Monday, September 19, 2011

Training Tip: Legs on

I was doing some show jumping with Copper and he was racing around like a manic…  So what else is new?  The frustrating thing was that I knew he could do better than that, so I figured the problem had to be me.
Well, it turns out I was right.  I had forgotten the old adage ~ use strong legs on a fast horse and infrequent, but strong and demanding legs on a lazy horse.

With a horse that rushes it’s really easy to get into the habit of riding with a light, barely~there contact through your calves and heels.  However, this is actually counterproductive if you wish to slow the horse down because as soon as you apply any pressure for an aid, the horse will automatically speed up, and not necessarily listen to your aid.  Putting your legs on the horse {gently pressing them against his sides without squeezing} will, in time, desensitize him to the touch, and help him to balance through the corners so that he doesn’t have to rush them. 

I also found that a strong leg and seat on Copper while he was jumping steadied him and helped him to slow down.  It gave him confidence so he didn’t have to rush, and made my half halt far more effective, thus creating impulsion{controlled power}, not speed. 

Trouble Shooting:  If you are applying your leg to your horse and he is still rushing around, try sitting deeper in the saddle by pushing your shoulders up and back at the same time and slowing the motion of your hips.  If you move slowly in the saddle, say at a trot, slower than what your horse is going, you will encourage him to slow down as well. 
Don’t forget that training a horse not to race is a long process, and you will need to be consistent with using you legs and your body to slow his tempo {how fast he walks, trots, canters} down.   You can also use circles to encourage him to slow down.  The smaller the circle the hard he has to work to stay balanced and moving forward.  It may be hard work for you too, but it’s worth it!

See ya!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Post share buttons