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In the midst of an Ahhh--Haah moment....If I don't pull she won't pull

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  • In the midst of an Ahhh--Haah moment....If I don't pull she won't pull

    I find as an adult re-rider that it never ceases to amaze me how much I can remeber the theory, know how I used to do it, but sometimes the muscle and the instinct just won't support.

    My mare used to pull like a freight train, leave a stride out if given the chance, and move up 3-4 strides out always.

    Since bringing her back to work after her injury and essentially restarting I have "discovered" that especailly now that she is stronger, if I stop pulling or even giving her something to pull against she doesn't pull, adds up to a nice deep distance, and the move up is gone.

    Been a very interesting few months as I continue to challenge myself to really give up riding off my hand. If I sit up nice and straight and really stick my belly button out (use my core) coming into the jumps she won't pull, doesn't shift her balance and it all comes up great. No need for hand or anything in the bridle, just use my core...FACINATING

    For my brain belly button out is very different from shoulders back. That was also a good piece to figure out. I can pull my shoulders back and still not engage my stomach muscles whcih is what I need to really hold my mare with my position. She is a smaller mare and super sensitive to my balance.

    Now this week I changed her bit and we have found a more upright (i.e. no curling) balanced, forward canter getting nice approaches to my fences. Next goal is to figure out how to keep the steady rhythm just with my core through the landing and the corners. I can do it sometimes, but not always.

    As I've known for a while, but just couldn't do before I can take a tug, but if I pull steadily all she does is pull against me and run. Finally figuring this out is really an Ah...Haahh for me.

    Simple concept I know (that I should have had a while back), but excited that we are getting it now. I have been cantering a log on the ground in the ring everyday to just in-grain that feeling in my brain of a consistent steady rhythm, head up, balanced canter, NO HAND, and deep distance.

    Piece that still seems to allude me is not coming back to my dependency on my hand when she gets crooked or is unsure. But that seems to be coming. Starting to realize if i am really good and straight in my body she will follow my eyes out, but I have to add more leg to keep her straight. Need to let go of the habit i have of using slowness to try to find the straightness. I tend to slow her down 4-5 strides out, find the straightness, then send her once she is striaght. Not very good on the horse where I am just figuring out how to get rid of the the move up. Curious if anyone else has fought through this same process and has any good mental images or tricks to use. I am thinking maybe I can start with ground poles and making myself canter a very specific spot on the pole at speed.

    Alas...its a continual process. Convinced this is a why those of us type As love this sport so much.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Friday1 View Post
    I find as an adult re-rider that it never ceases to amaze me how much I can remeber the theory, know how I used to do it, but sometimes the muscle and the instinct just won't support.
    Love your post! The things that are counter intuitive to what we would perceive as safe are the toughest lessons to learn--and then hang on to!

    Comment


    • #3
      Oh you are me! Great post!
      Two things - what bit did you have, and then change to -- interested to know.
      And second thing --- might help -- I think "rhythm" "rhythm" "rhythm" and try not to change it -- work work work on rhythm all the time and not let him vary from it. This is very hard to do, but I try -- and it seems to work the better I can be at maintaining the count in my head. Phillip told me once that consistency is how horses seem to learn the best.
      Oh and for the straightness. I keep my legs close but if I want to straighten I turn the toe out on the side that is bulging, that brings it in contact a little more and gets the barrell back in where it can be straight.
      Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
      Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

      Comment


      • #4
        The easiest way to win the game of tug of war...is not to play.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by subk View Post
          Love your post! The things that are counter intuitive to what we would perceive as safe are the toughest lessons to learn--and then hang on to!
          Its so true. Giving hand on a puller, putting more leg on a forward horse, getting out of the way over a fence by sitting back rather than leaning forward off the back. Its very very hard to develop good instincts because its always the opposite of what feels natural.

          My coach always says "be the bigger man, dont give him anything to pull on". Its hard to be the bigger man.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bobthehorse View Post
            My coach always says "be the bigger man, dont give him anything to pull on". Its hard to be the bigger man.
            I generally say that "one of you has to be adult enough to stop pulling first...and it isn't going to be your horse."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by subk View Post
              I generally say that "one of you has to be adult enough to stop pulling first...and it isn't going to be your horse."
              any chance you're coming to Aiken with the rest of the Middle TN crew early March...I'm having a birthday party clinic with Lellie at Paradise Farm and would so LOVE for you and Tate to attend!
              ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                luv all your responses

                Be the bigger man and don't pull...i am going to make that a bumper sticker.

                I am also learning the add leg on the forward horse. All these things definitely go together.

                As far as rhythm I agree that is key. Starting to count strides on a regular basis over the poles. Its helping. Even if I am not always right about how many we have left (count down to jump) atleast I am keeping the rhythm.

                Retread...I had her in a snaffle last year because she was so green and I just wanted to keep it simple. When she came back from her year of rehab I just wasn't strong enough to shake her off the bridle in the snaffle. I switched to a waterford for about 2 months. I also started doing flat in a phelam. The phelam helps tremendously on the flat because I can ride correctly with my body and if she still tries to pull through i close my hand, little curb, and stop the tug of war. BUT, she decided the waterford was too much last XC school. So i've now switched to a boucher french snaffle. Seems to be working well for now to jump and I will probably use it for dressage when competing. I think she still needs to do flat in the Phelam a couple of days a week to keep building proper muscle.

                I was thinking about the turn the toe out earlier today. I think I will try that. She is a super game horse so we have a good base. In the process of trying to do less, sometimes we have a misscommunication and a stop, but I tell myself those are OK stops. She's not stopping because she is a stopper. She's stopping because I am figuring out how to communicate better with her and sometimes I miss.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I try to do visualizations and such about my little issues. What helped me with my strong mare was thinking of her head as a shopping cart that I needed to push to the base of the fence.
                  Eileen
                  http://themaresnest.us

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Friday1 View Post
                    Be the bigger man and don't pull...i am going to make that a bumper sticker.

                    I am also learning the add leg on the forward horse. All these things definitely go together.

                    As far as rhythm I agree that is key. Starting to count strides on a regular basis over the poles. Its helping. Even if I am not always right about how many we have left (count down to jump) atleast I am keeping the rhythm.

                    Retread...I had her in a snaffle last year because she was so green and I just wanted to keep it simple. When she came back from her year of rehab I just wasn't strong enough to shake her off the bridle in the snaffle. I switched to a waterford for about 2 months. I also started doing flat in a phelam. The phelam helps tremendously on the flat because I can ride correctly with my body and if she still tries to pull through i close my hand, little curb, and stop the tug of war. BUT, she decided the waterford was too much last XC school. So i've now switched to a boucher french snaffle. Seems to be working well for now to jump and I will probably use it for dressage when competing. I think she still needs to do flat in the Phelam a couple of days a week to keep building proper muscle.

                    I was thinking about the turn the toe out earlier today. I think I will try that. She is a super game horse so we have a good base. In the process of trying to do less, sometimes we have a misscommunication and a stop, but I tell myself those are OK stops. She's not stopping because she is a stopper. She's stopping because I am figuring out how to communicate better with her and sometimes I miss.
                    Good thoughts and I am sure you are not as bad as you tell! (smiley face). You know I have a ton of bits but I don't have two of those you mentioned! I think I will add them to the collection. (I do have a pelham but loaned to a deadbeat boarder and never got it back.) My puller had a great jump school yesterday once I paid a lot of attention to making him give me a little bit of love on the half halt after a jump, when he tends to steamroll on. (See blog). I too have to remind myself to continually ride right and my horse is better for it.
                    Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                    Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I am in the process of learning this lesson, too.....but I went too far last spring. I thought "hey--pulling is bad...so I'll give the reins A LOT". Uh, bad idea. (My pendulum always has to swing too far before it balances!!!).

                      I'm learning my horse LOVES light contact with the reins and legs throughout, which means I have to be balanced. It's amazing, but my balance has gotten a lot better because I've been concentrating on the light contact. (did I mention I'm also often getting places via the back door?)

                      GOOD FOR YOU!

                      I'm hoping to begin to put all this together soon on a more regular basis. My horse is thanking me.

                      Aren't they the BEST?
                      --Becky in TX
                      Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
                      She who throws dirt is losing ground.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I had the same epiphany this spring while schooling dressage on a blustery day in the middle of a hay field. I relaxed my elbows a micrometer and WOW. Now I just have to impress the same theory upon my young students.
                        Big Idea Eventing

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Schooled over a X rail today at the trot focusing on not pulling, stretching up to, over, and on landing. What a difference. My mare was super. So nice to have such a big reward for changing my ride.

                          Additional ahh-haa from today is that I really have to shift my brain. Instead of thinking oh no her stride is getting to big, I have to just ride the rhythm i want and she will change back t me. If i try to change what she has done we seem to end up chasing each other (if that makes sense). She changes, I change, then she changes again in reaction to me. If i just stay the same she comes back to wherever we were to start with.

                          It was a good day! Even though it was 90 degrees at 8:00 in the morning in Jersey. damn heat wave.

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