Games to Practice Steering Accuracy
Before we begin I'll introduce you to my new horse, Mila. She's an eight year old OTTB that I can't imagine ever did very well on the track because she is lazy and prefers to plod all over the place at a slow walk.
We're doing lessons together and our homework at the moment is accuracy and getting her to respond quickly and accurately to my steering cues. At the moment she just throws her feet around every where in a direction similar to where I'm asking her to go. She gets bored with the repetitive patterns and circles so I'm thinking I might try and set up some games or obstacle courses that will get us working on steering accuracy.
She's not a spooky horse, we practiced going over the scary pallet bridge with high sides and was only about as wide as she is, she didn't even bat an eyelid. We even stopped and stood on the scary bridge and she didn't care. We also did the same with the scary tarp.
Whatever the game is it needs to be something that's portable and easily taken down. I share my riding space with two other people who have horses not quite as brave as mine. One game I thought of was essentially scurry without the cart. Have a course set up of cones with balls sitting atop them, you have to navigate between the cones without knocking the balls off the cones or knocking the cones over themselves. I plan to invest in 20+ little plastic sports cones.
Any other games you can think of would be awesome!
As a side note Mila and I are only working at the walk and trot until my seat, aids, and accuracy are spot on. Giving me something to aim towards I feel would be very helpful as subconsciously I will probably get a little stronger, more confident, and more accurate with my cues which in turn might give her more purpose with her direction and get her to stop wafting, if any of that makes sense.
And some pictures, because I can't just introduce a new horse and not post pictures, right?
Other fun facts:
- We work in a space roughly 40 meters (120 feet) long and 20 meters (60 feet) wide.
- Her name means "apples" so if you catch me calling her Apples at any point that's why
- That funny looking spot on her hind left in the last picture is a nasty scar, it's completely superficial and she doesn't suffer any soundness issues
Do you trailride any? Wed make our horses do figure 8s around trees and weave in and out of them at random. You can also set up barrels, tires, polls, trashcans, wheelbarrows, brushes etcetra..
If youre wantin more responce- give her quick short taps instead of a long pull for turning. for a lazier horse you can kissy or cluck her, lol.
Does she move off leg pressure? You can incorperate that too.. just remember when you want a turn around a (whatever) you want sharper you use the inside leg, you want the body closer use the outside leg..
I'd like to tell you just a few exericises, but this book would probably help you more:
101 Arena Exercises for Horse & Rider by Cherry Hill | 9780882663166 | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
It's very popular. ANYTHING to get your horse to pay attention to you as the leader. =D
@ Toto - Thanks for the advice, I'll try that with the reins and see how she goes, she is good about leg pressure and I can get her to turn around with just my legs. It's mainly on straight lines she starts to waft around and I have to tap her back into place as it were. I would trail ride if there were any trails near me.
@ Corporal - Thank you, I'll see if I can find it here in NZ. I've been meaning to grab and exercise book for a while now.
Youre welcome. Well that makes it 100xs easier, lol.
"Waft" Like she slows down? Id keep 'the pressure' on her when she started puttin around.. when you feel her slow down you can use the rythm of her walkin to tap her with your legs and keep her goin.. a walk is 4 beat 1-2-3-4- id tap like this 1-tap-2-tap-3-tap-4-tap. Or you can just kiss to her when you first start to feel her slowing down too. :) or squeeze your legs instead.. i believe english you squeeze, lol. :-P
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