Get Your Horse Moving Forward – Day 19 Being A Better Rider Challenge
I deal with this on a daily basis with my horse Frisby. He is sluggish, lazy, and will do whatever he can to not work. But I am not sure if this is completely his fault. When I bought Frisby, he had very little formal training. So I am not sure that he was really ever taught to move forward. And until your horse is taught to go forward as soon as the leg or seat aid is applied, you can’t progress in your training. And I have not helped the situation. I feel so lucky to have him, so I have not really enforced the rules.
Many riders struggle to get their horses going with impulsion and free forward movement. And the result of this is a habit of always nagging at the horse’s sides in an effort to keep him moving. This has got to be irritating to the horse. And many horses will simply ignore the irritation and move at their own pace.
How To Get Your Horse To Move Forward
To fix this problem, the rider needs to sit up, lengthen the legs and balance themselves correctly in the saddle. See why we focused on balance the other day? Even though we have trained our brains to apply a leg aid to our sluggish horses all the time, we must retrain our brain and NOT do this with every stride our horses take.
In order to do this is to create a forward way of thinking. Sit up and keep your upper body out of the equation by remaining still in the saddle. Give a sharp inward tap or two with the inside of both legs. You may need to reinforce this with a click of your voice, or a wave of a schooling whip. It also helps to use your voice, and give the command to “walk”.
Your horse needs to understand that when he is asked to move forward, he moves forward with a “Yes Mam!” attitude. Then praise him, stop all aides and sit quietly in the saddle. The moment your horse reverts back to his sluggish ways, give the aids again in the same matter of fact way. A sharp inward tap, click of your voice, wave of the whip, and the command “walk”. When you get the result you want (moving forward) stop.
With consistent practice of this, your horse will soon understand what is expected of him. And you as his rider, needs to enforce this every time you ride. You cannot get complacent with your aids, or your riding. It is not harsh, I promise. But if you go back to your own sluggish ways, you horse will too.
Forward Movement At All Gaits
Once you have mastered the forward movement at the walk, do the same thing with the trot and the canter. You can get your horse moving forward in the faster gaits. It just takes time, consistency and practice.
Soon your horse will be a willing participant in your riding sessions. And you will be enjoying your riding again.
Day 19 Complete!
We are just about finished with day 19 of our challenge. If you have made an effort to participate in this challenge and have made it this far, congratulate yourself. You are almost 2/3’s of the way done! No matter what you have done, be proud of what you have accomplished so far.
Don’t forget to do your plank exercise, and a few other exercises if you want to push yourself, and then cross of day #19 on your calendar.And be sure to acknowledge how far you have come and what a great job you and your horse have done so far.