Working a green horse
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Friday, October 19, 2007 11:27 PM
When you are working a green horse, remember:
  • In the trot, if your horse goes faster then you like control your rising trot tempo to slow her down. Do not hold your horse back with the reins. Sometimes it is hard to wait until your horse starts to listen and to ignore the temptation to grab the reins. You may slow her down with the reins today. However, in the long run you only teach her to lean on the bit.
  • Look for a particular tempo in trot when your horse is just right, not fast and not slow. Usually, when a horse hits that particular tempo, she wants to stretch her neck forward and down. I have noticed this effect with 5 different green horses. I do not know if this is right for any horse but I will keep an eye on it.
  • Use trail riding to teach your horse to use her body. Walking up and down hills really help. To teach her to listen to your thighs as aids channeling her forward and not letting her spill the energy sideways. You will feel her bumping into your thighs if she wants to step out of the line of a travel. Use your thighs to hold that line, like banks of a river. Very soon you will not need reins to show her where to go.
  • When you are working on stops or shifting down the gait, always start the transition with your seat and use reins as an axillary aid. By using your seat I mean: firm muscles under your seatbones, create an abdominal push, use your upper thighs as buffers to stop your forward momentum. And only after that use your reins. However, do not pull on them, just close your fingers and firm your arms to create a barrier with the bit. Do not hold for a long time, rather ask and soften, ask and soften both reins and your seat. Do not increase pressure if your horse is not responding quickly enough. She will get it and start to slow down even before reins are applied. Rory figured that out in two rides. Today I had several transitions from trot to walk where I just touched the reins and she walked and a couple where she walked before I needed reins. Read for more on abdominal push and use of your thighs.
Happy riding...
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