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mackandblues
Jul. 6, 2011, 08:51 PM
At a clinic I attended recently the clinician hopped on my Training level mare and said her steering needs to be improved. Any ideas on how to work on that?

DutchDressageQueen
Jul. 6, 2011, 08:55 PM
use your seat and legs as well as your reins when you want to turn. when you ask your horse to turn, "whisper" you aids. if she does not respond, "talk very loudly" kind of aid. then she will get used to soft aids, and respond well.

for example: you are on the right rein, and you want to go on a 20 m circle. you go past A, then already turn your hips( to the right), so she does not go into the corner, and then also apply rein pressure to get her on the circle.

Kaluna
Jul. 6, 2011, 10:06 PM
Yep. Ride lines. Lots of people just ride around in the arena. THey go where the horse goes and the horse goes where the rider lets them go.

Ride to a point down the long side, or across the arena, or do actual figures. Put rocks around your arena to ride to, or in your arena to ride around. Your steering will improve greatly.

Cross rails (low x jumps) help alot because you have to steer to the middle of the x. Cavaletti help, too, you have to steer to the middle of them.

Lost_at_C
Jul. 7, 2011, 06:17 AM
Also, stay off the rail when in the arena (2-3 meters in), and if you can, find an open field to work in.

merrygoround
Jul. 7, 2011, 07:10 AM
Do you work with an instructor? Your instructor should be explaining to you the use of your seat and legs, not only for steering but transitions and the all important half halt.

Janet
Jul. 7, 2011, 07:54 AM
I am assuming we are talking about improving the HORSE'S steering, and not your aids- If the problem was primarily YOUR aids, then the clinician would not have had problems with the steering.

Get off the rail- the first part of "steering" is getting a straight line away from the rail. Find something (e.g., a fence post) and ride STRAIGHT to it. Once you pick it, DO NOT SWITCH to another one

Lots of exercises that require precise steering/geometry.

You can use cones to mark a crcle. Sometimes ride just INSIDE the cones, and sometimes just OUTSIDE the cones, sometimes ALTERNATE inside and outside (so you are doing a mild serpentine around the circle)
Ride precise squares, with and without cones
More complex figures, for instance figure 8s or serpentines, using cones or other markers to guide you in making each circle the same side
Ride along the rail, make a half circle, and return to the rail at a specific (previously identified) spot. Then the same the othe way.
"Pole bending" down a straight row of cones
Set up a striped show jumping rail on the ground, and ride over teh very center stripe
Set up two parallel rails on the ground, and ride between them. Start with them 3-4 feet apart and gadually move them closer and closerTeaching turn on the forehand and turn on the haunces often helps.

Every time you ride, be very precise about where you want to go.

ShotenStar
Jul. 7, 2011, 10:25 AM
I am assuming we are talking about improving the HORSE'S steering, and not your aids- If the problem was primarily YOUR aids, then the clinician would not have had problems with the steering.
.....
Every time you ride, be very precise about where you want to go.

And be very precise about your aids -- you are part of the equation as well. Attention to all the details of your weight, legs and rein aids will help you focus on the horse's responses to those aids.

I'm riding a young / poorly started horse at the moment. She was very sloppy in her responses to any steering aids at first. I found that by exaggerating the weight aids in particular and noticing how much it took to get her respond, I was able to sharpen her responses by varying the weight aids (amount, duration, location). We BOTH had to pay attention to what was happening. The level of attention I had to give to the details kept me from getting frustrated when she did not respond like a trained horse.

*star*

SillyHorse
Jul. 7, 2011, 01:02 PM
Here's what it boils down to for me:
1. Look where you want to go
2. Always use both hands to turn
3. Turn your "zipper" (assuming or pretending you're wearing front-zip pants) in the direction you want to turn

Petstorejunkie
Jul. 7, 2011, 01:41 PM
At a clinic I attended recently the clinician hopped on my Training level mare and said her steering needs to be improved. Any ideas on how to work on that?
Why didn't they tell you? That just seems odd... that's the point of a clinic, no?

DutchDressageQueen
Jul. 7, 2011, 08:51 PM
Here's what it boils down to for me:
1. Look where you want to go


Very important!:yes:

thatsnotme
Jul. 8, 2011, 10:21 AM
My best suggestion, as was mentioned above, stay off the rail. If you can keep her 3' inside it helps tremendously to strengthen the outside rein connection. See if you can leg yield from centerline toward the rail, but then return to straight ahead 3' in. Your horse will probably continue to leg yield past that 3' mark and end up at the rail. Also when circling, your horse will probably want to end at the rail, not 3' inside. If you can reliably do these things (and other excersises) on the 3' line you'll get her generally 'sharper'

netg
Jul. 8, 2011, 11:55 AM
Here's what it boils down to for me:
1. Look where you want to go
2. Always use both hands to turn
3. Turn your "zipper" (assuming or pretending you're wearing front-zip pants) in the direction you want to turn

I recently discovered #1 doesn't work for everyone in that wording. My mom has always seemed to do ok, until she just got a horse who is more sensitive to weight and who she was trying to be more precise in steering. Turns out for more than 25 years she thought "look where you want to go meant" the ground right in front of her horse. She couldn't understand why everyone was always telling her "look up" since she wasn't looking at her horse. By telling her to pick places to look and treat it more like a dancer spotting a turn - pick something at her height to look at about 90 degrees from where she was on the turn and look at that, she corrected all the hand/weight issues. In looking down too much, she shifted her weight off her seat so it was not properly balanced (and her horse would usually stop) and her legs would slide back so they weren't effectively helping with the turn (so she would lose the outside shoulder when her horse didn't stop.) Once she sat up properly and learned to look ahead in her turns, all of a sudden she didn't have to think about anything else because her body just automatically did what it was supposed to do.

SillyHorse
Jul. 8, 2011, 12:54 PM
You're absolutely right! Looking ahead to where you're going is a much better way to say it.

joiedevie99
Jul. 8, 2011, 01:03 PM
netg and Sillyhorse are absolutely right. The same thing said to two different riders may have two totally different results.

I know one rider who was convinced that if 'looking ahead' was good, looking farther ahead was better. As she was riding through the first corner approaching A and already looking across the diagonal. It made her horse very heavy on his inside shoulder in the turns. Eventually trainer figured it out. Once she started looking ahead of where she was in the current stride- and at most ahead of where she would be in two strides, the problem was gone.

horsefaerie
Jul. 9, 2011, 07:52 PM
There can be other factors. You could have been given more info.

It could be your horse is on the forehand. This will cause heaviness and delay in response to your aids.

It could be that your horse lacks significant impulsion for the clinician. Without it, the horse again will be sloppy and heavy for that person.

Same with forward. Some people get "inattentive" in their comments. Horse is not waiting for a cue or message from their rider.

OR you have allowed the horse to respond after your third attempt at using your aids. Therefore the horse is delayed in responding and therefore needs better steering.

Other advice already given above is very good. I give my students diagrams to practice based on the pairs abilities. Does your instructor do this?

LaraNSpeedy
Jul. 9, 2011, 11:14 PM
You need more info. Or we do. If your horse needs to work on steering - sounds like your horse is tuning out. Truth is - some horses are ON the aids and some horses are like school horses - they know their jobs and they anticipate - or maybe your horse needs to look at both - like maybe the horse is anticipating and also needs to be more immediately responsive to the aids.

I suggest (not knowing your riding level) - is to get out the tests and ride the tests - not over and over - mix it up so your horse is never sure which way you are going and make sure she is ON the aids - tracking under and responding right when you ask.

Also, lateral work - this helps my warmblood sit onto his tush and be light in front and he is very easy to steer then. I do haunches in - out -in - out - in - out and POOF the steering is at my finger tips.

And of course - triple and triple check your riding - our riding is almost always the fault - make sure you are very clear and being strict (but loving LOL) about what you expect. Make sure you are using your eyes - which are in your head on top of your spine which activates your seat. Make sure your legs are on and your horse is in front of the leg and forward. Those two things followed up by hands should = steering.

mackandblues
Jul. 10, 2011, 10:23 PM
We are currently at Training level. I've been riding for about a year and a half so I don't know too much right now. I know my horse is on the forehand and she does like to pop her outside shoulder even though I try to control it with my outside rein. After reading the comments, I realize she is very "addicted" to the wall - like she cant wait to get back to the rail when we are circling. so the suggestion that we work off the wall is a great one. (thats why I ask questions on this board - y'all help me think of things that may seem obvious to other people). The clinician gave me one exercise to work one which I've been doing. I've also been trying to do squares to help me get better control of her shoulders with the outside rein. Just trying to get ideas to keep our schooling fresh and keep my mare on her toes/hooves :)

SillyHorse
Jul. 11, 2011, 08:20 AM
She's not addicted to the wall, she just came installed with very strong wall magnets. :lol: