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Contact, help please

Re: Contact, help please

Postby JennieF » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:24 am

Late Starter wrote: the connection or contact you feel through the rein is the imbalance of all the dynamic factors in play.


:agree: :agree: :agree: I love that Alec - it describes it perfectly

you certainly dont need to :hide:
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Re: Contact, help please

Postby Trudi » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:07 am

:thumbup: thanks Alick, there are no wrong answers in all this and you have a great way with words. I don't entirely agree but I'd guess most traditionalists would. Question about all this bringing to the bit, does everyone feel they achieve this? I see it written about, beautifully so in many cases, but rarely executed well. Anyone got a video, pic to illustrate? I usually love Anja Beran but no time to look for one now.
ps Alick the BHS used to say 4lbs of weight in the reins :shock:
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Re: Contact, help please

Postby spottygiraffe » Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:44 pm

Trudi wrote:the BHS used to say 4lbs of weight in the reins

I've heard 4lbs bandied around too -if you think about how big/heavy a 4lb chicken is.... :shock:
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Re: Contact, help please

Postby Late Starter » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:14 pm

4 lbs is more than I would have expected. :eek:
It's a fair cop about the spanking, Sarah, but I blame society... I have done something about it :lol:
As to bringing to the bit, I think I feel it intermittently when I get Fizz nicely collected in a slow canter with good impulsion. I am working hard on impulsion at the moment and am getting this feeling more consistently. If left to her own devices Fizz will not really bend in a corner, but will lean her shoulder in and let her bum drift out - a bit like a four wheel drift (any petrol heads out there may wish to tweak/correct the simile). Getting her to the bit results in the hocks being more under at the corner and she changes direction more correctly off the hindquarters. For me at the moment, this is the acid test of my impulsion. When this is right she does not go onto her forehand and try to run out at a jump.
I am just wondering if some people hear experienced riders talk about achieving a light connection/contact, then go away and think that to be a good rider they must have a light contact/connection. So they lighten up on the reins (for example) thinking this makes them a better rider, rather than considering that being a good rider allows you to be lighter on the reins. Kind of seeing one of the outward signs of a good rider but thinking that it is the right way to go to become a good rider. A confusion of cause and effect.
I never thought of myself as a traditionalist, but if the cap fits....
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Re: Contact, help please

Postby glenatron » Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:07 pm

I can see what you mean about the
Late Starter wrote:I am just wondering if some people hear experienced riders talk about achieving a light connection/contact, then go away and think that to be a good rider they must have a light contact/connection. So they lighten up on the reins (for example) thinking this makes them a better rider, rather than considering that being a good rider allows you to be lighter on the reins. Kind of seeing one of the outward signs of a good rider but thinking that it is the right way to go to become a good rider. A confusion of cause and effect.

I think this is quite possible - it was probably the case for me, but conversely if I was teaching someone to ride it would be way easier for me to help someone with light but ineffectual hands than with heavy hands.

I guess a slight side-thought from this is that as far as I'm concerned until your seat is stable and independent, you're not going to be able to create a useful contact. The rein must be independent of the rider's balance.

Another aside: The thing about dynamic interplay is really important. It ties into a thought I have but may or may not have mentioned about maths. The difference between 2 and 1 is the same as the difference between 200 and 199. In almost every case the thing that is giving information to the horse is the difference between the two reins, not the pressure on them. If someone has 4 pounds on one rein and 4 pounds one ounce on the other, and I have 1 ounce on one rein and 2 ounces on the other, we are giving the same information to our horses, they are just having to tune out a lot more pulling at the same time. I would say that beyond the simple "on" setting of having a connection on the rein, the only thing of significance I can offer my horse is the difference in angle, direction and feel of the reins. All of which, of course, are part of contact...
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Re: Contact, help please

Postby Late Starter » Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:13 pm

:agree: A case of noise drowning out signal.
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Re: Contact, help please

Postby Trudi » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:40 am

I think some folks do get the wrong idea about legerete/lightness Alick and think bumbling about on no rein is a good thing in terms of establishing correct collection. I also think that there is more of the opposite where folks see CD winning gold medals with what looks like a pretty firm contact and then think that they just hold on at the front and work it from behind to get to it. Nuno Oliveira's great student Bettina Drummond wrote a good piece about the history of being 'on the bit' and where it evolved from as the French don't use the term at all.
Ben you have mentioned that before and I see where you are coming from and to a degree I accept it but for the fact that the jaw/bars/tongue/lips would be pretty knackered supporting undue pressure of that amount and the ability to then feel a change of 1 oz would be impossible. So maybe the difference between 8 oz and 9 oz or 1 oz and 2oz is not noticeable but I don't feel that 4 lbs as a start point would allow much dynamic movement or ability to detect said dynamic imbalance/change. YES though to it being dynamic, having the same weight (feel) in each rein will only be possible on a truly straight horse and our ability to keep the neck soft, the shoulders in front of the body (in balance) and each hind stepping up actively is totally reliant on our ability to feel our way around the whole horse.
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Re: Contact, help please

Postby spottygiraffe » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:01 pm

Great input Alick & Ben -I'm really enjoying this thread :thumbup:
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Re: Contact, help please

Postby Late Starter » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:10 pm

In my early lessons there was actually very little said about the reins, apart from the positive feedback that I was not relying on them for balance. Consequently, I think I was far too slack. I may be going through a cycle of over compensation and correction at present. Part of the way we learn to get the feel right is by increasingly fine tuning and reducing the overshoot of our corrections beyond the ideal (whatever that may be). Ask me the same question in 2 years time and see what answer you get then! :hmmm:
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Re: Contact, help please

Postby Late Starter » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:07 pm

Just struck by an afterthought. There is a virtuous circle which dveelops in Aikido and in riding, where your touch gets lighter so you feel subtler signals. As a result you can apply corrections earlier, neeeding less effort, in turn leading to a lighter touch....
Actually it applies more widely than that. The other day I was driving Liz's car and noticed an odd vibration through the steering wheel. I asked her if she had noticed it and she said no. I suggested that next time she drive, she should spend a little time steering with her fingertips rather than gripping the wheel. When she did this, she agreed that she could feel the vibration. When she put the car in for service, they found that the trailing arms on the right front and rear suspension were worn and loose (or the reciprocaring widget was floating in the wobble valve - I know little about cars). I guess I am restating Ben's comment about 1oz/2oz contact, but in different terms.
In my early days with Fizz she would dive into the centre of the school if she thought that she had done enough work and I would have to "haul" her back into the track. As my connection/contact has got lighter, I can feel smaller earlier signs of this sort of thing, applying an earlier, lighter correction (sometimes a shift of balance is all that is needed). The challenge is getting that virtuous cycle started, which may relate back to an earlier thread on "how do you teach feel".
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