How To Turn Your Horse
Dressage Mastery TV Ep237
Now if we ride a bike or if we drive a car, if we pull the steering wheel down on one side, the car or the bike will turn. So surely it’s the same with the horse. If I want to turn the horse, if I just keep bending, good boy and he’s turning because he’s good boy. He doesn’t know what I want, but he’s like, okay, I know what that means.
Now, when I first started riding, that’s how I steered my horse – I pulled, what else are you going to do? Now as you’ll notice if I just pull the reins one way, where are his hind legs going and where is this shoulder going – all the way over there. It’s not an effective turn as opposed to when you turn the shoulder with the outside rein rather than just saying, hey, I want to turn.
When I asked him to turn with just the reins, where did his head go? All the way to the inside. So if you want to drive a mack truck, you know when you tell the truck to turn, it takes a while. That’s what will happen if you turn a horse with your inside rein!
So what you want to do is go, okay, I’m never going to turn a horse by moving its head because the minute I move its head, the opposite shoulder goes the other way. You guys get that? Every time I put his head all the way to the inside, his outside shoulder moves all the way out, which is a bit useless. So instead I’m never going to turn the horse with its head. All I’m going to do is turn the horse with the shoulder.
So that’s all very fine and well I hear you saying, how do I steer a horse? I don’t turn its head. I turn it shoulders, but how do I turn it shoulders?
And the first step to learning how to turn the shoulders is break it down into really easy steps.
Step 1: Halt
Step 2: Move the shoulders just one step
Step 3: Repeat!
And all you’re going to do is figure out how to make the horse turn from using your outside rein to control this shoulder to ask it to step across. And it literally is just a taking and giving of the rein, it’s not a pushing. I don’t push it over the neck. I literally just take it and I use a little bit of leg. So the same leg is what rein I’m using, so if I’m going to use, if I’m going to turn him to the left, my left leg and a little half halt in the rein. And then a little on the left rein. So it literally is a take give with a little bit of the same leg and you know what guys – you just have to go out and practice!
I remember learning this when younger – I remember going that’s stupid as if that will work. That’s ridiculous. I can still remember the first time I got a horse to move from a halt, just one step over with his shoulders. And I literally thought I was the best Olympic rider in the world. I was like, do you know what I can do now? Does that mean I could turn the horse in a 10 meter circle in canter – no! I was still years away from being able to have shoulder control like that and I’m still working on to control and still working on having the ability to be able to keep the horse exactly where I want it, whenever I want it, however I want it all the time. So it is a journey. It is. Work in progress. You guys have fun and I’ll see you next week.
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