Side Stepping - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-05-2013, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Side Stepping

I have a gelding that likes to side step. When I try to turn him (direct rein) he takes about 3 steps to the side with his head turned the way I want him to go. If I squeeze him, he will straighten up and just walk on, but he does it nearly every time I try to turn him.

He isn't trying to be mean, just stubborn. He was rode by kids for the last few years so I chalk a little of it up to that (getting away with that he was doing, ya know.)

So, is there anything that I can do to make him stop that? I have had a few horses do that before, and I was never able to fix it. Any clues?
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-05-2013, 05:30 PM
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How are you pulling the rein?
And if you use leg cues, how do you place your leg?

If you want to turn to the left, and you pull toward your hip, he is likely to side step. But if you turn it out and away from his shoulder, then that would be a more clear signal to turn your front.

If you are turning to the left and you apply pressure with your left leg, to me that would be telling the horse to get his hind over. Horses move away from pressure, so you would want to actually apply pressure on the right side so he moves away from the pressure and to the left.

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post #3 of 7 Old 07-05-2013, 08:13 PM
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He is just 'rubber-necking' with you. Horses learn to do this when someone pulls harder to get them to turn instead of using less pull and more outside leg.

Once the horse's head comes around to the point where you can barely see the corner of his inside eye, stop pulling. The inside rein should be loose at this point. Then do whatever it takes to get the horse to follow his nose. If a horse has gotten bad about this, it may take a crop used lightly on his outside shoulder to get him to follow his nose.

This is what we are talking about when we say we need to teach a horse to stay between the rider's reins and between the rider's legs.

When a horse over-bends or rubber-necks, it actually pushes his momentum into the his outside shoulder. This is why your horse is stepping to the outside -- he has to.
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-06-2013, 12:52 PM
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Maybe you could try... indirect reining? Besides, you should be using your legs/body to turn him and using the reins as the last resort.
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-06-2013, 01:23 PM
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What leg aids are you using? Sounds like you're changing the direction his head points but how are you controlling his feet?
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-07-2013, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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I have never used leg cues before actually. I was never taught to, and I took lessons for over a year at a riding barn. Sooo.. yeah. Looks like I need to learn.

He is very responsive to the reins, so I just have to tap them to have him turn his head and start turning. I don't pull or yank or constantly apply pressure. If I want to make a 90 degree turn to the right, I just barely apply pressure with my right rein. He will turn his head and start that way, then take 2 steps to the side. When he side steps, I will squeeze him lightly with my legs (he doesn't need much pressure) and he will straighten up.

I hope you can understand what I am trying to say, lol.

Can anyone explain leg cues for me? It seems like I really need to learn them. Thanks everyone for your info.
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-07-2013, 12:44 PM
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Horses move away from pressure. SO if you want to turn to the left, you should apply pressure to his side with your right leg. If you want to turn to the right, apply pressure with your left leg. If you want him to move his hind over and pivot his front, place your foot a little bit further back than you usually go and apply pressure - using reins if it helps to learn. If you want to pivot his hind and move his front, then place your leg further forward than usual and either apply pressure or wiggle your foot. I find that wiggling my foot helps me better with moving the front.

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