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Train Your Own Horse with Stacy Westfall

Apr 3, 2019

Riders will need to use different riding aids differently as a horse progresses through the different grade levels. In episode 6, I compared the horses progression to the progression of kindergarten, grade school, high school, and college. As the horse and rider progresses, the use of different aids is layered on.

We always start with the basics. If the basics aren’t down, it’s a good idea to go back and reinforce those cues before moving on. In this episode, I talk about what a horse would learn in my training program starting with groundwork and emotional control before advancing up the grades.

Show Notes

[01:15] Things a horse would learn in my training program.

[01:17] I would begin with groundwork and emotional control.

[01:31] I will start riding my three-year-old Presto in about a month or so. Before riding I do a lot of groundwork and emotional control stuff.

[01:53] When I first get on and ride, I'll keep it very simple.

[02:57] When I'm not riding the horse, the lunge whip would be in place of my legs.

[03:18] When riding, the leg cues will be simple, and I'll use an inside rein. I'll spend more time in arcs of circles, because I don't want to get into wobbly lines.

[04:29] I can add more gas pedal with my legs.

[04:55] After about thirty days, he'll understand how I've connected the reins to his shoulders.

[05:10] Left rein means go left, right rein means go right, legs mean go forward.

[05:14] To stop, I'll bend him and bring him around to a stop.

[05:26] On the next level, I'll start to build the bridge where he'll learn to follow the right rein out.

[06:01] Then we'll move to more advanced things.

[06:57] Once he learns to follow the inside rein and the outside rein, I'll exaggerate both.

[09:54] Counter bend improves control of the shoulders. Horses don't always follow their head, they do always follow their shoulder.

[10:34] This improves the level of control that we'll need when moving up to higher levels like on a lead change.

[10:47] It's important that your legs are being used evenly as a gas pedal.

[12:19] If your left leg is the only way you can drive the horse to the right, you'll get stuck on lead changes.

[14:09] It's important to independently control the shoulders with your hands and the hips with your legs.

[14:16] A lot of people get confused, because the stages before this and after this are slightly different.

[15:10] Conflicting aids can happen when the rider doesn't understand what to do when a horse doesn't respond to a request.

[16:43] It's conflicting if the aid causes a misshapen misalignment of the horse.

[18:08] You can't move on until you get the horse to respond to the basic aids.

[18:36] Keep it clean and simple with a younger horse.

[18:54] You can go back to the basics and clarify things before moving on to more advanced stuff.

[19:45] Going back to the basics is not a sign of weakness or failure. It's where the foundation is.

Links and Resources:

Episode 6: The horse’s path of learning is NOT the same as the rider

Stacy's Video Diary: Jac