Controlling the Hindquarters

This is an excellent excercise to teach your horse feel. Once mastered, this simple excercise will supple and relax your horse, lightening his forehand and preparing him to perform all of his movements with ease.

While mounted, take your leg back an inch or so and apply pressure to ask him to move his inside hind across and in front of the outside hind while keeping his front feet in the same place. Once he responds to your leg pressure, release the leg contact as a reward. Remember, you are only asking for one step at a time, take the time to show your horse what you want and be patient while he is learning.

Take care to check your position, sit up straight and balanced, do not lean to one side, your heels are down, your legs relaxed, you are lifting your upper body, head and neck relaxed. Maintain light contact with the bit.

Ultimately you want him to drop his head, thus raising his back, but the first attempts may not result in that. So the first goal is for him to step his leg over. Once he understands this, supple his neck and show him the way to lengthening his neck downward and outward.

Remember, be quite clear about what you are asking. You must always be balanced and relaxed.

Do this excercise in both directions several times each day until you achieve an immediate response with very little pressure.

Some common problems:

The horse does not respond to the leg pressure, he just stands still.

Simply ask quietly and if he does not shift his weight in response to your leg, reinforce what you are asking with a quick tap from the whip. Then try again asking from the leg pressure only. He should understand what you want with one correction. If not, tap him again to help explain what you want.

The horse moves forward away from the pressure, not sideways.

If you find him walking forward, use a wall or fence to stop him. Once you master the excercise facing a wall, find a place in the center of arena to test your aids.