Tag Archives: Inside leg use in dressage

Falling In

 How difficult and confusing is ‘ falling in ’ for a rider?

When a horse is falling in, it’s the horse that’s not following the track of the circle or corner, right?  After all, you have set your course, it’s a 20m circle, which somehow becomes smaller with every stride or begins to resemble an egg shape as you feel the horse fall in at certain points and attempt corrections.  Those of us who have experienced our horses falling in usually wait until it happens and then correct it.  Nothing wrong with that you may say, but there is a better way; another Eureka! moment for me in my training which requires a slight change of mindset and a good helping of focus.

Firstly, you should experiment with the give and retake of the rein to establish whether your horse can maintain his balance on a circle without you holding him there with the reins; in this exercise he should remain on the circle.  If not, the issue is from your horse’s inability to balance himself while being ridden on a circle, or indeed a straight line.  We have all experienced the centre line that starts at A and finishes somewhere left or right of C, haven’t we?Falling In

If your automatic reaction to the sensation that your horse is falling in is to push the inside rein against the horse’s neck in an attempt to ‘neck rein’ him out onto the circle or worse, if you’re crossing your hand over his neck to ‘ultra neck rein’ him out to the circle; or even if you have learned to drag the horse out with your outside rein, you have skipped a fundamental lesson in your training and need to go back to basics.

Continue reading Falling In

Corner – Hands, Legs and Oops a Daisy

Do you ever feel like you want to pull your inside rein to the outside on a corner?

This is a clear indication that you are not utilising your inside leg effectively.  Ooops!  Not your fault though, what is happening is that your brain is telling your hand that you need more bend, you are not sufficiently habituated to engage the leg and so the hand takes over in an effort to prevent the horse’s shoulders from falling in.  This will happen because your leg is not pushing the ‘middle’ of the horse out or because the horse had not been trained to respond to the leg aid that says “bend in the middle”.

As humans we depend greatly on our hands.  CornerOur arms and hands are our first line of defence for balancing ourselves in everyday life.  Instinct can take over and force you to use your hands for balance as soon as you sense something is not quite right.

Often using your arms and hands to fix a problem or to accomplish your goal is so instinctive that you don’t even realise that this is the very thing that is the cause of the problem.  Instinct is very powerful, as is habit – the combination of instinct and habit will result in the over-use of the hands.  You need to make the habit a good one.

Image by www.sustainabledressage.net

In order to ‘make’ the inside leg do the work you need something to Continue reading Corner – Hands, Legs and Oops a Daisy