Differentiating between cues
I am working with my horse who is being trained under saddle (he is four) and the LAST thing I want is for him to be bridle-dependent. However, there are so many cues and I have no idea how to make it possible for him to differentiate without making some of them bridle cues. I found all these cues online
"Forwards - Open knees (therefore opening pelvis) & apply calves
*Forwards would be to ask your horse to walk off, speed up or asking your horse for more forward motion. Get to know your horse and see how much pressure you need and how it will vary depending on the maneuver you are asking for.
Stop - Close knees (therefore closing the pelvis)
*What I mean by closing knees is closing them against the horse, or like squeezing them together. Think about it like you are sitting on a tube of toothpaste, your legs control the direction the toothpaste moves in the tube, try pushing a little bit of it backwards, just to bring it to a stop.
Back - Close knees (again closing your pelvis) & apply some calf contact, but slide your legs up a little bit farther than if you were asking the horse to go forwards. Think backwards, this really does help and remember the tube of toothpaste concept.
Turn - Hold the inside leg in a somewhat neutral position and apply the outside leg forward just a hair. This encourages the horse to round themselves around the inside leg, doing so keeps the horse collected and helps prevent common problems like a dropped shoulder.
Pivot - Slide your outside leg slightly forward and apply calf. Do not apply inside leg unless necessary to steady the horse. Either open, close or hold neutral your pelvis, depending on if your horse has too much or too little forward motion.
Sidepass - Hold pelvis neutral, unless needed to stop horse from taking steps forwards or backwards (like I explained when talking about the pivot). Slide outside leg just a hair backwards (think middle of the horse's barrel) and apply calf.
Forehand pivot - Slide outside leg back & apply calf, if needed close pelvis to prevent your mount from moving his front legs.
Head Down Cue (Asking your horse to lift their back and lower their head) - Keep pelvis neutral, lift rein up just slightly & close calves to encourage lifting of their back.
*This takes a little practice, but if you play around with it a little bit, rewarding the horse for the slightest movement, progress will be made. I usually first teach this at the stand still, then eventually at the walk, trot and canter.
Two Track - Same as sidepass, but with pelvis open to encourage forward motion"
I have NEVER ridden a horse who knows all these! I have only ridden horses who go forward, back, and turn. Is it a western and dressage thing perhaps? And how do I train my horse to do it? How will I differentiate the turning signal with the lateral movement one, etc.
Any advice is wanted here. I have seen people carry a crop when riding bridleless and use it to give the horse a turn signal, but clearly there is another way to do it.
AND BEFORE PEOPLE SAY "Oh well you need to learn how to not jerk on your horse's face all the time before teaching it" and all that; I DO know how. I barely use bridles on horses, they are only backup cues, I just don't know how to fit all these cues into one body part!
Don't mean to hijack, but I was wondering this as well. My horse is young and have begun to teach leg cues, how do I differentiate from turning using the outside leg and speeding up. I squeeze with both calves to indicate a change in gait or speed up. Pressure with the outside leg indicates a turn. He seems to get confused, first time with a youngster in a while! Over time will he just pick this up with repitition?
You BEGIN with reining, bc you are translating from leading with a halter and bridle. ALL OF US, including our horses, build on their learning and knowledge. It doesn't make you a bad rider/trainer to use the reins. There are many horse people who have learned to ride beyond this, and the criticism is of the "weekend rider" who has no reining finesse.
IMHO, you should be studying up on ground training. First, start with moving your horse's haunches over EVERY TIME you groom. My 3 horses know the English, now.
I lead every day using the English for "walk on", "halt" and "back." I agree with Clinton Anderson, that you cannot back your horse enough. You ask for 2 steps every day, then add more after a few days and soon enough you can back your horse in a circle. The hind end is your horse's "engine." We all work hard to strengthen those muscles and to control it.
I like the descriptions! I've got a horse just started under saddle, and on a horse not already proficient in the leg aids, it's really going to help me to be precise in my teaching!
I've never seen the descriptions broken down like this - LOVE IT! Mind sharing where you got them from?
It does seem Dressage-y but that's probably me relating to what I'm reading. I hope one of our resident experts chimes in!
I think by asking with these cues from the beginning of training and rewarding the correct response is how you get them to respond this way. Consistency in riding as well. If a+b means "do this" then it should always mean "do this".
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I will TRY to simplify this.
You want your horse to follow your cues, always. When you are leading or lunging your horse can see you and you can train him to follow your cues on the ground. When you are riding your horse he needs to FEEL your cues. It begins with training for the walk and the halt. You mount, you sit quietly before you use the "gas pedal", your calves, and ask the horse to "walk on." (This is a driving/lunging audible cue.) When the horse walks, trots, canters, gaits (for gaited horses) you must practice to move harmoniously with the movement. That cues the horse that you want him to continue doing that gait. When you stop following the gait you are cueing him to stop DOING the gait. Primarily we stop following bc we want our horse to slow down or stop. (halt or whoa)
It is best to learn/practice your cues on a seasoned horse where you can make mistakes and the seasoned, lesson horse "forgives" those mistakes while you are learning them. If you cue too strongly on a green horse, he gets confused, and sometimes, you fall off.
I suggest that when YOU work your young horse that you lunge and get him very relaxed before you mount. Then, practice very short sessions to push your body into moving at the walk at the same time that you cue for it, and stop following with your body at the same time that you cue for a halt. Build upon this. Riding with your body and weight is the last thing that riders learn to do.
You can train your horse to listen to body at the trot and the canter, too, with your weight. It's well worth the time to train for it.
I started English. I don't really understand the "Western" thing about keeping your leg off of your horse until you want to cue. I find that this is impossible on a lengthy--4 hours of more--trail ride, so it's an oxymoron, at least to me, bc I always keep my leg on my horse when I ride.
I have had horses in 1985, and all of my lesson horses have since passed on. Right now I have 3 horses, a KMHSA mare, who will turn 15yo this year, a KMH gelding who will turn 7yo this year, and a QH, who will turn 7yo this year. I am training them to cue from my weight. I ride that way, anyway. I have watched Julie Goodnight ride this way on several of her programs. You can work towards and expect an instant response of walk to halt, as well as walk from the halt. All of the Dressage trainers works that I have read emphasize riding with your weight. At the very least we should all learn to follow the walk, trot and canter quietly. I believe our horses appreciate it when you don't interfere with their movement.
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