Andrew McLean, who is a very well known animal behaviourist and very interesting to listen to, suggests that to understand why leg aids work is through negative reinforcement, which is, removing something that the horse does not like, such as leg pressure.

The different responses to the leg are learned by pressure and release. Pressure is the motivator producing the required response, and release is the reward. Horses are flight animals, so it is important to ensure that light aids come before stronger ones, and they replace the stronger ones very quickly as the horse learns to react as we wish.

When you ask the horse to go from walk to trot as an example, ask with the lightest touch of the leg and wait for one second, and then if no response happens, repeat the pressure with more leg action. The horse soon learns what will happen if he does not respond. We as riders, have to remember not to use the stronger aid when it is not needed, as this dulls the quick response as the horse puts up with the pressure, and we then call him lazy.

The leg can be used with different actions as well. To encourage the horse to relax his muscles, put the flatter, wider part of the leg against him so that he lifts his ribcage. To sharpen him up, then a quick use on a small area in needed.

NEWS
After posting Kelly’s photos last time, she went out and got her first test over 63% so many congratulations to her.
If anyone knows of a horse that is sound and a fun ride (that does not mean mad!) It would be a great home.
I am posting a photo of Georgina with Flint, who has not been the easiest to motivate, but Georgina is doing a great job and the progress is obvious.

Dale Lassetter Dressage Georgina with Flint

Georgina with Flint