Advice needed - teaching youngster leg aids

GinaGem

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Hi ya everyone,

My sister and I have just bought a 4 year old cob (see pics in picture gallery). He has been sat on but has had no training beyond that. I got on him for the first time last night and he was excellent however i attempted a small leg aid to ask him to walk on (as well as using my voice and allowing with my hand) and he didn't move a muscle. Clearly he has never been given leg aids and so i'm just wondering what you all think would be the best way to introduce this? He lunges pretty well so i had considered riding while on the lunge to coordinate my leg and voice with the lunge whip but i'm not sure if this is too much, too soon. We've had him just under a week and so he is not fit.

Thanks. xxx
 

H-J

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You need to lunge him, he should have already done some lunging really and should be very used to all voice commands, e.g stand, walk, trot, canter etc, you need to get him used to these befofre you can apply them whilst being ridden. You then use a small leg aid and use your voice for all these commands, you may look a little stupid at 1st, I felt it when I was breaking my horse I kept talking to him all the time and kept saying walk on walk on and trot on trot on, they then slowly learn your leg aids.

It will take time, you wont be able to get on in a few days and have him trotting and cantering off your leg! Good luck
 

GinaGem

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He already knows the voice aids on the lunge in walk and trot as well as in hand but he didn't react with me on top using the same voice aid. prob just need to give him some more time then. xxx
 

H-J

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I would just keep lunging him and keep re-iterating the voice aids, and slowly introducing them whilst being ridden.

Try somebody leading you in walk whilst you are using a bit of leg and telling him to walk on.
 

pocket

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When I've broken mine in, I've had someone lead in hand. So when you require the horse to walk on, you apply the aids as you would normally, use voice commands and the person on the ground will give a lead etc.

Carry on lunging as when you require to trot, this is as previously stated best done on the lunge.

Once confident in walk and trot, I have found the best place to ask for canter is out hacking as you are able to get natural impulsion, plus, I have touch wood been lucky and had good horses that I can hack sensibly as youngsters.

I am also a great believer of getting <u>a good instructor</u> if this your first attempt at bringing on a young horse.

Its a great and rewarding challenge, good luck
 

Sal_E

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You ideally need someone on the ground to help you - just whilst he's learning what you're wanting of him - i.e. to lead you as you are asking. Do keep up with the voice work!

As well as the instructor, you may also find a couple of good books on breaking youngsters will be useful - there's plenty of things that will come up over the coming months that would be nice to read up on...
 

Lynz25

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With my youngster he does not really understand leg aids fully either. What I've been doing over the last couple of months is long reining (horse teething and started rearing etc due to the pain). I personally found long reining better than lunging him - after the initial problems of kicking at the lines and rearing - luckily my instructor was on the other end of that one!!! He now responds really well to voice aids but I backed up the long reins with practicing telling him to stand, walk on etc when just on a headcollar. Also when feeding started to tell him to step backwards before he got it. Rode him for the first time last night in months (about 5 to be presise) was really good listening to the voice aids and then gently encouraging with the legs. Personally I'd do lots of work on voice commands and build this up then with leg aids when riding.
 

GinaGem

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Thanks everyone. It's sounds like i'm heading along the right lines. We're doing lots of lunging, especially concentrating on transitions although haven't progressed to canter yet as i don't think he's ready or balanced enough. When i first got on my sister lead him and this worked very well. We've also been walking in hand to teach voice aids and manners. I helped with a few youngsters before but they have always been the more forward type so the leg aid teaching came to them much more naturally. Can't wait to hack him but i need to know i can ask him to move on or stop first as we have very narrow country lanes here and so you have to stand in passing places for cars to go by. Long reining is a good idea, unfortunately i don't have much experience of it but i do want lessons. My instructor comes twice a week so i get lots of help! xxx
 
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