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Teaching the western horse to stay bent?

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  • #41
    Teaching the western horse to stay bent?

    You don't teach them to 'stay bent". That would be a static/stiff arrangement.

    Whatever the discipline- with some exceptions? - you want them supple and listening to your aids not just staying in a position.

    You teach them to be tuned to your aids and then you maintain a continuous flowing conversation through the connection.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by Tamara in TN View Post
      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

      Whether or not Jesus "fronts" with a heel or spurs doesn't quite address my question. It's "If you can't also talk through the inside rein, how do you let the horse know that inside heel/spur/flame thrower meant 'bend your ribcage the first time I put my leg on' and not 'run forward, still stiff'"?
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat


      • #43
        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. 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.
        You have skipped a step: the "spiral in, spiral out" training exercise. Get rid of the solid shanked bit, that is for a totally finished horse, iMHO. Go back to the more flexible training shanked snaffle or whatever ( I like two reins on the Tom Thumb, but I grew up with two reins). The spiral exercise is exactly what it sounds like. For spiral out from a small to large circle, you can hold your inside rein hand high and very indirect to the outside to keep a slight bend in the neck (see the corner of the eye, not nose to knee), hold steady with the outside rein, use whatever it takes to move the shoulders out (spurs, dressage whip, smack shoulder with side of foot) until horse gets it that you want him to Move Over - each way, in and out. They are on a circle, so it is harder to get stiff and run off. If they do, use a very open direct rein and spiral in until they are turning in place. Normal spiral in, you use a direct rein inside, keep shoulder from bulging out with outside rein. Hold the bend with inside leg forward to keep shoulders up, outside leg back. Alternate with straight stretches, then spiral in and out for a circle, go straight again.

        Grad School for this exercise is to trot a figure eight, with correct bend for first circle, then keep that same bend across the center and trot second circle on what is then a counter bend. By this time, horse should float in and out with slight pressure on the spiral exercise.

        I use this a lot to check for stiffness or resistance when warming up.

        If your horse wants to get hot or leave from corrections, you can start the spiral in and out exercise at a walk. If he is consistantly heavy on your inside leg, try going forward, stop and back, go forward, stop and back, many times, then try to ask for a bend when he is thinking about engaging his hind more for the next stop and back.
        Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


        • #44
          Originally posted by mvp View Post
          Whether or not Jesus "fronts" with a heel or spurs doesn't quite address my question. It's "If you can't also talk through the inside rein, how do you let the horse know that inside heel/spur/flame thrower meant 'bend your ribcage the first time I put my leg on' and not 'run forward, still stiff'"?
          he would have learned in the snaffle that the body has three parts (in front of the shoulders/barrel/hips) and would know which section you are asking him to move for based on your placement of the spur...the leg positions would not alter based on a split or solid bit in his mouth
          Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
          I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.