New rider wants to know: what am I telling my horse if...

New rider wants to know: what am I telling my horse if...

Post by Jim Gaspar, P.E., F » Fri, 15 Mar 1996 04:00:00

As I am circling the dressage arena, my horse decides to move his head forward
and down (assume I am posting).  There are several things I can do, and I'm
not sure what effect each would have or which one (or more) is desirable.

1) I can do nothing.  That is, keep my hands closed on the reins and allow them
   to be pulled forward by the horse.

2) I can let the reins slide through my fingers, trying to end up with the same
   amount of contact as I had before the horse dropped his head.

3) I can try to resist the horses movement by pulling back.

4) I can follow the horses head, lowering (or raising in other cases) my hands
   to maintain the same angles we had initially. (Combined with 2 or 3?).

And of course I've completely ignored what leg aids I might use, although
the answer always seems to be 'more'! :)

I've heard and read of terms such as collection and 'on the bit', but I'm not
ready for them (I've just recently been able to maintain a canter twice around
the arena).  But an enquiring mind wants to know, even if the body isn't ready.

/*               an unreconstructed Missouri guerilla