View Full Version : Bracing prior to upward transitions

Jun. 26, 2011, 02:55 PM
My mare anticipates upward transitions when I take up more contact (and shorten my reins like going from walk to trot, and free walk to medium walk) by bracing and throwing her head up. My trainer recommends when going for an upward transition to abandon it if she braces so I started working on that today. Any other ideas/exercises incase I get stuck out schooling?

Jun. 26, 2011, 04:40 PM
your trainer is right, if she acts out and throws her head up, do not do the transition. also, when you shorten your reins, ask her to go behind the vertical (head and neck also lower), then do the transition with her head in a lower frame. she will still try to throw her head up, but keep it in the low frame. then once she is used to making a transition in a low frame, raise it. put her head in Just behind the vertical and do the same. eventually you can raise her head on the vertical and work on the transitions. also keep in mind not to do the transition when she does throw her head. that way you will not get her into a bad habit. also you could try some shoulder fore (less than shoulder in) when picking up the reins.

Jun. 26, 2011, 04:45 PM
Some horses brace, because they anticipate you bracing against them. Use more leg and more seat and don't give her anything in your hands to brace against.

Jun. 26, 2011, 05:12 PM
I agree with rodawn. It reminds me of when I first started riding Tempi my jedi master (the schoolmaster I ride). If I didn't ask for forward with leg and seat first he'd back up (from halt to walk).


Jun. 26, 2011, 05:21 PM
the posts above are also true. some horses do not like and anticipate your hand. and they need more leg. you just have to find out what works for your horse

Jun. 26, 2011, 05:28 PM
This is a really common issue and IME the root of it is often that people get focused on what they are doing next, not what is happening underneath them right now. Combine that with horses learning to anticipate change when the reins are picked up and you can see why this is so common.

I ask my students who have this issue ( and most do when we meet) to first, stop thinking about the fact that they are going to do something else after they pick up the reins and notice what is really happening. There is usually a change of rythym and * that * is what the rider needs to correct, there is a reason rythym is at the BOTTOM of the training scale :) the change of rythym is often accompanied by a loss of bend...

In other words, when people shorten their reins, they quit riding.

So to fix this, you need to drop your horse on the buckle at the walk a gozillion times, and first observe what happens when you pick up the reins, and then, attend to it.

Lastly, most people pick up their reins incorrectly. They straighten their arms/elbows, reach forward, shorten the rein and then PULL THEM BACK. So the horse reacts to being pulled on with both reins and who can blame him for tensing, hollowing, sucking back or bounding forward? The correct way is with your elbows at your side, put your hands together and slide the reins up one at a time to the correct length, while keeping the feeling of your core pushing at your hand so you do not pull back. Eventually when you master the art of keeping the horse in front of your leg/core all the time, you can lean over a la Anky and gracefully shorten/pick up the rein. By then your horse will trust your hand, and you will be riding all the time, and it will be a beautiful thing.

Learning to pick your reins up correctly seems like a little thing, but dressage is about the details. Pay attention to the details and they will add up to the big picture you are working to achieve.

Jun. 26, 2011, 06:57 PM
Thanks guys soooo much! I know my trainer is right, but I just wanted to hear it explained in a couple different ways.

Jun. 26, 2011, 07:01 PM
The answer was given above. You are thinking reins first, when you should be thinking half halt from seat and leg first.

The half halt is not from the rein but a rebalancing by sending forward with the leg.