Aids Communicat I want to explain the importance of the turning aids and give you some exercises to practice to more effectively use them. This information may be a revelation. It will help improve your transitions and may change your riding forever!
using my outside aids—the right leg and right rein. The job of my inside (left) leg is to keep the horse forward and out on the turn. My inside (left) rein is used to lightly position my horse’s head so he is looking in the direction of the turn. Let’s look at the function of each aid in turning or bending a horse:
Turning or “bending” aids include our hands through the reins and our legs. We use these aids to control the horse’s direction of travel and his body position. The term “bending” may be unfamiliar to some readers. When the bend through the horse’s side is correct, his body conforms the arc of whatever curved line he is on. If a horse is bent properly on a circle, we say he is “straight” because he is properly following the arc of the circle. His hind feet follow in the tracks of the forelegs on a curve. To do this he must bend. The primary aids to turn or bend a horse are the rider’s outside leg and outside rein. The “outside” is the side of the horse opposite from the direction of the turn. For example, if I want to turn my horse in a circle to the left, I turn him
Outside Rein: Functions as the turn-
keeps his hindquarters from swinging out and off the arc of the circle or turn. Inside Rein: Lightly positions the horse’s head in the direction of the turn. Do this by slightly rotate the inside hand as if “turning a key” or “opening a doorknob” and slightly opening the rein in the direction of the turn to position the head. Inside Leg: Positioned at the girth. Helps keep forward momentum and, as my friend and Olympic rider Jane Savoie describes in her wonderful book Cross Train Your Horse; “the inside leg serves as a pole for the horse to bend around.” Now that you have a better idea of how the turning/bending aids are used, here’s an exercise to practice applying them. I’ll walk you though it, describing the use of each aid.
ing rein. It asks the horse to move his shoulders to follow the arc of the circle or turn. When using the outside rein, be careful not to move the outside hand over the crest of the horse’s neck. Outside Leg: Is positioned slightly behind the girth. It helps to bend the horse’s body around the inside leg and
Figure 8’s --- Circles with Change of Direction at the Walk The goal of this exercise is to complete 2 equal sized, medium sized, round circles at the walk in a “figure 8” pattern. Start by asking the horse to walk forward. Begin turning him on the first circle to the left. To follow the circle, turn
4 • HORSES MAGAZINE • July 2018 • Download and View FREE on-line at www.horsesmagazine.com
July 2018 Horses Magazine