Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Help? Looking for article/post...

I know, I've totally been M.I.A. I will have some posts soon, I'm finally back to work with Brumby and am looking forward to progressing.

In the meantime, I could use some help.  Within the last week or two I came across an article that was talking about fixing a horse who gets behind the bit. I didn't have time to read it all, so I figured I'd come back to it.  I thought it was one of the emails from Jane Savoie but I've looked through all of them. Not Ruth Poulsen either. So I checked the last issues of Horses for Life...nope. Then I got to thinking maybe it was a blog post but now I've looked around and can't find it.

Has anyone come across this??

I'm especially interested because it explained why raising your hands to correct this problem actually doesn't work. I've always felt like this is true but can't explain why, so I'd love to read it. Also, this has been suggested as a way to correct Brumby when he does it and that just doesn't seem right to me. I try to focus on getting more forward first and making sure I'm soft enough in my contact before I ask for the upward transition. With all the time off I don't know yet if this approach is working...and it is muddied by multiple riders and some conflicting instruction, I think.

Any thoughts? Or alternate sources? Thanks!


Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I don't know the article/post you're talking about - sorry.

Maisie does this occasionally, and Dawn tends to want to do it a lot. I can tell you what I'm working on with it. Usually, if I get the "curl-up", it means I'm riding the front of the horse instead of the back - the curl-up almost always means that you've lost impulsion and the horse isn't using itself correctly. I work to reestablish impulsion (without much contact), and then work back to taking contact doing figures like spiral-in/spiral-out, circles and serpentines, where I can use more outside and less inside rein and use inside leg to outside rein.

Sometimes the curl-up can be discomfort with the bit - try different mouthpieces - fat, thin, single/double jointed, comfort snaffle/ported, you get the idea - every horse has preferences. And sometimes the horse has a body pain issue that makes impulsion/engagement difficult or is not fit enough for the work being asked.

Good luck!

HorseOfCourse said...

RB, Kyra had a session about that at the clinic, but targeted riding with a double bridle. Might it be that is what's in the back of your mind? From my post?

If you ride with a snaffle you can raise your hands to encourage the horse to raise his head, then followed with soft hands, riding the horse forward and engaging the hind legs as Kate says.

It is a either a balancing problem (you often have a period with young horses) or an evasion. Or the horse has learnt bad habits.

I prefer the horse to go above the bit compared to curling up, and if your horse has an issue with curling up it might be that you have to accept a more open form for a while. Basically it comes down to encouraging the horse, learning it, to take a correct contact with the bit through using the body in the correct way, i.e. active hind legs and a round back.

In general: more legs, less hand!

RuckusButt said...

Yes, that's it! I had just gotten to that point in your post and had to leave it, thinking I'd come back. I guess then I thought I had read it all! I missed the part about it being specifically about double bridles. Thank you, it will stop bugging me now!

Kate, all very good points. I run through these things in my head all the time and I'm still not sure. He goes in a D snaffle and I don't think it's an issue, mainly because it's only in the canter.

I think the reason I haven't liked the hand raising method is that it starts me thinking about the head...and when I do that, I suspect I stop riding the hind end, which just makes the problem worse. If I get the timing just right and manage to stay soft and balanced it does work. I'm just not good enough to get it all the time. It is hard for me to keep it together when he does that because HE is no longer balanced either and often twists hid neck inside or outside as he curls.

My take on it is that it's a bad habit he developed when he did have saddle pain. He was also "held up" a lot in the canter before he started with my instructor. He wants you to carry him, carrying himself is too darn hard!

Tonight I asked for the transition, kept my hands still and just focused on my seat. He would curl in, big loopy rein, but in 2-3 strides he would come up, even above the bit. At that point, he meets my contact and seems to settle.

We'll see. It is an exercise in patience, for sure!

RuckusButt said...
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