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She keeps ignoring my leg

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  • She keeps ignoring my leg

    Any advice on getting a pony to move off my leg. Going to the left everything is great. Probably because I am stronger to that direction and so is she. When I reverse I feel handicapped or like I am speaking a different language. I have tried bending exercises, getting off and using the stirrup to get her to cross her legs over (she will do that), When I get on and I am walking to the right on a decent cirlce she wants to cut in if I ask her to bend around my leg and hand and simply ignores my leg completely. I try tapping and constant pressure and we are getting nowhere. I am supporting with the outside rein etc. but not pushing to confuse her or am I?What are some common mistakes I may be doing. I have hit a brick wall Any suggestions?

  • #2
    have you tried spurs?
    "I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
    as a thoroughbred horse."



    • #3
      Whack her. Ignoring leg is unacceptable, and when she does whack her with the crop by your leg and then continue on like nothing has happened. If she ignores it again, another whack.


      • #4
        Possibly your pony is a little one-sided. Most people start horses on the left on the lunge,all warm-ups are left handed. It's probably easier for him to work left-handed. I might try first,before whacking and spurs (absolutely nothing against that,when necessary) a little lungeing to the right. Building up some strength and suppleness without confrontation. It's possible,that from the ground you may be able to see the reason that your pony does not seem so eager to move on the right hand. Then maybe try a little long-reining,(like driving,but with 2 lunge-reins and you walk behind) sometimes,another perspective is really useful....


        • #5
          Perhaps try a ground person to nicely push her over (push right behind your leg) as you apply leg to help her understand. The ground person may also be able to see if anything looks odd or sore.

          Another option- try a chiropractor/accupunture, maybe there is something wrong physically?

          Agree that if nothing is wrong, and she understands, then the whap behind the leg to reinforce, and/or spurs. Also, dont overdo the bending and lateral, get her straight, engaged and round over her top line (you feel the back raise up) first, then the bending will be easier for both of you.
          Rule 1- Keep the horse between you and the ground.


          • #6
            Ride a dressage whip, or just put a bigger spur on one side than the other. When my horse is being exceptionally stiff and stubborn about bending, I pull his nose around my toe and make him go in a few small circles (not painfully small, just enough to get him working) in both directions, get him to stretch his neck out and be a little more supple, then get out on a bigger circle and tap his butt with the dressage whip and keep him overbent. After that going large he's usually much better.


            • Original Poster

              I have been hesitant about spurs because I honestly am a little scared. She has never offered to do anything like buck rear etc. I am just a wimp, but it won't hurt to try it out. When I use a whip she just gets really forward, but I haven't used one lately to correct this issue so it may help. I tried the ground person trick it works okay but when left to my own devices it's like were back at square one, I do reward her trying to let her know she did what I asked. I will have to try all of these and see what she likes best. Not that she may actually like it but you know what I mean. Thank you so much for the advice and any other advice that is given.


              • #8
                Is she not moving over because she is falling on the inside (right) shoulder?

                Or is she not moving over because she is popping her outside (left) shoulder?

                Usually I find that, if I can keep the shoulders blanced, and in front of the hips (easier said than done) THEN they will move over from the leg.

                Counterbending can also be useful.

                Is this a green pony? Or an experenced pony that is testing you? Makes a difference.

                "Whacking" in this situation is less likely to be useful. That is more for the case wher the horse is ignoring your leg to run you into a tree or a fence post.

                This sounds more that the horse is just crooked, and doesn't know how to get straight.

                chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                • #9
                  I would try lunging in side reins to the right especially for short periods of time and build up. The pony may need to develop her right side a bit more. If that doesn't seem to work, and she is struggling, a physical evaluation is in order. Massage can do WONDERS, and is worth every $, in my experience. If it's just that YOU are weaker and she does great on the lunge, then maybe ride with just a spur on the right for a bit. Or carry your stick in the right hand and use as needed, but only once you have given the pony a chance to prove it's not a physical issue.


                  • #10
                    If a horse is ignoring my leg, I would hook it with my spur once until it got the general idea. Pats, a gentler nudge and then see if you get a better reaction. Otherwise, you are building a dull, one-sided horse. I feel you on being worried about getting a big reaction, but when riding the greenies (which it sounds like this one is, whether he's young or not), you must have nerves of steel. You are laying a foundation that will last his lifetime, and there is a good reason that the entry fee into the baby greenie support group is paid in blood, sweat and tears. It will be worth it in the end. Good luck!
                    Trinity Farm LLC
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Equistar92 View Post
                      I have been hesitant about spurs because I honestly am a little scared. She has never offered to do anything like buck rear etc. I am just a wimp, but it won't hurt to try it out.
                      I don't know how behind the leg this horse is, but a horse that refuses to go forward is generally much more dangerous than a horse that does go forward.
                      I know someone dealing with a horse that has been broke for 2 years but rides super green b/c the rider has not demanded enough from the horse. B/c the rider is scared to demand things from the horse, the horse will rear on her and b/c she usually will back off if the horse reacts with a buck when she does whack it, the horse will buck harder when she whacks it b/c it knows the rider will get scared and not ask it again. This has created a fairly dangerous horse and the only reason they have gotten any progress at all is b/c her trainer rides it 3+ times a week and supervises and instructs most of the rider's rides on the horse.
                      Be firm now to prevent a dangerous horse that you WILL be afraid of later!


                      • Original Poster

                        I have just been really slow with her training to make sure I don't push her to hard to soon.
                        Is she not moving over because she is falling on the inside (right) shoulder?
                        She is definitely falling in I lunge her and she will sometimes cut in going to the right if I am not carefully paying attention. She is still green, but is willing. Like I mentioned before she has never offered to do anything "bad." I just don't want to take the wrong approach.
                        If I don't have side reins what is an alternative?
                        Thank you for the feedback!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Equistar92 View Post
                          I have just been really slow with her training to make sure I don't push her to hard to soon.
                          How old is the pony and what do you expect of her exactly? The time may have come to push her a little harder and be more demanding.

                          Nothing ruins a young horse faster than not requiring it to behave.


                          • Original Poster

                            She is turning 5. I had her w/t/c/18" but I decided to step back until I fixed this issue. I would like her to atleast jump 2'6" she absolutely loves to jump and is quite good at it too. Never ever refuses takes you there will definitely be a great packer for schooling shows. Am I just going too slow? I am only trotting at the moment because of this particular problem.


                            • #15
                              Sometimes they get a little mad when you ask them to do something they don't think they need to do. Understand that it may be a little hard for them, but be firm in your request and when she gives you the right response (even a inkling of the right response), reward her (and be done either with that riding session or move on to something she finds fun/easy). She may try all sorts of evasions until she gives in. Be ready, willing and able to work through them. If you are not, bring in someone who is.

                              If a horse has ever bucked, reared, balked, etc. it doesn't necessarily mean it is ruined for life. It just means it is testing its boundaries and how much you really mean what you are asking. How you respond to those tests and nip them in the bud is what puts it on the path to being a good citizen.

                              Working with a young horse is a balancing act of knowing when to push and when to back off. It takes a lot of patience and perserverance. It also really helps to have an experienced on the ground who can help you determine the appropriate response.


                              • #16
                                Good advice here. Might add have a trusted rider or trainer check your alignment in the seat of your saddle from behind as you use your leg on each direction. So often we humans are unbalanced in our pelvis and muscles and we aren't able to detect it because it feels normal to us. For example, when bending around your R leg, you might be moving your body from neutral such that it feels your R heel and R seat bone are pulling together (your observer would see your pelvis lower to the R but ideally your seat bones don't slide to either side, although maybe sliding out to the R in the beginning stages of overcompensating). Or you might be squeezing with the R leg such that it is pulling toward the L seat bone --in which case your observer will probably see your pelvis falling out to the L even though you are engaging the R leg. Your observer might see your pelvis actually twist toward the engaged leg, instead of pointing forward like headlights.

                                In any event, it is likely that your pelvis movement is different from R than L. I would expect the sensation to you and the observations of your helper to be different when you deliberately focus on it. Probably, your seat bones/pelvis use differ from side to side rather than leg.

                                Our human bodies are built "strong-sided" and asymmetrical just like horses' are. Most riders at some point "fall out" on one side or the other of the pelvis when engaging leg or squeezing. We really have to work on stronger core and awareness of body position to overcome this difference. It's analogous to knowing which side your horse is strong and weak on, and doing regular work to shore up that side.

                                Maybe your pony is quite cleverly picking up on this difference before you did?
                                At all times, we are either training or untraining.
                                Flying Haflinger blog: http://flyinghaflinger.blogspot.com/ Flying Irish Draught blog: http://flyingirishredhead.blogspot.com/


                                • #17
                                  My DWB mare is like this as well sometimes. She is actually very sensitive but when she gets tired or when what I am asking is too hard, she will tend to ignore me, whether I give leg, cowboy thump or tap with the whip, sometimes it just 'ain't happening' lol.

                                  To get her paying attention I start transitions up into a trot and into a walk, halt, back up, trot. If she does not listen with the smallest que I turn my dressage whip upside down, holding it like it is a sword in my outside hand and 'swish' it side to side just above her head. The sound tends to make my mare lunge forward, (you may want to grab mane so you don't punish her if she jolts forward).

                                  This should get her more aware of your actions. Just be sure not to let her get away with it otherwise you will launch yourself 10 steps back.

                                  If you are timid about using whip, spurs or giving her a good whack if all else fails then you should ask a coach to help.
                                  There is nothing wrong with being timid but having a green horse and being timid is not the best mix, no offense intended what so ever.

                                  Good luck!


                                  • #18
                                    Ride off of the rail, ALL the time.

                                    This will stop you from allowing yourself to be lazy with the outside aids and letting the arena wall do the work of keeping your horse straight.

                                    Try riding the quarter line and squaring your turns.

                                    This will resolve a lot of issues with the inside shoulder falling in, especially around the corners.

                                    Another excercise would be to have a ground person stand at the pony's head on the right side, with one hand on the right rein. Make a circle around the person on the ground, with you appyling your right leg and the ground person tapping the pony's hindquarters at the same time. This will teach the pony to step sideways and help to understand the concept of moving laterally off the leg.

                                    Then, you carry the whip in your right hand and continue work on circles and leg yielding over the right leg in subsequent rides. When the pony ignores the right leg, tap with the whip.

                                    It doesn't sound as though the pony won't go forward, it just seems as though it does not understand that the leg can mean "move over" as well as "go forward" to the right.
                                    Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                                    • #19
                                      Using spurs is a cheap shortcut and not going to give you a long-run fix to the problem. A dressage traineror good hunter/jumper trainer can help you fix this. I just went through this with my mare and we saw great improvement in one session. What worked for us was this: Ride at your chosen gait on the bad direction. When she ignores your leg take her straight into the corner and halt. Continue this and she will eventually realize that it is easier listen than ignore you. A small crop will help as a reminder, a small pop on the offending shoulder will help you remind her. You should only need the crop for a few weeks or so, then can probably ride without it. This is a very messy process and will not look pretty. Frame is best to be worked on when you have her moving off your aids well. My mare got this in one session, but had regressions and progressions before she became solid at the skill. It may take a little while for you to be both comfortable with this. Just wanting to pass on something that made a great difference in my horse,


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Wow these are great suggestions! Seems like I need to spend some time on each thing and see what she understands best. I am capable of taking control over this issue I just wanted to know what others suggest before I start speaking japanese again to her or got to pushy to fast. Thank you!