Steering with Legs/Seat - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-16-2010, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Steering with Legs/Seat

Sssooo. As of now, I am self-teaching myself and Beau as I go. I took lessons for several years (hunter lessons) but can't afford to any longer, and was never really taught how to.. well, teach Beau to steer off legs/seat. None of the schoolhorses I rode would do it.
I've been working on it for a while through trial and error and he will turn wonderfully if I use a combination of leg pressure/slight rein pressure (he does neck rein as well) but I would really love to have him go off of only leg and seat, and I know you are supposed to ride Seat > Legs > Hands anyways. I'm just having some problems finding the right way to go about transitioning into this correct method of riding.

Any and all suggestions, tips, and advice is more than welcome and greatly appreciated.

Fly Without Wings
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-16-2010, 07:50 PM
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I am very interested to hear more about this also
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-16-2010, 11:33 PM
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I think you're trying too hard and probably making yourself crooked.

Horses 'follow' weight. This is your strongest aid. Simply walk and experiment weighting your seatbones differently. Don't drop a hip, don't drop a shoulder, don't lean, just step into the stirrup slightly hard to weight the seatbone. The horse WILL follow.

To complete the turn, simply look in the direction you want to go. This will turn the eyes, the head, the shoulders and place slightly more weight onto the inside seatbone and the horse WILL turn.

The horse should move 'away' from the leg, either forward or laterally. The inside leg in the turn also creates bend. As you turn to look in your direction of travel and your eyes, head, and shoulders turn, and your inside seatbone becomes slightly weighted, you inside leg will naturally come into the horse's ribcage triggering the intercostals to contract and creating bend. Your outside leg slides back a hair to keep the haunches from escaping. Finally your outside rein controls the shoulders, the amount of bend, and tempo.
Mercedes is offline  
post #4 of 9 Old 02-17-2010, 03:17 AM
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You would be amazed at how much difference your head will make on his balance and straightness. If you look down, often you will end up with a horse on the forehand. If your head is slightly tilted to one side more often than not the horse will be crooked on that side ;)

Once he is travelling forward, steering from seat and legs will come quite easily. In the beginning rein aids will need to be used, but once you have him engaged behind, you will be able to ride circles with little to no reins at all ;)
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-17-2010, 07:01 PM
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When you cue your horse, always start with the seat or legs and reinforce with the reins and/or voice commands. The leg or seat cues need to come about 1 or 2 seconds before the rein or voice command.
For example, you are trying to teach your horse to stop by sitting deep in the saddle.
1. Release your leg pressure and shift your weight deep in the saddle (do these two things simultaneously).
2. If your horse does not stop after 1 second, say "WHOA".
3. If your horse still has not stopped, use your reins and maybe even ask him to back a couple of steps at the stop to instill the sense of urgency.

Exaggerate your weight shift in the beginning and as your horse begins to respond you can be more subtle. Your horse will begin to anticipate the whoa and begin to stop the minute you take your legs off and sit deep.

This will work for teaching speed, turning, pivoting, sidepassing, etc.
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-17-2010, 09:42 PM
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If nothing else, buy a book by either Reiner or Ingrid Klimke. It will not only explain how you should ride like you wish to ride but how your horse should respond and what to do if he doesn't. The Klimke's are my heros really.
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-18-2010, 12:44 AM
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I'm not nearly as experienced as most of those giving advice here, but I find when I ride my horse bareback he is much more responsive to my legs and seat. It transfers over nicely to our next ride. If you're confident enough, give it a try and see if it helps at all. In addition to taking some of the other good tips on here, of course.
tealamutt is offline  
post #8 of 9 Old 02-18-2010, 06:51 PM
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Can you afford even one lesson a month? Anything is better than nothing. I admit I'm shocked that no instructor has ever taught you how to use your legs as aids.

In addition to what else has been said, I'd suggest starting on the ground with your horse. Take a whip and tap his side where your leg would be. Will he move away from it promptly? If not, you need to teach him to. Until he'll do it well in hand, you'll get nowhere in the saddle.
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-19-2010, 03:08 PM
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I always teach a horse a physical, enforceable cue first which for me is the bit. I teach a cue then I can use the same exercise for a correction. For example, I will Teach my horse to move his left shoulder to the left with the bit, then add my secondary cue, leg, with the rein. Then I will cue first with the secondary cue and if the horse misses it I will back it up with the rein using the exercise I used to teach the rein aid.

I ride my horse from the start the way I would show it. There may be some cases where, due to lack of understanding on the horse's part, that I will exaggerate a cue, but usually only as a correction. If I over ride my horse with cues from rein, leg, or seat from the start, then I am forced to reteach them the 'normal' aids. In short, my body is influencing the horse from the get go. It is a pre-cue, but not one I focus on, it is there because that is how I ride.

Learn how to use your body to influence your horse, but don't exaggerate it. Through repeatition the horse will learn your body cues. Hope that makes sense.

Accredited Josh Lyons trainer, and Certified in John Lyons training techniques.,
ReiningTrainer is offline  

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