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how to stop bad hands

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  • how to stop bad hands

    Hey all... I have a student who I can NOT get to stop pulling on the horses mouth. I have tried everything I can possibly think of. Holding a crop under thumbs, hooking fingers under breastplate, holding cups of water, putting her on different school horses that are not so strong, etc. Every time she is about to "get" the feel of the horse coming through from behind... right at the moment when the horse resists just a bit before giving.. instead of just waiting for the give so she can give back she yanks on the bit. If you have her ride not asking for anything she see saws her hands and gets the horses head wagging... which I can stop most of the time now... She understands the theory how the horse is supposed to come from behind, she can tell you what is "supposed" to happen physiologically, I can't seem to get her to feel it... I am at a loss. She is so close you can see it. But this has been going on way too long... I have also tried a slew of different exercises and I am out of ideas. Just looking for some fresh ideas if anyone has had this problem. Hope the answers help someone else too

  • #2
    You can try having her ride with no gloves in some rougher reins, either web or rubber. Hard to pull back against that without rubbing your hands.


    • #3
      unfortunatly she rides without gloves most of the time...in rubber reins... and has gotten blisters...


      • #4
        Take away the reins. Put her on the lunge until she can get downward transitions from seat alone.
        Ring the bells that still can ring
        Forget your perfect offering
        There is a crack in everything
        That's how the light gets in.


        • #5
          Is there a forum anywhere for instructors/professionals? I have looked and not found any through any organizations...


          • #6
            I did that too.... for weeks.. she got them really well... gave back reins... I almost took away the reins and made her ride without them around the arena, not on a lunge... hmm I may just do that again.. thanks


            • #7
              I also once had an instructor (in England) tie elastic bands, the kind you use for sewing, onto the bit as reins. Then he knotted the real reins and handed me the elastic ones.

              Lemme tell ya, in a crowded arena, THAT was an experience!
              Ring the bells that still can ring
              Forget your perfect offering
              There is a crack in everything
              That's how the light gets in.


              • #8
                You don't say how long it's been. I think, in reality, that people forget how long developing actual "feel" really takes. I have been riding for several years under various methods of instruction and have only now really begun to "feel" the correct contact. I finally feel like I'm getting all my parts to work together correctly! Coming into riding years ago as an adult, I also did a lot of reading up and studying on the sport. I could tell you exactly what *should* happen but that didn't mean I could replicate it for you! Developing a real feel and understanding in your BODY, not just your mind, won't happen in the same time frame for everyone.
                I think it seems like a simple concept to those who have been practicing it and feeling it for a long period of time, on several horses, but to someone who is just learning and developing, it certainly feels elusive!
                Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

                A Voice Halted


                • #9
                  hmmm I really like that one... too... I really like that one... that had to be fun...lol


                  • #10
                    are you really sure your student wants to change?
                    chaque pas est fait ensemble


                    • #11
                      You can have her ride one handed ... western style. It's harder to pull with only one hand. It will also stop the seesaw action.

                      I do this when I start to get "bitchy" with my hands. If my ride gets better, even for a few steps, I know that I have been nagging my horse with my hands.


                      • #12
                        What about reversing her reins, so that they are coming in to the top of her hand over her index finger. Like the girl in this http://pets.webshots.com/photo/28014...75098054TqydQE photo is. Much less pull that way, and harder to 'fix' (the bad fix) your hands.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MelantheLLC View Post
                          Take away the reins. Put her on the lunge until she can get downward transitions from seat alone.
                          echo dont give her any reins until she can use her seat and get her balance

                          also look at her stirrup lenght as odd or wrong size can throow your position out which will effect your balance

                          as she sounds like shes supporting her weight through the bridle area therfore tilts , leans or hangs on to the horse head, be heavy in hand or handset etc

                          look here page one on my helpful links pages also look at link 4 and 5
                          then shoot down to bottom and see other training methods as ther are some simple exercises you can do with her and the hrose


                          • #14
                            I had bad hands for years when I was a younger teen. Not necessarily pulling hands, but way too much contact. I finally found an instructor who saved my hands! She had me ride with my thumb and forefinger only on the reins. I was not allowed to touch the reins at all with my other fingers. That way, I could NOT make a fist or tighten my biceps. It taught me to have a forward-thinking, following contact.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dwblover View Post
                              I finally found an instructor who saved my hands! She had me ride with my thumb and forefinger only on the reins. I was not allowed to touch the reins at all with my other fingers.
                              I love learning stuff like this!


                              • #16
                                Have you thought about Rein-Aids?



                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by GreyStreet View Post
                                  You don't say how long it's been. I think, in reality, that people forget how long developing actual "feel" really takes. I have been riding for several years under various methods of instruction and have only now really begun to "feel" the correct contact. I finally feel like I'm getting all my parts to work together correctly!

                                  This, exactly! My instructor feels everything when she rides. I feel probably about 2% of what she observes. And it's taken me a while to develop that little bit of feel.

                                  I too used to snatch my horse's face. We did very focused lessons in which I practiced following contact - not even thinking about anything else, really, just focused on learning the difference between the horse pulling, and the horse seeking contact, and me either softening or following.

                                  Self carriage was also part of the equation.
                                  Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

                                  Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs


                                  • #18
                                    At my suggestion that I didn't have a following contact, my trainer once had me hold the reins upside down, so that my pinkies were on top and my elbows were out to the sides (for a period of several minutes, at walk, trot, and I think canter).

                                    I think this worked for me because I still had all the tools of "normal" riding - could stop, turn, h/h, etc. But the motion that I had gotten used to over the years (and my muscle memory), was different and so I didn't have the same habits, and could feel the effects of different hand/arm actions.


                                    • #19
                                      oh I understand it takes years to develope the correct feel... and to get all the parts working together...and I will be the first person to say I think some of this is fear based (last instructor put her on some doozy of horses when she was oh 12 or so and she came to me with it BAD) but she has been riding with me for a couple of years and I have gotten some things through to her and she is a lot better... I am thinking the elastic or rein aid may actually help mechanically.... we have been working a LOT on self carriage concepts lately (trying harder to go that route)... and following and how to get to long and low... (she still yanks back and forth too) I also like the thumb and forefinger thread... so simple and I didn't think of that one... what I am seeing is this... a student who understands intelectually what she is supposed to do, she helps out with the younger kids sometimes and can tell them what to do without telling them to yank the horses mouth off.... but keeps sabotaging herself and her feel... I'm not talking a little bit here... I"m not talking nuances that take years to feel.. if it was just that I wouldn't be begging for ideas lol and she is a teenager and still in the broad strokes mode... just a nice training level frame thats balanced that you can push up to higher level... later... think horse in training level frame wagging head all over the place.. everyone knows... the ones you groan about at shows and feel bad for the horse? The question earlier of does she want to change is a valid question and I have been asking it myself... I really didn't want to go into this so full fledged... I feel bad enough posting this publicly, anyway, but I needed a fresh outlook on it... and an instructor friend said here would be a good place... I think its because she's young that its, I guess, scaring me... I want to get a good break on it Now while she is young enough to re-wright the muscle memory...


                                      • #20
                                        bridge the reins, transitions and ELBOWs

                                        Another tactic is to bridge the reins (take the tails in opposite hand) so you really can't move the hands any farther apart.

                                        One thing that helped me as a tense, overthinking-not-feeling adult rerider was to focus on my ELBOWS and keeping them steady at my sides with 'give' for horse's head at walk and canter. You can practice this at the walk easily, making sure the arms move to follow the head, but also that the posture is straight up and the balance remains centered. Thinking about the elbows, and keeping them neatly next to my body, yet flexible, helped me with the 'feel' more than another tactic for my hands. (you can do this with bridged reins also).

                                        In the trot the hands should be steady but elbows will open/close with posting.

                                        Make sure the shoulders are back, seat is soft and there is light contact - so much of the 'on the bit' is the seat/posture. Then transitions, walk-halt (4 or 8 times, as long as it takes for horse&rider to do correctly), then trot-walk-trot, then trot-halt-trot. And when they're really good canter-trot-canter.

                                        I am not an instructor but a rider who has had to have many, many corrections and offer this suggestion as something that 'got through' to me.
                                        Forward...go forward