To Steer, or not To Steer... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-21-2016, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
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To Steer, or not To Steer...

Just bought a 14 year old Kentucky mountain mare. I will be trail riding only. I can neck rein, but she direct reins only. I drove to Kentucky to pick her up, when we arrived she was in the middle of eating dinner. The guy took her to the indoor arena and I tried to ride her. She did not go anywhere I asked, she just kept going for the gate. I believe she wanted to finish eating.
Well I got my saddle today.
Question:
1. To direct rein a horse:
Right turn= right rein + left leg?
Left turn= left rein + right leg?
2. Is leg aid just a bump or steady pressure throughout turn?
3. Anything I should be doing with my seat ?
4. If she is trotting to fast what do I do to slow her down but not stop? Seat,legs,reins????
I don't think anyone in my town knows how to direct rein, nor has a gaited horse, so I'm turning to my forum family for help. Thanks in advance :)
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-21-2016, 10:23 AM
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1. Depends on the type of turn you are doing and to an extent the amount of training the horse has had such as being taught shoulder control.

Think of the side of the horse being broken down into three zones: In front of the girth, at the girth and behind the girth.

In front of the girth will control the shoulder, at the girth the barrel and behind the girth, the hip.

Right turn might = Left leg on in front of girth and right leg on behind the girth for a sharper turn or left leg on in front of the girth and right leg on or only present at the barrel for a less sharp turn acting as a support point for the horse to pivot around.
Left turn = the opposite of above.

2. Same thing goes for bumping or pressing. If the horse is trained to lightness, you may get a response simply touching a leg, others may need a press, some may need a bump, bump, bump.

What is important is that the horse knows when to stop turning by providing release from the cues. So one bump without follow up will tell the horse okay, done, but if you don’t also release the rein cue because you aren't finished turning, then the horse is getting conflicting cues and gets confused.

However the horse best responds, a touch, a press or a bump, make sure your rein cues and your leg cues are communicating the same thing at the same time through release.

3. Your seat should follow the direction of the turn. By turning your upper body at the waist along with your head, looking into the turn, that will aid the horse in the turn. When stopping a press deeper in the seat and the head slightly up will communicate stop.

4. Rating speed. I can only comment from the perspective of a non-gaited horse, so perhaps someone else who rides gaited can give better advice if it is different.

Rating can be tricky because the rider really has to tune into the horse. Usually it has to do with timing in the seat. Take a canter for instance, by slowing the rhythmic movement of your body moving with the horse so that instead it is slightly slower than the movement of the horse, the horse will slow to match your movement and not work against it. Some horses will also respond to a rider pressing harder into the back of seat or even the word “easy”. Some horses will slow slightly if you ask them to lower their heads a bit. It depends how the horse was previously ridden and trained and might be different for a gaited horse.
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Last edited by Reiningcatsanddogs; 05-21-2016 at 10:28 AM.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-21-2016, 10:33 AM
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Reining has explained it very well.

Be carful, you had a big warning flag when you went to see this horse and the fact that she wouldn't move when you got on her is not a good thing.

I don't care of her feed was there - if I say move then they have to move.
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-21-2016, 12:23 PM
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I've seen a lot of gaited horses that are trained to slow by relaxing your hold on the rein. Really the only way to tell how this mare was trained is to experiment on techniques if the people you bought her from didn't show you.

R.I.P. JC 5/19/85 - 12/9/14. You made my life better.
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-21-2016, 12:35 PM
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I teach turning as a natural, relaxed method of communicating the rider’s desire to the horse. Think of walking casually with your arm around the shoulder of a friend. You turn and your friend turns with you without thinking about it. You do not pull your friend into the turn or poke your friend in the side to get him to turn.

To turn in this same way when riding a horse generally requires that both rider and horse are relaxed and the horse has become accustomed to the rider moving with the horse’s movements. Once the horse is accustomed to their two bodies moving as one, the rider can begin to effect the horse’s movements through subtle changes in his own movements. This may make it sound as though you must first do a lot of work getting the horse to relax. While it is always best to continue working towards this goal, you don’t need to wait until this is completely achieved to give this method a try. Give your horse a chance. This method often works the first time I ride a horse as long as the horse is not too nervous or distracted.

I make certain I am balanced both laterally and longitudinally and that my body is moving with the horse’s body. Then, I bring my outside leg (the one on the convex side of the turn) back slightly (seldom as much as an inch). I, then, rotate (don’t lean) my upper body in the direction I want to turn. I imagine my upper body as a block of wood moving together. My head rotates with my shoulders as do my hands. I imaging a circle painted on the ground and look with the eyes in my head and imaginary eyes in my chest about 1/6th of circle ahead; thus, the degree of rotation will vary with the size of the circle. I heard one instructor tell her student to point her belly button where she wanted to go. Another woman said she taught her daughter this technique while riding at dusk; she attached a bicycle light to the girl’s chest and told her to point the light where she wanted to go.

Many things happen when a rider user his body in this way. I hesitate to mention many things because riders sometime try to force the turn by overemphasizing certain aspects. This usually leads to both rider and horse becoming stiff and movement deteriorating.

Ideally, the rider’s legs simply rest against the sides of the horse as a result of gravity. The rider’s inside leg provides the horse something to bend its body around; rider’s outside leg helps keep the horse’s rear end from swinging to the outside of the turn. As the rider’s hands rotate with his shoulders, the outside rein touches the outside of the horse’s neck (like in neck reining). Other changes occur as well which I will not get into for the reason mentioned above.

If, for any reason, this simple method does not seem to work, you can begin to experiment by altering things slightly. Always change as little as possible and evaluate the results before making any additional changes.

As a last resort, you can rotate your inside hand to the side while keeping your elbow near your body. Do this smoothly and release any added pressure the moment your horse responds. Any pressure added to the inside rein should be accompanied by a release of pressure on the outside rein so both reins are not “pulling” on the horse.

Even if you must resort to additional effort, go back to the simple method when you first try another turn. Soon your horse should be turning easily as if it is reading your mind.
Always remember: relaxation and balance.
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-21-2016, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a link to her video. http://www.equinenow.com/videos/7760090.htm
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-21-2016, 03:28 PM
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hm m m.. . video shows her being ridden in a curb bit, one handed , so neck reining.

now you are using a snaffle? or a curb bit? (does it have shanks or not?)

to be honest, I think you should look to take some riding lessons on her, with a trainer who can help you get off on teh right foot with her. she is really a lovely girl!
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-21-2016, 03:48 PM
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It saw a curb but 2 handed. He also was very Lacey. I would suggest attending a Gaited clinic. Larry Whitesell and Jennifer Bauer puts on a good one. In the weekend you will learn how to properly turn on haunches, forehand, direct the horse with your body and improve gait.
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-21-2016, 03:50 PM
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what does "Lacey" mean? lazy?
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-21-2016, 04:14 PM
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I don't know what that means, but he did look a little stiff didn't he? I wondered if he was nervous of her and why they only showed her in a straight line on that road. I don't know anything about that style of horse though. She does look smooth. :)
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