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Keeping contact.

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  • Keeping contact.

    I have been riding a young, green 18 hand belgium warmblood. It is pretty straitforward getting him on the bit, and round. But I have a pretty hard time keeping him there. I think this reflects my "busy" hands. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    you most likely need to find concentration for your lower body. horses lose contact when the engine loses "inspiration"
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


    • #3


      • #4
        First thing is you need to fix your hands. You can't expect him to stay soft if he's getting jabbed randomly.

        Second is to keep moving forward.


        • #5
          Piber, thanks for posting that video! I'm struggling with the same issue as EnzoDbr9 and I now have a few things to try in my ride this afternoon.

          And Arab_Mare is saying the same thing as the video, just fewer words. My instructor had me take more contact than normal in my lesson on Friday just to see what my 4 year old greenie did. He was a lot steadier in the head because I wasn't randomly bumping him in the mouth. Now its just achieving that consistently!
          My May boys: Beau, Neon, Criss


          • #6
            Thanks for that video, Piber! I'm really trying to keep hands quiet and avoid wiggles, squeezes etc. I'm guilty of being afraid of too much pressure, so it's very enlightening to understand that consistent "heavier" contact feels better to him than intermittent "light" contact. I will try this tomorrow!
            So in a perfect world I'd have consistent light contact?
            http://essas-storm.blogspot.ca/ An OTTB rescue/project found me!


            • #7
              Originally posted by cada931 View Post
              So in a perfect world I'd have consistent light contact?
              Yes, your contact should always be consistent and never go loopy. That's the very definition of "contact" . Your contact can get lighter or heavier depending on what's going on with your horse (horse above the bit, heavier with half halt, horse going nicely...contact is light and rewarding[but not loopy])

              Before you work on picking up the contact, work on making sure your elbows are eelllasssttiiccc. So you are pushing down pushing down every time you come up in the trot, and you're rowing the boat at both the walk and the canter. When you feel confident that you are able to keep doing those things on autopilot, then pick up a contact with your horse.

              If I were your teacher, I would have you bring a set of reins or a stirrup leather in the house, and have you practicing elastic contact sitting on your couch...pushing your hands down in a fake posting trot (the goal is that your hands don't bounce around at all, but stay steady in one spot...you can also grab a grab strap while riding to get a feeling for keeping them in one spot, then work on it on your own.). You can also practice the following "row the boat" action of the walk and canter by putting the reins around your foot and pushing your foot forward and back forward and back and practice following that motion with your hands and arms.

              If you're struggling with basic contact stuff, i would HIGHLY recommend Jane Savoie's "Happy Horse" series. She explains all this stuff in ABC format step by step and teaches every major point all the way up to like 2nd level.

              Best of luck!


              • #8
                Another good Jane Savoie vid


                I once took a lesson with jane on the equicizer and she said i had a "picture perfect" seat...and the equicizer sensors confirmed it. Highlight of my life
                Last edited by PiberFever17; Oct. 30, 2012, 07:30 PM.


                • #9
                  I feel like I'm constantly quoting Catherine Haddad, but I'll do it again haha! She says that your job as a rider is to hold the bit still in the mouth of the horse. If you think of that as you ride your hands will automatically be more still. Be sure that your fists are closed as well. Often time people try to be "soft" by opening their fingers. But then you get busy hands because your fingers are now constantly playing, moving, softening, flexing, etc. The horse cannot trust a contact that never sits still. Remember, the horse chews the bit to soften his mouth, you don't need to move the bit yourself to soften the mouth.


                  • #10
                    After viewing the videos I was curious to know how the hands follow the movement at the sitting trot. Can anyone explain? Thanks


                    • #11
                      grab a buddy, two plastic coffee mugs with handles and some water
                      fill the mugs almost to the top and place one in each hand while sitting upon the horse.
                      have your buddy lunge the horse at a trot.
                      don't get wet.

                      surprizingly, the more you try to keep your hands still, the wetter you'll get. this exercise teaches independence of the hands from the seat, and awakens the psoas.
                      chaque pas est fait ensemble