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7293Straight! was A question for a spring day...

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  • Else Hunrvogt
    Apr 2, 2008
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      First off, thanks for playing :) I'm looking forward to seeing more
      answers from folks.

      This came up in part because the red mare was being a toad and
      wouldn't go straight on Sunday. "Straight" is important both for
      going straight and for turning and it's exceedingly frustrating when
      she "forgets" how to do it.

      The elements of achieving straight include asking the horse to move
      forward equally into both reins - use the leg/whip to encourage
      impulsion and to lift the shoulder/ribcage of whatever side they are
      leaning on if not straight. A straight horse will continue to move
      forward as long as rein pressure remains equal on both reins. The
      best example - years ago, a friend of mine was driving around a
      warmup ring and lost his balance in the seat. He reached out to
      stabilize himself and grabbed the wheel yanking himself out of the
      carriage. The horse lost pressure on both reins so he continued to
      trot straight until he reached the square fence at the end of the
      arena and stopped, since no one told him to turn and he had run out
      of room to go straight.

      A straight horse will do two things that are important to most of the
      things we do. They will continue on until told to do otherwise -
      this is how we drive at 2 inch clearances; the pony doens't turn mid
      cone. This is really useful for everything we do except maybe
      heads. They will turn based on an increase in rein pressure or a
      decrease in rein pressure (this part is useful for heads). Which way
      is one of the few things that differs between English, Western, and
      Driving - based on degree of contact and amount of leg pressure. All
      and basically similar, but there are some subtle differences.

      The way I turn (remember the horse is straight and generally
      round/off-the-forehand at the start of this):

      English (riding - direct reining) - Use the inside leg to push the
      horse into the outside leg creating bend. More bend equals more
      turn. Consequently greater pressure in the outside rein. Support the
      horse's outside hip with your outside hip lest the horse become non-
      straight. Supporting the hip keeps the horse bending to the inside
      and not just

      Western (neck-reining) - Apply outside leg to intiate the turn. Move
      the hand to the inside which puts rein pressure on the neck and also
      takes up contact on the outside rein. Support the inside shoulder
      with the inside leg, lest the horse become non-straight. Supporting
      that inside shoulder is especially important in tight turns as a
      sharp neck rein will tip the horse's nose to the outside and make
      them fall into the turn otherwise.

      Driving (Aachenbach or direct reining) - Release outside rein
      pressure/increase inside rein pressure. Keep the inside shoulder up
      and the outside hip in lest the horse become non straight. The
      outside rein controls the rate of turn. For a sharper turn, release
      more outside pressure (needs more inside whip or really good training
      to maintain balance). To turn a tandem - put pressure on the inside
      leader rein. Hold the outside wheeler rein. Release the outside
      leader rein to complete the turn. (the point of bend becomes the
      space between the ponies rather than the shoulder/rib cage). Support
      the wheeler's shoulder with the whip if you are that talented. To
      turn pair - Hold the outside rein, (which holds back the outside
      horse a little). Push the inside horse to the outside with the whip.
      (the inside horse becomes the shoulder/rib cage while the outside
      horse becomes the hip). Four-in-hand - combination of tandem and
      pair. Assumes you are talented enough to handle four reins and the
      whip at the same time.

      In all examples, as soon as the turn is completed and pressure goes
      back to neutral, the horse should return to straight.

      In my experience creating straight and creating off the forehand go
      hand in hand as generally achieving one will give you the other.
      It's about what thought process makes sense/works for you.

      Else - looking forward to everyone else's training tricks and
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