7293Straight! was A question for a spring day...
- Apr 2, 2008First 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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