Keeping a horse in active walk and problems with steering horses
   

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Keeping a horse in active walk and problems with steering horses

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  • Why does my horse not want to turn left
  • Horses quarters in on left rein. tips to correct this?

 
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    12-21-2011, 03:36 AM
  #1
Foal
Keeping a horse in active walk and problems with steering horses

Hi

I have problems keeping lazy horses in active walk... as in, if I get a lazy horse (which I would still prefer to a forward one as I am still regaining my confidence after a series of very bad falls), he tends to slow down and stop after a while.

I just returned from a riding holiday where I had the chance to ride very desensitised and well-schooled horses. I also had the opportunity to relearn many basic instructions which had "flown out of my head" with the falls. However, due to the influx of information within a short period, I am now not very sure about some and would like to seek clarifications.

I heard that in order to actively engage a horse and to keep him walking, I should press my calf muscles into his sides, alternating left, right, left, right.

Is this true? And when do I press which side? I tried this on a very jaded horse while on holiday but I can't really remember.. hehe..

Also, I have issues with steering horses which refuse to go the direction I want. I tend to be able to get the head of the horse all the way to the direction I want, but the rest of the body is moving away. When I find the horse stubbornly refusing to yield, I tend to give in (due to the accidents I had, and I know the horse is stronger than me), but as a result, I lose control (and the respect of the horse) and he realises he can bully me after a while. I have tried doing what is standard - if I want him to turn left, I use my left leg and left rein; but I don't seem to get his whole body to turn the way I want. What am I doing wrong?

While riding on the left rein on a very old and well-schooled horse at the holiday ranch, I realised that by keeping my right leg slightly behind his girth as we are coming off a corner, I managed to get him to cover the corner very well, and his hind quarters to square off nicely. This was done while I nudged with left leg to push into rounding off the corner. However, I worry that on a more forward and younger horse, I might set him off into a canter if I move my outside leg behind his girth as many school horses are accustomed to transiting into canter around corners. Is my worry uncalled for, and is what I described above the correct way?

Thanks for your advice.
     
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    12-21-2011, 04:46 AM
  #2
Green Broke
For going forward, when you alternate your leg cues, you used the side that the front leg is going to step. However, if you are having problems, then go back to basics. To me alternating your leg cues can be complicating. I squeeze both calves, then cluck/kiss, then spank with the reins or crop.

For turning, using the same rein and leg is for more advanced horses/riders. Again go back to basics. Don't worry about getting the horse to bend around the turn. Work on just getting them to turn. To me, putting your inside leg on should get them to bend with an advanced horse but would actually block the turn of less trained horse. Use your left rein and right leg to turn left and opposite for turning right until they are consistent. When consistent you can start working on getting them to bend correctly.

If the horse should happen to speed up when giving a leg cue to turn, put pressure on the outside rein to control the speed.
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    12-21-2011, 10:09 AM
  #3
Showing
I ask my horse to move more forward with my leg. If she ignores me, I tap with the whip behind my leg. If she ignores the tap she gets a smack.
     
    12-23-2011, 01:36 PM
  #4
Showing
I wouldn't squeeze with your legs, you get more tired that way and then the horse is free to stop and walk as slow as molasses.
Try tapping your calves instead. Also, a good horse knows they stay in that same tempo/speed until you give them a different cue. I only tap when he gets slow and it's when the back legs are about to come forward (because the hind is the power or the engine for lack of a better comparison.)

Are you feeling scared of going faster due to all of those falls? Horses can sense resistance so they'd start making all of the decisions.
     
    12-23-2011, 02:19 PM
  #5
Yearling
Like said earlier, to get the horse to move forward use your leg and squeeze with you rcalves. As soon as the horse steps forward release the pressure. The horse learns from the release of pressure.If the horse slows again squeeze again. As soon as he speds up release the pressure. And I do mean as soon as he moves out. That builds the relation between the presure, moving forward and the release of pressure. If you just keep squeezing after the horse moves out ,there is no moment were the horse gets the release. In other words the horse will make the connection. She squeezes, I move ,she stops squeezing. I hope that makes sence.

Now the turning. If you want to go to the left use the same pressure , release with you left rein. Not constant pressure. As soon as the horse starts left release the pressure . You also mentioned that you use the same leg as you do with your rein. As said earlier. That is great to teach your horse to bend around a turn. However that can also block your horses shoulder from going to the left. Try the rein and if needed use your outsde leg to bump the xhoulder in the direction you want to go and open up your inside leg. It is like opening the gate to let the shoulder move to the left and pushing it with your right leg. Hopefully this makes alittle sense.
     
    12-23-2011, 02:40 PM
  #6
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by mavis    
Hi

I have problems keeping lazy horses in active walk... as in, if I get a lazy horse (which I would still prefer to a forward one as I am still regaining my confidence after a series of very bad falls), he tends to slow down and stop after a while.

I just returned from a riding holiday where I had the chance to ride very desensitised and well-schooled horses. I also had the opportunity to relearn many basic instructions which had "flown out of my head" with the falls. However, due to the influx of information within a short period, I am now not very sure about some and would like to seek clarifications.

I heard that in order to actively engage a horse and to keep him walking, I should press my calf muscles into his sides, alternating left, right, left, right.

Is this true? And when do I press which side? I tried this on a very jaded horse while on holiday but I can't really remember.. hehe..

Also, I have issues with steering horses which refuse to go the direction I want. I tend to be able to get the head of the horse all the way to the direction I want, but the rest of the body is moving away. When I find the horse stubbornly refusing to yield, I tend to give in (due to the accidents I had, and I know the horse is stronger than me), but as a result, I lose control (and the respect of the horse) and he realises he can bully me after a while. I have tried doing what is standard - if I want him to turn left, I use my left leg and left rein; but I don't seem to get his whole body to turn the way I want. What am I doing wrong?

While riding on the left rein on a very old and well-schooled horse at the holiday ranch, I realised that by keeping my right leg slightly behind his girth as we are coming off a corner, I managed to get him to cover the corner very well, and his hind quarters to square off nicely. This was done while I nudged with left leg to push into rounding off the corner. However, I worry that on a more forward and younger horse, I might set him off into a canter if I move my outside leg behind his girth as many school horses are accustomed to transiting into canter around corners. Is my worry uncalled for, and is what I described above the correct way?

Thanks for your advice.

You have had a confidence knock, and I don't know anyone who can say they then get back on the horse and say nothing happened.

Firstly, well done for getting back on. Only ride a horse you are comfortable with at the moment. The slow ones teach you to ride properly- you have to ask them right to make them move. If you don't, they won't respond. Don't think about riding younger horses for now, just crack on with what you've got until you have the basics.

For moving, I don't alternate left,right,left,right unless I truly need more engagement from the hind. As Kitten_Val said, ask with a squeeze of your calves, being careful that you are not pulling the reins back if you tense up- you'll be asking the horse to move on, and come back at the same time, very confusing.

Get this sorted first, don't worry about steering. In fact, if you are in a school on your own, tie the reins, get someone to put you on the lunge and use a neck strap, just work on forwards.

For direction, if you are the left rein you should have slightly more weight in the inside leg, and when you bend, you should apply pressure to the inside, and use the outside leg to balance the horse, and if the horse refuses, inside leg off, outside leg on firmly. I don't know how advanced you are in your lessons, but half halting is a good idea too. Again, make sure your reins aren't tight, get the horse to move and turn from your seat and legs. IF the horse will not respond, do not panic, keep the outside leg on , outside hand comes forwards (not like a washing line, keep the contact) and bring the inside hand ACROSS your body. However, outside leg is important, and sit to the inside otherwise the horse will bend its neck and carry on walking.}

Good luck!
     
    12-24-2011, 11:06 PM
  #7
Foal
First off--Mavis, kudos on going back to riding after such confidence killers! Be patient with yourself and realize that just like a traumatized horse, you may need to "be started" all over again. That's okay. You're enjoying it, right? Because that is the ONLY reason to ride.

Don't worry about younger/more forward horses for now. Let yourself get your confidence back on these forgiving, quiet school horses. But what it sounds like to me is that, due to your fear, you're not actually riding right now. My last instructor stressed that even people who never want to show need to be "effective" riders. Right now the horse is tuning you out because you're not using your legs to tell it to keep going. Squeeze once with both legs (not super hard) and the horse should walk on. If he doesn't do that right away, squeeze again quite a bit harder. If still no results, you then kick. The important thing is to get the horse listening to you. For a dull horse such as you're riding now, the alternating squeezes with first one leg then the other can be useful, but really you shouldn't have to do that very much. My instructor preferred to have us use a whip rather than constantly nag with our aids. Even a dull horse can be obedient.

Your steering issue again sounds like you're not using your legs. Horses are trained to move away from pressure, so that's why when you use your left leg for a left turn, you're not getting good results. But congratulations on figuring out for yourself the exactly correct leg aids for a left turn--left leg gently pressing at the girth, and right leg pressing just behind the girth. This moves the horse's barrel over to the right while keeping the hindquarters from popping out of the circle as you described. Great job!

Do not use the reins to turn the horse. This is why the head is turning but not the body. Your legs turn the body. The reins only control the shoulders.

I know it sounds like the aid for canter is the same as the aid for a turn, but in practice it doesn't work out that way. When you're getting ready to canter, mentally you're thinking "faster/new gait." Canter aids also involve the seat and a slight turn to the horse's head. All told they are just stronger, sharper, more definite than turning aids. Any horse you'll be riding in the foreseeable future will know the difference. In fact, it's normal for these beginning school horses to decline to canter at first! They want to make sure you really mean it.

I think you're doing just great. Are you having fun? Can you get some lunge lessons? Those will really help too.
     

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