Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Booty Booty Booty Booty Rockin' Everywhere

Twice a week I work with this massively muscular quarter horse mare named Sugar. She is a VERY well trained mare. When she wants to be. Sugar was trained to neck rein, do roll backs, side pass, everything! However she was also trained to be a "peanut-pusher" Ugh! What's the problem with the peanut-pusher? They are usually VERY heavy on the forehand. In fact most western pleasure judges and trainers, frown on the peanut-pusher look. Now Sugar has the look and body type of a foundation quarter horse. She is a big, stout, short-legged mare, so for her to be so dependent on her forehand really takes away from her training, it makes her lazy and sloppy and it tends to throw her owner off balance. So how do we get the military tank to rock back on that booty?

First and foremost we need to be assured that there is no underlying medical reason why the horse is so heavy on the front, even though being heavy on the forehand is a VERY common occurrence in horses. Then we need to strengthen our OWN riding position in order to help our horse. Always stay nice and tall in the saddle, with you legs light on the sides, never grip with your thigh, use your calf. And make sure that YOU are properly balance in the saddle, before we ask your horse to re-balance itself.

Well, there are a several ways to encourage a horse, no matter what the discipline, to engage their hind quarters. The easiest? Transitions, transitions, transitions. Halt to trot, to walk to trot to lope to halt to back to on and on and on. Practicing transitions will force your horse to utilize it's hind end more, because you are constantly switching the gaits. Soon the horse will begin to anticipate your transpositions, and will therefore stay back on it's rump in preparation for your next move.

Also, circles, ahhhhhh you can never go wrong with a nice circle. Now if you are doing the circles properly, your horse will also be forced to engage his hind end. Be Careful not to mistake a bent in neck and nose as a properly bent horse. You need his body to be wrapping around your inside leg. This pic is a great example of that.

One other tip I give riders, is to bring their hands up a bit, only a few inches up off the neck, and shorten their reins a bit to give them a bit more contact with the horse's mouth. Almost as if you could imagine, lightly lifting your horse up off his front end. Sit deep in the saddle, breathe deeply, and push with your seat and thighs. Do NOT try to PULL your horse up by it's mouth! You will end up with a hollow-backed animal and not a properly engaged animal. Stay light on the mouth and ask for a bit of collection and impulsion.

Speed control. When walking, trotting or cantering, extend and collect the speed of the gaits. Collected walk, medium walk, extended walk. This will also help to add impulsion, which will again get that pony of yours on her rump!
Can we say Ground poles!!!! ANYBODY, no matter what discipline you prefer, can benefit from the proper use of ground poles. Walk, trot and lope over these bad boys and your horse will be rockin' that booty!!
Hills, you and your horse can walk up and down a hill. Start with a gradual incline and then work up to more.

Last but not least, roll backs and turns on the haunches. These are impossible to do without the hind quarter engaged.
Sometimes horses just get bored with their same old routine, so mixing up their workouts will also keep them interested and fresh enough to want to learn and make them more willing to accept new things.

20 comments:

kestrel said...

Wow, and I distincly remember the old QH rule that a horse's head should be no lower than his withers...I'm actually seeing horrible back problems that are created by having to work in that frame, and very young horses that are crippled. So very sad.

TREC Manager said...

This is my first post and what a great topic. I have a 16.3H QH gelding that I'm constantly trying to get off his forehand. I've found that ground poles are amazing for this and he really enjoys them. It makes his workout much more stimulating for his brain when he has to think about where to place his feet.

CATALYST. said...

THAT SECOND PICTURE IS SHIT.

just saying.

plz watch the worlds, to see what`s winning before you say stuff like this... in fact, you can get a live feed from the worlds right now on the AQHA website.

jesssssus.

Trainer X said...

Catalyst~ The second pic is a dressage pic, so if you're referring to the THIRD PIC it's of a woman loping her horse over a ground pole. And they both look great. SO Give it a rest...

boadicea1 said...

Catalyst,
Let me guess, you like the first picture. No collection, no connection, no engagement, and no versatility!

CATALYST. said...

boadicea1 - let me guess, you show local. :)

CATALYST. said...

OH SHIT YOU GUYS KNOW NOTHINNNNNG ABOUT THE QH CIRCUITS. please please please.

boadicea1 said...

Catalyst,
Put down FAD rider barbie, and think. Maybe, everything they do at AQHA Worlds is not necessarily the gospel. Your right I would never cheat my AQHA mare this way. There is a reason classical riding has been around for centuries, and applies to any style. Maybe someday your life can move outside the Quarter Horse circuit, or maybe outside an arena.... maybe not.Possibly you'll go over the cliff with the rest of the lemmings. I would hope at some point you make a point, instead of constantly resorting to simpleton remarks with no basis. Or maybe not. In that case, win Worlds of four beating, dirt slinging, club footed, contracted tendons for me!!!! For an education and reality check see Fugly Horse of the Day blog.

eweknow said...

Hmmm...please enlighten us nonhorse people..whats a "peanut-pusher"?

Colleensinn said...

Go Boadicea! Said what I wanted to, but better and faster;) And I love your screen name.

eweknow: A "peanut pusher" refers to Western horses that are trained to keep their head so low they could practically push a peanut on the floor with their nose. Obviously an unnatural position that does not allow the horse to collect. An example is provided in the first picture.

GoLightly said...

Boadicea
"In that case, win Worlds of four beating, dirt slinging, club footed, contracted tendons for me!!!! For an education and reality check see Fugly Horse of the Day blog."
Yeah, quit bitching catalyst, you do sound like a complete idiot. Check out www.shameinthehorseshowring.blogspot.com too.
She'll REALLY piss you off, if you're that pissed off here. She's having some family issues, so maybe leave her alone...

TrainerX rules!!!!!!!!

So WHAT if that crap is winning. It doesn't make it right. Doesn't make it any better, that all you can say is "You know nothing..."
Yeah, actually, we do know something, you obviously don't.

Rachel said...

Speaking of world, is anyone coming down to Okla?

Trainer X said...

I may be down there the 16th-22nd Not sure yet though.

Rachel said...

This is my favorite time of year. Mostly because of the trade show. :D

kestrel said...

Or, Catalyst, like wow...you could check out the long backed, too tall to meet breed standard, no hip, llama necked, crooked legged, club footed, no heart girth, boogly eyed freaking braindead mutants that have taken over my beloved breed in the showring.
Check out fugly's "if a little is good is more better"
Seems like most of the people posting her use their horses for a lot more than shuffling around a flat enclosed arena.
Yes, and if were're showing, we can put our horse in that frame using cues, not force. Then we leave the ring and appreciate the fact that our friend has put himself in misery to make us look good.

Trainer X said...

Kestrel! Kestrel! Kestrel! *chanting* LOL!!!!!!!

CATALYST. said...

awwwww our poor little beloved animals awwwwwwwwwwww AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW AWWWWWWWWWw I'M CRYIN NOW AWWWWWWWWWWW MISERY AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
I'M SO SAD AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW


stfu. get lives.

Trainer X said...

Catalayst~ Um Correction Sweetheart You are the one with no fucking life. You know absolutly JACK FUCKING SHIT about horses, you are not funny, insulting, creative or witty in ANY way shape or form. You Equal a Giant Losery FUCKING FAIL! FACE!!!

kestrel said...

If my horse is happy, he does his job cheerfully, and doesn't try to murder anyone. Plus usually places or wins. Did you NOTICE Stacy Wesfall's horses?
And... I don't get jeered behind my back by people who know how to really train when I show up with tie-downs, evil bits, blood letting spurs, and a quirt on a horse that's trying to figure out how to kill me. Saves a bunch on medical and vet bills, too.
You're getting jeered to your face because you charged into a bunch of educated horse people that are going to call you on your attitude.

jennybean said...

I show Morgans but have also show AQHA. This is my opinion as an outsider looking in. I don't know much about the show standard for AQHA, and I know that the Morgan circuit has its issues too. With that being said, NOTHING looks more ridiculous than a horse moving sooo slow at the lope that I pass it at a slow walk on my horse. It also looks ridic. when their noses are practically plowing the dirt.I am all for a great AQHA, they are stunning - but ridiculous no function slow ow ow ow gaits and the droopy heads have totally turned me away from the breed...also, what's up with the teeny hooves with the big ole' body? Yikes!!