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How do you teach lateral aids?

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  • How do you teach lateral aids?

    How do you teach lateral aids? I've only done it in the past with a helper on the ground. Unfortunately, my trainer is moving south and I ride alone through the winter, so my regular method cannot be used here. I'm curious what cues people use to teach a horse to move laterally from the ground or from the saddle.

    ​​​​​​I've reached a point with my horse where I realized he's not leg yielding because I'm asking, he's doing it because he knows the patterns we ride. When I ask him to yield, he just speeds up.

    Tis the season to work on the flat, and I think I should just start over from the basics.

  • #2
    A useful tool in your situation is the spiral circle. However, it is dependent on your knowing and being able to maintain correct circle aids. Inside shoulder back, inside leg at girth, outside knee and thigh bringing shoulder around, while outside lower leg keep the quarters from swinging out.

    Using those aids, and not the reins, bring the horse into a smaller and smaller circle, until you have gotten to 10 m. Now, keeping that inside bend, move your hips and your body, out on the circle, maintaining the bend
    Most horses are happy to get out of that tight trotting circle, and gladly move out.

    Your job is to be honest with yourself that you are not losing position or using the reins as crutches. This is crucial for future lateral work, as this movement is a foundation for S/I.

    You can also play with turn on the forehand, teaching the horse to move away from the drawn back leg.

    It is not so much teaching the horse, but teaching you how to ask.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

    Comment


    • #3
      I've used a few things that may be helpful.
      We used to ride "waves" as we were cooling out/warming up. Just gently moving from your leg on and off the rail to get the horse listening and changing the bend in their spine. I felt like this was relaxing and just a good way to start warming up because it got the horse listening to my leg without ever tiring him out or asking for steep, perfect leg yields right off the bat. I also second the spiral-in/out. If you can change it up, that could be super helpful. Maybe try something like opening a gate? Or turn on the forehand/haunches to get him moving off your leg?

      I don't know if you can install mirrors, but I find them to be so helpful when riding alone especially when doing shoulder-in.

      I don't think you have to start over but maybe only ask for the leg yield a few steps at a time: over three steps, forward three, over three etc.

      Comment


      • #4
        I tilt the ring the direction I want the horse to move.

        Comment


        • #5
          Teach them to move from pressure on the ground first. At first make it very obvious. Pressure on the flank, hips move front end stays still (turn on forehand). Pressure on the shoulder, shoulder move and haunches stay in place (turn on haunches). Pressure just behind the girth, move over evenly and sideways (side pass). You can do this with just your hands and a halter. Once your horse gets it move the "pressure" spots in towards where your legs or a dressage whip can reasonably reach. Once the horse understands that, try it without the influence of your body language, just putting on pressure with taps of a dressage whip. When they understand that well on the ground it translates very easily to their back.

          I like to start with turn on the forehand. Sliding my leg back, and giving light taps further back with the dressage whip. The second they give their hip, release pressure. Don't let them walk forward without yielding the hip. Next I do the forehand, this one tends to be a little trickier, but you can give taps on the shoulder/neck with the whip in addition to your leg aid to try to make it as obvious as possible. Always release the aid promptly when you get the right response, and don't drill it into them, take lots of walk breaks. Once you can do both of those well, try the side pass. It's important to do the other two first because then you can correct it if they step too much with either end of their body.

          When that's all solid, start leg yield at the walk. Practice just a couple steps at a time, going to the wall, from the wall, going straight in between, so you can be sure the horse is really on the aids and not just guessing and drifting. Mirrors or someone on the ground is a very helpful tool to make sure you're traveling straight.

          Comment


          • #6
            Head to the wall leg yield will solve all your problems.

            (the 30 degree angle kind, not perpendicular)
            The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
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            • #7
              I suggested teaching TOF as a basic move, but didn't give you tools. So:

              Walk your horse perpendicular to the wall, stop at least a foot away. Keep your hips in halt, put your whip in your left hand, draw back your left leg, and bump with it lightly, any attempt to move his quarters to the right should be rewarded. If you get no response to the leg, tap with the whip. Do allow his head to move left, so do not lock you reins, as he must move his head and neck as his body turns. Keep the right rein to avoid a forward step.

              And it sounds as though at your level you need an instructor not interested in heading South
              Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

              Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

              Comment


              • #8
                Your weight is a very important aid in lateral work. Nobody seems to have mentioned this.

                Good book; https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/comple...&idiq=14414192
                Not only explanations of movements, but what goes wrong and how to fix it.
                ... _. ._ .._. .._

                Comment


                • #9
                  Previous horse I taught from the ground first. I probably shouldn't admit to it but it was Parelli. Personally I liked a lot of the original concepts of Parelli. I think they fell off the rails at some point. I was also willing to take what I needed/wanted out of the program and ignore what I didn't.

                  Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Teach it very well on the ground so that the horse is comfortable with the movement. If you also teach the bit in hand you can work on correct bend and balance of shoulders. You don't want a horse falling around on the forehand like an emergency stop or disengaging the hind quarters.

                    The basic cue you need to teach is move haunches off single leg. Once they have that, you can build all the other moves. So work on getting a good few steps turn on the forehand first.

                    Interesting that some folks teach side pass (a western move) before leg yield.

                    The progression I've learned from my dressage coach is flexions and shoulder in on the ground, both shoulder in circle and straight. Then turn on the forehand (not drilled, just able to get a few clear steps), shoulder in circle which most horses find easier, shoulder in long side, all at a walk and all at the start of training under saddle.

                    The lateral move divide into those where horse bends away from direction of travel (shoulder in and leg yield) and those where he bends towards the direction of travel (travers, halfpass). The first set of moves are much easier for a green horse so master them first. Also I have been taught to use leg at girth for first set and reserve leg behind girth for the second set plus canter.

                    I have never seen a dressage horse taught specifically to side pass and when I've watched western riders school it, they are inconsistent with which way the horse bends. It's easier if they bend away from the direct of travel.

                    Also always keep in mind the value of lateral work as a gymnastic. It's to get the horse stepping under himself and starting to use his hind end so watch for this on the ground. Work towards him carrying his sternum not just falling on the shoulder.

                    A leg yield ridden like a shoulder in on a diagonal has gymnastic benefits that a leg yield ridden as a drift towards the rail doesn't have.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      [QUOTE=merrygoround;n10284710]I suggested teaching TOF as a basic move, but didn't give you tools. So:

                      Walk your horse perpendicular to the wall, stop at least a foot away. Keep your hips in halt, put your whip in your left hand, draw back your left leg, and bump with it lightly, any attempt to move his quarters to the right should be rewarded. If you get no response to the leg, tap with the whip. Do allow his head to move left, so do not lock you reins, as he must move his head and neck as his body turns. Keep the right rein to avoid a forward step.

                      Did you mean parallel to the wall, instead of perpendicular? Also, clarify on which hand you are starting? I believe that the rider should be on the right hand, thus moving the hindquarters from left to right? The horses head should be positioned left, before you ask with your left leg, so that he will be bent correctly when the movement is finished? Immediately, walk forward, after finishing the movement, so that your horse does not remain on the forehand?

                      When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I am with Scribbler in how I've been taught to teach lateral work. I believe this is part of the curriculum of the USDF as well (my dressage trainers are faculty).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Try to work on this at random, not as part of a pattern that’s always the same. Use any fence or wall to execute a relaxed, no big deal, turn on the forehand or hind. Object is to learn how to isolate front from back and move just that part. It sounds confusing and it can be it it’s the base of laterals and ez to work into your regular schooling or even hackingg out.

                          Cant help but think you are ready for a more advanced instructor so you can learn to isolate and control each end of the horse not just as part of a pattern or test you repeat often. It’s not that unusual to find one, I learned the basic move Western decades ago and it transferred easily to my Hunters- all of whom knew basic laterals. Helps the heck out of lead changes and slowing the overly ambitious, fresh horse as well. Just a tool in your box and nothing mystical or special about it or teaching it...or their shouldn’t be.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Just wanted to post an update and say thank you to everyone who chimed in on here. I made two changes before my ride yesterday. First, I put spurs back on my boots. And then I did some in hand lateral work before I mounted. This made all the difference and I had a super productive ride.

                            I didn't end up needing to completely reteach him from the ground up, mostly because he is already quite sensitive to yielding his haunches and shoulders from the ground. I just modified my cue from the ground to be more similar to how I would ask from the saddle and that transitioned nicely to ridden work.

                            Under saddle, I did a few turns on the forehand at the fence and when he was very comfortable doing turns on the forehand, I asked him to leg yield down the rail a couple steps at a time. Breaking it down into smaller pieces and having spurs on to add a little more pressure when needed helped so he understood what I was asking. By the end of the ride, he was like an old pro.

                            And since a couple people mentioned it, I don't think this was really a problem with my trainer. I have two horses and for most of the year, I was taking lessons with her on my other horse, and he moves nicely off the leg and leg yields well. When he got a soft tissue injury in the fall, I kept taking lessons but swapped to my semi retired horse. He has some gaps in his training, but he was also lacking muscle and fitness, so it was hard to tell whether he was confused or weak.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              [QUOTE=Auburn;n10284926]
                              Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                              I suggested teaching TOF as a basic move, but didn't give you tools. So:

                              Walk your horse perpendicular to the wall, stop at least a foot away. Keep your hips in halt, put your whip in your left hand, draw back your left leg, and bump with it lightly, any attempt to move his quarters to the right should be rewarded. If you get no response to the leg, tap with the whip. Do allow his head to move left, so do not lock you reins, as he must move his head and neck as his body turns. Keep the right rein to avoid a forward step.

                              Did you mean parallel to the wall, instead of perpendicular? Also, clarify on which hand you are starting? I believe that the rider should be on the right hand, thus moving the hindquarters from left to right? The horses head should be positioned left, before you ask with your left leg, so that he will be bent correctly when the movement is finished? Immediately, walk forward, after finishing the movement, so that your horse does not remain on the forehand?
                              No, I meant perpendicular because most horse's initial response is to step forward. If you hold tight on both reins, to avoid forward steps, you may induce a buck The right rein allows the horse's head to move R while the rider's right leg asks the hose's hind end to move L-away from the drawn back right leg,
                              Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                              Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                              Comment

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