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#1 BodaciousGal

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 04:37 AM

I have decided to take my WP horse Hunter Pleasure. I have him in a low port Kimberwick, because I thought it would be the easiest transition for him. He was fine in it at home, and I don't know if it was me being nervous (I didn't feel really nervous), but he kept going behind vertical, especially at the canter. I have to admit, he felt a little fast, like he was "racing" the other horses in the ring. This is not normal for him, he is usually perfectly happy plodding along with others in the WP classes. Please watch, and give the good, the bad, and the ugly... This was our first time out, and we placed 6th out of 18, but I am wanting to know what to work on, and fix the sucking under problem so we can do better. I feel like if I push him forward anymore he will go into a hand gallop. I already know my posting stinks, I used to ride SS, it feels so weird to post in a forward seat, I am taking lessons on a different horse to improve that. Thanks in advance.

#2 arabsRgreat

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 05:20 AM

I would take him out of the kimberwicke and put him in a plain snaffle or a myler snaffle; in hP you want the horse to have contact. In a snaffle they can have light contact with the bit so you can push them UP to the bit. As you say, you do not want them to suck back. This will take a while for your guy to learn. I worked for a long time to teach my horse to accept contact with the bit as he was started by a WP trainer. Push him up to the bit so he's on the verticle; if he gets strong then you can get strong back to discourage him getting chargey. I"m sure someone else can help more than I can. I've been through it so I know how to do it; its just hard to put in words. I also used dressage methods to get my horse more supple; this is very important too. You can read the Jane Savoie Cross training books to hone up on this.

#3 siiamese

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 05:23 AM

he needs more rein so he can raise up out of his western headset
he needs 30% more speed at both trot and canter
in addition he needs more impulsion - - not faster and faster but stronger from the butt end. enough that he actually pushes YOU up out of the saddle.
you are picking at his mouth fairly often so he keeps ducking his head

try - - a non ported bit if you are going to maintain constant contact. he is used to wearing a ported bit in western but without the constant contact. the speed will help you with posting as well - you are having to work much too hard at posting while he goes slow. try a dressage saddle - they feel better to those of us who are used to western or SS.

#4 VanAlma

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 07:05 AM

First of all, I like your horse. He shows like he can have real nice impulsion, working gaits and frame :)
I second the snaffle idea. Also, shorten your reins and pick your hands up. Your pressure is on the lower half of his mouth, which could also be a contributing factor. Get your hands up so he can come onto the bit with the soft part of his mouth. It's a common misconception that hunters need low hands. They don't necessarily and your horse definitely doesn't. If done correctly, the horse will feel almost like he is resting on the bit / your hands, so the jarring won't allow him to do that. Last, because you sit so far back you are constantly driving him with your body yet jamming him with your hands instead of supporting so he has no place to go but in.
It seems you both have all the pieces it's just a matter of fitting them all in.
A hint for your seat in case you wanted one: practice all your gaits in a half-seat. Literally, don't come out of it for anything but a down transition. This might help you get underneath yourself. That's how I practiced. It hurts but it works :)

#5 arabsRgreat

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 07:16 AM

There should be a straight line from the bit to your elbow; this will tell you where to position your hands.

As far as the posting goes, every spring/summer (I have no indoor so get real out of shape!) I two point at a walk for 20 min 3x a week. I work up to the amount of time but by the end of the summer I'm in much better shape! Not saying you're not in shape but you were complaining about the forward seat. I hate that feeling too! I actually ride in a treeless dressage saddle and it lets me ride in the classical position; has not hurt me in HP classes.

#6 krissylekrix2001

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 07:23 AM

Great advice from Arabs and Siiamese. You have a nice horse and you are a good rider. :)

You may want to try a snaffle--myler or sprenger--as Arabs recommended. In the kimberwicke (curb bit in your horse's mind) he was taught to come off of the bit to the point of no contact. He is probably trying to do this, seeking the reward he would normally get when going western. He may become quite frustrated if he is no longer getting this reward. If you switch to a snaffle you can patiently teach him to seek contact and go to the bit. No see-sawing, keep your hands still and if he pushes against them with his mouth give him a squeeze. Do the same when you feel no contact as well. Squeeze and release, no gripping. Light contact gets a reward with a pat on the neck and a good boy. You do need to give him more rein as Siiamese said. For your own good, you can practice moving him out and keeping him at a faster tempo with no contact, correcting him when he changes his speed independent of your instruction. He does need to move up more and you need to get used to letting him do this without gripping his face. Let him gallop and have fun while you maintain only light contact, bring him back down and maintain light contact, gallop him again. He doesn't look like a horse that will run away with you.

Another thing I noticed right away was saddle fit--it looks like when you are posting the saddle is rocking up and down. This may cause pain and pinching...I think that most traditional hunt saddles are too narrow or don't have a wide enough channel to accomodate Arab backs. An all purpose saddle may give you more security.

Something else that it looks like you are doing (I was doing this and it was tough to fix, but I worked hard on it!) is gripping with your thigh and knee. Does it ever feel like your lower leg is coming forward and you might lose your stirrups? That may be true if you are. Make sure you are riding with a relaxed knee, thigh, and seat so that you are sitting around your horse and not on him. This will dramatically improve your security as well. There is a lot of good advice and videos from Jane Savoie on youtube and facebook if you need more help. I find that the dressage training gives clearer advice that more amatuers can understand and apply. A lot of times I think that Arab training gets so "gimmicky".

#7 JBD

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 07:46 AM

Tons of good advice already. I had to fix the same problem when my 3 year old came home from the trainer. He was curling down and behind the bit to avoid contact. Forward, forward, forward is the way to go. We are showing dressage now and I take lessons with a dressage instructor so didn't do it on my own. I started riding in one of the Sprenger snaffles, an o ring, moved to their D ring dynamic. I already had these bits so don't go out and spend a lot of money if you already have a smooth snaffle. Ultimately we put him in a french link and he goes well in it.
Look at the poll to see if you need to move him forward. If you can't see it (the poll), bump him up with your leg until you can. He may move slightly faster for awhile but will get the idea pretty soon. I also did small circles at the walk to get him to reach for the bit. That allows you to use your leg to establish contact without increasing speed.

And your posting doesn't suck, you're just working harder than the horse right now. Once you move him forward, as others have said, he'll start to lift you.

#8 mhtokay

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 08:26 AM

Yeah, great advice all around. I don't think your posting sucks, but your hands are in your crotch, rounding your shoulders. You horse is more on the forehand, and behind the vertical. Hands don't post.

#9 siiamese

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 08:36 AM

gripping with your thigh and knee. Does it ever feel like your lower leg is coming forward and you might lose your stirrups? That may be true if you are. Make sure you are riding with a relaxed knee, thigh, and seat so that you are sitting around your horse and not on him. This will dramatically improve your security as well.

that's interesting advice - - I think I did the same knee gripping when I tried hunter; but not with wester or saddleseat.
that "hands on the withers" thing seems to be something arab trainers teach riders - - maybe so they don't hang on the horse's face while posting, or until they get strong enough to not yank on the mouth with posting/gait changes/etc.

#10 arabsRgreat

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 08:44 AM

In watching the video again I agree with Krissy, the saddle may not fit the horse. In one instant the camera is close enough it looks as tho the saddle is actually "slapping" for lack of a better word, onto the horse's back. (Its so so hard to tell from video) If the saddle were a better fit the rider would have a MUCH easier time posting. This can make a WORLD of difference.