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Turn on Forehand -- Good or Bad?

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  • Turn on Forehand -- Good or Bad?

    I have the Jane Savoie Home Study Course and in her DVD about turn on the forehand she suggests that you not use this too much as it puts the horse on his forehand. My problem is that I am taking lessons with a new dressage instructor (only one available) and her favorite exercise to warmup my horse is to do lots of turn on the forehand. Is this bad and how do I tell her I don't want to use it so much if it is bad? What's your opinion on its use?

  • #2
    It depends. Why is she having you do turn on the forehand?

    Jane gives a general rule - it's possible your horse is an exception. With my horse, I will do a forward-moving turn on the forehand to get my horse stretching and reaching with his back legs. He finds collection easy, he's uphill naturally - but crossing his hind legs over is HARD for him. Turn on the forehand can be a tool to help him on the days he has a mental block against crossing over behind, and a reminder to move his back end away from my leg. It's not a routine "we must do this every day" but has a purpose.
    Originally posted by Silverbridge
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    • #3
      I don't know about Savoie's logic, since I haven't seen the DVD referenced. However, turn on the forehand is done at the walk, and it's really an exercise to get your horse moving off your leg reliably. I see it as a primer for lateral work and not a bad warmup to ensure your horse is listening and on the aids. It doesn't seem to make a horse on the forehand--it just gets them sensitive to the leg. Do you do some turn on the haunches too in your warmup? Doing a bit of both would be ideal, I'd think.

      If you don't like doing so much of it, simply tell your trainer that you want to some new exercises to use in your warmups. Too much of any one exercise isn't ideal, not because the exercise itself is bad, but because it prevents you from doing other exercises that might further supple your horse.
      2007 Welsh Cob C X TB GG Eragon
      Our training journal.
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      I owned him for fifteen years, but he was his own horse.

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      • #4
        Ditto. Useful in the right situation. We use it because my mare likes to brace against the leg, and then when she accepts the leg she barges (basically, "you want me to go right? FINE! We're going right!" ). We do them one step at a time to get her really listening.

        We only do a couple each way... the point for us is to use the movement to get the response we want, not to perfect the movement itself.
        "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."

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        • #5
          Turn on the forehand is a basic exercise to teach the horse to go off the leg and useful for opening gates but I'm with Jane. My trainer told me the same thing many many years ago.
          Because the horse is marking time with his front legs and only moving his back legs his weight is on the forehand.
          A Western Trainer I know incorportates alot of TOF hand exercises into back up etc and his horses are always are on the forehand.

          Once the horse is off the leg I would progress onto leg yeilding.

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          • #6
            It used to be in the first level tests.

            It helps the rider learn the difference between leg at the girth to hold or move the shoulders, and the leg behind the girth to hold or move the hindquarters.

            Viola! I found my 1965 USCTA rule book, with ALL the AHSA dressage tests in it. First level Test 1 Movements #4 and 5 turn on the forehand left and right.
            Anne
            -------
            "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

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            • #7
              Useful to help the rider to understand the function of the outside rein to control the shoulder and straighten the horse.
              "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

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              • #8
                You should have a little chat with your trainer and ask her what is her opinion on the subject and in regard of your horse training goal.
                Jane Savoie doesn't say not to do it, just not too much and probably not just that. What is too much? What is your horse level? What have you been working on lately? Is moving hauches an issue?

                I include turns on the forehands,on the haunches, walk pirouette, and leg yield, half pass and shoulder fore and in, renvers and travers for warm up.
                Depending on what I need to work on I do more or less of those exercises.
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                • #9
                  Done correctly, it teaches the rider to use their body to influence the horse and not their hands.

                  It will calm some horses and help them focus.

                  It will help unlock a riders hip.

                  Has many uses.

                  If doing that exercise puts your horse on the forehand in a bad way you have many more problems in your riding and training. Perhaps while you are doing it, but it should not carry over into the other work.
                  “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                  ? Albert Einstein

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                  • #10
                    WHat level is yourt horse?

                    ToF is a VERY GOOD exercise for teaching the horse to move his hindquarters (and even cross his hind legs) in response to the leg aid, without running through the shoulder.

                    If your horse tends to ignore or resist your leg aid, or if he tends to move both his shoulder and his haunches in response to your leg aid, then it is a good exercise.

                    It is done from a halt, so there is not a lot of "forward" involved, and it doesn't engage the hind legs, just teaches them to move over. So it shouldn't be the ONLY such exercise you do.

                    Personally, I like to warm up walking a square alternating ToF and ToH at each corner, and then adding some shouler fore and slight haunches in on the sides. That ensures the horse is listening to my aids, and remembers that the front and back end can move independantly.

                    I do lots of OTHER exercise to engage the hind endd, and get the horse off the forehand.
                    Janet

                    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

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                    • #11
                      This antique manual also has the USPC tests. C1, C2 and C3 tests; all had turn on the forehand.
                      Anne
                      -------
                      "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

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                      • #12
                        It's a useful exercise to help teach a horse to move off your leg. Other than that, it has no gymnastic value. There's no good or bad here; it's just a tool.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by in_the_zone View Post
                          It's a useful exercise to help teach a horse to move off your leg. Other than that, it has no gymnastic value. There's no good or bad here; it's just a tool.

                          On the contrary, tof is a great exercise, that does have gymnastic value for the horse. It is the most basic lateral exercise to teach the horse the concept of stepping laterally, and is the foundation that all lateral work is built on. Done correctly, the horse will learn to engage the hip and hock to really bring the inside hind leg underneath the body.

                          When riders do it at the halt, and the horse pivots on the front end, with no inside hind leg engagement, the horse will be put on the forehand.

                          When it is done out of a walk, and the focus is on the inside hind leg stepping forward and over in front of the outside hind leg, it can actually improve the balance.




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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lstevenson View Post
                            On the contrary, tof is a great exercise, that does have gymnastic value for the horse. It is the most basic lateral exercise to teach the horse the concept of stepping laterally, and is the foundation that all lateral work is built on. Done correctly, the horse will learn to engage the hip and hock to really bring the inside hind leg underneath the body.

                            When riders do it at the halt, and the horse pivots on the front end, with no inside hind leg engagement, the horse will be put on the forehand.

                            When it is done out of a walk, and the focus is on the inside hind leg stepping forward and over in front of the outside hind leg, it can actually improve the balance.

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                            Good point. The TOF in motion, whether done mounted, in hand or on the longe is a great exercise. It is the basis of spiraling out on a circle, and teaches the horse to bend on the inside at the rib cage and carry himself upright on the circle.
                            "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Thanks for all the thoughtful replies. I am someone who has ridden for many years in the Hunter world and am now a beginner in Dressage. I have the Jane Savoie tapes and only recently found a dressage trainer at a new barn I moved to. It sounds like she is totally on the right track for retraining my horse and me. I am still very much struggling to change my own riding position from Hunter to Dressage . Don't know if she reads this board, but in my very next lesson we moved on to doing lots of spiraling in and out on a circle (need to improve my use of the outside rein so he doesn't bulge his shoulder). My horse and I really love dressage and the trainer is very pleased as she says he is very supple.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Good!

                                I use it from the halt, was never taught to use it from the walk but definitely will be doing so now as I can certainly see the potential value in doing so.

                                I teach it to youngsters when starting them u/s or to horses I am re-training who do not yet know leg aids, along with the TOH and other basics and lateral exercises, to teach them to yield to the leg, flex, etc. With my main jumper I use it on him because he too has that mental block about crossing behind and can become quite tight in his back as a result. I find asking him to do some TOF (in addition to TOH, leg yields, rollbacks, etc) has progressively taught him to loosen up and relax and to just quietly yield to the leg in lieu of bracing (psychological aspect). I do not do it every day, but I do it particularly on days where he is mentally strung out... just another tool in the box.

                                I don't think doing it either from the walk or the halt is going to put the horse on the forehand unless perhaps you were really drilling it... horses are naturally balanced on the forehand anyways, so provided you work the horse in a manner where he shifts his weight onto his haunches, doing a few TOF or whatnot is not going to dramatically alter his way of going otherwise. I think it has more to do with your overall work and exercises and manner of riding than a few individual exercises.
                                ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                                ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

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                                • #17
                                  I used it initially with my totally green horse to teach him to 1) move away from my one (human) leg cue and 2) move laterally. We no longer do it, but not because I thought it was "bad" per se, just because I don't need to now. It was a building block. But it was important in our first few rides together. He had no concept of a leg meaning anything other that "go faster." It led to things like leg yeild, spiral out, etc. though, as mentioned.

                                  I can see the other's points about a trainer using it to teach a rider to use an outside rein as well--that makes sense (although I wasn't thinking about that when I did it). It does require the rider to use legs and hands independently, but is done at a very slow speed and is manageable.

                                  So I think they are both right!
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                                  • #18
                                    I audited a Conrad Schumacher clinic recently and he was using it on several horses. Halt TOF trot off repeat, getting them quicker off the leg.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Horsepower View Post
                                      Thanks for all the thoughtful replies. I am someone who has ridden for many years in the Hunter world and am now a beginner in Dressage. I have the Jane Savoie tapes and only recently found a dressage trainer at a new barn I moved to. It sounds like she is totally on the right track for retraining my horse and me. I am still very much struggling to change my own riding position from Hunter to Dressage . Don't know if she reads this board, but in my very next lesson we moved on to doing lots of spiraling in and out on a circle (need to improve my use of the outside rein so he doesn't bulge his shoulder). My horse and I really love dressage and the trainer is very pleased as she says he is very supple.
                                      Sounds like you have a good trainer who can recognize when you are ready to move to the next step. Best of luck.

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