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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

The First 5 Things to Teach Your Horse When Riding

1.  Moving away from the leg

The first thing that the horse needs to learn is to move away from your leg.  A lot of horses are not trained this and it means they will get faster or change gaits instead of moving away (leg yield).  You can start this on the ground, applying pressure to where you would with your leg.  I like to start with a few steps of a turn on the front hand as I have noticed that this is quite easy for the horse.

I then start with riding on the 3/4 line in the walk, applying the leg yield aids and let the horse work it out.  You can train the horse in any way to move away from the leg, in any order.

Close up of a bay horse wearing a Bridle and a navy blue fly veil

2.  Seat Aids

This is probably my favourite thing to teach my horses,  seat aids are EVERYTHING to a horse's training!  Seat aids should be taught before rein aids as they are the staple for riding a horse.  You can teach slowing down and speeding up, turning, back up and much more just with your seat.

Chestnut horse wearing a bridle standing in an outdoor riding school.

3.  Rein Aids

Rein aids are more complicated than pulling to stop and steer.  You really want to start off right with the rein aids.  For example, half halts, flexion aids, turning with the outside and inside reins together and more need to be taught from the start.  If you personally do not know these rein aids to teach your horse, either get the horse trained by someone who knows what they are doing or get help from a trainer.

A bay horse wearing tack looking behind the camera with trees in the background

4.  flexion and bending

Without flexion and bending, you really can't school a horse properly.  Flexion means your horse is bending its head in the direction you want.  Bending is a full body bend that is performed on a circle or corners.  They are both very important for balance and moving on to more advanced schooling.

Bay horse standing with rider on board with trees in the back ground

5.  Long and low
In my opinion, this is the best way to ride your horse for the first year of work.  Long and low in turn causes the horse to lift his back and work from behind which is so important.  This builds the correct muscles and makes the horse more comfortable.

Riding a horse long and low essentially means the horse stretches his neck out and lowers his head quite close to the ground.

Chestnut horse being ridden with fall trees behind him


I am not a horse trainer or any other equestrian professional.  I only give advice on horsey topics that I have experience as a horse owner in.  Please don't follow my advice without contacting a relevant equestrian professional.  


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