Balancing on reins...

Discussion in 'Horse Riding' started by JustJam, May 3, 2010.

  1. Beauvelour

    Beauvelour Well-known Member

    Absolutely!!!! Were very lucky to have people like Smash and cornflower who offer up their advice and patience!! :)*

    And for the people that answer our questions nicely without us feeling like incapable dummies!! I no a few times I have nearly not put a thread up (or just havent) Because sometimes you just feel so much worse.

    Absolutely!!!! Its funny i think i have been riding "lazy" all these years - not REALLY thinking of what my aides are or what part of my body is doing what and how this affects my horse!!!

    :)):)):))Three cheers for Smash and conrnflower
  2. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    Reporting in lol

    Ok, well, where to start lol

    First of all - I still have complete faith in the advice offered by smash and Corny! I can see that it is sound advice - and it makes perfect sense! **)

    I went and rode the laddo yesterday filled with high hopes and Great Expectations... ummmm....... lol

    I'll describe what I did step by step:

    Entered arena and, as is usual for us, just walked 1 lap on a loose rein (this is, in theory, to let him adjust to the saddle before I tighten it a notch... in actual fact, it is so I can re-arrange my attire and tuck the 'rolls' into my jods! rofl)

    I picked up the reins and began a few 'walk-halt' transitions followed by some walk-trot-walk transitions.

    I then came back and attempted a few leg-yields at walk - followed by a few at trot (all on both reins). This was done as a warm/up, lateral stretching exercise - and to see if I had actually remembered anything from my really good lesson with Diane! Not a great success, however it was 'ok'.

    These were followed by some full 20m trot circles - both reins - looking for flexion to the outside and inside. Asking him to make his back feet actually follow his front feet. We then did some trot-walk-turn-to-the-outside... looking for bend.

    Laddo was relatively happy - although not entirely 'into it' lol

    I then decided to try, very deliberately, the 'contact' advice given here. (I had, up till now, just been 'testing the waters' a bit, by adding slightly more leg contact and slightly more rein contact)

    So, walk on the circle, apply more leg (lower leg on - thighs & knees off!) He didn't do anything (he didn't race off or particularly take any notice). I then applied more leg and made my hands still. His head came even further up. I tried this about 3 times.

    I then applied lots of leg and really concentrated on still hands - and now made my butt heavier in the saddle...

    His head came up even further, he slowed his walk... and halted *#)

    He did this 3 times. hmmm... now what? Well, on the last 'attempt' he came to halt and we stood, completely still, in the middle of the arena - him looking like a happy, perky, meerkat (head up, ears happily forward, contemplating what a absolutely gorgeous day it was for a picnic) - me, going red in the face, legs eventually quivering like jelly, grim determination radiating from my profusely sweating pores... Stalemate!

    We stood there for about 2 minutes - until my legs eventually fell off my body with a soggy sounding 'plop' (if someone finds them, please contact me and I will pay the postage to have them returned!)

    To be honest (and yes, I can laugh about it now), I was about ready to rip his happy little head right off his shoulders and slam it into the position I was looking for :mad: I know it is not about head-position - but honestly! lol

    At this point I called it quits... :eek:

    I just walked him on a loose rein and headed out the gate.

    The frustrating part was, I have seen this work with him! The advice and method of application is, in my opinion, correct advice! It has been demonstrated to work!

    I know my legs are not 'body-builder' standard, however I imagine I have as much 'power' in them as my friend? I am pretty sure I applied the aids in the correct order and manner to ask him to 'soften' into the contact and 'lift' his back.

    So, I recon he is just having a lend of me... or maybe I really just needed to hop on-board and apply the aides immediately, in a no-nonsense fashion from the start. In hind-sight, I was probably expecting too much too soon. Bit of a 'quick-fix'. Maybe I haven't understood something? ';'

    And, actually, re-reading this before I hit 'submit' - maybe I needed more 'foward' in the first instance! :rolleyes: Hmmm... maybe that was the 'issue'

    So, with that in mind, I will await any replies in here and head out tomorrow and have another go! I have decided not to shoot him - or me - for now! :D
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  3. smash

    smash Well-known Member

    oh that gave me such a giggle JJ lol
    the old "brat" syndrome lol lol lol
    just kidding lol
    i dont know if you have kids, but i am sure you have some friends that do,
    ever notice how the kids are just feral and the mother is deaf !!!!!
    mother leaves them with you for an hour, and they are like angels.
    now why would this be ???? lol lol lol
    because you wont but up with their cr@p !!!!
    you make rules and god help them if they cross them !!!!
    the mother comes back and they are feral again lol lol
    ever watch super nanny ??? lol
    you get what i mean.
    the mother does not stand by what she has said, and just because she has decided to stand by her new rules, the kids resort to every button they know to make her give in. why, because they know the outcome, they can make the mother back down.
    now because the kids do not know the "new persons" limites, well they are uncertain on how far to push them, as they are getting nipped in the bud, before the get to actually start.

    now does sound at all familular JJ LOL LOL LOL

    now to your guy, did you ask him to slow down???
    NO !!!!!! you did not, yet there you are standing in the middle of the arena LOL
    he would of got into big trouble from me for doing that.
    would do you think you could of done to discipline him for slowing down ???
    see how you have to be darn sure of what you are asking???

    this is what i would of done
    i would of warmed up just as you did to a degree (i would not of asked for any lateral movements)
    i would of started at the walk as you did.
    as soon as i had put my third lot of aids on (the seat in this case) and he started to prepare himself to actually halt, i would bought out mister (No No) *whip* and started tapping him behind the flanks to really really annoy the cr@p out of him (and not removing one single aide).
    the minute he went forward, the whip tapping would stop
    but my three aides will still be on UNTIL he soften 1 inch, then i would of thrown all aides away, and let him walk 5 strides and start again.
    all i am asking him to do is soften, NOTHING MORE !!!!!

    mmmm do you know what a vibrating rein is JJ??
  4. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    Hey smash :)

    Ok, yes I have kids (and a grand-daughter! lol) And you are right... I take no c%$p from any of them - they know the rules and boundaries, within the home and out!

    So yes - I get your point! lol He actually had the 'feel' of being a brat at the time (I put it down to my over-active imagination!) He has it over me, big time! I am far too wishy-washy-soft with him... and as a result, inconsistent - totally out of character for me! :eek:

    I'm going to go thought this slowly...

    Ok, noted :)

    I did consider giving him a jolly good boot! But wasn't sure if that would defeat the whole purpose of keeping legs on and hands still etc (not that there turned out to be a purpose anyway lol)
    What should I have done?

    Ok (that answers my above question).

    I don't ride with a whip (and I will give my, probably lame, reasons why: I have never had a problem with 'forward' (until now obviously lol) - quite the opposite (him being an OTTB and all ). He gets 'fizzy/anxious' if I carry a whip. Now, having said that, I wonder if that is just another of his 'bratty ploys' because I recall one of my other Instructors rode him with a whip, and he didn't bat an eye-lid!

    So, my question is: Is there another way to tell him (No No) without a whip? Or is that my only option?

    And by forward, you mean - dropping the head, softening his back, going forward into the contact... not just moving forward with his head in the air?

    or... IF you reply that the whip is to get him going forward - even with his head in the air - then we walk forward (his head in the air) and I keep the other 3 aids on (which I have not taken off yet at all) until he softens, even just 1 inch... correct?

    Yes... I did consider doing this as we were standing the middle of the arena - but why spoil the 'still-statue' picture? lol Gawd I'm glad no-one had a camera! rofl :eek:
    No, seriously, my Instructor calls it 'left-fingers;right-fingers'. Just moving the fingers, quickly in a 'vibrating' fashion.

    Thanks smash! I know this must be getting a bit tedious for you and slightly frustrating! I really am very grateful for all your help so far and would completely understand if you wandered off in search of less persistent questions lol

    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  5. smash

    smash Well-known Member

    nope not tedious at all JJ
    these are COMMON problems, that everyone has to go through.
    no, i dont want you to do that.
    just vibrate ONE REIN never ever both reins.
    if you think of resting your hand on a washing machine (that is running) and you feel how fast the vibrations are, FAST but SMOOTH is the best way i can discribe it (it is a bit like when a hand has a tremor)

    ok mister NO NO is just ONE way to make them uncomfortable, there other ways, but they really require a lot of timing and make the leg pressure look easy.
    you can use a small crop, does not have to be a dressage whip, and just tuck it into your long boots when not in use. if you dont have a crop, use a dressage whip, and when not in use, stick it between the saddle and your knee. you are only walking at this stage remember.
    the tapping of the whip is only used if he slows down to halt, it is tapping, just like you would playfully tap me to move forward. it is not used in any other way.
    imagine tapping me to move forward out of your way, or to get my attention, it is constant yet not hard.
    the tapping of the whip stops the minute he moves forward, and if that be with his head in the air, so be it. the whip is just saying FORWARD, not naughty.
    the other 3 aides (hand, legs and seat stay on) UNTIL he works out to soften.

    now this is where the vibrating rein may help, so lets try this.
    1) gently apply a small amount of leg pressure (with moving hands and a moving seat)
    if softens then release leg pressure
    2) slow the movement of your hand, and apply a little more leg pressure (seat still is moving softly)
    if softens then remove leg pressure and allow your hands to move with the movement again
    resists/ braces and starts to slow down
    2) apply even more leg pressure to a still hand with 1 REIN VIBRATING (seat still is moving softly)
    if softens, remove leg pressure, stop vibrating rein and allow your hands to move with the movement.
    resists/braces and starts to prepare to halt
    3) apply even more leg pressure, with a vibrating rein and tap tap tap tap with whip.
    if he softens, remove all aides.
    if he moves forward, stop tapping with whip, keeping leg and hand/vibrations going.

    see we have replaced your seat aide with the vibrating rein. you know the old saying 1, 2, 3 and thats it LOL

    ok now give that a go, now this happens in about a whole 5 strides, not the length of the arena LOL as you dont want this to "carry on" you have to think i want this in 1 stride, but reality, it will happen in 5 strides. that is how quick you apply your "back up aides" otherwise you are giving him plenty of time and power to continue to resist.
    you know, "nip it in the bud" kind of thinking, it seems you are kind of "asking" him gently and sweetly to respond to this (that is mom thinking) NOW TRY BEING HIS TEACHER !!!!
    a teacher puts aides on DELIBERATLEY and for a reason,
    a mom puts aides on HOPING for a response.

    *passing you the teachers cap*
    he he he

    hope this all makes sense ??
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  6. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    Thank you, once again, smash! :)) :)

    Righto! I have read that about 5 times - and printed it to take with me! lol :}

    I think I have it in my head *#), so.... deep breath, and off I go to have another shot at it! (note: I said 'shot at it'... not 'shot at him' rofl *#)

    ps: I know some of my horsey friends will have read this, so, just for them...
    Hmmm.... interesting! ;)

    (((smash))) :))
  7. smash

    smash Well-known Member

    ha ha JJ
    what does a vibrateling rein mean to a horse ????
    that is your homework LOL
    have fun JJ
  8. opsnormal

    opsnormal Active Member

    Yes, I've learnt this one the hard way! Less is more with hands, that way when you do make an adjustment, they actually listen.

    Great thread, food for thought for everyone.
  9. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    Lol, your reply was really funny. Had a good giggle!

    Smash has given some brilliant advice!

    Just wanted to add, that you only do everything when he is showing resistance. So when you walk around, warm up, don't worry about too much. Warm up is just that. Warming up. Getting forward, balance, rhythm. Checking your breaks, gas and steering. Warm up in walk and trot, no lateral work. Changes of rein, large circles. Just 'warming up'.
    By the time you're ready to 'work', he should be already forward, balanced and in a good rhythm.
    Then you can ask for work. Only then do you become Super Nanny when he gives you the finger.

    And yes, since you didn't have a whip, you could have started poking him with your heels. And yes, if all else fails, you could have given him a boot.

    P.S - has anyone returned your legs yet? :p ;)
  10. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    lol Hey Cornflower - glad you are around again... dang those templars! rofl And your advice (above) - Thank you!!!! And lol @ gives you the finger - yup, he does that! lol

    Opsnormal....hmmmm... Not much to say, is there? *#) btw - where's that email you promised??? Helloooooo! Wicked Chicken buddy sitting here waiting!!

    Now, my 'report' lol...

    I have calmed down a lot over the last few hours, so please bare that in mind... And please note the restraint I have displayed.... no bolding, capitalisation or ridiculously large font! (Must admit it was tempting lol)

    Went out to ride the laddo this morning - clutching the print-out of smash's advice protectively to my chest.

    Hopped on board and warmed-up (spent one lap adjusting my attire lol) And yes, Cornflower - you are spot on... I decided just to 'warm-up' as we usually do - long-rein, just wandering for 1 lap - then pick up the reins do some walk-halt, trot-walk... yadda, yadda (minus the lateral work).

    Then the games began lol I realised that I hadn't picked up a whip (dressage) so had one passed to me... just passed to me... not thrown, not waved in laddos face - just quietly passed to me. Well! rofl - anyone would think I had actually pulled out a gun! hahaha. Laddo got all hot under the collar, head up, spinning sideways, jig-jogging - being a right ninny! lol

    Anyway - long-story-short - I eventually dropped the whip! lol
    (Now, smash! Before you throw something, hear me out! lol)

    So, I thought hard about what smash had been saying...

    I walked, then trotted laddo on a circle, walking at X, walking a 5 metre circle to the outside back to X - trot on around the circle - repeat (we do this a lot!)

    As I was trotting I put more leg on... nothing. So, more leg and reins very 'blocked' - but my seat this entire time was asking for forward (not driving, just 'swinging', gently pushing and 'asking').

    He still didn't want to come to the party - but he didn't halt either! He was mulling things over... I could hear the cogs ticking! My seat was now the 'whip'... He just needed that one extra little 'push'....

    So I 'vibrated' the inside rein (I used the inside one for a whole bunch of (what seems to me) rational reasons lol)

    And then he did actually deliberately drop his head - it was only an inch, but an inch non-the-less - so I took the aids off.

    2 'circles' later, it's like a light suddenly went on... ... Ohhhhhh! Der! Silly me! Like this?! :}

    Wow! What an instant change! I felt him soften! I could actually feel his back - soft like a mattress rather than like slats in a futon bed!! lol

    Anyway - changed reins - expecting it to turn to rubbish - but to my surprise, we kept it going!! Oh happy days! :) lol

    I decided we needed a canter (hey, why stop when you are ahead??? rofl) We hadn't had one for a while - so, lets see what happens... OMG! We had a canter that was 'soft', in a 'frame', and controlled!! I have never been able to get him to canter one step like that before... let alone 2 separate attempts (one each rein!)

    I called it quits at that... grinning like a Cheshire cat! I had fun! And I know he did! He was happy, forward, controlled, in a frame & soft!

    smash - it has been a long, long time since I actually had fun riding - usually I get off feeling deflated and really quite miserable (there are people on here who know me personally and would vouch for that statement). I know it won't happen every day, however today, we didn't just 'turn a corner', we smashed through a heavy brick wall.

    For the first time in many, many, many months, I didn't want to get off - and when I did get off, it was with a sense of joy, understanding and achievement!

    Thank you!

    Last edited: May 13, 2010
  11. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    OMG!!! You got an avatar!!! bahahahahahaha! :D :D *#) :)) :))

    My nagging finally paid off! roflmao! Love it! lol :)
  12. SexyRitzy

    SexyRitzy Well-known Member

    JustJam- huge congrats on your major step forward! :)* I've been reading this thread with interest and your story sound like mine with my TB who is very opinionated on life *#) The advice given to you is the same advice my instructer gave me so i didn't have anything to add. Horses will test you every ride but damn doesn't it feel good when it all clicks together! So well done and thats for sharing your journey with us! :)):)*
  13. smash

    smash Well-known Member

    ))))))))WRAPS MY ARMS AROUND JJ (((((((

    WELL DONE Mrs Teacher LOL LOL LOL:))
    now only mothers think like that, a TEACHER would expect that from EVERY ride !!!!!

    jj i am just SO PROUD of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    now you are starting to FEEL and UNDERSTAND what aides are all about*#)

    i just can not tell you how happy i am for you, just got a smile from ear to ear lol
    cornflower is going to be sooooo wrapped also !!!!

    oh and you did very very well using the inside rein to vibrate, WELL DONE!!
    now did you work out what the (1) vibrating rein was for ?????
    Last edited: May 13, 2010
  14. opsnormal

    opsnormal Active Member

    Woooohooo JJ! I'm glad that Rev-head has finally come to the party; amazing how a different set of instructions makes more sense to you but achieves the common goal.

    (email lost in the post - was hoping to have more to report, I will send you one tonight!)

    And yes, I finally got an avatar - yay me! :)

    When are you riding next, I might come visit.

    Smash, awesome advice and help. I'm sure alot more of us are gaining heaps from this thread.
  15. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    lol Thanks SexyRitzy - I have been so engrossed in 'listening' to smash and Cornflower, that I had completely forgotten it was a public thread lol :eek:

    smash :):eek::)

    Yes - point taken! :))

    Ok, vibrating rein: Well, I was seriously tempted to 'cheat' by posting a new Thread... "Vibrating rein - what and why" lol :D

    However, I may as well have a crack at it - we only learn by our goof-ups! lol

    To me, the 'out-side' rein is the 'holding' rein - the brakes - the 'I'm holding your hand so you don't wander off', rein'.

    The 'inside' rein is for whispering to - nudging - directing - and now, I am also thinking of it as the 'softening' rein.

    Having had a think about it (and thinking in terms of a washing machine lol) - a washing machine 'vibration' can either be annoying - or relaxing... like a 'massage'.

    In this instance, I took your 'vibrating rein aide' (I chose the inside rein - yay me! lol) to be a 'relaxation' aide... soften the jaw, massage it, encourage it to relax... this would (or might) follow through to a relaxing of the poll - creating relaxation through the neck and thus a 'dropping' of the head.. resulting in an eventual relaxing and 'lifting' of the back.

    An 'annoying' vibrating rein, in my mind, would aggravate and upset, thus causing the opposite reaction - lifting of the head in an attempt to get away from the annoyance.

    So... did I embarrass myself? lol

    Edit: Bahahahahahah!! Ok, just got a pm from smash... boy did I have it wrong! rofl ';'
    I was going to delete this (save face an' all that! rofl) - however, as I said, we live and learn!!! So, smash - I am happy for you to explain as only you can! lol ((smash))
    Last edited: May 13, 2010
  16. Country16

    Country16 New Member

    congrats on taking that step forwrd with ur nag jj.

    just wanted to say i love ur horse smash! he is gorgeous!
  17. Bon & Ted

    Bon & Ted Guest

    rather than the outside rein being a "brake" think more of it as a pushing power or a block, keeping the outside shoulder in the desired direction of travel

    sounds like you are getting the take and give of the inside rein **) works a treat hey!
  18. smash

    smash Well-known Member

    hell no, it shows you put great thought into your reply.

    ok, these are what I use these for
    vibrating rein = uncomfortable aide.
    makes it UNCOMFORTABLE for the horse to brace against the bit.
    outside rein = where exactly do you want my head (eg: long and low, working frame, collection and also controls the amount of bend)
    inside rein = turning/direction and "are you soft"

    now the beauty of aides, is they mean WHAT EVER YOU make them mean !!!!!!
    you just have to think of what exactly you want them to mean LOL
    well done JJ
  19. smash

    smash Well-known Member

    thanks country16, i knd of like him too LOL
  20. smash

    smash Well-known Member

    yeah but your aides now mean someting to you both !!!!!!!!!!!
    ETA = remember JJ, all my posts are what MY aides mean to ME.
    by taking the aides OFF when you get a response, is my reward to him for RESPONDING.
    i can bet your bottom dollar, that my horse does not get up in the morning worring about working out what aides mean what frame, he just knows to respond GENTLY, because apparently i can be quiet ANNOYING lol lol lol
    it does not matter what the aide is, how it is applied, as long as you know what you are saying and want with that aide. it all comes together after that !!!
    so no one can get the question of "what does aides mean to you" WRONG if you answer it LOL.
    passing you a gold star JJ
    Last edited: May 13, 2010

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