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Re: Looking at a spookie thing

On Wed, 27 May 1998, robyn burgess wrote:

> >using the opposite rein to twitch the horse's head AWAY from whatever 
> >You can use a little leg (on the same side as the spookie thing)
> >behind the girth to keep the horse moving forward
> Wouldn't it be better to "use a little leg" on the opposite side of the
> "spookie thing" to encourage the horse not to move away from the spookie
> thing? 

Generally speaking, when a horse spooks at something, it turns its nose
towards it, and bends its shoulder away (sorta jumps away with its body).
WHen it does so it "jumps into" your outside leg (the leg away from your
outside leg).  If you were riding straight, this would automatically put
the horse's shoulder into your outside leg.  Of course, just as with
anytime the horse shoves its shoulder into your leg, you must push
back...not, however, behind the girth.  The horse's shoulder will be
pushing on your knee.

If you use the leg on the same side as the spookie thing (just a little)
behind the girth, you are a) using that leg to move the HQ over a bit and
straighten the horse, and b) maintaining forward impulsion.  Recognize
that this needs to be just a little leg as a reminder to the horse that
you are there and asking something of it.

If you combine all three things (a little outside rein to straighten the
head, a LOT of outside leg on the shoulder to straighten the shoulder, and
a little inide leg to straighten the HQ) what you are, in essence, doing
is straightening the horse...just as you would if you were straightening
the horse who got bent in this way even if there wasn't something to spook

If you try to apply the outside leg behind the girth you will probably
lose control of the shoulder (it will slip in front of you), and you will
may even lose control of the horse's HQ as it may slip off in the other

Assuming that the horse is spooking at something to the left...

It turns its nose to the left, pops its right shoulder out and forward and
scoots along with the right hind to the left of the right fore.

To straighten this out, you apply the right rein to turn the nose, the
left leg on the shoulder to hold it or push it back underneath you, and
the left leg behind the girth.  This is, in essence, using your inside
rein and outside leg, to get a bend to the right, instead of the left.

Inside rein, outside leg is "basic training" for pretty much all english
riding disciplines and comes under the heading "Elementary Aids" and
should work on just about any horse. (SOmetimes this is called "inside leg
on the girth, outside leg behind the girth.)

> If I did as mentioned above, my horse would make a circle "away" from
> that spookie thing!  I don't want him to move away from it.  As you
> suggested, I want him to just pass by it.  "Trust me, "I" see it, and
> "I" won't let it hurt you!" 

He is probably already "circling" towards it.  By "circling" him away from
it (to use your words), you do it only until the horse straightens out.
Then you ask him to continue forward straight.

However, the other "trick" that you can use on a horse when it spooks at
something on the left is to use LEFT rein, left leg (right leg still
holding the shoulder), bending it towards the spookie thing, however,
doing it in such a way that it has to step under itself properly with its
inside hind and, in essence, properly execute a shoulder in.

Do this for a few strides, then do another shoulder in to the other side
for a few strides and pretend as if the whole thing was your idea from
the start. :)

It is virtually impossible for a horse to resist doing a shoulder in when
it is already in the middle of a "spook" and very nicely bent for you. 

Both of these "tricks" (either straightening the horse or pretending as if
the bend were your idea) require that the horse maintain impulsion and
forward movement, and require that the horse pay attention to you and not
the scary object.

Orange County, Calif.

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