lower leg question - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 16 Old 09-01-2010, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Northern View Post
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.
And legs way too busy when they'd be more effective used in other ways.

Cinnamon Whiskey 11 y/o 15hh Chestnut AQHA mare, 2'6 Jumpers
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post #12 of 16 Old 09-01-2010, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Northern View Post
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.
I think it really depends on trainer. As I said that trainer (from last year) likes the technique. The trainer I'm working with now (lot of experience teaching and showing, USDF silver medalist etc.) tells me to ask with the seat, if no response, touch the butt with the whip. It works for me way better than alternating legs (which my horse just ignored basically).
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post #13 of 16 Old 09-01-2010, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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KT - I have heard of that technique too, but I had always much preferred using my seat if I needed to get my horse to move up, so I never gave it much thought. It sounds like too much micro-managing to me, and would make the horse dull sided. If you are always cuing, eventually the horse is just going to ignore ALL cues.

Spastic Dove - yeah, that's exactly the leg movement that I am talking about, thanks for posting. In some of the videos I was watching there was so much leg movement that I thought it really took away from the ride because I couldn't look at anything else.

Anebel - yeah, they were mostly amateur riders, it seems to start about 2nd level, and drop off at Grand Prix, however I did see some Grand Prix or higher riders still doing it, just not as extreme.

I too am curious to hear what our resident dressage experts have to say.

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post #14 of 16 Old 09-01-2010, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Spastic_Dove View Post
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: YouTube - Homerific Dressage1 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)
goodness if i did that with my horse i would be winning the grand national
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post #15 of 16 Old 09-01-2010, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by kitten_Val View Post
I...She told me I have to keep kicking my horse alternating legs all the time to keep her walk forward. That was very confusing, ....
Sometimes, especially when the horse is not forward (first rung in the training scale) you must do this - idea is get them forward then STOP the "nagging" legs, because if you don't stop nagging they eventually start ignoring you and things get worse. Sometimes the riders lower leg is so "loose" it appears to move quite a bit - but is in fact moving up and down rather than into contact with the horses barrel.

With my mare I may alternate to get her going but if she start to quit MARCHING forward (at the walk) after that I bang her HARD with both legs, then go back to asking nicely. The thing is once you bang the horse they may leap forward and you can NOT use the reins harshly or abruptly to slow them back down, you must reward them for listening to the FORWARD command, then bring them back to the walk.

But legs should drape around the horse and lay next to their barrel quietly unless you need to use one or more - for lateral work, straightening, etc.. What the OP is seeing with the nagging legs is the rider striving to get the horse MORE forward every stride (especially at shpws when you want 100% from the horse), but in actuality they're making the horse duller to the legs. As an upper level rider I ask once nicely then if no reaction demand once, then return to a neutral zone until I need to direct the horse again. All my horses have LOTS of gas in the tank (it wasn't always that way) and do NOT need constant nagging with leg, spur and/or whip.

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Last edited by Valentina; 09-01-2010 at 09:38 AM.
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post #16 of 16 Old 09-01-2010, 12:31 PM
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I have an issue with nagging, especially in the walk. It is very hard for my horse to collect his big walk so we either end up in a nag war because he is so slow, or I get some really nice half steps, and no walk. Always, always remember, ask, tell, demand. I know it's really basic but it's like the best thing out there. And if an aid system isn't working after 3 attempts, it's not because it's a bad system, it's because the horse doesn't understand it.
In the walk, the best thing I can use for an aid is the half halt - Robert Dover style, and then a release to stretch the neck after (broomstick reins). If I'm not getting the activation in the collection for the walk after this, for the tell stage I use a fluttering leg and a strong seat to really emphasize the upstep of the hind legs and finally, for the demand I rest the lash of my whip on his croup and really work through with my seat to get the activity and engagement I want. All of these aids of course have a release after - this is very important for keeping any gait forward.

Any time you feel your leg is nagging and on, or you see it in the mirror, immediately draw it away from the horse and "reset" it with the heels down. If your leg is on all the time it becomes to the horse like the girth and they'll stop listening to it.
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