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View Full Version : Rein Length, Bicycle Turning, Outside Rein - Observation



EqTrainer
May. 15, 2011, 11:23 PM
There was another thread recently in which someone was questioning what happens with the outside rein when turning. The answers were interesting because they were clearly in two camps - those who turn the horse like a bicycle, and those who don't.

After an interesting lesson with a client who was struggling to not overbend her horses neck when turning, I started thinking about what people are taught and how the "beginnings" might affect your muscle memory and feelings of what is right and what is wrong, even when current evidence makes it clear that doing it the old way doesnt work well.

Then tonight I was watching LMEqT bop around the farm on her pony and I realized - she does not ever turn her pony like a bicycle, and to the best of my knowledge the exact mechanism of turning - particularly in regards to her hands - has never been discussed other than to push the pony in the direction she wants her to go, not pull her. And to use an inside guiding rein if there is an epic fail :lol:

So when essentially left to her own devices regarding what her hands do, she does not appear to change them to turn but she can neatly weave in and out of the trees in the orchard at a spanking working trot.

Example:

http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz219/gdauverd/Helena%20and%20Rosie/54ecbec9.jpg

http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz219/gdauverd/Helena%20and%20Rosie/0ecf56d6.png

I think in the snow picture, she is about to turn left and is possibly even half halting on her outside rein.

I think it would be interesting to continue to mention nothing at all about her hands, but to show her how a whip bends in the middle and ask her to bend her pony the same way... And see what happens...

Anyone else had the opportunity to observe what someone might do naturally if NOT told what to do with their hands? At tne risk of experimenting on my child, I am finding this pretty interesting to watch!

netg
May. 16, 2011, 02:07 AM
Honestly, I don't find it that surprising!

I naturally did well in equitation when I was younger w/ still hands, because moving them around wasn't something I was ever taught. I did, however, want to emulate Alec and the Black, and therefore learned to use my weight and legs to turn instead of my hands. (Perhaps, then, my credit should go to Walter Farley.) I also played tag bareback in cactus patches with someone on a small pony - extra movement of the hands instead of riding from the legs would result in spines in my legs or, even worse, in my horse's.

It is interesting to watch and see what happens, though!

SmartAlex
May. 16, 2011, 09:39 AM
I don't think I ever really changed rein length when turning. I can turn my horse quite sharply just tightening my pinky and turning my head. I have to consciously think to lengthen my outside rein sometimes.

merrygoround
May. 16, 2011, 11:02 AM
I have found riders that instinctively use their bodies when riding. Those people have few problems on the longe when asked for transitions w/o the reins, and asked to perform a spiral circle. When they are turned loose, they easily understand the concept of requesting with the body first and supporting with the reins.

Enjoy a child that instinctively does the right thing, carefully keep her away from any instructor who may undermine that ability. From your posts, I think you will.

FlashGordon
May. 16, 2011, 12:27 PM
Do you mean bicycle turning as in, dropping the outside rein and pulling around with the inside?

In the H/J world, at least here, where most people top out at about 2'6 and don't do more than weekly lessons with an average local trainer.... everyone does this. Few people know how to ride on the outside aids. I think there is also an over-emphasis on bend and an under-emphasis on riding the shoulders and not the head/neck.

I instinctively ride more with my body than my hands, to the point where I tend to drop contact completely if I don't consciously remind myself that I do need *some.*

Years of riding crappy horses or very green horses, and rarely riding the same horse, got me into the habit of "bicycle turning" just because it worked even on the most messed up or unbroke horse. Granted most of those rides I was rarely trying to accomplish anything except W/TC and staying on.

I remember when Dan came and I realized how easy it was to over-ride him. He taught me how to use my outside aids correctly and I remember the clouds parting and angels singing and I was like... Holy Crap! This is what it is supposed to be like....

FlashGordon
May. 16, 2011, 12:45 PM
Duplicate post!

Rhiannonjk
May. 16, 2011, 12:54 PM
What amazes me about the little ones riding, is that even if you don't see them for five years, they continue to grow up and look more like their momma. :)

cyberbay
May. 16, 2011, 01:41 PM
That snow picture is unbelievably cute. :yes:

stryder
May. 16, 2011, 05:08 PM
Is that the fabulous Nanny Pony?

EqTrainer
May. 16, 2011, 10:08 PM
Thanks everyone, yes, that is the celebrated Nanny pony. Love that Nanny Girl! She is indeed a cutie.

Rhiannonjk, what a kind thing to say, how time flies....

i just think it is fascinating and thank you for the reminder Merrygoround, I am very careful who teaches her and sometimes think I am being overprotective but her confidence and progress make me believe a good pony and a lot of time in the saddle and bareback is the finest teacher right now.

Tomorrow I will show her the whip trick and see what comes from it....

BaroquePony
May. 16, 2011, 10:36 PM
Very cute. She and her pony look very well suited to each other :yes:. Nice pony. Bareback in winter is very good practice. Snow is great for soft landings just in case.

amastrike
May. 17, 2011, 12:03 AM
LMEqT and Nanny Pony are too flippin' cute.

colorfan
May. 17, 2011, 01:09 AM
If I am out riding in the bush I use my legs to keep clear of trees, basically turn my shoulders/head where I want to go and horse goes there.

My problem comes in when I am in the arena trying to 'ride correctly'.

EqTrainer
May. 17, 2011, 07:30 AM
If I am out riding in the bush I use my legs to keep clear of trees, basically turn my shoulders/head where I want to go and horse goes there.

My problem comes in when I am in the arena trying to 'ride correctly'.

This may be a clue :)

EqTrainer
May. 17, 2011, 07:36 AM
Very cute. She and her pony look very well suited to each other :yes:. Nice pony. Bareback in winter is very good practice. Snow is great for soft landings just in case.

Awwwww, thanks BP. They are truly a "match". Both bold, forward and oh so sweet :lol:

If it ever stops raining I will allude to the concept of bending and see what happens.

I did once tell her that her ponies shoulders are skinnier than her butt and to see if she could keep them to the inside, I could hear her laughing all over the place doing it.

ponysize
May. 17, 2011, 01:56 PM
Do you mean bicycle turning as in, dropping the outside rein and pulling around with the inside?

I'm pretty sure the lesson she's talking about is mine ;)

The habit we are trying to break is my tendency to give with the outside hand on a bend or turn. I'm not pulling with the inside to turn, but that is where more of the contact is, because I'm just giving my pony a "door" to go out of with the outside and not bend or turn correctly. So from above, it would like I'm turning a bike because my outside hand is more forward than my inside, because for some reason, my pony and I have convinced myself that's what I needed to do to give her "room" to turn. Plus, for the most part when we start out at the very beginning, we're usually taught: left hand to turn left and right hand to turn right (with leg aids of course), and that's what EqT is referring to about "beginnings".

I will say pony and I did mostly hunters growing up and although my trainer was more of a dressage rider herself (all us kids did h/j, dressage, and eventing in that barn) I never truly learned the concept of riding the outside rein, so that coupled with not being in a steady program with a trainer for last several years has led to the bad habit we are now trying to fix.

colorfan
May. 17, 2011, 07:44 PM
EqT yeah it is a clue. reading ponysize post I think it may have something to do with terminology in learning, a door to go through, also keep the contact even.

If one doesn't let out the outside rein the contact is not even. It becomes tight on the outside.

EqTrainer
May. 17, 2011, 11:37 PM
Yes, the point was, about what we are taught in the beginning. What our muscle memory is, what our body innately believes is correct due to experience.

I love teaching because it makes me think about why not just how. Its endlessly fascinating because every combination of rider/horse have their own relationship and history.

My observations about LMEqT were, and still are, intriguing to me because of what has NOT been taught or told to do and what she does with the minimal information she has been given. If we were never told to pull to turn, would we? It occurred to me today that LMEqT *does not know how to ride a bike* (zomg, how did that happen? Too much grass and not enough concrete?!)

FGs observation about Dans reaction is intriguing, because I have known many horses who resented being pulled once they had been pushed and yes, he was one of them. I think its so cool that she felt that - and knew! - what she had felt and what *he* felt. Ponysizeds factual understanding of the dynamic coupled with the reality of changing a long standing habit - in public, no less! - acknowledges what real people are working on, day to day, who are already competent, confident riders.

----

Colorfan, because the horse has two sides that act independently, no, the outside rein doesnt become tight on the outside if you dont release it. The horse steps up to it and lifts their withers and neck into the rein and comes to flexion, therefore shortening their frame by engaging. If you lengthen the outside rein, the horse bends the neck instead of the body from the inside hind and lengthens their frame. The latter is a suppleing exercise.

FlashGordon
May. 18, 2011, 11:12 AM
Yes, the point was, about what we are taught in the beginning. What our muscle memory is, what our body innately believes is correct due to experience.

I love teaching because it makes me think about why not just how. Its endlessly fascinating because every combination of rider/horse have their own relationship and history.

My observations about LMEqT were, and still are, intriguing to me because of what has NOT been taught or told to do and what she does with the minimal information she has been given. If we were never told to pull to turn, would we? It occurred to me today that LMEqT *does not know how to ride a bike* (zomg, how did that happen? Too much grass and not enough concrete?!)

FGs observation about Dans reaction is intriguing, because I have known many horses who resented being pulled once they had been pushed and yes, he was one of them. I think its so cool that she felt that - and knew! - what she had felt and what *he* felt. Ponysizeds factual understanding of the dynamic coupled with the reality of changing a long standing habit - in public, no less! - acknowledges what real people are working on, day to day, who are already competent, confident riders.

Well LMEqT may not know how to ride a bike but she sure as heck knows how to ride a pony...!! She looks like she was born on a horse.

I somehow posted twice and didn't have the recollection of Dan's WTF response in the post that ended up staying on this thread... but yes it was funny with him, as he never acted out but I sometimes sensed his... eye rolling?? LOL.

The time I spent with Dan produced a marked change in my riding, this whole concept in particular was one thing that shifted for me. I always understood it in theory but had never been on a horse that knew it better than I.

I was always amazed at the fact that he was so big and such an extravagant mover and yet he was so light and easy to ride, if you knew what to ask and how.

Such a shame, I miss him terribly, it still hurts my heart. Oh the things I could have learned if he'd stuck around just a bit longer, sigh. But I'm thankful for the lessons I did take from him and I carry them with me every time I ride. :sadsmile: