• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.

Announcement

Collapse

Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Why not do it all on a looped rein?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Why not do it all on a looped rein?

    The other day I had a conversation with another rider that hinged on whether or not the reins were "needed" to really do dressage work. Their argument was that a properly educated seat and legs is all that's needed to really get the horse round, supple etc. Rein contact, if used at all, should only be introduced once the rider achieves an ideal communication through the seat.

    On one hand, I agree that a lot of work can be done on loose rein--no doubt reining horses on loose contact often round and engage their back. I also agree that many dressage riders (including myself, at times, I'm sure) are too "hand-y." On the other, our sport requires more than just engaging the back. It involves asking for more uphill driving power, and softness in the poll and jaw that can only be accomplished/tested by communicating through the reins. Furthermore, the contact should be something the horse actively seeks--there is a clear difference between the benefits of long and low (a stretched frame on contact) and a less structured/less beneficial low frame that comes from a horse on a looped rein. Finally, the "circle of aids" that leg to hand creates is simply safer/comforting for young horses or those that need leadership. It's part of submission.

    On the second point, if we all waited to get our seats perfect before taking up the reins, I mightaswell saw off my reins tonight. I guess I don't see the logic in taking away one aid in dressage to help you work on another, at least not for a lengthy period of time. Dressage riders need to learn to coordinate the aids, and the horse will make it clear when your seat isn't working or your hands are too unforgiving. Still, I can sort of see how isolating the aids could help with learning/refining them.

    I'm guessing I'm preaching to the choir here, but are there any other benefits of contact that I'm forgetting? Or any info on where this notion comes from? Is there a specific school of dressage that advocates waiting some time before using the contact? Does anyone agree with this/practice this? Or does anyone do this when training horses, i.e. start off for a while without contact and get the seat aids down first?

    It was an interesting conversation, and I'd love to hear any thoughts.
    Last edited by SisterToSoreFoot; Jun. 12, 2011, 12:43 AM. Reason: added ramblings.
    2007 Welsh Cob C X TB GG Eragon
    Our training journal.
    1989-2008 French TB Shamus Fancy
    I owned him for fifteen years, but he was his own horse.

  • #2
    Ehhhh........ where to start??

    Reins can be a great way to help a young horse learn to work between the aids, keep themselves aligned, etc. Also, there must be a "stop" somewhere. When we think of bringing the energy from back to front, if there isn't something for the energy to come up to, it will just escape out the front end. Does this make any sense??? It's hard to put into adequate words here

    Also, think of side reins. They help to introduce carriage to the horse. While MAYBE in a perfect world one would have the most absolutely fabulous seat and never need anything -- bridle or saddle. But it obviously serves the purpose and even though I use my reins far less than anything else, it's a good safety feature on most models
    Creek Ridge Farm
    Trakehner Horses

    Comment


    • #3
      Reins serve a purpose, that's what they are there for!! I'm all for riding a horse on a loose rein and really working on your seat and legs, but just curious... how the hell do you stop a bolting horse with your seat?

      Comment


      • #4
        Ditto the above posts. Contact with the bit is the first level of partnership. People who reject contact seem to be labouring under the assumption that a bit is inherently restrictive - when used properly by both horse AND rider it should be a bridge between the two. I like to think of it as the gauge of the partnership. In addition to being a good point for refined aids, the bit connection is also kind of like a car's tachometer - I doubt I could perceive heaviness on the forehand or evasions of the head/neck nearly so quickly with looped reins. I want a light contact, but I need it to exist first and foremost.

        Furthermore, our discipline has battlefield origins. The reins are there for a purpose. Even the best rider imaginable would have an awfully hard time communicating with only isolated parts of the body while also fending off off an opponent. There may be times when legs have to be used as human legs, not as aids! While modern competetive dressage may have evolved in a different tangent, for me it should still be about subtlety and refinement of communication, and also some degree of finesse in the range of classical aids.
        Proud COTH lurker since 2001.

        Comment


        • #5
          Okay, Devil's Advocate here

          Of course reins serve a purpose and they are greatly beneficial - and obviously a horse who is accepting of contact and soft in the jaw and poll is vital. However a horse can be ridden in such a way where it will naturally pick up contact with a bit, yet not have a bit and reins (eta: to a point). It is not necessary to ride the horse on contact to teach it to accept and seek contact either, if you progress that horse up the training scale. If they are relaxed, rhythmic, supple, and otherwise ridden correctly, they will naturally seek that contact as a natural progression and extension of their foundation. Contact is never initiated by the rider - it is initiated by the horse as a natural progression of the training scale. Eta: of course at this point, where the horse is initiating contact, it becomes beneficial for the rider to pick up contact also (whether on a loose rein or by picking up the slack), to further refine and guide the horse's movements and progression.

          I think the fact we can (and do) use the circle of aids to create a cycle, does not mean it cannot be done without reins (eta: once learnt, I mean). What about the horses who naturally move uphill and in a very collected frame, without a rider, even? No reins there to catch and recycle energy. Or the riders who can achieve such bridleless (eta: and no, I am not referring to reining horses necessarily)? The energy is still caught and recycled, by way of how the horse is worked and developed. The reins, then, are merely a refining aid. They can allow the cycle of energy to perpetuate, or they can effectively halt it, however they do not generate the cycle of energy themselves (eta: that said, they can provide the rider an effective means of communication to teach the horse to initiate and cycle such energy).

          I don't feel the type of thinking the OP mentions is a rejection of contact, but that there is validation in working a horse on a loose rein and off your seat. Doing so, however, is a matter of personal preference and different way of approach, imo. Starting young horses, all my initial work is done on a loose rein (no side reins, either). I want to encourage self-carriage and responsibility in the horse, and I do so via patterns and exercises. I correct where necessary. Then as we approach contact on the training scale, I can start using more contact simply by taking up the slack - at that time the horse is ready for it because it has been worked in such a way that contact is simply a natural progression of our work thus far. I take up slack as the horse gives me slack. The reins then are used to guide and as a refining aid. (eta: this is where contact could be continued for the purpose of teaching the horse a progressively higher degree of engagement and elevation, then be tapered off as subtlety is developed, increased, built)

          How do you stop a bolt on a loose rein? Um, not to be captain obvious here, but you just pick up the reins If you're worried about a bolt while working a horse bridleless, you and the horse probably are not ready for liberty work yet (eta: barring exceptions of course). By the time you work a horse bridleless, you have (hopefully!) developed a great deal of mental and emotional collection in the horse - that's why I love dressage
          Last edited by naturalequus; Jun. 14, 2011, 12:58 AM. Reason: clarity
          ....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.

          Comment


          • #6
            Another thing to add here, to naturalequus' response...


            Riding without reins is a great exercise. We were always encouraged to take a break from the reins once in a while for an entire ride and complete squares, serpentines, circles, etc. It was a great test to see how well we had the horse under our seats and between the leg aids...

            Also, in regards to the side reins, I should have made it more clear to never use the side reins until the horse is reaching/stretching for contact on the lunge without them. And this must be happening consistently. Then and only then should they be introduced and should still be quite long. Too many people shorten them right up and wonder why their horse learns a bunch of new evasion tactics!
            Creek Ridge Farm
            Trakehner Horses

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by SisterToSoreFoot View Post
              The other day I had a conversation with another rider that hinged on whether or not the reins were "needed" to really do dressage...
              My THoughts:

              There are huge benefits to rein aids, as much as their are to seat aids, weight aids, leg aids, etc. All require proper training and riding.

              The seat aids are limited in dressage without the rein aids. How do you create upper level frame in extensions and collected work without reins *educating* the seat aids? There is always some kind of cue educating the front end of the horse. You cannot train the dressage horse without rein aids, as much as you cannot train the horse without seat or leg aids. If you aren't proficient with your rein aids, then you aren't proficiently training your horse.

              Loose reins: no reining horse is prepared for upper level dressage work. They are flat - too flat for dressage. Reins as an aid are required for this work, similarly to an educated seat and leg. Those with educated aids are usually those who can train all types of horses to some proficiency in dressage.

              As you state, the proficient dressage rider has an effective seat, plus effective hands and legs. This is all related.

              Dressage requires contact at all levels - different kinds of contact depending on the horse and the level of training. The rider who cannot accomodate that contact is not an effective dressage rider.
              Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

              Comment


              • #8
                I have a great fun exercise I do with my kids when i am trying to teach the concept of contact: I would do the same with your friend who says loop the reins: make it a party game:

                set up, in the aisle, buckets, brushes, lead ropes in some sort of an obstacle course: now blind fold a person: give them a rein: okay, now have a second person hold the other end of the rein.

                so: the game is to get through the obstacle course in the shortest time. any element that is disturbed, touched or knocked leads to five seconds added.

                Now, the challenges, go through once with a looped rein, and using voice or touch to say, stop, left, left, a little right ( get my meaning) and go through once with no loop in the rein and simply lead the person through.

                Taking a horse through a test is similar to this, the horse may not be blind, but they do not know where they are going or what comes next, having a contact is simply the most direct, easiest and least confusing way to negotiate the maze, as it were :0)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by creekridgefarm View Post
                  Reins can be a great way to help a young horse learn to work between the aids, keep themselves aligned, etc. Also, there must be a "stop" somewhere. When we think of bringing the energy from back to front, if there isn't something for the energy to come up to, it will just escape out the front end. Does this make any sense??? It's hard to put into adequate words here


                  Exactly, if you don't have reins, than the power and thrust forward created from back to front will just "leave the horse" and the horse will be running.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by naturalequus View Post
                    By the time you work a horse bridleless, you have (hopefully!) developed a great deal of mental and emotional collection in the horse - that's why I love dressage
                    While I thoroughly enjoy watching the partnership between horse and rider in a bridleless performance, I often wonder how much of it is because the rider is so perfect with their seat/core and how much is because the horse is only ever stuck in a habit. Obviously one can steer sans reins, but the carriage? Is it truly carriage, or just a frame that is so ingrained in the horse it just "goes that way"? Show me forward and down without a bridle when someone on the ground says "go" and not during a test that can be rehearsed 238879792367 times, and I'll believe

                    Again, not saying it's not really cool to watch, but it always leaves me with some doubts.
                    Creek Ridge Farm
                    Trakehner Horses

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My pony would be more than happy to go back to doing all her work on a too long rein--so she could go back to doing it incorrectly and "easy". As someone who is just getting back into really riding and relearning correct aids, in the last two months the one thing that is solidly drilled into my head at this point is knowing when my reins are too long--and it is most apparent at the halt--when I'm not really even "using" them.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dragonharte8
                        FYI:
                        Linda Parelli has had several occasions when demonstrating bridless riding of her horse becoming nearly not stopable.
                        Um... so? What's a random anecdote about someone (unrelated to this thread) got to do with my post or this topic??
                        ....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.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sorry, I had to edit a lot as I re-think and further delve into this issue! Editing some for clarity, some because I re-thought what I wrote and had to change some of my written perspective here in this post, based on points I thought of based on my own experiences, or that have been brought up:

                          Originally posted by creekridgefarm View Post
                          While I thoroughly enjoy watching the partnership between horse and rider in a bridleless performance, I often wonder how much of it is because the rider is so perfect with their seat/core and how much is because the horse is only ever stuck in a habit. Obviously one can steer sans reins, but the carriage? Is it truly carriage, or just a frame that is so ingrained in the horse it just "goes that way"? Show me forward and down without a bridle when someone on the ground says "go" and not during a test that can be rehearsed 238879792367 times, and I'll believe

                          Again, not saying it's not really cool to watch, but it always leaves me with some doubts.
                          creekridgefarm, I completely agree with you. It can be really difficult to differentiate between a horse who is only doing a certain maneuver or what 'out of habit' - ie, as part of a re-inforced and repeated exercise, sort of in a 'robotic' sense - and one who is doing so based on the rider's cues and their willingness/partnership toward said rider. This can pertain to the horse ridden in a bridle or without - either type of training is not restricted to any certain discipline or application or what.

                          All that said, I don't think the (initial, progressive) concept of at least a higher degree of collection is possible to be taught to a horse without the use of reins, though I could be wrong. That said, it can be taught without the use of contact as we know it in dressage. Contact is still a critical component obviously, though contact can be 'done' on a loose rein (the horse is still picking up the bit and thus contact and communication with the rider, just the rider maintains a droop in the rein). Ultimately though if you were to work a horse with absolutely no reins, you start at the bottom, and that will include working a horse on contact (at a certain point it becomes necessary). I wouldn't just pull a bridle off a green horse freshly started u/s - I have to build the communication, skill, partnership - all the tools responsible for a successful ride bridleless. You start with all the essential communicative aids then as you build and progress the horse, your partnership with that horse, and your communication with that horse (with the goal of subtlety), you can gradually decrease and even remove certain aids. I think it is entirely possible to ask a horse to engage - even to a high level - without the use of reins, but I am not convinced you can teach a horse to engage (to an extent) without the use of reins. The reins serve an important function to teach and communicate, especially initially, as the horse is learning. After that point, it can be argued it is merely habit or that the horse is responding according to the rider's cues that create that way of moving, but even then their response will be built upon developed and established knowledge, or 'habit' of sorts...

                          Eta: as I edited above, 'contact', does not necessarily mean there cannot be any droop in the rein. I think collection can be taught on a loose rein, but this is where weighted reins and such come in to play as effective tools of communication. Reins are still necessary to teach the horse initially to move with a progressively higher degree of collection, but as the horse picks up the bit (ie, picks up contact, even if the contact includes a droopy rein), the rider can then guide, refine, and communicate their desire(s) as they mold the horse's manner of moving... and gradually decrease the use of such an aid to riding the horse bridleless.

                          As I mentioned in my first post, I teach young/new/etc horses initially on a loose rein so as to develop responsibility and independence in them (for their own gait, path, carriage, etc), but at that point I am not asking for much engagement yet and as I advance them and ask for a higher degree of collection (etc - and my version of a 'higher degree of collection' is not all that 'high' in the grand scheme of things, as I use dressage but do not compete dressage or train dressage to the UL), I start picking up the slack in the reins. Then had I wanted, I could slowly taper off that contact on my part, and working toward bridleless work... With the young horses, I could continue to progress the horse on a drooped rein (even with respect to contact) instead of picking up that slack, but that's just my way of doing things.

                          Eta: as this pertains to the OP's original post...

                          Imo as I think about it further, I actually think you can do it on a loose rein, but then it would not be called dressage Developing a horse to increasingly engage on a drooped rein is difficult and another discipline altogether. And really J-Lu, a reiner is not that far off from a dressage horse, or does not have to be at least. If you watch a lot of them, they actually can engage much the same as a dressage horse - all on a loopy rein. Actually I can ride my Quarab on a loose rein with some degree of collection, and it would only be a matter of further progressive exercises (etc) to develop a higher degree of collection. One of the mares (very much like my Quarab, incidentally) at the barn I ride at is ridden in such a fashion - very engaged. All this was taught and is maintained on a loose rein. Further progressive exercises will develop a higher degree of collection. The reins are merely a tool for communication, whether loose or not, and the horse will still respond appropriately and pick up the bit and contact, whether you maintain a droop in the rein or not.

                          Yes, the horse should be responsive to the rider's seat first (imo). This means slowing, adding impulsion, and changing direction (etc) according to the rider's seat. Then contact (which just means the horse establishes 'contact' and being on the bit) is required to further develop the horse... and after that point contact via reins may not be required (ie, bridleless) to initiate what the horse already understands. Re-reading my first post, I think I was unclear in this respect. I don't mean that a person can teach a horse to engage and collect to a high degree with no reins, but that they can ask for such once the horse already understands the rider's expectations and cues, especially since such collection is initiated and maintained by the horse. This follows also for working a horse on a loose rein - since collection is initiated and maintained by the horse, as long as contact is there (in the form of the horse picking up the bit and the rider communicating to the horse via the reins, droopy or not), it is certainly possible for a horse to be taught and to maintain a high degree of collection, all on a loose rein.

                          Hopefully my stance is a little clearer now. I know I was a bit all over the place as I developed my answer, so hopefully my posts are not too confusing. I had to really think about this one!!! Jmho and my $0.02 cents, for what it's worth

                          *sigh* this is getting too deep - I don't like having to think this much this 'early' in the morning!
                          Last edited by naturalequus; Jun. 13, 2011, 12:34 PM.
                          ....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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If I can add a kindergarten-level rider's $.02 regarding stopping a bolt w/o reins:

                            My sometimes (2X month when & if I'm able) dressage trainer is all about biomechanics.
                            From her I am relearning the muscle-memory aids I need to ride correctly.
                            This means replacing years of imbedded "Drive from your seat" learning.

                            A couple weeks ago I had my horse out for a ride around my property.
                            This would be Ride #2 outside since I've had him - 2 years in December.
                            When I asked for trot he became very elevated & light in front - prepping for a bolt you might say, that's what it felt like from on top.
                            Instead of using reins to hold him I used an opening knee & (wonder of wonders) he settled for me.
                            And a small, dim bulb went off in my head - Biomechanics: It Works!
                            *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                            Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                            Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                            Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by J-Lu View Post
                              The seat aids are limited in dressage without the rein aids. How do you create upper level frame in extensions and collected work without reins *educating* the seat aids? There is always some kind of cue educating the front end of the horse. You cannot train the dressage horse without rein aids, as much as you cannot train the horse without seat or leg aids. If you aren't proficient with your rein aids, then you aren't proficiently training your horse.

                              Loose reins: no reining horse is prepared for upper level dressage work. They are flat - too flat for dressage. Reins as an aid are required for this work, similarly to an educated seat and leg. Those with educated aids are usually those who can train all types of horses to some proficiency in dressage.
                              I think of reins and hand as "a means to an end." That end is a horse that goes off of the rider's seat, weight and leg. The hand should be "decorative."

                              Sometimes I think that idea (convenient for the battle field, enjoyable for the horse) gets lost in the talk about having a horse submit to the bridle or push into contact. Yes, most of us will spend most of our time using the bridle to help package the energy we create. But the goal should always be less "talk" with the hand, IMO.

                              I do think things get confused, too, when people compare the German and French approaches to educating a horse about the hand versus the other aids. On any given day, I try to ride toward the goal of getting the horse to do all I'd like with that fat loop in the reins. If you get the chance to ride a really good reining horse, you'll know how much can be done without the kind of direct contact that gets so much airplay in DressageWorld.
                              The armchair saddler
                              Politically Pro-Cat

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                I think of reins and hand as "a means to an end." That end is a horse that goes off of the rider's seat, weight and leg. The hand should be "decorative."

                                Sometimes I think that idea (convenient for the battle field, enjoyable for the horse) gets lost in the talk about having a horse submit to the bridle or push into contact. Yes, most of us will spend most of our time using the bridle to help package the energy we create. But the goal should always be less "talk" with the hand, IMO.

                                I do think things get confused, too, when people compare the German and French approaches to educating a horse about the hand versus the other aids. On any given day, I try to ride toward the goal of getting the horse to do all I'd like with that fat loop in the reins. If you get the chance to ride a really good reining horse, you'll know how much can be done without the kind of direct contact that gets so much airplay in DressageWorld.
                                I should have just kept my mouth shut and let mvp take the words out of my mouth

                                Imo the above should be every rider's goal, to use aids that are increasingly softer, quieter, more subtle. Then the removal of said aids (one day) is only a natural progression at the height of subtlety.
                                Last edited by naturalequus; Jun. 13, 2011, 12:32 PM.
                                ....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.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  So many people are caught up with end results that they often forget the journey to the end is never the same as the end itself. Just because a great rider on a well trained horse should be able to ride without a bridle, does not mean we all should ride without one, because, guess what, those great riders on great horses all start with bridles.

                                  Those riders have a specific goal in their minds, and they employ every aid possible to convey their intentions and meanings to their horses to reach that goal, and that include a set of bridle (among a whole slew of tool kit he/she owns). Without it, you are setting your horse up for failures, confusing your pupil the horse and is rather unkind.

                                  It doesn't mean bridles are necessary for riding: it does only mean they are important tools to teach.

                                  Imagine a school teacher who refuses to talk (or write, or use hand signal, whatever) in a classroom and expect his/her pupils to learn a lesson - very frustrating; I'd hate to be in those students' shoes.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    My opinion, we ride like we do depending on what we want to achieve.

                                    There is a whole group of riders that overheard somewhere the expression "independent seat, independent of our hands for balance" and took off running with the false idea that it meant an independent seat means just that, you DON'T use your reins at all and then, voila, you have an independent seat.
                                    I have heard that myself, will spare you where.

                                    Those people just don't understand the technical parts of riding, the many aids and how to use them and why.
                                    Their horses struggle around bumbling here and there.

                                    As anyone that truly rides without reins can tell you, the longer you go without reins, the more the horse's performance will devolve, the horse will lose exactitude and balance.

                                    You can get by thru a test or reining class bridleless, but you go back to use a bit to keep the horse GUIDED and COLLECTED.
                                    Even with a loopy rein, the reins and bit and the hand holding the reins are communicating.

                                    You can see all those people riding without anything and happily cruising along, the horses haphazardly wandering here and there, aids fuzzy and the clueless riders smiling proudly because they don't use reins, or barely use them, without any idea of what good, basic riding is.
                                    Fine if that is all what the kind of riding you do demands of a horse, not so good if you want to eventually compete against those that will have more complex and technical demands of what is to be accomplished.

                                    I agree, it is wonderful when you and your horse are so finely tuned you can do a whole CORRECT test without a bridle, but again, as the test goes on, the performance will become less and less exact.
                                    Then you go back to train with ALL the aids at our disposition and why not?
                                    Doing so is the easiest and so most FAIR to the horse.

                                    Riding, the idea is to do so on the best trained to be guided and balanced horse, so the job at hand is the easiest and safest for the horse.
                                    Riding without a bridle may show you where you are, for a little try here and there, but is counterproductive to train or ride often like that, for the already explained reasons.

                                    Like the previous example, sure, you can do anything you do well in a passable manner while seeing with a blindfold, but why would you regularly be trying to do that.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by J-Lu View Post
                                      My THoughts:

                                      There are huge benefits to rein aids, as much as their are to seat aids, weight aids, leg aids, etc. All require proper training and riding.

                                      The seat aids are limited in dressage without the rein aids. How do you create upper level frame in extensions and collected work without reins *educating* the seat aids? There is always some kind of cue educating the front end of the horse. You cannot train the dressage horse without rein aids, as much as you cannot train the horse without seat or leg aids. If you aren't proficient with your rein aids, then you aren't proficiently training your horse.

                                      Loose reins: no reining horse is prepared for upper level dressage work. They are flat - too flat for dressage. Reins as an aid are required for this work, similarly to an educated seat and leg. Those with educated aids are usually those who can train all types of horses to some proficiency in dressage.

                                      As you state, the proficient dressage rider has an effective seat, plus effective hands and legs. This is all related.

                                      Dressage requires contact at all levels - different kinds of contact depending on the horse and the level of training. The rider who cannot accomodate that contact is not an effective dressage rider.
                                      I couldn't have said it better!
                                      Great comment!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                        Even with a loopy rein, the reins and bit and the hand holding the reins are communicating.
                                        Absolutely! This is why you will see most of the top western trainers (at least among those with whom I have ridden!) riding on contact in a snaffle to start a horse. Once it graduates to riding with one hand and a curb bit, the horse has already learned to be sensitive to changes in the weight of the reins as they hang on the bit - less weight when the rider lifts their hand, a shift in the feel on their mouth, poll and chin as the rider "bumps" with the lifted hand without ever actually reaching contact. These trainers will regularly ride in a snaffle w/ two hands to ensure the horses are still properly responding.


                                        I like to drop the reins and practice turning and transitions in basic self-carriage. I'm sure plenty of people here would find that horrifying. However, it certainly is not a way to get collected gaits or really train. In my case, it is a way of refining sensitivity to seat/leg/weight aids for my TB, and ensuring those buttons are still there to press. I wouldn't even consider doing it with the less sensitive Friesian-x, though! She'd go "ooh, you don't have control, I'm running away to a pasture!" Incidentally, I love longe lessons on the TB, and wouldn't consider them on the Friesian mare. She's... ahem... less agreeable. Maybe in time she's change her attitude a bit, but it won't happen with the one she had when we got her!
                                        Originally posted by Silverbridge
                                        If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

                                        Comment

                                        Working...
                                        X