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mustangsal85
May. 4, 2010, 05:29 PM
Can you all give me some pointers on getting a horse to move off of your leg? Today when I flatted I had a world of difficulty getting Oscar to move off of my inside leg. He has this wicked habit of dropping his shoulder, leaning on the bit, and refusing to respond to my inside leg/outside rein. I did some circles, making the circle smaller and then leg yielding out and then back in, at all 3 gaits but I found myself having to constantly give him a sharp reminder that HEY my leg is there, please listen to it!

Also, I know that he isn't using his hind end the way he is supposed to. One fault of mine as a rider is I tend to forget to ride the hind end and not focus only on the front end. Any tips on remembering that/making him use his back end more?

Thanks guys!

CHT
May. 4, 2010, 06:03 PM
Using inside leg to move a horse's shoulders over when the horse is balancing on his shoulder is unlikely to get results...you have to tell him what to do instead.

Forget adding more inside leg, and instead half-halt and outside leg (Back), this will hopefully help the horse understand to use his hind quarters.

When you do your circle excercise, spiral in with an inside bend, and ley yeild out. Do not leg yeild in.

Shoulder in/fore is a key excercise for strengthening hind end.

Aside from that, make sure your inside rein always has some give/wobble, and think of turning him bum first (half halt with outside rein to get his weight back, then use outside leg back to initiate the turn, with a slight openning, very soft inside rein).

The quick cure to a horse leaning on the bit...is to stop giving them something to lean on, by keeping lightness/wobble in the inside rein.

THe key point to remember, is that the problem started well before he dropped his shoulder/leaned on the bit. You allowed him to lose balance, or even worse, pulled him off balance by steering with your inside rein. When you lose it, and he leans on that shoulder, either send him forward/straight to get his bum engaged and try again, or bring him back to a slower gait and try again.

mustangsal85
May. 4, 2010, 06:33 PM
When you do your circle excercise, spiral in with an inside bend, and ley yeild out. Do not leg yeild in.

Shoulder in/fore is a key excercise for strengthening hind end.


Should have clarified, I don't leg yield back in.

What do you mean /fore?

sptraining
May. 4, 2010, 06:45 PM
Shoulder fore is like a shoulder in but with less of an angle (think "idea of").

Be aware of your body. If you're collapsing in trying to boot him off your inside leg, then you'll be throwing your body weight onto his inside shoulder making it that much more difficult to get him to bend/balance.

It would be easier to help identify the key issue and come up with a solution if you had a video...

woops
May. 4, 2010, 10:00 PM
A great dressage trainer showed me how to teach a horse
to get off the inside is to over exagerate by using the inside rein with bend and send him over to the out side shoulder with No contact to the outside rein .
Just shift him over and make him seek the outside rein.
DO this on a circle and stay off the fence or wall.
Do it several time and then take a feel of the outside to capture or balance him.
Fight to find the feeling of his engine this will help so much with the connection and diagonals.
Without it you will fall into the trap of riding front to back which will snowball into a train wreck when jumping.

mustangsal85
May. 4, 2010, 11:57 PM
woops- i definitely agree with you. that is the biggest issue i am having right now because when we jump I just don't feel like he is truly balanced. I know what a put together horse is supposed to look and feel like and I haven't been able to achieve that with Oscar yet. When we are approaching a jump I don't feel like I know how to really rock him back onto his hind end to get the most power out of him.

*sigh* In all honesty, I've been so frustrated with the fact that I haven't been able to do what I know I should be doing (for being out of shape, etc) that it's making me frustrated in general with the whole situation. I sometimes wish I could go back to my old trainer who I think is more experienced and well versed than the one I have now (not to take anything away from my coach now at all, she is just younger and I think she focuses on different things) but her place is SO DANG far away and she doesn't have hardly any horses for me to ride (aka that aren't boarders' horses). That's a whole other topic though and I'm just feeling frustrated at this point because I'm at that point where I feel like I'm not progressing. Even though I know it takes time.

fourmares
May. 5, 2010, 12:19 AM
Another simple exercise is to halt and move the horses shoulder to the outside when they lean on your inside leg. One or two steps over is sufficient. It reminds the horse to move off your leg and it places his weight on his hind end.

findeight
May. 5, 2010, 10:00 AM
Try a bigger circle (and I mean big, like half the ring) with a counter bend about halfway around then switch to a natural bend.

Work alot of leg yields on a straight line. Master the art of the square corner. Try going into a corner and turning the other direction-into the rail.

You problem is probably a lack of...um..."squareness"(?) and equal use of the shoulder so he falls in. May be complicated by the same thing going on behind, he cannot stand up straight..sort of...does that make sense?

Best idea of all? Take some Dressage lessons. Best to haul out to them but using a school horse is also fine.

Have to say, and you may not like it, trainer is not helping you here no matter how much you may like her. The kind of issues you are having relate to a lack of basics and they will keep you from advancing when the fences go up and/or courses get more complicated. She may stress "different things" but you are falling through the cracks and not getting help with a basic straight horse.

ETA...have you asked the trainer about helping you with your flatwork and getting proper response to the aids? If you cannot get him off your inside leg and he does not feel balanced in front of the fence? These can be addressed. Ask your trainer specifically to work with you, give her a chance.

meupatdoes
May. 5, 2010, 10:58 AM
Here are some exercises to try.

1. Turn up the quarterline from short side.
Use an OPENING inside rein to ask the horse to bring his nose to the inside (it does not have to come down, just to the inside) and then use your inside leg at the girth to move him out, feeling like the shoulder is going first, to the rail.

Keep an eye on your inside hand, it must be OPENING, not pulling back or crossing over the neck.

Repeat this until you can reliably keep the horse pressed up to your outside thigh.


2. Then work on SWITCHING what leg he is pressed up against.
Ride a tear drop exercise.
Come up the longside, do a half turn (pressing him out out out), and then SWITCH him to your new outside leg and press him out out out back to the rail.

He will start to anticipate the switch, and take himself away from your outside leg early. Keep a vigilant feel for his 'presence' on your outside leg and make sure he does not step away from that outside leg until you allow it.

3. Once you have that down, ride a three loop serpentine around the arena.
Again, be vigilant about exactly what leg of yours he is "present" on.
Pay close attention to the switching over centerline.

4. When that is good, ride the same serpentine COUNTER BENT. Turn his nose to the outside but his body to the inside. He turns instead of leaving the serpentine because he is listening to your inside* leg.

*Remember that "inside leg" is the one to the inside of the bend, even if it is on the outside of the figure.
Inside leg is at the girth, always "in front of" the outside leg.



A spiral circle is more advanced than all four of these exercises. You have to simultaeneously ride the horse to your outside aids while counteracting that with a legyield to the inside our you will untrain him as you come in (which you have to come in or you have no place to leg yield out from). Skip it.

Ride across the arena and instead of going straight bulge out the line: same effect as the "spiral out", much less technical. On a level of difficulty that is between steps 1 and 2.

Good luck!

lesgarcons
May. 5, 2010, 12:26 PM
Master the art of the square corner. Try going into a corner and turning the other direction-into the rail.

Does this mean, basically turn into the rail so as to execute a turn on the forehand with the wall blocking the horse's forward motion?

OP, do you feel like you know how to collect a horse on the flat? Is this a problem you're having only with this horse, or do you have trouble collecting a horse in general?

findeight
May. 5, 2010, 02:19 PM
Does this mean, basically turn into the rail so as to execute a turn on the forehand with the wall blocking the horse's forward motion?


Ehhh...didn't describe that too well, I guess. The square corner means you sit into them and leg them up a little to balance them then sort of roll over the haunch to turn. You use a touch of a direct inside rein with a touch of a bearing outside rein-inside hand to inside hip and outside neck rein to simplify. You literally are making a square corner, not an arc. This helps get rid of the sliding around with a dropped shoulder dumped on the forehand. And a square corner is unrelated to the corner of the ring-it's just a way to turn that fully engages the horse. happens to be very useful on a Jumper course or for cooling the jets on a Hunter turning for a line when you have too much horse.

The turn into the rail would be initiated at the arena corner but not while you are plastered on the rail, maybe 10 feet off the rail. The object is not to back them off (although it will work for that as well) but to make them LISTEN to you and never assume which way they are going to go. Do it with your courses too, turn the other way after a line. This gets rid of the sliding around with a dropped shoulder dumped on the forehand...get a sense of the theme here?

Working this stuff into regular schooling can help the heck with lead changes too. Last thing you want to do is stick to following that arena fence around and around in flatwork and always turn the same way after jumping a line. Mix it up and keep them guessing to keep them square and straight.

LuvMyTB
May. 5, 2010, 03:18 PM
I have been struggling mightily with this same issue--literally I have had all the same problems as you, OP!

What's helped my horse is a lot of 20-meter circles, figure-8s, etc, while I SIT the trot with no stirrups. This really forces me to use my seat and leg, since I have the same issue of riding the horse front-to-back.

At the advice of a pro, I have also employed the use of a fairly big spur (horse tends to be dead to leg) and it has helped with his responsiveness.

Finally--I agree with getting someone to really find the holes in your flatwork. I have not had a lesson in 10 years & started my OTTB myself. Two weeks ago I took a lesson with a pro and HOLY COW--she tore my horse and I apart. At one point she made the comment of "I can't tell if your horse is that weak or if you're that lazy." THAT was fun to hear! She also banned me from jumping until our flatwork is fixed.

She didn't mince words and a lot of what she said really stung. BUT....she was right. I have already seen improvment after 2 weeks--imagine what we'll be like by the end of the summer!

LShipley
May. 5, 2010, 04:51 PM
My horse tends to be dead to my leg in general and we are in the process of teaching her to be more responsive. I have also been doing dressage lessons where we focus a lot on getting her to move her butt and shoulders.

One of my warm-up exercises may help. I use this to help remind her at the start of each ride to listen to my leg and hand, and it gets her more supple, too.

I do turns on the forehand. I started off with just one step, now we do whole circles. I try to use the lightest possible aid, but if she ignores my leg, I will back it up with my whip.

Move the shoulders over. Just using the reins, with no forward motion, I make her move over her shoulders for several steps. If she does not respond to the reins, I will use a little leg. If she ignores me, I will kick her shoulder or tap it with the whip.

equidae
May. 5, 2010, 08:22 PM
On the more basic side of things here, I think the horse is not respecting your leg. He should ideally easily yield to pressure and not blow through your aids. I had this issue with my new horse, still sometimes do, and I simply set up my turn correctly by balancing my weight and stepping to the outside stirrup, but add my spur by turning my toe out and keeping the spur right into him hard, if necessary. It's called the 'driving' or 'bending' leg. If this does not work, I take my stick and do a quick smack right on his belly directly behind my leg, to reinforce it. If he doesn't yield to it, I smack again, a bit harder until he moves off properly. They eventually get the point and start respecting the leg without the crop and move off. Sometimes I needed to get him responsive to my leg before I even start the turn by doing a quick tap on his belly and then starting the turn. I did a LOT of circles, since my horse prefers to just plod along the rail. He is MUCH better now, used to be a wicked leaner.

Of course, if horse is in pain- that's a whole other can of worms. ;)

2boys
May. 5, 2010, 08:39 PM
This issue had me questioning whether or not I should continue riding today after a stinky ride on my ottb.:sadsmile: I am loving the suggestions.

mustangsal85
May. 5, 2010, 08:51 PM
Thank you for all of your helpful input. It's been very frustrating to me.

Findeight - I actually started my riding with a top dressage trainer so I at least have the foundation down. I never showed above training level and some Novice mini-events but I feel that I at least know the basics, and all of my trainers have reiterated what I had learned before. My current trainer is helpful during our lessons in helping me help him not to lean on me. I think I just miss the experience level of my old trainer. It's hard to explain. The story would bore you so I will spare you, but I am happy where I am at, it's just hard to adjust to a new horse (if you have seen any of my previous posts the previous horse that I was just beginning to really click with, Elmo, was injured so now I've started over with Oscar).

I can't wait to get out to practice what you all have been telling me.

Here is a spin-off question (but still related): What type of spurs do you recommend for this sort of issue? The only ones I have ever used have been my little Prince of Wales.

equidae
May. 5, 2010, 09:55 PM
Thank you for all of your helpful input. It's been very frustrating to me.

Findeight - I actually started my riding with a top dressage trainer so I at least have the foundation down. I never showed above training level and some Novice mini-events but I feel that I at least know the basics, and all of my trainers have reiterated what I had learned before. My current trainer is helpful during our lessons in helping me help him not to lean on me. I think I just miss the experience level of my old trainer. It's hard to explain. The story would bore you so I will spare you, but I am happy where I am at, it's just hard to adjust to a new horse (if you have seen any of my previous posts the previous horse that I was just beginning to really click with, Elmo, was injured so now I've started over with Oscar).

I can't wait to get out to practice what you all have been telling me.

Here is a spin-off question (but still related): What type of spurs do you recommend for this sort of issue? The only ones I have ever used have been my little Prince of Wales.

Spurs- it depends on your horse. I use small Tom Thumb spurs. http://www.amazon.com/Ladies-SS-Tom-Thumb-Spurs/dp/B000BD5STY They have just enough 'nubby' to make my horse respond. Some horses are far more dull to the spurs, and you need bigger. Or, they even have smaller ones, or you can use a childs.

equidae
May. 5, 2010, 09:57 PM
You should read GM's book, Hunt Seat Equitation. He has lots of useful tools listed with pictures, like different leg positions, hand positions to use the reins for different issues your horse may give you.. I love that book.

findeight
May. 6, 2010, 10:06 AM
I can't wait to get out to practice what you all have been telling me.

Here is a spin-off question (but still related): What type of spurs do you recommend for this sort of issue? The only ones I have ever used have been my little Prince of Wales.

You may want to go to a longer shank, with or without a roller. But it may be he is just a little dead to the leg-do you carry a whip and use it promptly when the leg and spur fails to inspire? Little refresher might do you some good there and a dressage whip is perfect and gets the point across with alot less repetition required. Work with leg yields on a straight line trying that though, not so much a smaller circle-give him someplace to go to when you add the gas instead of restricting to the circle.

Usually don't but...maybe a bit change? What do you typically school in now?

Still think a more experienced eye from the ground would be a great help. I've been in a good program for years and it's amazing how bad habits and position flaws can creep in there and we chug along cluelessly.

Has he had his hocks done? How old and what's his background? He could also have some conformation issues that make it a little more challenging for him to loosen up and engage behind. Like mine does.