Leg only means go...
So far, Caesar has been a doll to work with about a lot of things. We have had some bumps with things like respecting my space when I want to bridle or unbridle. We are working on his respect in general and specifically head rubbing. His ground manners are coming along.
Under saddle, I am getting his transitions smoothed out. Walk to trot and trot to walk are spot on and the trot to canter only took one good pop with the dressage whip to let him know I was serious. His whoa is light and easy, in fact it is almost all seat.
So, now on to the frustrating part. He has NO lateral control at all. No matter how I shift my weight, adjust my reins, where I put my leg, any amount of leg seems to mean forward. I tried putting his nose to the fence just to give him some idea of moving left or right, but he just backed up and ducked to the side. I have tried doing work in hand to move him away from the pressure, and while he seems to get that, it is just not translating to saddle work.
I don't want to do anything to ruin his forward so I want to stay out of his face, but I need suggestions for how to get some form of lateral give. Right now all our turns and figures are coming solely from rein and that is an imperfect control at best. Any ideas are welcome.
Sounds like since he gets it on the ground that he does not respect your leg.....I suggest placing your leg on him and ASKING him to move off it.....if he doesn't - pop him one RIGHT BEHIND your leg with your whip.....if he moves even a little, praise him and leave him alone for a minute or two....the horse sounds like he's still green so let's give him the benefit of the doubt.....
Now....if we are talking about a finished horse who knows his stuff and is just beng a dink and has got heavy in the sides and is not respecting your leg, you need to get after him like described above, but you need to do it with conviction as a reminder and tune up.....not as educating a green horse as described above.....
Ps. Don't forget to "open the door" also so he has somewhere to go, move over to the right - right rein and leg in the open position off the horse. Switch over for the left. Block with your reins.....remember get a little, give a lot.
Since he understands from the ground, you may want to have someone assist you in teaching him undersaddle..
ie, your in the saddle and asking him the undersaddle way, while somebody is on the ground asking him the out-of-saddle way, this way he will begin to relate the two different actions.
(Take what I say with a grain of salt though I'm definately not the most experienced person around here!)
Backing up is Indie's way of getting out of things.. so my instructor has always told me to just move her forward no matter what we were doing.
As for the lateral movement, when I first got Indie.. to her, leg meant to jump forward and go. When we used to practice stopping, she'd almost have a heart attack whenever I put leg back on and she'd jump forward.
When we started side passes, I'd open the rein in the direction of travel with it slightly pulled back (just barely any pressure) and I'd keep the other rein just slightly back so that she wouldn't try walking forward. At first, she wanted to just back up, but I just kept playing with the rein and applying the right leg pressure.. eventually, she got it. Now, she's happy to leg yield, turn on the haunches, etc.
I'm sure someone will have better advice, but that's what worked for me. :-)
Muppet, I definitely think he is green. If I had to wager a guess, his training before I got him was mostly trail ridden to the tune of "put your nose on that other horses butt and just go that way."
Holly, I do like that idea. I may talk to my trainer and see if she thinks that is something we can do the next time she comes out.
Some great ideas up there. I especially agree with "opening the door" on the side you want her to move into. but lifting you outside leg off, and using an "opening " rein on the outside. rotate your hand outward from your elbow so that your hand is out a ways, off to the side and the rein is kind of leading out that way. not tight, just draping rein.
Also, when you are teaching something from the saddle and the hrose is confused, and maybe trying a bunch of evasions, you have to be sure to not get confused yourself and give him a release before you have gotten a step of lateral movement. you might be actually releasing the rein and stopping the leg cue when your horse backs up (as you try to "fix" that problem). Horse interprets that as "ok, I did the right thing; back up"
You just keep on asking for that lateral step, no matter if the hrose goes forward or backward. ONLY a lateral step will earn a cessation of your "ask" (release)
Lots of good stuff to keep in mind when I ride next time. Thanks everyone.
Caesar is a new experience for me since I have never retrained or rather continued the training on a horse that I did not start. I don't know that I have ever thought specifically about teaching lateral cues. Left leg mean shift right, right leg meant shift left and both legs meant go forward or back depending on seat and rein. It was all pretty logical to me and progressed in slow steps and degrees.
I am finding all kinds of holes in his foundation training. It is a little like taking two puzzles, putting all the pieces in one box and then trying to put the things together at the same time.
When you are on the ground working him, do you tap him with a training aid or stirrup?
You might try putting up to the fence and bumping him with the stirrup (same way you would in the saddle) while tipping his nose in the direction you want him to move.
Also, when you are cueing him into a faster gait are you using your legs or seat? That may be why he's confused.
Teach him turns on the forehand on the ground. Then translate that to the saddle.
Sideways is too much for him right now. Teach him just to move the haunches over step by step. Giving him too much room infront also lets him run off too much.
From the ground bring the head towards you, use the stirrup to push the haunches away. Use the head over and the stirrup together and he willl "get it". Eventually you want the head straight ahead. From the saddle do the same thing and don't let him just run away forward, or out to the outside with the shoulder. He might get a little mad so be prepared and know when to go forward when/if things get hairy.
Once he has a good grasp of the turn on the forehand, only then start asking for the whole body to go sideways. It is very tough for them to take the whole body sideways all at once, so that's why we teach a turn on the forehand first.
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