Decontraction for positioning the horse's head

Amazon uncontracting a chestnut mare

Uncontracting can be subtle or something more marked. By using only the inner rein, you can try to do a subtle back in

Today we are going to talk about decontracting, or as Juan Francisco F. Muñoz says "squeezing the light bulb." The blessed "uncontract!" that if you have a dressage coach like me, you may have heard him more times in the time you've been with him, than you've heard your name pronounced in your entire life. And I am not exaggerating. Really it is essential in dressage, in terms of horse positioning and neck flexibility.

I will use his analogy this time, as it will help me to explain the procedure. While you hold the reins with your hands in parallel and a gentle contact, and you are about to find out, imagine that you are holding a light bulb with your hand and the corner of your big toe (this action is alternated between one hand and the other, so start trying with one hand). Okay, so now you have to squeeze that light bulb. You should turn your wrist outward so that you can see your fingers. As it is a rotating movement, it is as if you were pressing a light bulb; and at the same time you will be closing the hand and, therefore, increasing the contact with the horse's mouth.

In itself, and simplified, it is about making bend or twist the horse's neck to one side, increasing the contact on that rein, and then doing the same to the other side (with the other rein). Sometimes it is usually used with the fixed outer rein with firm contact and the action of intermittently releasing the inner rein. The key is to make it soft and subtle, but you can increase the intensity until you forget about the bulb and make larger movements, separating your hands a little. I don't know if my explanation will have been very good, so if any of you have doubts, you can contact me through my profile at the bottom of this article, or leave a comment below.

It may not go well for you to uncontract; it also depends on the day the horse has. Anyway, maybe one of the reasons it doesn't work is because it has very stiff neck. Throughout my stay as a writer here at NotiCaballos I will talk about the bodybuilding of the horse, so do not miss any detail. As an introduction to say that, in that case, you should work a lot on the neck flexibility, with less subtle relaxation exercises, stretching, and exercises to strengthen the muscles in that area.


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