11-28-2009, 10:01 PM
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I just got home from an amazing lesson with Dorothy Crowell *Olympic Eventer* and she just worked on this with Nelson and I and the others in my class.
Nelson is dead to my legs as well, but I learnt that I was the one who taught him that *well, I think it was his previous owner* but it doesn't matter - anyways, and a fellow rider in my class, is on a 16 year old TB who is not only dead to spurs, dead to his riders leg and dead to the crop - because he and previous riders have over used them without going back to proper training and basics.
So from a halt, she had us ask our horses to move into the walk with a light leg. She explained that horses can feel a fly on their body without seeing them, so they can feel our natural aids as well.
So a light leg, is very soft - you are touching the hair of your horses sides with your inner calf. If they don't respond, she had us kick them *A Pony Club Kick* is how she explained it. Then when we got the forward movement, bring them back down and ask again with a light leg. If no response, kick again until you get what you want.
Once I got Nelson to move into the walk with a very light leg, which is how it is supposed to be - we moved from halt to walk, to walk to trot.
It worked great. Even the horses who were so dead to the leg, had the light bulb turn on within a few attempts.
The key is to praise when you get the desired reponse when asking with a very light leg and release. When you don't get the response, the punnishment is the "Pony Club Kick".
LOL, Dorothy had to get on Nelson because I was being too soft with my kick, so she had to show me how to do it properly. But after a few attempts, all I had to do was gently touch his side and he was ahead of my leg.
It was a great learning experience. Riders who were using crops and spurs, were no longer needing them when they learnt this great tool.