To squeeze or to kick?

longrunnerbeauty

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Hello,

I'm very new to riding horses. I have just had my 4th lesson and I am really starting to enjoy it. So far we have learnt to start, stop, turn, trot and I have now been learning the rising trot.

Today I had horse named Robbie, who is a bit of a rebel. Every time I tried to get him to "trot on" he would simply carry on walking and ignore me, even when I nudged him with my feet, or was given the whip to give him a tap. My RI kept telling me to kick him and encourage him, but still to no success. He refused to trot for a long time. She has shown me previously how to use my feet but I still feel like I am missing something. Should it be a kick or a squeeze? Or a combination of both? I don't want to do it too hard and wrong and hurt him.

Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

pennandh

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Squeezing is always better, although a small bump with the heels if he's not listening might prove effective.

To be honest, especially with a riding school horse, you may actually get better results just from adding a verbal command ('trot on' with a rising intonation) to the initial squeeze - almost all horses are trained to respond to verbal commands before anybody ever so much as leans over their backs; so it's often possible to get a much more consistent response from your voice than your leg on a horse that's used to ignoring novice riders flapping about a bit.
 

Shay

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Riding school horses can need more leg than a privately owned horse. They learn quite quickly that the riders can't always make them work. Kids ponies can learn the same.

You are not likely to hurt him - especially if you are worried about doing so. Ideally on a riding school horse I would expect a sharp "nudge" from the heel to suffice. A squeeze probably isn't going to do it. You should ideally just squeeze of course; but riding school horses with complete beginners would be shooting off all over the place if they responded to someone who gripped with their knees. If he doesn't respond to a single nudge you could try a firm double nudge - tap, tap in quick succession. On instructors advice you could also tap him sharply with the stick - but never to hit him. Its a back up- not a punishment.

Learning to make a riding school horse go is one of the main challenges you'll face in the early days. Take heart - you'll get there!!
 

oldie48

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Unfortunately the majority of horses that are suitable for RSs won't go on a squeeze as many beginner riders are quite unbalanced initially and are likely to be squeezing just to keep their balance. The instructor should know the horse well so is the best person to ask about how to get trot but I'd go for nudge with heels, a couple of harder but quick nudges, a good pony club kick then follow up with a sharp tap on the bum if you are still not in trot. RS horses won't be overly sensitive so I shouldn't worry about having to use much stronger aids than is ideal but it can be quite frustrating as it's difficult to develop a good position if you are working too hard just to keep the horse "going"
 

ILuvCowparsely

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Hello,

I'm very new to riding horses. I have just had my 4th lesson and I am really starting to enjoy it. So far we have learnt to start, stop, turn, trot and I have now been learning the rising trot.

Today I had horse named Robbie, who is a bit of a rebel. Every time I tried to get him to "trot on" he would simply carry on walking and ignore me, even when I nudged him with my feet, or was given the whip to give him a tap. My RI kept telling me to kick him and encourage him, but still to no success. He refused to trot for a long time. She has shown me previously how to use my feet but I still feel like I am missing something. Should it be a kick or a squeeze? Or a combination of both? I don't want to do it too hard and wrong and hurt him.

Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
I was always told to nudge

Never squeeze as he is not an orange and makes rider tense up as they interpret this as gripping tight, kick also were told not to use as clients take legs off and kick or kick with the heel thus turning their knee out, and lose the shoulder hip heel line. They may use different terms now but this is my training

It is the inside of the leg that has to be closed on round the horse and instruct him forward.
 
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longrunnerbeauty

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Thank you everyone for you replies! They are really helpful.:)

I did get a pony last week who responded to voice commands like "walk on" or "trot on" to the point he would start before I'd even finished saying it. This did feel like I was cheating though. I think I should be learning to use physical aids for control as opposed to verbal. I would mcuh rather learn the correct techniques than get into bad habbits. (I got into a lot of bad habbits with learning piano that then caused problems around exam time, and they were harder to correct after a long time!)

I think my partners pony responds to him squeezing as opposed to kicking. So I guess it just depends on the pony/horse, they have a lot at our RS. So just to get technical - with squeezing is it just from the knee down? Or squeezing with the foot/heel? And is kicking with the heel angled inwards? When I first started I was moving my legs back and kicking almost behind me, which my RI told me not to do. It has also taken me the 4 lessons to learn to keep my heel down and flat so I don't want my kicking to ruin that.
 

Meredith

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I'm not going to give you any advice about riding because I know I'll express it wrongly, but I think that by asking on this forum and thinking about the replies you are beginning a new adventure in the best way. Remember though with riding and horses you never stop learning. Enjoy.
 

Damnation

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Thank you everyone for you replies! They are really helpful.:)

I did get a pony last week who responded to voice commands like "walk on" or "trot on" to the point he would start before I'd even finished saying it. This did feel like I was cheating though. I think I should be learning to use physical aids for control as opposed to verbal. I would mcuh rather learn the correct techniques than get into bad habbits. (I got into a lot of bad habbits with learning piano that then caused problems around exam time, and they were harder to correct after a long time!)

I think my partners pony responds to him squeezing as opposed to kicking. So I guess it just depends on the pony/horse, they have a lot at our RS. So just to get technical - with squeezing is it just from the knee down? Or squeezing with the foot/heel? And is kicking with the heel angled inwards? When I first started I was moving my legs back and kicking almost behind me, which my RI told me not to do. It has also taken me the 4 lessons to learn to keep my heel down and flat so I don't want my kicking to ruin that.

We all use voice aids! Even top dressage riders admit to using voice commands when the judge can't hear them. If it helps then use it. I would rather use a voice command then constantly kick!

The trouble with RS horses is that they are used for so many riders that kick, pull, are not balanced etc, that they become a bit "numb", they really do put up with alot!

If you ride a privately owned horse you will understand what I mean, if I even squeezed my horse I would be in the next county, I tense my calves slightly and we are well away!
 
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