Quicker response to aids - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-17-2012, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quicker response to aids

My horse is an 8 year old Quarter horse; I've had him for a year. I really enjoy riding him and he's very talented; however, I want him to respond quicker to my aids. He's a pretty calm horse and we do pleasure stuff, but I watch my sister's horse (she's working on some reining stuff) and he's 'quicker' about stuff, more touchy. My horse isn't lazy at all, he likes to go, but he's slow about stopping, sidepass/turn on forehand/hindquarters, and backing. If I ask him say, turn on the forehand, he just kinda takes his time doing it. When he backs he's very slow. I don't know how to get him to respond quicker. Can I? Or is it just the way he is? Like I said, he doesn't ingore me, he does what I ask, but he doesn't move his feet (or stop his feet) very fast. I really want to try to get him to back up faster to where I squeeze with my legs and the reins and he goes! Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-17-2012, 10:07 AM
Green Broke
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Each horse has their own personality. He may be doing his best. Super sensitive horses are usually more difficult.
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-17-2012, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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What do you mean by more difficult? More difficult to handle?
Just wondering :)
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post #4 of 9 Old 10-17-2012, 10:17 AM
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I have the same problem with my three year old. So I'm looking forward to see what other people say. She responds but it's a sloppy response. I'd like her to be a bit more quicker when I ask something of her.

"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-17-2012, 11:02 AM
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The best way to get better at anything is to practice, practice, practice.
To make a horse more responsive to cues, give them often. Rather than trotting around the arena for 10 minutes, transition at every letter, to a canter, to a walk or to a halt. Keep changing it up. Don't just go round and round the arena, throw in circles and serpentines. Never make a full lap around the arena without having done something at some point, a transition or a change of direction.
Changing it up constantly Forces him to pay attention constantly as he has NO idea when you're going to ask for something new.
Getting his attention is important, but you need to be sure to be giving the cues accurately and relieving the pressure Immediately! So gradually increase pressure of cue until the desired response, then immediately relieve pressure. When you start asking for one skill use the least amount of pressure possible, then gradually increase until the horse responds, slowly decrease the amount of time it takes for you to amp it up to a stronger pressure. Example: Asking for a trot, squeeze gently with your legs, if no response squeeze tighter, no response add a kick, no response, add a big kick, no response, add crop. Gradually decrease the time between each 'step' so that the horse realizes he really better go with the gentle squeeze rather than the big kick. Repeat this over and over until he's readily changing gaits for you.

Any horse can be made more responsive (not all can be perfect, but they can all get better!) by being given clear, consistent cues, immediate release of pressure, and lots of changing it up to keep them focused.
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-17-2012, 01:32 PM
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Some horses require an ounce of pressure and some require a pound of pressure to perform the same exact request. The rider needs to adjust how they ride to partner correctly with the horse.

On the same token - some people give off an energy to the horse and the horse tends to be more 'up' and sensitive.

Trade horses with your sister once. Ask for the same manuevers and see what happens.
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-17-2012, 01:46 PM
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Try starting out with a little pressure, and then adding more and more until he responds. Eventually, after lots of practice, he'll learn to respond to that light pressure. Not sure if that'll help, but I thought I'd throw it out there(:
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-17-2012, 02:06 PM
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Reining horses are trained specifically to be very light in hand and to the other aids. My horse is particularly sensitive, (a finished reiner) and after about 2 weeks of riding him with out spurs and just giving him my heels he was like 'oooooh yeah, keep rubbing my belly, oooooh yeah.....oh you want me to move over....ooooh ooooo kkkkkkk' haha get my drift? I don't kick my horse, kicking only causes a horse to brace for the next kick! I was rolling my heel on him, which worked for a bout a week and a half until he figured out that it was JUST my heel! So I put my spurs back on and he woke right up and is his snappy self again......however responsive he is, I still have challenges!

Also, one way to get them snappy and quick is to ask consistently, so if your neck reining around the arena and are asking for tight turns, use your aids/body in this order:
LOOK - look in the direction you want to go, which will cause a very slight shift in your seat
Apply outside leg......no spur
Apply outside rein on neck lightly
And last of all if he doesn't respond as fast as you want, apply your spur (roll it) or smack his outside shoulder with the end of your rein to get him to move off your neck rein.....
In that order! And eventually you'll just be looking in the direction you want to go and the horse will follow. Once he's following your direction, then you add speed to it.

Last edited by Muppetgirl; 10-17-2012 at 02:12 PM.
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-17-2012, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone! These were good suggestions!
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