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Teaching the western horse to stay bent?

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  • #21
    [QUOTE=aktill;6890988]With respect, I disagree entirely with what being written above. Straightness isn't the complete absence of bend, it's bend to the degree appropriate for the gait and figure being written. If you keep a horse ramrod straight, he's counterbending each and every curved figure, and not weighting his feet correctly.QUOTE]

    I'm definitely talking about a show horse-not a cowhorse (my experience with those is limited enough that I really can't speak to the training process). Where I get the anti-bend from is the incredible over-canting of pleasure horses I see at any show. Drives me NUTS! LOL! I still hold that once a horse is in a bridle, he's going to bend himself in a manner that is appropriate for his body when circling unless you physically hold him off it with the outside hand. It's about impossible to get him to not tip his nose into a circle. It's a natural way of carraige. Going down the rail or in a straight line from cone A to Cone B, I don't want bend. He needs to be square between my reins and legs. Is he perfectly straight from head to tail? Doubtful. But I do hope he's strong enough physically to be balanced and closer to being straight than he is to being bend like a "C".

    In the end, there are soooooo many ways to ride a horse and as many ways to train them. It just depends on what you want a horse do do in the end and what he's naturally inclined to do.

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    • #22
      I find my best bet for riding my mare over the years is schooling her during the week in a broken shank bit. She's very sensitive in the mouth and loves my Myler. The arms on it swivel so I can easily isolate either shoulder as well as either hip. This has been working well for us as we've been embarking on our reining journey. The week before the show and at the show I ride in a grazing type bit.

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      • #23
        On a straight line at a lope I want just a wee bit of bend in the body, just shoulder -fore position's worth of bend.

        http://www.equisearch.com/horses_rid...ressage101703/

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        • #24
          Katarine, that is the positioning I was referring to when I mentioned balancing the young horse at the canter. The horse loved it, and the second day adopted it on his own when I cantered him down a fence line in the pasture.

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          • #25
            Exactly- 'straight' is relative. Horses are wider strided behind than in front, so stepping those shoulders just thiiiis much to the inside threads those feet in a more balanced, wee-- very wee-bit collected, way. Just a wee

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            • #26
              Originally posted by kristenhorseluv View Post
              I find my best bet for riding my mare over the years is schooling her during the week in a broken shank bit. She's very sensitive in the mouth and loves my Myler. The arms on it swivel so I can easily isolate either shoulder as well as either hip. This has been working well for us as we've been embarking on our reining journey. The week before the show and at the show I ride in a grazing type bit.

              This.

              With a reins and romal, your hand is thumb-up, so you can work either rein with your little finger, and the flexible shank bit gives a lateral signal, along with a bit of direct rein. I never could get used to a solid shanked grazing bit and holding split reins coming out from my thumb, but some people can shorten and lengthen either of those split reins very fast with their hand.

              MVP, the upward and lateral bend is held with your seat and legs, bit is for signaling and finessing the direct and indirect rein cues. My horse backs from my seat and legs, and I only secondarily pull on reins to increase his back speed.
              Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
              www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com

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              • #27
                I ride with only a grazing bit (curb). I work on serpentines without using reins, strictly off my seat and legs. Suppling with leg yields, shoulder/haunches in is what gets us there.

                It's my understanding that bend comes from the back end, not the mouth, regardless of what bit is being used.
                Ride like you mean it.

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                • #28
                  I never really went anywhere in the show world of western, but as I am currently working with my driving horse to create proper bend - which is quite a challenge given he's 11' out in front of me and all I have is reins, whip and voice - this conversation resonates with me a bit and so I'll throw my 2¢ into the mix


                  "longride1
                  Bend is about balance, and horses LOVE to be balanced. Once they learn how to move correctly, they volunteer a lot."

                  Yes. A horse's ability to bend correctly comes from correct placement of the feet (inside hind most specifically), and that comes from the strength and suppleness to be able to put that foot where it needs to go, consistently, and have the strength to carry the load. It takes time and correct training and once established the horse will naturally find its the most comfortable efficient way to travel and manage the load and will offer it most of the time.


                  "painted02
                  But encouraging bend also encourages leaning. Leaning encourages dropped shoulders."

                  Yes to straightness for powerful even stops and pivots and rollbacks, but no to this. Allowing leaning encourages leaning and dropped shoulders. These things come from a lack of engagement from the hind. Keep the hind legs carrying rather than pushing and the horse can bend properly w/o motorcycling.


                  I'm coming in from a completely different angle but I'm after the same goal with entirely different tack, so wanted to share that... tack, bit, etc... doesn't really matter. Its training and conditioning for the strength to keep the training.
                  Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by mvp View Post

                    Is it that he is so magnificently broke to your leg that he has detailed and reliable aids from your leg or seat before you get to the leverage bit?

                    ?
                    yes.
                    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

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                    • #30
                      My horse is in a leverage bit. My hand stays in a small "box" in front of the saddle.It only moves a slight amount. He is so broke to my leg and seat that a slight shift in weight is all it takes to get movement. Most of the time, you think it, he does it. I ride him in the leverage bit once a week in my lessons and the rest of the time he is in a snaffle or bosal work on softness and suppleness.

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                      • #31
                        Is it that he is so magnificently broke to your leg that he has detailed and reliable aids from your leg or seat before you get to the leverage bit?-Quote- mvp (OP)

                        There is your answer!

                        The hand controls flexion of the head and neck. The riders body and leg controls bend.
                        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #32
                          Originally posted by Plumcreek View Post
                          This.

                          With a reins and romal, your hand is thumb-up, so you can work either rein with your little finger, and the flexible shank bit gives a lateral signal, along with a bit of direct rein. I never could get used to a solid shanked grazing bit and holding split reins coming out from my thumb, but some people can shorten and lengthen either of those split reins very fast with their hand.

                          MVP, the upward and lateral bend is held with your seat and legs, bit is for signaling and finessing the direct and indirect rein cues. My horse backs from my seat and legs, and I only secondarily pull on reins to increase his back speed.
                          So.... the aids used to hold the bend (from your body, not your hand) really are signals a horse has remembered because with the shanked bit in, you can't add on a bit of reinforcement with your inside hand?

                          And how do you talk to one side of the face with a bosal?

                          If none of this lets you back up a signal to bend with your leg or sitting bone, does the horse learn the difference between life in a snaffle and life with a different bit on?

                          I haven't yet mastered the thumb-on-top way of holding the reins. Feels like clumsy skank to me still.

                          Clearly I need a riding lesson.
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat

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                          • Original Poster

                            #33
                            Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                            The hand controls flexion of the head and neck. The riders body and leg controls bend.
                            Keeping in mind that I need a riding lesson, let's be honest. When you get a "meh" answer from the horse you have asked to bend from your leg or seat, don't you use your hand to follow up?

                            I know I do, so I'm still amazed at the folks who get the horse 100% answering the leg/seat 100% of the time.
                            The armchair saddler
                            Politically Pro-Cat

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by mvp View Post
                              Keeping in mind that I need a riding lesson, let's be honest. When you get a "meh" answer from the horse you have asked to bend from your leg or seat, don't you use your hand to follow up?

                              I know I do, so I'm still amazed at the folks who get the horse 100% answering the leg/seat 100% of the time.
                              No one gets 100%-100% of the time. My warm up 10 minutes is where I deal with "meh" responses (or decide that this is not a day to ask for much). THEN I can get closer to 100% response with seat and leg. And, I pour a ton of money my vet's way to keep my horse's arthritic back feeling OK so he CAN respond.
                              Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
                              www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com

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                              • #35
                                ^^This! Especially the part about the vet work making the horse comfortable enough to DO the work requested.

                                Originally posted by Plumcreek View Post
                                No one gets 100%-100% of the time. My warm up 10 minutes is where I deal with "meh" responses (or decide that this is not a day to ask for much). THEN I can get closer to 100% response with seat and leg. And, I pour a ton of money my vet's way to keep my horse's arthritic back feeling OK so he CAN respond.
                                Ride like you mean it.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  Originally posted by Plumcreek View Post
                                  No one gets 100%-100% of the time. My warm up 10 minutes is where I deal with "meh" responses (or decide that this is not a day to ask for much). THEN I can get closer to 100% response with seat and leg. And, I pour a ton of money my vet's way to keep my horse's arthritic back feeling OK so he CAN respond.
                                  One more question-- on reinforcing the leg/seat aid when you only have the stable/shanked bit in.

                                  So you ask for a bend, horse says "wait til the commercial and then I'll do it," and you back up with way more leg, leaving the head alone? I can't think of another way to do a "tune up" of the leg-means-bend aid.
                                  The armchair saddler
                                  Politically Pro-Cat

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                    One more question-- on reinforcing the leg/seat aid when you only have the stable/shanked bit in.

                                    So you ask for a bend, horse says "wait til the commercial and then I'll do it," and you back up with way more leg, leaving the head alone? I can't think of another way to do a "tune up" of the leg-means-bend aid.
                                    Ok, I'll bite. Not sure what bend you mean.

                                    If I ask for a haunches in, and horse ignores, I will take a bit of a face hold and smack his outside with the rein end. Then ask lightly again, and usually get it. Hello???

                                    If I ask to round up the body and get little response, I will hold my hand high, not pull, just high and apply hard alternating heel (when that hind leg is in the air) to move the rear end more forward (and suck that wither up).

                                    If I reverse my seat to ask for a back and get little response, I will swing both legs forward and slap the shoulders hard to untrack the front end, then ask again.

                                    I show only hunt seat events, so I always ride with two hands, and generally with the shortest shank Tom Thumb. Even years ago showing western events, always used a loose shank Garcia bit. Someone else who uses a solid bit will have to tell how they do it. To me a grazing bit is for when you are planning to drape the reins in an event (or maybe a trail ride for actual... grazing).

                                    My gelding is 12 and getting lazy, so it is more a mental, pay attention to me thing. My sensitive mare never ignores - challange with her is to communicate precisely.
                                    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
                                    www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #38
                                      All you said makes sense to me.

                                      But here's my "I don't get it with a shanked (stable) bit" scenario:

                                      I'm warming up and I asked the horse to bend through the rib-cage on the arc of our circle. What I really care about is him not leaning on that inside shoulder. But I know that's coming because he's heavy on my inside leg.

                                      I can give him a "Wake up! Jesus is tapping your side. You might want to pay attention" kick. But I don't want him to stay stiff and scoot over... maybe quickly. I want him to reach under with that inside leg, maintain the bend and lift his cotton pickin' shoulder.... just as the good Lord who designed the broke horse asked for in the first place.

                                      If I can't talk to one side of the mouth at a time, I don't have a lot of reinforcement for holding the bend with a lighter leg. Maybe a big boot that sends him sideways into a leg yield? But I think I could make a horse who ran forward this way, too.
                                      The armchair saddler
                                      Politically Pro-Cat

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                        All you said makes sense to me.

                                        But here's my "I don't get it with a shanked (stable) bit" scenario:

                                        I'm warming up and I asked the horse to bend through the rib-cage on the arc of our circle. What I really care about is him not leaning on that inside shoulder. But I know that's coming because he's heavy on my inside leg.

                                        I can give him a "Wake up! Jesus is tapping your side. You might want to pay attention" kick. .

                                        this is what spurs are for....because sometimes Jesus is busy...and broke horses with good riders,are not afraid of them any more than they are afraid of hoof picks

                                        tamara
                                        Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                                        I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          If your horses require the heavy aids I'm seeing described here, it isn't ready for haunches in or collection. The horse that is ready to maintain bend in a curb moves from a whisper with the leg. With my TB all it took was hardening my calf. Correction isn't for a major fault, but for the slight change that takes place half the arena BEFORE the major fault.

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