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Training approach

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  • Training approach

    I am working on building strength and muscle in my horse's back and neck, working on correct carriage and coming onto the bit correctly. As he gets stronger he does so more easily and for longer times. I allow him to stretch, which he does willingly, and also asks for, every 5 minutes or so during our schools.

    His evasions used to be to invert and get hollow. As he is getting stronger, he is starting to evade by curling under behind the bit. I am not sure how to combat this - if I stop and release, or ask him to go long and low, it seems he has had his way and taught me how to let him evade.

    What is the correct, or a good, training technique to correct this evasion? The opposite, inverting and throwing his head up, I corrected by making sure I was centered (not leaning foward) on his back, quieted my hands if necessary, asked for jaw flexions, used my inside rein a bit, perhaps asked for some lateral
    Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

  • #2
    AnotherRound, if he is evading you by curling under, it means that you are either not pushing him sufficiently forward or he is not obedient to your driving aids. In either case, he is not working from behind adequately. You must determine if you aren't sending him forward enough or if he is too dull to your leg. If he's too dull to your leg, you need to work on isolating the driving aids to be sure he is "hot" off your leg. In a nutshell, you should be able to use one of the four driving aids independently and have him spring forward enthusiastically. A squeeze of the legs which lasts for the count of one-one thousand. If it takes longer than that, or you are finding you are squeezing harder and harder, than he is clearly not in front of your leg. In this case, you need to take your leg off and box him once hard or apply the whip enough to get a really clear response. He should be equally prompt to any of the other three driving aids: tap of the whip, seat, and voice (clucking). If he's not, same aids as for his being dull to your leg. I'm guessing that this is the root of your problem since it's what I see the most often when teaching.

    You are correct in thinking that you must first check and correct your own position, making sure you aren't tipped forward which will push him onto his shoulders. However, using the reins more for flexions and so forth will exacerbate the problem since the problem is in back of you, not in front.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by AnotherRound View Post
      His evasions used to be to invert and get hollow. As he is getting stronger, he is starting to evade by curling under behind the bit. I am not sure how to combat this - if I stop and release, or ask him to go long and low, it seems he has had his way and taught me how to let him evade.

      What is the correct, or a good, training technique to correct this evasion? The opposite, inverting and throwing his head up, I corrected by making sure I was centered (not leaning foward) on his back, quieted my hands if necessary, asked for jaw flexions, used my inside rein a bit, perhaps asked for some lateral
      It sounds like your boy is getting more fit, and comfortable with you! What I would suggest for a horse that puts his head behind the vertical is a big dose of "Go Forward" into elastic, steady contact down the long side (no fiddling with the reins, just pretend that your elbows are made of marshmallow Fluff). When you get to your corners, push him into the outside rein and make sure you have that outside aid connection. When he's going forward into steady contact, use your quarter line and leg yield to the rail. Try some circles but keep that forward motion, relax your lower back and focus on keeping your elbows soft.

      Comment


      • #4
        My trainer has me "bump" straight up ONCE with inside rein while outside rein maintains a steady contact. This causes head to come up, nose in front of vertical and they can get hollow - then you return to asking for proper carriage.

        It's a MINOR correction and does work.

        (Rider just needs to be able to place horse back into proper position quickly at first - later on horse will come back into position by itself once they understand this is an aide to fix the evasion.)
        Now in Kentucky

        Comment


        • #5
          If he responsively goes from one rein to the other (ie, you can 'put him on the left rein' and then easily 'switch him to the right rein' going across the diagonal) then try putting him first on one rein, then the other, and bump him out step by step by nudging him from one rein to the next.

          If he doesn't responsively go from one rein to the other, you need to fix that first.
          The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
          Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
          Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
          The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
            If he responsively goes from one rein to the other (ie, you can 'put him on the left rein' and then easily 'switch him to the right rein' going across the diagonal) then try putting him first on one rein, then the other, and bump him out step by step by nudging him from one rein to the next.

            If he doesn't responsively go from one rein to the other, you need to fix that first.
            I believe that this is going to obviously be an issue for this horse, if he is already having an evasion issue, then he isn't correctly into the bit (at least at times). Many horses fall into times like this in their training and find these moments where their riders allow them to evade the rein and then they can comfortably sit behind the bit and curl and evade. It can become a nasty habit in some, making it feel like one is riding a headless horse!

            My suggestion at this juncture would to be to do many walk/trot transitions. (Not that there aren't 7 ways from Sunday on getting a horse to do something, I just find this to be one direct and easy way to begin). This will ask the horse to drive forward into the aids and move forward into the bridle. Asking with the seat and legs and not a lot of loud half-halts with the hands. This is to get the horse to come back into the hands and sit quietly in them. (of course, this is without seeing the horse, adjust accordingly for your horse, with your trainer present)
            http://dressageesquire.blogspot.com
            "The ability to write a check for attire should not be confused with expertise. Proficiency doesn't arrive shrink-wrapped from UPS and placed on your doorstep."

            Comment


            • #7
              Hmm

              You know when you work spirals, the spiraling outwards is meant to float them back into your outside rein (coming from the rear).

              If my horse is ducking I usually do a small circle, and then spiral outwards until he is once again filling up my outside rein.

              Then I attempt to change tempo and see if the horse curls again. If so I make sure that my half halts are correct, since most likely they are inturrupting my connection.

              My latest work outs have been on a new half halt all together, rather than it being a pressure in my connection its simply my outside rein checking to make sure I have control of tempo. Strange, and new to me, but I find with a horse that curls Ive had tremendously good results.

              Instead of pressure or pulling, I simply still my hand for less than a beat and feel if I have control of the tempo, if not I cirlce and keep closing the connection until I feel that pause (shorten the rein on the outside gently), once I have it I go back to regular work, once the horse anticipates this, I only have to still my hand and the tempo is mine. VERY much depends on timing, and I say out loud to myself checking the tempo lol, and not half halt, since Im overly agressive with my half halts with the more sensative onse.
              ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
              http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by suzy View Post
                AnotherRound, if he is evading you by curling under, it means that you are either not pushing him sufficiently forward or he is not obedient to your driving aids. In either case, he is not working from behind adequately. You must determine if you aren't sending him forward enough or if he is too dull to your leg. If he's too dull to your leg, you need to work on isolating the driving aids to be sure he is "hot" off your leg. In a nutshell, you should be able to use one of the four driving aids independently and have him spring forward enthusiastically. A squeeze of the legs which lasts for the count of one-one thousand. If it takes longer than that, or you are finding you are squeezing harder and harder, than he is clearly not in front of your leg. In this case, you need to take your leg off and box him once hard or apply the whip enough to get a really clear response. He should be equally prompt to any of the other three driving aids: tap of the whip, seat, and voice (clucking). If he's not, same aids as for his being dull to your leg. I'm guessing that this is the root of your problem since it's what I see the most often when teaching.

                You are correct in thinking that you must first check and correct your own position, making sure you aren't tipped forward which will push him onto his shoulders. However, using the reins more for flexions and so forth will exacerbate the problem since the problem is in back of you, not in front.
                I have not read the other responses, but being pressed for time right now I wanted to say this is it, exactly. I didn't realize that my problem with him being prompt, 'hot' off the aids was related to the BTV. I can see it exactly. Thanks. Now I will read other responses!
                Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Pasha View Post
                  It sounds like your boy is getting more fit, and comfortable with you! What I would suggest for a horse that puts his head behind the vertical is a big dose of "Go Forward" into elastic, steady contact down the long side (no fiddling with the reins, just pretend that your elbows are made of marshmallow Fluff). When you get to your corners, push him into the outside rein and make sure you have that outside aid connection. When he's going forward into steady contact, use your quarter line and leg yield to the rail. Try some circles but keep that forward motion, relax your lower back and focus on keeping your elbows soft.
                  Well, my goodness, this is something we have just begun, too. working on forward, using the long lines for forward and steadiness, using the corner for bend focused on the outside rein and leg, and I have also (because he is enjoying that straight long line so well, as he gets stronger, he can stay straight, etc) used the quarter mark and leg yeilded to the rail. I do find that these moments are comosed of forward and not BTV.
                  Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
                    Hmm

                    You know when you work spirals, the spiraling outwards is meant to float them back into your outside rein (coming from the rear).

                    If my horse is ducking I usually do a small circle, and then spiral outwards until he is once again filling up my outside rein.

                    Then I attempt to change tempo and see if the horse curls again. If so I make sure that my half halts are correct, since most likely they are inturrupting my connection.

                    My latest work outs have been on a new half halt all together, rather than it being a pressure in my connection its simply my outside rein checking to make sure I have control of tempo. Strange, and new to me, but I find with a horse that curls Ive had tremendously good results.

                    Instead of pressure or pulling, I simply still my hand for less than a beat and feel if I have control of the tempo, if not I cirlce and keep closing the connection until I feel that pause (shorten the rein on the outside gently), once I have it I go back to regular work, once the horse anticipates this, I only have to still my hand and the tempo is mine. VERY much depends on timing, and I say out loud to myself checking the tempo lol, and not half halt, since Im overly agressive with my half halts with the more sensative onse.
                    I have had someone talk to me about this, and it didn't sink in, the value of this, and I will print out these responses, because each one is outstandingly useful to us at our stage of work.

                    Thank you very much.
                    Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                      If he responsively goes from one rein to the other (ie, you can 'put him on the left rein' and then easily 'switch him to the right rein' going across the diagonal) then try putting him first on one rein, then the other, and bump him out step by step by nudging him from one rein to the next.

                      If he doesn't responsively go from one rein to the other, you need to fix that first.
                      muad, he does go responsively from one rein to the other. Very responsive laterally, especially to the leg aids, and your suggestion reminds me that lateral work usually solves a myriad of longitudinal prolems. For us, it does put him back on the bit correctly, using his back correctly, and using his neck correctly. this will be helpful to work on too.

                      Wow, I've got alot of good suggestions, and revelations/insights about what is happening, and folks are really right on the money regarding where we are at. Yes, it could become a problem - that's why I want to address it right away, and I do recognize its an evasion and not a pretty picture, and he isn't using himself correctly when 'curled' in like that. Moving forward is the key - moving promptly and eith energy off the aids. I'll be using all these suggestions - I'll be riding tonight and will work on the promptness of his responses (sluggish right now) and some of these exercises.

                      thanks.
                      Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pasha View Post
                        When you get to your corners, push him into the outside rein and make sure you have that outside aid connection. When he's going forward into steady contact, use your quarter line and leg yield to the rail. Try some circles but keep that forward motion, relax your lower back and focus on keeping your elbows soft.
                        we did this, and did this, and did this with my mare when she and I were in training. She was a curler (as many Morgans are, and "forward into the hand" often translates to "still curled, but faster" with them) and "forward into the hand" was something I was learning myself. It took a while, but eventually we worked it out.
                        You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                        1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Interesting. Just pulled out his dressage tests from 2006, 7, which came with him (I got him last April). At training he had some scores in the 70's. I don't think he was ever shown beyond that. However, the comments which repeated from test to test, from judge to judge were "poll too low" and "get his poll up" so I don't think this is a new thingn for him. Funny its just showing up now, with me, but, he's just now really getting more fit having been out of condition prior to coming to me. So I am tackling a problem he has been prone to, which I don't think was addressed before, as he was sold away from the trainer showing him those years, shortly after the 2007 tests, and then was out in a field for a couple years before I got him. Ah well, trot on!
                          Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

                          Comment

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