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Monica

English Pleasure Aids

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Hi all!

I have started riding a horse that was trained for english pleasure. I am unsure of the aids/cues to use on her. She isn't shown she is just used as a pleasure horse for the most part.

She has buttons and I want to know how to use them properly. Owner of the horse doesn't ride her so she's not sure of the buttons either. I am getting the mare out and actually putting her to work now and I just want to know what aids you guys use when riding an english pleasure horse. She's been ridden and used for lessons and inexperienced people for awhile now, so she needs a refresher course. Again, I just want to know if the aids I'm giving her are way off LOL!

Thanks so much!

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It would be very hard to know what cues were used on this horse if you don't have anyone who knows to help you. If she was used as a lesson and pleasure horse for various people, she probably had to learn to respond to many different cues. Even high level riders vary in their methods to obtain various gaits and movements.

If you have taken lessons and learned certain ways of doing things, I'm sure you can teach them to this evidently versatile mare. Just take into account that she may not know initially what you are asking for.

Think of different cues as different languages. It's great if you know the language someone grew up with. If not, you have to work together to try to develop a method of communication both of you can understand. Even people trying to use the same cues may feel different to a horse because the people vary in height, length of leg, weight, way of sitting, etc. You can think of this as different dialects of the same language: French, French Canadian, Creole; British English, US English, Australian English. Another problem can occur when a person gives a certain cue with their legs, but their seat, hands, or balance are indicating something else to the horse.

I like to think that the methods I use and teach are easy for a horse to learn. They have worked on many different horses with various backgrounds. Sometimes, however, I will have to use a different method with a particular horse, at least temporarilly, because it doesn't understand what I am asking. I also have to vary what I ask a student to do if that student has certain physical conditions which limit his or her movement.

You evidently already understand the most important aspect of this topic -- don't assume the horse understands what you are trying to convey simply because you learned this is the way it should be done. Work to develop the best communication system you can. In "The Seamless Seat", Kathleen Schmitt stresses that a rider's seat -- what she considers the main communication tool -- will vary due to the individual's build and riding discipline. However, she encourages her readers to use true "aids" which help the horse do what we want as opposed to "cues" or "so-called aids" that are simply symbols that stand for what we want.

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Hi all!

I have started riding a horse that was trained for english pleasure. I am unsure of the aids/cues to use on her. She isn't shown she is just used as a pleasure horse for the most part.

She has buttons and I want to know how to use them properly. Owner of the horse doesn't ride her so she's not sure of the buttons either. I am getting the mare out and actually putting her to work now and I just want to know what aids you guys use when riding an english pleasure horse. She's been ridden and used for lessons and inexperienced people for awhile now, so she needs a refresher course. Again, I just want to know if the aids I'm giving her are way off LOL!

Thanks so much!

what the heck is english pleasure?

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Are you talking like Quarter Horse Hunter Under Saddle or English Pleasure like the basic schooling show english rail class?

If it's the former you're best bet is to talk to or have your trainer talk to whoever trained her. Or fiddle around with different cues and see what sticks.

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Thank you for the information!

As far as what type of English pleasure. Well, I'm assuming just the basic english schooling shows. She hasn't gone to any shows or been ridden very seriously by current owner. So, even if she's been trained, I'm not sure how much 'stuck' seeing as she's used for lessons now....

But, in the mean time I'm having fun riding her around! She's a little stubborn so when it's a good ride, it's a great ride =D

My biggest question right now, is getting her to collect and stretch head down at the same time! I'm not used to that kind of collection and I'm not sure how to ask for it! I'm used to having more of dressage type collection. It's hard to explain easier to show I guess lol. But, maybe you know what I mean?

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"Collection" is a popular term used by different people to mean many different things. Classically, the term collection means what it sounds like: a collecting (bringing together) of the horse's body. This shortening is brought about by getting the horse step further beneath itself with its hind legs, tucking its hips in the process, rounding its back, and raising its whithers and neck, while keeping its nose down. The horse's steps become shorter and higher. The poll will naturally become the highest point and the nose should never come back beyond the vertical.

While a horse may naturally bring its nose back beyond the vertical from short periods of time -- just as we may touch our chins to our chest -- it will not maintain this position long as it makes movement more difficult and can quickly become painful. If you see a horse performing this way, it is generally caused by strong pressure on the reins -- if not in the actual performance, at least in training.

Unfortunately, many have started using the term collection to mean other things. Some refer to the tucking of a horse's head as collection. Others use the term "collection" to mean any bringing of the horse's hind feet beneath them and a rounding of the back. Ideally a horse should be doing this even when it is moving in an "extended" position.

The long neck position while driving the legs beneath the horse and rounding of the back which I think you want is generally achieved by driving the horse forward into the bit, then relaxing the pressure brought on the reins to allow the horse to lengthen its neck while at the same time being careful not to let the hind legs slip backward from beneath the horse. While a rider may be able to achieve this positiion with a loose rein it would be rare to get it without prior training on the bit.

To do this well, a horse must develop strength and flexibility in the hindquarters and be responsive to the rider's leg. The rider should be well-balanced, supple, and move well with the horse. Tension in the rider's body inhibits tthe free movement of the horse's back muscles.The more freedom a horse has to use his back muscles, the easier he will be able to perform his task and the more relaxed he will be while doing it.

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Teaching a horse to move away from pressure is the very basic horse training foundation , no matter the discipline.

I use the same aids whether I ride HUS or western pleasure.

You are not talking of an upper English horse that has learned slight nuiences in various aids, but a horse with basic riding skillls that just happened to have been ridden English. Therefore, first forget discipline.

Next, you need to separate head carriage from collection. While head carriage eventually is the final touch in collection, head carriage itself does not produce collection. You can have a horse with head carriage that is on his forehand and moving strung out

Collection means exactly what the term implies-the horse is collected,but how?

Well, the horse is collected between the legs and the hands, with the hands just containing the energy and drive generated from behind-you need both

If you just have drive, but let that energy flow out the front end, you don't have collection

If You just have ahead set, but the horse is leaving his hocks out behind him, heavy on his forehand, you don't have collection

Collection also doe snot dictate a particular height of head carriage, as that is based on the horse's conformation , the way his neck ties into his body, and also on expectations of a discipline

Behind the vertical is bit evasion, so has no place in collection

So, to answer first the question of where you eventually want the head carriage, what breed is the horse, how is the horse built and where do you wish to show?

For a horse to be collected, he has to be driving from behind, while at the same time, not just being flat, but some what compressed, whether that be from actual light bit barrier, or from having been taught to stay back off of the bit, like a finished western horse is , ridden on a loose rein. In order for a horse to do this, he has to , while driving up from behind, keep his shoulders up, and tighten his abdominal muscles, which in turn will lift his back

Once he knows how to move correctly, that head carriage falls into place, needing just fine tuning

Race horses drive hard from behind, but they are not collected. To cover a lot of distance fast, moving collected is counter productive

Moving collected has a horse covering distance from a to b with style, versus speed. A horse will actually move slower and become more slow legged, as he moves collected, and his foot fall will become lighter, with the really good movers 'just kissing' the ground

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