How to be more assertive with horses?

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How to be more assertive with horses?

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    04-03-2011, 11:50 AM
How to be more assertive with horses?

I've been taking lessons for 6 months. I just started leasing a very sweet natured horse. My first time riding him alone, he minded fairly well, but at the canter, he headed towards the gate of the arena and I couldn't get him turned. I'm sure he was testing me. I'm not sure what I should have done with him after he pulled that. I feel that horses can tell I'm inexperienced and not particularly assertive. How can I change that???

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    04-03-2011, 12:00 PM
Green Broke
First do you know how to fix issues safely?
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    04-03-2011, 01:18 PM
Originally Posted by mbender    
First do you know how to fix issues safely?
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The short answer is No.

Until recently I've only ridden the lesson horses and so I don't have a lot of experience. The lesson horses already know the "drill" and they pretty much do what asked of them. So now I'm branching out to horses that have minds of their own.

When my lease horse was cantoring towards the gate I was steering him with the reins and pressing with one leg to get him to go left, but he wouldn't so I'm wondering what else I should have done. I'm going to ride him next week with my instructor, but it's been bugging me so I thought i'd ask for advice here.
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    04-03-2011, 06:11 PM
The short answer is a good pop of the crop behind your leg to tell him to get off that leg and move away from the pressure. The problem is, if you're not a rider with a secure seat, the result might be you on the ground.

Venturing from lesson horses to testing horses is always a little "not fun" at first. Just be very clear with your aids. Start at the walk, pick an object on the other side of the arena and ride to it. Stay off the rail as much as you can. You don't want the horse to go into auto-pilot mode. If you pick objects and ride to them, it keeps his attention on you because he doesn't know what's coming next. If he starts to wander off course, two arms/two legs, use all your aids to keep him straight. Also try riding circles with a ground pole, so you have something to focus on riding over. When all is working at the walk, do it at the trot and then finally canter.

Horse's have a very good 6th sense about how determined we are as riders. Once they understand that you plan on be very clear in your riding, they will respond in a more positive way. Sounds like yours is just having a little fun. Once she understands you mean what you say, so to speak, she'll come around.
    04-04-2011, 02:03 PM
Thanks for the input. I think it was kind of a blow to the ego when I discovered that all horses aren't as easy to ride as lesson horses. I'm going to take it slow.
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    04-04-2011, 02:52 PM
Something else you can do if he isn't listening to your cues of getting him to turn. Next time slide your left hand down the left rein and physically turn his head. I also have been taking lessons and riding my own. Good idea to have your instructor come out to you and help with him. You will get there it takes time but also you do have to be assertive. I hope this helps.
    04-05-2011, 10:27 PM
Originally Posted by SweetTea1925    
Thanks for the input. I think it was kind of a blow to the ego when I discovered that all horses aren't as easy to ride as lesson horses. I'm going to take it slow.
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The good part is, once you start finding the right buttons to push, you'll be your on your way to whole new riding level. You'll be posting your first "aha moment" in no time!

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