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On the foreshand and heavy in the bit

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  • On the foreshand and heavy in the bit

    I'm having a problem getting my mare off the forehand. She is also heavy in the bit and really sensitive to my leg. She is still somewhat green, so I've been trying different bits with her lately. At the trot she is great, but she is really heavy at the canter. Does anyone have any suggestions for picking up her front end and softening her mouth?

    Thank you!!

  • #2
    look at the stickys at the top of the dressage board page. Find goeslikestink's helpful links page and description of the half halt.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

    Comment


    • #3
      Get some lessons and an instructor to help you, so you can find out what's going on and what's going wrong, then you can know how to fix it.

      If you take a youngster, and just get him 'light' and 'off the bit', he will be crooked. You can pull on the reins and bend a lot and punish the horse every time he pulls. If what is causing him to be heavy isn't fixed, and just this is done, what he will do is go behind the bit, and get crooked.

      Young horses pull because they are losing their balance, some horses also pull because of how they are built (heavy shoulder, heavy neck, short front legs, weak hind quarters) or how the rider is sitting (leaning forward, putting weight on their front end) or how the rider uses the reins (too still and fixed and rigid reins too long, or too passive so the horse reaches for the bit and just falls forward) or his legs (not enough leg to activate the hind quarters).

      The trick is to help them get their balance. That means correcting whatever is causing them to lose their balance. Usually it is a combination of things that all need to be done at roughly the same time - bending, suppling work like leg yields, as well as getting them to swing their backs and take a big strong step with their hind legs, so their hind foot lands a little further forward, more under their body and landing less toward the rear end of the horse.

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      • #4
        Oh, I thought you should just put the horse in a pelham

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by WSQHGal View Post
          I'm having a problem getting my mare off the forehand. She is also heavy in the bit and really sensitive to my leg. She is still somewhat green, so I've been trying different bits with her lately. At the trot she is great, but she is really heavy at the canter. Does anyone have any suggestions for picking up her front end and softening her mouth?

          Thank you!!
          as el said look at my helpful links pages for tips and info and read all links on page 1

          anyways your horse is a baby and green, here the old saying dont run before you can walk
          so dont canter until you have all the walk paces and all the trot using the half halt stride in every transition all explained on page 1 of my helpful links pages

          use a square arena rather than a circle or round pen as round pens can encourage a horse to lean especially young un balanced horses

          as there is no corners or lengths or widths also it puts extra stresses and strians on undeveloped legs and mussles
          so start of with 20mins then build it up to the hour obviously working both sides
          so the horse can shorten and lenghten which in turn helps him to get his hinds underneath hiim working him from butt to poll to a relaxed yaw then as hes working from the hind end
          will be light in the mouth
          but keep your hands still and quiet and secure light leg working from an independant seat

          also look to make sure your stirrups are the correct length thats explained on my helpful links pages to you may not think its relevant but i can assure you it is
          if your not balanced centrally to the horse then that wont be helping the horse none as
          your position effects the way of the horses going

          so sometimes its not always the horse but the rider, if she stiff one sided again it can be position or hands or a bit of both as in to heavy in the hands and harsh on the legs
          most of the time that a rider supporting there bodyweight into bridle and the effect can be as you describe as the horse becomes heavy but in truth its not the horse but the rider
          another reason they become heavy or one sided is becuase your to strong on one side
          ie so you give on your strongest side

          becuase whats happening as above ie you -- your horse is green ok
          but sounds like your asking with hands and asking with legs at the same time so have confused the horse by not giving a direct signal

          horses a re dead easy to understand - in there minds there fear factors are
          1st to flee 2nd to advade you -- ok

          so if ones giving a signal of asking to go with legs but heavy in the hand ( ie hence whys shes heavy in the mouth)
          then thats a confused signal as you asking to go forwards but asking to stop with your hands

          in a horses mind - confusion, hesitation, and doubts are all fear factors same as lack of confidence ie you - if you lack confidence then that auto matically transmits to the horse
          as a doubt


          shes trying to understand but not getting it -- as shes sensitive to your leg
          are you riding her with spurs -- tut tut if you are - take them off and use your legs as they should be used ie squeeze and ask her rather than dig in gut and ask her with spurs
          or a kick
          saying that as so many ride with spurs and that makes a horse really sensitive at such a young age or if they are green when there no need to shes not doing high class dressage yet she doing the basics

          anways -- hands your hands read link methodith manor page 1
          its all relevant
          also check the bit where it lays in her mouth making sure her bit is the size and width for her mouth also check that the bridle fits her correctly
          and also check her saddle fits her and you and if old check yourself when did you have flocked last as it should be done yearly

          i mention this as sometimes a rider doesnt sit centrally and that shows by the top and underneath of a saddle - if you gave your saddle to a saddle fitter they can tell how you sit on your horse . if the saddle is one you brought secondhand although you think it fits the horse it might not and this too would make her relutant to canter as shes not comfy
          as it could be with your weight its pulled down on to her withers and along her back
          which in turn as your behind the head end makes a horse heavy in the bridle


          and read the mouthing and bitting thread by thomas 1 its all relevent to how horses go

          Comment


          • #6
            wow gls - that was great!
            www.specialhorses.org
            a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho" View Post
              wow gls - that was great!
              "Aye God, Woodrow..."

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                I agree, that was great gls! Thanks for the info and lots of thing to think about!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MidlifeCrisis View Post
                  Oh, I thought you should just put the horse in a pelham
                  Are you a former member of the cult in SoCal?


                  Great post GLS!

                  My old mare was a drafty, tank of a warmblood who could get very heavy and on the forehand. Half-halts were my middle name riding her. I'd constantly rebalance the minute I felt her begin to bore down, or I should say dump down. My trainer used to call her " the dump truck". She was a lovely mover when up, the trouble was keeping her up and under herself. She never became a light horse to ride, but with repetition and constant attention to the problem, it became much less than when I first started dressage with her. My trainer believed that had I started her in dressage from the minute I got her, at five, she wouldn't have had the problem to the extent that it was. Oh well, hindsight and all that.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FancyFree View Post
                    Are you a former member of the cult in SoCal?


                    Great post GLS!

                    My old mare was a drafty, tank of a warmblood who could get very heavy and on the forehand. Half-halts were my middle name riding her. I'd constantly rebalance the minute I felt her begin to bore down, or I should say dump down. My trainer used to call her " the dump truck". She was a lovely mover when up, the trouble was keeping her up and under herself. She never became a light horse to ride, but with repetition and constant attention to the problem, it became much less than when I first started dressage with her. My trainer believed that had I started her in dressage from the minute I got her, at five, she wouldn't have had the problem to the extent that it was. Oh well, hindsight and all that.
                    thing is you learnt it--- as in now next time you know whats what

                    Comment

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