Doesn't Move Off My Leg... Exercises?
   

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Doesn't Move Off My Leg... Exercises?

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        06-23-2014, 11:14 AM
      #1
    Foal
    Doesn't Move Off My Leg... Exercises?

    Hey all :)
    First things first, I've never really cared for showing much, but this year I've really wanted to get into showing in 4H shows more with him before I graduate. My horse really excels at pattern classes like trail and horsemanship. I don't have heavy hands per say, but I do know I use my reins too much when I ride and not enough steering with my legs, so I've been working on that a lot! (I bought my horse when he was a greenie, I don't have a trainer, and I don't take lessons so I do all of this by myself.. )
    He's NOT dead to the leg at all when we're talking forward or backward motion; in that case he's very responsive. Lately I've been trying to work on leg yielding and side passing and I've encountered a little problem. He doesn't move off my leg laterally. I can yield his front end decently (like front legs cross and he basically does a crude pivot), but I cannot get him to yield his back end by itself, and I figure that's the first step to moving laterally
    He yields his front and back ends fine on the ground when I poke him.
    Got any suggestions or exercises for me? Especially for moving his back end, but also for lateral movement??
    Thanks
         
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        06-23-2014, 12:00 PM
      #2
    Weanling
    Experiment with moving your leg around on his side, there is a lot real-estate on there sides so experiment by putting your leg a little farther back to get him to move his hind end. Feel for any movement and reward the slightest try, it may only be shifting his weight but release and reward him so he knows he did the right thing. Look for one step at a time. You can also try using a dressage whip to reinforce you leg but then you have to make sure your not yanking his mouth when you use the whip.

    Go back and fourth move his front end, then his back end until he understands what to do, then move onto asking for the front and back at the same time. It also helps if you start on a fence so going forward is not an option, it just takes one direction out of the equation.
    jamesdean57 and Troubador like this.
         
        06-23-2014, 12:14 PM
      #3
    Foal
    You say your horse yields fine on the ground when you "poke" him, but does he yield when you simply apply pressure on the ground? Also, are you applying the pressure where you legs will be when riding?

    Whether a horse yields to lateral leg pressure when mounted has a lot to do with balance -- balance of the horse, but also, balance of the rider. Many riders don't realize how their body positioning is inhibiting their horse from doing what they are asking it to do.

    For example, I have seen a video of a well-known trainer talking about "opening the door" by pulling his leg away from the horse to encourage the horse to move in that direction. This trainer was admittedly exaggerating this, but it still didn't appear that he realized what else was happening. As he drew his right leg away from the horse, he leaned his upper body to the left. Although the horse yielded its front end to the right, it was also compelled to move its hind to the left to maintain balance under the rider.

    A more subtle example was a young woman who called me in to help her get her horse to side pass better. She could get the mare to move in one direction but not the other. When I first observed her, I could see the problem but could not discern the cause. I mounted the horse to see if I could figure out the cause and find a solution. The horse moved in both directions easily for me. This told me the problem was with the rider, so I had her remount. This time I looked more closely and discovered that her right shoulder was about an inch lower than her left. She knew her body well enough that she could correct this with my feedback. Her horse moved easily in both directions.

    Balance is critical if you don't want to fight against yourself and your horse as many people end up doing. Try to feel how you are balanced. Tell someone on the ground what to look for an give you feedback. Take videos of yourself and your efforts; watch to see how you are sitting and how you may make it easier for your horse to both understand what you want and comply with your wishes.
    Troubador likes this.
         
        06-23-2014, 12:24 PM
      #4
    Super Moderator
    If the horse won't move his hind end sideways, try backing him, but backing on an arc. So, you are backing one side of him more than the other, so he moves backward, but kind of on a circle. This will make him have to move one of his hind legs in a lateral direction a step or two.

    Don't do this all day and drive your horse crazy. This is just one excersize for you and your horse to isolate rein to hoof direct communication. You work on being able to use your rein and your seat/leg to place each one of his hind feet right where you want them be.
    Troubador likes this.
         
        06-23-2014, 12:34 PM
      #5
    Foal
    Here's how I was taught to yield the HQ:

    To move off your right foot/rein--right hind moves over ...

    Turn your head and LOOK at his right rump,

    Move your right foot just slightly back from it's neutral position, and turn your toes out-causing your heel to make contact (keep looking at the rump)

    Turn your right rein hand fingernails upwards and start pulling toward either your bellybutton or your left shoulder--if he takes even one step over, release everything...you might not have to take the rein all the way.

    If you make it to your left shoulder and he hasnt moved, wiggle your heel a bit into his side. When he does shift his weight or step off the pressure-- Release,relax and praise him.
    Build from that to more refined cues.

    Good luck
    Fay
         

    Tags
    horsemanship, leg yielding, responsiveness, trail class, training

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