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Dawnwings

Alternatives To Teaching Leg Aids

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Hey guys,

Quick question for you, what can I do to teach my ponies leg aids instead of heels because my legs are too long?

I want to be able to move their hindquarters and front end like you would a full size horse, in case any kids ride them, but I'm a tad too long on the leg to do it the usual way. First time for everything, right?

Any tips?

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If you and your horse are both relaxed and balanced, very subtle changes in leg pressure, seat position, and balance can have a profound effect on your horse's movements.

In the leg yield to the right, for example, you often see a rider pull his right leg away from the horse while he leans to the left and pokes his horse in the side with his left spur. When the horse and rider are both relaxed and balanced this leg yield to the right may be accomplished by simply releasing any pressure of the right leg while drawing the left leg back slightly and pulsing the lower leg in rhythm as the horse steps forward with his left hind foot. Sometimes, a little extra pressure on the right stirrup or right seat bone -- accomplished without leaning -- may help.

Similar subtle changes can bring about a turn on the forehand or a turn on the haunches.

Many, if not most, riders actually hinder their horse from doing what they want by not following their horse's movement or by upsetting its balance. With proper relaxation and balance, amazing things can happen.

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As mentioned, heel pressure is the last point of leg pressure you use, if the horse does not respond to pressure higher up

Thigh, calf, heel, far as squence of leg aids-not going into the rest of the body language , since Dougal has already posted it.

The way horses become light to leg aids, with inviisble cues used, is to always give the horse at chance to start with the lightest cue first, and one never goes to a spur, until those have been exhausted, and then only uses enough spur pressure to get the desired response. Next time, you give the horse a chance agin to respond to that very light cue-and they will learn to do so, if you always give them the cahnce to do so, never upping your pressure unless that is required.

On a pony, where your legs are too long to go tot hat final cue, until the pony learns to be light to that calf alone, you might wish to carry a crop, to take the place of your heel

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i've seen lovely riders in the special olympics riding with NO legs, so apparently it can be done. you can also go to riding with two whips instead of using leg aids to teach just about every dressage maneuver.

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Thank you for the swift and detailed responses, I'm really pleased to hear that calf position should be enough :).

My pony and I might take a bit to get relaxed and balanced, but I'll certainly work on it. I've got a crop so if worst comes to it I'll ride with that until she gets light, but the goal always was relaxed pony, light cues.

I've seen those riders nick, no idea how they do it but it's amazing to watch :).

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Thank you for the swift and detailed responses, I'm really pleased to hear that calf position should be enough :).

My pony and I might take a bit to get relaxed and balanced, but I'll certainly work on it. I've got a crop so if worst comes to it I'll ride with that until she gets light, but the goal always was relaxed pony, light cues.

I've seen those riders nick, no idea how they do it but it's amazing to watch :).

easy, two dressage whips right and left. and don't forget how carriage horses learn and perform AMAZING things: they don't have leg cues either. just voice cues and driving whip. look at that!!

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Nick, you're absolutely right. I've got myself stuck thinking that I have to do things a certain way, and that's what's really causing me the issue. Ah, functional fixedness, you familiar old problem lol.

My pony is getting better at voice cues, and now disengages her hindquarters on the ground without me having to touch her, so maybe I'll have to come up with a voice cue for it. That's pretty neat. :)

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also have a look on youtube at what they do at the spanish riding school of vienna.with "airs above ground", while the person is on the ground. now that's amazing.

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