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  1. #1
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    Default timing of the aides question..

    relative newbie question--I have read here and there and else where that the timing of the inside leg aide is to 'squeeze the horse forward as the rider goes "up" in posting trot as this is the moment when the inside hind leg is in the air and coming under the horses body.

    I DONT seem to be able to squeeze and rise at the same time--I can do something more of a bump-squeeze-rise or more correctly timed squeeze and sit.

    Pony is going incredibly well, making outstanding progress and we have reached a place where we are striving to add more refinement in the application/ timing of our aides. I do have eyes on the ground and regular professional instruction. The adjustments we are making are tiny and the results very rewarding.

    Suppose Im just irritated that my body doesnt seem to want to cooperate in a coordinated way---or is this something that will come more naturally as we shift more to seat-aides (he might be 70-85% on the seat depending on the day). OR is it that my leg is coming away from the horse making it impossible to time the inside leg more accurately.

    thoughts? experience? seat/aide experts please chime in TIA



  2. #2
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    The expectation is that most people can push with their leg as they go down in their post, not as they go up.

    Until you are sitting, use your diagonal to help you time your aids, so for example when leg yielding from 1/4 line to wall, swap to the "wrong" diagonal to help time your aids to be effective at controlling the inside hind.



  3. #3
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    The expectation is that most people can push with their leg as they go down in their post, not as they go up.
    I CAN do this^ and have mostly mastered coordinating the aides in leg yield and our lateral work.

    --but trying to squeeze/rise/up seems bio-mechanically impossible.
    Last edited by goodpony; Jul. 22, 2012 at 01:58 AM.



  4. #4
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    You can't really squeeze on the rise very well because you are giving up some of your 'seat security' when you leave the saddle on the rise which makes the aid much weaker even if you could manage to do it. And even if you could you wouldn't want to. Leg aids are best applied in a rythmic manner, "pulsing" the aids (I hate that description, but it does work). Lucky for us, it just so happens that the timing works out where the rider is in the strongest position to give a leg aid just as the horse's hind leg is on the ground (on the same side and at the trot).

    The basic seat and leg aids work best when applied during the natural swing of things, so to speak.



  5. #5
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    Practise, practise, practise. Yes, it is quite possible and can become automatic, rising or sitting. Practise going long or across the diagonal. As you rise say out loud "leg, leg" or "now, now" or any word that works for you. Taking your leg totally off the horse between risings is not helpful.



  6. #6
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    Do you have more success (or different failure, at least ) if you post wo/ stirrups? You may be rising pushing off of the stirrups instead of basically resting your feet in them. When we do that, our legs have no choice but to pop off the horse each stride as the leathers lose their drape around the barrel.



  7. #7
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    I'm mystified why you would have been taught to squeeze when you are rising out of the saddle? You're right, that is when the horse's hind leg is already in the air.

    Since it is impossible to push off thin air, if you give an aid when the leg has already left the ground the horse has no way to respond to it.

    Which is why I've always been taught to squeeze when your bottom is in the saddle and the horse's hoof is on the ground so they can push off the floor harder in response to your aid and take a bigger/more impulsive stride.

    Doing it this way has the added benefit of being easier to do!



  8. #8
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    If you give a forward leg aid when the horse's leg is on the ground, you risk quickening and shortening the stride. Hence giving the aid as the horse's leg leaves the ground.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicen View Post
    If you give a forward leg aid when the horse's leg is on the ground, you risk quickening and shortening the stride. Hence giving the aid as the horse's leg leaves the ground.
    Right. Key here is "as leaving the ground." Not while "in the air."
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  10. #10
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    When I want my horse to reach further up under his body with his hind leg I use my inside leg as I rise because he cannot respond when his foot is on the ground. I learned this at a Walter Zettl clinic. He said you can only influence where the foot is going when it's in the air. This is why posting on the wrong diagonal when leg yielding results in a better yield - because you are asking the horse to swing his inside hind leg up and over under his body (something he cannot do when his foot is on the ground) posting on the wrong diagonal means you are sitting and aiding when that inside hind leg is in the air.

    It takes a lot of practice and feeling useless to apply the leg as you rise, but it's quite possible and useful once you get it.



  11. #11
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    I have heard RedHorses theory (RedHorse's instructor's theory) before.

    I have heard both theories: 1) you can't influence the horse's hind leg when it is on the ground, and 2) you can't influence the horse's hind leg when it is off the ground (in the air).

    But, if I ask the horse to do a turn on the forehand, I most certainly can influence the horse's hind leg when it is on the ground. He picks it up and moves it over and under.

    All the rider is really doing here is teaching/asking the horse to listen to an aid. I want to use my aids in the most efficient manner possible.

    I prefer the theory that the influence comes when the hind leg is on the ground because I want the horse to begin to listen to my hips as well as my leg aid. If I get it right, my hips will fall right into motion with the horse's hips and any influence that I ad will be right in rhthym with the horse's hips and hind legs. That is a major goal and achievement in dressage.
    Last edited by BaroquePony; Jul. 22, 2012 at 11:07 AM.



  12. #12
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    Its actually a bit of a relief to hear some one say it is possible.

    I seem to struggle with this more in one direction than the other--my left sided weakness tends to allow that leg to creep slightly forward and come away from the ponies side vs. the right leg that stays more naturally resting on his side. I think its entirely possible that this is the main issue as squeezing as I rise seems very slightly less problematic going right vs going left (where it seems bio mechanically impossible).

    You may be rising pushing off of the stirrups instead of basically resting your feet in them. When we do that, our legs have no choice but to pop off the horse each stride as the leathers lose their drape around the barrel.
    I tend to start out in warm up rising off the stirrup (its more an issue of how it is rather than how we'd like it to be )--and can feel what you describe. Once we are both warmed up and ready to begin working in earnest I can feel that both legs are draping/resting more correctly--and typically it gets better and better as our ride progresses. Occasionally we have moments of clarity where I can litterally feel in detail where I need to make small adjustments in my seat--in those moments application/timing the aides seems to come more/most naturally.

    And yes, I do have moderately more success without stirrups, and even more in sitting trot. I will try again today and see what happens.



  13. #13
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    Just wanted to say thank you---I spent my ride this morning just really 'noticing' whether my legs were correctly resting on my ponies side where they ought to be (it also helped to pay attention to the direction my toes were pointing, whether my knees were directed more down and whether my feet were resting in t he stirrups)--with this increased awareness in place it became much easier to time/apply the inside leg in a coordinated and more effective way even in rising trot. I could definitely feel an improvement in his hind leg engagement--quite a difference in fact.



  14. #14
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    You don't squeeze with your legs per se!!!! What should be happening as you rise is that the weight of the torso falls more deeply into your heels. When this happens correctly, the leg stretches down a bit more. This stretching of the leg thins it a bit as the muscles lose width as they lengthen, which then ALLOWS the leg to fall more strongly against the horse's sides just by virtue of gravity. The drive to send the horse forward comes from your seat as you come down from the post not from trying to squeeze as you rise!!!!!!



  15. #15
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    Angel, we are simply saying that ,yes, a forward and/or yielding leg aid can be applied and be useful when risiing in the trot.



  16. #16
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    There is a difference between a "squeeze" and a proper leg aid. When someone who professes to be new at dressage says "squeeze" to me, that does not mean something that should be happening! The proper leg aid comes from correct weight aids. Weight aids depend on the rider being correctly in allignment. If, for instance, you want to do leg-yield rising, then as you rise, you must make sure that your upper body is turned inward sufficiently for the weight of the rise to go into your heels, and for that weight to be slightly greater to the inside stirrup. That stretches your inside leg down more, and gravity brings it against the horse's side as your primary leg aid to direct the horse sideways. Most riders are crooked, so that when they do the leg-yield right, that inside, left leg is not back far enough to get as good a stretch as is needed. This can be helped by the rider turning the left leg slightly inward...sort of like thinking about the foot pointing the direction of the movement, but not that extreme.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by angel View Post
    You don't squeeze with your legs per se!!!! What should be happening as you rise is that the weight of the torso falls more deeply into your heels. When this happens correctly, the leg stretches down a bit more. This stretching of the leg thins it a bit as the muscles lose width as they lengthen, which then ALLOWS the leg to fall more strongly against the horse's sides just by virtue of gravity. The drive to send the horse forward comes from your seat as you come down from the post not from trying to squeeze as you rise!!!!!!
    No, it was not a big squeeze (or a bump) or forward driving seat per se but more of subtle maintenance of leg contact with the ponies sides. The more I was able to keep my calf/lower leg softly resting in contact with the ponies sides (even in rising trot) the easier it became to tell whether I was 'correctly applying the leg" in time as the hind leg came forward. The more I could keep my leg resting on his sides the more engagement I could generate--I could 'really' feel the hind leg articulating and reaching more forward--which was a entirely new experience for me. The minute I think to squeeze/push anything on this pony his tendency is to quicken/shorten his step--which is not effect I am aiming for. With him it all must come from a very open relaxed seat, thigh and subtle lower leg 'contact' (i now feel it was my leg coming away from his sides that was the core of my issue--and the reason it felt as though it was physically impossible to squeeze/rise).

    Bottomline though, whatever I was doing (or whatever it felt like I was doing--and it did feel like I was successfully increasing the contact with his sides or subtley squeezing in time to rising trot it had the desired effect--and surprisingly so.)



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaroquePony View Post
    I prefer the theory that the influence comes when the hind leg is on the ground because I want the horse to begin to listen to my hips as well as my leg aid. If I get it right, my hips will fall right into motion with the horse's hips and any influence that I ad will be right in rhthym with the horse's hips and hind legs. That is a major goal and achievement in dressage.
    Can you explain why my hips can't influence the horse in motion with his when I aid when his foot is off the ground?


    Of course we may very well be aiding at the same moment and just speaking of it in different terms. When I say leg on the ground I am thinking weightbearing phase from first contact through most of the ground contact period. Then the horse's hip drops as the hoof breaks over, and in saying aid the foot in the air it's from the moment of breakover literally as the foot leaves the ground. I subscribe to the short aids theory too so the aid is far shorter than the period of flight for that foot.

    But then I do aid when the foot is on the ground in the last portion of contact for certain things. A turn on the forehand is a good example because I'm saying to him "this one next, and put it over there."



  19. #19
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    RedHorses, the aid that I was referring to actually was the lower leg aid, just putting it on as the horse's hind leg is preparing to leave the ground ... . The hips can influence through the entire stride ... by opening up/lightening up a little to the inside as the horse's inside hind leg leaves the ground and begins to reach under itself, as one example.

    Really your hips should just be following through the entire stride as the horse's hips do. First you learn to follow the horse, then you learn to influence the horse and finally, you learn to ask the horse to follow your hips.

    The rider's lower leg is used in a more intermitent manner .. just brushing the horse's side as it follows the horse through the stride. It is just a nuance asking for more action from the horse's hind leg that is getting ready to push off of the ground.

    This is after the rider has really gotten the horse to understand the aids.



  20. #20
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    not to change the subject as it is quite interesting (at least to me)--but here is a visual of the pony in question: Jack
    Please note 9 yo child took photos and I was not really having a great day!



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