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Some Basic Questions

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  • Some Basic Questions

    So I have some overly basic questions that I would like to ask. I think they are the type of things that are done kind of subconsciously, versus being really thought about.

    Anyways, Medium/Extended trot aids:

    I have heard and read a variety of different methods for asking for an extended or a medium trot... So, say you are riding a phenomenal Grand Prix horse, and you have just turned onto the diagonal...

    Along with having a driving seat, as well as a giving hand, Would you:

    A) Ask for the extension/medium by rhythmically increasing your leg pressure.

    B) Ask for the extension/medium by applying a strong leg aid and then removing said leg aid.

    C) Ask for the extension/medium by applying a strong leg aid and holding said leg aid.

    D) None of the above/Other.


    Halt aids/corrections:

    Theoretically, if you enter into a halt from a balanced and even gait, and you use balanced and even aids, then you will therefore have a balanced, square halt... right? Running with this theory, I have always tried to improve my horse's balance before entering the halt, versus actually correcting an unsquare halt (i.e., making the horse take a step forward to 'square up'). Is this correct, or am I letting my horse get away with doing bad halts? My horse tends to get crooked and fussy when I mess with the halt, so usually I just pick up my trot and try it again. However, my horse has always has awful halts... he runs through my half halts, and is almost never square. Strangely enough, he is usually not square in front more so than behind... So what gives? What am I doing wrong? Maybe too much hand, because of the bombing through the half halts?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    With your medium to lengthened/extended trot, many people get into trouble because too much is given away with the hand...and actually it is not the hand per se that should give, but a slight relaxation of the shoulders which brings the hand forward. Definitely do not continue to keep your legs on in the sense of squeezing. It is a driving seat into your slightly lenthened reins that allows the stride to become longer. The legs need to alternate their contact from side to side, just as with riding any trot gait...maintain the rhythm.

    With your halts, my guess without watching you is that you are slightly dropping your shoulders forward as you go into the halt. This effectively adds length to the reins and lowers them. When you ask for the halt, you need to drive slightly less with your legs, but instead think about taking your shoulder blades closer to your spine. Elevating your hands slightly as well will also help.

    Comment


    • #3
      One Question before beeing able to answer your Questions. Is your horese phenomenal Grand Prix horse???
      If it is then my advice for the diagonal. With extended trot would be to sit smooth and straight, try to keep balance, have a little contact with your legs and let it go....
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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by Manni01 View Post
        One Question before beeing able to answer your Questions. Is your horese phenomenal Grand Prix horse???
        If it is then my advice for the diagonal. With extended trot would be to sit smooth and straight, try to keep balance, have a little contact with your legs and let it go....
        Lol no. I wish. I suppose I should've been more clear, I just wanted to know how it 'should' be trained for the upper levels, and what is correct so that it can be built upon...

        And thank you Angel!

        Comment


        • #5
          I would be careful using the term *driving seat*. Technically you should lighten you seat in rythm to what you are asking. On horses that have an extremely bouncy trot, you can actually post the trot without anyone noticing the difference (without leaving the seat of the saddle) ... you just keep your butt-cheeks *whispering* the saddle during the rise of every stride. It is really all in the way the rider uses their spine and butt-cheeks. And that is only discussing the seat ... arms, shoulders, do other things ...

          Comment


          • #6
            1. lengthening the trot/medium/extended- do not give away the reins, as you pick a place to start the lengthening, tap with legs and or whip just behind leg to increase activity, split second later half halt (might need firm half halt) to signal front end to come up and hind end stay under(increasing engagement), bring your shoulders slightly back, let your seat follow bigger movement, and think of going "up" into the lengthening. Do not throw away the reins, especially as a horse is learning to lengthen, they need support from you, so they do not just fall on the forehand and run. I would also suggest posting, thinking of keeping the speed of your posting slow, think of bringing your belly button up and toward you hands. Think of speed boat being floored from just puttering along.

            2, halt- if he is not square in front, he is likely falling on the forehand into the halt, which is he probably doing if he is plowing through your half-halt, it is not effective enough, and it is not balancing the horse. You might need to do a "nice" half halt and if he ignores it do a "Texas" or "cowboy" half halt as my instructor says to get the point across. The horse does not necessarily know that a light squeeze on the reins, sitting up, etc means re balance and halt- you have to teach him. If you let him blow through the half halts and fall into a heap in the halt more than once or twice, you are teaching him that is the way to do it.

            Kyra K. did a great demo at a USDF symposium- she said the first thing she tests when she gets on a new horse is does she have go and stop. If there is no go with a light aid, she kicks or wacks and increases responsiveness. If there is no "stop" when she pulls on the reins (her words, not mine) she gives a sharp aid- no matter where the head goes, the horse has to stop.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by BaroquePony View Post
              I would be careful using the term *driving seat*. Technically you should lighten you seat in rythm to what you are asking. On horses that have an extremely bouncy trot, you can actually post the trot without anyone noticing the difference (without leaving the seat of the saddle) ... you just keep your butt-cheeks *whispering* the saddle during the rise of every stride. It is really all in the way the rider uses their spine and butt-cheeks. And that is only discussing the seat ... arms, shoulders, do other things ...
              I agree. IMO a big mistake is, when people try to much to get the extended trot and take the rythm away from their horse. And I would not start with the diagonal. I would start to go down the long sides and very important, only 4 or 5 steps. Then you have to get your horse back.


              And with the halts. If my horse is not standing correctly I give soft aids until she does stand correct. Then I praise her. She is usually very impatient but I observed that she has no problems with soft corrections and it improves her halts.
              But I always try to do a halt at least 30 sec. Even if she would prefer to have action sooner
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              Comment


              • #8
                What Mickey said. And what Kyra said.
                If your horse is not responding to light aids for 'go forward' and 'stop', you are going to have to teach the horse what your light aids mean. And be VERY consistent with them.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thank you for your help!

                  In our extensions, we have the issue of my horse shortening and becoming tight in his neck. I think it's sort of a 'circling the drain' effect, because although I do have a very good seat and usually independent hands, I do get somewhat unbalanced by his tight back, which makes his big gaits a little jarring. So basically, while I said 'giving' hand, a better word would've been an 'active' hand. I have to continually sponge on the reins to keep him through.

                  "2, halt- if he is not square in front, he is likely falling on the forehand into the halt, which is he probably doing if he is plowing through your half-halt, it is not effective enough, and it is not balancing the horse. You might need to do a "nice" half halt and if he ignores it do a "Texas" or "cowboy" half halt as my instructor says to get the point across. The horse does not necessarily know that a light squeeze on the reins, sitting up, etc means re balance and halt- you have to teach him. If you let him blow through the half halts and fall into a heap in the halt more than once or twice, you are teaching him that is the way to do it.

                  Kyra K. did a great demo at a USDF symposium- she said the first thing she tests when she gets on a new horse is does she have go and stop. If there is no go with a light aid, she kicks or wacks and increases responsiveness. If there is no "stop" when she pulls on the reins (her words, not mine) she gives a sharp aid- no matter where the head goes, the horse has to stop."
                  Exactly! I love a 'half halt' ride versus a 'push' ride, but unfortunately my horse is a natural 'push' ride. However he learns very quickly, so I can make him sensitive by doing the typical - add light leg, no response = tap with the whip, etc. Love it, works very well.

                  However, how do you do this with a half halt? Just do a little half halt, and if he doesn't respond, do a bigger one? Because although he responds to the half halts incredibly well within the gaits (he does half steps, etc.) he doesn't respond to half halts signalling for a downward transition very well.
                  Should I just ask for the downward with the aid that I would 'prefer' and if I don't get the reaction I want, then pull on his face? I'm really not a fan of ripping on a horse's face... However, if you have to do it a few times to get the point across, and then go back to using your effective half halts then I wouldn't mind. Not in an abusive manner, of course.

                  Thanks for your input!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think it's sort of a 'circling the drain' effect

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If he is a *push* ride then I might venture a guess that you are not sitting him quite right yet. Always go back to the seat.

                      Your legs should be back and well under you. I work on very carefully, after I am warmed up, in sort of unhinging my hip sockets (not really, but that is sort of what it feels like) ... really it is about stretching warmed up ligaments in your hip joints, kind of like being a contorsionist (only not that freakish), ... but you can feel the ligaments slide over the ball joints in the front of your hips. That is opening up your pelvis. It doesn't hurt, but it does feel strange. Then you can sort of suction your butt-cheeks around the twist of your saddle to keep your seat steady while you ride off of your legs for the forward movement. Backbends at home or on your horse help also. And some basic leg stretching exercises.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Xpression View Post

                        However, how do you do this with a half halt? Just do a little half halt, and if he doesn't respond, do a bigger one? Because although he responds to the half halts incredibly well within the gaits (he does half steps, etc.) he doesn't respond to half halts signalling for a downward transition very well.
                        Should I just ask for the downward with the aid that I would 'prefer' and if I don't get the reaction I want, then pull on his face? I'm really not a fan of ripping on a horse's face... However, if you have to do it a few times to get the point across, and then go back to using your effective half halts then I wouldn't mind. Not in an abusive manner, of course.
                        Tap with the whip to get his attention. Don't pull on his face, don't "yell" by ripping on a horse's face.

                        Just give your half halt. Expect him to react as you want. Tap with the whip if he doesn't.

                        Then do less. Teach him to listen more closely. Not that you're going to yell if he doesn't.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          well i like to ride my horses and ponies!) so that for mediums/extended i just *think* it and they go... ie: the energy is revved enough that i dont really need to do anything but allow it.... but to get there takes a lot of time and work. i would never DRIVE a horse with my seat (i dont want their back down) i might open my seat, and use my kruez, but drive?

                          as for HH's, its all about the timing of them so the horse can respond as you wish.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BaroquePony View Post
                            ....Always go back to the seat.

                            Your legs should be back and well under you. I work on very carefully, after I am warmed up, in sort of unhinging my hip sockets (not really, but that is sort of what it feels like) ... really it is about stretching warmed up ligaments in your hip joints, kind of like being a contorsionist (only not that freakish), ... but you can feel the ligaments slide over the ball joints in the front of your hips. That is opening up your pelvis. It doesn't hurt, but it does feel strange. Then you can sort of suction your butt-cheeks around the twist of your saddle to keep your seat steady while you ride off of your legs for the forward movement. Backbends at home or on your horse help also. And some basic leg stretching exercises.
                            It does feel like this....
                            Redbud Ranch
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                            Comment


                            • #15
                              From your description as to what is occuring with your perceived half-halts, I get the feeling that your seat is not quite correct yet as a previous post suggests. I also think that you have not been taught how to use the seat to lift the horse into the half-halt. When you give a half-halt, you give it to change the lateral bend of the horse as well as the longitudinal lift. Your upper torso and the weighting of your stirrups by your upper torso changes the degree of lateral rotation, while your seat in the saddle must lift the horse's hindquarters up into balance for the new rotation.

                              This sounds complicated, and it is, because the rider must be able to feel in what way the horse is not straight, and then be able to correct the motion accordingly to put the horse into the correct balance. Not all half-halts are from the inside leg to the outside rein. When the horse is crooked, and most if not all are, that inside leg to outside rein half-halt will be wrong 50% of the time.

                              When you ask for a transition to effect a change in the gait, you are asking for a change in both the lateral bend and the longitudinal bend of the horse. Within that change, you must also take into consideration if the horse is crooked. Generally, that is the reason we give more than one half-halt, especially for a lower level horse...generally, the first and/or second half-halt to sraighten the horse, and the last one to accomplish the change of gait/movement that we want. If the horse is not in balance prior to the half-halt to effect the gait change, the change, itself, will be muddy. From your additional remarks since the original one, I would also suspect that your half-halts to achieve a change in the length of the stride within each gait is not what it should be either because you have not straightened the gait prior to the lengthening or shortening.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by mickeydoodle View Post
                                Kyra K. did a great demo at a USDF symposium- she said the first thing she tests when she gets on a new horse is does she have go and stop. If there is no go with a light aid, she kicks or wacks and increases responsiveness. If there is no "stop" when she pulls on the reins (her words, not mine) she gives a sharp aid- no matter where the head goes, the horse has to stop.
                                The point of the above is not to pull and kick.... the point is to create a situation that you can RELEASE when the horse complies.

                                So add pressure (i personally would never kick) via leg or whip and contact and release it immediately when horse goes forward. (ie give the reins forward and release all driving...) (this will eventually equate with "doing nothing" when the horse is going as you wish as a reward)

                                for the stops - you "pull" ie: use strong (tension on the reins so that when they do as you ask you can immediately give the reins forward.

                                this is critical because horses learn on the release.

                                this even works with a balky horse (and is why german trained horses go when you pull on the reins) create a firm non pulling contact until the horse goes forward as you wish then give to a more normal forward feeling neutral hand.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  btw: rereading some of this it sounds to me like this horse is trained and you are trying to figure out his "buttons" - can you take some lessons with his trainer?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I agree with others, there is no 'driving seat' per se. If a rider leans btv the horse will end up leaning onto the hand/forehand. Riding a horse is like being on a surf board, and those that get to the back of the board in weight are doing so to turn the board back out of the wave.

                                    By the same token a leg is used and then is passive. If the rider uses more leg pressure the horse is dulled to it. It is 'fluff the horse up' and allow it to go. Never held, and strong only in terms of one chance (then a back up of touch with whip/vibrate whip/twack (or kick) and allow. Too many people use the whip or leg but they HOLD what comes after (and that is pouring water on the fire that was just lit).

                                    Halt is square and balanced quite easily if the horse is up/in front of you. So if the horse is up/open/active the halt will be squared in the first place and have no need of correction. Sometimes youngsters forget a hind foot slightly, but likely they are not honest to meeting the hand (or the hand is causing the halt/blocking a given leg).

                                    If a horse is crooked/fussy in the halt there are many issues. Straightness and positioning in the first place (is it into the outside rein well). Do you pulse the aids? Does the horse stay up/open/ifv before the halt? And once you do halt are you quiet and well seated and aligned (or are the elbows straight/upper arms in front of trunk/hands low and fisted/horse too low/closed? And do you sustain the halt and let the horse chew? The fact the horse is not square in front would tend to say it is really onto the forehand and/or you are not pulsing the aids to halt, but holding and/or pushing. Horses cannot bomb through pulsations of aids, they can only lean if the rider participate.

                                    If the rider is to train the horse, the rider does not wait for the horse to 'comply' per se. They act and allow time for the result of the aid to be seen. i.e. transitions: hh are rebalancing, but three half halts are alert/alert/act (do the transition). Release is for the self carriage aspect and rewarding rebalancing (i.e. ubersteichen).. Too many people sustain an aid for too long and the horse gives to the hand and then ends up leaning onto the forehand.
                                    I.D.E.A. yoda

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Xpression View Post
                                      Thank you for your help!

                                      In our extensions, we have the issue of my horse shortening and becoming tight in his neck. I think it's sort of a 'circling the drain' effect, because although I do have a very good seat and usually independent hands, I do get somewhat unbalanced by his tight back, which makes his big gaits a little jarring. So basically, while I said 'giving' hand, a better word would've been an 'active' hand. I have to continually sponge on the reins to keep him through.



                                      Exactly! I love a 'half halt' ride versus a 'push' ride, but unfortunately my horse is a natural 'push' ride. However he learns very quickly, so I can make him sensitive by doing the typical - add light leg, no response = tap with the whip, etc. Love it, works very well.

                                      However, how do you do this with a half halt? Just do a little half halt, and if he doesn't respond, do a bigger one? Because although he responds to the half halts incredibly well within the gaits (he does half steps, etc.) he doesn't respond to half halts signalling for a downward transition very well.
                                      Should I just ask for the downward with the aid that I would 'prefer' and if I don't get the reaction I want, then pull on his face? I'm really not a fan of ripping on a horse's face... However, if you have to do it a few times to get the point across, and then go back to using your effective half halts then I wouldn't mind. Not in an abusive manner, of course.

                                      Thanks for your input!

                                      Doesn't make sense that you have great half halts within the gait, and not into a down transition. If the horse is truely engaging in the half halt in the gait- ie true half steps not just jigging, then he should be able to step under with his hind legs and then come down softly with the front legs into a square and engaged halt. (think airplane landing, tail first then nose) You must make sure that the half halts within the gaits actually have more energy, more bending and carrying of the hind legs- so you could do an instant uphill medium from the half halt. to quote many instructors "there must be a medium in the collected (including passage, piaffe). Or you could ask for just a little more back and settle into a good halt. I suspect that this may be one problem.

                                      And yes, if he is totally ignoring the half halt for down transition, it may take a sharp one to halt, then immediately release- If he moves off, he is still downhill, repeat. and by release, I don't mean throw the reins at him, soften your arms

                                      Another example is the canter walk transition, ultimately from training you want to be cantering along, then do a few steps of active, engaged, on the spot pirouette canter into a soft halt with all legs under the horse. Try to do pirouette canter at different points on a 20m circle, few steps then back to collected, repeat. On one of them ask for just a little more stop your seat and see if you can settle into a good halt.

                                      There was a really great article last month in Dressage Today (cannot remember the rider, a BNT) about quick aids, halt, transitions, etc.

                                      Comment

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