• 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.



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

Retraining a horse to search for contact

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Retraining a horse to search for contact

    How would you retrain a horse to search for contact with the bit and your hands?

  • #2
    On the longe line with side reins.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


    • Original Poster

      Ok and then what should one be looking for on the lunge?


      • #4
        That the side reins are adjusted evenly on both sides and long enough to allow the horse room to stick his nose out a little bit, and low down so that the correct contact is at the point of the shoulder.

        The handler should take contact on the longe line as though bringing the horse's forehand into the circle, while using the whip to push the haunches forward and with the inside hind leg crossing underneath the horse's body. The horse will learn to relax his top line to create the lateral bend through his body and seek contact with the bit for straightness and balance (not falling in or out on the shoulder.)

        If this does not happen at all, and the horse is extremely inverted and above the bit, then sliding side reins (so called vienna reins) can encourage him to lower his neck and stretch to find the contact.
        "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


        • #5
          Patience, time, and feel... First make sure you get the mildest bit you can find that is comfortable for the horse. Note that even though thicker the mouth piece, the milder it is in general, you need to make sure that it is not too thick for your horse' conformation.

          Then encourage him to move forward by activating your seat/legs. The moment he attempt to reach forward even for 1 mm, follow his mouth and allow your hands to move forward to maintain that steady contact. You don't want to drop the contact by jamming your hands forward. You don't want to hold them dead fast either. The key is "keep the steady contact while he streches".

          If his hind legs are lazy, you may need to enforce your aids to to push off from behind with your whips. A tab here and there is all you need. You don't want to scare him or make him resentful

          If his jaws and/or poll are locked, you may have to work on lateral first to loosen them up. I found lot of changes of directions on loose and/or long rein works wonder on this. You may need to bend him on both directions at stand still for a few times a little bit. Watch the mane crest to flop. That is what you are looking for.

          It is very likely that as soon as he streches, he will suck back up again. It is common for horses that have not learnt to trust the riders' hands. Simply repeat the exercises. Eventually he will get it.


          • Original Poster

            So its all about a steady hold with its mouth and then pushing into the bridle along with lateraly flexion if theres tension/stiffness?


            • #7
              Not a steady hold, your hands should be following your horses movement so you have an equal tension at all times. I found that to help establish a steady contact it works to "comb" your reins. You hold them like a western pleasure rider and slide your hand back twords you, then before reaching the end you switch hands, still trying to keep a steady contact. Hope this helps!


              • #8
                I'd probably start by bitting and including use of pillar reins and posts.


                • #9
                  First I would learn with the help of an instructor, from a schoolmaster or two, the feel that you are looking for. Every horse is slightly different in feel.

                  All of this is dependant on an independent hand and seat.

                  Side reins will teach a horse to go forward into the bridle, and to trust the bit, but without the ability to feel the rider will lose that trust.
                  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.


                  • #10
                    Yes and no.

                    If he is stiff on his jaws or poll (or anywhere in his body really), the first priority is to get him more supple and forget about the streching for a second. The horse cannot strech into your hand if he is stiff. That is when the lateral exercises or frequent changes of directions will help.

                    Once he is more supple, then, not before, you can start to work on the strechy part. This is where the rider's independent seat and core strength really comes into play. You ask him to push off more from behind, which naturally will encourage him to stretch out more, then your hands "allow" him to stretch by following his mouth. If you follow too much and drop the contact, he might lose his balance and/or get scared. If you don't follow enough, he can not learn to trust riders' hands.

                    Depending on your and your horse' balance, to begin with, you may have to ask him to push off just a little bit. If you are too vigorous in your asking, you may pushin him right onto his forehands. Also, be sure to take care of your own balance. When you open your elbow to allow him to stretch, your rest of your body should remain stationary to the horse. If you move around too much, you could unbalance your horse, which makes it more difficult for him to stretch into your hands.


                    • #11
                      I am struggling with this right now, too, for reasons I'd rather not go into. I am also finding that a lot of lateral work helps, but frequent changes of bend are good, too. We do 'squiggles" down the side of the arena, going in and out from the side and changing bend with leg, seat, and rein, every time, every few strides. I am just doing this at the walk, to help maresy stretch and relax. Trot is where our problem is, or my problem with very unsteady hands so OF COURSE she doesn't want to take contact.

                      The fine old exercise called "walking the square" is also very helpful, as is a variation where you change directions randomly... do 2 sides heading left, then the next one go right, go left, go right go right and so forth. Keep the line in between each corner as straight as you can. Opening inside rein in the direction you're headed as you turn the corner, with outside leg a little behind the girth to help with bending around the sharp corner. I've seen people do this with turns on the haunches at each corner, but I'm not that advanced so right now it doesn't bother me if her haunches take a few steps sideways in the process of turning.

                      She panics in sidereins so I am not trying that for now. I have no idea why, but she is a horse who hates being "closed in" and I suspect the problem is the fact that sidereins restrict her so she cannot just turn and leave -- not that she would, she is very well-mannered, but she does much better when that option is possible. She's fine being lunged without sidereins, though not surprisingly she tends to fall in through the shoulder.

                      good luck!
                      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                      1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                      • #12
                        Legs, seat, reins. Send the horse forward into your hands. No special equipment needed, except praise and lots of it.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jrchloe View Post
                          How would you retrain a horse to search for contact with the bit and your hands?
                          i would go back to basics and long line the horse 1st so he understands simple commands is striaght forwards and focused then move up into ridden work
                          have a look at the sticky aboove for my helpful links pages
                          as theres a lot of info on page one read all links as its all relevent then move down the pages to lunging etc also look on the sticky mouthing and bitting link
                          which i have posted which is written by thomas 1
                          all is relevent and maybe of use to you


                          • #14
                            ^ I think this is the link GLS means:



                            • #15
                              The trick is to ride the horse that is under your seat, not the horse that is in front of you.

                              So you take the little portion of spine between the withers and your cantle, and you push it to your outside thigh.
                              You change directions, and push it to your new outside thigh.
                              One way to think about it is to keep the nose and hip on one line and push the spine just past that line toward the outside thigh (when on a curve).
                              The horse must be responsive to the inside leg.
                              He should increase and decrease in speed from seat.

                              THAT is what engages a horse.
                              Do this long enough with quiet, non interfering hands and he will seek the contact.
                              The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                              Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                              The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                              • #16
                                A horse will automatically reach forward and down with its head and neck as natural response to improved rhythm, alignment, energy flow and relaxation.

                                Channeling the energy so that it flows freely from the horse’s hind legs, straight forward through his spine, through the poll and forward toward the bit into a neutral contact is key.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                  The trick is to ride the horse that is under your seat, not the horse that is in front of you.

                                  So you take the little portion of spine between the withers and your cantle, and you push it to your outside thigh.
                                  You change directions, and push it to your new outside thigh.
                                  One way to think about it is to keep the nose and hip on one line and push the spine just past that line toward the outside thigh (when on a curve).
                                  The horse must be responsive to the inside leg.
                                  He should increase and decrease in speed from seat.

                                  THAT is what engages a horse.
                                  Do this long enough with quiet, non interfering hands and he will seek the contact.
                                  there were a couple of very good posts- but this one was the best. It's truly creating the energy from the rear that will make the horse seek the hand. I have recently gone thru and am still going thru the same. Having a soft yet powerful seat that can activate the rear and channel the energy from the rear is the only way to get the horse to seek the hand and eventually find a solid connection. Good luck...
                                  ps: the lateral work does help to unlock so I would also recommend it and find that it makes the hips more loose and thus helps with the pushing power once you put it all together...
                                  "the man mite be the head but the woman is the neck and the neck can turn the head any way she wants..." -smart greek woman


                                  • Original Poster

                                    So is this kind of like "retraining" a hard mouth?


                                    • #19
                                      The horse that is behind the contact is just as much if not more stiff, if that's what you mean.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Its just the methods sound similiar which does make it easier for me to understand .