Teaching lateral movement - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-30-2012, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Teaching lateral movement

My horse doesn't seem to have a lot of experience with lateral movement. I can put him up against a fence and he will go sideways a little off my leg, but not usually after he tries to back up, turn around...and he doesn't cross his legs over correctly. I want to have him be able to do a turn on the forehand, turn on the hindquarters, and sidepass. He moves off my leg really well while walking-I can get him to turn circles using only my legs. Should I start teaching him these things on the ground? What are the cues for each in the saddle?
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-30-2012, 09:01 PM
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Well he didn't get the release from pressure that he wanted so he tried another direction to see if that was the right answer.

Not going to answer the rest of your questions.. I'm still learning it myself.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #3 of 6 Old 06-30-2012, 10:50 PM
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Yes, I'd start out on the ground first. I'd teach/reinforce the basic lessons of yielding bits of his body away from light pressure first - eg. finger pressure on shoulder means yield forequarter over. Then once that's reliable, try sideways.

Set him up to make 'wrong' things difficult, as it sounds like you've done, such as preventing forward with a fence. I start out with 2 hands - one at his shoulder, other back at his flank, alternating between asking front & hind across, then once they've got that, ask with both hands together, then gradually move the cues in, towards where your leg would be when riding. Also forget about crossing legs over & 'refinement' until you've got the basics.
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-01-2012, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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If he gets it on the ground should he get it in the saddle too?
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-01-2012, 11:32 PM
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No. You have to know what you are doing in the saddle for the horse to understand.

Do you know how to ask the horse to leg yield? Start by learning the leg yield aids first, and learn it on a circle. When you can get a few sideways steps on a circle off each leg, then you know you're starting to get the gist of what is required.
Better still, find yourself a good instructor that can teach you about how to ask a horse to move laterally off the leg.
If you are blocking anywhere in your body, the horse WILL go backwards, or may have a tantrum out of sheer confusion.
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-05-2012, 03:43 PM
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The first thing I would do is take a few lessons with a trainer on a horse that already does what you want to learn to do. If you've never ridden a correct sidepass or leg yield or turn on the forehand it will be much harder to teach...especially without a qualified instructor on the ground.

To teach a horse to sidepass you can do a few things. I would start at a walk, ride off of the trail or the fence 3-4 feet and ask the horse to leg yield over to the wall by squeezing with your inside leg as the inside hind foot is acoming off the ground...that's the foot you want to influence and if you ask the horse to step over while that foot is on the ground or almost on the ground you won't get much in the way of results.

Focus on quality of steps, not quantity. The horse needs to be moving forward and sideways...a lot of forward, a little sideways. If you get one step of sideways and then three of just forward that's fine. Praise your horse when he steps over, say good boy.

After he starts getting it and moving over more readily 3-4 feet from the rail move 5-6 feet away, keep working on your timing and the horse only very slightly bent to the inside. As he gets better you can up the pressure, ask for more sideways than previously. Once the straight lines are going well you can do spiral circles, start on a small circle and ask your horse to move sideways while still staying on a circle, timing your aids correctly each time, once you've moved out to a large circle you can change your aids and go the other way too.

After you guys are doing well while moving at the walk and the trot I would begin working on it from a stop. Ask the horse to step sideways, using the same aids as you did for moving leg yields, if the horse just shifts its weight in the correct direction (not even pick up a foot) then praise like crazy and relax. Ask again. Praise like crazy and relax when he shifts. If he's relaxed, ask for a foot moving to the side. Praise like crazy and walk forward. If he's antsy just standing and shifting I would walk forward a bit after each ask.

As he starts responding you can ask for more sideways before relieving the pressure and praising. I would alternate standing for a while after relaxing and walking forward so that he doesn't anticipate walking right away and keeps thinking forward (not backwards).
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