You hear this over and over again, move your horse from the inside leg to the outside rein. Do you really understand that relationship? Anytime you ask your horse to make a turn, a circle, or ride around a corner you need to use that inside leg to outside rein connection.
It is a diagonal aid and a well-trained horse should respond with a soft bend through his ribcage, moving away from the inside leg and arching his body onto the outside aids. Remember it is always off and onto. However if your outside rein is too soft or too tight, the bend the inside leg creates cannot truly happen. I see it often in lessons and clinics, that the inside leg is doing the right thing, but the outside rein does not give the correlating aid to shape the horses body into the bend that would match the track you are on. Remember your outside rein is the Track rein.
Think of your inside leg and outside rein as having a close relationship as if they are attached with a string or a ruler. Whatever you ask of the inside leg has to be received and shaped by the outside rein. Should the rein be too tight the horse cannot arch the side of his neck and shoulder. Is it too loose he can push right through it and your horse would push through the outside shoulder. Imagine that string or ruler to be 10 inches long, as your inside leg ask for the bend, those 10 inches should push against the outside hand and move that outside hand enough to allow the bend to happen. If you would not move the outside hand enough and still keep pushing with the inside leg it would shorten that string or ruler and you would end up with 7 or 8 inches, not enough room for the proper bend. Is the outside rein too loss it would have extended that string or ruler to about 15 inches and the horse would move right through the extra space and his bend would no longer be true to the track.
Whenever you go from that straight line to the bend, make sure the distance between inside leg and outside rein remains true and allows your horse to bend properly instead of getting too stiff because your outside rein doesn’t allow enough for the bend or it is too lose and the horse bulges too far.
Remember practice doesn’t make perfect only perfect practice makes perfect. Speak the language your horse understands. Create a symphony of aids to address all aspects of shaping the horses body so his response is instant willing and soft and invite him to be in Center Balance with you in Rhythm.
Copyright Juliana Zunde2015