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xilikeggs0 01-25-2009 03:09 PM

How do I get my horse to respond to my leg?
My horse has been driven for her entire life, and while I can ride her with no problem, she isn't actually broke to ride. I can hop on her either bareback or with a saddle and ride her around, but she doesn't respond to my leg whatsoever. How do I teach her that squeezing means go faster? I can get her to trot by kissing at her and using voice commands, but she won't stay in that gait for very long, even with my continually kissing at her and talking to her, and getting a canter out of her isn't even an option (although right now I'm really just trying to master the walk and trot, so it's not that big of a deal).

She's about 16, if that matters. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

ticklytiger12 01-25-2009 07:09 PM

Hi! first i would recomend starting from the ground. In a halter and lead, (moving away from preassure)with your fist push on her side where your heel would be and reward her when she moves away from the preassure. To get her to go faster/ move out, i would hate to say use spurs because personally i dont use them and dont like them, but when you kiss her to move her up apply your leg also and when she moves up, reward her with a treat or something she likes. I would keep doing that then eventually make the kiss softer then take it away all togeather but keep the leg each time! Hope it works!!!!!:-)

MysterySparrow 01-25-2009 11:06 PM

If the horse does not know that leg pressure means go forward, spurs are likely to only upset her. I would get a dressage whip. I agree about starting on the ground until she knows that a touch from the whip means to go forward and get her trotting in hand again using the whip as an aide. When she understands that touching her with the whip is a cue to move forward for speed up, then begin applying it while riding. Put leg on and immediately touch her with the whip. This will help her to associate leg with go forward. If you have it firmly established from the ground, it should only take a tickle with the whip when you ride to get her to understand what you want.

ticklytiger12 01-26-2009 07:39 AM

i didnt say use spurs, its just alot of people i know would use them in this situation:-(. But i agree with you with the whip idea! GOOD LUCK xilikeggs0!

xeventer17 01-26-2009 08:01 AM

The reason that it can be difficult to teach a driving horse to move forward with your leg is because driving horses are both bred and trained to move into pressure instead of away from it. I agree with the two posts above me that you need to start by training them to move away from pressure from the ground. I also agree that spurs are not the best of ideas and that a dressage whip would be a much better choice.

onetoomany 01-26-2009 09:22 AM

I would keep using the verbal commands that the horse already knows and introduce leg in conjunction with the verbal commands. As your horse already knows verbal cues and is not responding to them I would almost think that it is laziness. I don't much about transitioning a driving horse to a saddle horse but it sounds like your horse is just ignoring you. So, I would politely ask for forward motion once with the verbal cue. If the horse doesn't respond I would then add in my leg and ask once this way. If the horse still doesn't not respond I over-under until that horse goes, I do not worry about direction (I would recommend an arena or round pen) I just worry about forward motion. The second that horse responds and moves out in the gait that I want; I completely stop all cues and just ride it until the horse stops on its own. I would then repeat the process and keep repeating until that horse moved off on just my verbal cues.

MysterySparrow 01-26-2009 01:52 PM


Originally Posted by ticklytiger12 (Post 238539)
i didnt say use spurs, its just alot of people i know would use them in this situation:-(. But i agree with you with the whip idea! GOOD LUCK xilikeggs0!

I know you didn't, I was simply making the point that they would be a bad idea and why. :-)

xilikeggs0 01-26-2009 08:31 PM

I just got done riding her today, and she did really well. We worked a lot on halt-to-walk transitions using my legs, and she seems to understand that :squeeze: is the cue for walk. We made a little progress on the walk-to-trot transition, but she still needs a lot of work on it.

I started off by halting her, then squeezing. If she didn't respond to that, I'd kick her, and if she didn't respond to that, I'd use the crop and voice command at the same time. By the end of the hour or so long ride, she understood the walk cue.

She was also a lot better about staying in the trot. She still dropped out of it a lot, but she stayed in that gait a lot longer than she ever has before, and there were a few times where she kept going until I actually told her to walk.

We both still need a lot of work, but we made a huge amount of progress in just this one session. Thanks for all the advice, and I'll keep you guys updated.

dressagegal 01-30-2009 07:03 PM

Try using the whip idea or try getting someone to lunge her with a whip at hand just for a bit of help and ride her whilst on the lunge then she has your legs and the person on the ground to deal with aswell.
Transitions also help a lot with impulsion! Try to do lots of walk to trot and back down to walk transitions as then they listen to your leg more as they anticipate the trot.

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