Importance of outside leg in canter
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Saturday, October 6, 2007 11:35 PM
Today was my jumping day. I have discovered the importance of outside leg in helping my horse to control his balance. Outside leg does not just send a horse into canter or control the haunches. Outside leg starting from the hip acts as a support wall, like a brace to help outside leg at the moment of the first canter beat when the only leg is on the ground is outside hind leg. It is nothing to do with kicking or squeezing or pushing. The outside leg and outside seatbone feel "plugged in" and steady. That gives horse confidence and support to carry himself on that leg and not to fall outside by giving in under the load of his body. If you keep your own balance, sit centered, quiet and light and give your horse support with outside leg and rein turning after jumps in balance and nice rhythm gets a lot easier. My horse today was so much better with turns after the jumps, he stayed round, rhythmical, with a lot of bounce and on top of that calmness. I truly felt that his confidence in me and jumping improved. Do not forget about your inside leg, otherwise you can overdo and push his barrel over to inside. He will start leaning to inside instead of bending.
Canter departs start with outside seatbone and not just outside calf. Well trained horse needs only light pressure on outside seatbone and outside thigh followed by light touch with outside calf or even less then that, just light loading of a stirrup. If you press your thigh down with hamstrings muscles you will load the stirrup a little bit. All other aids are there of course but they are supportive not active. That canter depart gives appearance of stillness from the rider and horse looks like working on his own. So little movement gives horse a chance to depart in balance without any disturbance. Most importantly for the flying change all you need is to load your inside seatbone and thigh at the moment when the inside hind leg is coming to the ground. In the next suspended phase your horse will change the leg.
Happy riding...
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My blog is about teaching, riding and training. I share what is important to me in my work with horses and riders. The writing helps me to think things over and have a better understanding of training ideas and priciples.
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