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learns to accept this passive contact. Some horses will slow down, get tense, curl their necks or pull. Sometimes this has to do with the strength of the hindquarters, the wrong bit, or a dental problem. Very often it is a rider problem.


Once the horse will work on a loose rein,


we move to riding on a long, connected rein. Here the horse reaches towards the bit with a relaxed jaw. He softly chews the bit and gets a wet, or foamy mouth. His entire body — hind legs, ribs, back neck, poll and jaw — accepts the action of the bit. The horse is willing to stretch his neck down and out, and is in a comfort- able posture. Most training of the horse happens in this stage. Finally, we work on a short contact.


Now we are in a collected connection. The horse’s topline is stretched and his belly muscles are pulled up. His haunches are under him. This is the classic look of an upper level dressage horse or an advanced bridle horse.


NWHS


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Kelly O’Neill


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HorseBizGirl Blog 360.606.2951


horsebizgirl@gmail.com www.horsebizgirl.com


The Northwest Horse Source March 2012 21


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