How can I get my horse to WALK?? - Page 2

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How can I get my horse to WALK??

This is a discussion on How can I get my horse to WALK?? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
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    11-08-2011, 10:06 AM
You are doing quite the opposite to attaining a soft seat. By gripping with your thighs you are causing yourself to bounce. You need to "disconnect" your back bone from your pelvis. Pull your belly button toward your spine, let out a deep breath and let everything sag. You will feel your pelvis move upright then tilt back. By focusing on this your hip bones will relax in the sockets, removing the tension from your legs. Try it in a chair or stool. Also try to keep your heels aligned under your hips. Think of a horse being like a tube of toothpaste, squeeze and the contents move forward.
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    11-08-2011, 10:43 AM
Don't grip on a horse ever! They feel every muscle of yours and it affects everything. If you are scared of bouncing off, get off of your horse and continue the ground work, and find someone that has a very mellow horse and practice bareback walking with long loose legs and a halter. Or take up lessons.

By you gripping, not only are you setting yourself up for a bumpy uncomfortable ride, but you are making riding with you not fun for your horse and they're learning to take every inch you give them (loosening reins) as an opportunity to get away.

It's okay to be nervous, but keep your body relaxed :) When you ride, release all of the tension even before you get on. Hand walk the horse and make sure YOU are nice and relaxed. Stretch before you ride, that also helps to relax.

It's going to take some time, but don't think "oh I'm going to fall off!" because that puts you into a panic and gets your muscles tightening and your horse will feel that and they won't feel safe.

When you ride, your eyes map the way infront of you, your body will follow.. your horse will too. The biggest thing that helped me to relax was first relaxing myself and erasing the "what if I fall" or "what if he bolts?!" or other what ifs from my head. Also, getting lunged by a riding instructor on different horses because it helped me to adapt to different kind of walking and trotting. Then when I got back to my boy, he and I were both pleasantly surprised and there weren't problems anymore :)

Adding onto what some have said above, after you get on does your horse just start moving on their own or do you ask?

If they start moving, make them ho. Ask with a little pressure and increase until they do, then release (I'm sure you know :P)

If you ask, make sure you breathe in deep and focus on every muscle letting go and being relaxed. Even your wrists need to be relaxed, your face (so many nervous riders make the craziest faces..) you need to remember to breathe!! It's easy to forget when you focus hard on other things. Your ankles and toes, your calves , your THIGHS and knees , everything :)

Best of luck!!!
    11-08-2011, 09:12 PM
Saddlebags, the way you describe that posture sounds like you are saying I should sit on her with what my grandma would call "bad posture". I've always been taught to sit up straight and not to slump my shoulders and such. Is this what you are saying I should be doing or did I misunderstand? As far as gripping goes, I don't recall if I mentioned that I ride bareback. I know in the saddle there is no need for gripping. I only use my saddle for events and long trail rides. So usually when I ride, its bareback so that's why I use my thighs to stay on her. I just now read the previous 2 posts but already went for a ride today and I think we had a really great breakthrough in communication so it was a really great day!! She still did her jitterbug but I was able to get her to walk more than normal :) We will keep at it!
    11-08-2011, 09:13 PM
Oh yeah, I ride Western if that makes a difference
    11-08-2011, 09:26 PM
Nope not bad posture - as a dressage rider, I can remain absolutely loose through my legs and pelvis, allowing my leg to essentially hang from my hips and pelvis to go with the horse. But remaining upright, in balance and a 'good posture' the whole time. The trick to this is being able to engage your core to allow you to balance without gripping.

Though, when you are beginning to teach yourself to relax your muscles, I wouldn't be too worried about being a little TOO loose in your upper body, as long as your legs are flopping down and not gripping :)
    11-08-2011, 10:54 PM
Even bareback, gripping is not a good idea. As long as your body is in the center of your horse and you sit up straight but not stiffly.. you won't fall off.
    11-09-2011, 03:05 AM
Hmmm... ok.. Ill give it a try tomorrow. That's definitely a different thing for me but hopefully ill be able to figure it out. Im so used to riding the way that I do its hard to change but Im hoping that's the key to a better ride, Ill let you know how it goes :) thanks again guys!
    11-09-2011, 08:53 AM
:) Good luck. Bareback riding is tough if you're always in a saddle.. but it definitely improves your balance and confidence! Just remember to breathe and every stride, relax into the horse and relax yourself!
    11-09-2011, 09:27 PM
Originally Posted by Erfellie    
I understand why you say to loosen up and relax my legs, but I use my thighs to stay on her back and even though Im not squeezing her really, I feel as if I were to loosen up anymore I would just bounce right off. I do try to relax, ease up, and take deep breaths but that seems to be when she speeds up, especially if I losen the rein. I don't pull on the reins constantly but I do hold them somewhat taught (not tight though) and when she does actually walk for me I will then loosen up the reins but then she speeds up as soon as I do that. Hmmm.
Well as I said we are improving lately, things have been going better. I really am enjoying all this information on the horse forum, it really has been a big help to me, thanks everyone :)
I am no expert for sure but I can tell you patience and consistency helped me a TON, as well as lots of encourgagement from others. My horse would trot up as soon as I loosened the rein but I just kept after what I wanted from him and used the suggestions of changing directions, and circling and one day he was just like "Ok", apparently the lightbulb went off. What relaxed me most was talking to him, I know it sounds cheesy but it totally worked (and still does). I started with lots of groundwork to get him out of my space and gain respect and once we got that established he also became a lot easier to handle. Just to add I finally acomplished the loose rein walk about a week ago and I have been seriously at for about a month or so.
    11-09-2011, 10:06 PM
Super Moderator
Do you know how she was trained? I mean, was she trained before you got her? If so, how was she used? That might help when forming a game plan...

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