Monday, January 18, 2010

"Gives" a given?

Billy and I using gives for directional control...

What is a give? A give is the opposite of a brace. That seems fairly obvious right? But if you want the Lyons definition here it is: " a Give is no pull, not just neutral, and energy and movement in the direction you want to go" The kicker is, that a give can be asked for and given from any part of the horses body. Most of the time you will hear the word give in reference to the horses jaw. And you certainly want to teach a horse to not brace against your rein aids. But a give is also about controlling one piece of your horse. Can he give his hip? Can he give his right front foot? If you control just one piece of your horses body you control the horse. The hardest part for a rider to master is the simplicity of this concept and the ability to focus on just one piece of the horse at a time. It takes practice. We are always taught to ride the whole horse. We have two arms, two legs, a seat, a very busy brain, various artificial aids like bats, spurs and fancy bits. We also have supporting artificial aids like martingales, chambons, gouges, figure eight nose bands, and side reins. Whew, with all this going on its no wonder we cant understand why we aren't more successful with our horses. All that stuff should do its job right? Well, no actually. Imagine being as sensitive as we know horses are and being confronted with all that "noise" from all that stimulus. Its like being thrust into the middle of a Christmas sale a Macy's. I don't know about you, but the thought of a loud, crowded,holiday decorated mall makes me break out into a cold sweat.

So how do we learn this concept? Well, just like with our horses we should start were we are successful with it. Like say on the ground. In a good learning environment, with few distractions. There is plenty of time to test your new skill in more distracting locations but don't start there after all, you are learning( and teaching) a new skill.

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