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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 26, 2007
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    Bronx, NY/Atlanta, GA/Fort Dodge, IA
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    3,458

    Default Need an analogy/"visual" for softening hands/wrists/forearms/elbows

    Just what the title says - looking for an analogy or a visual to help "get" soft hands/elbows, etc.

    Thanks!
    Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous
    Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 3, 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
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    533

    Default

    I find it helps me to think of a hinge opening and closing (I sometimes even imagine hearing a squeak as it opens, but that's because I'm old). For me at least, "stiff" elbows are usually locked up at the joint.
    Daxia Digital: for all your social media and online marketing needs
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 31, 2010
    Posts
    100

    Default

    I rode in a Bill woods clinic and learned that my elbows should be like pulleys. Works to maintain contact but following the horse.

    This is working great for me. Also helps me relax my shoulders.



  4. #4

    Default

    Dance. Be pulled by your partner with a firm grip and arms, or be led by your partner with soft finger touches and supple arms.
    www.hartetoharte.org
    Ask and allow, do not demand and force.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 25, 2007
    Location
    Pinehurst,NC
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    476

    Default

    To me it is the difference of negative and positive tention.Think of how a body builder poses....Flexed and full of tention. Now think of the ballet dancer assuming a position..also flexed, strong yet soft!
    "Success comes in cans, not in cannots!"



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 4, 2006
    Location
    Main Line area, PA
    Posts
    64

    Default

    Think of being a human bungee cord - tension yet having some give.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 18, 2003
    Posts
    4,638

    Default

    Ride with your elbows
    and
    Using just your elbows, to take a soft feel of your horse's mouth.

    Helped me stop fiddling with my hands and ride the whole horse with my whole body.
    __________________________
    "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
    the best day in ten years,
    you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 13, 2006
    Posts
    921

    Default Easy

    Get a basketball and practice two handed chest passing to yourself using a wall.
    Absorb the rebound and pass it to the wall.
    Same motion.

    Regards,
    medical Mike
    equestrian medical researcher
    www.equicision.com



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 21, 2007
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    1,092

    Default

    What works for me is: Feel like your elbows are coming directly out of your back.
    "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 13, 2009
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    263

    Default

    As far as the elbows...bend them like you are opening a door (towards you).
    Mirror Image 2001-2007



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 29, 2008
    Posts
    198

    Default

    I have been focusing on this lately as well. I don't have any personal advice for you, but I have become tuned into this because of watching the Steffen and Shannon Peters NEDA symposium videos on dressageclinic.com. Shannon often focuses on elbows/contact. Maybe something in those will give you an "aha" analogy?



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2006
    Location
    Albany NY
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    5,521

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GimmeQs View Post
    I have been focusing on this lately as well. I don't have any personal advice for you, but I have become tuned into this because of watching the Steffen and Shannon Peters NEDA symposium videos on dressageclinic.com. Shannon often focuses on elbows/contact. Maybe something in those will give you an "aha" analogy?
    Its like a hand shake - you don't want to be wimpy - you do need tension in your hands and wrists - dont' give with your hands and wrists, give with your elbows (close to your side) from the shoulder. the forearm should be straight and strong. I haven't got it yet, but that's the best I can give.
    Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 30, 2007
    Posts
    2,953

    Default

    "Elbow macaroni" I think of being soft like macaroni. I think of my horses mouth where the bit lies as eggs. Must be soft so as not to break the eggs. Just trying to be more soft and flowing with the horse. She had a very nice session today with lots of flow. Love my mare!



  14. #14
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    Jun. 7, 2006
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    9,356



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2003
    Location
    Cocoa, Fla
    Posts
    4,313

    Default

    When posting open elbows as you rise, close as you sit.

    When sitting trot - allow elbows forward as your hips/belly come back, bring elbows back as your hips/belly go forward.
    Sandy in Fla.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2000
    Location
    Maitland, Ontario CANADA
    Posts
    317

    Default

    Watch a potter at work on the wheel. Or better yet, take a few pottery lessons.

    Liz
    Liz Steacie
    Porcupine Hill Dressage
    Maitland, Ontario

    http://www.porcupinehill.com



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2005
    Posts
    1,140

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nelzeagle View Post
    Think of being a human bungee cord - tension yet having some give.
    Quote Originally Posted by InsideLeg2OutsideRein View Post
    What works for me is: Feel like your elbows are coming directly out of your back.
    These two resonated with me. I think of a rubberband from the right wrist, up my arm, across my back, to my left wrist. Attached to each wrist is a hard hook, which is my hands - hard hands (so my fingers don't open & play out the reins) but soft arms that connect behind my back (and that's what stretches when the horse reaches forward & down). Also, the rubber band over my back also keeps my darned shoulderblades flat & not breaking into chicken wings!

    So as a rider, hard hands (fingers don't open, don't pull, don't jerk) & soft arms-back so if the horse nods, the arm goes forward & when the horse's head rises, the elbow naturally bends more as it follows. Your arms are the sidereins (with the rubber rings). You receive information from the horse through them, but when it is your turn to "talk" your hands don't change . . . your seat & legs do.
    Hidden Echo Farm, Carlisle, PA -- home of JC palomino sire Canadian Kid (1990 - 2013) & AQHA sire Lark's Favorite, son of Rugged Lark.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 7, 2007
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    1,411

    Default

    I remember someone (a BNT) saying that your hands and forearms belong to the horse and your back and upper arms belong to you. That just worked for me. I want to be kind to my horse and just thinking about how my wrists and forearms feel in his mouth (vivid image of bit against his tongue, bars and corner of his lips) makes me stop whatever I'm doing and soften.

    It's similar to the "ride with your elbows" that someone else said; just a little more literal.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2009
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    146

    Default

    I have the rider grip the reins. Then I take hold of the reins about 8 inches from the bit. I pull and give the rein like an exaggeration of the horse's head moving. I have the rider pull about one pond of pressure on the rein. When their elbows and arms expand and contract enough that the contact follows the "movement" and doesn't change from one pound of pressure to anything else, They start to feel how they need to move to keep positive contact. I'll pop in a couple of quick moves just to see if the rider can absorb the movement without the pressure changing or loops being created in the reins.

    Sometimes you can give analogies until you are blue in the face. Feeling something often works better.



  20. #20
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    Jul. 17, 2007
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    Landrum, SC
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by allison finch View Post
    I have the rider grip the reins. Then I take hold of the reins about 8 inches from the bit. I pull and give the rein like an exaggeration of the horse's head moving. I have the rider pull about one pond of pressure on the rein. When their elbows and arms expand and contract enough that the contact follows the "movement" and doesn't change from one pound of pressure to anything else, They start to feel how they need to move to keep positive contact. I'll pop in a couple of quick moves just to see if the rider can absorb the movement without the pressure changing or loops being created in the reins.

    Sometimes you can give analogies until you are blue in the face. Feeling something often works better.
    I do the same thing with riders who are stiff. Taking one end of the reins allows you to feel what they're doing ("Show me how much pressure you normally have in your hands.") and allows you to then talk them through to a giving/breathing contact ("Relax your arms a bit... more, more... there!") And of course you can use the same technique to teach someone to feel steady contact when they're "afraid" to take it.
    Athletic Horses. Educated Riders.
    www.Ride-With-Confidence.com



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