You have all seen the Kids kicking their Fat Ponies to Go but nothing happening? That perfectly typifies the failure in Horse Training when we start any Aid up the scale.
It has been found and proven by Horse Trainers through the Ages, that the most successful way to train a Horse is using the application of ‘pressure and release’ This accompanied by “Advance and Retreat’ and Reward and Relief’.
To be the most successful you can be with Training or Riding Horses, I recommend you follow what I call the ‘Scales of Training’. Have a look at this
Put simply, this is what you should be trying to achieve:
Every time you ask for anything from a Horse, start at a Zero and work up, but working up means going to 1, then 2 and so on. Not Zero, 4, 7!!
Then, the next time you ask the same thing or anything, start at a Zero again, then 1, then 2 etc. For the common mistake made by the vast majority of Horse Riders is to START at a 7. As explanation then……
Across the Planet, People mimick the words “an ounce of pressure”, ‘lightness’, ‘softness’ and the like, but few practice it. They try but they don’t follow the ‘Scales of Training’. Virtually every Person that I have met, who have been learning Natural Horsemanship and the majority being from the previous ‘English Roots’, stuff it up by NOT starting at a Zero but a 5,6,or 7.
When training this Game of sending a Horse away backwards from you and then reeling it back in, Pat says “Start on a Zero and then .5, not even 1, then upwards. However, the most ingrained habit of the People from the ‘English Discipline, is that of ‘heaviness’ and this is deeply ingrained in them all by the foundation stones of the British Horse Society systems of training that has been handed down through the Ages, via Military, Mounted Police and Pony Club. Everything about it is to wrestle with the Horse and so when they attempt to convert to ‘Natural Horsemanship’ whicH is based upon ‘lightness’, they only get mediocrity.
To use this as an example then, if you send a Horse out, no matter where on the Scale it moved back and don’t start at a Zero but start say on 6, you will never get the Horse lighter than a 6. So, I see almost all People operating where their Horse will go to walk in and invade their space and they will waggle the Rope, immediately at a 6,7,8 or above. So not starting each time on Zero, reduces their chance of getting a Horse that is in the lower scale.
Each and ever time thereafter, you must start at Zero again for a Horse that was at a 7 last time, might well be a 4 next time but if you start at a 7, that is all you will ever get.
UP THE SCALES
The other major problem that I see People have is that they always stick around the 6 and 7 Level of Pressure. They are never prepared to go to a 10 but believe me, there are many occasions that we should go all the way to 10 to get an answer. They get over awed that it is ‘Natural Horsemanship‘ that they are learning and that therefore, all things should be down the Scales. In the real World, this is not so.
So be prepared to use 0 – 10 but start always and every next time, at Zero.
TRANSLATED TO OTHER AIDS
The same ‘Scales of Lightness’ should therefore be carried out for “Leg Aids’ – Whip Aids – The Bit in the Mouth and more. It is all relevent. You wonder why your Horse is ‘Dead to Leg’?…..because the Leg has been operating up the scale, pushing the Horse, Kicking the Horse and you have trained the Horse to be “dead to Leg’ and making you do all the work. By the way, that is typical Australian in Dressage, versus the Dutch who ride with no ‘Leg on’.
So no matter what the Training of the Horse, be it riding, pulling on Reins, Legs on, Spurs, Whips or whatever, if you don’t follow the principal of the ‘Scales of Lightness’, you will have a Heavy and Dead Horse.
Best of Luck
Hi There, My name is Kelly, I am 38, and I have purchased my self a little standardbred mare, she is rising 12, she is the lovely girl, she was an AI mare, I have had her now for 6mths, she is going super well!! No thanks to me, mostly my daughter, who is 14, anyway, I am getting back into the saddle after loads of time out, my balance really is weak! So frustrating! My mare is not overly forward, for me anyway, she has been riddern in spurs both western and english, because she didnt like a crop, so we never tried to persist with it, because my daughter has great leg strength, and core strength as well, she can have a really forward ride, but I dont, because im trying to get my nerve back, I ride in my western saddle, which I love! – I will ride english, but just not now, I like that I am in the seat! I would like to ride her in my spurs, just to help me maintain trott, and to help keep her to the out side rein, I have used spurs before, so I know when to use and when to hold, I dont want to use a crop I hate them, and Im thinking its too much in my hand? Im really short, and im training for core strength- thanks to the gym, but I also wondered if you had things to do while I am on board, to help with balance and core strength? I cant watch alot of your stuff from the computer, because mine is too slow, can you tell me what DVds i should purchase, and or books I can read? Wish you guys were not sooo far away! Thanks so very much, Kelly
Hi Kelly…..yes the price one pays for Kids ey? The bottom line Kelly, is that the Horse shouldn’t need Leg at all, let alone Spurs. It sounds like it has been desentized by Riders supporting the Horse too much, with “Leg On’ and pushing ever more, all along. You really need to go back to square one, get the Legs off, ride with a Whip behind the Leg and preferably below the Hip but with training with sophistication which will mean attention tod detail and dilligence by You….NEVER breaking the Rules of ‘The Scales of Lightness”The Scales of Horse Training
You would do this at the Walk. Ask with Leg on lightly, FOR A MOMENT, re-enforcing with the Whip the moment the Horse doesn’t listen or well enough. Build upon that in every way, to train the Horse that the supporting Leg won’t be there any more, only temporarily, to send new signals. You see, You can’t train Horses up the Scale when You begin to intro leg yields, bend and other, if You already have Your Legs clamped onto the side of the Horse. Regards