Not being firm enough

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Not being firm enough

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    10-07-2009, 09:56 AM
Not being firm enough

My daughters been taking English lessons for several months now. She is def. Not scared of the horses there - they are great! The problem is she is just not firm enough when asking the horse what she wants and I'm scared at this rate she'll never make it past a posting trot. She is convinced that if she kicks the horses sides the horse will either 1) bolt or 2) not like her anymore because she's convinced she's hurting them.
Her teacher has tried and tried to help her get past this.... Any ideas anyone, please HELLLLPPPPPPP!
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    10-07-2009, 02:01 PM
Nobody has any advice????
    10-07-2009, 03:40 PM
I used to be that way. Lol

Make her understand that kicking a lazy horse doesn't hurt him at all. Horses kick each other ten times harder than a human can, so there's no way she's going to hurt her horse. If the horse doesn't want to move or is going too slow when she gently squeezes, it's time to be more assertive.

Maybe she should try blunt spurs or a dressage whip. If she winces at the idea of a whip (like I used to) remind her that it's only an extension of her arm and is not to be used to hurt the horse. At the halt, ask the horse to walk with just a slight squeeze at first, and if he doesn't respond or ambles off, tap him sharply behind your leg with the whip. Don't whack him, but just tap hard enough to wake him up. If he gives a response -even a startled one- by moving up, bring him back to the halt and ask for the walk with a slight squeeze with the leg again. He should move forward with 100% effort, but if not, repeat with the whip until he gets it. The goal is to whisper your aid and have him shout his response. This method worked wonders for my lazy draft horse. :) And lesson horses tend to be hard-sided because they're used to children bumping them all the time. Has she had a bad experience with horses before? If not, she shouldn't worry about a horse bolting. Especially if she's riding a seasoned lesson horse. Plus, of you do the exercise I mentioned, she shouldn't have to kick him at all.

Worst case scenario, you could do what my trainer used to do and threaten to put her back on the lunge line if she doesn't get over it.
    10-07-2009, 03:40 PM
Aww haha I had a problem about not being agressive enough but it sorta just went away?? Don't know how it happened but it just takes time. Like I was convinced that using a crop was bad but when I saw that it worked I wasn't afraid to use it anymore. Maybe she needs to see someone else ride and kick the horse to go and see that it's ok?
    10-07-2009, 03:42 PM
Super Moderator
...I don't know... I think it will come with time... teach her the ask tell demand method so that she understands it's not a KICK, it's a command... and show her by pressing against her leg with your hands what the preasure feels like.
    10-07-2009, 09:35 PM
Green Broke
It comes with time. It took me 8 years to use spurs, LOL! I wouldn't have her use spurs though, when a rider is just starting out their leg isn't strong enough to hold still and not constantly spur the horse. I would try all the methods posted above, they all sound like they would work.
    10-08-2009, 09:44 AM
Thanks for the advice guys, I will have her try some of the suggestions and see what happens. It's just lessons are so expensive and I see these other girls that started around the same time and they are advancing much faster because they are naturally more assertive with the horses it really makes me think geez - is she ever going to get past this. Her lessons teacher has even gotten on another horse at the same time and shown her how to kick and asked Katie to copy and she would not do it, her teacher has repeatedly chanted "you have to kick her" and she won't. I am going to start bringing her to the Weds. Night classes so that she can observe some of the advanced girls techniques because Katies instructor seems to think that will help just by observing. Thanks again for your help :)
    10-08-2009, 09:51 AM
Can she spend any time watching the horses while they're in the pasture? Taking the time to watch them interact with each other may help her see their natural ways. If they don't hurt each other with playful kicks and nips, she might see that she certainly doesn't have the strength to hurt them either!
    10-08-2009, 10:00 AM
Super Moderator
My BFF has 2 daughters. One started riding around the age of 5 and it was a bad experience, the trainer was moving too fast for her and she really had a rough time of it. She was a big chicken and wans't ready to advance that quickly. At around the age of 8 she got a new trainer that worked at a slower pace and the child just really moved forward quickly. Her sister started riding around 5ish with the new trainer and advanced so much quicker then her sister.

Sometimes kids just move at slower paces...

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