Leg cues! I need some help!
So I've been working on getting Lacey changing direction really really well off my leg and she's actually doing excellently. Today I actually rode her down the long side of the arena zigzag-ing the entire time without moving my hands at all. She was totally fine with it, didn't get confused or anything.
In my horsemanship class the teacher was showing us how to...basically cue the horse to walk straight but also sideways at the same time (I don't remember what it was called) and I decided to try it on Lacey because I know she can do that, I've accidentally cued her to do it before. So I tried to do what the instructor had told us to do in class: to cue the horse left I should sit hard on my right butt cheek, take my left leg completely off ("open the door") and move my right leg way back and press hard with it. Well, Miss Lacey decided that I wanted her to turn. When I kept trying she alternated between speeding her walk up, trying to trot and turning. She never moved herself over so I wasn't able to reward her for that.
Basically, the bottom line is: she's obviously confused by the leg cues I'm giving and I'd like to know how you guys differentiate between the things you have your horses do with leg cues and rein cues.
Currently the cues I've been using are: a thigh squeeze for walk, "squeeeeeeeeeeze-squeeeeeeeeeze" double leg bump for trot, quick bump with one leg plus slight rein tightening for canter, constant rein pressure plus constant leg pressure for back up-both cues disappear as soon as she backs up enough, and solid pressure with one leg or the other for a turn-the leg pressure disappears as soon as she's turned enough (so i can totally see how she was confused by the horsemanship thing). Other than that I don't really have her do anything else.
I'd like to work on her sidepassing and all that sorta stuff but I'm not sure how to cue for them... I know, technically, how to teach what I want but I don't know how I'd cue for them in a non-confusing way...
Also, how on earth do I get her to do that thing I was learning in horsemanship? I really would like to practice for class...
I thought I'd update that yesterday I was messing around with her and trying all sorts of weird touches with my legs and doing different things with my reins and I figured some stuff out. I discovered that she'll pivot on one back leg or the other if I put my outside leg way back and press, mostly take off my inside leg, and pull straight back with one inside rein. However I'd like to get her to do that on a loose rein but I guess I can't really ask for the world...
She was obviously a little rusty about it but she seemed to know what she was doing.
Its sounds to me like your teacher was showing you to side pass. Where your horses front and back legs cross so that they are moving sideways. If that is the case. My horses work off nothing but leg. All I have to do... If goin to the left... tuck their nose a little to the right... and put leg pressure in the middle of the stomach. That asks them to move there hole body away from the pressure. and by tucking the nose the opposite way... the slightest bit... they cant really turn. But my horses leg cues= At girth move front end, at flank area move back end, and in the center of the two.... move the hole body away from pressure. Hope this helps.
She pivots on her back leg when your leg is on her hip....? What?
When you're leg is behind the girth she should move her rear. When its above the girth she should move her front.
As for teaching the sidepass, all of mine will do it with or without rein cues. But if I remember correctly from my lessons way-back-when, you want to cross the rein over to signal the front movement and use either leg to move her haunches over. Make sure her legs are crossing.
Eh. I don't know if you're western or english. This is just how I do it.
Wallaby: Yea, my horse does the same thing!!! I just try to bring her down a notch or two, let her relax for a couple seconds and try it again. If she even crosses her front leg over the other and makes that one step, I stop and praise her and move on with other things. Still, though, she will do that same thing to me, she is a very responsive horse.
I think what Wallaby is talking about is two-tracking. You want to push her hip out toward the center and onto a different track than her front. To go left, stick her along the rail and push her hip out with your right leg. If she tries to turn, block her with either your hand or leg and just continue asking. At least thats what I would do.
First, the way I go about teaching a horse to side pass is to first get the hips and shoulders connected to the reins.
I first teach the horse to move the hip to the right by bringing the horses nose toward his left hip until the hip steps to the right, then release. I would repeat until the horse steps over easily off less rein then I would work the right rein. I would then add my leg. I would work until the horse moves the hip off my leg and very little rein.
Then I would move to the shoulder and connect the left shoulder to the left rein moving the shoulder to the right. I would switch reins fairly often until the horse is moving both shoulders easily then add leg.
I now have a shoulder cue with rein or leg and a hip cue with rein or leg. I then start moving the shoulder then hip, shoulder then hip, working my two cues closer and closer together until, between them, I have a side pass cue.
Now to move on the diagonal I will start at the trot and ask for the shoulders with the rein and the hip with the leg (work toward the same cue used in side passing). As soon as they move together, I let the horse out. Soon all I have to do is lift the rein and cue with my leg.
To test the horse I will trot down the center and turn to the rail. As we are approaching the rail I will start asking for the diagonal. If the horse reaches the fence without moving the hip and shoulder together at the trot, I will manually get them for two or three steps, turn trot out and start again. This is a test, so if the horse gets really upset we move off the rail and keep on the previous exercise.
I think two-tracking was it! I know for sure it wasn't sidepassing since there was still forward motion and sidepassing doesn't have forward motion.
This has been helpful...I REALLY wish there was an actual factual GOOD trainer around here to get lessons from or something. I think it would be so helpful to have someone show me how to do these things on my horse because I understand technically how to get her to do these things and I understand what they should feel like, I just get confused when I'm riding because she doesn't respond in a way that anyone can really predict and plan for, if that makes sense.
Thanks for taking the time to answer! =)
And SorrelHorse: She pivots when I cue her way back, like about where a back girth would be if I had one. Not if I cue her hip! Haha
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