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Fwd: Nose in air (was Unidentified subject)


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You have come 75% of the way by admitting you are heavy handed --- I would 
suggest you try to get less heavy handed (easier said than done!!!!).  In my 
limited experience with my 3 Arabs, they are very light in the mouth, esp the 
2 boys.  Some dressage instructors (that must work a lot with heavy 
warmbloods) seem to love to have you drive the horse from behind into the bit 
--- Fix & Tempo esp won't tolerate that.  I was lucky to have some good 
instructors that helped me develop lighter hands.  The Arabs I've had have a 
lot of self carriage anyway, & don't need a rider to hold them together with 
a lot of rein pressure while driving them forward. The Arabs I've had will 
fight a heavy hand. A little suggestion to collect usually does the trick --- 
handy when going downhill.
One technique is a sort of touch & release.  I take a light hold (maybe 5 
lbs??) pressure on the outside rein (or if going straight, one of the reins 
-- pick one) & then give a light tug on the other rein.  Holding a light, 
constant pressure on the one rein, I keep lightly tugging & releasing until 
the horse releases at the poll & drops his nose (while also encouraging the 
horse to go forward).  As long as the horse keeps that headset, I leave them 
alone. With Tempo, I have no pressure on the reins, but I have them short 
enough that if he lifts his nose, or I want to turn or stop, I just have to 
bring the reins back 1/4 inch.  He knows that if he sticks out his nose, 
he'll hit my hands, so he's happy to stay in the zone where I'm not fussing 
with him.
If I were to hang, or pull back on the reins, Tempo would get upset & start 
fighting me.
It's difficult not to jerk the reins when posting --- it takes practise to 
separate what your body is doing from what your hands are doing --- but your 
horse will be happier if you can!  I found videotaping my lessons were very 
humbling --- both to see what the instructor did when riding the horse vs 
what I was doing!

Good luck!

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