Help with my horse - doesn't listen well to leg signals

by Claudia
(Canada)

This is Masterpiece. :)

This is Masterpiece. :)

Hello! I have a black tobiano Tennessee walker gelding named Masterpiece who I love so much. He's a good horse, but there's one thing I would like to teach him - how to listen better to leg commands. We do beginner dressage. And well, Masterpiece has a habit of either ignoring my legs aids just reluctantly going in the direction I'm trying to tell him to go.

I don't want to keep using so much rein when telling him to turn or trying to get him to move over. Is there a way I can train him to listen a bit better? I would prefer not to use spurs, because I have never used them before and I don't want to hurt him by using them incorrectly. I do use a crop while riding but that doesn't help him to go in the right direction.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

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Dec 19, 2016
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Body
by: Macy

Tip. Use your body. Lots of horses move with you, not against you. This is what I do. I ride bareback. No saddle or bridle, not every time I ride. But anyway, try this and when you want him to speed up turn, slow down, back up etc. use your body to tell him what to do!

Jul 19, 2016
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Comment :)
by: Horse-Lover-Forever

Try going into a private place, with a fence, and see his stronger and weaker points with your leg aids. Reward him every time he does something right!

Nov 07, 2015
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I Hope This Helps
by: AQHA77

Use a firmer hand. Don't make your cues subtle but don't kick and yank, cluck or kiss louder and try lots of ground work.

Dec 02, 2014
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Bare back
by: Alyssa the horse gentler

I forgot to say ride bare back that's a good way to help.

Dec 02, 2014
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Hay
by: Alyssa the horse gentler

Well here are a couple things!
1.Spurs [Do not kick hard]
2.Have some one lead you [Kick him then have the person lead you]
3.Bond with your horse!
4.Hay [ HAVE SOME ONE HAVE A HANDFUL OF HAY A FEW FEET IN FRONT OF YOU KICK AND HE SHOULD WANT IT HAVE THE PERSON GET FARTHER AWAY EVERY DAY!!!]

Apr 12, 2014
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Kick
by: Violet

Maybe kicking harder would work. That's what I do.:)

~Violet

May 09, 2013
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Hm
by: Sadee

You could give him a driving lesson. Get to long ropes and connect them to the stirrups and stand behind him. Use the ropes to act like your legs. It helps.

Feb 22, 2013
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Hmm.
by: :)

Well, spurs would help. Your horse is a thousand pound animal. He is not ignoring you, you taught him to ignore you with boring him with probably confusing signals. Now, you need to retrain him to do what you want him to do. Ok, if you want to go left, use your rein to turn to the inside, and use the whip on his outside rump. You ask first (With just rein) then you tell. I would recommend Clinton Anderson. Ground work will help a lot by respecting you as the leader, etc. You can't really use spurs wrong, just use them when your not supposed to. When using spurs, all it is an extension on the leg, which is why it's better than a whip. Talk to your riding instructor about it. Don't get offended about what I said, it is not meant to be offensive.

Feb 18, 2013
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Hi Claudia
by: Unicorn

Hmm, that's a tough one. Spurs would help, but not if you're not sure how to use them. Only riders who can keep control of their heels and lower legs almost all the time should use spurs, or you could spur him by accident, and most horses don't react too well to that. :-) If you can find an instructor to teach you about them, it could help - I've trained my little mare from green broke to half passing, turning on the forehand and bending around circles, serpentine's and figure of eight with very little rein necessary for the bend, but I had to use spurs, as she was a little lazy butt.
All that I can think of is to try teach him to move off the pressure from the ground. I did this with my foal, who is now all grown up and backed and bends beautifully with minimal rein contact. What I did was to hold his lead rein in one hand, standing by his side and facing his tail (watch that back end, in case he kicks - he shouldn't, but there's a possibility). Holding his head quite still with the lead - not pulling it to make him turn, which would defeat the purpose of the exercise - I put my hand flat against his side, where my leg would be when riding, and pushed until he moved away. Then I released the pressure and gave him a pat.
Sometimes he wouldn't turn on just the pressure from my hand. Then I could spin the end of the lead rein at his side, even letting it slap against him if he was being really stubborn. I repeated this often on both sides and so far he's a nice bendy boy.
Good luck, and professional advice will always be far better than this amateur's handful of experiences!
Unicorn

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