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Technical question: "vibrating" rein?

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  • Technical question: "vibrating" rein?

    Okay, this is probably super-basic. Be patient! Talk to me like I am 12

    I was thinking about yesterday's lesson, in which my awesome instructor asked me to get my horse into more of a frame _without_ sawing on her mouth. She asked me to "vibrate" the inside rein (while keeping steady contact on the outside rein) and I said "uh-huh," because people have said that to me before.

    But I've realized I don't know exactly what it means. I've heard it likened to squeezing a sponge. I've heard "fluttering." I know that when people are doing it correctly, I can't _see_ it, just the horse chewing the bit and relaxing into a nice shape.

    So what does it feel like? How quick is the fluttering, or vibration, and how light? I've been having some success with this particular mare by sitting still and doing less. Sounds like I need to do even less again!

    Any advice is super-welcome, the more specific and concrete the better. Thanks!

  • #2
    Act like you're waiving bye bye without letting loose the rein. It's a very subtle gesture. Your ring finger will move most. The speed and lightness depend on the horse. You'll have to experiment a little.
    "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer
    http://dressagescriblog.wordpress.com/

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    • #3
      Just curious. Why wouldn't you tell your trainer you don't understand exactly what that means or how to do it? Not that there is anything wrong with asking questions here but that is what you are paying the trainer for and they may well have their own specific definition for that.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home

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      • #4
        IMPO, it seems the trainers like to have this seem so much more subtle than it actually feels in my hand. It's like a pulsating sensation, to me. It's a give and take with the horse but remembering that he outweighs you ten times at least.
        Squeeze and flex the wrist, then release. If you're doing it right and you have a horse that halfway knows what you want, you will feel a softening. And then, it's like magic!

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        • #5
          I was taught this years ago by a dressage trainer friend who took pity on me and gave me a few lessons

          He likened it to the inside rein being a rubber band, and gently, in rhythm of the stride, to ask the horse for a give in a softer way.

          I LOVED that! Stuck with me forever....
          "As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use."- William James
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          Proud member of the Wheat Loss Clique.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
            Just curious. Why wouldn't you tell your trainer you don't understand exactly what that means or how to do it? Not that there is anything wrong with asking questions here but that is what you are paying the trainer for and they may well have their own specific definition for that.
            Oh I will, but I won't be back at the barn tomorrow. It's ask here or, you know, actually do some work!

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            • #7
              The reason I ask is I am an instructor. I teach rank beginners so it's not easy for me to remember that they pretty much know nothing. I make it clear that I want them to stop me at any time and tell me they didn't understand what I was asking for. It's easy to forget that not everyone knows the same things. My own daughter drove us crazy when we would ask her to get the horse off his inside shoulder and she wouldn't do it. Finally after much aggravation over literally months I asked her why she wasn't doing what she was told and she admitted she didn't know how! Ugh!
              McDowell Racing Stables

              Home Away From Home

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                The reason I ask is I am an instructor. I teach rank beginners so it's not easy for me to remember that they pretty much know nothing. I make it clear that I want them to stop me at any time and tell me they didn't understand what I was asking for. It's easy to forget that not everyone knows the same things. My own daughter drove us crazy when we would ask her to get the horse off his inside shoulder and she wouldn't do it. Finally after much aggravation over literally months I asked her why she wasn't doing what she was told and she admitted she didn't know how! Ugh!
                Pretty sure that's not restricted to the lower levels.
                "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer
                http://dressagescriblog.wordpress.com/

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                • #9
                  You might also try posting this on the Dressage forum...

                  I was taught it by dressage trainers in the context of asking a horse to flex at the poll. You can do it unmounted, once your horse is bridled. It's also a good exercise to do at the halt and then at the walk.

                  I'm not a trainer and I don't want to give you incorrect instruction -- this is just to share what helped me understand it. Let's say you're asking your horse to flex to the inside (say you're tracking left, so your left hand is the inside aid (apologies if I'm stating the obvious!)). Let's also say you're at the halt (this takes the movement of the horse's head out of the equation). Your outside hand supports at the same time as the inside hand (ring finger of the inside hand) asks the horse to flex. The ring finger does the "vibrating", but maybe in the early stages it will feel more like wiggling. You'll know you have the flexion when you can see just a bit of the horse's left eyelashes and left nostril. If the horse turns his neck to the left, your outside hand didn't do its job.

                  Once you have the flexion to the inside, you can try to change it to the outside -- very very slowly. Feel how your hands have to change their roles from giving the active aid (that vibrating ring finger) to being a supportive (almost holding) aid. Once you start to get the hang of it, you can also notice how the horse's crest flips over as the flexion changes.

                  Hopes this helps and doesn't confuse!

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                  • #10
                    I usually vibrate with my whole hand (mostly through the fingers), and it feels like having really bad jitters from a strong cup of coffee - but in a very subtle and light manner. Does that make sense? My trainer always reminds me to keep the vibrations different in each hand so that there is no pulling, and to always change the rhythm within the hand.

                    I didn't understand how to do this correctly until my instructor took the reins and showed me how to do this with his own hands. Prior to that I worked with him for more than a year and never understood what he meant by "vibrate the reins".

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                    • #11
                      the very best method

                      Ask the teacher to hold a pair of reins in her hands. and You hold the other ends of the reins . YOU are the horse's mouth, SHE is the rider. ASK her to vibrate the rein the way she has instructed you to do it. Then you do it back...Let Her Be the horse's mouth, ahd YOu the rider....and vibrate the rein the way she did. She will be able to tell you when you get it right. this works best if you sit on a bale of hay/straw facing each other. Let us know how it works for you. Taught to me by the great Kip Rosenthal!!!!!!
                      "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt

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                      • #12
                        I wiggle my ring finger. If that doesn't do it wiggle the hand a bit. Don't forget to release and drive the horse forward before you repeat the aid.

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                        • #13
                          I was taught to hold with your outside rein, use your inside leg to push into the outside rein, and if that doesn't work then "massage" with your inside rein to loosen the jaw. All of this needed to be backed up with leg and seat to really get the horse to push from behind and into the bridle. However, I ride my hunter way too dressage-y out of habit when we school because he doesn't LIKE to use his hind end.

                          The dressage trainer I worked for taught me by holding the reins as well, it really did the trick! I found that once you get the feel of it, it really clicks well.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Claudius View Post
                            Ask the teacher to hold a pair of reins in her hands. and You hold the other ends of the reins . YOU are the horse's mouth, SHE is the rider. ASK her to vibrate the rein the way she has instructed you to do it. Then you do it back...Let Her Be the horse's mouth, ahd YOu the rider....and vibrate the rein the way she did. She will be able to tell you when you get it right. this works best if you sit on a bale of hay/straw facing each other. Let us know how it works for you. Taught to me by the great Kip Rosenthal!!!!!!
                            THIS ^

                            That's how I learned it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              First off, you need to have a talk with your trainer and be honest with her about what you don't know. When I taught full time, I would ask my students before the lesson if they had any specific goals they wanted to work on. Afterthe lesson we talked about what we did, and I always asked if they had any questions - even dumb ones.

                              As for how to vibrate the rein - I second, well third Claudius - that's the best way to get the feel for it. It will also help if you can get in a Dressage schoolmaster, who will soften as soon as you ask correctly.
                              The Equine Wellness and Nutrition FB Group - Come join us!!
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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by gemwriter View Post
                                IMPO, it seems the trainers like to have this seem so much more subtle than it actually feels in my hand. It's like a pulsating sensation, to me. It's a give and take with the horse but remembering that he outweighs you ten times at least.
                                Squeeze and flex the wrist, then release. If you're doing it right and you have a horse that halfway knows what you want, you will feel a softening. And then, it's like magic!
                                Bending the wrist is a sin in my opinion. More reason to ask the instructor since we all seem to have different ways of accomplishing the same thing.
                                McDowell Racing Stables

                                Home Away From Home

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The dressage trainer I was taking lessons with this summer told me to think of it as a scooping motion, with just the ring finger of the inside hand, keeping everything else still, still, still. My mare is one where less is more, and it really seems to work with her when my hands stay very quiet, and I just move that tiny bit.
                                  A Year In the Saddle

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    It's easiest to use your fingers to gently but very quickly give and release on the inside rein. If you have a stronger or more resistant horse, I was taught that you can bend your wrist down (the hand is still close to vertical, with the thumb on top, and the wrist is flexing up and down). However, due to some odd bone thing in my wrist that causes it to lock if I do that, I'll occasionally bend my wrist inward (horrible, I know).

                                    ETA: The below method was great for giving me the feel of how strongly and quickly I needed to vibrate, and a good visual.


                                    Originally posted by Claudius View Post
                                    Ask the teacher to hold a pair of reins in her hands. and You hold the other ends of the reins . YOU are the horse's mouth, SHE is the rider. ASK her to vibrate the rein the way she has instructed you to do it. Then you do it back...Let Her Be the horse's mouth, ahd YOu the rider....and vibrate the rein the way she did. She will be able to tell you when you get it right. this works best if you sit on a bale of hay/straw facing each other. Let us know how it works for you. Taught to me by the great Kip Rosenthal!!!!!!
                                    Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      THANKS SO MUCH everyone. I started last night's lesson by telling the instructor I was working on this and asking her to hold the reins with me and show me what to feel for.

                                      Result: me, on an anxious horse I'd never ridden before, getting him soft and round and, when I asked for a stretchy trot, feeling him take the rein and put his nose almost on the ground. It was amazing!

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