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Think About Your Horses Feet

IMAG0044Do you ever think about your horses feet while your riding? I don’t mean thinking about if it’s time to call the farrier again. I’m talking about thinking about what your horse has to do with his feet to accomplish what you’re asking him to do. You’re timing is real important when asking your horse to do something. Sometimes it can cause a horse to get frustrated if they don’t know what to do with their feet.

Try this sometime. Ask your horse to walk ,then think about the rhythm. Try to get into the rhythm of your horse. Now think about what it’s going to do to your horse’s rhythm if you ask him to change something, such as change directions, or change speed.

A good exercise I practice is, walk my horse ahead ten steps, stop and back up three steps. I try to get this exact. I also try to do this without interfering with the horse’s cadence. Get it to flow, like a swing forward and back.

Another good exercise is walking forward and asking my horse to change directions. Think about directing the feet. Get in time with the feet, think about when the horse is picking each foot up. If you’re going to successfully direct a foot, you need to ask as the horse is picking the foot up. After he’s started to put it down he’s already committed to where he’s going to put it. If you ask then you’re going to interfere with his rhythm.

For example: If I want to turn my horse to the right, I want to ask when the right front foot is leaving the ground. Which is about when the left front foot hits the ground. I think about picking the foot up and placing it out to the right.

With more advanced horses, you can practice this while backing. Back your horse in circles, thinking about placing the inside front foot.

I know this sounds like a lot to think about while riding your horse, but I promise it’s worth the effort. You’ll notice after a while things will begin to flow better. Your transitions will get smoother, and your horse will be happier.