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moving over without speeding up

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  • moving over without speeding up

    For today's stupid question....how do you get your horse to move over (off of your leg) without speeding up? Let me start by saying that my horse is a creature of light and air when my trainer is on him. Not so much for me. He usually lays on my left leg. I can get him to step over off my right leg without speeding up (just a little pre emptive half halt is needed) but not off of my left. He tunes it out and then when I thump him a little he gets all indignant. Every time I ask him to step over after that he moves over but speeds up alot and gets tense. This does not work out well at all on course! We either cut all of the turns or he's running.

    My trainer says that I just have to keep messing around with it until I find out what works but no matter how I tweak my technique we aren't getting anywhere. I can't keep trying because after 2 or 3 "asks" he anticipates and gives it to me whether I ask or not.

  • #2
    Can you feel when his hind leg (the one you want him to step underneath himself with) is on the ground? If so, squeeze with your leg right before that foot is to come off the ground (or as soon as it does).

    The timing of the aid is important & he might be getting irate because you're asking too late, at a point when he can't help you, so he feels the "thump" is unfair, like you are making a last-minute demand.

    If you can't feel when that a foot is on the ground & when it is off, you can practice with a ground-person saying "now" when the foot-of-choice is coming off the ground. You start at walk & it is your ground-person's job to say "now" each time the hind foot is leaving the groun & it is your job to focus on how it feels. Soon, you should be able to say "now" yourself. (Then switch feet & let the ground person check you.)

    Then go to trot & canter & when you can feel it, you just need to remember that if you ask for something from that leg when it's almost ready to land . . . your request is way too late. Ask just before the foot comes forward, when the horse can do something about it.
    Hidden Echo Farm, Carlisle, PA -- home of JC palomino sire Canadian Kid (1990 - 2013) & AQHA sire Lark's Favorite, son of Rugged Lark.


    • #3
      Search through my threads and find the one titled "get off my inside leg!" and read through it. There are lots of good tips there for a horse who won't listen to leg aids.
      "Lord if we should fall, my horse and I, please pick my horse up first."



      • #4
        He's cheating you a bit.

        Chances are he's weaker in his left hind that his right. As you ask, he weighs in his mind the cost of having you nag again and harder versus using the weak leg. Then, when you ask hard enough, he runs (using both hind legs) and probably loses the bend. See? No left hind leg spot training for him! Ha ha-- great plan.

        If this were my horse, I'd do two things. First, I'd go back to basics and teach him that one leg really and truly does mean butt goes sideways. Teach him a turn on the forehand, for example. That's really pure side-ways-not-forward. You can also get this done with leg yields and other stuff.

        But second, you need to make an effort to build up the weaker hind leg. My DQ tendencies makes me a stickler for a symmetrical horse. Since they all come right and left handed, I spent more time on the weak side.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for all of the suggestions. I appreciate them. I have to believe that it is something to do with the timing because he is perfectly lovely for my trainer. He is physically capable of doing it but something in the way I ask him just makes him nuts and then stresses him out. We are having a communication problem and I just need a translater!


          • #6
            One thing that came to mind in reading this is that you may be asking him to use his hind left (aka get off my left leg) but your body placement and balance are making that impossible. And that is why he gets so pissy. Wouldn't you get frustrated if what someone was asking of you, and what they are allowing you to physically do, weren't the same?

            Many of my students first come to me with horses that go lovely tracking right, and awful tracking left. Maybe b/c we have so many OTTBs? Anyway, the first thing I notice is that the riders bodies want to naturally ride to the right: they are more comfortable looking right, right leg is happy doing active work (moving towards that outside left rein), left leg is content on being less active and just straightening out every once in a while, etc.

            The problem is that when the horse changes directions....the riders don't.

            They still want to look a little right with their bodies (think left shoulder slightly leading) which is then made worse by riders' mistake of using an outside rein to pull the leaning horse back into balance/back to the rail. They continue to be active in their right leg because it is usually dominate leg. Some keep squeezing, some grip for their lives, but either way they block the horse from making an inside bend through their bodies, especially in corners. Finally, the left leg, usually the weaker & less coordinated leg, is made more uninvolved or ineffective from the lack of symmetry or balance on the rider's part.

            And that would explain why your trainer, who in theory is much better balanced and symmetrical, can get him to move off her leg and be light and airy. It's not just about getting him off your leg, but giving somewhere for that energy to go.

            An easy exercise to see if this is a problem is to have your trainer (or someone profecient in lunging) put you guys on the lunge line tracking left. While trotting, put your reins in your outside right hand, and stick your left arm up in the air with your elbow by your ear. This will balance you up to look left, lighten your inside, and give you a better use of your leg. If he changes, you know you are the problem.

            Just a thought.
            Hunters, Jumpers, & Welsh Ponies
            All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown


            • #7
              Originally posted by englishivy View Post
              They still want to look a little right with their bodies (think left shoulder slightly leading) which is then made worse by riders' mistake of using an outside rein to pull the leaning horse back into balance/back to the rail. They continue to be active in their right leg because it is usually dominate leg. Some keep squeezing, some grip for their lives, but either way they block the horse from making an inside bend through their bodies, especially in corners. Finally, the left leg, usually the weaker & less coordinated leg, is made more uninvolved or ineffective from the lack of symmetry or balance on the rider's part.

              Just a thought.

              And a great thought it is. Read the rest of ivy's post, too.

              We do tend to be assymmetrical in ways we don't appreciate because, hey, we aren't falling over all the time, right? Riders twisting-- riding with one leg ahead of the other, same for the hips and same for the shoulders-- can be hard to discover.

              Tying your stirrups to your girth will tell you in definitive terms if you are riding "scissors" style.

              Riding by yourself, doing some figure 8's will help. Each time you switch directions, take inventory of your body and see if they match.

              But the changes are that your trainer is more symmetrical than you are. She can also probably see the exactly location of any rider crookedness.

              You do need to correct your part. It's not only fair but it's most effective. The horse will keep bending right if your hips and shoulders tell him to, regardless of what your lower leg says. And he may understandably give you the old "WTF!?!" when you make leg and body contradict too badly.
              The armchair saddler
              Politically Pro-Cat


              • Original Poster

                I know for sure that I am crooked. My trainer is always commenting that I collapse over my left side and ride with my right leg forward a little bit (compared to my left). I stretch religiously to try to help this problem and always get less stretch on my right leg.

                Because I have trouble getting my horse off of my left leg, my trainer says I collapse to the left to try to push harder. Mentally I realize that, in trying to stay underneath me, my horse then lays even more to the left and we have a loop - the more he lays the more I collapse. Although my brain knows this is bad, physically this is where I would continue to go and I wouldn't recognize it. I am working on recognizing my instinct to collapse and I think it's getting better and I am getting straighter so I feel that I have the authority now to ask my horse to move over without speeding up.

                I need some different exercises to help me - instead of "don't collapse over your left" I need "do_________________" and instead of "don't put your right leg forward" I need "think__________________" because I've been trying to "don't" for a long time and it's not working as well as it could. Please, someone give some alternate ways to think about this!

                Interestingly, I can get a much more balanced right change on my horse than my trainer can (she's the one who has pointed this out). I have never gotten a complete left change.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mvp View Post
                  And a great thought it is.
                  Thanks! It happens occasionally

                  Skyy- You have the answer to your problem...you aren't balanced & straight. I would absolutely ask your trainer to do some lunge line lessons where you can work on your position and your position only. If your horse isn't capable, ask to ride a schoolie. Trust me, lunge line lessons can be the best lessons of your life!!!

                  When on the smaller lunge circle, riding without stirrups will make you so much more aware of your propensity to be off balance & leaning. Riding with one (or no reins) will allow you to adjust your upper body to become better balanced and lighter. You can put hands up by your ears, out to the side (airplane), one hand up/other airplane, hand on hips, hands forward....be creative with your hand placement and see where you are the most balanced. That's the solution to fixing your asymestrical-ness. Then drop the stirrups and the reins and figure out how to stay on through your balance instead of gripping with your legs or off your hands! (Can you tell I LOVE lunge lessons!)

                  I read somewhere (can't remember ) that self awareness leads to feel. And it's so true. As long as you are facilitating the crookedness, your horse will continue to lean left, and it will continue to make both of you more crooked. The problem with being off balance or crooked is that what feels "correct" to you isn't. You need to readjust your body's sense of correct & balanced.
                  Hunters, Jumpers, & Welsh Ponies
                  All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown


                  • #10
                    I don't often post on these type of training issues. But here goes. One of the most valuable things I ever learned from Col. Ljungquist was an exercise that is:
                    At the walk: move one step lateral, then one step forward, then one step lateral, then one step forward. Make it simple to you as a rider, and as simple to the horse. You can take a break between each step. Do not advance a gait until the basic is learned.
                    This has worked for me in training many hunters that have had a deficit in the slow flat work. Give it a try.:-) Good luck.
                    Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival,Scholarships and College Fair
                    November 11-13, 2016


                    • #11
                      Very interesting read...... complicated and "heady" but interesting and undeniable.

                      However, as GM would say "K-I-S-S" (keep it simple, stupid).
                      If you put your leg on to ask for "sideways" rather than "go" you must also add a Half-Halt at the same time. Otherwise, you aren't reinforcing the fact that there is a difference between the two. (forward vs. sideways)
                      In general, your opposite, outside rein is the half-halt rein of choice.
                      Your inside rein (same side as leg asking for sideways) should be initiating a bend. This makes your leg work a little better since it is now working on a concave surface rather than a convex one. (Hoover Dam is strong why?? Convex against all the water.....)
                      That means your inside rein is already busy telling the horse something, so adding MORE inside rein will not likely get you the half-halt you need.
                      Therefore, the outside rein becomes the new communication aid you need to add.
                      It will also further reinforce the "over HERE" idea that your leg is initiating in the first place, especially if you use it in a slightly opening manner.
                      Of course, this is not to say that you won't have to work pretty hard with that inside bending rein to maintain the bend despite the horse's resistance, because if you let him un-bend you are less likely to be efficient with the "sideways" leg aid.

                      The BEND, the SIDEWAYS, and WHOA all come from different body parts and aids...... and they all have to work at the same time.
                      So, yes, as the others have said, the TIMING is very important. When the leg and the half-halt rein work together, you get the right response, but not so much otherwise.
                      And there probably is a lot to be said about the way your body is sitting and directing the horse without your full knowledge or consent. Still, the aids are the aids are the aids. You gotta tell him the right things. If he's speeding up on you, you aren't saying WHOA someplace.


                      • #12
                        Well it all depends. My horse is great with my trainer and sometimes she has to get on him for a little reminder session If you are doing it correctly (which your trainer can tell you) then I would suggest what I had to do with my horse. It goes to reining. Take them down the fence line and start in the walk. As you walk down the fence sit back and leg on and ask for a rollback, it will be ugly at first. Head will probably go up and he will get all pissy but keep it up until he understands I said get off this leg. Do it in both directions. You want to sit back, I started on a loose rein because we didn't care about his head but about him sitting back on his haunches and crossing. Once you can do it at the walk move to the trot. I also worked on western side passing. Start in front of the fence and make him step sideways. You can start on the ground even and push him over and he should cross. If you are asking correctly it just sounds like he is weaker on that side and he has found a way to get out of it with you, but with your trainer he knows he can't get away with it. You may have to get really tough with it, and I mean really kick him hard on the hard side in the rollbacks but once you get tough with him and let him know that you mean it he might get mad at first but don't give up and he will learn that he can't get away with it with you either. My horse is the king of getting out of things by making it harder on me. lol
                        Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                        • #13
                          You want simple?

                          I'll give you simple. Tie your stirrups to your girth and your degree of crookedness will show up in neon lights.

                          The irons don't need to be tied tightly to the girth. Do this is a lesson where your trainer can help you figure out *where* you are crooked. The chances are that it starts in you hips and goes up and down from there.
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat