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View Full Version : Oops! Trying again...dragging toes...help in getting 'bendy' hind legs



LMH
Jan. 5, 2008, 04:47 PM
OK let me try this again.

I have younger horses and have been working them online to help get them straighter, more relaxed etc...and this helps me really watch them.

They are doing very well down and forward both online and undersaddle. They are getting straighter on both sides-I really focus on getting that inside hind to reach under and over toward the navel. Both are really getting this.

They will reach forward and I can see what looks like good 'looseness' in the topline-no brace at all...and it is sort of looking like they are using their abs and trying to coil under a wee bit.

Here is my dilemma...the hind end just isn't 'doing it.' I am guessing when they are in this down and forward posture they are still a good bit on the forehand-so the hind end isn't....well...it is dragging and doesn't have any oompf. :confused:

I can hear the toe dragging in the arena so I know I am missing the energy to get things right.

When i watch my 7yo in the arena playing with his big horse play ball his is lovely-so much soft but powerful movement...he never drags his toes...I can SEE his loins coil and see his abs flexing.

Then online and under saddle things go flat.

Now I am not looking for 'true collection' at this point at all but I need something to get over the next steps of training.

The older of the two does nice 'baby' lateral work and remains very soft.

His transitions are a bit weak-maybe this is our hole?

Does this make sense without sounding totally idiotic? I have it my head (I think) what we need to do...but it isn't playing out like it should!:lol:

Reiter
Jan. 5, 2008, 05:50 PM
Without seeing them, here are my guesses! ;)
It does sound like they are traveling on the forehand. I'm envisioning something like an english pleasure horse with low head neck but hind legs trailing. Are you using side-reins when longing? When you say they are stretching f/d/o make sure they are actually stretching through the back while still carrying themselves and not just plodding along. You do need more forward to achieve this and the side reins would help with the rebalancing! I know you mention they are young and I'm not talking about true collection, but the first steps towards it. Always remember the engine is in the back and until you find the right gear to engage it, the horse will happily plod along in neutral!

Reiter
Jan. 5, 2008, 05:57 PM
Wow, what happened? How come you deleted the post?

LMH
Jan. 5, 2008, 06:48 PM
Thanks Reiter-yes I feel like I am watching these gorgeous WP horses!:lol:

And that is quite a picture with my 17.1h WBx...he literally can do a JOG online:eek:

Not that I am necessarily complaining-should I ever NEED a nice jog we have it!

When I try to up the ante, he gets tense and he loses that softness and just goes...well...faster on his forehand.:(

I have not used sidereins as honestly I am not experienced with them and worry about creating a braced frame...

Sorry about the deleted post-I wanted to clean in up a bit so it makes more sense...and I will try to describe more of what we do and don't do if that will help :)

merrygoround
Jan. 5, 2008, 07:03 PM
Get the side reins, find out how to use them, and give him something to push up into. There are reams written on longeing, and the use of sidereins, from Podhajsky, to USPC to USDF.

LMH
Jan. 5, 2008, 07:05 PM
Oh yes I know there is plenty of good information on sidereins...I suppose I am wondering if it can be achieved without them?

lddowler
Jan. 5, 2008, 08:08 PM
Oh yes I know there is plenty of good information on sidereins...I suppose I am wondering if it can be achieved without them?

Sidereins work well for many: when asked to go forward into the contact they will shorten their frame and work more instead of just going faster. Some horses will brace against the sidereins and continue to be on the forehand. If the horse is leaning on them or coming behind the bit to avoid them, they aren't doing any good. You will have to play with tension to find what works well for each horse.

You can get results without side reins if you are willing to do some classical work inhand. Ask for lateral work from the ground while standing at the shoulder. Shoulder in, haunches in, turn on the forehand, and turn on the haunches are great exercises. You can graduate to doing them with long lines too. All of these are at the walk at first, but still do wonders for building strength and suppleness.

How does the horse move on the trail? Could the confinement of the arena be causing boredom and the lack-luster movement? My mare used to have four levels of effort: Arena (bad day), Arena (good day), Trail, Strange Arena with crowd. I couldn't get an extended trot to save my life at home, but I could get a decent one on the trail and an awesome one in the show ring. My point is, perhaps a little distraction and stimulation will allow that playful movement to come out. If you can get him used to moving that way away from home you might be able to help him figure out thats what your looking for.

perpetual_novice
Jan. 5, 2008, 08:21 PM
Sorry about the deleted post-I wanted to clean in up a bit so it makes more sense...and I will try to describe more of what we do and don't do if that will help :)

... I thought maybe you had deleted the post because someone suggested you might get more of a response if you had asked, "How do you dressage riders get your horse broke in the legs?"



...

You can get results without side reins if you are willing to do some classical work inhand. Ask for lateral work from the ground while standing at the shoulder. Shoulder in, haunches in, turn on the forehand, and turn on the haunches are great exercises. You can graduate to doing them with long lines too. All of these are at the walk at first, but still do wonders for building strength and suppleness.

...

This helped for my plough beast.

Also what about trying cavaletti work? And lots of transitions.

LMH
Jan. 5, 2008, 08:31 PM
LOLOLOL I should modify the title perhaps? :uhoh::lol:

Thanks for the suggestions...this is what I had in my mind as where we needed to go (I really like the inhand work:) and of course transitions and poles) but it never hurts to ask and get feedback first.

Hony
Jan. 5, 2008, 08:43 PM
Dragging toes is often a sign of weak stifles which is common in young horses. The worst thing for weak stifles is the lunge line. To strengthen the stifles do lots of trotting in straight lines.

JB
Jan. 5, 2008, 10:28 PM
Come up and take a lesson or two with EqTrainer :cool:

LMH
Jan. 6, 2008, 07:49 AM
Come up and take a lesson or two with EqTrainer :cool:

THAT is the perfect solution!

LMH
Jan. 6, 2008, 05:50 PM
Ohhhhhhh Kayyyyyy...after a very thoughtful day with my darling Milo in hand...and hours of reading and reading posts on this forum and others. We did lots on trot poles online and in the round pen just so I could WATCH and observe.

I have figured out our dilemma.

I do believe in the name of quiet relaxation I have successfully created a dull, no energy or exhuberance, quiet as a lamb for my 80 yo father kind of horse.:(

Yes...I have noodled and smoozied him (ok all of my horses) fearful of upsetting them, fearful of creating brace, fearful of blocking them too much with my hand...ever true to NH principles (:eek:) and thus lies our problem.

We don't have oopmf. We don't have 'baby impulsion'---we....lolligag.

THEN we I politely ask if Mr. Pookie can offer more he gets very confused and frustrated...he politely balks followed by quite the Hi-Ho Silver and if I am lucky I get a ripping bucking farting trip with Son of Seabiscuit around the ring. :eek:

Gad. I have created an Equine Couch Potato. A 17.1h 1500 lb lethargic pookie.:cool:

Well done. :lol: