i am always on the look out for ways to better communicate with the energy conserving pony ;)
>I am starting him almost again, with just forward, and a bunch of lunging and ground work.
I have been trying the request and release that you can read about on here. It works quite well, He is much better at going when I say, and staying in that gait.
He is still not a believer because he has not been ridden consistently for some time.
I am also now adding in tiny jumps at various locations around the arena, That seems to hold his interest and he is more forward and focussed.
He is a belgian WB and for me with Lots of Tb's under my belt he is a tough nut to crack.
>I cannot not give you anything solid but there are some great posts on this thread to keep in your trainers box of goods! :yes:
i too am going from a hotter horse to a well - pony ;) and so he is taking a different approach....
if you dont mind me asking: when you say request/release what do you mean exactly? give and aid and stop requesting when horse responds? or do you mean give an aid and then release the contact when horse responds.?
When you make a request (the first being high/light/mobilize the jaw) you act, and immediately allow. IF you wait for a response (rather than assume one) you are not allowing act/react. If you act and the horse does not chew/mobilize the jaw (ie mm of lateral flexion) usually the horse is not upright enough.
Remember the horse 'giving to the bit' is NOT longitudinal flexion...it is chewing (from lifting/demi-arrets), and lateral flexibility. Longitudinal flexion follows from lateral flexibility (this is traditional doctrine which has been applied to all but the last 20-30 years). However it is NOT about bending at the withers, but rather stabilizing the neck is the center of the chest with flexions at the atlas/axis.
I would recommend that you read Baucher/Decarpentry/Philippe Karl/De la Gueriniere (which is french traditional).
All schools traditionally request lightness of the horse. Uberstreichen is merely the german name for rewarding the horse taking a hh/demi arret. It is all in the teaching.
What I think has a greater relavancy in today's world is the use of (methodical) work in hand because horses are ridden low/closed/preciptiously into longitudinal flexion. That is not any school's recommendation, it is merely bad riding.
Equitational alignment is the heart of any good school, the horse cannot easily speak with the rider if their methods are sloppy. And methodical work (un mounted, then mounted) is simply logical for the horse's learning. And it is key that rider's also learn the different rein holds (1:1 traditional/1:1 fillis (Schultheis) style; 2:2 traditional/2:2 fillis style; 3:1; 4:1) which were part of traditional military learning).
And there are NO elementary questions. (And the layers of academic equitation go on forever.....and that is simply what Racinet brought up...horsemen's conversations/interaction.)
and fwiw, i have read all that you mentioned altho i am working on Decarpentry as we speak.
can you give a scenario and explain how you would ride it?
say horse does not go lightly forward (aka as Sannois mentioned) - what exactly would you do to get it to comply happily and consistently?
Not quite sure what you are asking, but will take a stab at it. When you ask anything with an aid, you ask/cease the aid/see what has happened as the reaction. If the aid did not work it is NEVER about duration or strength, it is about becoming better understood. So WE riders have to change what/how/when/where/etc we are asking. But there must be (our) action and (the horse's) reaction. However, IF we weight (sustain the action) until there is (apparent) reaction WE miss the moment and end up with a YELL at the horse. We need to PRESUME there will be a reaction, in effect almost reward ahead of time (if that makes sense).
As to contact per se, it should be light/consistent, except perhaps when the horse is 'held by the seat alone'. This can be in piaffe, or it can be for a few steps WHEN the horse is in self carriage (giving one or both reins...mise a main/uberstreichen..depending upon the school) depending upon the effect of the hh/demi arret (even arret/insterberger if needed). It is never about 'giving to the bit' longitudinally first...ever. "Giving the jaw"/mobilization yes, but through actions on the corners of the lips NOT the bars.
The premise behind all work in hand is to allow the horse to learn reactions in isolation (without our weight) AND allow us to view the horse globally (the entire body). Through this work in hand (high/light/mobilization; lateral flexibility of differing degrees; chewing fdo while bending) we 'set the stage' for ridden work. Then it is more easy to see where the errors are when mounted.
Hope this makes sense.
After a good warm up and ridden exercises I headed him to the poles at a trot. NO ANTICIPATION, NO EXTRA AIDES, NO CHANGES TO FORWARDNESS, LOOKING UP AND STRAIGHT, LEGS DRAPED BUT FIRM, RISING TROT.
He stopped right at the first pole.
At first I made the mistake of using the dressage whip consistently on his shoulder but stopping as he was beginning to take a step I stopped the whip action. He never completed his step but ceased the forward and remained in place. (Even the most seemingly sluggish WB’s can be very quick to react at the lack of pressure!)
I began again – this time - I began using the dressage whip at his shoulder and ramped up the whip pressure until he completed a small step forward toward the pole. Then I stopped the whip and relaxed the aides. Whenever he would back a step I applied the pressure with the whip on shoulder – same as in his ground training until he took a step forward towards the first pole. All this and he still hadn’t gone over the first pole yet.
Then I side stepped him to the left of the first pole and immediately asked for a vigorous trot, then trot canter transitions, then serpentines up and down the arena.
Then down the center, back to the poles. He stopped at the first pole, I applied the pressure until he began to step over the first pole then took the pressure off but still had a firm leg until he walked through all 4 poles. Then big pat, “good boy” then back to vigorous trot, trot canter transitions, serpentines. Back to the poles, now he trots but slowly, big pat, good boy, back to trot, trot canter trans., serpentines. Back to poles, this time a nice trot through poles. Reward by trotting long and low. Pick up contact after a few minutes and trot the poles again. Nice, pat, good boy, release, long and low.
Now pick up contact and head up to poles away from the barn in other direction (remember now he is seeing it with the “other” eye). He abruptly stops in front of first pole. I use whip on shoulder until he completes a small step forward then release whip and let him stand. Then side step to the right and trans. to vigorous trot, trot canter trans., serpentines. Then head to the poles again, same direction.
Success – because he knows now that refusal means more work in other exercises and cooperation means reward and release.
Not many horses that I work would be so difficult and head strong as this particular case but it is important to point out that the RIDDEN aides, disciplines and rewards must MIRROR the ground work aides, disciplines and rewards. Else the horse is confused...
Ideally for a horse which has not done an exercise with poles (ridden), I would walk them in HAND over one, then all four. Then ridden start walking over one, then add poles. (For the one work out). Only then do it in trot, or the rider is almost setting the horse up for failure. That way they are less likely to refuse the rider, or have need of a bat on the shoulder. Again, basic progression.
The horse MUST have a rider who asks the horse to 'funnel' when presented (to something different) under saddle. Imho not having the 'leg on' is like trying to do shoulder fore without aids to create the line, I do not get that approach at all. And I certainly would NOT pull the horse off the initial line (but then I rode open h/j horses as well as fei dressage). More importantly I would not apply pressure until the horse did x (began to step over the first pole). For me that would allow the horse to say NO to the continuing (leg) pressure which is exactly what do NOT want to do. if I were to do this kind of approach I would be tap/tap/tap with the whip to ask/allow/ask/allow (and/or immediately cease when I think the horse is committed.
Sorry, I personally do not believe in that doing behavior x (that I do not want)=more work. For me, it is work smarter/more methodically in the first place. And because horses hemispheres are not connected, what is done one direction does not equal doing it to the other hand.
Also, imho whip is not needed for forward, balance is. Get the horse high enough and they are forced (omg) to step forward VOLUNTARILY.
My understanding is that the horse DOES possess a functioning corpus callosum.
I did not read the whole thread, so I apoligize if this was already adressed.
The OP said she would address questions based on some precepts she posted on the first post.
"hands without legs"
I am currently working on keeping the horse straight while bent.
My concern with my horse is keeping his shoulders straight on corners, turns. Without my legs to influence his shoulder popping out, my rein aids are not entirely influential.
How do you address straightness without leg?
You do not. There is a difference between placement of the legs (inside leg closer to the girth/outside leg back) PASSIVELY and actually USING the leg(s) to ask for longer strides/etc. Hands with out legs and visa versa are about application (which comes first/and WHY). Also a horse is 'positioned straight', which means it is flexed inside, bending comes over time. A green horse is 'positioned straight' when the inside fore/hind are aligned. A trained horse (capable of bending on a 6 m volte) is positioned with outside fore/hind aligned. In both cases the neck must come straight out of the chest/rooted in the middle.
Totally agree with you on the above for a nice young horse who is green to the exercises - that is how I would do it also - without a doubt.
Sometimes in one's training experiences, one comes across a "ruined" horse. One who has done the trot poles many times before perhaps years ago. One who has decided to block out his responces to humans either through fear or success in being so stubborn that everyone just eventually gives up.
This is the type of horse I am working currently.
This horse, when he decides not to go will freeze at the leg but wakes up at the whip on the shoulder. He respondes beautifully to the leg while doing his regular exercises, such as walk, trot, canter, leg yeilds, lateral work, transistions. But put him into what he considers a stress situation and he needs the extra help. We go immediately back to our NH techniques to remind him that he must "try" and choose to do the poles then he gets well rewarded. And a forward response from the leg and seat 100% of the time is our ultimate goal as always.
With 'in-hand' exercises one always introduces things in small doses - i.e. one pole at a time. When they are doing several poles in a row, one progresses on to riding in exactly the same manner. However some horses who may be especially reactive will remember the "old" days when they were perhaps beaten before, during and after the exercise (which is what I suspect happened here as I know where he came from) and just freeze up. That is when all the normal progressions and order of aides just doesn't work and "unfreezing" or "unlocking" the horse becomes primary - but never in a brutal way.
This particular horse is a 6 year old BWP who was started almost too young and jumping 1.5 m fences at 4 (too soon) then as he began to have mental and physical issues - pushed because that is the mentality of many of the BNTs who have neither the time nor finances to go slow.
Primordial though, that he must be ridden in a high enough frame. Never does this horse go well in his work if he is allowed to go around on the forehand or with his head overflexed. (that is how he came to me after being ridden constantly in draw reins or mikmar style bits)
Interesting, though, how some horses can be so difficult but combining the best techniques from the French, german, or NH schools can work together for success. Requires above all "tact" on the trainers part to work a horse like this successfully.
imho very few horses are stubborn. Mixed up/bewildered/poorly trained...yes. And the majority of horses I deal with are because of the later (mixed in with riders who have little to no experience with methodical training in the first place).
IF the horse is 'refusing the leg', imho a great deal is about balance/precipitous flexion (I have gotten ones who not only stop, but hurt people when asked to go. Sound horses who have been progressively taught to say NO in a big way and the handlers dont even UNDERSTAND WHY.) It is for these horses that the traditional (now considered french) manner of lifting the horse works....if held high enough they CHOOSE the hand, they CHOOSE FORWARD....then comes the leg. Certainly responses to the whip are learned in hand better (because they take the rider away). And why does a jumper learn to refuse the leg? Because they are on the forehand/know it, and/or are over faced. More leg will never solve that problem.
It is not a high enough 'frame' per se, it is what happens when the balance changes. If the horse is held high (even omg with head higher than neck) the horse has to step forward with the hind legs and seek the hand (REuse its neck), it simply has no choice but to respond (without ANY drama). That means the 'yes answer' (supported with a touch of the leg when it does) is catered/learned.
So, the best place to start is ALWAYS at the beginning. It allows the handler to see where the holes are rather than fishing for them while riding. Which only allows the horse to say 'no' to the rider, rather than catering progressive 'yes' answers. One can say it takes longer, but in the end the horse is much more a trusting partner.
For me (growing up on a working cattle ranch), and doing all the 'seats' (equitation) as well...there is only one manner of schooling....that being 'in balance'. NH today is just some variety of traditional training, put 'in a box' for riders who have little to no apprenticeship, or in schooling/reschooling. The schools (traditionally) and the various 'seats' have little to no difference, that is a development of the last 30-40 years.
The one thing good thing "packaged NH" has taught me even after years of riding, grooming, competing is a very healthy respect as too just how quick a horse is and just how quickly I must react to release, pressure, reward, etc..
The challenge of an especially difficult horse is what makes us horsemen.
Have to wonder if this horse might have a vision problem too..
I am afraid I> STILL do not understand what you mean by Lifting?
In the saddle? You literally are lifting your hands, lifting the bit??
I am lost I am sorry!
I had a horse years ago at a clinic that acted like the poles were a dangerous snake. Would not go across them!
I backed her over the poles and then forward was easy.
I have used that to trailer load a horse that I know used to trailer well.
Something happens, the horse sees thing differently. THey can't talk so they balk or flee or whatever.
I think it has to do with how they see. I believe they think on two tracks as well.
I tried to locate the plates of raising the neck but without success. A friend said she had them and would send copies years ago but I never did get them.