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staceyk
Jun. 9, 2011, 09:59 PM
Hi,

I am learning to ride my green horse--a 5 year old in full training for one year. He's a big boy, 17 hands, and I'm a tall rider. At the walk and trot, but esp. at the walk, he can be very, very hard to keep straight. The shoulders go one way, then the body follows. Naturally this doesn't occur with the trainer.

I try to make sure I'm sitting in his center, keeping him forward. Any other advice?

Stacey

horsefaerie
Jun. 9, 2011, 11:02 PM
It is very hard to keep a horse straight by sitting in "the center".

We are all unilateral by design it seems. Therefore to straighten your horse you sit more on your inside seatbone, create an inside bend and then catch the energy in your outside rein. Voila. A straight horse.

kinnip
Jun. 9, 2011, 11:23 PM
The path to straightness is through correct bending.

Carol O
Jun. 9, 2011, 11:31 PM
Look to the training scale. Straightness is very near the top, just below collection. Start with attention to the more basic elements; rhythm, relaxation, contact.... Begin at the base, and build on it. With the propler foundation, the straightness will come....


Have fun!

kinnip
Jun. 9, 2011, 11:58 PM
Training isn't a finished product. Sometimes it's awkward, sometimes you have to push a little. It won't look like a video. Just keep chipping away at it, and always try to end with something the horse knows how to do well. Give that SOB a carrot, and know that tomorrow will be a little better.
To be more specific on the straightness issue, start with proper bending on a circle. Make sure the horse isn't just bending the neck without stepping under with the inside hind. From there, move on to lateral work. Start with something simple like turn on the forehand, then move to shoulder-fore and so on. It's the gradual loosening of the horse that makes it straight. If the horse can bend evenly to both sides, it can be straight. Trying to ride a horse straight just makes for a stiff, crooked horse.

netg
Jun. 10, 2011, 03:01 AM
Because he's straighter with your trainer - is it possible you have less forward and hind end engagement? He's developing nicely, and it's possible as he's developing he can get uneven in how much he pushes from behind if you're not getting him using his hind end well enough. When my mom gets on my horse he weaves like a drunken sailor because she's afraid to ask him to go truly forward even at a walk. On the days she just lets him move forward, he walks straight with her.

Is it possible you have the same cause of weaving for a different reason? Since your horse is less naturally forward, it may be that you're not asking for the forward as you need out of being used to your other horse who I'm guessing is more naturally forward since he's a TB?

Other than that, I definitely find if I can control a horse's body on a circle/bend, I am then able to straighten that horse out when and where I want.

meupatdoes
Jun. 10, 2011, 07:18 AM
I have one where I tear my hair out sometimes trying to ride a straight line and the best advice a really great trainer gave me was:

1. When he gets crooked, don't try to use a particular rein/leg to fix it. Just keep each of your reins the same and use both legs and go forward.
So basically don't "react" to the individual crookednesses, just keep the overall tunnel straight.

2. Your elbows are yours, yours forever.
I was too giving with my elbows and always looking to be elastic with them.
Trainer said I should "keep" my elbows instead of being so quick to give them away.

3. Trainer said horse must be so forward that I do not need to use leg to keep going. If he gets slow and I am tempted to squeeze or cluck I should take leg OFF, and see if he makes the mistake to slow down. When he does, KAPOW! Horse must walk down whole longside and complete whole 20m circles with my legs in the air not touching him.
This even with more in the reins than usual because I am keeping my elbows not throwing them away.
If he slows down, POP! with the leg/whip.
Giddy up.


I tried to ride that horse in a straight line for over a year and this very basic advice (to basically "do less, expect more") gave us a leap of success in one lesson. Maybe it will be helpful with yours. Good luck!

staceyk
Jun. 10, 2011, 07:26 AM
Yes! That's it exactly! I do think I have some stiffness issues (hips?) that may discourage a forward walk. Working on it...

arbeegirl
Jun. 10, 2011, 08:02 AM
Stacey...I still have that problem with Travis. But if I get him forward and reaching into the contact he is fine. I also pick a spot and keep my eye on it until I get there. I stay as relaxed as I can with my seat and just 'hang' my legs on his sides only using them if I have too.

Travis pretty much knows if he gets too behind my leg he gets a pony club kick so he tends to stay in front...unless it is really hot;-)

Good Luck Sunday since I won't see your rides!

staceyk
Jun. 10, 2011, 08:14 AM
We have yet to ride in the outdoor ring this spring so this should be interesting. I should be around all day, may get to see your ride at the "bitter end." Think of it as saving the best for last :-)

Maude
Jun. 10, 2011, 10:50 AM
I have the same issue with my just turned 4 year old. I need to get her forward and voila...she straightens out. Kind of like riding a bicycle. The slower you go, the wobblier you are. Go more forward and it's easier to go straight. That and an even, elastic contact. It's working for me.

creekridgefarm
Jun. 10, 2011, 12:12 PM
Green horses and wiggly walks often go hand in hand... and you mentioned he's around 17H. He has a lot to get organized on his own, let alone with a rider. Does he still get properly lunged before a ride? Side reins are a great way for him to learn to organize himself between the aids. Also, be sure you are carrying yourself when you ride. Imagine walking around with someone on your shoulders who is wobbly/slouching/not carrying themselves -- you'd be wobbling all over as well.

All in all, spend more of your time focusing on circles and other school figures and ride them accurately. Straightness will come, as will steadiness in the contact. Remember, he's young and he's a big boy.

Best of luck to you!

AllWeatherGal
Jun. 10, 2011, 01:14 PM
Echoing the advice of many other posters with my own experience and instruction from current trainers:

Fix this with forward first!

Carol O
Jun. 11, 2011, 12:54 AM
Echoing the advice of many other posters with my own experience and instruction from current trainers:

Fix this with forward first!

Again, go back to the training scale. Rhythm first.