She is beautiful!
Im sure someone will come with better advice but I would say if you can get her stretching a bit more over and through forward! Dont worry about the contact if she has no throughnes. Keep light contact if you can use figures to get her more supple and the lessons of course :)
I have a background in hunters, so this makes perfect sense. :)
Originally Posted by Freebird!
And thank you for the images Nomi! I'm youtubing some of the greats as well. :)
I'm hardly qualified to say anything, but...a couple of thoughts.
I've done the "horsie leans, drop contact and let them fall on their face" routine before .... on very well broke schoolie types who knew better but got used to letting kids pack them around, and a good near-miss with the ground seemed to make them remember that they could carry their own selves around. That was a lot of years ago now....
My current guy has a bit of a tendancy to lean sometimes...less so now than before... The corrections were flexion and legging him up into it, bend and lift.. of course, he has always really liked contact as long as it isn't restricting and would happily lean on it. But as a few months-off-the-track greenie, dropping him on his face if he leaned would have just had him go "Oh, cool, release!"
nowadays, because he's not AS green (schooling a hodgepodge of first/second under the trainer, I can ride him a mix of training and beginnings of first - I'm learning!), and if he starts to lean/get to low then he's either a) losing impulsion or b) I'm holding the reins to steady and giving him something to lean on and, most likely it's actually option c) a mixture of a and b. So I get reminded to sponge the reins, and leg him up. speed changes. Trot walk trot, big trot slow trot big trot, trot-walk-halt-walk-trot.... it's all really helped. The more impulsion he's carrying with, the lighter he is in the front end, and the softer he is in the mouth.
She looks braced against the contact, not accepting it, and until you've got that, you can't think about about asking for more :)
I would honestly get on some ground work with the reins and bit and teach her about accepting contact :)
Good point, JB.
I have a really hard time with in hand ground work with her. She's 17.1 and I'm 5'2. I can't reach over her withers! lol
You don't reach over the withers - you bring the outside rein over to you :)
No, it's not quiiiiiite the same, but truly - find/get that book, and he goes all into how that works :)
I really respect what you're saying about the size difference and groundwork.. Especially that you know when it is simply not smart to push certain buttons. The only opposition I have with the side reins argument is that 1. She's not a great lunger, so will it just make the problem worse for the time? and 2. Horses can most certainly evade contact in side reins or learn to carry themselves with their neck flexed "accepting contact" but not working forward, up, and over her back to stay within the side reins. Just some thoughts that I think you already know :)
Here's what I like to think about when I alter my contact for collection, maybe it will help you as well. I think about shortening the reins but keeping the same light, following contact I would normally have. This engages my core more as I work to separate my arms and hands from the rest of my body and really keep the forward thinking but with a bit of lift in the withers. I don't know if you did anything in the jumper world, too, but I sometimes think of how my contact felt when I had to keep my reins shorter for a higher course but I better follow that with light contact, otherwise the horse would certainly dump me before the jump! Obviously here in dressage there is a lot more seat involved but I really find it helpful to remember how my hands worked then.
I agree:yes:; even the round :)pen![QUOTE=Petstorejunkie;6785701]Good question, JB.
This would be much safer addressed on the longe in side reins[/possibly with "sliding sidereins:yes:
Shorten your reins, get your hands up and in front of the saddle.
I think you are well intentioned in not fighting with her but you have created a horse that likes to be babied when the going gets tough.
Taking contact provides guidance and stability. There is elasticity and relaxation but also firmness and weight.
I was doing what you are and its come back to bit me in the booty when I'm trying to move up and get more push from the hind end.... I can't get a good half halt when my horse braces everytime he hits the bit. (He is well trained but I need to do some extra work on this).
Contact is not "lets make a deal".
Here is the rein length, deal with it.
Provided the horse is not a baby and has the strength and forwardness.
Also rider should be not trapping the horse.
Too many people disconnect the aids when dealing with a problem horse. They fixate on the problem, vice focus on it. They "take a horse apart" but don't put it back together again. In the present instance this fixation on use of the hand causes them to lose sight of the rest of the horse.
The following is from HORSEMANSHIP AND HORSEMASTERSHIP,
PART ONE, Education of the Rider, CHAPTER 4, "THE MANAGEMENT OF THE HORSE." It is the last text used at the Cavalry School at Ft. Riley, KS:
13. USE OF THE AIDS. When the rider knows the means of control and is master of them, he has only to apply them with tact.
It is solely the application of the means of control which decides and regulates the movement, and directs it towards the accomplishment of a desired purpose.
Practice in the use of the aids gives birth to the feel of the horse and equestrian tact.
The feel of the horse enables the rider to judge the degree of submission or of resistance of his mount.
Equestrian tact regulates the degree of force used by the rider. It leads him to determine the effect to produce, the intensity of that effect, and the exact moment to produce it. It enables him to conquer resistances, or at least to forestall them.
The agents of equestrian tact are the legs and the hands.
a. Tact of the legs. The legs can act only in one direction. In their use, then, there is only a question of intensity, which the aid of the spur renders more powerful. From the study of the mechanism of the gaits, the rider, by his seat can have a certain feeling of the movements which constitute the raising, suspension, and planting of the feet; he can profit by this to hasten or retard their play, interrupt their combinations, and hence to correct or modify the gaits.
b. Tact of the hand. The study of the action of the reins has determined their theoretical effects, but these effects may produce very different results according to the qualities of the hand which provokes them.
Finesse in the use of the hands is the most difficult part of horsemanship to master.
The qualities of a good hand are steadiness, lightness, softness, firmness.
To have a steady hand does not mean that the hand shall remain immovable; it should, on the contrary, move up, down, to the right, and left, according to need, but in the execution of this, it should be free from all involuntary or useless movement.
Steadiness of hand is the first quality to be sought, and is the most important of all, for without it the others cannot be fully developed. The unsteady hand can have neither lightness, softness, nor firmness; its indications are uncertain and the most attentive horse cannot obey its incoherent action.
The light hand maintains the merest contact with the horse's mouth.
The soft hand gives support.
The firm hand gives a frank, decided bearing.
The hand should know how to resist authoritatively when necessary, but should yield as soon as the resistance of the mouth disappears, and should return to softness which is always the bond or union between lightness and firmness. It is in this sense that a good hand has been defined as a "force in the fingers equal to the resistance of the horse, but never greater."
Actions of the hand vary in extent and intensity with the degree of training of the horse. At the beginning, the forearm, wrist, and hand participate in the action of the rein aids. With a trained horse, however, it is only by a closing more or less energetic, or by an opening, more or less complete, of the fingers that the rider transmits his will. The pronounced action of the hands necessary with the green or partially trained horse are through education finally succeeded by effects of mere indication.
Horsemen are prone to forget that the technique of hands is always subject to improvement and at no time are they ever completely made. Progress in their skill is without limit.
To sum up, equestrian tact consists in choosing the correct determining and regulating aids, in assigning to each of its proper action, resistance, or passivity, and then by means of the aids, causing the effect to fall upon the point selected, (keeping in mind the seats of resistance which are the poll and jaw, shoulders and haunches) and as nearly as possible at the instant desired, so as to take advantage of the laws of balance and locomotion.
The role of the instructor is here much restricted because, not riding the horse himself, many resistances escape his observation. The pupil must, therefore, redouble his efforts to be honest with himself as to his faults. If he does not judge his own actions properly he will make no progress. It is practice, founded on sound principles that should be his real teacher.
(Italics in original text.)
This horse sounds like it has "holes" in its training. The rider has to figure out where the holes are and fill them in. This may necessitate a "focus" on some aspect of the training of horse and rider, such as the proper use of the hand. But even during that "focus moment" the rider/instructor must always remember that while the hand is in contact with the mouth there's a 1000 pounds, or so, of horse aft of that mouth. What the rider does to that mouth will affect that 1000 pounds. What's happening elsewhere in that 1000 pounds will affect what the mouth is doing. This is where the equestrian tact comes in.
There was a professor in my youth that used to constantly remind his students that in his discipline "you have to know it all at once, but you can't learn it all at once." This a fundamental truth in the art of equitation. So focus, but don't fixate. And before you quit make sure the horse is "put back together again." :)
This. Sometimes when we try to be "kind" or "soft" in our contact we become inconsistent. Either/Or. Having contact or/on the buckle. Accepting contact is the rider setting the parameters and when the horse softens to it, going with it to let him know, yes, that is the right answer. But one has to be sure not to throw it away.
Originally Posted by SendenHorse
^^^ This and what SedenHorse and Nomiomi1 said.
Originally Posted by CFFarm
Also, I don't think anyone suggested it but have you had your mare teeth checked? Pulling and bucking to contact is a pretty obvious sign that the teeth need to be done. My mare is really sensitive and needs her teeth done at least once a year if not twice.
Have you had your lesson yet? What did your trainer said?
Quote JB "She looks braced against the contact, not accepting it, and until you've got that, you can't think about about asking for more "-End Quote
Unless there's a picture I can't see-- the picture I do see shows a loosened rein and a horse standing with a cocked hip. Braced-- I think not!
It also shows a perched rider who still is halfway hunt seat, with insuffiently bent elbows, which will stiffen the forearm. I know a photo is a snap shot in time but....... ;)
Please let us know how your lesson went.
the horse isn't standing, she's in some phase of the walk (which could be just starting off), the rein isn't loose, at least not the left rein the right rein might be draped, perhaps the rider is using a direct leading rein to ask the horse to move left a bit.
Her muscling reminds me of horses that lock the neck and sacrum
You guys are awesome! It was -1* today, so we pushed the lesson off. Just too cold.
You all make some really great points. I'm going to try to address them all.
I think that it's less that Herself has 'holes' in her training and more that she just doesn't have much training. I agree that I ride in a hybrid hunt seat/dressage seat. This picture was one of the first times she was under saddle, and often I've found for the first handful or so of rides, I am more stable and am able to stay a bit more out of the way in a more hunter style position. It's how I'm most comfortable and effective. I'm trying to dig up some more recent pictures, but I ride alone 99% of the time. :) In this picture, she was just walking off and I was attempting to steer her to the left.
I also agree about my elbows. ;) Old habits die so very hard. I think that I was attempting to follow her and remain soft. I can't exactly remember because I was just so darn excited to finally get on the beast. :D
Willow is 8, and certainly not a baby, but very green.
I spoke a bit with my trainer this morning, and she agreed with you all, that I'm thinking about contact too much as a compromise. I need to be more firm and let her know that this is what you're getting, it's non-negotiable. I know that she's going to throw a fit and fight it, but (as with everything) she'll come around if I just sit quietly and when she's done, ask again. That seems to be what works best. She does eventually figure it out. She also suggested that she might be a bit bored, so to really utilize geometry while I'm asking her. We're backing off asking her in the trot, and starting with the walk. She does tend to get a bit pacey, so I can use that to make sure that she's forward. She also suggested lots of transitions, and really asking her to step into them to get her backed off the bit, a bit.
When I first started riding her I did baby her like it was nobody's business. You hit the nail on the head there! I've had to learn to draw the line. She intimidated me, in that she is the nicest horse that I have EVER worked with, much less owned, and I wanted so badly to do everything perfectly so I didn't let her or myself down that I made things worse. I got a rude awakening in bucking up and not taking her sh*t when she nailed me in the shoulder. She still throws a fit, but I've realized that I just need to keep asking firmly.
Her teeth just got done in November.
I bet she has a nice pretty, long neck once you figure out how to un-scrunch her :)
Just remember that the taking has to be forward. This is a hard concept.
Quote-"you have to know it all at once, but you can't learn it all at once." This a fundamental truth in the art of equitation. So focus, but don't fixate. -Guilherme
No matter how much you read, no matter how much you hear, it doesn't make sense until you can do it, and feel it.--Another sad fact!
;) She un-scrunches rather well, just in the wrong direction!
Originally Posted by JB
This is a bit more what the mess looks like, ATM. She's going to be brilliant once we get each other figured out. I really am excited about the whole project. :) I know that I'm leaning a bit forward, among other things.
Awesome quotes, merry! So, so true!
Thank you all, again! Y'all are the best. :)
I'll be intereseted in what others have to say but you're gonna have to get her forward button fixed before you start asking for more contact.
Do you carry a dressage whip? If not I would start. I was taught that when the head goes up, the hands go up always keeping a straight line from your elbow to the bit, always keeping a consistent contact. That way she can't evade the contact and encourage her to stretch.