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slowing down in travers and renvers

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  • slowing down in travers and renvers

    I am in the early stages of teaching my horse the travers. He can shoulder-in for days but when I ask him to move his haunches in, he slows way down, especially at the trot.

    I have a hard time keeping my inside leg on him to encourage forward.

    I am mindful about keeping my hips loose although they do tighten up when I'm using both legs actively.

    Should I worry about proper positioning first or tempo, since we can't seem to do both at the same time?

    He has just turned 5 and is a Hanoverian. This bogging down also happens in our baby attempts at half pass.

    Tips? Suggestions?

  • #2
    My thoughts: first you want to maintain tempo and impulsion as the first criteria. I would think about setting him up as part of your corner and then just working on a few steps at a time until he gets more comfortable. Second, I'm just wondering: if the horse can do shoulder in easily, perhaps he is also less collected than he would need to be for the travers, and that is why you feel him slowing down. The question - are you losing speed or losing impulsion?
    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

    Comment


    • #3
      Something that might help is using a voice aid while doing the renvers - school him to know what a cluck means and then use that when he is struggling a bit to encourage him to keep active. This if done right will help him along while figuring it out and keep your legs from getting over active.

      Sometimes alternating leg aids in the HI help as well. Left-right-left, but the timing has to be done right.

      Also, walk-trot-walk transitions while holding the HI/renvers positioning. That will probably be confusing to him at first, but will show you areas that your aids need to be more clear in. Voice aid would be useful here as well. Later you can also do transitions within the trot, while holding the positioning.

      Also, especially due to his age, I would only do a few good strides, then straighten and re-energize the trot some and then return and do again, until they become easier for him and he (therefore becomes stronger). Quality more than quantity.

      On the HP, you can try changing it between LY & HP to keep him going. Unless he stalls in the LY as well? (Probably not though). Good exercise anyway. Or start HP out of a good corner or circle, get a few good steps, straighten and more forward trot, then re-establish HP.

      Comment


      • #4
        It may help to focus on the half pass first because it gives him more room to move sideways through an open area. Since travers is down the longside of the arena, he may feel a little crowded at first with the wall right next to him; almost like he may not have enough room to move consistently forward quite yet - this should begin to go away with increased balance. If it makes things better, you could also try teaching him at a posting trot until he gets the hang of it...that often helps keep the horse more in front of your leg. Also, really keep an eye on your hand position; it is hard to keep track of where your hands are when you are teaching new movements, making new adjustments, etc. It often seems to be a natural instinct for riders to slightly tense their shoulders, elbows, and hands when teaching new lateral movements. Along with your hand position, do not over bend your horse in the neck during the travers or half pass - this defeats the purpose of the bend in the body, and can be a signal for him to slow down.
        Hope this helps, and good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          It is not your inside leg that needs your attention for this movement. It is your outside leg. Focus on keeping more weight in your outside stirrup, while keeping his shoulders staying equally between your reins. The movement is done as if you are riding a transition from a 10-meter circle to a straight line. The front is already on the straight line, and the rear is still on the circle. To drive the horse forward, but locked in this position, you need to add weight to your outside stirrup. So too, should your turn on the haunches be done with that outside stirrup weighting, so my guess is that you are slowing for that movement as well.

          Comment


          • #6
            As others have said, it's best to work on just a few steps at a time and also keep the angle slightly smaller, just as you would with shoulder fore. I like to alternate SI and HI with really forward stretchy trot, and I often work it into a pattern of trot-walk-trot transitions and more often, transitions within the gait from collected to lengthened. All of this is intended to get the horse really in front of the leg, and use the forward impulse for reward/release. I want the HI to be no big deal, just a few playful challenging steps at first, with lots of praise for correct effort. Do watch your hands as MEH said - it is easy to unwittingly block a hind leg by focusing on other things.
            Proud COTH lurker since 2001.

            Comment


            • #7
              I am not sure how really green your horse is but in the beginning I work on just getting the horse to do what are, essentially, leg yields in the form of shoulder in, shoulder out, haunches in and haunches out. This is so the horse easily responds to my requests to move away from my leg. I don't worry about it if my horse slows down a bit as long as he is moving the haunches in the direction I ask. I do this will pretty green horses. I work with a lot of OTTBs and they are always crooked. I have to get them to respond to my leg so I can straighten them.

              You do not want to ask too much though!

              You can go forward before and after. Eventually the horse will be able to go forward in the HI then you can work on refining it and making it more correct. But it takes a while before they have the strength.

              To increase strength I do a lot of hill work, both up and down but also across the side of the hill each direction.

              Hope this helps!

              Comment


              • #8
                It depends on the horse.

                Sometimes I prefer to even slow down the horse myself to make sure the movement is done correctly and the horse knows what to do/where to go.
                Or sometimes I prefer asking a bit less (haunches fore?!) and keep a more energic pace.

                And it is not because you 'slow down' that you no longer have 'impulsion' or that you don't have a rythm.

                Establish a rythm, show your horse the movement and in no time you'll be able to increase the amplitude and the forwarness in it.

                As for the weight, I try in the beginning not to put to much weight on the back by sitting too deep. I often lighten up my seat, almost two points. (I do jumping too so maybe I'm cheating here!... don't care!) Sometimes the horse needs to have some freedow to learn to bend his hauches properly and keep the rythm/impulsion.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by angel View Post
                  It is not your inside leg that needs your attention for this movement. It is your outside leg. Focus on keeping more weight in your outside stirrup, while keeping his shoulders staying equally between your reins. The movement is done as if you are riding a transition from a 10-meter circle to a straight line. The front is already on the straight line, and the rear is still on the circle. To drive the horse forward, but locked in this position, you need to add weight to your outside stirrup. So too, should your turn on the haunches be done with that outside stirrup weighting, so my guess is that you are slowing for that movement as well.
                  Um, well, no. The DRIVING leg is still the inside leg. The outside leg is the POSITIONING leg. You don't push the hindleg over. If you do, the horse will fall out of balance. The SI, HI and HO is all simply POSITIONING of the horse, not changing your driving aids. If you push with the outside, then you do lose impulsion. You need to ride the horse for position while maintaining normal driving aids. This is how you keep collection in the movement.

                  The comment on turn on the haunches and HI, HO being done with the weight in the outside stirrup is just so off balancing to a horse. Turn on the haunches is done with the outside leg back, but no extra weight. You need your inside seat open so the horse can step in and under, maybe that's why you keep feeling you have to weight the outside stirrup? Not sure, but this direction is incorrect for a truly balanced and collected way of completing the movements you're describing. If you fall over the outside stirrup, your horse will move his weight under you--which is over the outside. How can you get the horse to go in the correct direction if you're weight aids are telling him something else?

                  TO THE OP: I'm with the others who suggest doing a few steps at a time. Do a few, then send him off on a line in medium trot. This does not mean that you straighten, it means that which ever way his forehand is bent and headed, that's the way you straighten him and make him go. You'll have odd lines going across the arena when doing SI and HI, and changing direction, but it keeps them in front of your leg. If he's sucking back, just go somewhere! Also, do only SI and HI first. Try doing a single line (quarter line) and start with SI and then leave his shoulders on that line and simply change the bend in his body so he's doing HO. That's the next thing to work on once you have him doing HI more forward using the previously mentioned exercise.
                  "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I quite like the octagon.

                    First ride a "20m octagon" where you ride straight a few steps, turn, ride straight a few steps, turn, ride straight a few steps, turn.

                    Then ride SI a few steps, turn, SI a few steps, turn, SI a few steps, turn.

                    Then SI, turn, HI, turn, SI, turn, HI, turn.


                    This exercise can be done at all three gaits.*


                    *The last time I posted this someone thought I was recommending renvers in canter. There is no renvers, it is all SI and HI. All the same bend.


                    It is just a few steps of the work instead of trying to drag it out a whole long side, and the turning and straight lines and keeping track of the figure will give you plenty to do. I have really liked the effect this exercise has had on both the quality of my horses' gaits as well as the quality of my riding.
                    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


                    • #11
                      Although I like meups exercise, I would not recommend it to someone who is just starting to teach their horse HI. This exercise is designed for horses that are already proficient in SI and HI and for the rider who wants to enhance the horse's self-carriage. All of these turns and going from SI to HI to SI will back off the horse even more.

                      For teaching a green horse HI, I am in favor of what several others have mentioned; short pieces of HI followed by a very forward trot. I always think the KISS adage works best when training a new movement; fewer things to do so fewer things to go wrong.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I love the second level movement of shoulder-in, circle, haunches-in. I use the circle to HI as a way to teach HI to horses. Circle off the rail (doesn't matter where), then as you return to the track, outside leg back to keep the slight HI positioning that the circle has set you up for. In other words, let only the shoulders come back fully to the track. Even if for a few steps...then, straighten...circle, and try again. If my maresy gets sticky in it, I'll ride her medium trot out of it, then try again (even thinking medium trot as we go into HI).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Please note: I did not say to use the outside leg to push the horse's hindquarters inward. I said: Get more weight in your outside stirrup. Not anything the same! The extra weight on the horse's outside hind is needed to help the horse create more energy in the outside hind which is needed for that leg to travel as far forward as it needs to do. Frankly, I do not believe that in this movement that the inside leg has anything to do with driving the horse forward. Rather the inside leg is the positioning leg for this movement, which should be just the opposite of shoulder-in. That is the way the horse is able to make the distinction between the two movement by where the rider's weight aids are going.

                          For most people, this is also what makes the travers right more difficult as the rider has a more difficult time getting weight into that left stirrup.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Oberon13 View Post
                            ...(even thinking medium trot as we go into HI).

                            This what SO many people need to think when doing the movement. Not that you're actually doing a medium, but that you CAN do one at any given moment and the horse is up and through enough to do it. Never letting them just plod into it, etc. Not that you expect this in the beginning when they're figuring it out, but as they become more proficient you should have a horse that's ready to say "YES!" to a medium and have the energy and impulsion to do it, and they should also be up and a light and powerful. Need to keep the exact same trot going is as you do during the movement and coming out from it.

                            Like I said, that's later. You make a little less angle, make it easier for the horse to understand, maybe slow it down a tad, but always have the horse ready to really GO and in front of your leg even when you've brought it back to make it easy. You should be able to straighten and do a medium (or work into one quickly) even when the horse is learning. If you're doing HI correctly (even with slight position) the horse should be more engaged and ready to float off.
                            "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by angel View Post
                              Please note: I did not say to use the outside leg to push the horse's hindquarters inward. I said: Get more weight in your outside stirrup. Not anything the same! The extra weight on the horse's outside hind is needed to help the horse create more energy in the outside hind which is needed for that leg to travel as far forward as it needs to do. Frankly, I do not believe that in this movement that the inside leg has anything to do with driving the horse forward. Rather the inside leg is the positioning leg for this movement, which should be just the opposite of shoulder-in. That is the way the horse is able to make the distinction between the two movement by where the rider's weight aids are going.

                              For most people, this is also what makes the travers right more difficult as the rider has a more difficult time getting weight into that left stirrup.
                              The INSIDE leg creates the shoulder in, not the outside leg.

                              You create positive tension between the inside leg and the outside rein containing the shoulder and voila. Using the outside leg to push the shoulder in gets the connection all backwards.


                              I teach my students thusly:
                              1. Ride a 10m circle in the corner.
                              2. When the hindlegs are on the point of the 10m circle that touches the rail, USE INSIDE LEG TO CARRY THE CIRCLE SHAPE DOWN THE LONG SIDE.
                              3. Voila, shoulder in ridden from inside leg.
                              3a. Voila, improved inside leg to outside rein connection.
                              3b. This set up allows the rider to be versatile, for example to ask for canter from within the shoulder in. If you are randomly changing your whole inside leg connection around for one movement, how do get other stuff done too? Outside leg at the girth is a counter canter aid (because in counter canter the outside leg is the inside leg). So how do you canter in shoulder in if you need one arrangement of legs for the canter lead and another arrangement of legs for the shoulder in?
                              If you come out of a 10m circle in canter and then want to continue SI down the longside, how do you switch your whole leg position around without getting a lead change? On my horse you would end up with a leadchange into counter-canter renvers, not true-canter shoulder in, because you just switched your legs and asked for a new lead and bend.

                              The first steps into shoulder in position are EXACTLY the same as the first steps into a 10m circle off the rail. This is why 10m circles are used to teach the horse shoulder in. But from what you are saying you would use outside leg at the girth to ask for the shoulder in steps, which is the opposite of the 10m circle aid. How is this supposed to be clear to the horse?

                              Riding shoulder-in from the INSIDE leg makes everything hang together and reinforce itself. The same aids that create the bend in the 10m circle (inside leg at girth and outside leg passive behind), also create the bend in the shoulder in (inside leg at girth and outside leg passive behind, and also create/maintain the canter in shoulder in (inside leg at girth and outside leg passive behind.) If you are randomly switching your legs around willy nilly it makes live so much more difficult and your horse will never know where you want his "inside" to be than if all of your aids are consistent and work toward the same purpose.
                              You tell the horse where is "inside" and where is "outside," keep everything very consistent, and rock out from there.
                              Last edited by meupatdoes; Jul. 14, 2011, 05:04 PM.
                              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


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by angel View Post
                                The extra weight on the horse's outside hind is needed to help the horse create more energy in the outside hind which is needed for that leg to travel as far forward as it needs to do.
                                So, you believe that adding weight to the outside makes it easier for the horse to move it and cross over rather than staying centered over the middle of the horse (the point he needs to be balanced over being his own middle)?

                                Originally posted by angel View Post
                                Frankly, I do not believe that in this movement that the inside leg has anything to do with driving the horse forward. Rather the inside leg is the positioning leg for this movement, which should be just the opposite of shoulder-in. That is the way the horse is able to make the distinction between the two movement by where the rider's weight aids are going.
                                So, you're saying in HI the horses weight should be going in an opposite direction of the shoulder in? I see it as the horse continuing to travel on a line (rider's choice) and his body position is simply altered (meaning shoulders are in off the line or hindquarters are in off the line).

                                And, you're saying that the energy is not coming from the inside leg of the rider, and it is rather a post around which the horse is bent. So where exactly is the driving leg if not the outside leg, in your scenario. (You can see where the confusion might lie.)

                                I'm not sure how one could ever build a balanced, forward and free half pass out of the changes you're talking about between how you ride a SI and a HI (or even HO).
                                "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  What a difference a day makes!

                                  Last night, after reading the first few responses, I hit the books: Herbermann, Podhajsky, Balou. I meditated on it all night and I think Mr. Cantankerous did too.

                                  I decided to regress a step and did several decent travers and renvers at the walk keeping tempo and rhythm foremost in my mind.
                                  When I asked for my first trot travers to the right, it was so good, I didn't ask for another one. To the left, I did 2 and called it a day.

                                  I had such a great feeling after that ride! It was a real gift from my horse especially since today is the 2 year anniversary of when he bucked me off and broke my back. Ha! I win sucka!

                                  PS Thanks for all the good ideas. I like that this board lets me integrate others' ideas, advice and experiences (except for the advice that angel and velvet are 'discussing').
                                  Last edited by Dogsandponies; Jul. 14, 2011, 09:51 PM. Reason: forgot to add...

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Adding weight to the horse's outside hind makes it possible for the horse to create the extra energy that it needs for travers. Creating the correct amount of energy in this leg will maintain the horse's center of gravity through the motion. If the correct amount of energy is not created in each of the horse's legs through the motion, that is when the horse becomes unbalanced and slows down. This extra weight needs to be on the horse's inside hind for the shoulder-in; outside hind for traver and half-pass.

                                    Yes, weighting is different for shoulder-in and half-pass. Has to be because the horse's driving hind leg is different between these two movements. Rider's driving or more weighted leg must also change to match what the horse needs. What throws things off is correcting the horse's crookedness within these movements. Generally the horse's right hind is trailing, so the rider must also make sure that leg stays under where it needs to be so the weight of the outside is taken correctly. Since most horses want to travel with their barrels slightly rolled to the right, which we call hollow right, this puts the riders left side at disadvantage, making it more difficult to influence the horse on the outside hind when it is travers right.

                                    I repeat: for travers it is the outside hind that drives, and the inside that is positioning, just as I previously stated.

                                    In the dressage sense, forward is balance, not just the action of moving in a straight line. For these two movements, you are moving the horse's energy over one diagonal in an attempt to shorten and elevate the front end of that diagonal. We call this attempt: "collecting." For half-pass, we move that energy over the inside diagonal; for shoulder-in, we move that energy over the outside diagonal. Travers is only a beginning point of getting the horse more flexible through the haunches to prepare for the eventual collection, itself. That is why the forequarters are kept as if on a straight line, while the hindquarters are as if you are on a 10-meter circle. Travers is to half-pass as leg-yield is to shoulder-in....preparation for a higher gymnastic movement.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Angel: I can not imagine why anyone would emphasize weight on the outside stirrup, unless perhaps you have someone hanging off or sitting too far to the inside.
                                      I find many people have trouble enough keeping weight, slightly, to the inside, without confusing the issue.

                                      Dogs and Ponies: time spent doing an exercise at the walk is never wasted. I find it takes much more control to ride every stride correctly at the walk. They have so much more latitude for misplacing their feet than they do at the trot.

                                      To the OP: The answer to it all is first establishing, and not losing "forward". When things fall apart, go forward, a circle, an easier movement, anything. Just go.
                                      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


                                      • #20
                                        Keeping weight to the inside stirrup or the outside stirrup should only be a matter of how the upper body is carried in relationship to the lower torso area. No matter how the weighting goes, the rider must at all times stay equally sitting on the saddle's seat. There should be no scooting of the rider either to the right or the left on the saddle.

                                        The results of a rider not being able to correctly weight the stirrups really becomes apparent in the higher level work. You see riders trying to do canter half-pass with the outside leg waaaay back, digging, digging with the spur on every stride. The rider's inability to correctly use the outside stirrup also results in horrible canter pirouettes, and especially poor canter zig-zags. Generally, the lower level movements that do need the outside stirrup weighting, the horse can muddle through, just slowing noticeably as it goes. But, without that correct weighting ability, either inside or outside depending on what the movement needs, the higher level work really becomes a problem.

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