Proven Principles or Pronouncements!?

Proven Principles or Pronouncements!? There may well be a difference.

Recently there was some discourse on the height of the rider 's hands and it's influence on the horse. Well generally, the idea was always that you only raised the hand if you wanted to raise the horse 's head and neck... as shown here where I'm teaching a student, new to the movement how to ask for passage. In similar vein, it makes sense that if you want to lower the head and neck, then you lower hands too.

And that makes a lot of sense generally, although there will always be exceptions. Straight line from horse's mouth to rider's elbow with a steadying touch (never a lean) at the base of the horse 's neck.  I personally believe that touch connects us to, and reassures the horse.  Unfortunately, many people ride BTV with hands held high and pulling back with short taut reins. I much prefer riders to allow their pinky ( little finger) just to rest at the base of the neck to keep the hand steady but still allowing. The importance here is a yielding lower back and flexible joints of elbow and shoulder... Not forgetting the fingers too !

What concerns me is when quite novice students with novice horses are taught to raise their hands for the horse to work 'more through the back'! This is new to me and frankly makes little sense. A ' lifted' head will hollow the horse and basically people need to be reminded that the horse will only raise the forehand correctly when his hind legs take more weight and he is more deeply engaged.

So, no matter that So and So pronounces some vague epithet about 'working the back' ... Look first for the obvious and remember what makes sense to the horse is usually what makes sense to us too! SL


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