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How can I ride my horse to be more forward?

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  • How can I ride my horse to be more forward?

    If the title didn't explain it, how can I ride my horse to get her to be more forward? Maybe I mean to have more impulsion?

    Anyways, my horse is puttering out before fences and I have the strong feeling it's because I'm not quite as forward of a rider as I used to be. I'm going to drop back to lesson horses and have someone else ride her. When I do ride her, what can I do to create the impulsion to keep her going?

    I do normally use spurs and I didn't tonight, that may or may not have made a difference on her approach.
    To be loved by a horse, or by any animal, should fill us with awe-
    for we have not deserved it.
    Marion Garretty

  • #2
    Well, I think that you totally should continue riding your own mount. Although it can be rewarding to ride other horses, don't ride others because you feel as though you are "ruining" your horse's forward ride.


    Just a thought:
    You brought up the subject of spurs. If you even have to question this, you are probably "nag nag nagging" with your heel. This in turn is possibly making your horse dead sided and unresponsive. It's almost like selective hearing in teenagers, such as myself. You may want to go about fixing this by using a crop to wake your horse up soon after mounting. Once he is woken up, do not continue to nag..or he'll fall asleep to your leg. Use a tool sparingly(crop) or guess what.. you now have a horse unresponsive to your leg and your weaponry. (kidding about the weaponry part)

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    • #3
      You can't deal with anything right before a fence. You need to establish pace far far before you even head at a jump. Puttering out means a) the established pace is not a sufficiently forward pace and b) you aren't supporting sufficiently on the approach to the fence.
      Start with a fence halfway down the outside of the ring. pick up the lead and GALLOP once around the ring to wake your horse up. Bring the gait down to a round, impulsive, forward canter and do a half ring circle (turning right before the jump you have set up) stay on this circle and maintain this nice, FORWARD, round canter. Once you can do this and circle three times without the gait puttering out do the exercise cantering only one circle and then head to the jump.
      Doing this should help you learn how to attain and maintain the pace you need. Good luck!

      Note: make sure you can flat and maintain round gaits through the whole session before attempting to jump. I rode a green horse who was hard to get moving and connecting. We warmed up as necessary, and then galloped early in the ride. After the gallop he was much more in front of my leg for the rest of the ride(which seems to be the problem, sorry I didn't identify that earlier. If you wear spurs and still the horse is puttering out, I am pretty sure the problem is that the horse is no in front of your leg. This is a problem that needs to be dealt with before attempting the above exercise.)
      Ok, I'm officially no longer coherent. I'll probably wake up in the morning and have to delete this post, but I'll post it now in the hopes that it made a little sense and was at least a little helpful.
      "If we we couldn't laugh we'd all go insane, if we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane." ~Jimmy Buffet
      "Pursuing the life of my high-riding heroes I burned up my childhood days..."-Willie Nelson

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      • #4
        Originally posted by HJPony View Post
        Well, I think that you totally should continue riding your own mount. Although it can be rewarding to ride other horses, don't ride others because you feel as though you are "ruining" your horse's forward ride.


        Just a thought:
        You brought up the subject of spurs. If you even have to question this, you are probably "nag nag nagging" with your heel. This in turn is possibly making your horse dead sided and unresponsive. It's almost like selective hearing in teenagers, such as myself. You may want to go about fixing this by using a crop to wake your horse up soon after mounting. Once he is woken up, do not continue to nag..or he'll fall asleep to your leg. Use a tool sparingly(crop) or guess what.. you now have a horse unresponsive to your leg and your weaponry. (kidding about the weaponry part)
        I agree. I would work on upward transitions. Getting her more responsive. I like a dressage whip for training as you taping on the part of the horse that mean "forward" without jeopardizing you hand position. It's the timing of the tape that counts.
        Good luck with her.
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        • #5
          My horse is the same way, and like Beau Cheval said, he is much more responsive after a quick gallop. If anything, he just needs that push in front of my leg to get his blood going and his mind thinking forward. What I find works best with him is to start out a course too forward; I'll ask for canter and immediately get up off his back and ask him to open up his stride. Once he's in gear and listening, I settle him into a nice round canter and go from there. On horses like this you can't really build up the canter and expect results; you have to start with a lot and take back as needed. I also second using a dressage whip on the flat as another cue to tell him he needs to listen to your leg. Nagging isn't fun for horse or rider
          Equestrianism
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          • #6
            Originally posted by *jumper* View Post
            My horse is the same way, and like Beau Cheval said, he is much more responsive after a quick gallop. If anything, he just needs that push in front of my leg to get his blood going and his mind thinking forward. What I find works best with him is to start out a course too forward; I'll ask for canter and immediately get up off his back and ask him to open up his stride. Once he's in gear and listening, I settle him into a nice round canter and go from there. On horses like this you can't really build up the canter and expect results; you have to start with a lot and take back as needed. I also second using a dressage whip on the flat as another cue to tell him he needs to listen to your leg. Nagging isn't fun for horse or rider
            This sounds JUST like my guy! It's so easy to settle into too slow of a canter without even knowing, so I have to concentrate on a nice forward pace when we get started, and keeping him there throughout the course... through the corners, coming out of the corners, etc.
            Erin and
            Instant Karma "Sunny", ShineDown "Liam"

            "You can't control the wind, but you can adjust the sails."

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            • #7
              I have been working with a dressage whip with my horse who is exactly this way. Lots of transitions on the flat and make your horse WORK FOR YOU. When you ask for the canter, it should be a strong canter and you should not have to beg. That is what the dressage whip is for. When you come down to the trot, have your horse move off your leg, right away. If not, tap him behind it with the whip. Like others have said, nagging with your spurs is just going to make him dull. Perfect your practice on the flat and then take that good flat work and put a couple jumps in between.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by alliekat View Post
                I agree. I would work on upward transitions. Getting her more responsive. I like a dressage whip for training as you taping on the part of the horse that mean "forward" without jeopardizing you hand position. It's the timing of the tape that counts.
                Good luck with her.
                Agreed

                Start riding, every day, with 2 dressage whips. No spurs. Ask nicely with your leg, and if you don't get a response, use (I mean USE!) the inside whip right behind your leg. Be emphatic about it, no love tap. Grab mane if you think there's a chance of a scoot. You have to get a reaction off your leg, period.

                You will ride with your whips for months, because you need to use them Every. Single. Time there is a lack of fast enough reaction from your leg.

                You'll do a lot of upward transitions to get the reaction going. Then you can incorporate all of the transition types, between and within gaits, to get her more and more on her hind end, back lifted, front end light.

                Then, since you can't exactly take your 2 dressage whips into the show ring you'll school with your spurs to make sure you have the same reaction (I'd keep the whips the first few days, just in case) so that your spurs can be your whips in the ring.

                You need to do this on your horse though. However, it would be nice if you can ride a schoolie who is already forward, so you can feel what it's like and know what you should *expect* from your horse. Having the right expectation is more than half the mental battle from the person's point of view. Knowing how to get the expected reaction is the rest
                ______________________________
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks for the replies so far!

                  What confused me the most was she was prancing her way to the arena, something she's never done. We did do some hand gallops for a warm up and she kept pushing for more. I'd aim her at the jump and she'd just slow right down at the obstacle. I set up one 18" straight rail and a 2' straight rail, so nothing she's never done before.

                  I had another quick question. Can you judge how a horse will jump over larger jumps from their style over small jumps? From what I see she is just raising her canter stride up and over the fence, one leg is tucked and the other is loose. Can this be fixed with a series of gymnastics, V jumps, and small oxers?
                  To be loved by a horse, or by any animal, should fill us with awe-
                  for we have not deserved it.
                  Marion Garretty

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=AmandaandTuff;4245486]Thanks for the replies so far!

                    What confused me the most was she was prancing her way to the arena, something she's never done. We did do some hand gallops for a warm up and she kept pushing for more. I'd aim her at the jump and she'd just slow right down at the obstacle. I set up one 18" straight rail and a 2' straight rail, so nothing she's never done before.



                    Remember it is not SPEED, but the quality of her canter. So, you can hand gallop but if she is strung out and on the forehand without quality, you are not going to get a good jump out of her. Do you have enough supporting leg at the fence?

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                    • #11
                      I am going to approach this from a different perspective. Pften times when this sort of thing is happening a few things are going wrong. First is that the rider is often "taking back" on the approach and not even realizing it, causing the horse to shorten stride. ANother is that you may be "gunning" the horse at the jump in an attempt to get more impulsion and the horse is green and "Sucks back" as she feels off balance. What I suggest is this. set up poles on the ground between jump standards and ride a "course" of poles. Establish a forward canter, with impulsion but NOT too much speed, gett a good rhythum going in your canter. Count to yourself 1 - 2, 1 - 2 and make SURE The rhythum stays the same, then canter the poles KEEPING exactly the same rhythum. DO NOT try to "adjust the horse" for the pole, just keep the rhythum and let HER figure it out. I suspect you are probably picking at her trying to "help" her jump and she needs to do it on her own. Practice JSUT cantering poles for a few days, until she can keep a consistent forward rhythum and negotiate the poles easily on her own. Then start substituting poles to cross rails. Just do one in a line at first and gradually build up until all the "poles" are now small cross rails. The important thing here is the steady rhythum and consistent pace, NOT the height of the jumps. Once she is comfortable with that you can raise the jumps. Make SURE the lines are accurately measured in 12' increments so that she can put an even number of strides in and keep the jumps at least four strides apart (60' minimum between jumps/poles).
                      www.shawneeacres.net

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                      • #12
                        Can you tell why she's slowing down to the fence? To such small verticals as you describe, I'd be more concerned with finding and maintaining a rhythm suitable to the fence. Cantering to poles (yuck!) and circling over flower boxes are good "rhythm" exercises. You can also change rhythm in the gait-shorten and lengthen the canter, keeping the leg to hand connection, so you don't get strung out when you speed up, or drop behind when you slow down. I hope I don't sound patronizing-but, it's all flat work, like they keep telling us...

                        If it's new behavior, I'd suspect physical discomfort. Changing riders is a good idea-see what she does with somebody else. Then you'll know if you need to call the vet, or book more lessons! Good luck.

                        Added:I'd love to take lessons from shawneeAcres!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lesson junkie View Post

                          Added:I'd love to take lessons from shawneeAcres!
                          That can be arranged!!
                          www.shawneeacres.net

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Thanks, I'll see if I can get a rider out to come try her out. I'll also be the first to admit that my arena isn't worth calling an arena, but it's large enough to safely set up jumps and have pleanty of room to canter to and from the jumps.

                            I have the feeling maybe I'm not supporting her enough to the fence because I know she's green and she doesn't jump the same everytime. With the lesson horses they always jumped the same, my old gelding jumped almost always the same. I may have to pull him from retirement and start him again to get the feel of a difficult horse again.
                            To be loved by a horse, or by any animal, should fill us with awe-
                            for we have not deserved it.
                            Marion Garretty

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Like several people have suggested, she may be dead to your leg from nagging OR maybe your leg isn't on her as much as you think it is. Being that she is a green horse you can't point her at the fence then just sit there like a bump on a log..maybe when she's 10..but not now Greenies constantly need that support and encouragement so that they understand clearly what you are asking of them. Remember that your hands and legs should act like channels on either side of your horse, she MUST go forward, make it her only option. Make sure your legs are firm on her sides and your hands are forgiving & light but with reins short enough that she can't wiggle around. Your job as the pilot is to SIT UP and SUPPORT. She's a baby she has no idea what she is doing so when she doesn't have a clue she's either going to stop/slow down or take off. Edited to say the pole idea from shawneeacres is fantastic. Do it. lol It will help you immensely.

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