work on balance and feet placement - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 12-06-2011, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Location: nj
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work on balance and feet placement

i am not used to such high stepping gaits like my new arabian has and am still trying to find my balance. but i was wondering what helps your horses learn balance and where his feet are.

i have been doing alot of walking and trotting trying to really empasize on movements, stride, transitions, etc. but i don't think he is truly balanced either. i know most of the problem is me still learning his movements but is there other things i can do to help him figure out where his feet are and how to stay balanced.

i have been focusing on him walking and troting over ground poles
going in and out of standing poles( like pole bending but at walk and trot) for flexibilty
backing up
stopping with light contact on bit and mostly seat (he is getting great at this :))
i have him walk over tarps still nervous but will do it
i am starting to try side stepping and thats where i really notice he has hardly any idea where his feet are and his balance.
i have done more then this just don't want to list them all...

i have done all of these in saddle after he was mastering them on ground. still working on the ground for side steps right now.

but what else can i do to make him more balanced and realize where his feet are.
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post #2 of 4 Old 12-06-2011, 11:57 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Miles in the saddle :P miles on the ground (light lunging) and for you, toning exercises like strengthening that core and working on balance by sitting on a stability ball for a few minutes (and building up) each day. (And kudos for using ground poles, that helps a lot! Line 4 or 5 up in a row, 5 steps apart to get him lifting his feet) Both under saddle and while lunged!

Under saddle, what really helped my horse was to keep him nice and large (on the rail only) for a few laps, then cutting the arena in half and working on the smaller area for a few laps, then changing directions across the diagonal (from short side to short side) but instead I would get him about 2 meters from the beginning of the short side so he had time to get his feet in order before the turn) and get him doing those every other lap. Then I'd start breaking the arena up into circles at every corner (large circles.. like 20 meters) for about 3 laps, and then go back to large for a few laps.


Well when he was unbalanced, letting him work it out on the rail helped him a lot. When I shortened his work space by only working with half of the arena, he had less time to get ready for the turn so he would start thinking more about where he feet were. Then I'd work on the two together by doing what I call diagonal figure eights (short side to short side across the arena diagonally) but I'd give him a little more time to figure out that corner so he wouldn't trip on himself and he'd start using those muscles. Then I'd do circles at the corners, and over time, they'd get smaller as he became more fit. We'd start with 20 meters, then go down to 15, then 10, now 5. He learned to put himself together on those circles and then he could tackle the straight pieces without falling apart.

And I also mentioned light lunging. When you lunge on a lunge line, you need to make sure the horse is bending and when you give him more line and ask him to move out, he should ideally travel sideways (like a leg yield under saddle) and if not, you can always help him by pointing the whip end at his ribs.) Walk, trot, and canter. Letting him walk at a good pace, trot at a good pace, and canter well for a few strides (then build as he gets fitter) will help a lot. I've found though that transitioning from walk to trot to walk to trot to canter to trot to walk.. or something similar, helps them to get their feet in order as they transition up and transition down. Especially those trot--> canter ----> trot and trot---> walk, transitions.

Lastly, the stronger your core and the more you work on that balance out of the saddle, the better you are able to keep your seat. By him working on his own balance, and you working on yours, it'll make for a smoother ride. But of course, nothing beats just riding it out under saddle :)
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Last edited by Skyseternalangel; 12-06-2011 at 12:03 PM.
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post #3 of 4 Old 12-06-2011, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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i know what you mean :) he is just so flowy lol i am not used to it at all. i am alreasy doing alot of core stretches ... seems to be helping :)

he is great on the lunge line and flexs perfectly on it. thats why i haven't lunged that much anymore with him because its just to easy for him. he knows what to do there.

i will have to try that short side to short side. maybe he can give it a try. it seems this mostly happens when we are in the arena. its like he gets bored and just says lets move on lol
on trail i seem to get a better response from him so maybe i will work on some of those on our more open sections of the trail and see how he does :P

thank you
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post #4 of 4 Old 12-06-2011, 12:17 PM
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You're welcome :)
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