Giving to the Bit (Part2) by Tracy Porter (read part 1 First)
The horse is learning that when he gives his jaw he gets a release in the rein.
. The horse begins by "giving" us just -one muscle, we build on that. It's also beneficial to
memorize the chronological sequence the muscle spots soften in and also the order of the muscle changes that occur that allow us to recognize those spots.
If we memorize this sequence, we will always know where our horse (or any horse for that matter!) is at that particular moment. The horse softens the muscles through spot #5. Spot 9,6 is
unique, it is the only spot we "make" happen. As the horse is giving as we pick up the rein, we direct his Jawbone (spot # 1)
and wait for him to "give" toward Spot #6. At this moment we need to let the horse stretch his neck out for a few step before asking again.
Up until now we could pick up the rein and request another "give" immediately after dropping the
rein. In this phase of the evolution we have to let the horse stretch his neck, in addition to the horse
softening those muscles for us, he is now also BUILDING them! It is still important to let it happen, not make it happen!
How do we team this? First memorize the order of the spots and what happens (also in order!) at each spot. Then, dedicate time to teach yourself how to ask and allow the horse to respond. You
must CONCENTRATE! This is done by picking up the rein and waiting for the jawbone to "give".
Each time we pick up the rein the horse must "give" at least their jaw before we release the rein.
We must continue to repeat over and over again, until we feel comfortable. When we begin to feel comfortable we becoming more consistent. The horse will not become consistent unless we are
concentrating and consistent!
Where can we go with this? The horse is learning that when he gives his jaw he gets a release in
the rein. We are building on the concept that release is the reward. As he is softening he is giving
more to us for this reward. Skipping ahead: At a later point we can connect the rein to his hips and shoulders. When the horse understands this we can capture any area, because he understands and
"gives" control of those muscles to us and allow us to use it!
The "Spots' that soften and the "Changes" we see at them.
SPOT 1: The Jawbone
1) NO PULL.
2) NOT JUST NEUTRAL.
3) ENERGY OR MOVEMENT IN THE DIRECTION OF THE PULL,
Each and every time we pick up the rein, this is the first spot the horse must give to the rein! The jaw should NOT move further, than 12 INCHES to the side! When the horse gives, we may only
feel a slight give- and only for a split second! Be careful though it is easily confused with neutral or slight pull. A pull is still a pull even if it is less pull! Don't release on a pull!
SPOT 2: Behind the Far
1) This spot moves 4 inches to the side (horse takes the nose back forward).
2) This spot moves 4 inches to the side and the horse leaves it there for a few seconds.
SPOT 3: The Long Muscle in the Neck (But it's just a short segment of it!)
1) It becomes parallel.
2) It begins to wobble or bounce.
3) it begins to curve laterally,
SPOT 4: Top of the Forelock
1) 'A" = The area from the withers to 4 inches ABOVE.
2) "B" = STRAIGHT OUT from the withers.
3) "C" = The area from the withers to 4 inches BELOW.
4) "F" = The area below the "A" & "C Zones.
SPOT 5: Mane
1) The muscle along the mane becomes curved laterally. This is really a further development of the short line in spot #3.
SPOT 6: Located at the base of 7 (MUSCLE BUILDING BEGINS HERE)
1) The # I Spot " gives" to the #6 spot.
2) The horse begins to break at the poll.
*This is the only spot we can and have to make happen! We do this by directing the #1 to the #6 spot.
* We must do this in order to get the horse past #5, and to continue getting the horse lighter and more responsive.
*We direct spot # I towards spot #6, NOT PAST IT!
BONUS: When we direct the #1 spot to the #6 spot,,* We can pre,-vent his head from coming around too far to the side.
* We can don't lose proper head elevation.
* The horse learns to break at the poll with his face vertical.
IMPORTANT NOTE! At this point we need a body major body part (hip or shoulder) to move
in conjunction with the horse "giving " his #1 spot (Jawbone) to the #6 spot! If we don't, we will separate the front of the horse from the back of the horse.
SPOT 7: This is the line of muscles where the neck is attached to the shoulder.
1) Wrinkles appear on the surface along this line. (This is called surface softness; the muscle is
beginning to show relaxation.
2) Hinge develops from this wrinkling along the line.
3) A 'fist-sized' hole develops just below spot#3 and just above the base of spot#6. This is where elevation and lightness come from.
4)The neck really starts to invert in thickness. Withers begin to widen, the dip disappears and the
definition in the neck changes from skinny on top, large on bottom to large on top, skinny on the bottom.
5) Spot #3 becomes a horizontal, rainbow arch.
SPOT 8: Shoulder Muscles above the Forearm
1) The shoulder muscles begin to ripple.
2) The opposite shoulder drifts, or moves away from there in while the horse remains moving
forward. You may also recognize this as a diagonal or moving to 11 or 1' Oclock.
SPOT 9: Muscles on the side of the Withers
1) The horse moves to the side and withers "step", down.
2) The horse moves to the side and the withers "step" level.
3) The horse moves to the side and the withers "step" up. (The saddle will raise about 2".)
This is where we feel the horse elevating his shoulders. When the horse engages these muscles,
you will feel the horse's movement stop going forward and move directly to the side. As the horse evolves further in the
#9 stage, we feel the spot change through the 3 phases: Down, Level & Up. The benefits we receive are unimaginable! The horse becomes lighter, more responsive and physically stronger
allowing him to carry himself (and us!) in a balanced manner! He is also able to achieve more precise shoulder, hip and eventually, foot placement! When we are able to achieve this, we are
able to capture any part (or room) of the horse.
When we have this much control of our horse we are able to effect his whole body and improve
performance. The benefits are endless! Haveve fun memorizing this month! Look at the spots on
your horse, what do they look like? In the next issue I will cover finer points on teaching the "baby give"!
About the author...
Tracy Porter-The Farm
I rode my first horse with my mother when I was two years old and screamed
“WHOA SCOTCH, WHOA!” the entire time. That was when I decided to go through the John Lyons Certification Program! Now, I teach people. Helping them acquire skills and
insights on how to safely and effectively communicate with their horses. My classes don’t end after
a few days. I try to spark a desire in my students to want to learn more. The result is they get more from their horse. Any breed of horse and every discipline from basic trail riders to dressage
and reining enthusiasts can use these basic principles to create a better athlete physically, mentally
and emotionally. Tracy is a John Lyons Select Trainer. (Select the photo to view more information)
Contact: Tracy Porter
9736 Serns Road
Milton, Wisconsin 53563
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