Wednesday, March 11, 2009

According To H.T. part 10

OK, you thought I wouldn't make it didn't you? :o) Please enjoy part 10 and remember to sign up to our blog. We encourage your comments and if you have any questions or topics that you would like for us to cover, please feel free to post them.

I know you are tired of hearing me say this over and over, but don't forget to do your basic ground exercises before you start riding your horse. You will find your horse will pay more attention to you and will not be near as spooky when you ride him. I will assume our horse is gaiting at a certain speed. I will now start asking him to increase or decrease this speed gradually, but never to the point where he will break out of gait, or loose his rhythm. I like to guide my horse as much as possible with my legs. I have found that a pacy horse (a horse that has a tendacy to want to pace) will fall out of gait and into a pace if you let his head move from side to side instead of keeping it straight. If I have been doing my flexing exercises then I will be able to control his face/head/eyes by supporting his head with the opposite rein in pointing it one way or the other. I recently read a article that said if you over do your flexing exercises, and let your horse flex all the way back to your stirrup then you will have a problem of the horse going straight to the stirrup everytime you ask for him to flex. Like I said, you are in control, so only ask your horse to flex as far as you are asking for by using the other rein for support. Pacy horses are better riden in a straight line as much as possible. Keep a pacy horse away from small circles and figure eights until he is locked into gait better. I have also found that soft ground will encourage a horse to pace. What is a pace compared to the Mountain Horse gait? A pace is a 2 beat gait with both feet moving at the same time on the same side. This is not a smooth gait and is not desirable in the breed. I have put a picture of my horse pacing on this blog and notice the rein. See what happens when I am not supporting his head. I am riding him with a loose rein and allowing him to flex in his neck back and forth. Then note the picture of him in a 4 beat lateral gait, with the reins in contact with the mouth. We want to keep a soft, responsive mouth on our horse, so again, don't pull, but have enough contact that you support him and don't leave him hanging out there alone.:o)

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