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Arguement over flexions

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  • Arguement over flexions

    I'm having a discussion with somebody concerning on the ground rein flexions -- pros and cons.

    They are very "pro" teaching rein flexions on the ground (quote: "just tip the nose to the inside" and "most of the time you handle a horse on the ground anyway so this is important to do") and very pro anybody doing this as a good, nonabusive way to teach a horse to give to turning aids and because doing it is the only way you learn (you won't ruin the horse with attempting these things if you haven't been taught). I'm very: I really don't want to see a horse being taught rein flexions from the ground unless the person doing it knows what they are doing because it can open up a can of worms and if you don't know how to do it just focus on sending the horse forward in a calm and accepting fashion and forget teaching them to give from the ground.

    Am I missing something here? I want to approach the discussion in as fair a manner as possible and not be blinded by any bias I might have.

  • #2
    I'm of the school "if you don't know what you're doing, you'd best find a good teacher"
    rein flexions, sending a horse forward, teaching it to tight rope walk....
    People training horses without proper education in doing so is an irk for me.
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


    • #3
      People might be teaching you rein flexions from the ground becuase you/your horse is not understanding them from the saddle. There is nothing wrong with this. Increased flexibility is good, not bad.

      I do not know, but perhaps you are riding your horse stiffly in the poll and neck. Perhaps your horse is resisting your rein aids. If true, teaching him to give and to stretch on the ground is a very valid method of teaching him to give when moving forward.

      As a rider you should be able to put your horse deep, on the bit, and in front of the bit at any given time. Like a basid gymnast or basic ballet dancer. If you cannot control the topline then I think you and your horse need flexibility work. Please think of yourself doing yoga and what is necessary to do that.


      • Original Poster

        Nothing to do with me or my horse or anything of the sort. Just a discussion on the use of rein flexions.

        I'm taking the stance: don't do it if you don't know what your are doing (and I think me and the other person are having a miscommunication -- because I am not seeing the reason for bending a horse's head over, holding it until it gives (at a standstill) as a really great way of teaching a young horse to learn rein pressure for starters, and I am arguing that this if done improperly could end up, well, not ending well as far as when you transfer that to under saddle work). I'm going from the standpoint that it would be better to focus on going forward and leave rein flexions to people who know what they are doing (and if you want to do them, learn from that sort of person first).

        This person begs to differ.


        • #5
          The alternative is to have a horse moving forward with a stiff back and neck. This is not good. If the horse has a tendency to have a stiff back and neck then overbending the horse until it gives is a valid lesson. You are teaching the horse to give to the rider and trust the rider. Going forward with a stiff poll and back is not helpful or constructive. Perhaps listen to your friend.


          • #6
            I think flexing (ground) a couple of times on a young horse to see where you are at flexibility wise is an okay thing to do, but I understand that an amature pulling their horses head from side to side without knowledge can lead to a horse that drops the bit when feeling connection so I see the ops concern.

            Relaxation is important, but a noodle neck that dives into the bridle and hangs there is as bad as a stiff tense animal to me.

            Personally if I "feel'" once mounted that there is a stiffness I like to do long to short walk steps with increase connection (a slight bend of course) legs on, asking the horse to step underneath itself and accept the aids.

            It really helps with tension if you keep asking until you get a nice relaxed reaction and acceptance of strong aids (timing is important here though).

            Flexions only get you so far as they are (when talking about what the op was talking about) only dealing with the front of the horse, and as we all know tension can also appear once you put the leg on for a bend or lateral movement.

            Personally I do front to back work, then lateral on the move adding flexions as I go. IMO this is best for a tense or stiff horse.
            ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~


            • #7
              I do standing flexions on my horse, but not so much for flexibility, rather for bit acceptance. There are a LOT of ways to flex a horse, and each has its specific benefit and potential drawback. Just pulling a horse's head to the side without knowing what specific vertebrae you're targeting isn't going to get you anywhere. You may as well do carrot stretches. For me, the important thing is to get the horse chewing and swallowing, so most of my flexions are of the jaw. Sometimes, if I think he's kinked up in a specific spot, I'll try to flex him at that point.
              "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer


              • #8
                if you are worried about flexions and have "stiff" horse in neck/jaw/poll you can do mounted either leg yields slowly step by step making sure the horse crosses over, or you can do turn on the forehand, slowly asking for cross over. both will induce the horse to chew, etc.


                • #9
                  I also like the 3 flip 3 exercise mounted. You ask the horse to flex to one side three times, making certain you use the opposing rein to keep the nose from tilting, then flex with a little seat to ask the horse to yield his hip. Repeat on the other side.
                  "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer


                  • #10
                    Remember that if you are doing flexions wrong, you are teaching a horse an evasion you may have to work to correct later, when that horse will turn and leave a shoulder sticking out in your bend.
                    As someone mentioned, rubbernecking horses are very hard to correct and collect properly later.

                    Do learn what you want to accomplish and why from someone that has been there and knows why to do something, how, to what extent, what to look for to avoid and when not to do it.