not squeezing my thighs....

autumnly321

New Member
Aug 5, 2021
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Hey y'all... I'm a slow learner. I've been riding for longer than I'd like to admit, given my progress, but I can't get my body to do what I want it to. So, please.... can someone share a way to help me learn to give leg without squeezing my thighs? Any tricks, ground exercises, or better ways to visualize it? I also struggle with the coordination of applying leg aids while posting. My lazy lesson horse keeps wanting to stop (maybe partially because I'm clenching my thighs) and my instructor says, "kick, kick!" but it's like patting my head and rubbing my stomach. I can't get the coordination down. I did resort to a dressage whip once (which I don't even need to use on him... he just knows it's in my hand), but I have to learn to do it without.

Unfortunately, the stable where I take lessons is 90 minutes away from my house, so I can only go twice a month. I don't own my own horse to practice things whenever I feel like it, so I try to do as much as I can at home (squats, etc), supplemented by learning as much as I can to apply later.

Thanks!
 

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For the kicking while trotting, instead of kicking as such, try using your lower leg to squeeze and pull you steadily back into the seat on the down phase, that is often enough to get them moving forward.

I’m not entirely sure about the thigh gripping thing, are you possibly trying to squeeze inwards to get motion? >o< I tend to think of legs being around the horse <o>
And I have to squeeze upwards a little with my lower leg. If that makes any sense, perhaps someone else can better describe it!
 
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When I had first riding lessons as a child, there was never any mention of leg. We were supposed to "kick" the pony with our heels. This opens one's thighs to allow the barrell of the horse to move from side to side wiich is a necessary part of the horse's movement.
Rather than Kick, an adult might think of a touch with one's heels. To picture that you could think of riders with spurs on the back of their boots.

When to use the aid in rising trot is a bit of a dilemma. I think I do it as I rise.
 
I'm struggling a bit to picture how you're giving the leg aid @autumnly321 . Are you tense and gripping with your thighs because of that? While you don't want to be doing that you equally don't want to to take them away from the saddle as that leaves you with a very insecure position if the horse does do anything untoward. Try to think of keeping them and the knee soft but in contact with the saddle, which in turn should free up your lower leg for you to use more effectively. I'm not a big fan of kicking, it puts the rider off balance which makes them harder for the horse to carry and that gives a lazy one an excuse to be lazier. As @Jessey describes try thinking of a slightly upward aid a heel nudge, don't underestimate a lively voice aid too. And use your leg when you sit, that way it's supported by your seat - better communication and also you're more secure.

Outside of riding I wonder if pilates or yoga would help with your co-ordination, moving different parts of you separately, and balance? They certainly aren't going to do any harm.
 
Agree with carthorse about voice aids - everyone on here knows how much I bang on about it! My boy is much more responsive to an encouraging "trot on" than to my ever flailing legs.
 
As I type this I realise you can practise the independent movement of your lower leg when you're sitting in a chair. A desk chair is working for me!

Sit upright as if on the horse, with your thighs as wide apart as they are on the horse. Have the chair high enough that only your toe is on the ground. Have your foot at the correct angle, flat or with the heel slightly lower than the toe.

Now just swing your calves and feet from the knee down, like a kid swinging their legs at the table ("Don't do that, Jemima!") I find I can swing each foot independently and without my thighs moving - the only thing that moves is the muscle and tendon above your knee which moves the calf. If you imagine doing this on a horse, you will se that you could use each heel independently to ask the horse to move over or together to ask it to go faster.

On a horse of course you are not sitting as you are in a chair - your thighs are more upright, with your heel below your hip. But it's good practise for the muscles and a way to show yourself you can do it, if you see what I mean.
 
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Get a big exercise ball off amazon. These are great not only for allowing you to isolate certain muscle groups but good for working on your core l. I wonder if some of the issue is a lack of balance = gripping. Either way it wont hurt!
 
Hey y'all... I'm a slow learner. I've been riding for longer than I'd like to admit, given my progress, but I can't get my body to do what I want it to. So, please.... can someone share a way to help me learn to give leg without squeezing my thighs? Any tricks, ground exercises, or better ways to visualize it? I also struggle with the coordination of applying leg aids while posting. My lazy lesson horse keeps wanting to stop (maybe partially because I'm clenching my thighs) and my instructor says, "kick, kick!" but it's like patting my head and rubbing my stomach. I can't get the coordination down. I did resort to a dressage whip once (which I don't even need to use on him... he just knows it's in my hand), but I have to learn to do it without.

Unfortunately, the stable where I take lessons is 90 minutes away from my house, so I can only go twice a month. I don't own my own horse to practice things whenever I feel like it, so I try to do as much as I can at home (squats, etc), supplemented by learning as much as I can to apply later.

Thanks!
hi how hard do you squese do not kik because he pony / horse will now you give u if he dosent listen first sqwees to it harder
 
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