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Well, I've been working with my mare at leg aids, and well, she's listening and doing what I say, but very slowly, like she doesn't know what I'm asking. When I ask for her to step over for a half-pass, she tries to back, or move her front end. If it's not that, she's stepping forward and I have to pull her back to a stand still. Then, when I ask for her to move her front end, I have to keep pounding on her, and use my reins to make her step over. Sometimes, she does it right, but other times, she moves her back legs as well. The same thing happens when I ask for the hind to move over. Is there anyway that I can make her more responsive to my legs, and use less pressure to do so?
You need to loosen her up. She's having trouble because she's trying to tell you something.
If she can do this on the ground, great. If you get on and she's confused, either you are cueing wrong or something is causing her shoulders to block.
It takes awhile to get a TRUE lateral step (side pass, not leg yield) and your body, as with all riding, effects your horse's ability to carry it out properly.
She does it on the ground, but it's sort of the same result. It takes a lot of pressure to do it. Are there exercises that I could do with her to get her more responsive to the pressure?
Consistency, I'm afraid.
You always start with a whisper-light pressure and then increase until you get the desired result (a shift of weight will be the first result.)
Once you get that shift, release all pressure and praise. Repeat again until you get that shift again, then release.
Keep doing this until she shifts right away. Then wait some more and she'll think "hmm... pressure didn't go away.. either my human is silly and forgot to release or I need to do something else" so a try will happen. She might push into you, keep the pressure consistent, don't add or decrease. "Nope... that's not what she wants" then she'll try to move away from the pressure and as soon as she does, you release. "Okay.. I wonder what that was about" repeat until the message is clear "pressure applied to my side means I need to move away from it"
OP it's easiest to start with a yield of the haunches and forehand before you go for the full whammy of side pass.
When you can do both really well on the ground, in saddle she should pick it up rather well.
It's going to be a little daunting for both horse and yourself since it's about clear messages and truck load of patience is needed. Be sure to switch sides and get her doing each step on both sides.
1. Shift of weight to pressure
2. Move away from pressure
3. Continue to move away from pressure
4. Yielding of _________ (hind, shoulder, barrel, head, etc.)
Okay, thanks, I shall try that next time I get to the barn. :)
Also maybe doing some stretches before with her would help get her nice and supple, then you can do the under saddle stretching too (flexing of poll, bending correcting, long and low, etc.) and that will make her even more capable.
MAke sure that she is warmed up well and responsive to your leg aids in Walk, Trot and Canter. Use transitions between paces and within the pace to improve her response.
Start with Turn on the Forehand - once you have this off pat then progress to Leg Yielding. Half Pass is quite an advanced movement and you need to get the Turn on the forehand and Leg Yielding sorted first.
For turn on the forehand have your horse active in trot, onthe long sie of the arena turn across towards the otherside, as you cross the centre line go forward to Walk and just before you reach the other side Halt,
1 Indicate direction by asking for a slight bend to the inside, apply vibrant pressure with the inside leg at the girth.
2 At the same time bring the outside leg back a little behind the girth where it is used to contain the impulsion and prevent the quarters rushing around.
3 Use outside rein to restrain forward movement.
4 Turn seat bones to maintain the alignment with the horses hips.
Only ask for one step at a timie, so between steps stop asking,
The front legs must step up and down moving around only slightly. The hind legs must cross with each step.
On completion of the turn walk forward.
Teaching TOF on the ground helps a great deal - have a long schooling whip to help
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