busy legs at the trot on pokey horse
I am so frustrated because I went to my first two horse shows ever and at the trot my legs were way too busy trying to keep my horse trotting at a normal pace. We can't use our crops in the flat classes so my only option is to squeeze with my legs and found myself squeezing every other stride all the way around and it looked like i was bouncing off my feet at the trot but really I was squeezing in and releasing all of the time to keep him going. I have tried leg strenthening, posting without stirrups, two point to strengthen, getting my horse to respond better to my legs, etc. I have been working on this for two months now and so frustrated because nothing is working. When he doesn't listen to my leg I use the crop and he listens better but at the shows I can't use crop and am left trying to boot him when judge isn't looking but it's only good for three steps then back down to pokey trot. So embarrassing and I don't know what else to do. Please help! I get physically ill watching my legs in my video and I really want to show again but hell-bent to fix this very basic skill. How does everyone else go around with completely still legs?? When he is moving very forward my legs dont move but it's rare he moves this way unless we are transitioning from canter.
When you practice, instead of using the crop when he blatantly ignores you, use the reins and smack his shoulder over and under style. He won't expect that and will pay more attention to your legs next time.
But do so with a trainer, please.
this is what i do and i have no idea if it is right or wrong .but it works for me and my guy.
start at the walk and use your opposite leg to bump your horses side. match the bump of your heel with the horses front right hoof hitting the ground. you really need to focus on your horses feet and your body. (to make sure your timing is correct i would reccommend doing this with a trainer so they can help you out)
when you master the bumping to the right hoof hitting the ground move into the trot and continue. but since my guy is a little stubborn like you with forward motion at the trot i matched bumping with both legs to his right front hoof hitting the ground. the constant of a real bump kept him moving forward without having to use any extra calf muscle that i dont have at the moment.
not sure if that will help you or not but good luck.
I havne't ridden such a pokey type horse in ages, so maybe I am not very understanding of how it feels.
My desire would be to change that way of going in a fundamental way. I mean, I would want my horse to start moving off my leg promptly at all transitions. This means I have to expect it and demand it and recieve it, OR ELSE, every single time I ask for a transition.
I cannot ride lazy like some days, then expect him to be crisp when I need him to be so.
you have to go back to using a dressage whip (has more impression if needed) and ask him to go foward with your leg lightly (I like to kind of "flutter" my ankle agains the horse's side) asking, then if no response, you give him a firm "whump" (as if you are plumping pillows) and if no prompt response you put the whip on three times, really fast; whack , whack whack!. Do not wait. Do it promptly and firmly. Think of it as , "lets get this over with now so we don't have to beat around the bush all day". Be merciless in order to be merciful, because constant nagging with your feet must be a drag for both of you.
the horse should LEAP forward. Do not pull back on the reins. let him go forward.
when you next ask for transition upward, start light and if he leaps forward, let him go and praise him. if he doesn't , don't wait, go quickly to the whip as your backup . This is game change time and you dont' want to stay in the gray , be black/white. ok?
Okay I will try this method tomorrow and you are so right...I am tired of nagging him and he's ignoring me anyways and I just want to ride quietly and have him carry me. I know my legs can be quiet if I don't have to use them all of the time. I keep watching my video and watching my legs bouncing every time I try and keep him going just makes me physically ill to watch. The rest of my riding looks okay..if you overlook my busy legs. I have no idea how I got first place with these legs....I would not have given me first for my performance and I will try ANYTHING to fix this asap! thanks again.
You need to train your horse to respect your leg. Carry a dressage whip. Give a small squeeze to send him forward. If he ignores it, squeeze a bit harder. If he ignores that give him a smart TAP (not a hard hit). When he reacts to that, praise him well. Then, do it again and again. He should soon learn 1. If he ignores your leg, he gets a sting and 2. he gets PRAISED for moving off of your leg.
As he gets more responsive, expect him to move off of less of a squeeze. You should never have to nag your horse with your leg. The more "nagging" you do, the more your horse will learn to ignore you.
Sounds like a lazy disrespectful horse to me. The way my coach explained it made a lot of sense so I'm going to give it a shot and tell you what she told me...
If a horse is so sensitive they can feel a fly land on them they really should have no problem feeling your leg and should respond off of the lightest of cues. So working from the ground, take your crop and start at the bottom of the fetlock at his hind legs and tap with your crop until he takes a step (not just lifting his feet, actually moving) getting harder until he does. Then move up the hock and do the same thing until he moves, if he doesn't understand go back down to the spot you were previously tapping and start over again. Continue this all the way up his hind legs, fetlock, hock, gaskin, rump and then where your leg should be, both sides, until he is moving off of the taps. Get on and the same thing, ask ONCE for an upward transition and if you don't get it with that one ask give a tap (hard enough to get a response) right behind your leg, trot a few steps come back to walk and do it again, continue until your horse is working off of light cues. This should translate into your work KEEPING him at a nice steady trot as well, get him respecting your leg.
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