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  1. #1
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    Question Understanding Shoulder & Haunch Aids

    I am a noob to dressage to please bear with me...

    I was recently struck with the idea that different aids should control different parts of the horse's body. My idea more specifically entails using the reins to control the shoulders and my legs to control the haunches. Is this correct, or am I oversimplifying things?

    This question mostly relates to lateral work, but is also relevant to lifting the shoulders (i.e. lifting of hands to lift shoulders).
    Last edited by AlieRider; Feb. 22, 2013 at 06:10 PM. Reason: Spelling duh...



  2. #2
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    I know you'll get real help here soon, but I just had to quickly help you with "haunches".
    Athletic Horses. Educated Riders.
    www.Ride-With-Confidence.com


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  3. #3

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    Nope, not oversimplified. Oversimplified would be: Hands control the front, legs control the butt.


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  4. #4
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    Are you familiar with the rein effects? I was "forced" to memorize them as a small child by my ex-cavalry riding instructor They didn't really make sense until I was a bit older, but one day -- when I was struggling with renvers -- they did!

    Here are a couple of good rein effects links:
    http://www.classical-equitation.com/ReinAids.htm
    http://glenshee.blogspot.com/2008/08...roduction.html


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  5. #5
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    Don't forget your seat as an aid. When I think aids I think seat, then leg, then reins, in that order. How you use your seat affects what the horse does with its haunches.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by twelvebelles View Post
    Don't forget your seat as an aid. When I think aids I think seat, then leg, then reins, in that order. How you use your seat affects what the horse does with its haunches.
    Very accurate whether turn on the forehand or turn on the haunches.

    Very little comes from the reins. A great deal from the use of inside and outside leg, in conjunction with the seat.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  7. #7
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    oh it gets WAY more complicated than that! Different parts of your leg control different parts of the horse, and placing those different parts of your leg in different places control even more parts!
    And then there's the seat/abs...

    and they think flying planes is complex. horses have a bajillion buttons
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by twelvebelles View Post
    Don't forget your seat as an aid. When I think aids I think seat, then leg, then reins, in that order. How you use your seat affects what the horse does with its haunches.
    ^ ^

    Seat, as in weight, seat bone placement, alignment with shoulders, etc.

    It's funny, but changing the position is of your legs is more about the alignment of your seatbones than the change creates than it is about the leg position on the horse's body. Most arguments about "weighting a stirrup" or "pushing with a knee" really come down to the change that makes in the seat. That's why there are people who cannot use their legs, but can influence their seat, that can still ride lateral work. The leg is more for backing up the seat and maintaining the energy.

    The hand position can help control the shoulders, but there again, your shoulders aligned with the horse's shoulders influences the seat. It does come back to the seat. BUT I do have to add that without an outside rein, you're typically lost in most lateral work as it works as a wall, of sorts, to help your horse know how far to bend or not to bend--and to let him know that the energy created by the inside leg does not mean run out the outside!
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlieRider View Post
    ... but is also relevant to lifting the shoulders (i.e. lifting of hands to lift shoulders).
    You don't lift the shoulders with your hands.
    You actually don't lift the shoulders. You engage the hind quarter and your horse will lower its croup and have greater flexion in its hocks. What you will feel then is the wither coming up.

    If you raise your hands, you'll raise the head of your horse.


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    and they think flying planes is complex. horses have a bajillion buttons
    I was just talking about this in my lessons tonight.....SPOT ON!!



  11. #11
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    You are on the right track thinking that you can control different parts of the horse and how he moves with your body but it IS more complicated than that. As the Baron wrote "there is a language of touch". That's what riding is, learning that language.
    "I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted". - Anonymous



  12. #12
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    Hands (reins) control steering. Steering comes from the shoulders. Elevation of the shoulders comes from the horse's core. Control of the horse's core and hindquarters comes from your core (thighs, glutes, abs).
    See those flying monkeys? They work for me.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlieRider View Post
    I am a noob to dressage to please bear with me...

    I was recently struck with the idea that different aids should control different parts of the horse's body. My idea more specifically entails using the reins to control the shoulders and my legs to control the hunches. Is this correct, or am I oversimplifying things?
    Umm, yes, and no...In the beginning, you use reins to control shoulders. Once you have better body control, your seat starts to control the shoulders (and haunches), while reins and whip become secondary (but still important). Also remember that horse feels a lot from your seat, so if your rein aids don't work, try to see whether your seat is saying something else.

    Per leg: The inner thighs toward the front control shoulders; the thighs toward buttock, as well as the inner calf and heels control haunches.


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhwr View Post
    Hands (reins) control steering. Steering comes from the shoulders. Elevation of the shoulders comes from the horse's core. Control of the horse's core and hindquarters comes from your core (thighs, glutes, abs).
    Better tell my horse he's supposed to be steered off my hands. He listens to my seat.

    Also, if your abs, glutes, etc. control the horse's core, you must have monster ones!

    Honestly, nhwr, I'm very confused by your reply. Is it really how you feel things when you ride? That it's not more subtle and less strength based? Because I'm worried about you if you really think it's this way. Meaning, someone might be teaching you to use more than you need to communicate with your horse--and that's not fair to you or your horse.
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  15. #15
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    Reins control the head and neck only. Not a desirable or useful situation, as it leaves the shoulders to do as they please, which is why you see so many horses ridden through corners or around arenas with their head hanging to the outside and their body on an entirely different course

    Early in both the horse's and the rider's education they should learn to answer and to use both the inside and the outside leg, which are seldom used unilaterally. The rider uses the aids, the horse, we hope, answers.

    This is why there are teachers and trainers, sometimes one and the same person.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velvet View Post
    ... Also, if your abs, glutes, etc. control the horse's core, you must have monster ones!

    ... Meaning, someone might be teaching you to use more than you need to communicate with your horse--and that's not fair to you or your horse.
    My current trainer is teaching the same concepts of using my core to communicate to the horse. Bottom line is it works for me, and while it takes tone my abs aren't "monster" although I've gone from a 2 pack to a 4 pack

    I think it's far more fair to my horse for me to be able to move him up by engaging my core which tucks my seat bones further under me than using a whip to move him forward when my position is telling him to slow down. Position of the seat bones is directed by use of the core muscles.



  17. #17
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    Actually shifting your leg position will shift the position of your seat bones, which in turn shifts your weight.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  18. #18
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    True but you can keep your leg position the same and change the position of your seat bones and redirect the weight in your saddle by using your core.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melissa.Hare.Jones View Post
    I know you'll get real help here soon, but I just had to quickly help you with "haunches".




  20. #20
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    Yeah I am just starting to realize that... Anyone know of a owners manual?



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