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Re: RC: Re: Nose in the air/head tossing

aahhh- got you to give some of your excellent dressage riding instructions.  But
please fix my ignorance - what are balancing reins?  By the way I don't think
Grey ever got to leaning on his side reins - I didn't do a whole lot of lounging
- just not fond of ground work but it was a good starter.  Its harder to learn
steady hands when the horse is hollowing defensively before you can get yourself
in rythm.  Also helped to be in an arena and do smallish circles as an aid to
start or re-start him rounding if my hands lost contact and he went into a
defensive heads up hollow back frame.  And definitely helped a LOT to have an
instructor telling me right away when I started bumping his mouth because I lost
my rythm and giving me specific advice for what I was doing wrong. I have an
excellent instructor who tells me just what you wrote for rein contact.  -Does
not come natural for me growing up riding with a loose western rein, but
definitely works much better, especially for Grey and me because my "loose" rein
with him was the bang bang bang you described.  He needs the reassurance of the
steady contact to carry himself correctly.


Sue Brown wrote:

> I'm not a real fan of side reins.  And YES, I have used them in the past
> but I've "seen the light"! ;-)  All too often side reins are adjusted to be
> at light contact when the horse's head is near vertical...and once the
> horse starts moving, he can lean on them...maybe not a lot at first, but it
> will increase as time goes by and his neck starts to tire.  When that
> happens, he switches his neck muscle usage to the underneck muscles (the
> "leaning" muscles) and, even tho he may be going at a steady, even trot, he
> will be hollow and not in self carriage.  If you want to use something
> during lungeing, use balancing reins.  The horse can't lean on them and
> learns to carry himself.  He has a certain range that he can move but can't
> dive his nose to the ground or pitch his head up but can still bend for
> largish circles.  He soon learns to reach to the end of the line and gently
> hold it.
> This is all translated to the saddle with the rider's hands not having a
> solid hold on both reins at the same time.  One rein (the "outside" rein)
> gently holds contact as if it were holding a child's hand, the other hand
> (the "inside" rein) either tickles the reins or does a gentle squeeze and
> release for communication, depending on which way the horse is bent or
> going and what you're trying to tell him.  Whenever you bring your
> shoulder/elbow/hand back to position a horse's bend (whether doing lateral
> exercises, turning a certain direction, or going in circles) you always
> pull back with a squeeze and release or vibrating the reins -- DO NOT pull
> back with any arm in a solid hold.  Give and take, give and take, give and
> take...ALWAYS!
> Your horse will learn to listen to a light touch when you can hold a
> consistent weight in your hands...about 1-2 pounds in the steady, outside
> hand and a variance on either side of your weight of about 1/4 to 1/2 pound
> on your giving, "talking" inside rein.  When you're walking or cantering,
> you let the horse gently pull your hands forward and you reciprocate by
> moving them back when her head comes back maintaining a steady weight at
> all times...not letting the reins go tight, loopy, tight, loopy, etc.  That
> translates to BANG, BANG, BANG on the horses mouth.  When the horse trots
> and the rider posts, the tendency is to move the hands up and down with the
> rest of the arm, again going BANG, BANG, BANG on his mouth.  When that
> happens, go into your two-point and concentrate on keeping your heads
> steady, steady, steady...parked about 4" above the withers on the flat and
> closer to the mane and a bit further up the neck on inclines.  They should
> stay put wherever you assign them to be! ;-)  When your hands steady, go
> back to posting.  Frequently check your rein length since they do tend to
> slip and you'll soon discover that you no longer have *any* steady contact
> or control...and you're not exactly sure when that happened. ;-)
> And the secret to keeping your hands steady and light???  Keep those heels
> down, keep weight in your heels, and think of your hips, knees, ankles,
> shoulders, and elbows and joints in a continuously working set of pistons.
> Absorb the motion as if you were trying to stop a trampoline.  Think of
> your legs as shocks in a car...and your torso as the body of the car.  And
> you want to be a Mazerati (Maserati, Massarrattii <g>) and take those
> corners like one!  THIS will quiet your hands and allow you to be solid and
> light with your outside hand and solid, light, and communicating with your
> inside hand.  When you ride zig-zags thru the woods, turn your body right
> and left as you go around the curves and consistently and gently switch
> inside rein and outside rein.
> What happens?  The horse quits pitching his head because your hands are
> quiet and talking to him, not hurting him.  He brings his head down, lifts
> his back, and goes into self carriage.  Add a little inside leg off and on
> when you need it and he brings his back leg under further, pushes off
> harder, lifts the front end, increases his stride, lifts his back more,
> arches his neck more, and brings his face nearer the vertical...all with
> self carriage.
> Now THAT'S dressage...for the endurance rider! ;-)
> Sue
> Tyee Farm
> Marysville, Wa.
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