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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can someone with the knowledge describe the basic leg and seat cues a horse should know. I am a couple years into retraining myself to ride , and learning about training a couple of older horses that were ignored for years . I really do not know the extent of their training.
I have been working on ground work , and basic riding control , with direct reining techniques .

Basic leg cues explained to me would be helpful.
 

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When I start a horse on the ground/lunge line, I teach them the word cues, walk, trot, etc. That way when I begin to work on the seat/leg cues you can use the word as you use the cues, it will help them learn what the seat and legs mean.

If I am halted and want my horse to walk I close both legs against their side and tighten my seat muscles slightly like you would if you were in a swing and wanted to go higher. Squeezing with both legs means "go forward."

If you use just one leg it means to move sideways away from the leg. Or, depending on your other aids you could be bending your horse around your inside leg.

Generally you sit evenly on both seat bones. If you bend/turn you weight your inside seat bone more heavily.

You also use your leg to keep your horse engaged (stepping up under himself) Even in down transitions you want to "hug your horse's side with your leg"/ close your leg.

If you go from walk to halt the first thing you do is make your seat still (stop following the motion of his back), keep your leg on and then close your hand last.

That is a little bit of the beginning of using your seat and leg aids. You need to have good balance on your horse and the ability to use your hands/arms and legs independently of each other. Then you need to learn to "blend" your aids together, using the right amount of each, for the right thing at the right time....who ever said riding was easy, lol :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks - I will work on implementing some more voice commands on the ground .

I have a lot to learn on riding cues , along with reining.

So in moving your horse forward and bending around your inside leg, you squeeze your outside leg and lightly put rein pressure to your desired direction ?

I have been relying mostly on reining pressure, except my two horses do move forward when gently squeezing both legs.
They do stop when I lean back a little and give voice command , with a light one rein stop. I definitely like this site for getting some educated feedback.
 

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When I am bending or riding on a circle I have my outside leg positioned slightly behind the girth, not squeezing, just "watching" in case the hindquarters swing out. If they do, then I apply (squeeze) my leg to push them back over so that the horse's hind legs follow the same path as his front legs. As far as the reins, I ask with my inside rein for a softening of the jaw to the inside by softly vibrating the inside rein. My outside rein allows the horse to bend but stops him from overbending...hope that helps!
 

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Not sure for English riding, but for western, these are pretty generally used: -

- Squeeze with both calves at girth area means go...or go faster
- Squeeze with right calf and a little extra weight in left stirrup means turn left (you sort of lean a little into the turn)
- Squeeze with left calf and a little extra weight in right stirrup means turn right
- Touch with heel ahead of girth means move front end (away from the heel pressure)
- Touch with heel aft of girth means move rear end
- Touch with heel on girth means move whole body sideways away from the pressure (side pass)
- Sit deep in seat with weight in stirrups means stop

All these signals are used in conjunction with signals from the reins. If you are showing, the more the horse responds to subtle leg pressures and the less the reins are used, the more the judges seem to like it.

I should mention that the squeeze with both legs means go faster, in forward or reverse, depending on the signals from the reins.

For forward signals, one squeeze means walk. Two squeezes generally means trot. A forward lean and a squeeze generally means canter. You can also specify the lead you want by applying the correct heel as you give the canter signal (right heel aft of the girth for the left lead)

I'm sure there are variations that different trainers teach, but these are generally useful signals to train. Once the horse understands these leg and heel signals, you can teach them to move just about any way you want. All these signals are useful for trail as well as for arena work.

I start teaching my horses leg pressures on the ground, using the knob end of a quirt or training staff, or even my thumb. I poke them in the ribs with the knob end of the quirt until they move the part of them I want them to move, then release the pressure and praise. Repeat, repeat, repeat, until they require only a light touch. Then, when they feel the pressure from my heel or spur when I'm in the saddle, they already know what I'm talking about.
 

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The important thing about training cues to horses is not what you DO, but the RELEASE AS SOON AS they do it. Once. Take for instance WALK. If you sqeeze and they walk, you MUST release the squeeze IMMEDIATLY and let them walk. If you keep squeezing, they do not understand. This is called "learning on the release". If you are teaching the word cue "walk", saying walk walk walk walk WALK, WALK will NOT teach the horse to walk.

Nancy
 

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The important thing about training cues to horses is not what you DO, but the RELEASE AS SOON AS they do it. Once. Take for instance WALK. If you sqeeze and they walk, you MUST release the squeeze IMMEDIATLY and let them walk. If you keep squeezing, they do not understand. This is called "learning on the release". If you are teaching the word cue "walk", saying walk walk walk walk WALK, WALK will NOT teach the horse to walk.

Nancy
The problem most people have, though, as they learn to train, is that they release the cue when the horse does something wrong instead of when they do it right. It's a human learning thing to stop when you do something wrong and try to do it right the next time, but with horses (and other animals) you can't simply stop and explain to them what they did wrong. All they know is that whatever they did made you stop poking them. You must persist in the cue until they do what you are asking, or make an effort in the right direction, then IMMEDIATELY release the pressure and praise them. If that is done consistently, they will pick things up pretty quickly, but you have to learn, as a trainer, NOT to release the pressure when they do the wrong thing, but when they do the right thing.

The effort after that is to train them to do what you ask with more precision before you release the pressure. They will certainly be satisfied with whatever level of performance satisfies you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank You all

I really appreciate this kind of info! This is why I think this Forum has helped my riding. I have a couple of middle aged horses , that I do not know the extent of there prior training. They were both neglected a bit , and were not rode for years. I have had one around three years, and the other for around two.
I rode when I was a kid , but was away from horses for 37 years. At fifty two , I have lucked into a couple of manageable horses . They both have tolerated my heavy hand and unbalance , when I first started. I have put quit a few hours in the saddle the last couple of years and am riding with good balance . I have learned some about bit pressure timing and release . Mostly by lurking on this site. I have not been doing a lot with my legs . This info is going to help me move forward . The ground work I have learned to do via computer , has helped these two horses to respect me. I will see how they respond to the leg cues. I will work on only releasing the pressure of the cue when the desired move has been started. Thanks again for the explanations.
 

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The problem most people have, though, as they learn to train, is that they release the cue when the horse does something wrong instead of when they do it right. It's a human learning thing to stop when you do something wrong and try to do it right the next time, but with horses (and other animals) you can't simply stop and explain to them what they did wrong. All they know is that whatever they did made you stop poking them. You must persist in the cue until they do what you are asking, or make an effort in the right direction, then IMMEDIATELY release the pressure and praise them. If that is done consistently, they will pick things up pretty quickly, but you have to learn, as a trainer, NOT to release the pressure when they do the wrong thing, but when they do the right thing.

The effort after that is to train them to do what you ask with more precision before you release the pressure. They will certainly be satisfied with whatever level of performance satisfies you.


Very well put, especially the last line .
 
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