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 Post subject: Rein contact?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:45 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
Posts: 1620
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Okay can someone please calrify?
After coming to AND I got brave enough to ride my horse bitless. I had already ridden him in a halter before I introduced a bit so it was not a huge jump. When I first realised that the horse needed to use his head/neck to balance and ultimately collect, it inspired me to get off the reins, even when I rode with a snaffle. From this I taught my horse to understand aids from my legs/seat and literally dropped the reins completely only using one rein at a time when needed. So now I am riding around with a bitless bridle (side pull effect) and a cordeo. I leave the reins loose and use the cordeo first and only use one rein when needed.
Today I took a ride on the beach. I am walking along and suddenly i am on the floor! Morgan did the weirdess thing and kind of jumped up and into a ball and I flew off. He then ran off about 100 meters and stopped and looked at me. I calmly walked over to him and checked and rubbed under his legs and then got back on and rode back to the other horses who had turned around and headed off in the opposite direction (so as not to chase him away!). It felt in the saddle like he had been bitten by something. He was not freaked out at all but I think he ran and got a fright when I fell off.
My hubby and I then had an interesting discussion about how he might not have ran if I had a rein contact. The reins were on his neck at the time. I don't believe it would have played out any differently. It was such a split second reaction from such a relaxed state, it was real panick!
Should I be maintaining a rein contact at all times? I find if I don't have the reins, I can't use them!!!!!!!
On the positive side, I have had my first fall from him, so my ego took a good telling off, and the best part is that it's the first time EVER I have not had a horse run home from the beach!!!!
I do love this boy!!!!!!!!!!

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Annette O'Sullivan

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon


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 Post subject: Re: Rein contact?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 1:14 am 
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Annette, I'm so glad you are ok!!!

I rode a little spook on Tam the other day too. I stayed on! WoohOOO! See we were at the SCARY end of the arena and my friend's mare was at liberty and following us. Some snow slid off the arena roof and Tam and my friend's mare both spooked. I am riding with slack reins as well, but I did have hold of them. When he spun and bolted, I was totally behind the motion and was leaning back. I got upright and just took up one rein and stopped him quite gently, actually. I was quite proud of myself.

So my vote would be that you do two things. When you're riding with the cordeo, at least hold one rein through maybe your pinky finger....just so it's there if you need it. No contact...but the loop in the reins doesn't have to be really large and draping...just a little loop...so if you do need to take it up, it's there.

And...I would practice dropping cordeo and picking up the rein, at a standstill. Train your muscles so you mind doesn't have to think about it.

I'm going to do the same thing! :funny: :funny:

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 Post subject: Re: Rein contact?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:05 am 
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Karen wrote:
Annette, I'm so glad you are ok!!!

I rode a little spook on Tam the other day too. I stayed on! WoohOOO! See we were at the SCARY end of the arena and my friend's mare was at liberty and following us. Some snow slid off the arena roof and Tam and my friend's mare both spooked. I am riding with slack reins as well, but I did have hold of them. When he spun and bolted, I was totally behind the motion and was leaning back. I got upright and just took up one rein and stopped him quite gently, actually. I was quite proud of myself.


Woo HOO indeed. That's wonderful. You obviously had presence of mind and have been developing your feel.

About being "behind the motion." I daresay you were not, or you would have been writing about how hard the fall was.

You have core strength and the wonderful thing that comes with, core body suppleness.

If you ever have a chance to get a DVD of cutting horse contests, some of the fastest lateral moves in the world on horseback, and not only fast but coming like lightning one right after the other with no real warning, watch the riders, and wonder at them being "behind the motion,' nearly all the time.

Their bodies are whipped back and forth, and they follow the motion from behind, because if they lean into it, and the steer turns and the horse with it, as they can do so fast, even a skilled cutting horse rider will hit the dirt. Don't ask me how I know that. :yes:

You must have had just the right balance of tension/relaxation that is really what suppleness is about. To be either at the expense of the other is not suppleness. So you had it.

How exciting that is to read.

Karen wrote:

So my vote would be that you do two things. When you're riding with the cordeo, at least hold one rein through maybe your pinky finger....just so it's there if you need it. No contact...but the loop in the reins doesn't have to be really large and draping...just a little loop...so if you do need to take it up, it's there.

And...I would practice dropping cordeo and picking up the rein, at a standstill. Train your muscles so you mind doesn't have to think about it.

I'm going to do the same thing! :funny: :funny:


And how you stayed topside. :cheers:

Best, Donald

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So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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 Post subject: Re: Rein contact?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:28 am 
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If rein contact was the magic trick to make horses not spook, not bolt or whatever, then why did I and million people around the world fall of all the time with reins/contact and bit even?

:funny:

People fall of horses, horses spook, horses bolt, no matter if you ride with one or two bits, just a cordeo, a clowns hat or snakes in your pants, nothing makes much difference.

Horses ussually do not glance back at the fallen human, mostly happy to be rid of the heavy always against the movement object.
this horse was shocked that mommy had fallen off and came to retrieve her.
Should tell you enough for being on the right path with your boy. :yes:

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 Post subject: Re: Rein contact?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:43 am 
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When I was still riding (more than five times in half a year), Titum became much less spooky after I had stopped riding with reins altogether. But maybe that is also because without the feeling of being in control I started listening to him more... getting down when I felt that it was too much for him, avoiding conflicts, not trying to make him do things.

Of course there are still those unpredictable out-of-the-blue spooks just because he got a fright, but even their frequency and intensity decreased when suddenly he understood that he was not fixed anymore and that he could move away, which I think is such an important thing for a prey animal.

I feel that maybe yes, I could better prevent this one spook in a given moment with reins, but this would be at the cost of overall spookyness. :smile:


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 Post subject: Re: Rein contact?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:11 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
Posts: 1620
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Great thank you one and all.
I don't want to have to block his movement. It was weird as it wasn't really a spook in the sense that there was warning, head high or looking at something, or something suddenly moving. It was one of those moments when a horse fly bites the stomach or the girth has pinched. One minute he was calm as anything and the next I was on the floor. It happened so quickly that even if I had reins, all I would have done is yank him as I fell. It would not have stopped me falling and it wasn't a case of runaway horse that couldn't be stopped, he ran after I fell off, in fact me falling I think gave him more of a fright than whatever it was that made him wobble. I still don't even know what movement he made. He seemed to jump up and tuck himself in a ball. It was a reflex action. It may even have been something as simple as the horse in front swishing his tail in his eye! I hate it when I can't find a reason for behaviour. Normally I can say, okay he was overfaced, I made a bad judgement, asked too much etc. I guess this really was just a case of something I could not have avoided, unless of course I never venture out of the yard again!!!!!
The fact he did not run home tells me lots. He was quite calm and allowed me to get back on with no problems and instantly forgot and rode home with no problems at all.
I have always believed in allowing the horse to move away in a fright and using this as a tool to improve trust rather than trying to stop him by more fear/distraction from the rider.
I guess I just got a shock as he has never done anything like this before. He has spooked lots but never in a way I could not sit it and just ride it out.
Thanks again for all your replies. It helps lots.

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Annette O'Sullivan

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon


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 Post subject: Re: Rein contact?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:18 am 
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hi there.

i used to teach my students to have their reins "to the buckle". actually i have had them come in and say that they dreamed that someone kept calling "too the buckle, too the buckle" :funny: :funny: :funny: :funny: i dont believe that rein contact helps in this situation at all. even though it may have been frightning, it still can happen with rein contact.

a horse is a flight animal. they will up and run at a fright. it just means that the instincts kicked in. it sounds to me that because you had no rein contact, he did not feel threatened and "held" and therefor settled quickly.

i have a really fun little exercise that i used to play with my young students, till i realised that the mature students needed it too. it is called the electric slide. with one finger on the buckle, place the whole hand in front wrapping around the rein, then slide up the neck while holding with the finger still. then once you have the reins short take the other hand and you have two hands on the reins.

my kids practiced this in a fun way. we wouldwalk along story telling. "ok, now we are just strolling along the road, minding our own business, .......when SUDDENLY!!!!!!.....a car flew around the bend and frightened our horse" and at that moment the child would practice the electric slide. they also learned to incorperate this with a lean back, and deep breath out.

it actually did work, one of my children found this out when a wasp stung her..........well, in a very PRIVATE area!!! not only did they automatically do electric slide, but they also leaned back and breathed out, and the pony settled.

i LOVE trail riding out with no rein contact. but it is wise to have a finger on the buckle. i also have a piece of leather across the front of all my saddles. monkey straps are great and i am not too proud to use them!!! ;) :D

anyway, after my long winded explination of the electric slide, i am glad that you are ok. if you feel a little shaken, take things slowly. just take little steps and dont expect too much of yourself and dont be dissapointed in yourself. i have lost my confidence so many times now, i feel a little like an expert on the subject! :funny: :funny:

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love jessy


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 Post subject: Re: Rein contact?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:07 pm 
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If it bothers you so much, maybe you can ask one of the animal communicators here to ask him.

That is what I do when it haunts me lying in bed at night :funny:
And I am sooo happy to have this option which ussually clarifies lots!

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 Post subject: Re: Rein contact?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 4:49 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
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I think this is just a reminder that we can all be in situations where our horses spook or are suddenly stung by bees or something where we can not ride it out or even get off. It's like getting in a car, even with seat belt and airbags and defensive driving, a certain risk remains. As I'm reading all these topics about rein use and cordeo use I'm starting to ask a different question: If the cordeo or reins is only used to cue, not for emergency stops why use a cordeo at all? Which cue is there, if any that could not be given with touching with a stick (the way the Parellis use the "carrot stick"). Since cordeos look just like neckropes that many beginner riders are taught to hold onto for balance, so they don't pull on the reins, there is the temptations built in to overuse it. Also, if the horse has learned collection from the ground, why would I want to cue collection from the saddle instead of just letting the horse decide how to best carry himself? I'm trying to make up my mind what the cordeo will actually achieve when communicating with my horse from the saddle and how different it would be from riding with loose reins and a halter/sidepull.


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 Post subject: Re: Rein contact?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:22 pm 
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I'm in total agreement with Jess!

Reins do not, of course, keep a horse from spooking, but if I can stop the reaction in a calm and controlled way, then I can stop the part of the reaction that could cause me to come off. There are two types of reactions that can cause me to fall off. A bucking reaction, and an unpredicted change of direction in flight. If I can pick up a rein, I can stop either of those two from happening.

I'm not trying to mentally damage my horse by telling him he must stop. I'm trying to protect myself. :yes: In the instance of a spook, because I know that what the horse spooked at will not eat him, I feel fully justified in then putting my own well being ahead of the horse. Stop Please. No choice. I do not want to come off!

Been there, done that, got a concussion. If I get killed playing with my horses, then I am no longer there to look after them in the manner they are accustomed to. They may not think that far ahead :D But I do!

So yes. Reins can be a good thing to control a situation that could get very out of control.

This is just a momentary reaction...of course I am always looking at the over all picture and giving a great deal of thought to why a horse might spook in the first place. I totally agree that if you over control a horse without thought to their physical and mental well being, then you can create more tension than what might be there naturally, and that can cause an even bigger spook than what might have happened without over controlling them.

But at the same time I am learning how, if we can affect the physical posture of the horse...teaching them (or allowing, by not interfering) to move in a healthy rounded way with a rider on...we are also affecting the mental calmness of the horse. This extends of course to ourselves as well...if we are nervous, our horses will read that and react to that.

I don't think anything, ever, is 100% effective. If a horsefly bites my horse, even if he's in the most relaxed mental state and moving in the roundest, most perfect physical shape...well, he's going to react to that bite!

So I don't think anything we can ever do will make horse riding perfectly safe for ourselves. I'm still willing to take the risk.

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 Post subject: Re: Rein contact?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:21 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
Posts: 1620
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Quote:
I'm trying to make up my mind what the cordeo will actually achieve when communicating with my horse from the saddle and how different it would be from riding with loose reins and a halter/sidepull.

I use the cordeo in the saddle as I would a loose rein. It is an added aid to my seat and legs when turning/stopping. I don't keep a contact with that either. Just a light lift or neckrein to assist my leg. More of a last aid rather than increasing the stregth of my aids. My dream is to get rid of the bridle altogether but can't quite see me riding down the beach or on public roads with no bridle of sorts. It can become difficult to have the horses attention when there is lots going on and I need to be sure I do have control where the public is concerned.
So whilst my horse is wearing a bridle I am riding with seat/leg/body position and only using the cordeo as a back up. The bridle is for a real fright/emergency or if he is excited and not listening near a road etc when I will pick up a contact on both reins. This rein contact is so light now because I rarely use it that I can drop down a gait by making contact on one rein only and have to be careful not to be too heavy as he will back immediately!
This is just my path and the route I have taken.
Quote:
If it bothers you so much, maybe you can ask one of the animal communicators here to ask him.

Normally very sceptical about this kind of thing but as it's you that suggests it, Josepha, I will open my mind!!!! Who do you have in mind?
Quote:
I'm still willing to take the risk.

Me too....over and over!!!!!

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Annette O'Sullivan

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon


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 Post subject: Re: Rein contact?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:34 pm 
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hi there.
Quote:
I think this is just a reminder that we can all be in situations where our horses spook or are suddenly stung by bees or something where we can not ride it out or even get off



Quote:
I don't think anything, ever, is 100% effective. If a horsefly bites my horse, even if he's in the most relaxed mental state and moving in the roundest, most perfect physical shape...well, he's going to react to that bite!


i agree. this is the thing that we all need to realise. i had a horse fly bite me the other day. owwww!!!!!! i reacted in a jumping around squeeling kind of way. i was bitten by a wasp the other day too (really great run i am having) and i took off running.

after i did this i realised how similar my reaction is to a horses. if someone was trying to hold me in place while i was dealing with this, i probably would have hurt them just out of a reaction. there really is nothing that we can do to control the immediate reaction. but when i have students who are not ready to ride out in cordeo only, then i use the electric slide. this does not stop the first reaction, but it does two things. it says, "hey, remember that i am on here, could you stop!" and another thing that it does is gives the rider something to do. humans are funny. if they think they are in control, they feel safer. :funny: :funny: (ironic since humans seem incapable of controlling anything well and for benifit!)

if they have a step by step practiced plan, it will feel safer. like an emergency plan. i tought some people who came to me because they had lost their nerve, and they were terrified. and going over emergency plans helped them very much. also, learning to just go with the horse in trust lesson was also helpful. it is believing in yourself to be ok. falls do happen sometimes, but for the most, they really are worse emotionally than physically.

Quote:
If the cordeo or reins is only used to cue, not for emergency stops why use a cordeo


hi Birgit. i see it like this. "you eat an elephant one bite at a time"

my eventual aim with riding it to be able to ride out and be ableto do everything with just a cordeo, or nothing. but i well know that we are not nearly there yet. with danni i have chosen to not ride her in any sort of bridle anymore. but i dont have too much a need to ride. i have been fortunate enough to have been with horses my whole life, and i am just enjoying the sceen change.

with some of the other horses that i am working with, riding with a bittless bridle and a cordeo is only a training step. it will take a long time befor the cordeo is the only thing needed. the reins only guide where there is a misunderstanding. they are just a tool that assists in training cordeo. but for most of mine, i am working this out like Karen. on the ground.

it is a path that for every individual is different. everyone needs to take a slightly different approach. this makes it very interesting though. i think that it would be very boring if we just all did things exactly the same. each of us have different life experiences, and we have horses that have a different personality. it is so wonderful reading threads like this because it is getting to know someone personally.

thankyou Annette, you have opened up and been very honest in your thoughts. it is wonderful that you can share here. :f: :f: it sounds to me that you are very open so as to gain the best knowledge for the best path for you both. it is wonderful that you can ask people for advice, and it is even better that whatever path you take, it wil be well recieved, because we are all here to support one another on this journey. :love: :love: :love:

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just keep swimming, quote from nemo!:)
love jessy


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 Post subject: Re: Rein contact?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:56 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
Posts: 760
This is such an interesting thread. I'm not really sure if I'll ever get to the point where I'll want to put the reins away completely for trail riding but in the meantime I think I might just see if I want to skip the cordeo, just because I'm a lazy trainer and it saves to teach yet another set of cues, or maybe I'll try a cordeo and see how many cues my horse will recognize given that some are very similar to neck reining.
Jessy, I think you are right, it is partly a matter of what each individual horse reacts to, what they recognize as an aid or as a cue, and also what each rider is comfortable with.


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