Say goodbye to the days of constantly kicking your horse. Get your horse in front of your leg by teaching them what this aid really means. You shouldn’t have to squeeze, squeeze, squeeze! Your horse should react to a light leg aid. If they don’t, try these exercises.
In Front of Your Leg?
Basically, when you apply leg pressure to the sides of your horse they should immediately respond to the aid. This could be a transition into a faster gait or yielding sideways. The aid should be light, as easy as a squeeze from your calf!
A Few Exercises
1. Transitions: Try a few walk-trot-walk transitions. Give your horse the benefit of the doubt by asking lightly first. If they don’t response, quickly ask again with a firm approach this time.
2. Extending & Collecting: Within each gait request more and less throughout the arena. A good idea is to ask for extension down the long side and collection before the corner and through the short side. Your horse should quickly propel forward when you apply pressure.
3. Ground Poles: Encourage your horse to actively approach and step over a series of ground poles. When spaced correctly, they help your horse find impulsion and energy. Trying new exercises can often cause a lazy horse to spark up.
4. Practice: Lazy horses tend to resort back quickly! You need to constantly re-test their reaction to your leg aid. It could be as simple as doing a few transitions in the beginning of your ride. Let your horse know from the start they need to be in front of your leg.
Be patience and keep practicing! It can take time to establish what your leg aid means.