Friday, September 10, 2010

Core issues

Panama and I have been bracing on one another, and today my trainer finally said, "Enough." She wants to try a standing martingale on him, but I said I'll think about it — and in the meantime I'll work on the issues we talked about that seem to be causing this.

On Panama's end, it's throwing his head up (mainly in the outside arena, but technically whenever he's anxious) and bracing on the bit when I'm trying to halt or half-halt him. On my end, it's a lack of core strength (I'm pulling myself forward) and needing to be able to clearer, firmer, and more consistent with my cues to regulate his speed and get his head down.

I'm focusing on the lack of core strength for the moment. I talked to my trainer a bit about how to develop this, and she gave me some suggestions (riding without stirrups, riding with a straighter back). I also asked some questions and cleared up some of my confusion about how to ask him to drop his head. (I was bending too much at the wrist when I asked, and my trainer showed me by having me hold the reins how ineffective that is.)

So we're going to work on this before the next lesson. I'm going to try to ride both days over the weekend and more during the week — I haven't been riding much lately, and I feel like it's part of why we're not progressing as fast as we had been at the beginning of the summer, when I was riding almost every day.



At September 10, 2010 at 5:45 PM, Blogger Sydney_bitless said...

My solution: bitless. I can't tell you the number of horses (especially young) that toss their heads to evade the bit.
Though when he does toss his head he is evading the pressure of the bit, teaching him to flex at the poll when you apply pressure is a very suitable way of ridding him of this habit.

I say no to contraptions. A martingale is only a bandaid for a cut that needs stitches. You need to treat the cause (why hes tossing his head) not the symptoms (just prevent him from tossing his head by artificial means) martingales, tie downs etc are a temporary fix and no subsitute long term for proper training as soon as they come off, 99% of the time the horse resumes the habit.

At September 10, 2010 at 10:26 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I always used a martingale when riding. Sydney asked me why, because none of my horses appear to be high-headed. So, the other day I tried riding without the martingale and found I had no control. I've been using one, because that's what all my trainer's taught me to do. The horses learned the feeling of my rein cues with the additional weight of martingale rings, so when I remove the martingale, they can't quite interpret the different feel of my cues on the reins.

At September 10, 2010 at 10:42 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Sydney, what you say about contraptions is what concerns me, too. I feel like it's a shortcut when I really need to work out what *I'm* doing wrong that I can't get the same response out of him that she can.

I don't think bitless is for us, though. For one thing, evading the bit is not the problem -- it's a side effect. He throws his head up out of anxiety, not bit evasion. He doesn't do it as much inside, for example, where he's more comfortable. Two, I'm pretty sure he actually likes his bit, as he is eager to take it, and never fusses or fidgets with it. I think it's pretty clear that it is something that I'm doing (or not doing) that is causing these issues.

NM, I hadn't noticed that you rode with a martingale, probably because I didn't know what one was until my trainer explained it to me today! What you talk about is exactly what concerns me, though. I don't want to get to the point where I need more and more equipment just to get on and ride!


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