A lot of people can start their own horses. It takes patience and dedication. The horse is usually solid at the walk, trot and lope but nothing polished or fancy. The goal for that phase of training is simply “don’t get hurt” and “make progress while keeping the horse happy”. Once they are started, people hit a road block and don’t know how to move onto the next step. The next step varies from trainer to trainer. I prefer to add lateral movement, get the horse yielding to leg pressure and softening its face and neck and carrying itself more rounded not hollow with its head up.
Adding leg pressure for yielding the horse immediately speeds up. That’s normal, we taught him that after all. Now we want to show him the difference between one leg pressure and both legs. Both legs squeezing means to move forward, one leg squeezing means move away from that leg but don’t speed up.
How is this achieved? I introduce it at first on the ground asking for forehand turns and haunch turns. This way the horse knows to yield from the ground first. Then I try it under saddle by asking to haunch turn and forehand turn under saddle. I reward with release with the slightest try from the horse. Once the animal understands that we move onto asking for the bend on the rail at the walk.
*these steps don’t happen in one day! Work on each step until your horse is confident enough to move on*
Once you’re on the rail at a walk I simply just ask the horse to move into the corners of the arena with my inside leg and inside rein. This asks for the horses nose to the inside but your leg keeps him moving away from you deeper into the corner. Once he moves away from your leg praise by release immediately and I love to scratch their neck for reward.
Don’t expect miracles. Just reward the slightest try then one day your horse will figure it out and that is the goal! Let the horse figure it out with you as their guide. They are smart, they all figure it out. Be patient.
Once the horse yields to pressure this way it’s a gateway to adding natural collection, softness and full body control!
Have fun with this make patterns up and always reward the slightest try.