Jamie - I read with interest your comments about bridging the reins to help achieve consistent contact. I have found that to create the "box" I often ride with wide hands to keep the contact consistent while pushing forward, bringing my hands closer together when the horse reaches forward and down appropriately. It keeps your hands still and creates the chute to push the horse into. (Bad grammar, sorry). Do you have thoughts on this versus bridging the reins? Is there some magic to having your hands close together and the reins bridged? Thanks! Am enjoying your blog posts on the young horse training.
Thank-you very much for your comments and question. When I am stretching a horse forward and down, I agree, I do make my hands a bit wider then I normally would, but this is to achieve stretch. If I am riding a young horse in a normal frame and the horse is moving the head and not accepting proper contact, this is when I bridge my reins.
Ingrid Klimke states "in order to keep my hands very still and avoid any temptation to use my hands to force the correct softening of the poll, I bridge the reins."
I know that I am not good enough to make my hands wide and ride a "busy" young horse forward and not try to make corrections all the time. I try to teach my horses to accept a quiet contact with the bit and it took some doing to understand that bridging the reins and waiting for the connection to come was an exercise in patience. Over time, I've discovered the horses I have micromanaged in the beginning are far less reliable in the contact than those I rode very forward and quietly with bridged reins. Remember, however, I'm not talking about every horse. This is for horses that are unreliable in the contact and do not accept the bit evenly.
I hope this helps and thank-you again for participating.