View Full Version : confusion on "down & out" stretches
11th Jun 2002, 03:42 PM
Hi! Hopefully you all will be able to clarify this for me. I'm pretty new to riding and when I start each lesson, we begin with 'down and out' to stretch out the horse. Now, my confusion is this: I thought you were supposed to ride with 'soft' hands, not a lot of pull on the reins, but to get my horse to nod during down and out I feel like I am pulling too hard on the reins, although 2 different instructors told me I am not.
I am also confused as to why the horse does not stop when I do this as I am pulling back on reins (like a halt). My instructor tried to explain it to me but I didn't quite grasp what she was saying. She said she would think about it and try to explain it again, but thought some of you could help out in the meantime.
Thanks, I look forward to hearing your responses!:)
11th Jun 2002, 04:13 PM
Hi, that's a really interesting question. I haven't heard of down and out stretches - is this English or American riding? In any event I think you should also try posting on the Enlightened Equitation section because you'll increase the range of responses you get.
11th Jun 2002, 04:17 PM
I live in the US but ride "English" not western. I'll try my post to the forum you suggested- thanks.
11th Jun 2002, 04:27 PM
Good luck. Hope you get your answers soon.
12th Jun 2002, 04:09 AM
I think what you are referring to is actually getting your horse to get into a frame. If this is what you are talking about then I can see why you would be confused with the terminology you are using. Actually, you should not be "pulling" a lot on the reins but rather you should be doing something that is often referred to as sponging. In sponging, you actually tighten and release the rein, most often the inside rein but occasionally you can do one rein then the other. It's not pulling at all, in fact your hands should not come back, they should stay where they are, keeping contact with the horse's mouth but you should just squeeze your hand then relax it. In this manner, your hands are still soft, only keeping contact but the sponging is asking your horse to drop his head and move into a frame. At the same time you should be encouraging with your legs for your horse to move forward. With both these aids, you are encouraging your horse to use his hindquarters and to get on the bit. Once your horse responds by dropping his head, praise verbally and continue the excersize to get him to begin to tuck his nose toward his chest rather than sticking it out in front. As he begins to tuck his nose, start letting your hands follow, don't just hold him there or he'll get above the bit. Remember that it is very important to keep contact throughout the exercize but that it doesn't have to be harsh contact, just let your hands follow and don't let your reins get to bobbling around. A warning... Some horse require a LOT of leg to accomplish this.
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