lower leg question

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lower leg question

This is a discussion on lower leg question within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    08-31-2010, 04:49 PM
Green Broke
lower leg question

Since I am currently laid up I have been watching a lot of youtube videos, and one thing I notice is that a lot of dressage riders, starting at about second level, seem to be very busy with their lower leg. They either look like they are constantly bumping their horse's side, or doing like a circular motion with their lower leg. Sometimes it is so distracting that its all I can watch. Am I missing something? Why are they doing this? My trainer has always told me to be very quite with everything, lower leg, seat, hands, etc, and make my ques as least noticeable as possible...
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    08-31-2010, 05:37 PM
Regardless of what you see out there, your trainer is correct: ideally, all of your aids are invisible so that it looks like the horse is doing all of his own volition.
    08-31-2010, 07:39 PM
You are probably watching amateur riders, make sure the videos you are watching are of riders score at least above 65%. These riders should all have very quiet legs.
    08-31-2010, 07:46 PM
I took couple lessons with the dressage trainer last year (recommended to me by friend of mine with 20 years of dressage experience/show experience). She told me I have to keep kicking my horse alternating legs all the time to keep her walk forward. That was very confusing, because from everything I know you have to keep your legs quiet. So I eventually quit. However friend of mine rides exactly as OP described - the lower leg moves A LOT. She states she got ribbons all the time while showing her gelding.
    08-31-2010, 11:39 PM
Green Broke
That's funny, because lately I have been working on keeping my lower legs still (they used to flap a lot, LOL) and it has made me and my horses comunication clearer. So I would says it's wrong to be clamped onto the horse, but to floppy isn't good either... Like most things, we have to find a happy medium. :)
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    09-01-2010, 12:02 AM
Originally Posted by ridergirl23    
that's funny, because lately I have been working on keeping my lower legs still (they used to flap a lot, LOL) and it has made me and my horses comunication clearer. So I would says it's wrong to be clamped onto the horse, but to floppy isn't good either... Like most things, we have to find a happy medium. :)
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Actually I've seen the idea of alternate legs to keep horse moving on Internet several times. And the idea behind it that you basically influence horse's leg as it goes. MAY BE it works really good if you are great rider with great timing, BUT for beginners (like me) it's nothing but making the horse dead-sided. I'd be very curious to hear the input from Spyder or Anebel about this technique.
    09-01-2010, 12:07 AM
Green Broke
^ I think of heard of that... But I think floppy legs are bad, and doing that with your legs(what you explained) is still controlled and timed by an experienced rider would be great.
Hmmm maybe I can use that as an excuse... I was OBVIOUSLY meaning to do that so I influenced the horses leg! I wish. LOL :)
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    09-01-2010, 12:14 AM
I've wondered about the same thing... I've been told it's because they're so "loose" and just using their seat but it confuses the heck outta me.

For instance: is a girl I take lessons under. On the '92 Olympic team, qualified for the Rolex (granted, she is an eventer, not a dressage rider) but look at her leg.

(Note: I have learned tons from her, not mean to bash. This is just a video I found of her when I was trying to get more info and noticed this. This thread reminded me of it)
    09-01-2010, 12:43 AM
Well, you use a lot of leg in dressage period. There is a lot of lateral movement that requires the use of leg, and it really starts up around 2nd level and you see it just a hair in 1st with leg yields.

That being said, ideally, you should not have flapping, wiggling legs. Ever. You should strive to keep your leg cues as subtle as possible. But, that also being said, at times, you may have to use your leg in various spots at "one time".

As for alternating leg to get forward motion, it has worked for me, but I prefer to actually put my leg back a little too far and give a squeeze with both legs, because the horse usually doesn't expect that and it gives them a surprise.

Next to your seat, you after all, use a lot of leg. Twice as much leg as hand I have always been told. But I don't know, maybe it is just a dressage thing. Admittedly, I have never studied too heavily in anything BUT dressage so a lot of things seem like just "the way things are" to me that doesn't really exist in other disciplines. :)
    09-01-2010, 02:15 AM
That whole alternating leg pushing with each step is something I've been taught, too, by former international riders, but it's nonsense, imo. One of the horse's responsibilities is to maintain his gait by himself; pushing him at each step is 1) micro-managing him 2) way too much boring work for the rider.

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