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Fixing nose position

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  • Fixing nose position

    Hello all.

    We've been struggling with is the position of horsie's nose during normal work and during a stretch. He likes to keep it just behind the vertical, and it's very hard to get back. If I offer rein, he'll occasionally poke it out but also dumps into my hand and goes for a run. During a stretch, he takes the rein down, but remains very short under his neck and lengthens his topline into a really weird curl - if he even bothers to try, sometimes he just doesn't feel like stretching and I can't convince him otherwise.

    Anyone dealt with this? Any ideas? We just did first level for the first time if that helps.
    When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did in his sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

    Official Secretary of Sass

  • #2
    Go back to basics and teach him to stretch to the bit long low and out. This is not just nose position but basic hole in contact and engagement.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
      Go back to basics and teach him to stretch to the bit long low and out. This is not just nose position but basic hole in contact and engagement.
      He does the same thing long and low, he doesn't with no contact but cannot be ridden without contact safely. This only happens riding with contact and/or he's actually "working," smaller circles, lateral movements, lengthens, etc. Should we be doing that type of thing lnl? Even if he curls the same way?
      When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did in his sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

      Official Secretary of Sass

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by grandprixer View Post

        He does the same thing long and low, he doesn't with no contact but cannot be ridden without contact safely. This only happens riding with contact and/or he's actually "working," smaller circles, lateral movements, lengthens, etc. Should we be doing that type of thing lnl? Even if he curls the same way?
        If you can't ride a horse safely on no contact that's a big hole in his training. As you've seen if you can't ride no contact you probably can't ride with correct contact either. Because correct contact means the horse is happily accepting the presence of a bit without the bit being a major part of signalling speed or direction

        Everything you are describing is typical of a green horse. The solution is to go back to square one and train correctly. It's quite typical for a horse to muddle through to first level with out having the basics really installed. Especially if the horse has nice gaits or a good overall dressage "look." The holes start to really appear when you try to move past first level. And can't collect or go on contact.

        The position of the nose is not as important as the fact that the horse is ducking behind the bit and then dumping on the forehand.

        This is all basic green horse problems. I would suggest finding a good trainer who can help you sort out priorities with this particular horse.

        Comment


        • #5
          As you are doing long and low, your hands should remain as always above the wither, you should be riding strongly forward but not allowing him to rush. Make sure your shoulders are back and open, and lift through your chest

          Lifting through your chest lightens your body, and encourages them to "come out'.
          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

            If you can't ride a horse safely on no contact that's a big hole in his training. As you've seen if you can't ride no contact you probably can't ride with correct contact either. Because correct contact means the horse is happily accepting the presence of a bit without the bit being a major part of signalling speed or direction

            Everything you are describing is typical of a green horse. The solution is to go back to square one and train correctly. It's quite typical for a horse to muddle through to first level with out having the basics really installed. Especially if the horse has nice gaits or a good overall dressage "look." The holes start to really appear when you try to move past first level. And can't collect or go on contact.

            The position of the nose is not as important as the fact that the horse is ducking behind the bit and then dumping on the forehand.

            This is all basic green horse problems. I would suggest finding a good trainer who can help you sort out priorities with this particular horse.
            Maybe I missed some context on why I can't ride safely with no reins. 1. I don't have an arena, I ride in a pasture. I need to steer/avoid other horses. 2. He's reactive. He doesn't run away immediately without contact but regularly spooks and I need some method of preventing a fit/bolt. No amount of training will fix that. 3. Due to the arena situation, footing is uncertain and I occasionally need to help him with his balance. He's not badly behaved on no contact, it's not a training hole. Not all of us have indoor arenas and fancy setups.

            We lesson weekly with a very good trainer. I know he has a solid base. He has good basics, even with everything else aligned he sits just barely behind the vertical. That's all I was asking about.
            When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did in his sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

            Official Secretary of Sass

            Comment


            • #7
              You will probably will find he is now broken necked so he is working the incorrect muscles.

              As others have said he is not understanding contact.

              If you have used any gadgets to get to this stage STOP.

              Side reins are not a gadget and will help him to understand contact, but he must be lunged without the reins ever pulling a horse's head in and with his poll at the highest.

              The same with riding. The poll should be the highest part of the neck. In sitting trot, your tummy brings the poll up. In the rising trot more inside leg and ride him forward.

              He needs strength and the correct muscles as well as the correct understanding of contact to go in long and low.

              Remember that it is harder to retrain than to train. He needs retraining now.
              It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

              Comment


              • #8
                I would stop riding in a pasture that horses are turned out in. That’s a bad idea under the best circumstances. Your horse is green and doesn’t accept contact. That makes riding in a pasture with horses just plain dangerous.

                You need to go back to square one and teach acceptance contact. By going behind the vertical wheel is showing you the holes in his training.
                Last edited by Denali6298; Mar. 23, 2020, 06:48 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I ride lit up horses in a field and I agree that you should get to a point in your workout where your horse is relaxed enough and listening and you should be able to ride with no contact. It may take 40 minutes. It may not ever work on a windy cold day. If you are worried he’s going to crash into other horses then ride him without company until he regularly does it and for longer and longer periods. For spooky types/windy days, I ride one handed (left) and let the reins slide through my fingers as the horse stretches down and keep my right hand hovered above, so that if they do something goofy I can quickly slide my right hand down the reins to to their neck to secure the reins without hitting them in the mouth and prevent any nonsense.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by SuzieQNutter View Post
                    You will probably will find he is now broken necked so he is working the incorrect muscles.

                    As others have said he is not understanding contact.

                    If you have used any gadgets to get to this stage STOP.

                    Side reins are not a gadget and will help him to understand contact, but he must be lunged without the reins ever pulling a horse's head in and with his poll at the highest.

                    The same with riding. The poll should be the highest part of the neck. In sitting trot, your tummy brings the poll up. In the rising trot more inside leg and ride him forward.

                    He needs strength and the correct muscles as well as the correct understanding of contact to go in long and low.

                    Remember that it is harder to retrain than to train. He needs retraining now.
                    We don't use anything other than a snaffle. He's well muscled over his topline, at least reasonably so considering the weather lately. His poll is usually the highest point, unless we're stretching or lnl. I just want to poke his nose out.
                    When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did in his sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

                    Official Secretary of Sass

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Read this thread.

                      https://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/f...nection-issues

                      Comment


                      • #12



                        Respectfully, I dont think you understand the principles of dressage. That is not to say that you cant ride a test or that you arent a good rider.

                        But there are some gaps in your knowledge base and before you can address your horses issue you need to fix your own.

                        The goal of dressage is not to package a horse in a frame so that it looks pretty.

                        It is to teach the horse self carriage by a series of meaningful exercises that build the correct muscles.

                        Can you get your trainer to video one of your lessons so that you can see what you doing as opposed to what you feel like you are doing?

                        I would incorporate lateral work, transitions in and out of gait and within the gait and lots of changes of direction. If you keep him focused on you he'll be too busy to spook and bolt.

                        Good luck hope this helps.
                        Certified Guacophobe

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by AnastasiaBeaverhousen View Post


                          Respectfully, I dont think you understand the principles of dressage. That is not to say that you cant ride a test or that you arent a good rider.

                          But there are some gaps in your knowledge base and before you can address your horses issue you need to fix your own.

                          The goal of dressage is not to package a horse in a frame so that it looks pretty.

                          It is to teach the horse self carriage by a series of meaningful exercises that build the correct muscles.

                          Can you get your trainer to video one of your lessons so that you can see what you doing as opposed to what you feel like you are doing?

                          I would incorporate lateral work, transitions in and out of gait and within the gait and lots of changes of direction. If you keep him focused on you he'll be too busy to spook and bolt.

                          Good luck hope this helps.
                          What am I not understanding? He's correct in the connection, moving through and over his neck, balanced, and regular. He's muscled over his topline and though his butt. But I regularly get comments on my tests about his nose and I want to fix it. There's no comments about a poor connection, shot him bring inverted, or resistant, he's honestly connected.
                          When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did in his sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

                          Official Secretary of Sass

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well for starters you keep asking about his nose and wanting it to “poke out.” He is evading contact by going behind the vertical and therefore not accepting the contact. You need to fix that hole. When people say work on long and low they mean to let the horse stretch down into the contact. Not drop all contact and ride with no reins.

                            What I do with my overly reactive mare is keep her busy. Change direction a lot, 20 down to 10 meter circles, shallow loops etc. If she’s insisting on running she doesn’t get to go large. She will do 10 meter circles around the arena or field until she stops. If she starts running we circle. Also it’s important to keep them forward. It sounds counter productive with a horse that has a tendency to run through your hand but they need to be forward. You can widen your hands to “shorten” the reins if they get quick. You don’t need to choke up on the reins.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post
                              Well for starters you keep asking about his nose and wanting it to “poke out.” He is evading contact by going behind the vertical and therefore not accepting the contact. You need to fix that hole. When people say work on long and low they mean to let the horse stretch down into the contact. Not drop all contact and ride with no reins.

                              What I do with my overly reactive mare is keep her busy. Change direction a lot, 20 down to 10 meter circles, shallow loops etc. If she’s insisting on running she doesn’t get to go large. She will do 10 meter circles around the arena or field until she stops. If she starts running we circle. Also it’s important to keep them forward. It sounds counter productive with a horse that has a tendency to run through your hand but they need to be forward. You can widen your hands to “shorten” the reins if they get quick. You don’t need to choke up on the reins.
                              I said he still does it when lnl. I also said he doesn't do it without contact. That means they're different things that I ride differently. I don't think he's evading contact, he reaches for it, holds it, and follows it. He just does that btv. I think it's honestly how he goes and not a training hole. It's not bad, maybe 5-10 degrees.
                              When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did in his sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

                              Official Secretary of Sass

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by grandprixer View Post

                                I said he still does it when lnl. I also said he doesn't do it without contact. That means they're different things that I ride differently. I don't think he's evading contact, he reaches for it, holds it, and follows it. He just does that btv. I think it's honestly how he goes and not a training hole. It's not bad, maybe 5-10 degrees.
                                It’s still a hole if it’s getting commented on when you show. We ALL struggle with this with horses. You can either ask and learn or ask and get offended when told a refresher at the basics is in order. If he doesn’t do it without contact that literally means he doesn’t fully accept it. If you don’t think it’s a training hole there is nothing anyone can say that will help you.

                                If it’s not him it’s you not being steady with your hands, not riding forward and supporting him.

                                Comment


                                • #17


                                  You keep getting the same comment about your horses nose .

                                  What does your trainer say?
                                  Have you directly asked the trainer to explain what the comment means and why?

                                  If you tried and you are confused or you are not getting the result you want, then I suggest you find another trainer.

                                  I get that you may not be able to find another trainer or that the pasture is the only place you can ride.

                                  A pasture with loose horses is not condusive to successful or safe schooling . Especially with a horse that tends to spook or bolt . It really isn't.

                                  Save up some money and find a trainer where you can haul into and take lessons in a dressage arena or closed ring and take some lunge lessons as well.

                                  I dont say this to be nasty or mock you or belittle your efforts.

                                  I am saying this because you asked for help, but you sound defensive and annoyed at the answers you've been given.

                                  To successfully solve this problem you need to understand why your horse is doing this and from your responses it appears to me that you do not.


                                  There is no simple formula here.

                                  And lastly, your horse is not "honestly connected"
                                  A horse that curls behind the contact and runs away when you loosen the reins is not connected.

                                  I sincerely wish you well and I hope that you consider the advice that the other responders have given you.
                                  Certified Guacophobe

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by grandprixer View Post

                                    Maybe I missed some context on why I can't ride safely with no reins. 1. I don't have an arena, I ride in a pasture. I need to steer/avoid other horses. 2. He's reactive. He doesn't run away immediately without contact but regularly spooks and I need some method of preventing a fit/bolt. No amount of training will fix that. 3. Due to the arena situation, footing is uncertain and I occasionally need to help him with his balance. He's not badly behaved on no contact, it's not a training hole. Not all of us have indoor arenas and fancy setups.
                                    I don't think Scribbler was saying you should be riding with no reins. Almost nobody should be riding with no reins.

                                    First, to address your question about the nose.. Being behind the bit or behind the vertical, is an evasion technique and is considered by dressage judges as a "lack of acceptance of the bit". Meaning a judge will mark you for this if they see it.

                                    It's the horse's way of "framing up" their neck so they can get you to quit nagging them with that pesky bit.

                                    Once a horse has learned to curl, it's very hard to get them above the bit again. It requires going back a few steps in your training, because if a horse is not accepting the bit, that is a fundamental tenet the horse is not understanding and you will not be able to be competitive if you keep going without addressing that miscommunication.

                                    Scribbler is right, there is a hole -- or maybe it is not a hole, since it sounds like the horse is green.. It just hasn't been trained into the horse yet.

                                    Regarding riding in the pasture.. I'm also a fellow pasture-rider. I don't have a ring. I have trails, and I have a grass pasture where I do dressage work. Whenever I ride in the pasture, ALL of the horses are put in a standing. I never, ever ride with loose horses. Two reasons, one learned the really hard way: when I was a teen I was lazy, and figured I would just hop on my horse and school some stuff bareback. His pasture-mate, who is normally docile as a lamb, charged me down and bit the CRAP out of my leg while I was on my horse. I had a black/blue area on my thigh - and I'm lucky I didn't fall off in the process. The other reason to not ride with loose horses is that it is distracting to your current horse, who if he is green, probably just wants to get back to his friends. You don't want to be setting up competing interest[s] when you're training a noodly, mentally-not-strong horse. You want his sole attention to be on YOU. Not on the horse in the corner, not on what is going on when they're running around..

                                    Respectfully, you can learn a lot by listening to the posters who have already given you advice. While it may challenge your idea of how well trained your horse is, it is classically correct. If you want to fix this issue, you have to go back to square one. You have to work on accepting the bit.

                                    I find BTV is also usually a lack of impulsion in most cases.

                                    Going back to basics doesn't mean you have to ride / will never show again. It just means you're sharpening up some understandings that along the way may have gotten misconstrued. As for how I would fix this issue..? I would go back to the walk. I would work on getting a forward, marching, loose walk. I wouldn't worry about the head, or the neck. I would only want engagement and activity behind. I'd work on spiral ins, outs, leg yields, serpentines, all without losing rhythm, and all with soft changes of bend. When my horse could demonstrate that effectively it's time to trot. Same thing. Big, swinging, marching, FORWARD trot. Too many riders focus on condensing the trot when working with green horses. You should be owning the trot - own that forward motion, keep that forward motion going through every change of bend, every serpentine, every leg yield. Forwardness, in my experience, is usually restricted - which leads to horses curling behind the bit and riders feeling their horse is "unrideable" in bigger gaits.

                                    We all have holes in our training. There is no such thing as a perfectly trained horse or a perfectly trained rider. That is what makes the journey so exciting, and the accomplishments so wonderful once we fill those holes in.
                                    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Well said Beowolf
                                      Certified Guacophobe

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Forgive me but I would have to see a photo of him behind the vertical and with his poll as the highest.
                                        It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                                        Comment

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