How to Teach A Horse To Move Off Your Leg
If you’re looking for results, then try out these steps on how to teach your horse to move off your leg!
As a rider, it can get frustrating when your horse begins switching off to your aids. Your horse may take a different course or completely ignore your requests, which can hinder performance and ultimately become dangerous.
Take a step back and consider these pointers which will get you and your horse dancing to the same tune, once again!
Focus on the Question
When riding, it can be easy to get so wrapped up in what your horse is doing, that your position and how you are asking for certain manoeuvres go out of the window!
Think about how you are asking your horse to complete what you are asking of them – does it make sense?
If you have tension on the rein, but you want your horse to go forward, the message can become confusing to your horse. Make sure every aid has purpose and you’re not just doing them out of habit.
Additionally, think about everything in-between your questions. If you’re constantly nudging, fiddling, shifting, or driving with your weight, your horse will probably tune out as you are constantly ‘speaking’ to your horse.
Making our best efforts to be ‘quiet’ when our horses need no instruction, whilst help enhance aid efficacy.
Building strength as a rider? Then, it can be hard to be a ‘quiet’ rider and get your message across clearly!
Try carrying a whip to enhance the signals you want to give to your horse.
Change the Conversation
Riders can often fall into a routine, doing the same exercises in similar orders, meaning your horse can guess what is coming next.
This may make your horse disobedient to your aids, or take shortcuts in exercises where you need precision and accuracy.
When your horse starts predicting your next move, really start to think out your riding sessions.
Yes, you may be trying to build strength and stamina in lateral work or learn a dressage test, but practice does not always make perfect.
Find alternative exercises, which work muscles similarly or strengthen supporting muscles for the exercise. If you’re trying to learn a dressage test, take to your own feet and walk it a few times!
If your aids are been completely ignored, it’s time to start doing your homework! Find alternative aids that may enhance the picture of your horse. Can you use your body weight more effectively? Is the placement of your legs confusing your horse?
It may be wise to call in a coach to help point out position faults and use their experience to your advantage!
Back To Basics
Review the basics! Does your horse know what each aid means?
Long reining might be your best friend when you’ve hit a brick wall in trying to get your horse to listen to you.
From the ground you can affirm the meaning of contact and leg aids, and what they mean, without the distraction of rider weight. This could make riding a whole lot safer for you and your horse.
Working on your balance and strength out of the saddle is your job and can be key to a harmonious ride!
Also, don’t forget the usefulness of artificial aids. The benefit of carrying a whip is often under-rated but can be extremely useful when trying to make your horse go forward!
Back up leg aids with a gentle whip aid and reward when your horse listens. This will emphasise that the leg means ‘go forwards’ and it should only take a few repetitions of this exercise for the message to become loud and clear.
Written by Abby Dickinson