14 May 2015
Posted in Articles
If you're having trouble with your horse getting ahead of you, stop and assess the situation. Without realizing it, you may be unintentionally giving your horse "pre-cues" to a maneuver..
When I was riding Mindy regularly, I had to be very careful of this. Because she was so in tune to me after 13 years of working together, if I even thought ahead to what I was going to ask her to do, she'd start doing it. Unconsciously, my body was giving her a subtle signal. I had to learn to not even think about the next maneuver until the exact moment I wanted her to do it.
I often see riders unconsciously cueing their horses in clinics when working on pattern exercises like the Cloverleaf Exercise or Flower Power. In each of these exercises the rider is supposed to ride their horse in a straight line before turning him one way or the other. What often happens is that the rider will be thinking ahead to the turn they're about to make and will start to lean in that direction. It doesn't take long before the horse realizes that when the rider leans to the right he's going to ask for a right turn. So he figures, "Why wait until he asks me to turn right? I'll just start to turn as soon as I feel him shift his weight." In instances like this, it's important that you are conscious of what your body language is telling your horse. If your horse can feel a fly land on his body, you can bet he can feel you shifting your weight, no matter how slight, in the saddle.