This exercise uses rein-back and fine tunes the connection from your leg to hand, helping to focus your horse on your aids.
It’s important your horse knows how to rein-back already, as this is a more advanced version (for tips on how to rein-back, check out our tips in issue 421, call 01858 438884 for a back issue). In a typical rein-back, you’d expect your horse to reverse for a few steps before moving forward. For this, you’ll rein-back to halt and then rein-back again.
SET IT UP:
Try this exercise along a straight line. Riding along a fence or hedge line will help you to keep him straight.
a)Ask your horse to rein-back by bringing your leg slightly behind the saddle. Keep your hands soft, with only enough contact to maintain connection. Try to make the move come from changing your leg position, rather than your hands.
b)Rein-back for three to four steps.
c)Ask your horse to halt for a few seconds by bringing your leg
forward and applying slightly more pressure to the rein.
d)Move your leg back behind the saddle and ask for rein-back again.
e)Repeat once more and then ask your horse to walk on.
A couple of times on each rein, until you notice an improvement in his focus on your leg.
Remember not to pull on the reins to move him backwards. The softer the horse is in his jaw, the more relaxed his neck will be and he’ll find it easier to move backwards. When he’s tense, his neck will be up, his back and neck will be hollow and it’s more difficult for him to move back.
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