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Getting greenie to accept leg

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  • Getting greenie to accept leg

    I have an OTTB and I need a little advice. He is very sensitive to leg of any kind, and until now I have been able to ride him very well by riding with a mostly passive leg. He's very athletic and soft in the bridle, so he's actually pretty easy to ride this way. He's also light on his feet, so if I get heavy with my hands, he lets me know quickly.

    I understand that he needs to learn to accept leg and understand it's role in his life So I have been working on teaching him to leg yield and bend by just adding the slightest pressure. The problem is his first instinct is to speed up, even though he also is bending or yielding the way I am asking, even as he picks up the pace. Generally I just half halt him back to the pace or gait that we were at before I added the leg. If we are walking and he breaks into a trot because of the leg, I generally have him back to the walk within 2-3 strides at most. Is this going to be enough over time for him to "get it" that leg doesn't mean speed up?

    Any other tips/tricks/exercises for helping him to learn that leg doesn't mean GO FASTER? I have worked with lots of OTTBS and greenies, and just never had one quite this sensitive to the leg before. Any tips would be appreciated!

    I should add that he has been off the track for a couple of years now,and he was let down to chill for a while before starting work. He jumps around cute and obedient and is a brave little horse, this is just a new goal I am working on with him.
    Last edited by NeedsAdvil; Apr. 8, 2010, 10:32 AM. Reason: forgot to add

  • #2
    OK, when he speeds up as you add leg? Let him speed up. That is what Green horses do-and leg does mean forward. He just does not know how to harness that forward yet and does not have the balance and muscle to support any kind of "frame" yet.

    Keep it simple, do not correct him if he even gets half of what you are asking right, let him go with that 50% for a bit and then try again. They can get awfully confused when you ask for forward, they go forward but you half halt and say not to go forward.

    This kind of thing is easier to work with more towards the end of the lesson then when they are still fresh and usually a bit tense.

    Make sure what you describe as "soft" in the bridle is not really that he just does not know what to do-or does and wants to argue...and,again, easier to work with this when they are a bit tired.

    Anyway, Green horses usually are not too good at "multi tasking" and you need to accept they get some of it and not pick on them for the rest. Some, like accepting contact, require more maturity and miles to support, you aren't there yet with this one.

    Some things I used to use with these are lunging in side reins to develop balance and working at the trot over ground poles to encourage them to step up and under behind (which leads to developing balance and roundness). That all supports learning to accept being on the bit and properly respond to contact

    It always helped me to work more forward at the beginning of the session, looser rein and let them come forward, not alot of circles or halts, just go. Then, when they get a little tired, you can start your schooling.

    Do NOT overdrill, these things take time. Try to hack out too, they get bored going around in circles all the time.

    Above all, patience.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks so much, findeight!

      I have lunged him in sidereins occasionally since I got him (much more in the beginning, now it's usually just a refresher), he's got great natural balance and movement, he's just a little confused in putting it all together with me up there adding to the confusion. He gets schooled in the ring only about twice a week, and the other two times we hack out in woods or fields on the buckle.

      Generally, I let him kind of trot around relaxed for a bit before I ask him to start doing "work", and he's great with that. I will continue doing that for sure! Last night he worked for about 25 minutes, the first 10 were just hacking around on a light contact doing some changes of direction and such, second ten minutes I worked on some leg yielding and bending, then the last 5 I just let him walk on a loose rein. He usually lets me know when he's "done" with the hard stuff.

      I think he is starting to "get it", and I will lay off on the half halts a bit and let him go forward as long as the other pieces are there. He's a really fun little horse, I would just like to make him a little more "rideable".

      Comment


      • #4
        You may find a regularly schedualed session on the lunge once a week can replace one of your hack out days. Maybe 10 minutes each way t and c. Don't be afraid to take more slack out of them to teach him. Then you can do a little bit of ring work w-t-c for 20 minutes to build on what he learned from the lunge. Make it a learning experience about contact, your bending excercises should be easier after a lunge in sidereins session.

        That would give you 1 primarily lunge day with a little ring work, 2 ring sessions and a hack out day. That would seem to me to work well for one that lacks some of the basics, you do need to get those ring sessions in there for things best taught in a ring. That's not too much at all. when you do hack out, make him listen a little and repeat some of your ring excecises like leg yields.

        It's a journey and there are always surprises. Have fun.

        I'd also increase your session time to about 40 minutes to an hour, he is ready to take on a little more. Just mix it up enough so he doesn't start looking to punch that time clock at the 40 minute mark-they learn that quick if you are not careful.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

        Comment

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