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  1. #1
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    Default When they are ready to reach into your hands...

    Anyone have tips for when they go from working on maintaining balanced to maintaining balance and reaching into the bit. How to not *hold them up* unwittingly?


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  2. #2
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    I'm working on that right now with my guy! For me, I think of it as the difference between squeezing a horse forward into light but steady contact with the bit versus him leaning on the bit with heavy/strong contact and me holding him up.

    I start out with a loop in the reins and leg and then once he's reaching for the bit I get connected to the bridle. I do a lot of collection, extension, halts, etc. I can tell when I'm balancing him because the downward transitions lag and are messy. Once he's going nicely I drop him again and let him trot around on a loose rein. If he is balancing himself regardless of my contact there is no change of pace between a loose rein trot and a trot with contact. He doesn't speed up because he's unbalanced or rush onto his forehand.


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  3. #3
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    Default When they are ready to reach into your hands...

    Anyone have tips for when they go from working on maintaining balanced to maintaining balance and reaching into the bit. How to not *hold them up* unwittingly?



  4. #4
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    Default When they are ready to reach into your hands...

    Anyone have tips for when they go from working on maintaining balanced to maintaining balance and reaching into the bit. How to not *hold them up* unwittingly?



  5. #5
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    Don't pull, don't pull, don't pull. Ride with 5-pound test fishing line "fuses" that will break if you start pulling. Put a loop in the rein, wrap with the fishing line and if it breaks, one of you (usually the 2-legged one) was pulling!
    Click here before you buy.



  6. #6
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    What level horse?
    Can you give a more specific example of it?
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    What level horse?
    Can you give a more specific example of it?
    Green. Just is getting comfy and strong not falling onto his front end. He is getting strong enough to remain back and more balanced, and is starting to reach down into my hand. I want to have some tricks to catch myself so that I don't end up holding him with my hands.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Don't pull, don't pull, don't pull. Ride with 5-pound test fishing line "fuses" that will break if you start pulling. Put a loop in the rein, wrap with the fishing line and if it breaks, one of you (usually the 2-legged one) was pulling!
    Ok. Thanks! I guess what happens is that he ends up falling back down onton his forehand. Ugh. My big Achilles heel...



  9. #9
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    If he is truly working correctly and carrying his own balance, you should only be carrying about 2lbs in each hand. When this gets to be more, then half halt to bring him back into self carriage. You can do walk, trot, walk, canter, walk transitions, with about four strides of each, to shift his balance back, too.

    As a check to see if he is in self carriage, try giving both reins forward for a stride or two, to see if he maintains his balance. If he falls on his forehand, then he is not seeking the rein, but seeking for you to carry him around the arena.
    When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auburn View Post
    If he is truly working correctly and carrying his own balance, you should only be carrying about 2lbs in each hand. When this gets to be more, then half halt to bring him back into self carriage. You can do walk, trot, walk, canter, walk transitions, with about four strides of each, to shift his balance back, too.

    As a check to see if he is in self carriage, try giving both reins forward for a stride or two, to see if he maintains his balance. If he falls on his forehand, then he is not seeking the rein, but seeking for you to carry him around the arena.
    Awesome. Thank you



  11. #11
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    I really do believe this is a topic that can't be explained over a forum.
    It comes back to "feel". Just like in the other thread.

    Hence the reason why some people are so good with youngsters and some people are not. Shoot, there are pros out there that are great with a 4* horse and crap with youngsters.

    But to answer the OP question in a simple way.
    When are they ready to reach into your hands?
    The moment you get on them.

    Personally, if they don't know how to use the bridle I don't get on. (unless we are talking a baby's very first rides which I do in a pony ride fashion)

    I teach them to work into the bridle on the lunge. Then hop on and it's a golden opportunity.
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  12. #12
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    This is a matter of feel. When they are carrying themselves and you have a light contact, they are just there. The trick is to never allow yourself to pull. Even from an early stage you should ride them as you expect them to go later. Turns initially are accomplished by using your body as you plan to for the rest of your relationship, backed up by an an opening rein, the softest consists of rolling your hand so the palm is up and moving it away from your body. As the response to your leg and seat improves your opening rein diminishes, and becomes a quiet movement of your fingers.

    Downward transitions are accomplished by stopping your body, and closing your fingers. If you have spent time longeing, your voice command should be delivered exactly as you taught on the longe. This is the beauty of spending your time longeing. It is never wasted. Ditto for upward transitions.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  13. #13
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    We merged the duplicate threads on this topic in separate discipline forums into one here in Off Course, which is visited by users from "across the board."

    Thanks!
    Mod 1



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moderator 1 View Post
    We merged the duplicate threads on this topic in separate discipline forums into one here in Off Course, which is visited by users from "across the board."

    Thanks!
    Mod 1
    Thanks. I just wanted input from all areas.



  15. #15
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    Awesome insight. Thanks!



  16. #16
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    fwiw, any kind of description that includes a certain weight ie: 2 lbs, 5 lbs etc - is wrong and will only hamper progress.

    what helped me was to think of holding the front end of my horse up with my front line..... the contact is even and following and if they tip a bit towards the front weight wise i use my front line (not my hands!) and i also ask them to be more energetic with the hind leg -not faster, but more engaged... because it is the hind leg that is the issue - not the head/neck.

    so on a greenie, ask them to go forward, in rhythm and balance, with even soft forward thinking *non looped* reins... when the horse starts to reach towards the bit - keep that elasticity and don't allow them to tip forward - use your front line and don't put your hands forward.

    when the horse continues to work with elasticity as above you can allow them to reach out down towards the bit - small degrees at a time - but only for a few steps and again, use your front line to help them stay balanced over the haunch .

    and i agree this is all about feel



  17. #17
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    Can you just explain "front line" a little more?



  18. #18
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    Contact is one of the most misunderstood concepts there is. More damage is done by riders to young prospects by thinking that there horse must reach into their hands. There is a tendency in modern dressage riding to manipulate and manage every move the horse makes, for the sake of the "form" they are looking for, because it's "dressage".
    I say, ride your young horses outside, up and down terrain. Get out of the dressage court. Your horse can learn to handle and balance himself, by giving him a job and a reason to balance himself and use himself.
    Here is what Podhajsky has to say:
    "A perfect contact is possible only when the horse is in absolute balance, carries himself, and does not seek support from the reins."



  19. #19
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    I want to be able to "flap the rein" and send a ripple down it to the bit, IF I am not pulling or holding him up. He and I are "talking" with bit and reins, but I am NOT MAKING his head stay up or tucked or anything. Nothing more tiring than holding that big head up!

    So having gotten horse beyond him needing to "feel" the reins constantly as a basic just-started horse, I need to be able to flap that rein anytime, to show I am NOT letting him hang on me or over-controlling him during the ride. He WILL reach a self-balance ONLY if I let him learn where it is! We can always polish him, refine his gaits and responses, once he learns he can't depend on me to hold him up.

    We then move on to "training the mouth" on him taking rein when it is given, head and mouth giving to my hands EASILY when I take up reins. If I pick up the rein buckle, I want him to drop head until he can feel the reins again. Nose may be rubbing the ground. He is SEEKING contact, so we can communicate. As I lift and shorten reins, he comes back to me, contact pressure stays the same on the reins.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2boys View Post
    Can you just explain "front line" a little more?
    Perhaps she means that by elevating and opening up her chest, and engaging her core muscles, she encourages the horse to pick himself up. This is a very effective way. Using your hands encourages them to hang.

    Watch the UL riders, they sit up, and carry themselves. But, they are not stiff.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



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