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Correcting Contact Mistakes through Suppling Exercises

Contact is the only one of the six steps - rhythm, relaxation, contact, straightness, impulsion and collection - that describes a relationship between the horse and rider, rather than merely a quality in the horse's way of going. “Contact is the soft, steady connection between the rider's hand and the horse's mouth,” says Wendy Christoff. “The horse should go rhythmically forward from the rider's driving aids and “seek” a contact with the rider's hand, thus “going onto” the contact. A correct, steady contact allows the horse to find its balance under the rider and find a rhythm in each of its gaits.” Where riders misunderstand the concept of contact, Christoff believes, is that they think only about the physical contact from the hand to the rein and the horse's mouth. “A common image used in describing contact is the one used by coaches to their students when they tell them…

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