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How do I convince them that grabbing mane REALLY is important and MAKE them do it?!

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  • How do I convince them that grabbing mane REALLY is important and MAKE them do it?!

    I'm looking through my kiddos horse show pics from our CT/Jumper/Hunter show from two weeks ago. They range from 18"-BN types and all work very hard, take weekly lessons, have their horses tuned up once a week etc.

    At home, they have good positions and grab mane all the time.

    AWAY... apparently they decide grabbing mane isn't important/get nervous and forget/miss/just plain don't.

    I need this to be permanently emblazoned upon their brains that they NEED TO GRAB MANE. I can only yell "GRAB MANE" until my chords bleed and I think I've reached that point.

    Some of them ride with/have ridden with grab straps, but they tend to use those even less.

    Big Idea Eventing

  • #2
    Take away their stirrups for a month, and keep jumping. Either they will LEARN to instinctivel grab mane without thinking, or they will become so secure they will no longer need to.

    They are riding more than once a week, right? Otherwise, I'd really not think they were ready to be jumping at shows.
    Click here before you buy.


    • #3
      gridwork without reins - i.e., double the reins around the neck so there is steering; on approach they must let go and can (a)put hands on hips, etc....or (b) grab mane.

      or, at home put a braid where you want them grabbing mane, and have them practice grabbing....for the shows, braid this one in a different colot.


      • #4
        neck strap


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by deltawave View Post
          They are riding more than once a week, right? Otherwise, I'd really not think they were ready to be jumping at shows.
          Oh yes, they all ride 3-5 times a week... I don't do the "once a week" lesson kid types... have to be committed horse owners before I will teach them!
          Big Idea Eventing


          • #6
            Neck strap or strap of the martingale.....before they go into the ring, have them grab it and tell them to always have one hand in it. If not...they owe you a [beer][icecream][soda]....and that you will be watching.

            Or again...tell that if they jump any fence without grabing mane...they have to buy you a _______.

            Honestly though...grabbing mane or a neck strap is important...but it shouldn't be something that they always have to do. Just that when they need it...they should do it without thinking.
            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


            • #7
              Or you can take them out in the open, over hill and dale, where their NOT grabbing mane is going to potentially have more meaningful consequences.
              Click here before you buy.


              • #8
                My son's coach made him paid her a dollar everytime he grabbed the horn...it worked especially for a kid who likes to hold onto his money


                • #9
                  Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                  Or you can take them out in the open, over hill and dale, where their NOT grabbing mane is going to potentially have more meaningful consequences.

                  When I was a teenager...I was teaching a little kid how to jump on the cutest little pony with a BIG flowing mane. I told her to point him at the tiny cross rail, get into two point and grab mane. She pointed him, got into two point but didn't grab mane. Pony JUMPED big over tiny cross rail and popped the kid out of the tack. I made sure she was fine (without overly fussing) and said ok...what did you forget to do?...she said grab mane. "what are you going to do next time?" "Grab mane!". Got her back on the pony...and jumped the little crossrail several more times. BIG grin on her face....but she did learn the lesson about grabbing mane. Was a really cute kid

                  Best way to learn....
                  ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                  • #10
                    I tie a coloured ribbon in my horse's mane as a reminder to get my hands forward (I tend to hang/pull). "PUT HANDS HERE".

                    Yes I am an adult and just admitted that in public.
                    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ibex View Post
                      I tie a coloured ribbon in my horse's mane as a reminder to get my hands forward (I tend to hang/pull). "PUT HANDS HERE".

                      Yes I am an adult and just admitted that in public.
                      somewhat related I'll admit to writing L for left on my left hand near my thumb when it's flat work& coach time.
                      Originally posted by ExJumper
                      Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rainechyldes View Post
                        somewhat related I'll admit to writing L for left on my left hand near my thumb when it's flat work& coach time.
                        Ha ha I am so bad for left/right too. to the op - show them my video - I did not grab the mane and paid for it dearly with a broken leg - luckily not more because I landed right under my horse - he side stepped and landed on my leg instead of my body. It was a life altering experience.

                        If you want a like to the video
                        here it is:



                        • #13
                          well, you could let them fall off..

                          or, you could take the reliable old schoolie, tie his reins in a knot and make them jump without reins.

                          I'm 50, I still grab mane.


                          • #14
                            gridwork with NO reins- preferably on a stopper- that'll do it
                            Jazz- 4.9.01 OTTB, loved since 12.6.09
                            Skip- 3.3.91 APHA, i miss you buddy


                            • #15
                              It sounds like the problem is just at shows right? Can you video them at the show, and show them how by not grabbing mane they are snatching at their horse? Show them the video right after the show while they still remember the trip, and right before the next one.

                              Then I would bill them (not their parents) for each snatch of the horse's mouth or bang on the bac that came from not grabbing mane. Could be money, or could be chores.

                              You could also have a "There's no shame in grabbing mane" club that the kids that are making an effort to grab mane all get to belong to with prizes paid for by the above mentionned didn't grab mane fee.

                              not sure if the coloured ribbon will help or embarass, but I have seen barns do the different coloured braid to help...but really, should you be looking at the horse's mane?
                              Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                              • #16
                                They're probably nervous and thinking really hard about steering, the jump, and their course. I'd just keep working on it at home to make them more secure in the saddle. No need to torture or punish them!


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by skip916 View Post
                                  gridwork with NO reins- preferably on a stopper- that'll do it
                                  I'm really not sure how that would help. Surely encouraging them to pitch forward and grab the mane unbalances them more - and particularly with a pony that stops, sends them out the front door and onto the floor.

                                  I've never taught anyone (child or adult) to go for the mane as standard practice, it's just not something we'd teach here.

                                  Of course you shouldn't put kids in a situation where they'll fall off, but they should have basic balance and confidence before going out to a show and shouldn't be dependant on the reins, never mind the mane - should they?


                                  • #18
                                    If they are steady enough that they are not getting the horse in the mouth, then it would be time to start an automatic release.

                                    When I moved up the ranks, and started riding with an event trainer, I was told to STOP grabbing mane, so I could learn to do more in the air.

                                    I went home and practiced on an appy that pretty much had no mane


                                    • #19
                                      Try a neck strap and taking away the reins.


                                      • #20
                                        Wow, I have to admit this thread blows my mind.

                                        I get SCREAMED at by my instructors if I grab mane. I even roached my ponies mane off last year, so I COULDN'T grab mane. (It looks really good that way - so we kept it roached - no braiding!)

                                        Why would you want them to grab mane if they ride that much?

                                        I have my total newby beginners in their first jump lessons PRESS on the mane, but even then I don't want them grabbing it. Bad habit, interferes with steering, and some horses will take advantage of you when you grab.........

                                        Someone care to tell me why you want them to grab mane?