DR650

Steep Slopes

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This is about navigating a steep slope. Not climbing a mountain that is a matter of endurance, not walking a narrow trail up the side of a cliff, that is guts but the simple steep drop off that can be found anywhere.

Ever sit and watch a horse either climbing or sliding down??

Going down his front legs are braced out in front of his body preventing sliding while his hind legs are tucked up under his body with the rear hooves about as far forward as the girth with the rear end handing out the back.

Going up he is pushing with his hind legs and tip toeing on his front with his knees never straightening, he is always bent at the knee.

We all learn that you lean BACKWARDS going down, throwing your weight on the rear end but this is wrong. By putting your weight back you are running the risk of having a horse tip over backwards, remember his hind legs are bent parallel to the hill and his hooves are up under the girth and a slide, a slip onto his butt is a real possibility. LEAN FORWARD, keep your weight on his front end and off his hind end. You are planting his front legs and allowing the hind to slide but maintain his balance.

Going up he is pushing off his hind, his front are bent and he is using his toes to climb, this is why a horse with only heal studs can not climb in the winter, you need toe studs as well.

Try sitting back while climbing, that is if you just walk up a hill, if you lung then lean forward and go for it but I will NOT lung a horse up a steep hill.

So I say lean forward as in a forward riding position while on the flat while going down , and lean back while walking up a hill.

I did extreme hills almost daily for many many years, where a glacier ended and left a high hill with a deep swamp and from navigating this through hot summer, rain fall and snowy winter I learned the only way I was getting down those slopes was by doing it the way I just stated instead of circling around to the east like everyone else.

I have climbed a mountain and it was by tailing a horse and I didn't like it very much. This is not about hours spent climbing , this is about those steep slopes that may take seconds to do but with great risk of a wreck.

Edited by DR650

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i prefer to keep my upper body at a 90° angle to the horse's body, with my shoulder, hip and heel in a straight line.

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That is still better then leaning back but if you ever get into trouble throw as much weight as you can forward. It will help plant the front legs and free the back to slide. A horse in extreme slippery conditions walk on the front and let the back slide.

Adding your weight to the back causes him to sit down on his butt and totally loose it.

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if i'm going down a steep, slippery slope and my body is at a 90° angle my body is pretty much in sync with his. i believe in staying in the middle of your horse, because that's where he can carry you best. (center of gravity--many studies done on it--i know it wanders but staying in the middle helps).

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I was always taught your legs are pendulums, and that no matter the angle your horse, you are always vertical as if you were standing... always center of the horse, and upright... often catch myself over correcting, but this is what I was taught.

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I was always taught your legs are pendulums, and that no matter the angle your horse, you are always vertical as if you were standing... always center of the horse, and upright... often catch myself over correcting, but this is what I was taught.

That puts you leaning back when the horse is going down and once again puts the weight too far back. You need your weight as far forward as you can get. In extreme cases if it means hugging the neck it is better then leaning back.

Twice I have had a horse go over backwards until I adapted the forward seat and forward does not mean vertical.

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<p>Never had one go that way, but did watch a few horses fall forward with riders that leaned forward...and i dont lean back if I can avoid it, just upright.</p>

Edited by kitten-kat

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<p>Never had one go that way, but did watch a few horses fall forward with riders that leaned forward...and i dont lean back if I can avoid it, just upright.</p>

Hold that thought. I want to get a few more opinions before I address this.

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. i believe in staying in the middle of your horse, because that's where he can carry you best. (center of gravity--many studies done on it--i know it wanders but staying in the middle helps).

But the center of gravity has shifted because of his legs being stretch out as far as he can reach in front of him. to stay in the center you need to yourself shift forward. If the horse tried to stand in the same position as he is going downhill he would tip over backwards.

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i've seen that video, and they are "not" leaning forward. take a still shot and a ruler and you will see that the rider's center of gravity is exactly equal with his horse's (just before the heart/girth area). this style was adapted after the italian "caprelli" developed the forward seat over jumps. it was NEVER meant to be adapted for a whole slide down.

i've fox hunted in ireland. need i say more?

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.

i've fox hunted in ireland. need i say more?

I've been the fox 5 or 6 times?? So what does that prove.

I had a scent bottle and dribbled the scent leaving a trail for the dogs.

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Nick said i've seen that video, and they are "not" leaning forward.

Not leaning forward?? Look at around 1 minute and they are hugging the horse's neck coming down the slide. Not leaning forward??

That is no where near vertical as you put it.

Edited by DR650

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I've been the fox 5 or 6 times?? So what does that prove.

I had a scent bottle and dribbled the scent leaving a trail for the dogs.

a drag hunt doesn't begin to compare to a "real" fox with all their cleverness and tricks. galway also has some pretty challenging terrain, and the irish are crazy anyway.

live hunts are not allowed in germany, so drag hunting is the only kind they have. i've been the fox a couple of times myself--that stuff stinks like he11.

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Nick said i've seen that video, and they are "not" leaning forward.

Not leaning forward?? Look at around 1 minute and they are hugging the horse's neck coming down the slide. Not leaning forward??

That is no where near vertical as you put it.

there's only "one" guy hugging his horse's neck, and that's because he's about to come off otherwise. has nothing to do with technique, and he's pretty lucky the horse didn't take a header with almost his full body weight up there.

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The point is " no one is sitting up, leaning back or having the legs handing down like a pendulum. they are all keeping their weight forward, not back like most are taught.

To lean forward, putting your weight as far forward as you can plants the front end, frees up the hind and makes for a safer descent.

So if any of you have to slide down a steep bank keep in mind to lean forward, not back .

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i think a more accurate (and safer) characterization is to "go with the motion" and not to get in your horse's way on challenging terrain.

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they are all keeping their weight forward, not back like most are taught.

just had to address this point. i don't know anybody who rides in hilly terrain at speed over natural obstacles like in that video who was taught to sit back. it would physically never work. where did you get this information?

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nick you will be pleased to know that I just put you on my ignore list and I don't have to listen to you anymore. LOL

Bye Nick.

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Newbie; have no idea who you are, your age or experience with horses. What I do know is I have been breaking, training, packing and riding horses for 65 years or so, which makes me an expert (or authority) on absolutely nothing except the fact I would never want you riding with me in some of the county I have had to traverse while checking on or rounding up livestock. Would be picking you up off the ground to much when you went over your horses ears.

Grouchy (and hello to all you "old timers" on the list out there)

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For the average rider and average horse, I recommend maintaining a vertical posture (i.e. weight centered above feet) whether ascending or descending. In this way, the rider does not interfere with the horse's balance and the horse can ascend or descend the hill much as if he would if there was no rider involved. Of course, this means that the rider has a balanced seat and is not depending on the reins for balance.

The type of riding illustrated in the video is designed for agressive riders urging their horses on no matter what the terrain conditions. Cavalry riding was designed to prepare horses and riders to advance despite the dangers. While many succeeded, many failed. This type of riding is not for the general public.

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Newbie; have no idea who you are, your age or experience with horses. What I do know is I have been breaking, training, packing and riding horses for 65 years or so, which makes me an expert (or authority) on absolutely nothing except the fact I would never want you riding with me in some of the county I have had to traverse while checking on or rounding up livestock. Would be picking you up off the ground to much when you went over your horses ears.

Grouchy (and hello to all you "old timers" on the list out there)

I have been riding for 56 years extensively and spend each and every day on a horse putting more miles on him then you do. A very slow week is 35 miles when it is well below zero and a normal week can be 75 miles but average closer to 60.

If you have ever really slid down extreme slops you would know to lean FORWARD no back.

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Grouchy (and hello to all you "old timers" on the list out there)

Grouchy I see you are into dog training. I too spent allot of time training dogs. Got every tracking degree going, got my Schutzund 3 guard dog, all obedience titles and won nearly every match I went into.

Also started a canine unit for the police . No I have extensive experience in training both horses and dogs. Also ran a sled team for years. 68 this summer

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For the average rider and average horse, I recommend maintaining a vertical posture (i.e. weight centered above feet) whether ascending or descending. In this way, the rider does not interfere with the horse's balance and the horse can ascend or descend the hill much as if he would if there was no rider involved. Of course, this means that the rider has a balanced seat and is not depending on the reins for balance.

The type of riding illustrated in the video is designed for agressive riders urging their horses on no matter what the terrain conditions. Cavalry riding was designed to prepare horses and riders to advance despite the dangers. While many succeeded, many failed. This type of riding is not for the general public.

The post is to let people know how to do extreme slippery slopes. Remaining vertical posture means you are leaning back going down a slope because the horse is pointed down. this is a disaster waiting to happen if IF the hind end slips at all. You weight is behind the hind legs which are extended parallel to the slope and extremely forward. You don't have to ride like the cavalry but if you go down any steep slope practice safe posture instead of what you are suggesting.

Better safe then sorry. Your way if what people learn in an arena and not what a person who does it all the time would recommend.

YOu don't have to rush down a hill to lean forward, walk but keep the weight forward not back.\

Twice I have gone over backwards by a horse's hind legs sliding under him dumping us over backwards. The forward position totally frees up the hind end to allow it to slide controlably.

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"Reminds me of the old expression " you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink" Sort of like this post???

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The post is to let people know how to do extreme slippery slopes. Remaining vertical posture means you are leaning back going down a slope because the horse is pointed down. this is a disaster waiting to happen if IF the hind end slips at all. You weight is behind the hind legs which are extended parallel to the slope and extremely forward. You don't have to ride like the cavalry but if you go down any steep slope practice safe posture instead of what you are suggesting.

Better safe then sorry. Your way if what people learn in an arena and not what a person who does it all the time would recommend.

YOu don't have to rush down a hill to lean forward, walk but keep the weight forward not back.\

Twice I have gone over backwards by a horse's hind legs sliding under him dumping us over backwards. The forward position totally frees up the hind end to allow it to slide controlably.

I think you may have missed the parenthetical phrase explaining what I meant by vertical position: "weight centered above the feet". A person can keep their weight centered above their feet whether their head is in front of or behind their feet as long as another part of their body moves an equal amount of weight in the other direction. The idea is to not interfer with the horse's natural balance and movement. If we shift our weight either forward or backward, the horse must adjust for our shift in weight as well as worrying about his own balance and movement.

If one is not inclined forward while keeping his weight centered above his feet while riding down an incline, it may look as though the rider is leaning backward because the position of the horse has opened the angle in front and closed the angle in the rear of the rider's upper body. If a rider is keeping his weight centered above his feet, however, there is no way the rider's weight could be behind the horse's rear legs.

I have ridden on bare rock above the tree line as well on on loose shale on a steep slope in the Rocky Mountains. While I have experienced a horse tripping or slipping a foot or so, the horse has always quickly rebalanced and caught himself, because I have not caused him to worry about keeping me balanced as well.

Again, I think it is much easier to teach a person to keep their head above their feet -- a natural thing for a person to do -- than to teach them to lean forward. This is not to say that it can't be done as the video you linked to so aptly illustrates.

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Nothing is natural for a horse sliding down a steep slope. His front legs are extended as far as he can forward while his hind is also extended as far forward as possible and at the same time the hind legs are parallel to the slope with a hind end hanging behind the forward braced hind legs. He would totally tip over backwards if trying to stand like that on the flat.

Now you are remaining vertical which means leaning back putting your center of gravity also behind his forward spread hind legs and he is in a position to sit down hard on his butt.

Daily I climbed in and out of a deep glacier dug lake , a short cut while everyone circled to the east to avoid the drop, rain, snow I did that slope coming and going and the only way was by doing it the way I said.

Lean forward and since the horse is already on a downward slope you are really forward.

Ask any arena queen and she will tell you to lean back?? You are doing the same, your vertical is back on a downward slope.

I don't care how you do it, what mountain you climb, a steep slope is the same in any country.

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