Leg signals for different maneuvers?

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Leg signals for different maneuvers?

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    04-21-2011, 08:48 PM
Leg signals for different maneuvers?

So, while I'm training my horse and working with him from the ground to improve his maneuverabilty under saddle, I've kinda hit a road block. There are three completely different ways to move that could all be reached by using one command: Leg pressure.

Either he could learn to pivot on his forequarters at the press of a leg, pivot on his hindquarters, or perform a side pass.

So, it has come to my attention that I need three different ways of asking for him to move his feet, one for each possibility.

How do you tell your horse that he has to cross legs and step to the side? How do you tell him that he just has to change direction by moving his hind legs only (pivot on the fore) and how do you tell him to change direction by pivoting on his hind, as in a reining spin or a roll back? I have no intentions of doing reining with him, but the roll back is something I see a lot of merit and potential in training him to do.
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    04-21-2011, 11:44 PM
I hope you are asking how to do all this stuff from the ground and not while riding! Haha! Otherwise I'm wasting my time...

Originally Posted by Salila    
How do you tell your horse that he has to cross legs and step to the side?
It helps to do this up against one of the arena walls. Have your horse standing perpendicular to the fence with his nose to the wall and his hindquarters to the inside of the arena. It helps to have a dressage whip or some other sort of "handy stick." For me, I start by putting the hand with the lead rope in it up by the horse's face. Start "tapping" the air. If the horse moves his front end over, release the pressure. If he doesn't, you can keep trying or bump him on the nose. If he reacts drastically, keep him on a short line and bring him back up to the fence. Start again with the gentlest cue. To move the hindquarters, use your stick and tap the air again. 1, 2, 3, 4. If he doesn't listen, do it again and end with a tap on the butt. Again, if there's an overreaction just bring him back up to the fence.

Now combine the two by using your hand with the lead rope to pump the air by his head and neck and the other hand uses the whip to encourage the hindquarters. The horse should move both parts somewhat together. The farther along your horse gets, you can just put pressure in the air towards his girth and he should move over. Again, this prepares the horse for the riders leg to move him.

Originally Posted by Salila    
How do you tell him that he just has to change direction by moving his hind legs only (pivot on the fore)
I would typically just work on these last two exercises before the first one because once he has these two solidified, the top one should be easy. Anyways, to get the horse to move his hindquarters and pivot on the front end, this exercise is called yielding the hindquarters. Again, dressage whip of some sort is handy. Lead rope in left hand, crouch down a bit, aim your eyes at his hindquarters. If he doesn't move his hindquarters away just by that, start tapping the air with your whip. 1, 2, 3, 4. Not listening, increase your energy and if still nothing, whack on the hindquarters. He should eventually just go off your body language. And just reverse everything for the other side. :)

Originally Posted by Salila    
And how do you tell him to change direction by pivoting on his hind, as in a reining spin or a roll back?
This one can be a little bit more challenging for horses so I'd start with the yielding hindquarters exercise first. Start with lead rope in left hand with about a foot of rope from the halter to your hand. Whip in right hand. You can start by just pumping the air with your left hand. 1, 2, 3, 4. If nothing, you can bring up your whip and put it in both hands and pump the air by his head and neck. If nothing, you can tap his nose with your hand. Some horses honestly are so disrespectful you have to smack him on the head. So pay attention. If he gets confused and just backs up or goes all over the place, start again. And then reverse for the other side.

Hope this helps!
    04-22-2011, 10:43 AM
So once he has these down from the ground, how would I translate them into working under saddle?

As it is, I've been working on yeilding the hindquarters by laying my hand on his side, where my leg would be, and applying a small amount of pressure. If he doesn't move his hindquarters away at that, I tip his nose in to me a little to encourage the move, and give him a "Move" sound (clicking) if he still doesn't move. So apparently, I've designated the one side of leg pressure to turning on the forehand.

Perhaps I could change position of the leg pressure when asking him to pivot on his hind legs under saddle, such as, say, if I'm asking him to pivot to the right on his hindquarters, placing my right leg further back, and my left a little foreward, to imply that the right shoulder has room to move sideways, but that the hip should not follow.

And to ask for a side pass, I could maybe apply pressure from the outside leg, with the outside rein against the neck, and no pressure on the inside, or the direction I'm asking him to step.

    04-22-2011, 03:20 PM
Once you've really established these exercises on the ground and he is respectful of you and your space, horse's usually don't have too much more trouble doing these same things once you're in the saddle.

For the yielding the hindquarters exercise, it is now called a turn on the forehand when undersaddle. To do a turn on the forehand to the left--meaning the horse's nose is tipped to the left and the hindquarters will swing to the right. Have the horse's nose tipped to the left just a touch, right leg at the girth but off the horse's side to create an "open door" for him to go and your left leg will be behind the girth. Also keep slight contact with your right rein to keep him from moving forward. Start by just the pressure of your leg being back there. No response? More pressure to heel to soft kick to hard kick. The thing is though is to always give the horse the opportunity to respond to the lightest aid first. Some people will ask lightly first and if the horse doesn't listen they go right into a swift kick. It just depends, some horse's need it; some would freak.

For the yielding the forehand exercise, it is now called a turn on the haunches when undersaddle. In order for the horse to do it correctly, smoothly and to be spinning like in reining, the horse must pivot on the inside hindleg hoof of the circle. The outside hindleg must step over the inside leg. The same with the forehand. The outside foreleg must cross over the front of the inside foreleg to be effective. Otherwise the horse is practicing backing up and can't gain any momentum. Now onto how to do it. :) For this exercise I'm not really sure if its important which way the nose is tipped but I always practiced with the nose tipped in the direction of the turn. To do a turn on the haunches to the right, the nose will tip to the right, left rein has contact to keep the horse from moving forward, right rein open to create that "open door". Left leg at the girth or slightly in front of and the right leg off. You'll have to watch your horse to see whether he does better with your leg at the girth or slightly in front of. Again, use your reins to block forward movement and your leg to send him forward if he backs up. A handy way to work this exercise is to have him trotting a circle and send him into the turn on the haunches or spin.

For the sidepass exercise, it is called the same thing undersaddle. Say we want to sidepass to the right. Start off the same way with your horse's nose to the fence. Left rein doesn't need to have much contact because the wall will stop the forward movement. Right rein open for that open door. Left leg at girth or slightly back, right leg off for the open door. Try and keep your horse as straight as possible. :)
    04-22-2011, 05:33 PM
You're so helpful. Thanks!
    04-22-2011, 06:16 PM
No problem! I really learned these and lots of ground work exercises on my first internship so they're pretty ingrained in my head. ;)

Let me know if you have any other questions!
    04-22-2011, 06:23 PM
Green Broke
Just like on the ground, your cue will be different for what part of the horse you want to move. You would cue farther forward undersaddle to move the front end over and farther back to move the rear over.

A trick I learned when training our young gelding: having the saddle on, use the stirrups to cue. That way when you are in the saddle, the cues will already be where your legs will be. I'll explain what I do for the rear since it's easier to explain. When the horse is good at moving the rear end away on the groung with just body language, I'll start using the saddle. Start by putting the stirrup back where you would cue to move the rear over. Hold the stirrup against the side of the horse. At first they won't move. I would then start bumping the stirrup against the side. You can gradually increase how hard you bump or just keep bumping until they move. As soon as they take one step away, remove the pressure and rub the side. Repeat, repeat, repeat... I've used this on other 'broke' horses that only know leg cues to go forward and turn.
    04-28-2011, 11:37 PM
Thanks for tips, usandpets. That will certainly come in handy!

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