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Need to supple

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  • Need to supple

    I have a fully trained western show horse, Morgan. Sweet, wonderful, perfect for me.

    I sit with a left twist (spine issues with me) and consequently he counter bends left. I bought (but haven't received yet) an English bridle and a Myler level 2 bit. The Myler bit closely matches his grazing bit/curb.

    Can you give me ideas on how to supple him? I will be direct reining in his new bit and also using the work to become more aware (and fix) my left twist.

    Ride like you mean it.
  • Original Poster

    no kidding? Nobody does any suppling exercises? Alrighty then....
    Ride like you mean it.


    • #3
      For suppling I typically use a snaffle. Gives a lot more direct contact to get what I'm asking for. I so a lot of flexing and counterflexing at the walk, jog and lope. I also counterflex on a large circle, push the shoulders around (I have Morgans as well and those shoulders need a LOT of suppling and loosening up). I think your suppling exercises are going to depend a lot on what needs suppling on your horse. Each horse is different and the exercises I do with one horse might not be needed for the other.


      • #4
        Basic dressage suppling exercises (see a Jane Savoy book for example) will go a long way in getting any horse loosened up. And can be done in a western saddle. I work on lengthening the walk to get my mare using herself from behind.


        • #5
          Originally posted by wylde sage View Post
          Basic dressage suppling exercises (see a Jane Savoy book for example) will go a long way in getting any horse loosened up.
          Agreed. Haunches-out and shoulder-in are excellent exercises for suppling...leg-yielding and spiraling circles, as well.
          Last edited by KSAQHA; Jul. 5, 2012, 01:01 PM. Reason: typo
          Is it me or do 99.9% of cowboys just look better with their hats on?


          • #6
            As noted, for direct rein work on suppling, a snaffle (as in, no shank/curb chain) is really best. If it were me, I'd go for suppleness and softness in a basic snaffle and then use the Myler for 'fine tuning' for shows.


            • Original Poster

              Thank you, everyone!

              Question about the counter bend. Since the counter bed left is what I want to fix...or lack of bend right if that's a better description...it sounds like I should be on the circle/spiral going left and work on counter bend RIGHT.

              Would you do this first (after warmup) as a way to 'unstick' him from the counter bend left?

              I usually start with what is easiest for them...more comfortable and starts out with success...but in this case what is easiest for him is wrong.
              Ride like you mean it.


              • #8
                Originally posted by ezduzit View Post
                Question about the counter bend. Since the counter bed left is what I want to fix...or lack of bend right if that's a better description...it sounds like I should be on the circle/spiral going left and work on counter bend RIGHT.

                Would you do this first (after warmup) as a way to 'unstick' him from the counter bend left?
                Well, if you do counter-bending work, then, yes, circle left/counterbend right. For simple circles and spiraling, I suggest spending a majority of your time circling right, with a right bend. Since, he bends left easily, he doesn't need nearly the work on that side.

                I started to type an explanation of shoulder-in and haunches-out (or even in), but to avoid confusion, let's just leave it at the more work performed with a right bend, the better.
                Last edited by KSAQHA; Jul. 5, 2012, 01:10 PM.
                Is it me or do 99.9% of cowboys just look better with their hats on?


                • Original Poster

                  I'll stick with the circling for now.

                  I have so many problems with my seat/twist because of spine issues (on me) that I'm not nearly ready to tackle shoulders/haunches in/out. Simple circles/spiraling allows me the opportunity to make sure I'm sitting square on him.

                  Once I get myself 'squared away' (so to speak) I can begin leg yielding. He can do that but I feel when I ask I sound like garbled static on the radio to him...no clear directions or cues.

                  I have polio syndrome which causes weakness and scoliosis which has caused one hip to be higher than the other. I stand twisted to the left...everything I do has a left twist. I think my posture compensates for the difference in hip height.

                  Interestingly, I didn't know any of this about me until "he started to do it wrong". lol It isn't him...it's me!!! I love the journey of riding!
                  Last edited by ezduzit; Jul. 5, 2012, 01:44 PM. Reason: accidentally hit 'enter' too soon
                  Ride like you mean it.


                  • #10
                    Straighten yourself and your horse will become supple. Asking him to be straight when you aren't is confusing and mean.
                    I have scoliosis and spina bifida and if I can ride straight, you can too. It just takes hard work and sometimes physical therapy.
                    chaque pas est fait ensemble


                    • Original Poster

                      I agree totally! As I said, I didn't know this about me until I tried to ride 'right'. I would never consider myself 'mean' unless I knew this and didn't care to fix it or abused him for being crooked.

                      I exercise for balance (had a small stroke a few years ago), core strength, back strength. I first noticed the twist while riding him. Then I took a look and realized I stand twisted too. And then thinking back, realised that I can automatically come up on the right diag going left but can never get it on the first stride going right. Because I can't rise INTO the twist.

                      My boy is the sweetest horse I've ever had, he deserves a clear, effective rider. He was home trained by an excellent equitation rider...that fact that he tolerates me and does his best is testimony to how hard he wants to please and how tolerant he is.

                      He deserves my best.
                      Ride like you mean it.


                      • Original Poster

                        Selim, I finding I'm a little dense today. Not getting your meaning.
                        Ride like you mean it.