View Full Version : Teaching a horse to raise up
03-03-2008, 10:09 AM
What is the appropriate way to teach a horse to raise up in the bridle? Besides overchecking them or 'airing' them up, is there a correct way to ask them to raise up?Especially teaching young horses?
03-03-2008, 10:57 AM
Question: are they already rolled over properly before you ask them to raise up?
03-03-2008, 11:18 AM
Yep, everything is fine. I don't necessarly have a horse that won't raise up. Its not a personal situation I am just interested in the training aspect. I am asking how you teach one to raise up after being collected. How do trainers teach horses to raise their heads besides what I mentioned. Is their any other ways?
I edited to say I know some horses aren't capable of raising up beyond a certain point. Lets hypothetically say we have a horse that has the ability to raise up.
03-03-2008, 11:39 AM
Hypothetically the horse that can raise up should IF nothing is holding him/her down. We use 2 reins in the snaffle bridle. One set thru a martingale, 1 set not. You lift with the snaffle rein and tuck with the curb rein. You can then let the curb rein go and the horse should raise up to look at things.
Are you saying the horse doesn't raise up?
For Saddlebreds who have reasonably high heads, my view is to watch them turned loose and see where they carry their heads. I'm paraphrasing Fritz Jordan on the UPHATrainers' tapes, but he said watch Saddlebreds as youngsters and how they are naturally bright, raise their heads, and look. So, the key would seem obvious: let them do what they do naturally. All of this is just my opinion, but it has worked for me for many years.
You asked about methods other than airing them up. I like to think of signaling the horse to raise up. With the younger ones, they usually do it on their own when they go to a show, which is why lateral and vertical flexing is more important than raising them up. They raise up naturally.
Having said all that, you can raise a horse up some by sitting back and deep and squeezing with your legs to "push" the horse up under you. Gently sitting the saddle for a few beats sometimes helps. You can ride off a top rein with no martigale and jog with a straight line (if the horse is well trained to the cart). You can gently take the snaffle bit left to right and let the horse "climb the stairs" if he has been taught to flex left to right. One thing that usually does not work is to raise your hands very far above a straight line to the bit. A bump on the snaffle with the hands up a little might raise the horse, but it has to be followed by an immediate release.
The classic way to raise a horse up with your hands is using the curb bit, but it may be counter productive for most people. The key is a short shank with nothing higher than a half Tom Bass port and have the curb chain loose enough that the curb shank is at about a 90 degree angle to the nose. Then, IF THE HORSE IS TRAINED TO WEAR A CURB BIT, you warm up a little, using the curb a little and then bump the curb bit ever so lightly. With the angles that I described, you are raising the horse up and back. You have to immediately release and not bump again. The little bump eventually becomes a signal. If done too much, it will just aggravate the horse. All of this is done in combination with your legs, your seat, your voice, and maybe a little animating from the ground, so that is is subtle and is letting the horse raise up to the same point that he carries himself naturally when turned loose.
In the old days, the trainers (my Dad included) would not work a horse the day before the show and certainly not the day of the show, so the horse would air up and raise up. Manners and control often became issues because the horses became too fired up. But, another way to let a horse raise up (borrowing a little from that approach) is to make sure you don't ride them too often, keep curb bits out of their mouths as much as possible, work them for only five to ten minutes and, when they do well, STOP! I like to quit working ahorse before he (or I) gets tired or bored, so he (and I) wants just a little more.
One other thing. Unless the horse is square going with good propulsion from the rear legs, it is real tough to raise them up and keep them there. I do not use overchecks or a side check very much. Never had any luck getting a horse flexing and bending with them, which to me is the key to good collection and a proper head set.
Less is more, keep it simple, and stick to the basics.
03-03-2008, 12:18 PM
Thanks Sit for the explanation. I was looking for the historical training aspect and technique. I just was having trouble putting it into words.
03-22-2008, 11:08 PM
What Sit said but...
The first thing that has to happen is that a horse has to be "built" to raise up i.e. the neck has to be set on the withers right. Then you need the impetus - squeeze, cluck, ask your horse for a little more and let him do it.
I don't raise a horse up predominantly on the curb - I generally use the snaffle to raise and the the curb to flex. It's not as simple as using one rein then the other but feeling a horses mouth and impetus and responding with both bits.
Some of you that try this on curb alone are going to end up with horses diving into the bits.
03-23-2008, 08:29 AM
I have been getting my horse to raise with only the curb and this is the best he has looked. He really responds to it and yes, you have to be light with your hands and release, but this way is working for us.
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