I'm prefacing this by saying that I have a lesson tomorrow, but I'm interested in hearing COTH's take on this as well, as I always get great advice here. :)
Herself has really been making progress lately, so I decided that it was time to start introducing her to a bit of collection and flexation. Which means taking a bit firmer contact. She thinks that that is really great of Mom to offer to carry her head around the arena for her and started really leaning on my hands.
The first time she did it, I just let go. I don't want her to turn into one of those horses that hauls on you all. the. time. Well she fell right on her face. Then got P*SSED and started bucking. Then anytime I touched her face she threw all her weight into my hands. I let go, and she bucked (yanking the reins pretty well out of my hands) then proceeded to go around the arena with her head in the air.
Same thing last night. I touched her face, and she leaned then bucked. Cue camel impression. She doesn't unseat me, just yanks the reins out of my hands. She doesn't get quick and is happy to truck around the arena at any speed I want, as long as I don't touch her face.
Sounds to me like miss missy has learned the wrong lesson. Correcting this is two part because 1. She has to learn that bucking is not the desired response 2. She needs to learn where her carriage needs to go
Bucking is an evasion to forward. She needs to MOVE forward at all costs. Next time she starts to lean, try a Demi arret on the inside rein and a few good taps with the whip. Most likely she will shake and toss her head and HOPEFULLY scoot forward. Don't let up til she stops the head tantrum.
I'd also look at how you are taking up contact. Some horses, especially mares, are very particular in how you do things. Keep your elbows at your sides, abs engaged, and itsy bitsy spider the inside rein then the outside rein. You want the inside rein to have a 3" lead on the outside in this process.
Also, carrying oneself for the first time is hard work, so keep things short with lots of breaks. A little bit of shoulder fore, and a bazillion transitions will help her.
Also, keep in mind since she's a mare, hormonal protests can happen 'just because'
Have you taught her about bit contact and pressure from the ground?
Good question, JB.
This would be much safer addressed on the longe in side reins
I suspect that you have taken a stronger connection than her ability to collect allows. Collection should not mean stronger contact.
Collection comes from increased engagement, and to encourage that the horse has to be physically ready, and the rider has be able to carry themselves.
Gymnastic exercises such as shoulder in, haunches in, revers, and combinations of them will help increase the horse's willingness to self carry. It is when they are carrying themselves, and you are carrying you that collection occurs.
You have now incurred her resentment, and, mares and stallions can be tough about that. So when you do take any contact, make sure she is forward, and that your contact is forward with supple, giving elbows, wrists and fingers. Do not restrict.
I think the bit acceptance is not there. Its a step below contact. Forward and all that is great but the issues seems to be her response to the actual bit. I've been working on this and I need to be as consistent as possible with my hands and ride forward. Its a matter of the horse realizes the contact is this way, its not going to accommodate a stretch or give. My horse is not green and is schooling 1st/second so its not unreasonable to expect a bit more finesse.
I'm learning a bit stronger connection that is firm is preferable to this half hearted response to the bit that sort of works but I always wonder if my horse will brace.
I would not give the reins in that case, the horse needs to give to YOU. (This is all assuming the horse is not being asked to shorten too early or strongly).
Jane Savioe has a good section on this in her first cross training book. I had to eat humble pie and go back to this chapter after realizing my horse is choosing to dink around rather then accept the bit. I have forward, relaxed, straight and tempo. I'm just missing the acceptance. I was not being consistent in what I was asking.
Yes, issues farther back in the horse will always play in. Forward may be part of your problem. I'm just talking about the actual mouth and bit.
French style flexions would help address this, though I have little experience with it since I ride German training scale.
Again, this may not be your issue but don't get roped into reacting to your horse not liking something. I'm all for fair/kind/giving but when push comes to shove there has to be something in your hand.
So basically every time she hauls down on you, you let go.
Originally Posted by Superminion
The teach is in the release.
What did you just reward?
I can tell you one thing, when a horse yanks on me, I yank back. Doesn't generally take more than twice: once to say OH HAYULL NO, and the second time to say, NOBODY'S KIDDING. **I** get to decide that our feet will be on the ground and we will address the bridle like a lady. We can deal with the finer points of contact and "demi arrets" and wtfever else after that is well clear. Bucking down the longside after snatching the reins is not going to get past me without comment. What's French for "F*CK NO?"
The behavior you describe is just RUDE. Who cares how green it is? Throwing its weight around and bucking is not acceptable. If it doesn't understand it can be polite about it without making a pit stop in Tanty Land. Everyone else can go longe it in side reins for weeks, I'll be over here teaching it some eff MANNERS in 30 seconds.
Actually, I'm thinking well before side reins - I'm thinking in-hand work to teach first the acceptance of the bit contact, then the proper response to the contact, and Mike Schaffer, in Right From the Start, talks specifically about teaching what the outside rein means from the ground, in-hand, before you get on.
There are some youngsters who cannot be taught "CONTACT" on a lunge line (they will panic), or with unsympathetic hands. You have to be very tactful with a soft and following hand before they will begin to trust you. All you have to be is a LITTLE bit smarter than your horse to avoid a pissing match.
So when a horse yanks it head down and goes bucking off down the longside, how "sympathetic" is the response supposed to be?
Because my answer is, "STOP. IMMEDIATELY NOW, STOP.
WHEN YOU QUIT TRYING TO F*CKING KILL ME WE CAN DISCUSS AGAIN."
Feet-on-the-ground is not negotiable.
It's really ok to expect at least that.
I have worked her in side reins, as well as long lined her. She leaned on the side reins quite heavily (and they were not tight) for a bit, then got pissy about it (lots of head throwing and stopping), then just accepted them and went back to work. Our long lining was a bit of a fail as I was not quick enough to keep up with her more explosive moments. Instead of creating a bigger problem, I decided that it would be something to address with my trainer tomorrow. I have long lining experience, however I haven't done it in years. Combine that with Herself spinning about like a top and it was a recipe for disaster. I know when to ask for help. I'm going to check out that book, JB. Thanks for the suggestion.
When I started her, I did so on a fairly loose rein, keeping enough contact to steer and halt. I didn't want to restrict. She doesn't hang on the bit in the halt nor does she to steer, just when I pick her up to ask her to flex. She'd much rather run around star gazing. I'm trying to be as soft as possible, sit up with a deep seat, and try not to restrict her forward movement. I'm not perfect though, and I know that there is a learning curve for both of us. Thanks, merrygoround for reminding me about my hands. I think I also thought more about riding through the buck, which made my hands a lot less supple and giving.
I was always taught that if you don't give them anything to lean on, they won't lean, so just drop the contact. I'm not going to win a tug of war with any of them. It's worked for me several times in the past with green horses, they usually 'get it' when I let go a dozen or so times. I'm not talking about flinging all my rein at them, just quietly moving my hand forward. I've never had one flat out fall on their face, then get so mad about it.
I agree that she needs to be more forward, and that the bucking is a GREAT evasion. She seems to seek out the contact, lean, then buck to get the rein away from me. I like that she's seeking the contact, but I think that she's doing it for all the wrong reasons (i.e because bucking Mom off is a great way to get out of work... which it's really not). I also agree that it's rude. She is not a horse that I can yank her head up and boot her forward. She's not afraid to get back in my face if I get in hers. That's just how she is, and I've accepted it. I don't tip toe around her, but I also know what buttons to push and when. The self-destruct button is not one I want to push again. ;)
This seems to be a pattern with her, as well, looking back over things. I introduce something new, she throws a fit, then she's over it and ready to work once she learns that her tantrums aren't going to get her out of whatever it is that she's protesting. As long as I sit quietly, she'll come around. It's just how she is.
Ask yourself why "a horse yanks it head down". My comment was aimed at those that blithely advise lunging in sidereins without any further knowledge of the horse involved. It is not the answer for all horses.The behaviour OP describes is rude, but caused by unsympathetic training.
Originally Posted by meupatdoes
Why is everything all or nothing? Either she's on a loose rein or you're flexing her? She leans on you or you throw away contact?
Contact is a wide spectrum, and so is collection. Rather than two points which are far away, think of riding all the shades or grey in the middle.
Are you trying to shorten the reins to get her to "flex"? That's the other place I'm confused. Getting lateral flexion is what helps them develop the longitudinal flexion you eventually want from correct work. That should come out of the horse's carriage and learning to use itself, recycling energy, lifting in the withers, not from you pulling on the reins to bring the nose in. I'd protest, too! Sure with a trained horse you can shorten the reins and get a rounder neck - but that should always be coming from seat and legs before the hands, after the horse has developed the ability to carry itself differently.
Do you mean you are just trying to go around with contact? Collection and other things should happen long after contact is truly established.
Originally Posted by Superminion
We also do not know what you meant by "touch" her face. Do you mean attempting to take contact? Or bumping "flexation" as you say or "firm contact" as you also say.
Its too hard to say if you have her in front of your leg first which must happen as well as it will help with the bucking, but such a violent reaction to 'touching' may need actual assistance as in face to face.
I would not yank at this point. No.
Good points, Netg. I guess my thought process was that if I dropped the contact when she started to lean, she would get it that I wasn't playing the carry her head around game. I guess I didn't communicate correctly here. It's hard to put into words what I'm feeling or doing.
I'm not shortening my reins a huge amount, if at all. I sponge the reins in my fingers and bring my hand towards my hip to ask her to bring her nose to the inside while keeping steady contact with my outside rein. I don't yank her around or anything like that. As soon as I start 'sponging' is when she starts leaning. I returned my hand to its normal position and she fell on her face. She carries herself fairly well, and now that we have stop, go, right, and left down it's time to go onto the next step, which to me, is starting to flex and bend.
Does that make sense?
It makes sense what you are explaining but it does not sound correct (we cannot know if you cannot show us a picture but Im guessing). Did you say that you are having a lesson? That would help the most.
I like this soft elbow and where the hands are for a young horse :) http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&s...2&tx=102&ty=83
And another where they are obviously asking a bit of flexion but no hand towards the hip :) good images before you ride again IMO
Let me see if I can find a picture....
ETA: Here you go. http://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/...ps52430251.jpg
This is from a bit earlier in the summer, but she's going the same way.
Leg, Leg, Leg. I know this is the Dressage forum, but try riding her like a hunter (flame suit is securely on) Have a very soft feel of her. When she gives, you give. When she pulls, you keep your hands just where they are - no more, and no less, and ADD LEG. Just stay very soft, with your hands and elbows, and focus on her her bending, and staying in front of your leg. If you can, try to anticipate her before she starts pulling and bucking, and ask her for a leg yield, school figure - whatever - to get her mind back on you. Instead of bending her with your inside rein, use your legs - inside at teh girth, and outside behind the girth - to bend her.