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“ON THE BIT”—NEXT PHASE: BALANCING POINTS: ·Balancing ·Building ·Rewarding In the previous stages, you worked on relaxing the
frame, primarily by loosening the
jaw, poll, and any bracing
in the muscles of the neck. You should have found that this transfers its
loosening effect all the way along the topline, through the shoulder and down
into the hind legs, creating regularity and an easy, swinging in the gaits, as
well as an overall lengthening of the horse’s outline. However, as noted before, using the inside “Direct
(Leading) Rein” will have the effect of slightly loading the inside fore. This
is not the great sin it is often made out to be, especially when the horse is
relaxed (not rushing) and working at a natural pace (not pushed) on straight
lines and gentle curves (not tight turns.) However, your goal in this next step
is to shift that balance from inside to outside. You will do this by creating a
subtle inside lateral flexion throughout your horse’s body from the long low
I came across an article about a stupid study, and i just had to comment. I couldn’t find the original study, so I wasn’t able to verify any of what’s written in this article. But from what I can tell, it seems like a pretty crap study. It sounds a lot like they set out with a conclusion in mind, designed a study that would prove it, and then congratulated themselves on being right all along.
The theory was that nervous people make horses calmer.Take a minute to let that soak in.
Now, I can understand a schoolmaster—or even an unbroken horse—feeling less threatened by someone green and vulnerable placed at the center of a situation like this versus, say, a more confident handler venturing in there with the intention of “being the alpha,” who is naturally going to provoke a more wary, nervous response in the horse. If the study was just making the distinction between horses' responses to people who seem to know what they are doing and those who don't, maybe …
I recently posted about getting a horse started “on the bit,” but I probably should have started here, with the somewhat obscure concept of “jaw flexions.”I first got thinking about this after a great conversationstarted by smazourek over atQuarters For Me, and there's a great post on the subject that you should check out as well: Cession
First off, let me start by saying that I dislike the term “jaw flexion,” as I think it’s something of a misnomer; I prefer the term “jaw releases” (and even that’s imperfect) if we have to refer to this process at all.
So, what are the mysterious jaw flexions or releases?It is a concept and practice developed by Baucher in his Second Manner and over the years has been misunderstood and mangled by successive trainers and amateurs to the point of being nearly incomprehensible.For all I know, I may be about to add myself to that list, but here is my somewhat unorthodox take on this semi-arcane practice, which I hope you’ll find demysti…
I saw this in an e-mail going around work and for some reason just had to share. I had to read it twice: once with my regular brain and again with my "shut up and act like a normal person" moderator in place. After you get past the initial shock and stop laughing, it's actually very sweet, and it's something I might have written at a young age, though I seriously hope my parents would have checked it before I handed it in!!! But I do have to appreciate any young person so enthusiastic about (hopefully) horses.
But I couldn't help getting a good chuckle out of it after a very long week, so hopefully you'll see the humor in it too and not be too offended. And if you are, too bad! Hahahahah ;-)
I know I’ve been pretty lax in my posting lately. I have plenty of excuses, but none of them are especially convincing, so I won’t insult anyone by listing them here. The truth is I’ve probably just had too many other things on my mind to put much thought into posts anyone might remotely want to read. I’ve got limited time and space in my brain these days, which is a really bad combination. I’ve also been feeling a little grinchy in general. I got my Christmas shopping out of the way pretty early (for me) and did a minimum of decorating. I didn’t even bother with a tree this year. Instead I got a dumpster and decided to tear apart my house, garage, barn, loft, feed shed and equipment shed and finally get organized—kind my gift to myself this year—so it seemed counterproductive to drag a tree and decorations out into the middle of the chaos. I wouldn’t call myself a hoarder or anything, but I have a definite knack for hanging onto semi-useful stuff that’s past its prime with the we…
“ON THE BIT”—FIRST PHASE: LONG AND
LOW KEY POINTS: ·Flexing ·Loosening ·Lengthening FIRST STEPS: LOOSENING In this fist phase, the main priority will be to
release any tension in the jaw, neck and poll, and thereby relax the topline,
which will encourage the horse to naturally adopt a long and low frame on his
own as opposed to an inverted and braced one. WHAT DOES THIS ACCOMPLISH? To accomplish this, one uses a single, simple rein
aid: the “Direct
(Leading) Rein.” The basic theory behind using the leading rein to get the
horse stretching and relaxed in his topline is based on a technique advocated
by Boucher.He understood that, in
order to raise the head and invert the topline, the horse has to brace the
muscles on both sides of the neck as a pair.Bringing the head to one side with a gentle leading rein (he
employed a lifting hand for this) disengages those paired, braced muscles and
allows the head to lower, which in turn allows the rest of the topline to begin
to relax. Only then can the…