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Leg Position

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    seeing as how I fix a bunch of hunters turned eventers, I'd be willing to be $.50 that the resistance is coming from your too tight upper inner thigh.
    A nagging leg will make a dead horse. ask, ASK, grab mane-whip! but only if you can fix yourself first. it would be downright cruel to punish your horse for just being as asked by your thigh and leg.
    Oooh good point on the tight thigh!!! Yes I learned this from a very good Dressage trainer.

    I even had lounge lessons where I bent my knees and held my feet with my hands as we walked, trotted and cantered.

    But to be fair to the "Hunter riders" I watch videos and in person some of the best Hunter riders around and they are very soft with their leg and thigh..... it is something I noticed the top riders do have in common.
    Live in the sunshine.
    Swim in the sea.
    Drink the wild air.


    • Original Poster

      Miss J- Yes! My friend is home from college now so I finally have a barn buddy. This will be a big help!

      MPSbarnmanager- Exactly. He was surprised when I was purposefully keeping my leg not touching him and then she said kick. He would shoot up but not really forward. Not sure what the surprise attack was for.

      Petstorejunkie- I would actually say I have a pretty loose inner thigh and that is a bad thing LOL. I have worked him a few times on the lunge line, bareback at the trot in the past few weeks trying to work on my equitation and leg muscle.

      OneGreyPony- What do you use to post when riding bareback? I am either holding with my lower leg or pinching with my knee. If my legs were completely relaxed I don't think I could post...?


      • #23
        Originally posted by PrimoAmor View Post

        OneGreyPony- What do you use to post when riding bareback? I am either holding with my lower leg or pinching with my knee. If my legs were completely relaxed I don't think I could post...?
        Not that this was a question for me but mostly when I ride bareback I work on my sitting trot. And you do need to wrap you legs around the horse. When I do post when asked by trainer I make sure I have bend in my knee so I can get my bumm out of the saddle and let the horses bounce, bounce me up keeping a steady leg without pinching with my knees. And this is why a horse that accepts lower leg is a good thing.

        But saying that, without being too confusing my trainer does say you do not want a nagging leg; meaning leg on all the time its annoying to the horse. But my trainer has a substantial Dressage background.
        Live in the sunshine.
        Swim in the sea.
        Drink the wild air.


        • #24
          Originally posted by PrimoAmor View Post
          MPSbarnmanager- Exactly. He was surprised when I was purposefully keeping my leg not touching him and then she said kick. He would shoot up but not really forward. Not sure what the surprise attack was for.
          GM advocates the "le petit attack" (teehee). Ask for forward with the correct leg (make SURE the leg is correct first) and then when horse doesn't move forward right away, you attack. Horse's response should be to shoot forward...and your response should be to keep holding mane so you don't hit them in the mouth and do not fall back to punish them for shooting forward. Shooting forward is what you want. Horse should become sensitive enough that you no longer need to attack, but only need to put the leg on and horse says "yes ma'am and how fast?"

          BTW - the small attack isn't with the leg...it's with the whip after the leg has been ignored.
          Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
          Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


          • #25
            Balance mostly, but inner thigh to maybe 3" below the knee (top of calf) if bareback. Rest of the leg can be completely mobile, unless being used for a purpose. If you use too much leg to hold on, you'll make a sensitive horse really squirrelly bareback. You'll also sort of squirt off the top like a tube of toothpaste. It takes work. I'll have to digitize a video from when I was a kid and rode mostly bareback due to not having an English saddle and wanting to jump. I can't do it as well now, due to being old, decrepit and...did I mention old?

            You can also ride with your legs completely in the air and see how your seatbones influence the horse. If you have good balance, you don't just "fall off"

            That being said, the horse does eventually have to accept the leg, I do not argue that - I use "lower leg off" as a tool. Horse not going forward and balky? Totally deserves a surprise attack and a leap forward, being "too sensitive" is the goal. One can always tone that down. With the horse that I have now (just purchased) who is so dead to leg that the gal couldn't get him to canter without huge rowel spurs, and I couldn't get him to continue cantering, we've done the no lower leg in a western saddle. This will transfer back to the English saddle after he's resensitized (maybe, although he's going so nice in it he may have to be a western horse), since I refuse to wear big rowel spurs and all the slapping, clucking and tapping wouldn't get him to go forward.

            Again, I'm not saying to ride this way as a matter of course, but to fix an issue, absolutely. I do think, however, that many people are entirely too dependent on squeezing to stay on, which tends to pop them right out of the tack. The last pathetic time I tried to ride bareback I almost had the same issue :-)


            • #26
              Also...just thinking about another way to explain it...

              If your leg is on (inner thigh) and passive, all sorts of other things have to move in order to stay in balance. If you picture sitting on a balance ball as on a horse, and lift your feet, all kinds of different muscles have to move in order to stay stable. Now picture that ball moving, and you can imagine all of the flexibility that you have to have.

              If you squeeze/hug etc, you will pop right off the top of the ball. If you get stiff, you'll fall off the ball. What most people do is get stiff, and then squeeze to try to stay on, which means that they alternately "quarter fall" and right themselves when riding bareback.

              Does that help?

              Many people think they are using balance, when in reality, they are doing the fall and right themselves method.


              • Original Poster

                We had a minor blow up yesterday. I need to get in the habit of lunging before riding.

                I got on, he was walking fantastic, nice swinging gait, better than normal. We had a good ride the night before, ended on a good note. But the second I asked for the trot he pinned his ears, started balking and sucked back to barely a walk. No surprise attack or amount of whip was going to help that. After what seemed for hours but I'm sure was a couple of minutes I hopped off, backed him around in a large circle then turned around, started walking and gave him a nice swat on the butt. I got back on and bam! Trot!

                Me thinks this is a respect issue. This isn't pain. This isn't training. This is him disrespecting me and knowing my buttons. I've been the primary rider for three years (meaning a friend takes a pony ride once every month or so) and I fell last year which was the first time I was injured from a fall. I slipped a disc in my back and couldn't ride for a few months. My confidence was really shaken and is slowly coming back. I need to get his respect and willingness back. Any pointers there would be great. I wish I could afford a trainer but not ATM I have a possibility to receive free board starting August/September and I will be looking for a trainer once that happens.


                • #28
                  Primo, just because a horse will trot under duress doesn't mean it isn't a pain issue. He's trying to tell you something, whether it's "I don't respect you" or "something hurts when you do that" or even "I'm tired of going around in circles in an arena".

                  If you had a good ride the night before, I might actually suspect the last statement to be true. Or he's sore somewhere. Do you ride out at all?


                  • #29
                    On the leg position issue, I hope your BM is better at managing barn than she is at riding and teaching.

                    On the refusal to go forward. There is pain somewhere, somehow something is creating a problem. There are a lot of areas to look at and think about that are not in a "chiropractic" realm. Sometimes it's lower leg joints, sometimes it's hock, sometime it's tendon problems. You need a good lameness vet.

                    Your thighs, whether relaxed and allowing or tightening and holding are an important part of your aids.
                    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.


                    • #30
                      I feel like a broken record with this lately, but I would look into EPSM with this horse. Mine was acting similar and has improved a LOT on a high fat/low starch diet. He still has his moments, and he will probably always be a horse whose first inclination is to go UP rather than forward (even in turnout, lunging, etc.), but the diet change has really helped a lot.

                      My horse is an OTTB as well, btw.


                      • Original Poster

                        He already is on a high fat/low starch diet.

                        He had a lameness exam and a neuro exam last summer. I know something can change in that time.

                        We don't get to ride out very often. If he listened better maybe I would feel more comfortable taking him out. It's kind of a double edged sword. I would completely agree that he is becoming barn sour and we have opportunities to go to small schooling days off property but I just don't feel comfortable with doing that unless we are on the same page, ya know? This place I will hopefully be going to is on a trail system and we will have the opportunity to go out on the trails.


                        • #32
                          How many times a week are you currently riding? Could it be that you go a long time and then ride in a cluster?

                          If that's not it, could you try taking him out in-hand...or really doing anything that changes it up for him?


                          • Original Poster

                            OneGreyPony- I try to ride 2-3 times a week.

                            Good news though! My friend is home for a few weeks and came out to the barn on Monday to help out. I asked him to lunge Piper first and then I hopped on and when I would ask for a trot if Piper didn't listen my friend would flick the lunge whip. I would trot him around in a few circles and then walk and ask for the trot again. We did this a few times before he didn't need the 'help' of a lunge whip. He was doing so good that we got some jumping in (off line, small crossrails) and ended the day on a fantastic note! He sure is a great little jumper, he gets so enthusiastic.

                            He came out again on Tuesday and we did the same thing with the lunge line. I told him I didn't want to start on the lunge line and if Piper wasn't listening, go back on the lunge line. I'd rather just be prepared and not give him a chance to be bad. He only needed one warning with the lunge whip and then we had several really nice transitions!

                            Unfortunately, I have hurt my knee and will not be able to ride for a few days Just when things were starting to work! UGH.