sensitive to leg - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 02-19-2011, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Post sensitive to leg

My horse is and has always been very sensitive to your leg. The slightest touch makes her jolt forward. I was starting to get her back into work and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on how to make her become less sensitive to leg pressure, if there are any! Thanks
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post #2 of 5 Old 02-20-2011, 12:59 AM
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I have never personally dealt with that problem but I read that the best thing to do was to KEEP your leg on MORE. So, she gets used to it and fears it less. Don't try too hard to keep your leg off, but let it be there on her and if she runs forward, let her but do not remove leg until she calms and settles. Then ease up. I don't mean clamp it on, but do have it THERE>
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post #3 of 5 Old 02-20-2011, 01:49 AM
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This is a problem I like to have. A horse that goes when you touch them. but it can definantly be a little frustrating when your trying to use leg cues. Um what I have found is that the more you stay off a horse with cues the more sensitive they become (and I use this quite a bit on a horse with not very much go when trail riding). However when you want the horse to desensitize then you want to use your legs a lot. For a while this might seem like the horse is going nuts and you will never get them used to it, but then all of the sudden they come around. For example from walk to trot I would bump the horse firmly to go, when then takes off too quick, stop and back them (or whatever you use to reprimand) then ask again until they get it right. I know the previous post said to keep pressure on until they calm, but that is a lot harder said than done when they are trying to take off with you, however it would probably get the same end result. One thing that also helps a lot is a precursor cue, like turning your toes out and then cueing. Why that works i think, is that usually the horses that are very sensitive are also very willing so a precursor helps them prepare for what your about to ask instead of you bumping them and them just reacting to quickly. They want to try so hard for you that they are overachieving. So a precursor makes them slow down and think. Also if I side pass instead of adding pressure with the right leg to move left I would first lift my left leg off the horse a little or just turn my toes out first like stated before.
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post #4 of 5 Old 02-20-2011, 02:22 AM
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My mare used to be exactly like this. The touch of your legs or any pressure on the reins made her freak out but she always seemed like an overreactive horse.

I tried the above method but unfortunately it didn't work so well for me. Probably my fault for not sticking with it long enough but it started to get a little dangerous.

I found that the best precursor for me to use was voice aids which I taught her first on a lunge line. Once my mare was going calmly forward into the different gaits without trying to win a race, I slowly brought back the leg aids as I gave the voice aids and since she knew what gait and what speed was expected of her, she didn't freak out about it. She's still sensitive to leg aids (as in she responds to the lightest aid) but now its in a good way not a bad way.
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post #5 of 5 Old 02-20-2011, 05:03 AM
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get her equally as sensitive to slowing and backing. then whenever she "jolts" forward ask her to stop and backup while your legs are still on (first few times you do it you may have to let off your legs, for safety) then release reins and legs simeltaneously while she's backing.

this is known as "conflicting aids" and is usually a terrible thing that frustrates horses and their owners very much. but in cases like this, the aid is worth "conflicting" to a point.

for every time she "jolts" forward, do this. but if she offers a nice smooth transition don't do it otherwise you might cause the opposite problem. it's all about balancing the horses "go" and "whoa".
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