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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fillabeana View Post
    Throughout the training, Buck is using his inside leg on a turn to ask the hindquarters to step outwards- this is what maintains a bend.
    I know what you're saying, but for those new to the concept, careful not to give the wrong impression here. The horse needs to step under the body shadow with the inside hind, but it doesn't need to step OVER the midline.

    Many vaquero-inspired trainers emphasize the value of inside rein to inside hind, or using the inside rein to begin to define where the hind limb moves. Far moreso than inside leg to outside rein (which though incredibly valuable is a finished horse's aid), this teaches the rider to guide the hindquarters to turn rather than to contain the front end. After all, you can't really block much of anything with the inside rein in the same way you can with an outside rein.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fillabeana View Post
    (This might make a big trainwreck COTH mess, I realize, but once you really learn it you will note that any dressage horse moving through a turn properly IS doing this with his hindquarters).
    Not likely to be a trainwreck, per say, but it is the only thing that a dressage rider has to give up in order to make a bridle horse.

    Many dressage riders are trained to drop the outside leg back when turning. There's nothing wrong with that, per say, but as Buck says you'll never make a bridle horse (or single handed horse) that way. To guide the horse with just the seat and legs, the outside leg has to either stay at the girth or even come forward a bit when turning.

    Far too much riding is CONTAINED riding. Though the horse needs to have proper bend in order to turn in correct form, you don't actually need to use the outside leg back to block the hindquarter from going straight and use the outside rein to block the shoulder from coming straight. Frankly, that's how a lot of people ride and are taught to ride.

    If the horse is following the seat, you don't even need to scissor your legs to get him to turn, you just offer the feel of turning one way or the other. Buck provides that example as a way of teaching that feel, and Bryan Neubert's piece here is a masterful glimpse for those wanting to develop seat and leg connection: http://www.eclectic-horseman.com/mer...roducts_id=650

    Using the outside rein to CONTAIN anything is completely incorrect as well. Josh Nichol describes that feeling as being in a rowboat full of holes, and needing every finger and toe just to stay afloat. Sort of hard to enjoy a day fishing on the lake that way. If the horse is plowing out the outside shoulder it generally has nothing to do with the outside rein or shoulder, it's because the thrust from the hindquarter is directed over the outside shoulder. Redirecting that hindquarter by asking the inside hind to make an engaging step under the body shadow rather than a lateral driving step is then much more appropriate than blocking the horse with the outside rein. In the former you're redirecting the energy, in the latter you're blocking or bottling up the energy.



  2. #62
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    When you say "offer the feel", what are you describing?



  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pocket Pony View Post
    atkill, I'm so appreciative of your participation on this thread - how did you come by your education? Were you a working horseman/woman? How long have you been working on/with your bridle horse? Do you have any pictures of yourself to share?
    Thanks much, though I don't claim to be sharing anything I've discovered on my own, I'm just repeating what I've understoof from some very good teachers! I'm just an ordinary horse owner like anyone else here.

    I've had my horse for just about 6 years now...scary how time flies:
    http://www.easphotography.com/Tindur/CaldwellClinic.jpg
    http://www.easphotography.com/Tindur/Backup.jpg
    http://www.easphotography.com/Tindur...oReinPhoto.jpg

    I'm also slowly corrupting my dressage-rider fiance, who occasionally lets me deck out her Arabian like so:
    http://www.easphotography.com/Tindur/CarlyBosalita.jpg
    ....muwahahaha.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pocket Pony View Post
    I like that Bruce Sandifer video! Horse looks very happy and it looks like a fun ride (minus the smoking, which actually made me chuckle, though)!
    I laughed too there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fillabeana View Post
    I can't wait until I have the mental wherewithal to ask aktill about hooves, trimming and farriery. That'll be another (long, and wonderfully educational) thread on another day.
    I don't have anything to add to that world that Pete Ramey hasn't already done except this: http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/forum1/406.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Fillabeana View Post
    For real! One of this fellow's best qualities is that he is not afraid to 'look stupid' by asking questions of 'authorities', and he is not afraid to take the horse's answer as the most qualified input.
    That's how I try to operate. I can't integrate anything I understand, because then I don't know when it's appropriate to do so. I get very little benefit from lessons where the instructor just tells you what to do all the time ("remote control riding").



  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneGrayPony View Post
    When you say "offer the feel", what are you describing?
    Do what you would do if you wanted to turn while walking. Try to use the horse's legs as your own.

    Again to borrow from Josh, to turn the corner while walking down the street you don't reach down and pick your own legs up with your hands (though the image is hilarious).



  5. #65
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    Ok - that makes sense. I do that already when I ride just to ride - kind of like a "go this way" or "go this speed" with my intention, but I never thought of things like bend in that way, and in fact, I've been lectured by many an instructor that I was doing my transitions "wrong" by just directing my thought. Who wants to use hands and legs when you can just think canter and off you go? :-)

    I feel vindicated!!

    I am struggling to understand then the incorporation of finer adjustments like bed, lift etc without first using the aid (rein/leg) as a shaper and then transferring to the intention. Or is that the process? The aid is kind of like a bridge?


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  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktill View Post
    Using the outside rein to CONTAIN anything is completely incorrect as well. Josh Nichol describes that feeling as being in a rowboat full of holes, and needing every finger and toe just to stay afloat. Sort of hard to enjoy a day fishing on the lake that way. If the horse is plowing out the outside shoulder it generally has nothing to do with the outside rein or shoulder, it's because the thrust from the hindquarter is directed over the outside shoulder. Redirecting that hindquarter by asking the inside hind to make an engaging step under the body shadow rather than a lateral driving step is then much more appropriate than blocking the horse with the outside rein. In the former you're redirecting the energy, in the latter you're blocking or bottling up the energy.
    aktill (I must apologize, as I was calling you atkill before), I've noticed this, too. What I've found is that imbalance in the shoulders isn't about the shoulders - it is about the hind end not being where it is supposed to be, simplistically speaking. For example, if my horse is leaning in and motorcycling around a turn, his haunches are also in and he's not "straight" and I need to move that inside hind over to free him up in the shoulder. At least, that's what I've found - don't know how correct it is. But, yes, the more I figure out the hind end and how to link my aids to it, the more maneuverable my horse is.
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran



  7. #67
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    aktill, how did your horse take to this training system? IIRC you said he's Icelandic? (Very cute by the way!) Did you run into any difficulties because of his conformation? Is he gaited (are all Icelandics gaited)? How did you get your training - mostly clinics, or did you find someone locally to work with regularly?
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


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  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktill View Post
    Sure, though you'll have to specify what you want clarification on.

    Grazer bit (relatively high port for such):
    http://www.nationalcowboymuseum.org/...ges/yates3.jpg
    - open bottom port will tend to have the bit settle at best low on the tongue, or possibly touching the bars depending on the horse. If you "relieve" tongue pressure, the pressure has to go somewhere.

    Cathedral bit:
    http://www.3gemstack.com/catalog/21150.a.zoom_thumb.jpg
    -has a port with a spoon top, no cricket (roller), open on the bottom of the mouth, no braces (wires with copper rollers or wraps that join the port to the cheek pieces).

    Here's a spade (looks identical to mine, might actually be the one I bought):
    http://www.vaquerohorseman.com/Resou...itmouthpi.jpeg
    http://www.vaquerohorseman.com/Resources/haenerbit.jpeg
    -loose jawed bit, which means there's a little play between the mouthpiece and cheeks (a bit of "jiggle")
    -straight bar mouthpiece with a little crown or mullen to lay across the tongue better. Straight bar is easier to pick up.
    -cricket acts like a pacifier, and promotes a wet mouth (as does the copper and sweet iron)
    -braces threaded with copper beads connect the spoon on top to the side cheeks, meaning a little jiggle or pre-signal in the cheeks will actually move the braces a little. This allows for more signal before actually moving the mouthpiece itself. The "open construction" of the braces (as opposed to some which are tight beside the spoon like so http://geneklein.com/images/custbit1.jpg) makes a kind of cradle to help the horse pick up the bit.



    Could be open in that sense, but I really meant that it didn't have a straight bar across from cheek to cheek.



    Basically, a horse couldn't do the same thing with a grazer that the horse in the spade photo did. Even if it kept it's mouth closed the grazer would clunk down onto the canine teeth. Not enough material to pick it up.

    Why does that matter? Signal. The horse carrying the bit can detect movement in the bit because it's not moving independently of his tongue. There's less "white noise" from the bit moving around as he moves his head.

    With the other bits, there's little to no pre-signal. Any movement of the rein moves the mouthpiece.



    No worries, happy to help.
    Got it! Thanks. I had a lot of that knowledge in my head, but it was much looser! Had seen braces, never knew they had a name.

    Hadn't thought about the difference in where the pressure is applied between the open port v closed (straight bar) - makes all the sense in the world.

    Definitely understood the purpose of the cricket. My first App was a brain-fried older gelding and I was not interested in pursuing the gaming that had made him panic-stricken (NOT "gaming's" fault - would love to get my hands on the bas..rd who abused him) - so I bought a 'real' bit - Mona Lisa mouthpiece with a cricket. He loved it - but you could hear him all over the showgrounds - and (in the 60s in SC) NOBODY knew what it was!

    You are a font of knowledge - would love to hang out and absorb some of it! I suspect you're on the left coast?
    www.ayliprod.com
    Equine Photography in the Northeast



  9. #69
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    If the horse is plowing out the outside shoulder it generally has nothing to do with the outside rein or shoulder, it's because the thrust from the hindquarter is directed over the outside shoulder.
    Right...but the horse's energy/motion is falling outside the circle because his MIND is thinking outside the circle. The horse is not committed to staying on the circle, and that is the crux of the problem here.
    Using the outside rein here to block, and then release, will only be effective if the 'conversation' with the horse ends with the horse desiring to go in a circle.
    What I see in the more novice riders is that they ride with reins too long. They get to the point where they ask for a turn with the inside rein, and release at the right point. But if the horse is not mentally committed, they don't have the wherewithal to block that overbend with the outside rein.

    Once the rider figures out how to 'support' the front quarters (by not allowing the neck to overbend) when the horse turns, and then in a rollback or 'hidquarters, frontquarters' exercise of Buck's, they then have the foundation of correct neck reining.

    But yes, if you are busy plugging all of the holes in the rowboat, so to speak, by blocking all the horse's evasions all the time (rather than addressing his mind), you aren't getting any training done. You have to be able to let go, have the horse carry himself and follow your intentions as to where and how fast you are going.


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  10. #70
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    Les Vogt ropes on his older gelding Turbo, who is showing in the 2 rein. All of Les' horses multi-task.



  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneGrayPony View Post
    Ok - that makes sense. I do that already when I ride just to ride - kind of like a "go this way" or "go this speed" with my intention, but I never thought of things like bend in that way, and in fact, I've been lectured by many an instructor that I was doing my transitions "wrong" by just directing my thought. Who wants to use hands and legs when you can just think canter and off you go? :-)

    I feel vindicated!!

    I am struggling to understand then the incorporation of finer adjustments like bed, lift etc without first using the aid (rein/leg) as a shaper and then transferring to the intention. Or is that the process? The aid is kind of like a bridge?
    Honey, if you can get a horse so broke that he reads your mind and you don't have to use any muscle at all, don't let anyone tell you you are wrong. IMO, this is the goal of training horses. It's good for us, but they really like the "no muss, no fuss" ride, too.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


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  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    Honey, if you can get a horse so broke that he reads your mind and you don't have to use any muscle at all, don't let anyone tell you you are wrong. IMO, this is the goal of training horses. It's good for us, but they really like the "no muss, no fuss" ride, too.

    Buck talks about the original intent of "contact" being more mental than physical.


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  13. #73
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    I'm sure it comes with some physical cues - I don't want to be misleading - just not ones that I notice. For instance, with a thought to canter or what have you, I'm sure that there's a lightening of the seat or an increase in energy that the horse is picking up on, I just don't know I'm doing it. My current horse is struggling a little bit with going forward (he is super lazy and quite a bit mentally shut down and so there isn't any energy to shape...he'd just rather be eating, but he's being kind by going along with what you want.) but by looking like I would be turning myself, that's how I "steer" with very few corrections needed (I also just got him a few months ago and when I do have to use my reins it is because I waffled mentally about where to go next.) Again though, I'm sure that shifts my weight or does something that he can feel.

    That being said, that's why I was asking about the more advanced movements and body shaping. Though that seems to work for basic stuff (transitions up and down, basic steering etc) I don't know if it's the same for more advanced stuff such as bending or TOF/TOH etc, as that is stuff that I learned with a trainer who told me that I was "riding wrong". So is it like teaching a horse to neck rein where you give them the feel first and back it up with an aid they know to "clarify" if the message isn't getting through. I've never asked for those things in the same way that I do the other stuff because I assumed that it wasn't.

    I don't know if it's a matter of getting them that broke, although it does take some time if a horse has been trained by someone else, so much as it is a turning down of the volume of everything. They move each other around with just a body posture, and I think it's much the same in the saddle. I despise the idea that I need to physically haul around a horse, especially in the mouth - they are bigger than us and there is no way we are actually physically affecting their bodies to change directions etc when we do that. We're just yelling like they are deaf. They are so tolerant!

    Anyway - that's a ramble and this thread wasn't about me - but as I read this thread it just made me wonder if it was the same thing. I don't know anything about making a bridle horse - never used a spade bit - so I don't want to distract from the questions asked of aktill. Sorry!



  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneGrayPony View Post
    Who wants to use hands and legs when you can just think canter and off you go? :-)
    You'd be surprised...lots of people. There's a lot of responsibility in being required to control your thoughts and not worry about work/making dinner/picking up the kids etc while riding. Riding at the level of physical aids is much more straightfoward. Push button A, get reaction B

    Quote Originally Posted by OneGrayPony View Post
    I am struggling to understand then the incorporation of finer adjustments like bed, lift etc without first using the aid (rein/leg) as a shaper and then transferring to the intention. Or is that the process? The aid is kind of like a bridge?
    As a suggestion, yet again I'm going to borrow from Josh. The progression could/should be:
    1) Thought
    2) Intent
    3) Presentatation
    4) Aid

    Most people operate 1-4...they think something, then they apply the aids appropriate to that action. The horse always has to be ready to accept a "command" because they never get any warning that something is approaching. Those horses tend to either be a little flinchy, or they're dull because they've either got a little defensive brace built in or they've learned to react some time after receiving a request.

    It's not really how horses interact with each other either. When a lead mare moves a gelding off a pile of hay, it's not like one minute they're fine and then WHAMMO, she kicks him in the side. Long before she gets there she's giving him signs of what she wants, and an experienced horseperson can feel the tension in the air without there even being much overt sign.

    To explain further:

    1) Thought - this is where you think about canter. At the risk of getting a little esoteric, later on you even need to have a certain part of your mind you share with your horse, and one you don't. That way (and most of us have experienced this), the horse doesn't canter off the minute you even think about canter.

    2) Intent - you think about canter, and you intend to canter at a certain location. You put this intention out into space, rather than keeping it inside. The whole way to the spot, you're intending to canter when you get there. You're mentally setting up the transition before you get there.

    3) Presentation - you get to the location, and you ask the horse to canter off without physically aiding him. You get in time with him if you're not, and arrange him so that the easiest thing in the world would be to canter off.

    4) Aid - if he still hasn't taken the canter, you physically aid him to do so.

    As such, I don't really believe in diminishing aids the same way some do. It's not my goal to just use smaller and smaller physical movements, it's not to need them at all.

    As well, you don't TRANSFER aids to an intention, because that's backwards. You aid only if the horse hasn't responded first to the intention.

    Again, some may disagree strongly with the above, but for those who don't, go here for more:
    http://www.joshnichol.com/articles.html
    Last edited by aktill; May. 30, 2013 at 10:56 AM.


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  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pocket Pony View Post
    aktill (I must apologize, as I was calling you atkill before)
    All good, didn't even notice. Adam works too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pocket Pony View Post
    I've noticed this, too. What I've found is that imbalance in the shoulders isn't about the shoulders - it is about the hind end not being where it is supposed to be, simplistically speaking. For example, if my horse is leaning in and motorcycling around a turn, his haunches are also in and he's not "straight" and I need to move that inside hind over to free him up in the shoulder. At least, that's what I've found - don't know how correct it is. But, yes, the more I figure out the hind end and how to link my aids to it, the more maneuverable my horse is.
    For the most part, I'd agree. If the building block for the front end is aligned with the building block for the hind AND he's drifting or leaning (and, like Fillabeana says later in this thread, you have his mind), then addressing it via the hindquarters is probably the right bet.

    There are a few instances where the problem actually IS the forequarter (tight shoulders, big flashy gaited horse shoulders <sigh>), but it's a good bet to ride the hind more than the front most times.


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  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pocket Pony View Post
    aktill, how did your horse take to this training system?
    Very well, no issues there. He's not a cutting bred QH, but he's got enough cow in him to be helpful (they use horses to round up sheep and other horses in Iceland).

    Fitting tack is a bit of a challenge, and as such I'm making more and more of it myself. I had to make a few martingales (not tie-down or rein-connected martingales, what some would call breastplates) before I was happy with things, but I like this pattern now.

    His spade bridle was about a 50 hour project with all the hand sewing, but I like that one too. I had to be careful with the bit, as I mentioned, and he's on the largest size that the bit maker said would still be re-sellable to "regular" folks if it didn't work out (5.25" is extremely wide in the world of traditional spades).

    Saddles are the big issue...had to strip down and rebuild the bar profile with skivved leather shims on the "custom" saddle that was supposedly built for him so that it ACTUALLY fit. It's tricky to find enough rock to clear the shoulder and loin, a quick twist transition, and a wide enough tree (107 degree fork angle!). While that's been fine for the last two years, it bugs me that I needed to do that to a saddle because it adds a bunch of weight. As such, I've been working with a fantastic tree maker who made me this:
    http://www.rodnikkel.com/content/ind...o-that-part-2/
    ...which I plan to build off of starting this winter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pocket Pony View Post
    IIRC you said he's Icelandic? (Very cute by the way!)
    Yep, full Icelandic. What most would call old-style, sort of like a foundation QH.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pocket Pony View Post
    Did you run into any difficulties because of his conformation?
    Unique challenges maybe, but all horses have them.

    Icelandics are bred for fire, brio and flash to a large degree, so keeping him focused, settled and soft is fun at times. His natural tempo is extremely quick (think pony gaits), but he's more balanced at the moment a little under tempo.

    He's not short backed PROPORTIONALLY, but he is short backed overall. As such, movements in the half-pass family are a little tough.

    Getting a good jump in the canter has been an ongoing challenge, but we're good there at the moment.

    Lastly, as I hinted before, his shoulders are his big block. Getting and keeping them lined up without holding them there is a little tricky, since if I try to ride too much off the hind he'll start to rope walk up front.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pocket Pony View Post
    Is he gaited (are all Icelandics gaited)?
    Mine is what they call "5 gaited" (walk, trot, tolt, canter, flying pace). Haven't really developed pace yet, but it's in there.

    Some horses don't have pace, and are called 4-gaited.

    Some horses don't have tolt either, and are called 3-gaited here, or lunch in Iceland.

    Not all gaited Icelandics even have much tolt in them, and more naturally do something like a running walk, but breeders typically try to select for tolt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pocket Pony View Post
    How did you get your training - mostly clinics, or did you find someone locally to work with regularly?
    I've worked with Josh Nichol for years in twice-yearly clinics, even before I was involved with the vaquero traditions. He uses this tack extensively, and eventually he just corrupted me when I saw how well his horses were progressing when he'd ride little demos and explanations. Watching Buck once tipped me over the edge.

    I've also ridden once with Buck (not the greatest experience), twice with Richard Caldwell, and am taking roping lessons locally. Signed up to do a cattle working clinic with Martin Black this fall.

    Clinics have been great to learn the western traditions, but I decided about a year ago to also do weekly dressage lessons to have that impartial eye on the ground. That way, we don't pick up bad habits that might not be caught until the next clinic six months later. I don't believe in western dressage in ANY form as it's currently being conceived, but I do believe in the classical high school (which is the root of vaquero horsemanship).


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  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktill View Post
    1) Thought - this is where you think about canter. At the risk of getting a little esoteric, later on you even need to have a certain part of your mind you share with your horse, and one you don't. That way (and most of us have experienced this), the horse doesn't canter off the minute you even think about canter.

    ---

    Again, some may disagree strongly with the above, but for those who don't, go here for more:
    http://www.joshnichol.com/articles.html
    Thanks for the Josh Nichol website - yay, more reading!

    It is funny how horses read our minds. I will admit that I need to harness that more so that my timing is more appropriate. I have had experiences on the trail whereby we've been going along and my mind wanders. I don't know why I do this (perhaps because I trail ride where there are bears and mountain lions) but I think about a bear or cougar encounter and wonder what would happen. Would we just look at each other? Would they go their merry way and leave me alone? Would I start yelling to scare them off? I'm queen of "what-if" scenarios. So when I've had these thoughts on the trail, my horse reacts to them by becoming antsy and fidgety and looky. Then I have to really consciously direct my mind to something else to get those predator ideas out of my head! It has happened on more than one horse so you'd think I would have figured it out by now!!

    Once I was trail riding with a friend and we got to a good point in the trail and I asked her if she wanted to canter and she said yes, so we took off. After we were done, she asked me how I taught my horse to canter (I guess because there were no bumbling trot steps in between our walk and our canter). My horse is a mustang and I did all the u/s work with him. I had to say, "I don't know." Really, at that moment I just thought canter and we did it. Of course, it isn't always that easy . . . but I suppose it could be if I got my head in the right place!
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


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  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneGrayPony View Post
    When you say "offer the feel", what are you describing?
    yeah, what's that?

    I understood your correction about the difference between training a horse to treat a snaffle as a signal bit and a device (bosal or shanked bit) meant to do that job.

    So another question arises: After I have taught the horse what I want in a snaffle, does it matter that I go to a bosal as the intermediate stage before a shanked bit? Could that be a side-pull or (God forbid) a mechanical hackamore or something else?

    It seems to me that it doesn't matter what that device is so long as 1) It doesn't occupy the horse's mouth, and 2) the rider's hand can be in the same place and not have to move much to make the thing work. That's because at some point, he'll hold the reins to the bosal in some combination with the reins to the shank bit. The two can't be too far off..... or can they?

    I think I have other questions buried here, too. I can ask those if that would make this more clear.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  19. #79
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    You'd be surprised...lots of people. There's a lot of responsibility in being required to control your thoughts and not worry about work/making dinner/picking up the kids etc while riding. Riding at the level of physical aids is much more straightfoward. Push button A, get reaction B
    That's unfortunate, because there's a zen there that I've gotten in no other way. But it makes sense as to why others can ride when things are bothering them/people are talking etc and I have to go into my "bubble" with the horse, and why I'm so terrible in a lesson when trainers are yelling at me to do x y or z. I don't divide my brain up very well and can't focus in both places at once. But I don't as a matter of course, ride mechanically, and I do much better focusing on what the horse is doing vs. where in space my left hand is.

    It also explains why people have trouble when they think things like "oh no he's going to <break gait>, <buck> etc", because the horse listens to that if he is sensitive or keyed in.

    I understand what you mean re: the order - it's like teaching the horse to neck rein - neck rein first, then using the direct rein as backup when they don't understand. So this is going a step further back. Somehow I did that instinctively for all of the other stuff and got stuck on the aids in more advanced work because of those instructors that told me I was doing it wrong.

    Thanks a bunch for being willing to talk about it!!


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  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneGrayPony View Post
    I'm sure it comes with some physical cues - I don't want to be misleading - just not ones that I notice. For instance, with a thought to canter or what have you, I'm sure that there's a lightening of the seat or an increase in energy that the horse is picking up on, I just don't know I'm doing it.
    What you say is true: While we perceive some components of an aid we are giving, we might not perceive all of them. So chances are that people are thinking "canter" while doing some stuff with their seat and leg that they are choosing to do. Or others don't record the stuff they are doing with their body, but do notice what their mental intention.

    The path to great horse training, great teach and all around total Nirvana is to teach yourself to notice every element of an aid you are using. You can then pull apart those ingredients and use them in different strengths or in different chronological order.

    So if I want to teach a horse to canter when I raise an eyebrow and inhale (and I have ridden one like this), I have to notice the "bigger" or other parts of a canter aid that works. Then choose some smaller ones. Then use those first, to be followed by the bigger/coarser ones if the horse doesn't canter.

    If you can feel smaller and smaller aids, you can use those.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


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