A Better Reaction To The Leg Aids

Happy Sunday – a lesson with Valiosa to resensitize her to the leg.

A true leg aid, with the calf in its proper place, not reaching back and nudging with the heel somewhere almost behind the saddle.

In the end, I know this will help get the seatbones firmer in to the saddle too, when the leg isn’t driving forward and squeezing the seat up and out.  You’ve seen plenty of that!

cantering with seatbones out of the saddle

I had spiraled into the habit of working way too hard for a reaction from Valiosa.  Easy to do, easy to recognize, yes, but I didn’t have the tools to get out of it.

I’ll be working on this, probably only on this, forget bending and lateral aids this week until confirmed.

So during today’s ride on our own, the leg aid has to be really specific, and short.  Just a clear, concise, and very timely light nudge with inside of calf.  On, and then OFF.  I can’t take it off quick enough.

And never, ever, asking repeatedly.  Are you sure you’re not nagging?  Ever?  Harder than we think, isn’t it?

New mantra for riding her  – “Legs are off, legs are off, legs are off.”

She has to keep up the gait, walk, trot, canter, on her own, and learn to balance in transitions on her own – if I’m there to rescue or help her all the time we will never get anywhere.  That’s another pretty big challenge.

With some new tools, sometimes it doesn’t take many rides until it becomes all sort of muddled again.  This has to stick!  I won’t find out if it truly has until more than 2 months.  Fingers crossed!

Cantering a young horse

Go Grey Mare!


6 thoughts on “A Better Reaction To The Leg Aids

    1. I thought I had tried so many things, and had just about resigned to sort of “waiting her out”, and getting a better work ethic once a bit more mature. Not so! I’m looking forward to seeing how she’ll develop just this week with our new routine!


  1. Sometimes a change in the training routine is needed. Hope the new approach works out.

    We’re home for awhile. The daughters start back to university next week, so the training regime is staying sharp until the Las Vegas National in November.


    1. Yes, it IS working out! On day 3 here, and while I slacked off some today (we trailered off to another property to get some more “exposure” pracitice and I didn’t want her too “hot” off the leg…), she seems to really take to the concept.
      I really hope this sticks! It will feel so much better for her too.
      Will your daughters take off once they head into college studies, or do you still get to keep them close? I have some years to go before my boys leave, and I’m not sure how to handle it 🙂
      And Nationals! Wow! I hope you’ll post on this!


      1. Glad the new training routine is working well. Sometimes, the adjustment is not a big one. That’s why I say you’re a very good dressage rider. You knew what kind of adjustment to make and you did it.

        As for the daughters, we get to keep them close for awhile. When Deborah and Tara started, they moved to Fort Collins to attend Colorado State University. Both had academic scholarships for their freshman year. After a week on “their own”, they hated the place and couldn’t wait to transfer to the local Univ of Colorado campus here in Colorado Springs. To their credit, Deborah and Tara lasted the academic year. They also missed riding for those months away. When it was Elizabeth’s turn, she already decided to stay local; plus she wasn’t ready to leave home. Anyway, I’m glad they go to school from home. All three are attractive girls – I can keep my eye on them and keep the ne’er-do-wells away. I think as parents, you know when your kids are ready or not quite ready. We think they’re ready, but we’ll let them decide when they’re ready to strike out on their own.

        This is the third straight year they’ll be riding at the Las Vegas National. The first year, they soaked in the experience. Last year, they started to get a feel for the big stage. This year, their plan is to challenge the higher ranked riders and the professionals. I hope the girls would let me post on the competition – they try to stay humble on the success.

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        1. Haha I see – we’ll I don’t blame them for not wanting their dad to write endlessly about their competitions. Most daughters wouldn’t 🙂
          Lucky you for keeping the family together this long! There’s a special dynamic in all that, and when they go, they’ll be all so much more ready!
          Hoping I can create something sort of the same down the line. But, like I said, we’ve got many years to go…


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