Horse falls in on inside leg.
Well, it seems as if I have created a problem in my horse.
In teaching her to move off my leg, I unintentionally taught her to fall into it. Instead of using inside leg and her bending around it to turn, she just falls in on it with no bend whatsoever.
When she is in a good mood she will bend around my leg beautifully so long as I have a strong supporting outside rein. When she isn't in such a good mood she tries to fall in and just counterflexes against my outside rein. And then I don't know how to correct the counterflexing because I can't push her back into the outside rein without using the "wrong" leg and then just furthering the problem!
I created this problem and now I really want to fix it!
Teaching the leg yeild has been impossible because, of course, she doesn't move away from my leg but instead tries to turn into it. If I open my outside rein to let her move that direction, she falls into a horrible, nasty turn to the inside.
The first step I have been taking is teaching the side pass to help her understand to move away from my leg. She is doing well with it but it hasn't translated into our forward work yet.
Any ideas or suggestions?
And yes, a I know a trainer would be beneficial. Unfortunately that is not an option at this time.
Any help appreciated!
It sounds like you're trying to fix him using the wrong side. Rather than pulling him with the outside rein, hold it firm to provide a constant support and open the inside rein. Literally, keep the inside elbow at your side and pivot your inside hand/forearm out to a 45 degree angle. Keep your inside leg firm against his side and move it forward ever do slightly to support his inside shoulder. Don't fight him. Just give him the constant support and contact until he gives even a step correctly. You can even pulse your inside calf with his inside shoulder.
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Sorry if I made it come off like that!
ETA: Our biggest problem is when she is acting out and not wanting to go where I want. Say we are tracking right at the trot in the upper left corner of the ring. She wants to shoot to the middle of the ring while I want to keep her on the rail. Instead of my inside leg pushing her back onto the rail she falls in on it and tries to go to the middle. Because of my outside rein, she starts to counter flex, making for a very ugly ride.
This worked wonders for my young, green horse when he did the exact same thing. He's basically training you to react a certain way and it's becoming a game for him. If you keep the open contact with the inside rein, he can't turn to outside and drop the outside rein contact. Then, with your leg supporting his inside shoulder, you're starting the process of controlling the shoulder. If he still rolls you (which is what he is doing essentially), you can hold a whip (dressage whip length is best) against his inside shoulder. If that isn't enough, then lightly tap the inside with his inside shoulder. As he gets better, you can go back to resting the whip on his shoulder and then stop using it altogether.
I never would have believed it would work if it hadn't worked with my horse so well and so quickly.
Also, make sure your shoulders are relaxed, hips are tucked and loose. Locking your hips makes it very difficult for the horse to fully understand what your body is asking him to do.
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Thank you! And I should have mentioned she IS young and green. She is coming 5 and has lots of trail miles but little dressage work.
That's been the focus with my horse in my lessons with my trainer. I never really thought about how important body position and soft, constant contact is for young horses. My gelding is so much more confident in himself when he knows I'm there supporting him and being consistent. My trainer likes to say - well, she likes to say a lot of things, lol - "less noise in the signal" and it's so very true.
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I don't understand how you have taught her to move into your leg by trying to train her to get off it, unless you made the error of taking the leg off if she resisted and pressed into it.
First you need to invest in a dressage whip. Don't bother tapping the shoulder as the respect to the leg is the issue here, not the shoulder. A tap should be behind your leg, of you do t get a reaction to the leg, the whip backs it up.
Because she has learnt to run into your leg, I would start by teaching her to disengage her haunches.
At halt, drop your outside rein, lift your inside rein, weight your inside seat bone and apply your inside leg. Turning your body to physically look at the inside hip is also helpful to train your weight where to go. Maintain this pressure until she steps across with her inside hind, away from your inside leg. Then immediately release, pay her and walk her forwards on a loose rein before coming to a halt and repeating until she will eventually step that hind leg over as soon as you pick up your inside rein and put leg on.
When you accomplish this, then there is no reason why you can't teach leg yield. You may find it easier to start on a large circle because your inside leg to outside rein connection will be automatically, somewhat there.
I always bring the outside rein off the horses neck and out towards the desired landing place of the outside front hoof. In training horses we need to think of opening the 'right' doors and closing the wrong ones to make the right answer much clearer to the horse. So if your teaching leg yield, keeping the outside door closed and inside door open, a horse that does not understand connection of the outside rein is of course going to be more inclined to move to the inside rather than outside.
As the horse becomes confident in leg yield, then you can start to close the outside rein until the horse happily accepts the contact and will step towards that rein. But until then, you need to make your aids as clear as day.
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Thanks for chiming in, Kayty!
What happened was that I really over-simplified when teaching her to respond to leg aids. Right leg meant turn right, simply, instead of right leg creating a bend. Therefore, to her right leg means fall in on my leg in a horrible right turn, bracing against my outside rein. Make more sense?
Totally my fault and something I did not think through. Now I am paying for the consequences!
Thanks a lot for you response!
I'm not sure why you would want to drop the outside contact on a young, green horse. That's the last thing you want to do. It's like taking the security blanket from a child. They look for the contact and support from your body. I do understand the general idea of what you're asking and the "doors" are very important and having a dressage whip. It's wonderful to have that "arm extension" that you can use just about anywhere on the body from the saddle without having to take your hands off the reins.
I wasn't trying to demonstrate how to teach her horse to leg yield. First she needs to get control of her horse's entire body before trying to add anything else into the repertoire.Of course, we all know that there is no "one size fits all" solution and I think it's important to adjust to fit each individual horse and rider combination.
From the OP, it seemed to me more like she wanted to stop the horse from falling in on her rather than go straight to teaching the leg yield straight off. There are many underlying reasons why her horse is falling in. I know mine does it because he's unbalanced (also a coming 5 year old like her mare) and a little bit of a control freak. By rolling her and moving her around in the saddle, her mare is controlling what they do because when she moves to the inside, the OP responds (likely) in the same way almost every time. After a while, it becomes a habit and the rider either unintentionally sets up her own body to allow it or starts looking for it to happen. The result to either scenario is the same - the horse wins.
I had this "fight" with my gelding for many, many rides after he decided to start doing the exact same thing (as far as I know since there's no video and we aren't there). What I described got us started in the right direction. We had to get past that first hurdle in order to progress in our riding. That's what I'm describing for the OP in my post.
It's just as easy to open both "doors" and achieve the same effect, but not having that outside contact is the complete opposite of what she should do for a young, green horse who needs the contact to help maintain her own confidence as she's learned to carry herself correctly (I know the OP said she has trail miles, but that doesn't usually ask for the same things as basic dressage type stuff - in my experience anyway) and with a rider on her back as well. She's likely working on developing muscles that weren't necessarily developed on the trail.
Tapping the shoulder also helps establish a rhythm for the gait (walk or trot), which lends itself to helping support the horse as she figures out what you're asking her to do. She is blowing through the leg and doing it intentionally, but that leg is attached to a shoulder. If you control the shoulder, you control the leg. Controlling the hind end is very important, but it doesn't do a whole lot towards controlling the front end in this situation when the horse is falling through the front end.
Putting the weight on the inside hip bone is helpful, too, as is stretching through the inside of your body to help keep her out on the circle that you're doing, and also inside weight and moving the left shoulder blade back (but not turning the shoulders), which opens the outside hip and encourages movement in that direction.
See? There are so many options. I hope the OP finds one that works for her and that we were helpful to her!
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