Is your horse listening to you? Here's a couple of tips to test your horse's reactions.
It's always a good idea during your schooling to check your horse is listening to your leg. To check you're not over-using your legs, focus on keeping them very still and see what happens.
If you feel your horse is starting to slow down, you need to give a sharp nudge with your legs to send him forwards again, then let your legs become still. It's important you don't use them continuously.
If your horse is sharp...
If your horse is sharp or prone to running away from your leg aids, having a gentle contact on your horse's sides all the time can give him confidence.
It can also help him accept the leg, rather than running away from it.
If your horse is lazy...
If your horse is laid back and not quick off your leg, you need to apply a sharp aid in the form of a short, sharp nudge to teach your horse to react to your aid.
Alternatively, there's the double leg aid - nudge, nudge - to inject some energy.
How to boost his reactions
When schooling your horse, try this simple exercise to test his reactions.
Find two markers (this can be letters in a school, or between two trees if you're hacking) and test how quickly it takes your horse to go from walk to trot between the two markers.
Each time you go past the first marker, try to improve how quickly he responds to your leg. Once you notice an improvement, carry on with the rest of your schooling, or take things up a notch by doing the same from trot to canter.