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Module 1/4, Lesson 1/14

foundation cyan

Bridle Aids From Ground to Saddle!

In this module we have built 16 lessons, exercises, and dozens of animations / diagrams to help you succeed. In "The Foundation" module, we are establishing a solid foundation under saddle through transitioning all ground training. Because this is the beginning, we will ride with one hand or on a loose rein to keep the horse moving forward. Some disciplines require contact and the use of two reins, but this is the beginning of your horse's training and we do not want to interfere with forward impulsion. This lesson is about bending, flexing and moving forward unhindered by contact! Contact with two reins will be the focus in future lessons and courses.

This course assumes that you have completed the "Bridle Work" exercises outlined in the in-Hand course to teach the horse the eight essential riding cues from the ground. It is a good idea to know how the cues/aids influence body parts first, before you advance to the canter/lope. There may be some opportunities to canter/lope in these lessons. If you feel that you are a confident rider, you may canter your horse, but we suggest that you perfect the walk/trot exercises first.

Your job is  in this lesson two-fold: To make sure the cues that you taught are transferred to riding under saddle from the ground course, then to add your leg aid to assist you. As you improve your horse, you will become less reliant on your hands and more reliant on your seat/legs to guide the horse.

At this level we are not worried about straightness or speed control. We will work on those in later lessons.

Why Should I Bend & Flex my Horse?

Notepad-iconThese are very important concepts to teach.
  1. First concept is about "bending, flexing and suppling". When an unfinished horse is stiff and resistant through their body, we feel the stiffness through our aids. It becomes a real challenge to train a horse when you are fighting stiffness and resistance.  We supple the horse through bending and flexing the horse laterally with the head, neck, shoulders, poll, and rib cage. The bending will help take the horse off of the muscle to allow help us better train the horse. It is easier to soften one side of the horse at a time, hence the bending to one side. Once we bend, flex, and supple each side, the horse will naturally become softer when ridden straight. The degree of bend or flexing will greatly depend on the level of expectations, conditioning, and level of where the horse is in it's training. The rule of thumb is no more than 3-4 inches off straight. Bending or flexing greater than 5 inches will create issues with connection, balance, and straightness.
  2. The second concept is "straightness". Whenever a horse is traveling straight, they can brace against you a lot easier. The horse may tend to lean and balance on your aids. The longer they are ridding straight the higher likelihood that the horse will develop stiffness and resistance to the movement and your aids. Softness is a never ending process of bending, flexing and retesting. Bending and flexing will give you leverage to help soften to the aids.
  3. The third concept is "balance thinking" too much straightness or too much bending are two extremes we need to avoid. Hyper flexing can cause problems with straightness and straightness can cause problems with stiffness and resistance. We want our horse to be straight, soft, supple, balanced. We can only achieve this with a balanced view of bending, flexing, and driving the horse straight. 

What will you learn in this lesson?

Check mark Going Forward - one handed on a loose rein Check mark Shoulders Over - one handed on a loose rein
Check mark Softening the body - one handed on a loose rein Check mark Pivot on Haunches - one handed on a loose rein
Check mark Long & Low - one handed on a loose rein Check mark One-rein Side-pass - one handed on a loose rein
Check mark Disengaging Haunches -  one handed on a loose rein Check mark Passenger lesson - one handed on a loose rein
Check mark One-rein Stop - one handed on a loose rein Check mark Head down Cue -  one handed on a loose rein

In this lesson, We will Answer Questions Like:

Check mark How Do I Use the Aids/Cues to Get a Specific Response? Check mark  How Do I Decide How Strong My Correction Should Be?
Check mark What Are the Aids/Cues to "Whoa" or Slow Down? Check mark  How Do I Teach My Horse To Respond To Light Driving Aids?
Check mark What Does Each Aid/Cue Control? Check mark  How Do I Use Each of the Driving Aids?
Check mark How Do I Teach My Horse to Go Forward? Check mark  How Do I Teach My Horse To Respond To My Seat?
Check mark What Are the Aids/Cues to "Go"? Check mark  How Do I Teach My Horse To Respond To My Voice?
Check mark Whose Responsibility is it to Maintain the "Forward" While in Each Gait? Check mark  How Do I Encourage My Horse To Take Responsibility For Maintaining The Gait?
Common People Problems are:  Common Horse Problems are: Benefits to this lesson are:
  1. Rider does not find a good starting point for the horse
  2. Rider does not break down the lesson into smaller parts
  3. Rider asks for too much bend
  4. Rider asks not enough bend
  5. Rider loses the bend in the transition
  6. Rider use the outside rein to maintain the size of the circle
  7. Rider can't maintain gait in the transitions to the new bend or direction
  8. Rider is not connected to the aids
  9. Rider crosses the reins over the withers
  10. Rider lacks balance
  11. Rider lacks confidence
  12. Rider has fear
  13. Rider does not use the leg aids effectively
  14. Rider does not use seat bone effectively
  1. Horse is stiff and resistant
  2. Horse does not travel straight
  3. Horse does not maintain bend
  4. Horse loses impulsion
  5. Horse lacks rhythm and smoothness through the transition
  6. Horse does not stay between the aids
  7. Horse's poll pops up in the transition to the new bend or direction
  1. Improves balance
  2. Improves attention span
  3. Improves knowledge of using aids
  4. Improves respect
  5. Improve leadership
  6. Improves softness and directional control under saddle 
  7. Improves shoulder control
  8. Improves straightness
  9. Improves forward
  10. Improves rhythm
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