Helpful Riding Phrases - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-07-2020, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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Helpful Riding Phrases


I teach riding occasionally on the side and I'm always looking for ways to improve my communication with students. I've always admired instructors that incorporate little phrases (metaphors, idioms, etc) to help conceptualize an idea to the rider. Things like "push your belt buckle forward" or "shoulders like a queen".

What are your favorite riding phrases?
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post #2 of 14 Old 04-07-2020, 07:53 PM
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Elbows! (meaning, elbows in).

Look where you want to go, not where you want to fall.

Keep looking for the small tries. Give a release on that rein.
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post #3 of 14 Old 04-07-2020, 08:32 PM
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Explain that "still hands" means in relation to the horse's mouth, not in relation to the rider.

"Lift your sternum" (which works better than "sit up" or "shoulders back" and fixes a lot of things at once).

Telling riders to "Push your knees down and back" also fixes several things at once, instead of having to tell them to get their lower leg farther back, or drop their heels, or stop gripping up, etc.

"Thumbs on top" also helps rotate the elbows in and gets the hands in a better position.

Generally, trying to rephrase things that aren't getting through to riders, even if it's just a slightly different way of putting something, can make them think about it differently in a way that works for them, so it's something to play with on an individual basis, too.
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post #4 of 14 Old 04-07-2020, 09:00 PM
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Breathe...inhale 1, 2, 3... exhale 1, 2, 3...

Look where you are going not where you not want to be {eyes up}

Hold the baby chick, not squash them {close your hand softly}

Your arms are elastic rubber-bands...don't get zapped.

Close your eyes and feel the step....

Point where you want to go with your bellybutton...

Sit down, not're not a bird and you don't fly without your horses wings engaged.

Look for your spot to ride to...focus and the horse will follow your gaze...drop your eyes, turn your head and the horse will comply.

Ride with positive thoughts...if you think it can happen, it will! Good or bad... helps to relax you.

Sing.. breaks the tension and makes you breathe.

There are others but think the forum censors will "pop" if written...risque is a polite term.


The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #5 of 14 Old 04-07-2020, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by SteadyOn View Post
Explain that "still hands" means in relation to the horse's mouth, not in relation to the rider.
We aren’t as politically correct in the trail riding world, lol

We say “Don’t ride that horse’s head”
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A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-07-2020, 11:09 PM
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Inside rein is for bend and flexion,
Outside is for speed and direction.
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-08-2020, 12:15 AM
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Sometimes things I've heard people say when giving riding advice is rather crude, so I won't say it.

That being said, one of the not crude ones is "Don't look at the ground. Where you look is where you'll go." It's crazy how much your balance is affected by what direction you're looking.
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No matter how much you think you know about horses, there will always be one that'll come along and teach you something new.
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-08-2020, 07:02 AM
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I only took “traditional” lessons for a short amount of time when I was a teen... but one thing I remember my instructor used was that “legs should be like wet towels” they need to be on the horse but not around it

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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post #9 of 14 Old 04-10-2020, 01:15 PM
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The small times I teach or help out others I'm very hands on. You can preach and preach until the cows come home but showing someone where you want their body parts or how something should feel is always how I was taught and how I think people learn the best.

I use time on the ground to manipulate the leg and show the rider how it should fall against the side of the horse, how the foot and heel should be positioned, how different pulls on the reins changes things.
Spending the time to explain proper positions helps a lot.
Then you can put words to certain position points.
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-14-2020, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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These are all great :) Love hearing all the different ways to communicate ideas!
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