Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Creating a Box

When your horse travels around in frame, he is staying within the boundaries all of your aides. The way I best explain this is as an imaginary box. The front of the box is your bit and he is behind the bit. The sides of the box are you reins and legs; he is between your reins and between your legs. The back of the box is the drive from your seat. Mentally I picture that those aides form a box around my horse. When I am giving no particular cue to my horse, I want an idle position where he is not making contact with any of my aides, a home position, if you will. As I ask him to steer, or stop, or leg yield, I picture that portion of the box shifting accordingly. My goal is to train my horse respond to the pressure in a way that moves him back in a home position where the pressure release comes from him hunting the freedom that being within the box allows. (In the picture I am using my left leg to press Stetson back between my reins.) If there is a place where my horse is resisting, I ask myself, which portion of the box is receiving the pressure. I then break down that piece of the box and lighten up that part of their body.