The Number Three Way To Ruin Your Training
The third way to ruin your training is by always using too strong a signal. This is a variation of the problem we mentioned in lesson one but more subtle. Say your horse will trot off from your spur and will keep trotting but won’t trot off from the light closing of both legs. Hmm there’s a problem here. You are training your horse to only listen when you shout.
This problem sneaks up on you. At first you may not notice it. One day though you wake up and your horse needs a stronger bit to stop and long spurs to go. Your horse has slowly been desensitized to your aids.
The other large problem I see is that the horse isn’t quite getting what you are trying to teach it. Instead of analyzing and changing your teaching style, you begin to get louder with your aids. Maybe your half halts are stronger, your legs tighter, your reins shorter, maybe you’re using the whip more often, kicking, yanking, pulling and yes maybe even screaming. Whoa. Stop! This is a clear sign of miscommunication. It’s time to take a break. Back up and teach it differently.
Horses can feel a fly land on their skin, they can feel your legs squeezing. Again, remember if your horse isn’t responding they either don’t understand what you are asking or you have taught them to ignore your aids. Either way, it’s your problem, not the horses. If your horse is just ignoring you, why make your job harder than it has to be. Go back to teach the basic aids to be from light pressure. Reward the basics so when training gets more complicated the easy stuff truly is easy.
I also want to mention, that some riders get accustomed to riding duller type horses and then when they ride a “sensitive” horse, they end up over riding it. The horse gets more nervous and the rider get’s stronger. A vicious cycle I’ve seen over and over. Sometimes, it just takes less, not more to get your horse on the aids. Given that I have a sensitive horse, he has taught me how to be clear but quiet. With a sensitive horse you almost have to be more clear and definite with your aids but also quiet.
If you’re finding that your riding is deteriorating over time here are some symptoms that your over doing it. You may notice:
- increased dullness of the horse.
- increased nervousness or anxiety of the horse as you ride.
- your fit but your out of breath. maybe you’re working too hard?
- you get on other peoples horses and over ride them.
- your aids are very visible to onlookers.
- you are feeling impatient, frustrated or angry when riding.