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cswoodlandfairy
May. 2, 2009, 05:07 AM
So my horse has had some pretty formal training at some point and will frame up very nicely. But he also tends to get under the bit and ball up. I want to teach him to relax and go long and low. Right now I ride on a loose rein and ask him to lower his head and once he has just dropped it but not tuck up I over praise him out loud and ask him to walk. He kind of understands and to be honest I am not sure that it works really well.

What are ways that I can promote the hunter frame? I recently just bought a surcingle and have side reins would those help? With loose reins he is happier however I am not as his head comes up and the whole giraffe look just doesnt suit me.

Thanks so much!
Sasha

Also here is a video I tried to take of us today attempting the "long and low look"

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=56727608

Maya01
May. 2, 2009, 06:28 AM
In order to get a dressage frame while riding, one has to push their horse into the bridle. A hunter frame is much like a dressage frame however it is easier to achieve as it does not require the horse to have the steps of the training scale to a certain extent.

You could also lunge the horse with the side reins on - but never ride with the side rains on - it produces a false frame. What may help you is a tool that the Germans use to encourage the horse to lower their head by putting pressure on the poll when the horse goes above the desired 'spot'. It is totally independent of the rider, so the rider can't interfere with it. It is called a Chambon. Link to a picture (http://www.runningfox.com/productdetail.php?id=319)
*note this is not necessarily the price - there are much cheaper ones around (like $20-30) and this store is generally more expensive :yes:

Oh, and in order to get 'long and low' the horse has to accept the contact and take the reins. It happens through being balanced and supple. I would suggest going to a dressage trainer. I know its a totally different discipline, but it will help immensely in the long run :D

Hope this helps!

mrsbradbury
May. 2, 2009, 06:56 AM
I think you are off to a good start. I like your horse. Try not to drop your hand below the topline, when you are trotting.

Side reins help, as does patience. Keep riding him off your leg and into your hand, making a connection, and as he comes together, release the pressure of your hand just a bit and add leg sending him forward.

Lots of sitting trot circles on 10m to 6m, making him come into a frame helps to make horses understand the concept of contact. I ride these little circles for a few minutes, then trot down the long sides giving and pushing, and the horses really start to stretch.

Have fun.

gloriginger
May. 2, 2009, 09:15 AM
gadgets aren't going to get you the correct long and low- your horse will just learn to break at the 3rd 4th vertebrae - causing a false frame. Don't waste your money.

You need to do more than ride around the outside of the ring. Small circles, serpentines, figure eights, lateral work, shoulder in, and spiral circles will get your horse driving off the hind end, which will lighten the front end and allow your horse to move into the bridle. Use your legs, don't think about your hands - think about where the back legs of your horse are, and lifting his belly up.

findeight
May. 2, 2009, 09:32 AM
Sidereins are not really gadgets any more then lunge lines are. There are some things that can be taught on the ground.

Unfortunately, if this one sucks back behind your leg, IMO it's not the best way to handle it-fact the backing off and dropping behind and below the bit and your leg usually indicate draw reins or overbitting. What's wrong is he won't go forward and he will stay dumped in front until he does.

Sounds like that "framing up nicely" came at a cost-that cost will kill you in front of a fence when he drops his forehand to heave the shoulder over in a Hunter class.

And, of course he likes a loose rein better, they all do when they don't have to work so hard.

But I just don't know where "hunter frame" came from unless you are going AQHA or other western breed shows. Hunters have to first go freely forward in a nice gallop that will get the lines and produce a good jump. Even in the hacks, they are judged first on quality and movement and, while they must accept the aids and be able to smoothly transition, there is no "frame" that consistently pins above the others and they are not "mistake and out" classes. Quality of movement trumps minor flubs.

I suggest a mild bit and alot of galloping and work in two point to free him up and get him going and basics in your flatwork to get him accepting your hand and leg properly-which means no sucking back.

Of course, check that saddle fit and those hocks as well, pain from either can get them shifted forward to protect any sore areas.

lawn chair
May. 2, 2009, 10:24 AM
Make sure he is warmed up and relaxed. Trot big sweeping figures of eight accross the ring driving with your leg with a light elastic feel of his mouth. Keep a steady rhythm and don't let him break to a canter. As he stretches out his head and neck add more leg and take a bit more feel of the mouth. as you start to feel him get heavy in your hand stretch up, add more leg and just resist enough with your hand to keep the pace at a medium. Every now and again relax your hand and let him streatch ground withhis nose. we call it looking for pennies". its a great way to stretch out thier neck and back and teach them to move forward into the bridle. you dont need special equipment - just steady even elastic hands and a consistant leg. dont worry if he gets crooked or tilts his head- that will straighten out as he learnes to go forward. Once he has mastered this you can start to play with transisitions within the trot, circles, and walking ahead of your leg. Save the canter until you are comforable with the trot and walk.

ideayoda
May. 2, 2009, 10:46 AM
Being able to ask a horse to chew/stretch requires that the horse is ridden to the bit, with a steady connection with light lateral positioning (on a circle helps). Only a few times did you keep a steady connection, keep the bend lightly, and the horse did offer a little flexion. Only when the horse is connected, seeking the hand, can you ask the horse to go lower (not more closed however). Make sure that you do NOT drop the hands lower or wide, that merely puts the bit onto the bars and causes a fake/closed frame. Keeping light lateral positioning, asking the horse to chew, getting the horse from the inside leg honestly into the outside rein will then allow you to let him go longer. Play with circles of different sizes and ask the horse to chew/stretch (only for a few steps) there.

Czar
May. 2, 2009, 11:12 AM
I agree with whoever said time & patience.

Is this horse an OTTB? I've rehabbed quite a few for the hunter ring & the first thing I do, as others have suggested, is get them moving forward in front of my leg. I see way too many TB types working in a tight, closed frame & it just makes them look racy.

I always lunge in side reins so they can start to understand contact. It takes some time to put the forward off the leg concept you use in the saddle & the accepting contact concept you use on the ground together but it seems to work.

If this horse is not an OTTB & he has been asked to frame improperly (getting behind the bit) it will probably take longer to fix it but the same concept is there. A horse that needs to be reschooled from say, a dressage frame to a hunter frame, needs to learn to find the bit by galloping forward as findeight suggested.

Again, time & patience. Good luck :)

gloriginger
May. 2, 2009, 11:55 AM
Sidereins are not really gadgets any more then lunge lines are.

Yes but a chambon is...which is what I was commenting on.

Fharoah
May. 2, 2009, 01:50 PM
Take some dressage lessons. A hunter frame is about the equilavent to a level one dressage frame. Correct flatwork you can put there head where ever you want.

Plumcreek
May. 2, 2009, 02:03 PM
gadgets aren't going to get you the correct long and low- your horse will just learn to break at the 3rd 4th vertebrae - causing a false frame. Don't waste your money.

You need to do more than ride around the outside of the ring. Small circles, serpentines, figure eights, lateral work, shoulder in, and spiral circles will get your horse driving off the hind end, which will lighten the front end and allow your horse to move into the bridle. Use your legs, don't think about your hands - think about where the back legs of your horse are, and lifting his belly up.


The above post is exactly my thinking also. Gloriginger gets it.

First, your horse has a slight dip in front of the withers from a neck set a bit lower onto his shoulders, and not a lot of shoulder reach, making him a little harder to lighten his front, but you can still do it.

My method is different, but always effective. You need to lift his back and shoulders which will make him step deeper underneath and then he will NEED to lower his neck (like an arch shape). You cannot get this by pulling on his face. "Pushing him up into the bit" on this type of horse, with your skill level (that I see in this brief video), will just increase his speed and take a whole lot longer, although that method works well eventually - it was the way I was taught as a dressage kid.

You need to forget equitation for now, the way you are riding in the video is very forward and will not help him to get better. For awhile, you neeed to maintain a constant half halt position, sitting on your pockets, ala western, and visualize sucking his withers up into your lap at every stride, using your legs low down and wrapped around his belly and a 'way behind the motion' seat. Do this at the walk with .... (flame suit on here) a VERY SHORT MILD tom thumb pelham or other curb bit - a snaffle does not work as well, with your hands held way forward and high (like 2') above his neck so he needs to raise his head and shoulders up to follow the bit upward - not pulling up with your hands, just holding them a little higher than he likes (and be careful if your horse might tend to rear or blow up over this - do it slowly and softly in small increments). You are asking him to raise his whole front end up and lighten it, which will require that he step deeper underneath himself behind (encouraged by your wrapped and lightly squeezing legs). As you do this while visualizing sucking his withers up into your lap (at the walk only) you will feel resistance at first - I rock the bit side to side to counter act this resistance. Then he willl eventually tuck his nose and get lighter and raise neck and shoulders up (trying to avoid the bit and curb pressure) and you will feel that sort of floaty feeling (like when they are really fresh and about to buck) and you must IMMEDIATELY RELEASE YOUR HANDS, and he will want to lower his neck. You will know when you have done this right because they will want to lower their neck FROM THE BASE not just tucking their head to avoid the bit, but will stay rounded up in the body and will have the hunter look with no pull on his face. You cannot pull on their face to get the long and low, rounded and sweepy look - will not happen - because it needs to come from the shoulders.

So now your horse will go a few strides in this soft, long and low frame and then revert to old ways, at which time you raise your hand high again and do it over, and over, and over until he rounds up instantly upon feeling you reverse your hips a little, squeeze his barrel, or raise your hands a fraction. When they understand this very well at the walk, and are quiet about it, you can go to a slow sitting trot. You always want to regulate his speed with your hips and legs rounding his body to slow him, not by pulling the bit, so you can float the reins in a hack class. Hint to make this work: I use a wrapping pressure with my legs around the girth to lighten up and slow down, and a lower calf and heel pressure for speeding up and increasing stride length - and they understand that. This technique really helps after a fence when they are strong and you can wrap your legs and re-balance them back - my trainer loved that.

The spiral in and out, with a low leading rein for in and high indirect reins for out, will really help also after they understand how to gather their body up in response to your legs and seat position. This actually is a little bit western oriented, as the horse gets educated to accept your leg and round up into it. Dressage is very good, but I have gotten some pretty hot horses to go long and low and relaxed with this method in short order. Seems that their mind follows their frame, and if you can fix the frame, their mind relaxes into long and low because you are "allowing them" to do it with a free head. Good western trainers have a saying that you need to teach a horse to "hunt the slack", and that is just what you are doing. When they lower their head and neck and go soft, you immediately give them slack as a reward and they will want to find that spot again. With a horse like yours, that is not naturally long and low, you have to really educate their body to rein, leg and seat aids so you can mold every part of them in the frame you want - that is why the ones who do the right things naturally cost a lot.

I was working with a very traditional BNT hunter lady with one of my difficult ones, and I would periodically drop into a sitting trot, lean back, suck him up into my lap, and raise my hands high over his neck when my horse got hot and strong. She understood, as she could see the results in his frame and attitude, and referred to it as my "fixing him".

Good luck. Sorry for such a long detailed post - got carried away.

By the way, the arena and surrounds are beautiful.

Pally
May. 2, 2009, 09:23 PM
I have a similar horse. One day I decided to forget him (within reason of course) and do some work on myself for a minute. I started doing the exercise where I posted 2 beats up, 1 beat down. He then chewed the reins out of my hands and stretched waaay down for me, really stepping under himself. I was amazed, since to that point he was really just barely starting to accept the contact, but definitely not seeking it out. Anyone have an explanation of what I might have been doing differently with my body there (I wasn't even doing a great job of the exercise, stupid out of shape body)? I sort of have an idea and have had him stretch again under normal posting later, but an actual explanation would be great and might help the OP.

gloriginger
May. 2, 2009, 09:51 PM
One day I decided to forget him (within reason of course) and do some work on myself for a minute.

Yes...this is your answer. In short you were too focused on trying to make him he the right "headset" (hate that expression) probably took the pressure off the reins, and he was able to release and relax. You probably also positioned yourself better so he was more comfortable and began to relax.

jetsmom
May. 2, 2009, 09:51 PM
I'd do some soft half halts, slow your posting down, and encourage him to go slower. Work on asking for bend on circles, serpentines, figure 8's. All of that will encourage him to relax and soften. (Make sure you are supporting with your leg. If you just use hand, they WILL get behind the bit.) If he gets behind the bit, use leg...don't be afraid to give him a good boot.)

Asking for bend is the easiest way to get a horse to soften and drop their head. Make sure you soften your hands when they bend/soften.

GallopGirl
May. 2, 2009, 10:38 PM
The way we learn long and low is that it's an extension of the frame. If your horse is reaching down into the bit, as you allow your reins to slide through your fingers, your horse will continue to keep dropping the head, raising the back until the nose is almost on the ground. If your horse is behind the vertical, it means there's no real frame, just a cranked down head. A frame means your horse is in front of leg, stepping up from behind, raising the back, and the highest part of the neck is the poll, not 6 inches behind the poll. Your horse doesn't "frame up nicely" as you put it in your original post if you have a horse evading the bit, which is what past the vertical means. A hunter trainer would be the best to help you figure out the kind of frame you need and how to acheive it. And by the way... long and low doesn't need any gear.. a nice easy snaffle is all it takes... no martingale, side reins, draw reins, etc. All the gadgets will crank the head down, but a frame isn't about the head, it's about the back end. When the back end engages, the head comes down. It's not the other way around.

Plumcreek
May. 2, 2009, 11:03 PM
I have a similar horse. One day I decided to forget him (within reason of course) and do some work on myself for a minute. I started doing the exercise where I posted 2 beats up, 1 beat down. He then chewed the reins out of my hands and stretched waaay down for me, really stepping under himself. I was amazed, since to that point he was really just barely starting to accept the contact, but definitely not seeking it out. Anyone have an explanation of what I might have been doing differently with my body there (I wasn't even doing a great job of the exercise, stupid out of shape body)? I sort of have an idea and have had him stretch again under normal posting later, but an actual explanation would be great and might help the OP.

My guess is that in trying to keep your (addmittedly) out of shape self in two point for two beats, you were squeezing with your legs and you were positioned more vertical than normal, with weight off the back. The leg squeezing made your horse step further underneath himself and unweighting his back let him round up, so he naturally needed to lower head and neck.

Petstorejunkie
May. 3, 2009, 06:41 PM
Its your equitation preventing him.
Watch the video again and watch your rein... pop slack pop slack your not giving him any consistent contact to desire and seek down and forward.
also you are collapsing your upper body and looking down. this prevents your horse from moving forward, and using his body properly.
you are also contracting your leg rendering it useless instead of stretching it down and around your horse, aiding him in lifting and going forward.

riding lessons with a good equitation or dressage trainer is what your horse needs. he wants to (hence the glimpses of correctness) but your riding is preventing him.

Pally
May. 3, 2009, 09:29 PM
My guess is that in trying to keep your (addmittedly) out of shape self in two point for two beats, you were squeezing with your legs and you were positioned more vertical than normal, with weight off the back. The leg squeezing made your horse step further underneath himself and unweighting his back let him round up, so he naturally needed to lower head and neck.

Oh thank you! That makes sense. I had definitely considered the weight off his back and tightening my core as part of it, but I guess I did not consider how my legs were connected into to that equation too. Makes perfect sense. The cool thing about my horse is that he does really reflect my equitation in his going. The sad thing about my horse is that he does really reflect my equitation in his going.


Gloriginger - good guess as the headset deal is certainly a common issue. But I assure you not here. At that point with him I don't think I had ever asked for a headset/frame/on the bit/rounding, or any other loaded word I could use.

lynz
May. 3, 2009, 09:39 PM
I may take some heat for this, but for my horse, I used bungies for about 3 or 4 rides. They worked incredibly well. From there, I used a standing martingale for about the same number of rides. From there I took the martingale off and haven't used it since. I like to work on making my horse listen to my leg and really sending my horse forward into the contact from the leg and using lots of positive reinforcement. It is much harder for them to stretch if they are not moving forward.

Anyways, that is just my 2 cents worth :)