leg cues, constant or rhythmic - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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leg cues, constant or rhythmic

I am wondering which is the correct way to cue your horse for movement? When asking to go, speed up, turn or yield....do you keep the pressure on with your leg until you get it, or do you ask with a rhythmic bumping motion until you get the movement?
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post #2 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 12:01 PM
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Rhythmic. I think of putting a little 'vibration', for lack of a better word, though my legs to convey intent to my horse. Once he understands your intent you can start to refine it until it looks to most outside observers as if you're doing nothing at all (though you are). That's when you start to look GOOD.

Last edited by Ian McDonald; 04-10-2013 at 12:03 PM.
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post #3 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 12:54 PM
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It depends on if you are asking a green horse that currently does not know how to move properly off of the leg or a trained horse that is being asked to do something that it has been taught.

Green horse: Start very softly and almost imperceptibly and gradually build to a stronger aid until the horse finds it too irritating to ignore. Then remove it and give total relief when it moves off of the leg.

Trained horse: Ask very softly with an almost imperceptible aid. If the horse does not respond with the correct response like it has been taught, use leg harshly two or thee times, settle horse back down and then ask very softly again.

This last part is why most amateurs never get really light and responsive horses. They use the first method on trained horses and the horse always requires far more pressure than a trained horse should have to feel. The horse never gets light and the rider does not either. A trained horse with a good rider will respond to those imperceptible aids like when the rider only tightens the upper calf muscle and never moves the lower leg at all. The horse learns to respond to a rein when the rider only slightly tightens the grip of a couple of fingers on the rein sending a slight vibration down it and does not move the hand.
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post #4 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help!
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post #5 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 01:32 PM
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I bring leg on to side and bump with calf muscles, and add light heel against side, just laying it there, not "bumping" it at all.

I will increase slightly if I need to, but rarely have to with mine.

Rein used to against neck at same time, but leg is the most of it.

The lighter you can keep you aids when you first ask with them? The lighter your horse will be.

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post #6 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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When increasing the pressure....does it get faster or harder.....or both?
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post #7 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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I just re-read my prior post, oh my goodness....please no comedians.
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post #8 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldhorselady View Post
When increasing the pressure....does it get faster or harder.....or both?
I'm far too immature to ignore this! In response to your original question, try to think about the timing of the aid. Let's say for example, somebody asked you to jump off the ground right as you were landing from another jump. You couldn't do it because you're still on your way down, right? You want to time your aids according to what's called the engagement phase. If you're trying to ask for canter, but apply the aid when the outside hind is on the ground, the horse cannot respond. There is no point on keeping the aid "on" and asking continuously because the horse can only answer when the leg involved is available. You would have to ask when the outside hind is off the ground and about to come back down. Same with the walk. If you want the inside hind leg to step under more, you can only ask when it's about to land. Take a few minutes each ride to feel where your horse's feet are, which leg is off the ground when. Only then will you be able to properly apply the aids. Hope that makes sense.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #9 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck View Post
I'm far too immature to ignore this! In response to your original question, try to think about the timing of the aid. Let's say for example, somebody asked you to jump off the ground right as you were landing from another jump. You couldn't do it because you're still on your way down, right? You want to time your aids according to what's called the engagement phase. If you're trying to ask for canter, but apply the aid when the outside hind is on the ground, the horse cannot respond. There is no point on keeping the aid "on" and asking continuously because the horse can only answer when the leg involved is available. You would have to ask when the outside hind is off the ground and about to come back down. Same with the walk. If you want the inside hind leg to step under more, you can only ask when it's about to land. Take a few minutes each ride to feel where your horse's feet are, which leg is off the ground when. Only then will you be able to properly apply the aids. Hope that makes sense.
Ok, I know that was irresisteible....

Thanks for the explanation....I totally get it. So with forward cue then, do you alternate both sides by asking each leg to go forward with a bump?....or do you bump at the same time with both legs?

I first learned to squeeze both legs together....now I was told to do the bump, but with the whole concept, I am wondering if I should be alternating the bumps with the legs that are about to move forward?
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post #10 of 20 Old 04-11-2013, 05:02 PM
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Think finess instead of bump. If you want more walk, you already know that's a 4 beat gait, so each leg hits the ground at a different time. So if you want more walk, each time a hind leg is about to back down to the ground, that's when you want to finess your horse on that side. If you ride the walk and really concentrate on feeling the horse's movement, you will notice that the belly swings away to the other side to make room for the hind leg on that side to come forward. If you belly is on the left, the right hind is coming forward. So when you feel that belly start to get out of the way, that's when you apply the aid. I guess you could use both legs, but it doesn't make sense to me since you are only asking one leg at a time to do something.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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