Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Taranaki New Zealand.
Personally when I start to teach my horse about sides I start on the ground. I start with the back and front. I hold my horse firmly to eliminate forwards and then put pressure in the place that is going to make the desired part of the horse move. To get my horse moving her bum ( and I mean a nice step across with her hind feet) I apply pressure on a point behind where my girth lies. To get the front moving, same thing but I apply pressure on the shoulder for a start, just to get the feet moving across. I continue practicing this until just a light pressure and a verbal command has my horse moving.
I then carry this over when I ride. I keep going with moving the hind of the horse and the front. When it is easy, as Riosdad suggested, face your horse into a fence or wall BUT this time use your leg in the middle of the animal. Remember by now your horse should associate pressure behind the girth with back feet, pressure in front of girth with moving front feet. Keep your reins fairly loose, if your facing a wall that will prohibit forwards and if your pulling on the reins too much your horse may misinterpret this to go back. From here on it is patience and persistance. I am trying to think about my hands, ummm. If I want to side pass to the left I keep my right rein with a little contact but pretty loose (and low)and I keep my left hand low and pull out from the horses shoulder, enough to give the horse a clue as to which way we should be going but not dragging on the mouth to get there. I rely on my leg to achieve a side pass.
This is what I do someone else will probably be more comprehensive.