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Bringing Head Down?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    Right now you are speaking "hunter" which tells me we other posters need to start at ground zero for you.
    Well aren't you just hilarious.

    My horse who two weeks ago helped a new-to-rated-shows kid to ribbons in a large AA-rated class just started his fledgling canter pirouettes.

    My other horse who is aiming for the First Years has gotten scores as high as 75%+ at his schooling shows.

    So maybe you should come tell us hunter peeps some more about "ground zero".
    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

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    • #22
      Folks, it wasn't meant to be an insult, and I'm sorry if it came across that way. But being someone who rides along with A hunter riders who are fantastic, I know there can be terminology "disconnects" hence the ground zero comment. The same term can mean two different things in two different disciplines.
      I'm not daft, and know that folding wrists and pumping arms are not desirable in hunters but go to any C level show and you'll see them!
      yeesh, pass the tequila!
      www.destinationconsensusequus.com
      chaque pas est fait ensemble

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      • #23
        Year two I used "draw reins" while riding.
        I made these like a bridle supplement: they laid under the bridle at the poll, looped through the bit ring (a plain snaffle) to my hand like double reins. When she would jerk her chin out, I'd squeeze the draw rein to put gentle pressure on her poll.
        This sounds more like an improvised gag than what most people mean by draw reins.
        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).

        Comment


        • #24
          I have one who used to get above the bit on a regular basis, though I never used a martingale, draw reins, or a gag on her.

          My breakthrough came when I realized I needed to focus on MY position, not hers.

          When I stopped trying to DO soemthing to make her bring her head down, and instead focused on making sure my position was correct (are my heels down? Are my legs still? am I sitting straight? an I using my stomach muscles? are my hands still? Are my reins the right length? and so on), her head miraculously came back down where it belongs.
          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).

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by TikiSoo View Post
            Wow! Thanks for all the great advice!! I am humbled and embarrassed.
            Don't be embarrassed!!

            To clarify: I'm not riding her with "pressure aids" to create a headset. I'm trying to teach her to keep her topline rounded for better balance. She's a heavy downhill built QH with a hollow back. I'm trying to build her up so she doesn't suffer from years of poor posture.
            Do it via progressive patterns and exercises where she naturally rounds of her own accord and you simply refine and further develop what she gives, rather than trying to teach her *directly*.

            She is actually pretty sensitive and my hands are often at the buckle using just a gentle twist of the wrist as "reminders".
            If I'm understanding this correctly, the gentle twist is to remind her to keep her head down? Don't! Maintain that straight wrist and simply open and close your hands as necessary instead - not to remind her to keep her head down, either, it will hang from the poll as a result of where her body is at.

            While I like your intentions with the side reins and draw reins, they were still focused on her head as opposed to her body. If you try to bring her head down before it is ready, you risk her not working correctly (depending on how you ask) from behind (she is not lifting at the base of her neck) and also remove one of her means of balancing.

            She arches and bends quite well, despite my weaknesses.
            The arch is not what you are looking for, you are looking for a lift from the base of the neck. This will result in a more elongated neck at first, then will gradually compress as she builds the appropriate muscling. Your mare's forehead should be at or in front of the vertical.

            But she hasn't developed that "pushing" power naturalequus (great post!) was talking about.
            Glad the way I was able to word it in such a way where you could understand what I was trying to convey

            She can't have carrying power without the pushing power, so develop the pushing power first (which *will* take months), then slowly start developing carrying power. She needs to build strength and impulsion in her hind legs first for them to have the capacity to carry.

            I was shocked when she threw her head up like that, but she can be a "testing teenager" at times.
            It's not a matter of her being a testing teen, she's trying to tell you something, whether it's a reflection of you as a rider, or her tack or her lack of balance, or her lack of ability to do as you request... just keep it in mind


            Hopefully I'm not repeating what you've already figured out, just wanted to clarify a little more on your response!

            I know how you feel as far as a sense of urgency to teach her to move correctly due to her conformation. I've got a long-backed 7yo OTTB who *always* traveled inverted and hollow-backed when I first purchased him. Hurts the eyes! It took awhile but slowly he started to progressively engage correctly; it feels beautiful I personally never use draw reins or martingales or what (though recognize they can be productive for some people) and instead just focused on developing the horse's body via the aforementioned ways and it all fell (falls) into place. Keep at it and you'll get there, and kudos for seeking knowledge and learning

            Ps. definitely pick up some good books on the biomechanics of the horse, such as Tug of War - it will greatly enhance your comprehension and approach
            ....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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            • #26
              I rode a lesson horse once who was known as a "star gazer". But it took that horse to teach me how to put a horse on a contact and keep her there. My trainer told me "you can't make her,you have to romance her into it". The minute I "told" her, her nose went straight up. I can't give you directions, just what my trainer told me on how to get there.

              Being on a contact/on the bit is like a phone conversation. You are asking "are you there?" And your horse answers "I am here". Thru your contact, you keep asking her questions, are you there? are you soft? are you straight? are you coming from behind?, are you Listening? or questions about your riding, "am I soft?", etc. Horse needs to acknowledge every question via that contact. You or her are not allowed to fall asleep on eachother.

              If something is wrong, you are not in balance, not romancing her into contact, static on the phone, stopped communicating, etc, you have hung up on her or horse has hung up on you. And her nose goes up. Call back up.

              Comment


              • #27
                I'm currently reading a book you might enjoy. It's called "Horse Training In-Hand: A Modern Guide to Working from the Ground" (Ellen Schuthof-Lesmeister and Kip Mistral) and its chock full of information about teaching a horse to use and carry itself. I'm at Longe lesson 1 and find that I cannot miss one line of instruction because it is so rich.

                The author really dissects carriage.

                Paula
                He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by Janet View Post
                  I have one who used to get above the bit on a regular basis, though I never used a martingale, draw reins, or a gag on her.

                  My breakthrough came when I realized I needed to focus on MY position, not hers.

                  When I stopped trying to DO soemthing to make her bring her head down, and instead focused on making sure my position was correct (are my heels down? Are my legs still? am I sitting straight? an I using my stomach muscles? are my hands still? Are my reins the right length? and so on), her head miraculously came back down where it belongs.


                  My horse didn't go above the bit, he went behind it. After he realized THAT evasion wasn't working, THEN he went above it. Fun times.

                  But the same thing applies in both instances. Ride the horse forward into contact and maintain your position. Your position sets the parameters for where you want the horse to be. But you need to let them find where that is on their own.

                  ETA -- I never used draw reins or a martingale on my horse either. He just doesn't give over control to the rider without trying something else first.
                  Last edited by mp; Apr. 22, 2011, 03:06 PM. Reason: clarification
                  __________________________
                  "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                  the best day in ten years,
                  you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Gloria View Post
                    Hate to say this. But you have been riding her in draw reins and then martingale for years, and now you expect her Not to throw her head up? - sort of expecting sun not to come up from the east you know...

                    You need to find a good trainer to put you both back on track. Unfortunately I think you will have a long long difficult road ahead of you, much harder than if you had gone another path all those years ago... because now you will have to undo all the bad things the perpetual draw reins/martingale have done for both of you...

                    Don't have any good suggestion... I don't envy your position...
                    echo you mate

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by naturalequus View Post
                      Agree with the above posts.

                      Sounds like your mare, while maintaining the frame you wanted and keeping her head down, was not truly working from behind and lifting at the base of her neck. If she were working correctly from behind, rounding her back, and lifting at the base of her neck, her head would naturally fall into place. Now that you've removed the training aids, the false frame she was being forced to hold has gradually come undone because it is not natural to her. The ultimate solution is to ride her inside leg to outside rein, following the Training Scale (developing relaxation, rhythm, suppleness to start!!!) and using progressive exercises and patterns that teach her to increasingly engage. Start developing relaxation and suppleness, and rhythm will come. With that, your mare will start picking up the bit and initiating contact with your hands, especially as you develop impulsion. Straightness ensues and collection progresses.

                      Keep in mind now you've built up incorrect muscling, so personally I would do a lot of strengthening work on loose contact first - long and loose work that includes developing relaxation and suppleness. Long loopy circles and circular patterns, transitions, in addition to developing PUSHING (impulsion) power - ground poles, hills, spiraling circles, etc. As she loses the improper muscle tone and starts building abs and topline in the right places, you can increasingly ask her to develop CARRYING power - self-carriage. Developing the correct pushing power though will take MONTHS at minimum (longer, because now you have to undo all the muscling she has, so give it a good year or more). She needs to develop the pushing power in her hind though FIRST because you need something from behind to generate the appropriate energy for carrying power, to flow through the horse from tail to nose.

                      Circles work to strengthen and engage because the horse is forced to step beneath themselves as they balance. So if you use progressive circular exercises, the horse increasingly starts to work from behind, and you can refine that with your aids. A good exercise book I always recommend is Progressive Schooling Exercises for Dressage & Jumping (Islay Auty). So is 101 Dressage Exercises.

                      Lastly, take note of your hands. Your aids should only ever be guiding and supportive, they should NEVER be forcing your horse into a specific frame. The head will reflect what the rest of the body is doing, so if your mare's head is flung up she will be inverted and she is TENSE. Hence the need to develop relaxation. As you develop relaxation and suppleness, that head comes down as the entire spine (down to the tail - the tail is an excellent indicator!) relaxes and supples. Then as the horse increasingly works from behind, the front end lifts as the hind loads (carries), the back rounds, and the base of the neck is lifted, and the head drops into its ultimate proper place. As the degree of collection increases and the horse develops strength, the poll becomes the highest point.

                      Throughout all this, your hands must be SOFT. They open and close, but they never pull back. GUIDING only. The fact that your horse threw her head up so high that you could see her entire blaze makes me think your hands were hard (what kind of bit do you use??), else she would have only thrown it up to a lesser extent.

                      Hopefully this all makes sense, but I highly suggest a) you read some good classical books (Tug of War by Dr. Gerd Heuschmann is a good and easy read on the biomechanics of the horse) and b) get yourself a good classical coach, if you want to do this right.

                      Good luck
                      echo- op sounds like your very heavy in the hand or handset

                      read this link and read all links on page 1 links 4 to no 8 all on page one

                      http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=178116

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by Janet View Post
                        I have one who used to get above the bit on a regular basis, though I never used a martingale, draw reins, or a gag on her.

                        My breakthrough came when I realized I needed to focus on MY position, not hers.

                        When I stopped trying to DO soemthing to make her bring her head down, and instead focused on making sure my position was correct (are my heels down? Are my legs still? am I sitting straight? an I using my stomach muscles? are my hands still? Are my reins the right length? and so on), her head miraculously came back down where it belongs.
                        YES!!!!
                        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


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by princessfluffybritches View Post
                          I rode a lesson horse once who was known as a "star gazer". But it took that horse to teach me how to put a horse on a contact and keep her there. My trainer told me "you can't make her,you have to romance her into it". The minute I "told" her, her nose went straight up. I can't give you directions, just what my trainer told me on how to get there.

                          Being on a contact/on the bit is like a phone conversation. You are asking "are you there?" And your horse answers "I am here". Thru your contact, you keep asking her questions, are you there? are you soft? are you straight? are you coming from behind?, are you Listening? or questions about your riding, "am I soft?", etc. Horse needs to acknowledge every question via that contact. You or her are not allowed to fall asleep on eachother.

                          If something is wrong, you are not in balance, not romancing her into contact, static on the phone, stopped communicating, etc, you have hung up on her or horse has hung up on you. And her nose goes up. Call back up.
                          Great analogy!!

                          It's an ongoing conversation. It can't be grabbed, or trapped!! It must be polite!!!
                          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


                          • #33
                            Good article in the new DT on lossgelassenheit (looseness) that address this very topic.
                            Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              I have one who used to get above the bit on a regular basis, though I never used a martingale, draw reins, or a gag on her.

                              My breakthrough came when I realized I needed to focus on MY position, not hers.

                              When I stopped trying to DO soemthing to make her bring her head down, and instead focused on making sure my position was correct (are my heels down? Are my legs still? am I sitting straight? an I using my stomach muscles? are my hands still? Are my reins the right length? and so on), her head miraculously came back down where it belongs
                              Totally agree here..if the rider is correct, and the horse has no physical disabilities (ie pain/chiro), then the horse will be correct.
                              Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses
                              http://www.midwestnha.wordpress.com[/INDENT]

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