Hi, Warwick Schiller has a clinic in Aberystwyth this weekend organised by Kathy Price . Fence sitting tickets are available on day (Saturday & Sunday). Please would you consider allowing this information on your facebook page? ... See MoreSee Less
Horses can become desensitised to constant pressure and a lack of release. This can show up with horses that have become dull to the leg aids or dull to the reins. Horses that have become dull can become more sensitive if you understand how applying pressure and releasing pressure affects desensitising and sensitising.
Knowing that pressure can motivate but it’s the release that teaches can help to prevent horses getting dull, or help them to become more sensitive again.
Constant gripping or nagging with the legs will desensitise a horse – instead develop an independent balanced seat and release & quit leg aids when you get the desired response from your horse. Wearing spurs can improve sensitivity, but horse’s can easily become dull to these too if understanding and skill are not taken in the application and release of pressure.
Continual, firm pressure on the reins will also desensitise the horse to the feel of the bit. Ensure the reins are not being used for balance – instead develop an independent balanced seat, and release/soften fingers on reins when you get the desired response from your horse. If riding with a connection/contact with both reins, be aware of whether your connection is neutral (so horse can differentiate when you activate a rein for communication) or constantly active (which could cause horse to become desensitised to the reins). There is value to being able to ride on a loose rein as well as with connection with the reins.
Getting your hands in time with your horse’s feet will help even more as the horse is in the best position and balance to be able to respond.
Developing your horse’s impulsion so that your horse can maintain walk, trot and canter without constantly being pushed with the legs, or held back with the reins is also a consideration.
A useful quote to consider; “Absentmindedly holding the reins too tightly – pressure without purpose dulls the aids.” - Melanie Smith-Taylor from her book ‘Riding with Life’ a helpful and practical horsemanship publication I can thoroughly recommend.
**Shropshire based Horsemanship coach Sally Brett - available to teach lessons & workshops throughout the Midlands & Wales. Find out more about Sally here;