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  1. #1
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    May. 15, 2009
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    Default Turn Baby Turn (Andy/Lusi owner/trainers?)

    My mare HATES to bend.

    I've done exercises with her where we've done one stride serpentines at a walk (literally: forward 2 strides, turn 1 stride turn, forward 2 strides, turn 1 stride turn), and she just won't soften up. We've done the same at a trot (obviously with a few more steps, but the same idea). As soon as we get back to our circle she's forgotten how to turn corners again.

    I'm not riding her right now but have a friend training for me and she mentioned last time I went to visit she's also having a hard time getting her to bend. I've been trying to think of something to suggest.

    She's an 8 year old just past green-broke Iberian Warmblood and has NO excuses (physically) for not wanting to bend.

    I have tried "carrot exercise" (ground-work bending) and that does seem to help before we ride, but only too a point.
    Now she is very out of shape, and that probably does have to do with why she won't bend.

    She's being ridden in a full-cheek snaffle, which also seems to help a little.

    Any suggestions for exercises you've found helpful? Both for strength and encouraging bending.
    Last edited by Nes; May. 15, 2009 at 06:55 PM. Reason: title



  2. #2
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    Mar. 28, 2006
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    Default

    FWIW, I have a Lusiatano in my barn who won't bend either...it was explained to me that when they are trained they don't bend, they ride them with the leg and seat....and just tiny squeezes of the hands (which are held close together and you don't take your elbow back for the half-halt) This was by a Brazilian trainer This horse was not trained up, but started this way. Have you talked to someone who is familiar with the breed?
    "When you think you don't need a coach ...then you're in trouble" Don Imus 2012



  3. #3
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    I don't know anyone familiar with Spanish/Portuguese horses - in fact I've only met 2 or 3 people who actually understand what an Iberian Warmblood is (and even after explanation everyone else just gives me a blank stare then proclaims her a mutt! )

    Now that you have mentioned it I had heard of this before, any suggestions for learning more?

    My mare is an exceptional jumper and we're training her for eventing.



  4. #4
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    try to watch a couple of videos on line if you can....it is a very different way of riding than I was used to. Think about the bend as coming from the inside leg acting as a pillar...don't do it from the hands. The hands are just squeezed like a sponge and both hands are about a fist apart. Try this and see how it works. Maybe someone here can recommend a website?
    "When you think you don't need a coach ...then you're in trouble" Don Imus 2012



  5. #5
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    Aug. 25, 2005
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogey2 View Post
    FWIW, I have a Lusiatano in my barn who won't bend either...it was explained to me that when they are trained they don't bend, they ride them with the leg and seat....and just tiny squeezes of the hands (which are held close together and you don't take your elbow back for the half-halt) This was by a Brazilian trainer This horse was not trained up, but started this way. Have you talked to someone who is familiar with the breed?
    Riding the horse from the legs and seat, and not takng your elbows back for a half halt has what I've always assumed to be "normal" riding, whether on a Hanoverian, a Trakehner, a TB, or a Lusitano!
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  6. #6
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    Default

    I`m a little confused as well, I`ve always tried to get my hrose to bend around my leg, as opposed to from the neck (?)



  7. #7
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    I think the best thing is to get riding lessons from someone with experience in dressage who can help you out. It shouldn't be hard to get a horse to bend. Something is amiss.



  8. #8
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    Default

    Hm. How much bend are you trying to get? Bending correctly and evenly to both sides is rather difficult for many horses, and it's something that will be developed over time and starts in tiny amounts. Plus, many people overbend... Are you perhaps feeling that the horse is leaning against your inside leg? That would not necessarily be a bend problem, but a "listen to my leg and step away from it" problem, which may also be a "shoulder falling in/out" (=outside rein) problem. Is the horse going forward, straigt, with a good contact?
    "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht



  9. #9
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    It's kind of typical for people to get a lot of these horses tight and short in the neck and they can't bend...you may have inherited some of that from a previous rider, even if you are making a lot of very correct efforts yourself.



  10. #10
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    She's still quite green so we're working on the contact, but she goes straight forward quite nicely on light contact.

    I'm sure it's not a physical problem because I stand beside her on the ground and have her bend back to her shoulder with out blinking. She's always a little more tense on her left, but I know thats normal.

    She's excellent on moving off the leg, in fact she learned to leg yield and pivots from ground work alone. I can get her to spin in a circle on the ground by just touching her bum, and she will bend slightly when we do those exersizes.

    Its more that she goes around corners like a tractor-trailer.
    (Shoulder in, bum swinging around past the turn before carrying straight through - litterally like a tractor trailer)



  11. #11
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    Default

    Lessons are good.



  12. #12
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    Default

    Agreed. But it's neither of us that need the lessons, my original question was for suggestions about new exercizes to try...

    I'm sure if I perserver with what I've been doing she will learn to bend eventually, however she's quite smart and I'd like to keep her interested.



  13. #13
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by Nes View Post
    Agreed. But it's neither of us that need the lessons, my original question was for suggestions about new exercizes to try...

    I'm sure if I perserver with what I've been doing she will learn to bend eventually, however she's quite smart and I'd like to keep her interested.
    Au contraire!!!!!!
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  14. #14
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nes View Post
    Agreed. But it's neither of us that need the lessons, my original question was for suggestions about new exercizes to try...

    I'm sure if I perserver with what I've been doing she will learn to bend eventually, however she's quite smart and I'd like to keep her interested.
    Have you tried spirals? Spiral in, spiral out at the walk and trot, making the circle smaller (and then larger) by 1 track each time you complete a circle? Correct me if I'm way off base, but if she's blowing through the corners "like a tractor trailer" she's not stepping under with her inside hind, and an exercise like spirals helps encourage that. (I'm dredging up memories of dressage lessons years ago, so forgive me if I'm muddling it.)



  15. #15
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    No I haven't tried spirals, that's a very good idea.

    We've done lots of small circles then large ones but I've never brought them in and out like that. I think that would be a very good exercise for both strength and getting her to turn. I'm going to try that this weekend! Thanks.



  16. #16
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    Turn on the forehand, initially in hand, is the best way to get a very stiff horse to loosen up. Horses have to be taught what the bending aids mean, and naturally move or lean into pressure. The TOF teaches them to move away from leg pressure, as well as making their bodies more supple and able to turn.

    I would wait until your horse is doing them happily in hand before asking under saddle, and then when they are good under saddle you can advance to leg yield and spiral out on a circle.



  17. #17
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    Default

    Another excellent suggestions, she does TOF and moves away from the leg well, she just seems to completley forget that when she's going faster then a walk and just barrels through her corners.



  18. #18
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    Then you could try one of my favorites...I call it the diamond excercise. You basically ride a very large sqaure or (baseball) diamond shaped figure, starting at the walk, and halt and do a few steps of TOF in the corner until you are facing the next corner, then walk on. When this is good, don't halt, but slow the walk and TOF in walk on the turns. When that is good, trot your straight lines and go back to halting with a TOF in the corners. When that's good trot straight lines, and walk TOF in the corners. Then you can trot the whole square/diamond figure, steady the trot and ask for bend and a bit of TOF in the corners. She won't be able to actually DO a TOF in the trot, but you should feel the inside hind leg stepping up under her body.

    Make sure that throughout the turns you look and position to the inside before asking your horse for the TOF, as you want her to understand that that means the bend and turn are coming. Also make sure that you feel the horse correctly moving from your inside leg to your outside rein through each turn. The inside rein should become light if this is the case.

    This TEACHES the horse what the bending aids mean during movement.



  19. #19
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    Feb. 6, 2003
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    Default

    Hard to tell without seeing. Is she short coupled with a large barrel ? - harder for them. Is she being "mareish" ? Is there a piece of equipment getting in the way ? Is the rider getting in the way. I think I'd start observing her on the lunge/ long lines, starting with no saddle, ask for bends, add tack then rider - see where it all goes wrong ?



  20. #20
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    Default

    I'm no pro, but I've had 5 Andalusians and have had good trainers....These horses tend to be short-coupled with very flexible necks. So people try to bend the neck ('cause they can) and don't think about the body. A green horse can't bend the body very much---and you should not bend the neck more than the body can bend. Be happy with a small bend for a short time, and then go straight, and repeat.

    It's not neck-bending you're after, but body bending. Yeah, they can touch their ribs with their nose easily from the ground, but that's not the same thing as engaged bend when being ridden. Just strive for an equal bend in the neck and body and you won't go wrong.
    Really, it's more important with baroque breeds to worry about getting them to cover ground and not just move their legs up and down. They need to be ridden forward, with longer strides, then learn to do shorter steps--longer steps--even longer steps--half halt to shorter steps again...Over and over till they really use themselves.
    It's pretty hard to bend a block of wood. But a more supple horse with adjustable gaits can learn to bend. And for sure you can't bend a horse that isn't really forward. So that's the starting point.



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