Filed in Category: horse training
Side Pass Without The Rider’s Leg Aid
Yes that all makes sense about the jump! Thank you for explaining that.
Here a photo of Phantom and I side stepping.
Was it you that said you should aim to side step a horse without using leg? So am I supposed to try and side step him with just my reins? I have been using my leg but I think I recall you saying at one stage that you should just use your reins.
Thanks for the photo. It's a nice soft bend you have on Phantom and a good reach. One thing I would think about is where you put your weight in the saddle. A horse is better when your centre of gravity and his are as close to each other as possible. In the photo, Phantom is moving to his left and therefore his centre of gravity is moving left. But your weight is more centred to the right. Try to adjust your seat that you are more going with your horse. Don't over do it because they just create more imbalance. But if you want your horse to travel one direction, your seat should be shifting your weight a little more in that direction too. This is not a cut and dry argument because there is much debate in among riders about this. Nevertheless, I can assure you the closer your centre of gravity is to your horses the easier it is for him to carry you.
I do teach a horse to side step using reins (and seat) only at the beginning. This is because at the stage I begin to teach this to a horse, he only knows rider's legs mean "go" and rider's hands mean "where to go." They have no concept that the rider's leg could mean to yield hindquarters or forehand or both to the left or right. They do not yet understand leg pressure could be directional as well as energizing. So I begin teaching lateral movement by using my legs (both legs simultaneously) to tell the horse to have energy and move his feet and then I use my seat and reins to tell him to move his feet sideways. This avoids confusing the horse any more than necessary about the meaning of the legs. Plus, by this stage I have really good directional control of him through the reins with the all the hindquarter and forehand yields I have been doing with him, so it is less confusing for the horse than bringing in the rider's legs to direct the sideways movement.
Once, I have this going pretty well in both directions I can begin each movement with a little inside leg pressure before using the seat and reins to ask for a lateral step. At first this will have no meaning to the horse, but with repetition he will get the idea that he should move away from inside leg pressure.
I know some people will disagree with this approach because it is not very orthodox, but I have had really good success with it in the past. I always feel that directing my horse via the seat and reins is a priority in all my training. I know some people talk about riding their horses almost entirely from their seat and legs, with very little input from the reins. But in reality if this is true it has to be taught first by using the reins, and secondly I rarely see people who can really do this even though many say they can.
I hope that helps.