legs in this manner as kick and click the horse will learn to go with a tweak of your heal
so you will end up with a horse much lighter and much quicker and his movements wont be sloppy

goeslikestink
Dec. 30, 2007, 05:01 PM
remembercant alway take schooling whips in a ring so better to do with out one

slc2
Dec. 30, 2007, 08:25 PM
if you say anything like that here, you will be accused of teaching the horse to go with heavy leg aids. baileys, goeslikestink?

JB
Dec. 30, 2007, 08:36 PM
remembercant alway take schooling whips in a ring so better to do with out one

One can't use a lot of things in the show ring that are used to school with and create a well-trained horse ;)

egontoast
Dec. 30, 2007, 09:01 PM
if you train them to go from a light aid, you won't need the whip;)

This is so basic .

Flamboyant
Jan. 1, 2008, 11:03 PM
Thanks for the advice everyone! I decided to try riding with a dressage whip the other night and it actually went very well. She was not rushy at all (I think it was possibly because I warmed up first) and it really helped make her a little more forward.

Of course, I will be riding with the whip only to back up my leg when she does not respect it and then eventually, I hope we will not need it anymore.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Jan. 2, 2008, 05:01 PM
Know what has helped me enormously? My trainer working with me on the ground, using the whip on me - and don't anyone try and run away with that statement! She tried to explain that it is a tool to identify and activate a specific muscle group, and since I have the tendency to hold my aids, this was truly helpful. I get so confused sometimes with left and right, that she had me do shoulders in, haunches in, renvers etc and used the whip so that I could activate whichever leg needed to go next.

However, understanding the process and doing it are different things! Since I still don't feel I am quick and light enough in my aid, when I do in hand work I will tap the saddle. Because when I am in the saddle, my trainer can use the whip as an aid for me, and my horse will respond.

So - the whip can be an invaluable tool, when used correctly.

Dalfan
Jan. 2, 2008, 05:38 PM
Of course, I will be riding with the whip only to back up my leg when she does not respect it and then eventually, I hope we will not need it anymore.

Just make sure if you use the whip, that you do in fact GET A REACTION. You can nag with whip just as easily as with the leg.

Good luck.

JB
Jan. 2, 2008, 05:53 PM
Just make sure if you use the whip, that you do in fact GET A REACTION. You can nag with whip just as easily as with the leg.


Good point - AND, grab mane the first time or two, just in case ;) Nothing worse than smacking, getting a surge forward, only to grab the horse in the mouth 'cause he did what you asked ;) You can fine tune the forward reaction later.

slc2
Jan. 2, 2008, 05:55 PM
why does it have to be such a smack? i wouldn't start out that way unless there was some really serious major balking going on, even then, it's not fair to just womp the animal. a light tap can be followed with a more firm use of the whip if necessary.

Dalfan
Jan. 2, 2008, 06:18 PM
why does it have to be such a smack? i wouldn't start out that way unless there was some really serious major balking going on, even then, it's not fair to just womp the animal. a light tap can be followed with a more firm use of the whip if necessary.

I don't think I said to "whomp". But, you do need to notice a difference. I don't know how many times I have seen tap, tap,tap, an no noticable difference. My former instructor used to go batty. He would ask for the whip, the rider would "tap", the horse would laugh, and then he would remark "nothing happened", again, "get a reaction".

And, ideally, the whip is just a reminder to the horse - "you better listen to my leg"!

Where do you go when the horse ignores the whip? Spurs? And then?

EqTrainer
Jan. 2, 2008, 08:50 PM
why does it have to be such a smack? i wouldn't start out that way unless there was some really serious major balking going on, even then, it's not fair to just womp the animal. a light tap can be followed with a more firm use of the whip if necessary.

Really? I go right for the WHOMP! on any balking horse. I figure I already asked them to go once.. at the mounting block :lol:

Seriously now. Most people, once they understand the theory and have done some inhand work with the horse in question know exactly where they are heading.. the tap or the whomp. And it is just as easy to nag, nag, nag with the whip as it is to nag, nag, nag with the leg.

egontoast
Jan. 2, 2008, 08:59 PM
Yup. It's kinder in the long run to teach the horse to go from the light aid.
Nagging with the leg (bangbangbang) or nagging with the whip (taptaptap) is not kind.

You must get a big reaction if the horse does not respond to the light aid. grab mane , if necessary, and let the horse go. Then go back and try the light aid again. Lavish praise for a good response.:)

JB
Jan. 2, 2008, 09:40 PM
Most people, once they understand the theory and have done some inhand work with the horse in question know exactly where they are heading.. the tap or the whomp.

Yes - I knew with the WB gelding that I had to start at a whomp. I just didn't realize that I REALLY needed to start at a WHOMP!! The TB mare, otoh, I KNOW that if I WHOMP, I will be dropping in unexpectedly on friends on Michigan :eek:

egontoast
Jan. 2, 2008, 09:47 PM
Oh, that's very true. What's a love tap to one may be a WW3 to another.

You need a reaction so it's whatever it takes for the particular horse.:)

slc2
Jan. 3, 2008, 06:53 AM
"TB mare, otoh, I KNOW that if I WHOMP, I will be dropping in unexpectedly on friends on Michigan "

LOL.

Flamboyant
Mar. 28, 2008, 11:49 PM
I just wanted to post an update, now three months later from my original post.

I introduced the whip into my daily riding equipment. It is only used when necessary, only to back up my aids and I am starting to use it less and less. She's slowly coming to accept the fact that she must move forward into the contact I take. Although at times she can still be reluctant, I see such huge improvements and am very pleased with her.

To be honest, my former hunter coach gave up on us as I refused to follow her methods to get my horse into a frame. So up until recently, I had NEVER gotten my horse into a frame. So, I moved onto dressage to have someone finally explain it to me properly. I feel like for all of the years I have been riding, I just haven't *truly* been riding until now.

Although my mare is not always very happy with this form of work I now expect from her (she wishes she could just jump instead!), I am absolutely thrilled with our progress and *hopefully* will be doing our first dressage test this summer.

Thanks for all the support!

EqTrainer
Mar. 29, 2008, 12:29 AM
Congratulations!

And you may not realize it (yet) but this has been an amazing thread.. because everyone worked together and sorted out what was meant. And no innocent people were injured :lol: