Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

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lorilu
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Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby lorilu » Sat Oct 02, 2021 1:05 am

First off I know forwardness isnt speed and impulsion is independent of it.
We are entering our third year showing PSG and now trying to move up to I-1. This year has been a real..... shit show?
One of the issues seems to be a loss of really going forward into the bit and carrying himself. I feel as if he is behind my leg most of the time, and if I push him forward we lose his haunches out behind. Surprisingly, I feel as if I want to "hotten him up" some... and that is not a typical thought for me!
The other day in the middle of our schooling I was so frustrated we galloped around the arena, coming back on the short sides, and that seemed to help a bit....
I really need suggestions...... whip and spur seem to almost be part of the problem.
He lives out 24/7 on good Florida pasture, fed small amount of grain with an Equalizer and Purina Outlast and Camalina oil for some calories.
We school 4-5 days a week both in the arena and in a 2 acre open woodland behind my house.
Lusitano, 16YO, recently had his yearly lameness review, hocks done in the spring, saddle fit in the spring.

Thanks!!

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Flight
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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby Flight » Sat Oct 02, 2021 2:06 am

I have this same problem with my friesian cross, and if I was competing, I'd be looking at Inter1 also.
It's frustrating and I've been through the galloping, the (what I call) barrel racing yahoo with the rein slaps over their neck galloping, doing jumping in our warm up. And he does it all, but he's happy to stop again straight after!

What I've found working for us now, is really short repetitions of what we are practicing with halt breaks to where he 'releases' (chews the bit, shakes his head/neck, releases that tension in his body). Then go again.
I often use collected walk, where you gee them up till the are almost piaffing. I only do collected walk for 15m or so. But I find this more useful than trotting or cantering around and around. I dont use spurs, I find he braced against them if I used them too hard (can't blame him!!) I swoosh a whip around to startle him, rather than hit/tap him.

For example, we are practicing piaffe to passage steps and canter piris right now and once we've warmed up I do my collected walk to get him 'up' and just do several of whatever specifically I want to train, with walk or halt breaks in between. By this I mean something like piaffe 10 steps, out into the best passage steps I can do for 5 steps and then walk. Make sure he's released some tension. Pick up reins - go again. Or, pick up canter, half pass to CL, half piri, walk, release. Or if it's been a real shit 1/2 piri, stay in canter, try again and usually it's slightly better. Walk. Then repeat. If I start doing more in a row, as soon as I feel him flagging, or that I"m needing to push more, then I need to stop and give him a break before going again.
This has helped him be way more 'hotter' and when I occasionally practice parts of the test, he's got plenty more go.

The other thing to notice is your horses breathing and maybe heart rate when you do stop. I know friesians aren't known for their ridden endurance, but I was surprised how much effort my horse was actually putting in.

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Chisamba
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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby Chisamba » Sat Oct 02, 2021 2:51 am

with my Irish draught when we hit PSG I had to help her with out of fitness work. trot sets and canter sets, aerobic fitness.

also, I find exercises like shoulder in to.medium half pass to x then medium for the rest of the diagonal, piaffe turn on the forehand to passage, not barrel racing rein flapping forward, because, imho you stand the risk of getting forward or connected, as opposed to forward into the connection.

also, I started jumping her. shoulder in to a jump, piaffe to a 3 foot fence, absurdly no rushing, maintaining the actuall collection all the way to the base of the jump. half pass to an oxer.

I know it's a concern that you could do soft tissue injury on your upper level horse, so perhaps just imagine you had to jump a huge over from your piaffe. or from your walk, or from your tempi.

with me it helped to actually do the jump, but some only need to think " is my horses hind end active enough to jump."

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Flight
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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby Flight » Sat Oct 02, 2021 3:19 am

The barrel rein slaps was more for the quickness to respond, halt to gallop. Not about the galloping, although it did help to get his blood up. But the otherside of that is tension, so it's a balance.

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby blob » Sat Oct 02, 2021 9:53 am

Is it possible he needs more kcals to do the work you're asking him to do?

I recently redid my mare's diet with the help of a nutritionist. She is built thick so I'm always worried about her getting too chunky. But basically the nutritionist determined that she wasn't getting what she needed to do the work and that she actually needed more starch (easy to use energy), so we added higher starch content and more calories and not only has the energy gone up, her weight has come down.

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby khall » Sat Oct 02, 2021 1:34 pm

Blob that is very interesting about the weight coming down

I find riding out in the fields to work gave my not so forward thinking WBs much more energy. I also agree with upping the fitness

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby blob » Sat Oct 02, 2021 10:13 pm

khall wrote:Blob that is very interesting about the weight coming down



I think by giving her the right amount of easily accessible energy she is now better able to burn the calories she's ingesting. So it's just overall a better system of energy in and energy spent.

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby exvet » Sun Oct 03, 2021 2:28 pm

blob wrote:Is it possible he needs more kcals to do the work you're asking him to do?

I recently redid my mare's diet with the help of a nutritionist. She is built thick so I'm always worried about her getting too chunky. But basically the nutritionist determined that she wasn't getting what she needed to do the work and that she actually needed more starch (easy to use energy), so we added higher starch content and more calories and not only has the energy gone up, her weight has come down.


THIS is exactly what I had to do with Monty back when I was trying to train beyond third level. His diet has been modified a little due to his age but he actually gets more now (than he did when I was riding him training - third) and is still maintaining the appropriate weight with the help of regular work. I found I needed to do a little bit of this with Junior and he's looking imo better now than he did at the beginning of the summer. I think I'm going to have to increase his amount of easy to digest energy [again] and his workload (from 4/5 days a week to 5/6 days a week) to be able to build him up (stamina and strength) properly. He was able to get through the clinic yesterday (close to 55 minutes in the heat) without getting too tired which I was somewhat worried about but I can tell I'm going to really have to put our noses to the grind stone if we hope to achieve more; and, proper nutrition (making sure I'm not starving him for the sake of conventional wisdom) is part of the key. I've always joked about my horses being a fit fat; but, to be honest to compete at the levels they do, they must not be underweight - better muscled, yes, but not underweight.

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby mari » Mon Oct 04, 2021 2:04 pm

lorilu wrote:First off I know forwardness isnt speed and impulsion is independent of it.
We are entering our third year showing PSG and now trying to move up to I-1. This year has been a real..... shit show?
One of the issues seems to be a loss of really going forward into the bit and carrying himself. I feel as if he is behind my leg most of the time, and if I push him forward we lose his haunches out behind. Surprisingly, I feel as if I want to "hotten him up" some... and that is not a typical thought for me!
The other day in the middle of our schooling I was so frustrated we galloped around the arena, coming back on the short sides, and that seemed to help a bit....
I really need suggestions...... whip and spur seem to almost be part of the problem.
He lives out 24/7 on good Florida pasture, fed small amount of grain with an Equalizer and Purina Outlast and Camalina oil for some calories.
We school 4-5 days a week both in the arena and in a 2 acre open woodland behind my house.
Lusitano, 16YO, recently had his yearly lameness review, hocks done in the spring, saddle fit in the spring.

Thanks!!


My one instructor rides a lot of stallions, and one thing he has me do with my horse (who is not really reactive to whip or spur) is what he does with his young stallions that are behind the leg and want to fight against leg pressure. Take the reins in one hand, and sit upright and quietly. Give a quiet aid for forward, then swing the dressage whip across the withers, from shoulder to shoulder (WITHOUT making contact with the horse). It has to be hard and fast enough so the whip makes a sound as it goes through the air. Horse shoots forward, you give a big big reward and quietly come back to normal pace. Then vary it a bit. Leg off, small aid, while simultaneously taking reins in one hand, then swinging the whip very hard and fast like a jockey, again not touching the horse.

A bit unconventional, and you need to be able to sit quietly through a big surge forward, but it really makes a difference to the response without them learning to brace against the whip or the poke of a spur. Obviously don't do this if there is a good chance of being turned into a lawn dart...
The aim of argument or of discussion should not be victory, but progress. ~ Joseph Joubert

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby Ponichiwa » Mon Oct 04, 2021 2:44 pm

Similar to the above, you can use your whip for noise instead of as a physical aid (e.g. "making whippy noises" in the air but don't touch the horse; tap your own boot, etc.) and that can help get your horse fresher to the aids without actually escalating aids or galloping forward.

When I've had this issue, it was more of a connection problem than an impulsion problem-- my guy was reacting appropriately to the aids but the energy wasn't cycling through his whole body due to tension he held at the base of his neck. What worked:
- Stretching in collection: arcing the neck forward and out of the withers without sacrificing the balance
- Transitions between stretching and "standard" posture at all 3 gaits
- Decompression rides (trail ride, cavaletti, etc.)

What didn't work:
- Blasting forward (left the hocks out behind and the brisket in the dirt)
- Sharp t/c/t or w/c/w or w/t/w transitions without addressing the posture: added too much tension without unlocking the blockage in the lower neck/chest sling.

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby Kelo1 » Mon Oct 04, 2021 4:27 pm

I know this is a far left field suggestion, but....can you find some cattle?

Being able to do different work (cattle, or trail rides, or cavaletti challenges) might be a good way to freshen your horse's mind, and let you work on some aids without nagging.

What I mean by that is, at least with our cow horses, they focus on the cow, so when as the rider start doing stuff -- supple them, push them forward, get them balanced, do some lateral work -- their mind is focused on the cow as a goal, so they accept us using the aids with a more fresh mindset.

I'm not talking about yahooing around and cowboying. Ideally you'd not break out of a walk or trot, but just push the cow around, get it to change direction, etc. But the whole time your horse is tracking that cow, you can get them on the aids a lot easier.

Finding a good safe trail and doing some gallop blowouts might be good too (if you can do it safely).

COTH did this article earlier this year:

https://www.chronofhorse.com/article/co ... confidence

I know Buster personally and he's a good horseman, so if you have a chance to ride in one of these down in FL, it might be fun?

Just a thought.

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby Srhorselady » Mon Oct 04, 2021 5:44 pm

I recommend the cattle if you can get them! I have a Very lazy schoolmaster Hanoverian. He is obedient and always does what I ask, but he always gives me the chance to change my mind about upward transitions. However, the first time (and every time since) he saw a steer lying there flicking his ears I got the best piaffe and passage! It was a little tense, but boy was he on the bit, up in the sternum, and lowered in haunches! However, I suspect he wasn’t totally focused on me. :D :D :D

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby piedmontfields » Fri Oct 08, 2021 1:49 pm

I have sort of a hot and cold Lusitano mare, so I have some sense of the challenge!

My mare is much more responsive to the movement of the whip (ex. showing it to her, flipping it side to side) than to the feel of the whip. In general, I have to be very dedicated to 1. adequate walking warm-up and 2. making the walk in front of the leg to then have a forward rest of the ride. I would say that if I do use stronger aids (whip, spurs) they are basically always at the beginning of the ride--to establish forward. Then I don't have to nag the rest of the ride.

I also think that around mid-teens a horse's basic energy reserves can change a bit. It's great that your fellow is out 24 hrs a day, but that might also make him more tired.

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby lorilu » Mon Oct 11, 2021 11:23 pm

I want to thank everyone. I know I posted this then "disappeared" for a while.....

To answer some of your questions: He doesnt need more calories. He is a really easy keeper, and is really fit. Doesnt breathe hard after normal work..... and I started him on Red Cell, one of those racehorse blood builders.... no change after two weeks. He gets some grain, a full serving of Seminole Equilizer, and two squirts of Camalina oil..... and Outlast.

On advice of my trainer, I'm not carrying a whip right now, as it shortens and quickens his stride rather than getting the bigger stride you would expect. I have tried to use it over the withers, and it gets him really upset. I imagine his early history (in Brazil, but not Interagro), where he also got spur scars under his belly, have something to do with that.

I do the quiet aid then big aid process, and it works for a while. Today, for example, was "WALK ON!!" day, stop sauntering around!!

@Flight, I really like your ideas....


No cattle around, but I do have a two acre woods that I "trail ride" in every day. A few working equitation obstacles and some cavaletti (we walk them, because he really has no care about wacking them at the trot.... )

@Ponichiwa, interesting..... last lesson was all about connection and that is one of my major focuses at this time! I will try your suggestions!

Thanks everyone!! Glad to see I am not the only one!!

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby heddylamar » Tue Oct 12, 2021 2:15 am

This is rather mundane, but have you tried something like walking down a hill, then turning around and asking for a big trot up? Most horses I've ridden really want to open up on hills, so take advantage of that and ask him to GO. After he's responding to the go reliably, add in transitions within the gait on the uphill.

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby Chisamba » Tue Oct 12, 2021 7:17 am

if the horse gave you the wrong response to the rein would you throw away the rein? probably not, you would take the time to teach the correct response.

my suggestion has changed. your problem is probably not a forward problem. it's a teaching problem. any time a rider or instructor abandons an aid instead if teaching the correct response to the aid, they have limited themselves.

I cannot tell you how many horses have come to.me that are either afraid of the whip or have the wrong response to it. it is not punishment, it is a tool. like any aid, or tool, it needs to be used correctly .

it is possible that if your horse just quickens to the whip, it has nothing to do with the whip, but with the quality of his connection. I stead of going forward into a longer neck, he may be compressing and hurrying. I recommend taking the time to teach your horse to push into the contact, or in other words, lengthen its neck into the contact when it feels the whip. I just touch. I ususlly do not hit , swish or wallop. once the horse lengthens it is like you have opened a gate, turned there'd light green, or popped the cord on champagne, the energy flows forward.

some breeds find it especially easy to hover just behind the connection with shortened necks, thus quickening and stalling at the same time.

My worst example was a OTTB who could canter on the spot, or even backwards and become quite frantic, the list of rules she came with was ridiculous. no whip, no touching behind the saddle, no riding out, every piece of tack was marked with nail varnish. girth in thus hole, bridle in this hole , stirrup in this hole etc etc. none of this made her safe. in the middle of a lesson the riders coat touched her behind the saddle . horse galloped blindly, hit the out gate full speed , flipped over it and proceeded to bolt terrified.

so she became a horse in training. so I was taking a first ride on her and my son came in on his pony. she reacted as if it was a charging bear. I thought she was going to kill me. after 15 rather dramatic minutes, she finally gave her best work and I was able to reward her. then we, my son on his pony and I hacked around the ring on a long rein for the better part of an hour.

sadly we were at the time at a large public barn, so the tattlers were active and after I got off I checked my phone. it had many many frantic messages. "I FORGOT TO TELL YOU YOU CANNOT RIDE TECCA WITH PONIES" I simply responded, you can now. fifty texts later I had my sin get back on, I mounted again, and I had a friend shoot a snippet of video of me and my son hacking together relaxed, and sent it to the frantic owner. Now this lovely person is still my friend. she takes superb care of her horse. she simply was especially concerned about the level of anxiety her horse had, and was trying to keep herself, her horse and me safe. but safety is in presenting the horse thevthing it fears in a way that it eventually chooses to not fear it. ultimately it needs to understand its best response to fear is to check in with you, it's rider, and take confidence from the consistent leadership and most and best of all, to trust the contact like a child takes assurance from holding hands to cross the road.

my point is, you should not continually shrink the horses environment by removing that which does not elicit a positive response. you should spend however long it takes to explain to the horse that it can have a positive response. most especially if you suspect previous abuse or excessive fear.

on this particular subject, I admit, this is not a humble opinion. I believe it to be essential, for the sake of the horse.

I apologize if I over stated my point, but maybe someone needs to hear it. lol

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby lorilu » Wed Oct 13, 2021 10:40 pm

heddylamar wrote:This is rather mundane, but have you tried something like walking down a hill, then turning around and asking for a big trot up? Most horses I've ridden really want to open up on hills, so take advantage of that and ask him to GO. After he's responding to the go reliably, add in transitions within the gait on the uphill.


I live in Ocala...... not many hills, BUT the treed two acres behind my house are slightly slanted and I DO use it every ride. He pushes up the hill.

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby lorilu » Wed Oct 13, 2021 10:51 pm

Thank you Chisamba. COnnection is our focus these days, and moving into the connection IS part of the problem.
WHen I use it, he quickens his hind leg.... doesnt lengthen his body or neck. ANd he certainly does nothing dangerous..... Yesterday I checked the whip response - I waved it over his withers and had no big response (yay).

We are doing lots of transitions, with in and between gaits, The last few days, our best work was the last 10 or so minutes - its as if he finally finds the push into the connection, without dropping his poll or being behind my leg or the bridle.

Just not exactly sure how to teach getting longer strides with the whip....... it seems my seat does most of that, and the whip is mostly a back up to my leg as far as "directionality" goes.

Thanks you.

Chisamba wrote:
it is possible that if your horse just quickens to the whip, it has nothing to do with the whip, but with the quality of his connection. I stead of going forward into a longer neck, he may be compressing and hurrying. I recommend taking the time to teach your horse to push into the contact, or in other words, lengthen its neck into the contact when it feels the whip. I just touch. I ususlly do not hit , swish or wallop. once the horse lengthens it is like you have opened a gate, turned there'd light green, or popped the cord on champagne, the energy flows forward.

........

my point is, you should not continually shrink the horses environment by removing that which does not elicit a positive response. you should spend however long it takes to explain to the horse that it can have a positive response. most especially if you suspect previous abuse or excessive fear.

on this particular subject, I admit, this is not a humble opinion. I believe it to be essential, for the sake of the horse.

I apologize if I over stated my point, but maybe someone needs to hear it. lol

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby Chisamba » Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:30 am

Aah well the classics adhere to the fundamental theory that whip means forward and spur means lateral.

so, Mama is a lazy horse, been used for lessons etc. when riders tap her with the whip she throws up her head she may step sideways to avoid the whip but she does not go forward, neither faster, not quicker, nor longer in stride. I initially addressed this in hand.

in hand. face horse, stand alongside jowl. rein in hand, held close to the bit, long whip with short lash. place horse next to wall. touch the hind quarter with whip and gently move the bit away from the wither forward. repeat immediately but NOT aggressively until the horse follows your hand with its neck and steps forward with a long stride. timing of release reward makes this exercise easier.

under saddle. ride on rail, touch haunches with whip. continue to touch until the horse increases the quality of connection to bit and steps forward in a longer stride.

the biggest mistake people make is to stop using the whip when you get the wrong reaction instead of continuing to apply the whip and immediately stopping when the good and correct desired result is achieved.


it is imperative to understand you wish to teach the horse to respond to a touch. not a hit/ slap/ whoosh/ whack etc. you.may occasionally have to increase the pressure on the whip to get a response, especially if the horse has been " desensitized " with whip touches. body language can be important. in hand stand square with weight on both feet. under saddle sit square and lead with your psoas.

( this is simply my method. which I adjust from horse to horse and circumstances to circumstance. some horses need to.learn to elasticized the base of the neck to improve forward, and others need to elasticized the crest or stop hiding in the poll, so neck posture will be different from horse to horse.

not every horse benefits from poll high open throat, and not every horse benefits from down and round. but I have never met a horse that has not benefited from being taught to lengthen the neck. I have seen the tricks work too. reins through a pool noodle, or a hollow conduit, or even dressage whips taped to the reins. high forward hands with contact can also correct momentary lapses

the tricky part is being good enough to.lengthen the neck without putting the balance over the forehand. but imho it's okay to.let the horse do that as part of learning.

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby heddylamar » Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:42 am

lorilu wrote:Just not exactly sure how to teach getting longer strides with the whip....... it seems my seat does most of that, and the whip is mostly a back up to my leg as far as "directionality" goes.

Have you tried combining whip + slightly slanted field? E.g. when you strike off going up the slope, ask with seat and whip. I''d start with a light tap of the whip until you're not getting quicker strides, but a more forward longer strided response. Once that's established, build to a firmer "yes, go" announcement with the whip that you can carry over to the flat.

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby Chisamba » Fri Oct 15, 2021 2:49 am

heddylamar wrote:
lorilu wrote:Just not exactly sure how to teach getting longer strides with the whip....... it seems my seat does most of that, and the whip is mostly a back up to my leg as far as "directionality" goes.

Have you tried combining whip + slightly slanted field? E.g. when you strike off going up the slope, ask with seat and whip. I''d start with a light tap of the whip until you're not getting quicker strides, but a more forward longer strided response. Once that's established, build to a firmer "yes, go" announcement with the whip that you can carry over to the flat.


clever!

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby khall » Fri Oct 15, 2021 2:26 pm

I find 3 quick taps with the whip is much more energizing than a big whack or even just a single tap.

I’ve also found that using lateral work to energize them is helpful. I will do up transitions in a lateral movement then push them in the lateral movement

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Re: Rediscovering forwardness and impulsion

Postby lorilu » Sat Oct 23, 2021 11:28 pm

Thank you Chisamba. Especially for the clear directions HOW to do it.

Chisamba wrote:Aah well the classics adhere to the fundamental theory that whip means forward and spur means lateral.

so, Mama is a lazy horse, been used for lessons etc. when riders tap her with the whip she throws up her head she may step sideways to avoid the whip but she does not go forward, neither faster, not quicker, nor longer in stride. I initially addressed this in hand.

in hand. face horse, stand alongside jowl. rein in hand, held close to the bit, long whip with short lash. place horse next to wall. touch the hind quarter with whip and gently move the bit away from the wither forward. repeat immediately but NOT aggressively until the horse follows your hand with its neck and steps forward with a long stride. timing of release reward makes this exercise easier.

under saddle. ride on rail, touch haunches with whip. continue to touch until the horse increases the quality of connection to bit and steps forward in a longer stride.

the biggest mistake people make is to stop using the whip when you get the wrong reaction instead of continuing to apply the whip and immediately stopping when the good and correct desired result is achieved.


it is imperative to understand you wish to teach the horse to respond to a touch. not a hit/ slap/ whoosh/ whack etc. you.may occasionally have to increase the pressure on the whip to get a response, especially if the horse has been " desensitized " with whip touches. body language can be important. in hand stand square with weight on both feet. under saddle sit square and lead with your psoas.

( this is simply my method. which I adjust from horse to horse and circumstances to circumstance. some horses need to.learn to elasticized the base of the neck to improve forward, and others need to elasticized the crest or stop hiding in the poll, so neck posture will be different from horse to horse.

not every horse benefits from poll high open throat, and not every horse benefits from down and round. but I have never met a horse that has not benefited from being taught to lengthen the neck. I have seen the tricks work too. reins through a pool noodle, or a hollow conduit, or even dressage whips taped to the reins. high forward hands with contact can also correct momentary lapses

the tricky part is being good enough to.lengthen the neck without putting the balance over the forehand. but imho it's okay to.let the horse do that as part of learning.


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