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Thread: Teaching leg aids

  1. #1
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    Default Teaching leg aids

    None of the reading I've done on backing seems to explain how leg aids are taught beyond just the association with the verbal cue and it seems obvious that you can't teach a leg or seat aid until you're on board and doing it (unless I'm missing something?)

    River has known voice aids for "walk on" "stand" and "trot on" since she was a baby and started being halter-trained, so she's fairly easy to lunge and long-rein. I've leaned over her a lot and actually got up in the saddle a few times a couple of months back, and we've had one experience of her being led loosely around the yard and responding to verbal cues and light hand aids while I sat quietly, but if I lightly applied my leg, she understandably became confused and simply stopped, turning her head to look at me as if to say "did YOU do that?!"

    My goal now that I have access to the horses again and somewhere I can do ground work, is to start working with River on the ground in an empty field to remind her of what we were doing before her nine-week break, and then to begin some very basic in-saddle work before we quit for the winter, but I'm not 100% clear on what the best option is. Now that my sharer has moved away, I don't have anyone who is capable and confident enough to either throw on her while I lunge/long-rein from the ground or to lunge/long-rein me in the saddle, although my OH is capable enough to lead her while I'm on board and to give her confidence from the ground. The other option, and the one I'm leaning most towards, is to give my old RI a call and see if she can pop across and do a few short sessions with us to set us on the way, and then to start regular lessons in the spring.

    Mostly, I'd like to read some examples of what others have done with their babies at this stage. River is mostly very willing, and is a clever girl who picks things up fairly quickly and confidently, and to this stage she's seemed to really enjoy the learning experience, but given her confusion I don't want to suddenly spoil her confidence and willing nature by frustrating her with something she doesn't understand
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  2. #2

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    I taught from verbal cues. Yes the first time he was a bit "uh?" but he soon got the hang of it, maybe it helped that we'd done a lot of long reining so he was used to things moving on his sides as a sign to go forwards. Lots of praise if he showed any sign of getting it right & just being terribly consistent about it all. It took a little while, but then Little Un isn't really the smartest lad you'll ever meet!
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  3. #3
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    I had OH at Ted's head and I would ask him to "walk on" and squeeze him at the same time, if I got no response OH would be my "backup" as he would follow OH, eventually I got rid of OH (he did know what the vocal commands were but mummy was now on his back and he was still confused as to how I could sit up there and talk ) and over time he just clicked onto what it was all about... Hard to believe that was only a 5 or 6 months ago now considering how far we have come since...

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  4. #4
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    I am a great believer in using the herd to teach the horse. When we first jump on they "ought" to have a good knowledge of vocal commands. They may have been driven. We get on, in an enclosed area with two other chilled ponies/horses. Preferably a good pal of theirs. We let them follow the other horse with the rider as a passenger, the other horse walks on, we apply the voice command and the leg as the green horse follows his pal. When his pal stops we apply the seat and stop commands along with the voice. It takes the average horse 10 minutes to put 2 and 2 together and go from the leg or seat when requested.

    Then all we do is each time work them with a pal of theirs to give them courage and gradually get them going in the opposite direction etc. doing their own thing.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2009
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    Same as Wally, I use our lead horse for the babies to follow on. Applying my leg lightly and my voice at the same time.

    Alot of the time though when I am longreining I will flap the long reins on their sides at the same time as using my voice to give the sensation of something on their sides. I don't know if it helps but they seem to understand pretty quickly what I mean.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally View Post
    I am a great believer in using the herd to teach the horse. When we first jump on they "ought" to have a good knowledge of vocal commands. They may have been driven. We get on, in an enclosed area with two other chilled ponies/horses. Preferably a good pal of theirs. We let them follow the other horse with the rider as a passenger, the other horse walks on, we apply the voice command and the leg as the green horse follows his pal. When his pal stops we apply the seat and stop commands along with the voice. It takes the average horse 10 minutes to put 2 and 2 together and go from the leg or seat when requested.

    Then all we do is each time work them with a pal of theirs to give them courage and gradually get them going in the opposite direction etc. doing their own thing.

    I've done it this way too!! In fact, that's how I've backed youngsters as well.
    I like to use leg and voice at the same time. When it comes to getting them to learn to move off the leg (albeit a bit different than just simply moving forward and a bit further down the road) I like to teach from the ground by applying pressure on my horse where my leg would sit to get them to understand to move away from the pressure and to bend through it

  7. #7

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    I lead first and use verbal cues. Once the verbal cues are established I long line with a saddle with stirrups dangling and thread the long lines through the stirrups. When I give the cue for walk on I jiggle the long lines causing the stirrups to lightly bob. They get it pretty quick.

    When I get on board though I always have someone lead first with verbal cues, then long line with someone on the back. For the first couple of times the rider is very much a passenger and is there just to get the horse used to the weight. Only when long lining fine with a passenger would I actually ask the passenger to nudge a little...

    I always make sure mine can walk and trot to command first from the ground before even contemplating getting on board. Canter is different though - tend to use a companion for that and go to a big long straight bit, much easier than in a school as they don't have to balance themselves or get the right leg.

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