Teaching a horse to move with your seat
So the other night I was riding a lesson horse at a barn near my work and we were working on isolating hips and driving with the seat and using legs minimally (well, not as much as seat) to keep the horse at that speed.
My horse is so green, he glows in the dark :P But he has come a long way. I had to teach him to begin to move from a slight double squeeze with both calves (oh my goodness it took forever..) but now I want him to be treated less like a tube of toothpaste, and work more off of my seat (going, maintaining speed via the tempo of my seat, and stopping.)
I think I'm MOST interested in teaching him no seat motion (as in making my bum tight and sinking down into him by releasing with my upper thighs = stop!) but every technique is important. Also, my horse listens to "ho" on the ground, but under saddle he tends to ignore me and continues to walk on so I have to apply a lot of rein :/
P.S: Not expecting a quick fix training method, just a few tips on things that worked for you and ways to get inside my horse's way of thinking.
Yikes.. no one has any advice? :/
Skye, sorry you didn't get more timely responses, and from folks with more experience than I have.
I am thinking about your question and to be honest, I dont know nor have I ever been thoroughly taught the steps to bringin a horse more to your seat.
What I am thinking is that if the horse is not feeling your signal to "come to your seat", it might mean that you need to work more on differentiating between you following him and him following you.
In the begiinnning when we ride, both as beginning riders and riding a horse that is new to carrhying a rider, we focus on going WITH the horse. We do so because we want to make it easy for him to carry us and to build his confidence that we will not be a threat to his balance, (something more fear inducing in a horse than we realize). As we learn to follow him we develop a good light and responsive seat, right? The logical further step is to begin to ask the horse to follow our seat. We must make the two clearly differnt and perceptable to the horse. So, the ON must be clearly different from the OFF (just an analogy)
Is it possible that you don't have as good a passive, following seat such that when you stop the followoing, the hrose can clearly feel a difference?
You have such a good point! I know that is probably what it is..
you just need to make it muscle memory that before you ever cue a stop/turn/transition or anything, your seat initiates it and your hand/leg completes it.
What do you mean, Chris..
Whenever I try to refine an aid, I try to increase my horse's chances of success by making it very predictable at first. Say I'm going to practice walk to halt transitions. I try to make the aids very consistent, but ask for the halt at the same place in the arena each time until he starts to anticipate. It seems to backfire in a good way. He feels me start to change my seat to ask for the halt cue, wants to blow me off, but knows we're going to stop at that fence post anyway, so he stops. I do it at the same place a few times and then I trick him by offering the cues at different spots. He doesn't necessarily know why he just stopped, and actually seems a little pissed that I got the better of him, but it seems to work. Try it...can't hurt.
I think of moving off the seat as similar to learning to neck rein.
With neck reining, you are teaching a horse to move off of pressure on his neck rather than pressure on the bars of his mouth, like he has previously known.
With moving off of your seat, you are teaching him to adjust his rhythm, stride, and direction from your seat rather than your legs, like he has previouisly known.
Most horses catch on to seat aids very quickly when used in conjunction with leg aids. When you shift your weight to one side, wait for a response. Many horses will want to drift to that side, not liking your weight unbalanced. The idea is for the horse to want to be centered under you. At first, while you wait for a response, squeeze gently with your opposite leg to push the horse over, like you would without using seat aids. As soon as the horse moves, center yourself over his back again. Do this several times, using less and less leg as the horse learns and eventually using lo leg at all.
For seat aids concerning rhythm, stride, and speed, Jane Savoie does a great job of explaining the different seats on her video on YouTube. I believe she describes this as using Driving seat, where you give the horse energy to increase stride or tempo or make an upward transition; Passive seat, which is used to tell the horse to stay the same; and another seat which I'm not sure of the name (I simply refer to it as the "locked" seat) which tells the horse to slow down or decrease stride length or rhythm. I'm currently teaching these to Excel, and I have been riding him with the seat aids I use with Molly (I rarely use any leg on her unless I'm asking her to bend around my leg or make an upward transition), in conjunction with the leg aids he knows already. When I'm working with him, I often leave out the leg aids and see how well he will respond from my seat. It's mostly a matter of repetition and consistency.
The same concept, but for seat.. I LOVE IT! :) I will definitely try it. Thank you so much :)
Very clever, and makes it so much easier and less confusing for the horse..
Thank you guys so much! With everyone's response, Sky and I will have it down :)
vice versa. you use your seat, THEN you give him what he knows (leg or hand). eventually he'll "get ahead" of your seat because he knows that the leg/hand is coming. think of your seat as a cue which acts as a warning to the horse that an aid is about to be applied.
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