Spurs (that jingle, jingle, jingle...)
Okay, so this is a bit about spurs. This might be quite long, but I'll try to get my point across without writing a novel here.
Okay, so. Cricket has HARD sides. Soft mouth, hard sides. (go figure...)
So, of course the first thing that pops into my mind is spurs, BUT, I have to ask... Now, this first week is just going to be experimental. Lots of round pen work and lots of figuring out what exactly she knows, what we need to brush on, and the works. It's like a mystery. Very exciting. I know theres two things we have GOT to work on.
1. Her neck reining. This should be easy since she gets the "CONCEPT", she just needs some help.
2. leg cues.
Do any of you have any idea how I can work on this? I've never had a horse with hard sides before, so I don't even know where to begin. Anything y'all have to offer would also help my best friend who is looking at buying a seventeen year old mare who is "lazy". Her mom calls me and tells me that she wailed on her for twenty minutes and all she got was a slow jog. She asked if I had some spurs she could borrow. This makes me wonder WHY?? The first thing I thought was maybe she has some sort of lameness... But I'm not sure without looking at her.
BUT ANYWAYS, since I got way off topic. Any excersizes I can do to train her (Cricket, MY horse... Not the old mare, although that would be great too) to be more receptive to my legs would be amazing.
Do you ride with a whip? I would suggest trying a whip first because with spurs, the rider has to get used to them as well and doing that on a horse who isn't used to spurs is not a good idea. With a whip, you ask with your leg first and if she doesn't respond then you give her a tap with the whip, not a whack, but a tap. This will make a horse have 'softer sides' because they learn to respect the leg aids. Also for your friend, "whaling on her" with her legs isn't going to make her horse go, it will make it angry and not want to comply. Soft yet firm leg aids are the way to go.
Lazy horses, hard-sided horses, and stubborn horses are all horses who have gradually been desensitized to pressure. What you need to do is 're-sensitize'. The way you do that is by using gradual increases of pressure, starting out with your ideal. By receptive to your legs, do you mean when asking for forward motion, or lateral (sideways) motion?
Firstly, you need to decide on your goal. It may be your horse loping off a kiss, moving off in response to a tightening of the calf muscle, a bump from the heel… Depends on your discipline and personal preference. Then you need to commit to ALWAYS beginning with your ideal. There is no way you will get the response you want to begin with, but that is the point. You need to first, ask using your ideal amount of pressure. When that is ignored, you need to increase it. If it is ignored again, you increase again. I always only use three steps. I was always taught it through the saying “First you whisper, then you speak, then you shout” or “Ask, tell demand”. The way I do it? I start with my ideal, then move up to a stronger aid, and if still no response, I make that horse think that the sky is falling in. Yelling, waving arms, over-under with my reins, huge push with the seat and strong leg aids. They will go, and they will go now. I then let them travel at that speed without interfering, except to keep them going if they try to drop back. The most important thing is that once they have moved off, to sit quietly and let them just move. Getting angry serves no purpose. Once they have maintained it, drop back and start again.
Eventually, they gather that if they move off your first cue, they avoid the falling sky. Works like a treat.
I also find that if it is a forward issue (i.e. lazy) then the trails are the best place to work on it.
Spurs should not be used for forward aids. They refine already solid aids and allow for subtlety in applying forward and lateral aids. I show my ASH in spurs and occasionally train in them, but 80% of my riding is done without.
When you consider that a horse can feel a fly light on it's skin, you must realize how sensitive a horse is to touch. Saying they are hard sided is just ridiculous.
My mare is a tad on the pokey, lazy side. I recently just picked up a bat (short riding crop) and carry it with me. All I have to do is tickle her with it for quicker neck reining and impulsion from behind.
Sometimes going gentler is the answer.
What I meant by "hard sided" is that she doesn't listen to my leg cues. That doesn't mean she doesn't feel them, it means she doesn't listen to them. Of course, literally, her sides arent hard. I'm sure she can feel what I'm asking her. She just doesn't listen to what I'm trying to say. So what I was asking is if anyone had any ideas to help me to help her understand better.
Hard sided meaning she's not responding to my leg cues. Maybe I should find some better analogies LOL. We could get super technical and say that she's "Impervious to my lower body compressions..."
But that could sound very wrong...
And thanks, Wildspot. Having the sky fall would definately NOT be on my agenda of things to have happen. LOL
Guess my question got lost in the midst of my rambling, but is the issue forward, or sideways?
Oh yeah, your question... LOL
She moves forward just fine, it's sideways. She just sort of goes BLAH. lol
Ok. So other things you can do... Ground work. Work on sideways using the increasing pressure method as above, but using your finger/hand as the cue. You can do turn on forehand, turn on backhand, and sidepassing all on the ground. I also find openiing/closing a lot of gates really helps, as it presents moving sideways in a way the horse can logically understand.
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