Has anyone ever tried this? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 12-31-2013, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Has anyone ever tried this?

In my last lesson with my trainer we worked more on encouraging my horse to use both sides of his body. He relies almost completely on his right side and it's something we've been working through since day 1.

This time I used my index finger on each side at his trapezius. Using pulses and different amounts of pressure, we worked on tempo, direction/steering, and control of the hind end. We made a fair amount of progress for being the first time we ever tried that.

Has anyone here done anything like this? It was strange that it worked, but it made sense after my trainer explained why it worked. Boy did my fingers hurt afterward!
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post #2 of 4 Old 12-31-2013, 10:31 AM
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No but I am curious. Mind giving more detail of what you did and how?
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post #3 of 4 Old 12-31-2013, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I can try. I kept getting confused myself, lol. We did some in-habd work prior to this, so this is all assuming your horse moves in a straight line on his own. Mine uses his right side heavily to move either direction and have spenta lot of time working on straightening him out and teaching him how to use both sides of his body.

At the walk, I started by using my right index finger at his trapezius (in the saddle I touched between above his shoulder and his withers where the muscle is) to set a tempo with his right hind leg . So, when he was going at a tempo I liked, I started pulsing my index in time with his right hind. This was moving clockwise. Then, we turned around and did the same with the left side. Once he figured it out, I used both fingers to set the tempo for both hind legs at the walk. So, left index for the left hind and right index for the right hind. I was able to vaguely increase and decrease his tempo at the walk going both directions. The same was done at the trot. First starting clockwise with just the right in time with the right hind. Then just the left going counter-clockwise. Then both alternating in both directions. He hada harder time increasing and then decreasing his tempo at the trot, but made enough progress that we let him move on to something else.

The directional work used steadier pressure along with body aids to enforce. So I moved him of the wall with my body aids and added steady, firm pressure from the outside finger. Then, down the center line of the arena we did some beginning lateral work. Same idea as moving off the wall, but working to keep him as straight as possible and making sure he uses both sides of his body to move to the left and to the right. He only moved maybe a foot or two in either direction, but it was progress nonetheless. Something else to keep working on.

We did briefly do some turns on the forehand using fingers, but that was much more confusing for him. Instead of moving away from steady pressure, I used body aids to cue the turn on the forehand while pulsing with the inside index with his corresponding front leg. So turning clockwise, I pulsed the right index with his right front and vice versa for the opposite direction. He did great moving clockwise, which is his difficult side, and had more trouble with the counter-clockwise direction. I only asked for a step or two at a time because it's difficult for him to do and he's learning.

At the end, we worked on the square halt. Being so right-side heavy, he typically stops with his right front further back from the left. So, at the walk, I changed from the pulsing to a steady pressure on the right when I asked for the halt using body aids. Then, it becamea matter of timing to release my right index just before he stopped to bring his right shoulder back to square. It took a couple of attempts because my timing kept being off, but we got it. I immediately abandoned ship, lol.

He always got lots of pats and "atta boys" when he would release, respond correctly, and any time he halts square.

The most in interesting part, for me, was the amount of releases I was getting from him during the whole thing. He gets so tense on his right side that the fingers were releasing the tension before it could really build up. He has never stayed as straight as he did for as long as he did before either. My trainer and I were very happy at the end.
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post #4 of 4 Old 12-31-2013, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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I hope it all makes sense and the errors are minimal. I'm on my phone and I didn't realize that had gotten so long.
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