Balancing on reins...

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

  1. Beauvelour

    Beauvelour Well-known Member

    Yay Congrats JJ!!! Well done smash again 2 very, happy students yet again haha!!!

    JJ I can't wait to read all your progress reports (hint hint) haha Im so happy for you!!
  2. raindear

    raindear Well-known Member

    I had a lesson with my instructor where all I had to do was trot...I held onto the reins but they were very loose so had not contact..the horse could go where ever he want to but just had to keep trotting..I am a very beginner rider :) so had to keep my legs on and it really helped me with my balance. I also found that if I 'thought' about turning left my body seemed to convey that message to the horse and he went that way and the same if i wanted to stop..he did get a bit confused at first though because he didn't quite now where to go and wasn't sure..but it did make him listen a bit more :)
  3. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    Thanks Beauvelour :) And Oi UP!! You are in this too... where's your progress reports???? rofl! :}

    Raindear! Good for you! I think we are all beginners!!! lol If you can get your horse responding and listening to your body movements you are well on the right track! I think that is actually a hard concept to grasp - and I think it is known as riding with feel ;) Let's hear how you get on! **)

    B&T - yes, good point! It would actually be a big mistake for me (or anyone else) to think of any rein as a brake! So, thanks for the 'kick'! lol

    smash! lol Ok, I get what you are saying! You really do have a way of saying things that make sense to me! lol

    So, I've been thinking more about my 'vibrating' rein and what it meant (at the time I posted) to me... and I still think that I was trying to use the 'vibrating rein' as a 'relaxing' thing... however!!

    I have since realised that I am just not that coordinated - hell, I'm having enough issues dealing with my 8 legs, arms, shoulders and seat (that's 8, right? rofl) at the moment! So - in reality - I was probably not 'vibrating' the reins 'relaxingly'... it is far more likely that I was jiggling-jangling-wiggling-waggling-yanking- (ok, that won't work as a word in here!! rofl) - in a very un-relaxing manner - truth be told, it was probably down-right jolly ANNOYING!! lol *#)

    Obviously there is more to this 'inside rein' thing that I need to learn - (as B&T alluded to)

    So, once again, smash - you have me thinking!!! Thank you!! :))
  4. Bon & Ted

    Bon & Ted Guest

    yep as smash said, that is what her aides mean to her. as long as you can feel what you are trying to achieve, the aid can mean anything you want.

    I personally think of the inside aid as a softening tool, and use it like a take and give, Smash sees it as the uncomfortable, vibrating aid, at the end of the day, we get the same result :D and likely we are doing the same thing. (I hope I am anyway haha)

    Just need to find what works for you - and seemingly the inside rein has worked **)

    I don't jiggle the inside rein, I take it up softly with my fingers and match the horses resistance. ie if I take it up and the horse resists I don't release it until they soften, or they learn that resistance/leaning = release.

    My mare was so resistant until I was shown how to ride her properly. In less than 5 months she has gone from leaning to the point of ripping my arms out of their sockets, to being soft and round consistently. When she starts to get heavy - I take up that inside rein with the slightest squeeze and straight away she softens. No fight anymore. Of course I owe that all to my awesome instructor :)))
  5. Beauvelour

    Beauvelour Well-known Member

    Hahah Absolutely!!! Haven't been able to ride as the weather has been very nasty here lately. Fingers crossed tomorrow i will have a window inbetween all the rain and lightning**)
  6. smash

    smash Well-known Member

    now JJ, that is what riding is all about LOL
    hopefully the weather allows boauvelour a chance to ride
    have fun everyone
  7. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    I think you're thinking of vibrating or using the inside rein as a relaxing thing because of what is achieved when you use it. The horse softens and relaxes.
    Where the fact is, is that you're actually using an aid to influence the horse. In this case, constant vibrating or jiggling is annoying. And the horse softens because it is a constant annoyance to him to have that corner of his mouth acted upon in such a way.
    But remember you only do this if your legs fail. Most often rein jiggling, wiggling, pulling etc is used first, and/or only. Which is why you see horses behind the bit and overbent. They aren't being driven from behind into softness. They are being played with to have a desired head postion without first having the 'go' from behind.
  8. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    Yep, Cornflower - that makes sense **) Thanks! Trouble is, I don't think I am being 'annoying' enough! rofl Actually, I think I get muddled/uncoordinated with my aides... and resort to 'annoying' too quickly... maybe? Not sure yet lol

    Ok, report... Hmmmm... lol

    Had a lesson on Saturday (once again, filled with high-hopes! lol)

    New Instructor... she was set on doing 'trot-pole' work. Which is fine with me, but the laddo doesn't 'do' trot-poles! rofl He gets all hot and fizzy and it takes quite a while for him to chill and not jump the 1.20m high trot-poles! rofl *#)

    Anyway, it was all a bit of a disaster, compounded by the fact that I didn't get chance to 'work him into a contact' (always wondered what people meant by that - now I know!! lol)

    At one point towards the end of the lesson, laddo (aka fizzy-camel) was not paying attention to his feet, stumbled, got the pole tangled in his back legs (he moved the pole almost 2 metres!! :eek:), he almost nose-planted and I ended up over his neck - checking out his ear-wax up-close and personal! rofl

    However, I learnt a valuable lesson about my boy... I was expecting him to shy, duck or just plain bolt - in which case I would have taken a fairly nasty tumble... to his absolute credit, he maintained a fairly civilised trot, listened to my squeeeeaked 'whoooaa' and came quietly to a sedate halt! *phew!* lol

    Once I had regained my seat (and collected a bit of composure and dignity - which took all of 5 seconds because at this I point I didn't have a whole lot to collect lol) I immediately trotted him over 3 more trot-poles. I got the distinct impression that my Instructor didn't want me to take him over any more (I think she was more shaken than we were... I mean, really! Who almost comes off over trot-poles? lol)

    However, in my mind, to stop there would have been hugely bad for him and me. He was totally uninjured and I can assure you he was definitely paying attention to his feet now and he was quite happy to continue! lol Pretty chuffed with him actually! **)

    After the lesson I did work him a bit longer (checking for any 'issues') and managed to get him working quite nicely for a few circles (both reins)... was happy with that so called it a day! :)

    So, that was Saturday.

    Sunday I went out to check him over (all good!), and go back to the basics (as discussed in here) and see if I could get us working nice and softly.

    Ummm... other than maybe 1/2 a circle a few times it just didn't really happen. I ended up having a 'hand-mouth' tussle with him :eek: Not happy with myself - I got a bit frustrated and he was being a brat. I did consider that he may have been soreish - but dismissed it - he was fine! I know this cos my friend hopped on him and he worked a treat -instantly! Sod! lol

    Anyway, as I said, the weekend was a bit of a disaster from one perspective, but a good one from another (glass 1/2 full lol)

    So, once I can ride again (hand surgery yesterday - unrelated to trot-pole incident rofl) I will continue to work on my skills and hopefully master my bratty camel! rofl

  9. Bon & Ted

    Bon & Ted Guest

    Hey JJ, just try as many instructors until you find one that gets the results you want!!! Thats what I did :)

    Oh and I can TOTALLY relate to the bratty weekend. My girl pulled out some ripper behaviour on Sunday. Of course every little air above the ground is exaggerated due to not currently not riding in a saddle LOL. But I ended up staying on her for well over an hour and just worked her through her tanty until I got that consistent soft work back. Bugger it I'm not gonna finish on a bad note anymore, even though I almost slid off a few times I figured I'd rather fall off then go backwards in our training.

    While you are recovering from surgery could you maybe get your friend to do some work with him? so when you are ready to ride again hes had a few issues ironed out?
  10. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    Yep, excellent that you got him over the trot poles, most importantly calmly and he did them happily **) **)

    Jam, are you doing most of your work in walk or trot? Because my suggestion would be to go back to walk. Boring i know. But exactly because of that, it's the best pace to organise yourself in. It gives you more time to think. More time to get yourself organised, your mind clear and your aids spot on.

    I find when i'm learning new things, i need make it clear in my mind, like i'm organising a series of 'steps', and then i do it. Very slowly at first. And you don't speed up until you can do those steps without thinking too much about them.

    I would say warm up as usual, just free and happy and relaxed in walk and trot. Have a canter too.

    Then come back to walk and start to work. Your horse (what is his name??) will be warmed up and should be working forward, and should have no problem being soft in walk. Or at least, giving you a little feel of it :)
  11. smash

    smash Well-known Member

    ditto to what cornflower said !!!!!
    if you cant do something at the walk, you will have buckley's getting it at the trot or canter.
    i have no idea, why someone would instruct you to do pole work, if you have not got a soft forward frame ????
    horses ubove the bit, should NEVER do pole work in my opinion.
    god, hang in there JJ, lets see what we can work out for you.
  12. Babe

    Babe Well-known Member

    Agreed with Smashie....if your horse is not in a soft round frame..its no wonder he tripped over the pole. Have you tried using more walk in your warmup.....doing small circles and spiralling in and out of a circle in a walk..... figure 8's in a walk etc. I am talking walk with a nice soft llama impressions;)

    There is a lot of work you can do in a walk, to get the horse to let go through his back. I never start trotting my horse until I can feel him breathe and release himself thru the back and ribcage...once he is snorting/breathing this is a cue for me that I can pick him up into a trot...if I dont have this I keep walking and legyelding and spiralling etc.
  13. princeton

    princeton Well-known Member

    I would try a different instructor too..... that really doesnt sound helpful to what you are trying to achieve....:confused:
  14. Beauvelour

    Beauvelour Well-known Member

    Yep My instructor always says when you have everything at the walk you can move onto trot - if it falls apart go back to walk and get it right again. Just like he says when the trot is good ask for canter - How can you expect a good canter when you ask from a bad trot...Does that make sense haha.

    Hey JJ not sure of where you are but We get Deon Stokes down here and he is awesome - everyone down here is very happy and he seems to be able to adapt to everyones different wants, needs, problems and just the different riders and horses! Just a suggestion - he may not work for you but yeah
  15. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    Ok, not sure where to start - other than to say Thank You for all the great advice and support!

    Everyone has said the same thing... and is exactly what I feel we should be doing! Being a 'beginner' rider, I don't have the confidence in myself (and my skills) to 'challenge' an instructors direction. Lame, but true :eek:

    They are 'meant' to know their stuff... and I pay, an apparently very high price :eek:, for that instruction. I guess you don't always get what you pay for. ';' Ya live and learn - just some people do it slower than others lol

    I'm in the process of moving agistment because I now know that we need another/other Instructor(s). Will keep Deon in mind!

    Corney - really well-worded advice! :) Yes, you, smash and others are right. I need to understand (analyse, think through, organise) things in my head - before I can get my body to do them. I have been 'accused' of being overly analytical on more than one occasion in my life! rofl

    So, I am more than happy to do lots of walk-work! Love it in fact! I like the time to think and, as you said, "arrange the steps" in my head! Love a canter too! But would like it to be 'the right' canter, one day! lol

    Ok - so, warm-up, then walk-work it is... then move on to trot when we are both ready! Happy with that advice! :) I will ask a question though... he seems to 'come to the party' quicker and easier in trot (?) Is this because he is happier 'going forward'? Or just because he wants to 'go fast' and that satisfies his need for speed?? lol Comments?

    smash - yes, the trot-pole work was too 'rushed' and 'harried'... knew it was not the right thing to be doing - unless he was already feeling soft and working 'properly' - which he wasn't! My fault for not speaking up! :(

    B&T, I'm not sure if I will be able to ride tomorrow (gonna go out and give it the old college try! lol) However, good idea! Will see if my friend can work him for 20 mins or so. Love her to bits... and so does Rev (yup, that's his name, and it suits him! rofl) *#)

    Thanks again... I have learnt so much from all the posts in here!!
  16. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    Walk, a proper walk, is very hard to do. Which is why everyone starts proper work in trot. There's more forward, more go, so generally easier to 'come to the party' for both horse and rider.
    Which is why walk is included in top level dressage tests, Because it hard to do well.

    Walk should be like any other pace. Balance, rhythm, forward, soft.

    But you can't hop on and start proper work straight away just because you start in walk. You need to warm first before any work, no matter what pace it's in.
    Which is why i will never understand people who get on their horse and immediatelly start fiddling with the reins for a head position. Makes the mind boggle that.

    A very old instructor of mine rode my horse one time, and all he did was walk for about 45mins (after a warm up). My horse was breathing and sweating like he'd done an hour of trot and canter. He'd really worked. He had to stay forward, balanced, in a rhythm. It takes a lot of work to do all that. And because walk is such a lazy, slow pace, it's hard to get the work out of your horse. Hard to keep them forward and active.
    And even moreso when walk is used as a rest pace and not as a working pace. The horse knows all he's doing is walking, so he's been used to just relaxing, and it's hard to get his mind around that no, he does infact have to work his behind ;)
  17. smash

    smash Well-known Member

    well said cornflower,
    JJ just warm him up AS USUAL, trotting and changing directions and such.
    when you feel you are warmed up, simply come back to the walk and "start the steps" for softening.
    you know what you want, you know how to ask for it. when you are happy with your progress at the walk, just drop the reins and ask him to WALK FORWARD twice each way around the arena and finish on that.
    next time, do the same again, you will find you may even feel like you are both ready for a bit of trot work, if not then DONT !!!
    always finish on a really good walk out.
    keep thinking you are ONLY going to WORK AT THE WALK, that way, if things are going good, you can always do trot and canter, if they are not going good, you have not been dissapointed.
    JJ, you know you can, i know you can and everyone else knows you can.
    you just have to TRUST your own JUDGEMENT, your own ABILITY[/B] and your own VOICE in your head.
    you know what feels right or wrong, GO WITH THAT FEELING!!!!!!!
    does not matter what ANY of us say JJ, if it feels wrong to YOU, then dont do it !!!
    cheers mate
  18. kathera

    kathera Active Member

    Great thread!!!!

    Cant wait till you move to swan valley area jj - I think we are at a similar level and I have a few great instructors I go to :) one of which b&t mentioned maybe we can organize lessons together?

    Sounds like you are going well though step by step :) this online advice is great though, better than alot of what I have heard in lessons :)
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  19. lex

    lex Well-known Member

    great thread guys!! put some of this advice into practice tonight and it all just clicked - over the moon to say the least:)):)):)):D:D:D
  20. smash

    smash Well-known Member

    that is great lex,
    glad this thread gave you something to use and helped you in some way.

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