Getting my horse rounder

vicm2509

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I am just wondering what is the best way to get my horse more arched in the neck? It may sound like a silly question but nothing I do seems to work. 99% of the time he is nice and relaxed on the bit, he does sometimes fight it when he is in his 'I cant be bothered' mood. But I want him to be more arched, the only time he arches more is in canter, but I dont feel like I am applying any different aids. I ride him with lots of leg and will give him half halts if he tries to pull, and give him a more elastic contact if he is responding well. All my instructor says is keep the impulsion and keep his contact short, but this doesnt get him as round as I would like.

Maybe it will just come in time but I would like to start a little dressage with him next year so would appreciate a few tips so I can get practicing.

I know he is only in stand here and my reins are longer than they would be if i was riding him but this is generally about as rounded as he gets. Oh and I dont usually have a flash for flatwork, we had just been jumping in the pic.

100_0486.jpg
 

Caritas

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You need to ride him forward into your shorter rein and then ask him to soften into your contact. If he slows down or backs off you, do not drop your contact just push him foward into it, weather it be with your legs and seat or need to be backed up by a stick. Keep practicing, you will get there. Good luck!!
 

bandit

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well horses in a true outline have hte poll as the highest point, not the crest, so you need to work on getting the horse rounder from behind and making them work from behind and dropping into the bit, not forcing a false 'arched neck' which will shorten their strides etc...

get a trainer and work on gettin him working more from behind relaxing your hands when he drops and softeining your seat..

Bx
 

vicm2509

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So basically I do need to do what my instuctor is telling me, it will just take time and practice to perfect him? When im in my lesson my instructor constantly tells me to shorten my reins, even though they feel really short. She tells me to not allow any give in my reins until he stops trying to pull. He does sometimes try and lean a little and he can be quite lazy. I ride him in spurs most of the time to really get him working from behind. He is not lazy in that I ever need to kick him, I just need to keep my legs clamped on all the time. I can now recognise right away if he is falling on the forhand and just give him a little wake up call with my whip (just a little tickle really as he hates it if i smack him).

Is it true that widening my hands a little will help him soften? I cant remember where I read this. And is it best to ride with high or low hands? I always notice that dressage rideres seem to have really high hands where as show jumpers seem to have them much lower.
 

AmyMay

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Have you also considered a different bit - something that doesn't have the nutcracker action like the snaffle you have in.

Also, pressume you don't school in a seat saver - that could be half your problem if you do.

He is absolutely beautiful by the way. Really lovely.
 

Caritas

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I agree with you totally Bandit but she needs to get the horse working softly over his back and neck in order to bring him up and round into the contact.
 

vicm2509

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[ QUOTE ]
well horses in a true outline have hte poll as the highest point, not the crest, so you need to work on getting the horse rounder from behind and making them work from behind and dropping into the bit, not forcing a false 'arched neck' which will shorten their strides etc...

get a trainer and work on gettin him working more from behind relaxing your hands when he drops and softeining your seat..



Bx

[/ QUOTE ]

That is what I meant. I want his poll higher but im not sure how. So everything needs to come from behind? I dont want to force it, I hate it when you see people 'sea sawing' on their horses mouth to try and achieve an outline and pulling the head in with side reins and other gadgets. I do have lessons every other week but we have been doing a lot of work on jumping and improving his confidence. Through the winter I plan to go to some dressage clinics and really want to work on his flat work.

Oh and can you please go into a bit more detail on the meaning of 'softening your seat' and how I do this?
 

Caritas

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Dont keep your legs constantly clamped onto his sides. You should ride him forward, nudge and leave (relax your leg) if he doesnt responed give him a little kick and relax your leg again. If you get any response atall even if he goes into a different gait, reward him as he is trying to listen to you. You can correct all those things later once you are getting him more foward. If you dont get a response on the second command give him a tap with the stick, now you say he doesnt like it, well!! If he then runs foward, let him and praise him. He is after all doing as you ask. Then half halt him and bring him back under control by softening again.
 

vicm2509

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I have tried a sweet iron loose ring peanut bit which he was leaning on really badly. I have also tried a hanging cheek french link and he totally protested to the poll action of that.

I have also schooled a few times in a rugby pelham as I plan to do some ridden hunter classes next year. I could not seem to get him rounded at all in this. It seems any poll action at all causes him to resist the bit.

Any suggestions bit wise? He does seem quite happy in his snaffle to be honest though.

Oh and i do school in a seat saver
blush.gif
, I will take it off and see if that helps.

Thanks for all the tips, keep them coming please
smile.gif
 

Caritas

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I understand that you dont like it when you see people, sea sawing with there hands. You do however want to wriggle him slightly but quickly to ask him to drop into your hands once he is coming foward from behind, this will in turn help you to get him rounder. Once you have got him rounder you can then keep your caontact short and bring your hands up and slightly half halt to bring him more up into your reins. By how i have written this it sounds easy but believe me it is not. It will take time but dont be despondant. If you are finding that your horse is falling in through the shoulder on a turn, make sure you are riding him more into your outside rein.
 

Caritas

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I dont really think that you should be changing your bit at this stage. Im sure you have a few tips to try first. I always use a kk snaffle in my horses and have been ablt to ride each and everyone in them. Do stick with what you know for now and remembber get him more responsive by keeping your legs off his sides and do plenty of transitions, good luck!!
 

AmyMay

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[ QUOTE ]
Oh and i do school in a seat saver

[/ QUOTE ]

Mm I did wonder. Whilst they may be comfy to sit on they do remove your seat from contact with the saddle and the horse. Take it off and I bet you'll notice a real difference. Your bum and legs will have a much better contact with the horse, helping both you and him to work better.

With regards bits I have a sprenger loose ring, lozenge bit, and find that most horses really love them. They're not cheap, so try and borrow one rather than buy one if you want to try it.
 

miamibear

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I would definately suggest getting a neue schule verbindend on trial for him(try shop4bits- online). It discourages leaning but encourages a consistant contact too. Doesnt nip at all. I have one of these in mine and the difference from a snaffle to this was amazing.

All advice i can give is keep your reins short, remember he should be softening to you but shortening his frame and working more from behind, in order to do this you need to be working him up in to the contact from your legs(and whip if necessary) when he gives praise and soften slightly.

Its important he is on the contact though and not dropping behind it!

I would suggest slightly higher hands are better than low hands but there is variation on this as to how your horse works, too high and too low breaks the line of contact from you to the horse, a straight line should run through your arms in to the horses mouth. I hate to see hands below the height of the wither though, it looks like you are dragging the horse in to an outline, the hands should be there to encourage and support but thats just my opinion!!

It will take time though im afraid, it takes a lot of strength for horses to work up in to a contact. A soft outline into a consistant contact and forwards movement is more important at low levels of dressage, a higher head position isnt really asked for until later on in the training when they are stronger.

I think he is gorge by the way. Keep persevering and he will get stronger!!

Good luck
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vicm2509

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Thank you so much. I will keep his bit the same for now and keep working with him. So I do need to wiggle my hands a little and keep my elbows a bit elasticy?

Oh and when I say he doesnt like the whip, I mean he really doesnt like it. I think he may have had a bad experience with it in the past, it sometimes makes him rear so I only actually smack him with it when he has been naughty (like a dirty stop at a jump or something). I always carry it though.

I will put some of the suggestions to my instructor aswell and get her to help me work more towards my aim. I know he can do it as a really experienced, highly trained rider got on him and he looked amazing. I have had him for 6 months but previous to that I had an 8 year break from owning a horse so I am a little behind times at the moment.
 

Caritas

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Yes do wriggle very slightly, almost so slight that knowone else would really be able to see you are doing it. Its like slightly playing with the contact, you dont want your arms ridged so that you are completely tight, because he will get tight and tense also. (always keep a bend in your elbow, that should help to stop you tightening) You want him supple which means you need to be supple too. Thats fine talk for someone who is as unfit as I am. Do let me know how you get on, fingers crossed!!
 

Madam_max

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My mare carries herself pretty much the same way. I school in a KK Ultra, which is basically really the only bit she likes other than a Waterford for faster work. I do lots of transitions from walk to canter, halt to canter, shoulder-in etc, rein back to get her on her hocks. This is her not so good
IMG_1195.jpg


and with a bit of time spent on the above
IMG_0972.jpg


Hope this helps.
 

vicm2509

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Wow what a difference, she looks really fantastic in the second pic. All that work has really paid off!

I do an awful lot of transitions and circles etc and it does help. I mean he doesnt seem to relax until he is really warmed up and has done some halt to trots and walk to canters, at which point he does work much better. He has improved a lot since I got him, its just now he seems to have got to a point where I need some help bringing him on further.

I really appreciate all the help I have been given in this thread. I think I will pick out all the points and make a list to read before every schooling session, that way I will have it fresh in my head all the time (i am very forgetful). I will keep you updated as to how we get on.
 

Madam_max

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It really is the only thing that works for my mare. Shoulder-in especially is brilliant. Some horses just take a while to soften. My girl sounds like yours I have tried various bits, she hated the hanging cheek. She is very fussy in her mouth. Good luck.x
 

Leg_end

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I am just starting on the same path with my lad. Although he was totally resistant and really hangs on the right rein. Ive got a fab instructor now and were working on plenty of transitions, making sure they are straight and working into that contact. Even if they start to jog it doesnt matter so much as long as they are still moving forwards (if that makes sense?!) I make sure i have a supporting outside rein and really give to the inside. Ive seen such an improvement in him the past month and his canter is dreamy when we get it perfect!
 

siennamum

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He is lovely and I think you look like a really happy partnership.
The only comment I would make is that he can only really carry his head & work more uphill by using the muscles at the base of his neck - in front of the withers. It's difficult to tell from the picture but he looks rather unmuscled atm (to be expected). To get him into more of a round frame, I wouldn't worry about the front end too much, there's a danger you'll bring him behind the vertical & that muscle you can see which is well developed at the top of his neck, will get stronger & stronger.
Consequently, I would focus more on lateral work & lots of it. In particular circling in and out on a circle. When he steps through & starts elevating his shoulders & developing his muscles, his head should start dropping more into the right place on it's own.
I would also probably lunge him once or twice a month in side reins. You'll find it invaluable in seeing how he's acquiring self carriage & educating him that he has to work within a frame. Good luck
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ihatework

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halleluja (sp!!!)
Thanks siennamum, have just flicked through the post and finally someone said exactly what I was thinking.
To help him devlop he really needs to learn to take more weight behind, this is a gradual build up.
There are lots of different basic lateral exercises you can be doing involving leg yield, shoulder in etc. the best idea would be to ask your instructor to show you how to do these.
 

vicm2509

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I have been doing lateral work with him, like rein back, leg yield in walk, trot and canter, turn on the forehand. I havent had a lesson for 4 weeks as he had a splint and its a 30min road walk to our lesson but I will be starting again on tuesday as he is back in full work now.

We left off last time with my instructor teaching me the aids for shoulder in, which was difficult as it appears he has never done it before, we will persist though.

I agree with the muscles, although he has gained a lot more than when I bought him (they were litrally non existant then), his top line still needs a lot of work though. I have started lunging him twice a week in his pessoa to help with this. I now have the whole winter to sort out his top line and his flatwork before the show season next year.

I cant wait to get started using all the tips you have all suggested. I have read and re read this thread to try and take in all the info.
 
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