Q & A

I get lots of emails a week on different problems.  Reading about other people’s specific problems can really help you with your own. Check out my answers here – which include links to blog posts I think will help to tackle each problem.

“My horse hangs on my left rein and refuses to bend. Help please!”

Posted by on 2-02-18 in Q & A, stiff on one rein, straightness | 0 comments

My horse bends easily to the right but refuses to bend left! All her weight leans on the left rein and the left side of her body is like a plank – she just won’t bend around my leg. I’ve tried dropping the contact and kicking her off my left leg but it just makes her worse. I’d love to try some Preliminary dressage this year but not while she’s like this. Any tips?   A horse stiffens because it can feel tension from the rider, so your horse is tightening up because she can feel stiffness in your arm and body. Imagine...

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The Harder I Try the more I Bounce in Sitting Trot!

Posted by on 2-02-18 in Q & A, sitting trot | 0 comments

I’m really struggling with sitting trot. I know I’m sitting up so why isn’t my weight glueing my seat to the saddle? Sitting trot can be a problem as you make progress. Remember when you tried learning how to do rising trot – or canter? It’s just the same. The harder you try the more difficult it becomes and a vicious circle begins. Panic not! The way you think about sitting up straight really can make a difference to the way your seat sits in the saddle. If you think ‘shoulders back, back straight’ you’re far more likely to tense up, tighten...

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My horse’s paces are scoring well but our halts are a nightmare! Can you cure a fidget?!

Posted by on 2-02-18 in Q & A | 0 comments

I’m really pleased with my dressage results this season – apart from one thing – our halts! Why, when my horse gets 6s and 7s for his walk, trot and canter, are we throwing marks away when it gets to the end of our test? Our last test finished with a 3! The quieter I try to sit the more he fidgets. Do you have any ideas that can help me sort this out? As you are very aware the final halt does matter. It’s the last impression the judge has of you before they write up your collective scores – and that can make a huge difference to your final...

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My horse rushes in canter and leans in on the corners. Help!

Posted by on 1-01-18 in canter, canter execises, canter exercises for a fast horse, leaning, leaning on the bit, Q & A, rein contact | 0 comments

“My mare is very fast in the canter and not just fast, extremely heavy and leans to the inside a lot. She speeds around corners and can’t seem to hold herself for long on long sides. She also takes hold of the bit so there is a constant heavy contact which makes it impossible to half halt or stop. If I let the reins go she just gets faster and I have to take them up again to stop.”    I feel your frustration! Leaning and running on in canter is a common problem and often the things you try to correct it only make things...

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“My horse is steady & safe but why won’t she stop or stand still?!”

Posted by on 12-12-17 in knees, lazy horse, lazy horses, Q & A | 0 comments

“I have a horse on loan that is a good confidence giver but she’s not very responsive to my aids. Although I only hack her I’d like her to stop, stand still and go when I ask her. Any tips?” This is a common problem with horses that are good for your confidence – often they’re not too sharp but they’re also slow to respond when you want to stop – so although your horse isn’t going to disappear into the back of beyond with you, she’s still ignoring your aids to stop! Not having a school is not a problem for problems like yours because all you...

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My horse is always bent the wrong way – why?!

Posted by on 12-12-17 in bend, bending your horse around your leg, body, Q & A | 0 comments

“When I turn, go round corners or circle my horse is always looking to the outside. My instructor keeps telling me I need more inside leg but that just makes him go faster. How can I make him look where we are going?!”   Your horse is basically doing what he thinks you’re asking him to do! But don’t worry – that’s a good thing because it means you can do something about it! Your instructor is right but unless you have control of your horse’s whole body, a bit more inside leg is just telling him...

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My Horse Can’t Canter Left!

Posted by on 12-12-17 in canter transitions, Q & A, wrong leg | 0 comments

My horse canters beautifully on the right rein but, on the left, we have a 50/50 success rate for getting the correct lead – and if we do get it he’ll hop onto the wrong leg halfway round the school. My friends say he needs to get stronger on the left rein – how can I do that?   You say you’ve considered saddle, back and teeth so there’s clearly something else going on here because he’s happy to canter on the right rein. Typically, problems like these, stem from the rider but that’s good news! It means you can do something about it. Most...

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“My horse has two personalities – please help!”

Posted by on 11-11-17 in bolting, Q & A | 0 comments

“I’ve had my horse for over a year now and things are getting worse not better. Sometimes when I ride her she’s as good as gold but other times she bucks and rears and bolts back to the donkeys in the field next door! My parents want to sell her but I’m not ready to give up on her. Help!”   This doesn’t sound much fun for either of you! Often problems like this come up because neither the horse or the rider know which one of them is supposed to be in charge. (Note to all riders out there –...

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“My horse only moves forward when I’m pushing – if I relax for a second she stops. Any ideas – please?!”

Posted by on 8-08-16 in lazy horse, Q & A | 0 comments

“I have a new horse. She’s unfit and quite green. I’ve had plenty of experience (5 years) but I’ve never had a green horse before and I could do with some pointers on how to keep her going without having to kick all the time.” This is such a great question – and actually the whole reason I started my blog. So many riders know what they want to achieve but just need pointing in the right direction. I’m not usually one to push my schooling guides but I’m going to give you the link to one which has...

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My horse is leaning on my hands. He’s over 17hh so it’s hard to hold him up! Any ideas?

Posted by on 4-04-16 in leaning, leaning on the bit, Q & A | 0 comments

“Dressage judges always comment that my horse tends to lean – especially in canter. He’s a big horse and I’m struggling to get him to stop. Have you got any ideas?! Your horse is obviously a big lad and there’s a lot of horse to ride! Don’t be put off – there are some changes you can make that will make a huge difference straight away. He needs to rebalance his weight further back onto his hocks – at the moment he’s just tipping onto his front end and that’s what you’ll be feeling on the end of your reins. It’s...

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