View Full Version : Going off the leg
I am being driven to distraction by my mare, who doesn't really go off the leg. She is safe and stops - her square halts are one of her best features! - but she does take so much leg that after a while I find I am nudging her on relentlessly and I am working harder than she is! I am trying to school her and she is doing well in most spheres (when she IS going forward she works very well) but I feel that if she doesn't become more responsive to the leg I won't get much further with her. I am afraid that if I continue to niggle away at her, she will become dead to the leg, not responsive to it. What I need is a range of school exercises that will encourage her to listen more.
10th Oct 2000, 05:15 PM
Do lots of changing from transitions, - say go from walk to trot, trot for two to three strides then walk, then push her back into trot, or trot for a few strides ask for canter then come back to walk. you need to get her listening to you and reacting, also if you ask once and she don't respond, ask again, then tap her with the whip, (you should not need to ask more than twice) she will learn that listening to you in the first place and going forward nicely is better than the constant nagging she is getting from your legs. also if she hacks out well and goes forward nicely, if the is a quiete lane or road trying doing some schooling while hacking (quarter in, leg yeilding ect) Hope it works!
10th Oct 2000, 08:47 PM
If you are wearing long boots or half chaps and carry a longer schooling type whip you can try hitting your leg with the whip. Of course your horse won't feel anything but the sharp noise and the sight of the whip moving might encourage some more forward movement.
11th Oct 2000, 01:45 AM
There is a way to help that, and it's a Jane Savoie method:
When you are riding, have your crop, or dressage whip (whatever you prefer to have) and just work off the leg as best you can. When you want more forward movement, or a transition, and you are using your whole effort, chase her forward with the stick. Don't be afraid to use it, just give her a good -*POP*- with it to chase her forward. Keep trying this until she gets the idea that you need to work off of the leg, or you get a smack on the butt. You MUST use your legs along with the smacking or else it is a meaninless thing to do.
Hope that helps a little!
14th Oct 2000, 07:32 PM
Thanks for all the replies - I shall set about her tomorrow! Something has to be done as she almost had me building sandcastles in the sand school this morning! We approached a jump with me working furiously and my mare shuffling up to it so lethargically that she had to stag-leap over it! (The jump was all of 18 inches but she made it feel like 5 foot!)
She is rather a spirited mare - not fizzy or anything but she has an attitude. This makes using the whip tricky. I NEVER wallop her but I have tickled her behind the leg to be treated to a mini-buck! She's telling me off, I guess and I must tell her off back but although I am not afraid of her little kicks against the whip I have yet to make an instinctive reaction that makes her realise it's not an option! I sort of think "Oooh, cheeky mare!" and by the time I have thought to give her anothert tickle, the moment has passed. (I've also seen her bucking down the school with an accomplised rider who kept flicking her until she dtopped and I don't want to be bucked off! But, I will try out all your ideas and let you know how they work.
I tried an experiment this afternoon. I hacked out on a lovely big Irish draught who is very responsive. He started off plodding, I urged him forward and he went off the leg. I counted the strides he made before he needed further encouragement and counted over 50. I did this several times during the hack and by the end it came down to 10 strides. He's very fit so I doubt he was tired - does this mean I am subconsciously overusing my leg to such an extent my horses are switching off?
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