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Kids, jumping and grabbing mane

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  • Kids, jumping and grabbing mane

    I taught a clinic this weekend for some really wonderful kids. I had one gal on a super-wonderful large pony getting ready to do her D-2 up-ranking this weekend. She was trotting courses and her horse (chestnut, pony, mare) was a tad bit fussy with her bit. I took her out of the full cheek, single jointed snaffle she was in and put her in a mullen mounth happy mouth- instant improvement, noticeable by all.

    The other thing I asked her to do was grab mane over jumps- again, a noticeable improvement in mare and kid. She came over and explained that she really liked being able to grab mane but her regular trainer told her not to.

    I replied that I thought it helped, so we'd try it for today and explained why- (holds you out of the saddle to learn the motion of following your pony's jump without punishing her etc) and told her to make sure she discusses what she learned with her trainer in the next lesson and they could decide what the best choice for her was.

    She said it made her feel much more secure and confident.

    I, obviously, know nothing about the kid and her situation besides what I saw in the that 40 minutes I had her in a lesson.

    My question to you, COTHers, is: Is there ever an instance where a young kid (I would put her at age 9) who is still developing her independent seat and hand should NOT be encouraged to grab mane?
    Big Idea Eventing

  • #2
    No.

    In fact, I would rather see anyone grab mane than the alternative and hit their horse in the mouth.

    Basically, if the situation warrants grabbing mane, but doing so otherwise causes problems (e.g. can't steer and have a run-out) then that pair needs to drop back to an easier exercise until the rider is both secure in her position and able to be the pilot at the same time.
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with Blugal - would rather see someone grabbing the mane than hit their horse in the mouth.

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with it and if that kid's regular instructor tells her not to grab mane then she needs to find another instructor.
      http://community.webshots.com/album/559732377JSHWNb

      Comment


      • #4
        I ride with an ULR in the winter who requires a neck strap on all horses and uses one herself. I like it as an alternative to mane, but certainly grab mane on a very regular basis and agree that it is odd to be teaching a youngster not to do so
        OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree. Sounds like this kid is being pushed too fast. At that age, no child has the experience necessary to be jumping out of hand. I am a huge critic of using the crest release ALL the time, even when one gets to the upper levels, BUT, I am a firm believer in using it with younger kids and those still working on a secure position. If the pony showed such a difference, and the kid looked and felt more secure and confident, then it seems obvious that the child wasn't quite ready (for whatever reason) for a more advanced release.

          If there was a noticeable improvement in the pony's way of going with just a simple change of bits and position, then as that kid's parent, I'd be looking around for other instructors.
          Laura Martlock
          Virginia Horse Council Board of Directors
          Owner of The Mane Street
          Wildwood Farm Lessons and Training

          Comment


          • #6
            The more I travel around TN, the more interesting teaching styles I get to see. Bear in mind, I rarely see the trainer, just the results. Hmmm..... I'd stick with the mane holding, if I were you, along with allowing heavyweight beginners to post the trot even during warm-up !

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              I'm glad to hear so many people saying the same thing. I grew up in the H/J world and we didn't jump- period- until we could w/t/c with no stirrups and steer the whole time.

              Only when I moved down here was I introduced to jumping before cantering (teeny stuff, of course, but still different) and before you could continuously steer your pony- to, over and after the jump- so every once in awhile I feel like I'm totally out of my mind with the way I teach my kids.

              Anyway when I kept chanting "grab mane, grab mane, grab mane" and she finally stopped her pony, turned to me and said "My regular teacher tells me not to grab mane." The poor kid was met with this face and a moment of shocked silence before I stammered something like "MY trainer still tells ME to grab mane, sometimes!" And then I got my bearings and asked why and had that discussion with her about different styles etc. I was hoping her parents were close by enough to hear and comprehend what was going on.

              So anyway, I feel much more rational now.
              Big Idea Eventing

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by eponacowgirl View Post
                I taught a clinic this weekend for some really wonderful kids. I had one gal on a super-wonderful large pony getting ready to do her D-2 up-ranking this weekend. She was trotting courses and her horse (chestnut, pony, mare) was a tad bit fussy with her bit. I took her out of the full cheek, single jointed snaffle she was in and put her in a mullen mounth happy mouth- instant improvement, noticeable by all.

                The other thing I asked her to do was grab mane over jumps- again, a noticeable improvement in mare and kid. She came over and explained that she really liked being able to grab mane but her regular trainer told her not to.

                I replied that I thought it helped, so we'd try it for today and explained why- (holds you out of the saddle to learn the motion of following your pony's jump without punishing her etc) and told her to make sure she discusses what she learned with her trainer in the next lesson and they could decide what the best choice for her was.

                She said it made her feel much more secure and confident.

                I, obviously, know nothing about the kid and her situation besides what I saw in the that 40 minutes I had her in a lesson.

                My question to you, COTHers, is: Is there ever an instance where a young kid (I would put her at age 9) who is still developing her independent seat and hand should NOT be encouraged to grab mane?
                eeek. I still grab mane!!
                Mostly over ditches--well, actually I grab my neck strap!
                http://kaboomeventing.com/
                http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm 48, been riding all my life, and if I'm unsure how something's going to ride I still grab mane!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post
                    eeek. I still grab mane!!
                    Mostly over ditches--well, actually I grab my neck strap!
                    Me too I am a big fan of grabbing mane. My mare can be ummmm overzealous when jumping and sometimes I like it simply to stay in the middle of her efforts which are usually about 2 ft higher than necessary And when I was teaching, I used the neck strap for plenty of my students. It was funny. I called it the "magic feather" for one lady. She never had to use it when it was on her horse and never got left. If she didn't have it, she would get left non stop. It was all mental for her and provided a nice sense of security for her.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No shame in mane!

                      I teach with our local pony club as well, and tell all the young ones to grab mane. As I learned in pony club, "There's no shame in mane!" . I'd much rather them grab mane than catch a pony in the mouth. I still do when needed!
                      Fade to Grey Farm
                      Eventing, Foxhunting & Connemaras
                      *NEW* website:www.fadetogreyfarm.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Agree with everyone else. Grab mane, no pain (for pony's mouth).
                        SportHorseRiders.com
                        Taco Blog
                        *T3DE 2010 Pact*

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Even the best pros sometimes grab mane. There's no reason for a child who is just starting to not grab mane.
                          ---
                          They're small hearts.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            when in doubt, GRAB MANE!
                            Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch
                            www.DifferentTimesEquestrianVentures.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The little song i always sing in my head, " There ain't no shame in grabbing mane"......

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                jumping for 50 years

                                and I still grab the mane. that is why it is there.
                                A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The only problem I see with telling a young child to grab mane is that the child may develop the habit and never really have an independent seat. It may effect the child later in life, if working with a difficult horse that needs a more independent seat.

                                  That being said, if it is done right, the child will evolve from grabbing mane to an independent seat and following hand. Of course, keep in mind, George Morris and others developed the crest release to be 'step one' in learning the proper jumping position and was a means to an end that became an end in itself.

                                  There is nothing wrong with the crest release or grabbing mane, it is just making it a habit that is not the best. If the girl's trainer is really worried about the habit and developing an independent seat without ever grabbing mane, though, then she should not allow the girl to jump until she can walk/trot/canter, without stirrups and/or in two-point and steer consistently.

                                  It is one or the other - allow some crest release/mane grabbing or don't allow jumping until the student has a truly independent seat. This trainer seems to be allowing jumping without a truly independent seat but not allowing the necessary tools needed. - this is just when looking at basically a 'regular stadium jump' and does not imply anything about a horse jumping extra big over the ditch or spooking at the barrels under the jump or any other one offs that will result in some mane grabbing.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    A D-2 should still be grabbing mane, heck even the D-3's should be! I bet the kid's regular instructor doesn't have a PC background.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Well I would never dream of riding a horse with a roached mane on XC!

                                      As to when a beginner rider is ready for jumping I've heard from some solid sources it's as much about the rider's strength and ability to hold a two-point. It can be tested by having them post and be able to stay "up" for an extra beat or two as instructed.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Grab mane

                                        God in all her wisdom added the mane on a horse to riders could hold on!

                                        Epona is always correct

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