PDA

View Full Version : Training Young WB - Frame Suggestions?



pryme_thyme
Apr. 7, 2011, 12:51 PM
Hello everyone!

I am seeking the advice of my fellow horse lovers.

I have a three year old dutch warmblood x by Pacific Star STV and she tends to have a higher head carriage.

I started her at 2 1/2 very lightly on the lunge, backed her and then gave her the winter off to grow and be a baby.

Had her legs xray'd, vet ok'd for light riding.
I am now riding her lightly about three times a week for 15-20mins. Nothing strenuous. But she holds her high quite high.
She does occassionally drop down for a few seconds.
(Tack fits well and I am using a french link snaffle).

My coach who rides P.S.G dressage suggested I use draw reins to help encourage her to come onto the vertical.

I plan to bring this filly up as a hunter in future.

I have trained several young horses, none quite this young but I have used the draw rein method and it seemed to work but.... I am hesitant about using them again due to my filly's age.


Can anyone give me any suggestions on how to begin training her to frame? Or should I let it go until she is more mature?


Thanks everyone!

Jumper_girl221
Apr. 7, 2011, 12:58 PM
at this point I'd personally ignore the head and just work on straight and forward, rewarding her when she drops it.

I personally wouldn't use draw reins at this stage. Maybe try lunging with Vienna reins making sure you keep her moving with impulsion and off the forehand? They are fairly easy to rig with some small rope/sturdy twine. Or try a chambon?

RougeEmpire
Apr. 7, 2011, 01:11 PM
I'd find a new trainer...

tallygirl
Apr. 7, 2011, 01:36 PM
I'd find a new trainer...

agree, when i read that i was like this :eek:. draw reins after barely backing a horse?!?! worrying about head placement at this young age? again, :eek:.

alliekat
Apr. 7, 2011, 01:41 PM
Just work on forward, relaxation,steering and stopping. Don't worry about her head. Once she is moving from behind you will be able to add a little contact and she can stretch into it. I personally wouldn't use draw reins on one this young and with this little training. Good Luck.

Cavalo
Apr. 7, 2011, 01:43 PM
Oh my. I'd have concerns about this trainer too. Wayy to early in the game to be considering draw reins. Headset is the last piece of the puzzle. I'd just work on what Jumper_girl221 said. At this age your horse is still developing the muscles and fitness required.

pryme_thyme
Apr. 7, 2011, 02:11 PM
Thank you everyone!

I was a bit worried when she mentioned the draw reins.

I feel much better knowing that my view on training (very basic's), is what we should be working on.
I felt my coach was training at my level rather than the horse's.

I have been riding in basic tack .. should I use a loose martingale?


Any suggestions for what we should be concerned on? (by means of good excercises for 3 year olds)
I have been focusing on transitions, impulsion and tons of circle excercises...

Jumper_girl221
Apr. 7, 2011, 02:14 PM
I'd do serpentines as well as the circles, and some figure 8's. The change of rein (IMLE) really helps prevent them from bracing, and relaxes them down into the contact.

I wouldn't use a martingale on a baby, really thats only going to help if she's throwing or flinging her head.

Also throw some random ground poles out there. Weaving around randomly going over a ground pole here and another there will sometimes help since they are paying attention to the ground a little more.

LowerSaxony_Jumper
Apr. 7, 2011, 02:44 PM
No Draw reins!! draw reins are for correction not training and even in the deparment of correction they are only to use if there is no other way.


With your horse i would work it on the longe with viennesse reins (i am not quite sure if thats the right word). Be careful the first time and make sure she moves forward. If she is okay working this way she will probably accept and understand what you want while riding. Dont forget she has to find her balance.

There are some really good books i can recommend
- The rider forms the horse by Udo Bürger abd Otto Zietzschmann
-Training the mondern jumper by Elmar Pollmann-Schweckhorst
-Principles of riding
-and the first book of Michel Robert

In these books you will always find an way how you should work and whats okay for your horse.

For Tack: I ride all my young horses with a double broken loose ring snaffel. I have a kinda heavy one that works wonderful with most horses.
A running martingale in the correct lenhgt can also help.

Once the horse learn to bring up its back up she will progress so much fast

Have fun the young ones are the best

Jumper_girl221
Apr. 7, 2011, 02:52 PM
just so you know what we are talking about, these are Vienna reins (http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp?pn=LC-3072&tid=froogleSALE&CATALOG_CODE=1X814&EID=X1814001&zmam=1460880&zmas=1&zmac=88&zmap=LC-3072)

LowerSaxony_Jumper
Apr. 7, 2011, 02:58 PM
excatly what i meant!

bornfreenowexpensive
Apr. 7, 2011, 03:07 PM
I typically put a VERY loose standing martingale. She should only hit it if she flings her nose above her ears.

It isn't for putting her head down but it will protect your nose;)....and give you a nice handle to grab for those baby moments (which then keeps you out of her face too;)).


Like others....no draw reins, no trying to get her "on the bit". At this stage...forward, stopping, turning. Getting her to move off your leg. Ideally...if you can get her out of the ring and do some trail riding (great for her mind).

This is a three year old....I wouldn't be lunging a lot either. If she moves forward easily, does her transisitions when asked (up and down)...usually turns when asked...and picks up the leads most of the time you are well ahead of the game and could probably turn her back out for a couple of months (give the early time year).

naturalequus
Apr. 7, 2011, 03:14 PM
Oh my. I'd have concerns about this trainer too. Wayy to early in the game to be considering draw reins. Headset is the last piece of the puzzle. I'd just work on what Jumper_girl221 said. At this age your horse is still developing the muscles and fitness required.

Yup, I would be worried about the trainer too. Headset comes as a result of where the rest of the horse is at, and that comes about as a result of strength, fitness, and knowledge. Given her age and activity level u/s there's no way she's got the strength and fitness required to carry herself correctly in a correct "frame". It's important to develop PUSHING power at this point - with that you can LATER develop CARRYING power (collection) ;P Pushing power in a young horse takes a lot of time to develop (preferably, a year or two). Trails/hills, poles/cavelleti, lots of long, loose, relaxing forward work will build the appropriate muscles she needs to balance and (LATER) collect.

Think about the Training Scale. Circular patterns and exercises really help inducing relaxation and suppleness, which will create rhythm. As the horse progresses, they naturally start to pick up contact (read: ON THEIR OWN). Impulsion is important (hence the need for developing forward NOW - both for strength and for the actual impulsion) so you have energy to actually flow into your hand and into contact. Straightness ensues, and collection develops as a result of the entire pyramid. Your mare is NOT FULLY relaxed and supple when her head is in the air - she's got some level of tension. Don't focus on the head - it is a symptom of her emotions and a reflection of what is going on in the rest of her body (including balance and strength and lack thereof). Instead, focus on relaxing her entire body and mind. The rider's job is simply to guide and encourage the horse gently via progressive exercises and patterns. Then they can tweak and refine what the horse offers. As far as the circular exercises, they not only discourage bracing and encourage relaxation and suppleness, but they also force the horse to track up (to an extent) to balance. Thus you then have something to build and refine as the horse progresses.

If you are only riding her 3x per week for 15-20min you are not going to develop much strength, but a bit. Definitely develop that pushing power, and work on other basics such as moving off your leg and seat (sideways, turns on the fore/hind, leg yield, transitions up and down, etc etc). There is a lot of basic work a person can do as far as desensitization and basics - she should be to the point where you can ride her off your seat on patterns, in various gaits, without reins ;) When she's cleared for more than just light work and is say working 5x a week for 30-60min, then I would really focus on developing the strength for carrying power. Once she's sufficiently strengthened (which will take MONTHS), THEN start focusing more on refining collection and developing a "frame". "Frame" is developed by the horse as per the rider's guidance, it's not created by the rider.

Personally I wouldn't turn to draw reins or a martingale. Why? You can achieve the same or better (imo) via relaxation, which is the foundation of the Training Scale pyramid anyways. If she is not relaxed or lacks the appropriate strength for balance, she will be bracing against the martingale or the draw reins anyways, which builds underline as opposed to the topline (especially at the base of the neck) that you ultimately want as (ultimately) a part of her carrying power/strength. If she is relaxed, her head will be down. She doesn't need a gadget to teach her she can carry her head lower. She already knows that, it's innate. She's a horse, she knows how to lower her head. Since she's young and with limited experience, she shouldn't have a severe habit of holding tension, either, so your job is just to KEEP her relaxed, not to actually TEACH (ie, re-introduce) it specifically. In the mean time, she is not going to lower her head yet when she a) NEEDS it raised so as to balance (especially considering current strength) and for visual acuity (especially since she is still learning how to move under a rider and to trust a rider's guidance and direction) and b) when she is not yet fully relaxed u/s. It would not be fair to strap something on to just keep her head down. Instead, it will come when she is ready.

Just my two cents :winkgrin: Good luck!

naturalequus
Apr. 7, 2011, 03:18 PM
- The rider forms the horse by Udo Bürger abd Otto Zietzschmann

I've been meaning to read this book!! It was suggested and quoted in the book "Tug of War" by Dr. Gerd Heuschmann. OP, Tug of War is another good book that briefly outlines how best to (and not to!) develop a young horse and explains the biomechanics involved.

I forgot to mention a few schooling books I often recommend:
101 Dressage Exercises
Progressive Schooling Exercises for Dressage & Jumping by Islay Auty

Ooops sorry OP I get carried away sometimes - I forgot we were on the H/J board as opposed to the Dressage board. I still stand by the above though. A strong foundation is a strong foundation, regardless. Put some classical dressage in there, keep in mind the Training Scale, and you will have a strong foundation for a H/J later.

Czar
Apr. 7, 2011, 03:21 PM
Agreed; no draw reins & I LOVE draw reins :lol:

Lungeing in side reins is helpful but I'd only do it a couple of times a week for a couple of minutes each way (& very loose) at the beginning of a ride just to give her the concept of contact (and only at the walk/trot) & giving into it.

I may get flamed for this but I feel like there is so much pressure in dressage for the horse to be in a frame right away. I did some riding for a breeder that had a dressage background & we eventually had to part ways b/c of this exact issue. She wanted her 3 yr old to be working in a frame just months after I had started her - she was destined as a hunter as well.

My philosophy is less is more with a young hunter - simply riding properly (from back to front with leg to keep straight) & not fussing with them produces the best results in my opinion.

But, I don't crank out show ring hunters at the age of 4. Not that I think there's anything wrong with that per se; I just tend to take longer with mine.

I just wanted to add - I don't think there's anything wrong with using training tools (draw reins, martingales, different bits) - I just don't think a 3 yr old with a month of riding under her belt is ready for any of that.

naturalequus
Apr. 7, 2011, 03:32 PM
Czar, I couldn't agree more with you, so no flame suit needed here! Less is always more, and slow and easy gets you there ahead.

pryme_thyme
Apr. 7, 2011, 03:55 PM
Great comments, thank you!

Czar made a great comment which likely relates to why my coach wanted the frame now rather than later.

My coach trains and shows her 3 year olds training level and 1/2 by age 4 or 5.

It is amazing to see her 3 year olds that have a gorgeous frame and looks like a 5-7 year old but there is something to be said about that when I think about it.

I start to question longevity at that point... but I cannot say I do not envy how it appears.

pattnic
Apr. 7, 2011, 04:00 PM
I've been riding a friend's young WB for her since the horse was about the same age as yours. My friend's horse also tends to carry her head higher.

For the longest time, my friend's horse was so gangly that all we did was hack and do some trail rides. Whoa, go, back, turn... she wasn't ready for anything else. Our sessions basically served to continually remind her that when a person is working with her (in the saddle or on the ground), the person is the boss. Full stop.

Horse is now 4 (will be 5 in August), and will likely end up being a hunter. However, she's just now finally starting to grow into herself and figure out how to make her pieces work together. We have just now started doing very basic dressage to encourage her to bend and use herself correctly. As she has learned to bend laterally, her head carriage has come down, and she is starting to learn how to go in a lower-level dressage/hunter frame. It's not pressure to go in a frame, per se, it's asking the horse to step up to the next level and use herself correctly. The frame is a by-product.

I'm going to have to go with those who say "find a new trainer." It's easy to slap draw reins on, but as pwynnnorman said in another thread, we use draw reins to get quicker results than the horse is ready to give. This doesn't mean they are not sometimes of use... but I'm gonna go ahead and say, "no," for such a young horse.

Feel free to PM if you want more info on my particular experience.

Good luck, and have fun!

Appsolute
Apr. 7, 2011, 04:01 PM
Ufff.. trainer said reach for the draw reins? :no: That is a really bad idea.

The head comes from behind. My youngster stuck her nose out in the air at first. Work forward and balanced, you will be surprised, they will start offering to stretch into the bridle.

Right now, concentrate on working the horse off of your legs, and soft soft hands. Think about lengthening the horse from front to back, encourage forward with the neck (not cranked up in draw reins!!).

I will admit, I am not an “expert” but here are photos of my young filly. I ride her in a very light contact and just ask for forward.
3 year old under saddle (https://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=33268&id=616592836&l=51f312f48c)

Czar
Apr. 7, 2011, 04:04 PM
Great comments, thank you!

Czar made a great comment which likely relates to why my coach wanted the frame now rather than later.

My coach trains and shows her 3 year olds training level and 1/2 by age 4 or 5.

It is amazing to see her 3 year olds that have a gorgeous frame and looks like a 5-7 year old but there is something to be said about that when I think about it.

I start to question longevity at that point... but I cannot say I do not envy how it appears.

I hear you; I feel like this when I see some of the baby greens warming up at the A shows - they have way more training on them then mine do BUT I do think mine are happier. We do not have issues with our young horses (ulcers, quirks, unsoundness) & we've had several show horses come to our farm with the above & in a few months are happy & healthy again.

We have a horse right now in our barn that was at the best hunter barn in our province as a young horse & was used up by the age of 7 :eek: Just didn't want to play anymore.

I do think it's about picking the right ones though as well - if you choose something that is natural in the discipline that you have intended for him - it's so much easier to do the "training".

Just for comparison's sake...this is a 3 yr old TB I had in the spring of last year:

http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2038182530097913210LUNpTl (please excuse the tank top - I didn't know I was going to be taking pics this day)

She'd had about 3 months in this pic of re-riding after being broke for the track & laid off for the winter (while I had my baby!).

I was perfectly happy with her "head set" in these pics - her biggest problem was not wanting to work from behind as she was quite lazy.

pryme_thyme
Apr. 7, 2011, 04:18 PM
I agree Czar.

Come to think of it there is a 6 year old Congress QH at my boarding facility and he is some nasty to be around let alone always lame in the hind end.

I do not know much about how people train babies for congress or A hunter shows for that matter but I have heard horror stories.


I want to take my filly to A shows eventually but I have not had an A quality horse in years .....I do not want her to get sour.

bornfreenowexpensive
Apr. 7, 2011, 04:57 PM
Great comments, thank you!

Czar made a great comment which likely relates to why my coach wanted the frame now rather than later.

My coach trains and shows her 3 year olds training level and 1/2 by age 4 or 5.

It is amazing to see her 3 year olds that have a gorgeous frame and looks like a 5-7 year old but there is something to be said about that when I think about it.

I start to question longevity at that point... but I cannot say I do not envy how it appears.


The reality is that with good riders...most quality young horses will move right up the levels. I remember my friend (an FEI level rider) who took a young mare (4 year old) to her first show. Mare had only been backed a month earlier. When she entered the show (3 weeks earlier) they had cantered ONCE under saddle.

She won the training level tests with very good scores (70+%). She was a bit lucky to get both correct leads ;) and she did not ride or force her horses into a "frame". The horse was easily winning at 1/2 by the end of the year--with time off. ETA: Never used draw reins on her either.

It is bit about riding quality horses who are breed and have the conformation for the job you are asking them to do. But also, just good riding. They do not need to be broke to death at this age.

This young horse had a few months off (pasture injury) that first year--mare came back and moved right up the levels at the same speed she would have had she stayed in work. It really hit home to me and to my friend that you DO NOT need to drill on young horses. She spent as much time out of the ring walking hills (if not more) than she did working on circles in the ring. They will progress at the speed their bodies and minds are ready to progress...and pushing them will not get you there any faster.

Good luck with your youngster.

CHT
Apr. 7, 2011, 05:12 PM
Does she hold her head similarly with you on vs off? Depending on just how high she holds her head, I would be worried she may be tensing/bracing her back. If that is the case, perhaps she isn't ready for weight bearing, or perhaps you need to recheck saddle fit. I wonder too if she is still at a down hill phase of growth and feels she has to hold her head up to balance.

If you just mean she wants to hold her head like Czar's picture which is a fairly neutral "frame" then I would not worry.

When I am riding a young one, I want their poll/ears stretched as far out from me as possible to get their back stretched. not sure how draw reins could accomplish that. Of course I don't tend to get to ride well bred horses, so maybe you can get away with draw reins and such on really good horses?

pryme_thyme
Apr. 7, 2011, 05:57 PM
Thank you for the post. She holds her head much like photo #9 in czar's album.

And when lunged her head is about the same level, though when ridden she seems to attempt to lower her head but falls off balance and lifts her head.... not sure why.

Unfortunately, I am the only person I have to ride her but these photos of her free lunging are much like how she holds her head I am told.

Thank you for your suggestions. (sorry for the quality, new camera)

http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g434/pacific_paloma/P3270641.jpg

http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g434/pacific_paloma/Untitled-1.jpg

http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g434/pacific_paloma/P3270673.jpg

bornfreenowexpensive
Apr. 7, 2011, 06:06 PM
Thank you for the post. She holds her head much like photo #9 in czar's album.

And when lunged her head is about the same level, though when ridden she seems to attempt to lower her head but falls off balance and lifts her head.... not sure why.

Unfortunately, I am the only person I have to ride her but these photos of her free lunging are much like how she holds her head I am told.

Thank you for your suggestions. (sorry for the quality, new camera)

http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g434/pacific_paloma/P3270641.jpg

http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g434/pacific_paloma/Untitled-1.jpg

http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g434/pacific_paloma/P3270673.jpg


That is not high headed at all for a 3 year old...If that is where she is when you ride her...she is just fine where she is. Just work on going forward and steering:) Have fun and enjoy her.

Ibex
Apr. 7, 2011, 06:19 PM
Unless she's being really obnoxious with the high head carriage (ie not just naturally carrying herself there, but deliberately inverting) I'd be inclined to ignore it or follow the suggestions about poles, big loopy serpentines if you have the space etc. We also did some basic leg yeilding with massive amounts of praise if she dropped and reached for the contact...

Only time I've seen draws used on a baby was when the baby was inverting aggressively... they were long (did not force a frame, just prevented complete inversion/protected the rider's face :eek: ), and only chosen over a martingale as they could be released.

naturalequus
Apr. 7, 2011, 06:45 PM
Thank you for the post. She holds her head much like photo #9 in czar's album.

And when lunged her head is about the same level, though when ridden she seems to attempt to lower her head but falls off balance and lifts her head.... not sure why.

Unfortunately, I am the only person I have to ride her but these photos of her free lunging are much like how she holds her head I am told.

Thank you for your suggestions. (sorry for the quality, new camera)

http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g434/pacific_paloma/P3270641.jpg

http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g434/pacific_paloma/Untitled-1.jpg

http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g434/pacific_paloma/P3270673.jpg

That's (the photos, that is) perfectly fine!!! REALLY look at her BODY. Photo #2 is a really good demonstration: she clearly LOOKS like she is moving uphill!! Optimal.

As for the bolded part: she tries to lower her head, but has to lift it because a) her (developing/forming) muscles might be tiring (even very quickly when she lacks the strength for CARRYING power yet, when she is yet building the appropriate muscles) and/or b) she needs to lift her head to balance, especially as she is still adjusting to carrying a rider (particularly as she grows and changes)! She clearly naturally moves very well - balanced and round. So allow her the chance to do that u/s, on her own. Lots of strength-building exercises that develop pushing power (hind end strength, topline including the neck, abs, etc), then later down the road you can develop that into carrying power (USING the aforementioned to carry herself properly). My bet is that with a lot of conditioning and then with the appropriate progressive exercises that encourage her (of her own accord) to move as she naturally does on her own (or even if she did not move that way on her own), she will come together how you want very nicely. The rest is just refinement ;) Right now, she is still learning how to carry herself and especially under the weight of a rider - as her body grows and changes she will continue to strengthen and learn and adapt to balance and move correctly.

Definitely read some good books on the biomechanics of the horse, as it will help you understand WHY she lifts her head and therefore what (or what not!) to do about it :winkgrin:

pryme_thyme
Apr. 7, 2011, 07:29 PM
That is really helpful! Great insight equus, thank you.

Beethoven
Apr. 7, 2011, 08:03 PM
I agree no draw reins. The current 3 yr old that I ride naturally carries himself in a frame if you just push him into the contact. I really just work on straightntess and forward with him.

He does lunge in the pessoa once or so a week. He was getting very behind the side reins, so that was a no go.

Here is a video of him and I:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_Xg7H_vs3k

Loose reins:
http://youtu.be/p32Du5T3JaM

He is a really nice baby and just naturally uses himself.

But I do not worry where his head it. Just trying to teach him to go straight, turn, bend through the corners, etc...