If your horse knows a behaviour on the ground, it’s a simple process to transfer it to the saddle; you don’t need to teach it again from scratch.
The basic steps are:
1. Think about cues you can use both on the ground and in the saddle to help your horse understand what you’re asking for when you are riding. These include voice cues, rein cues, asking for it in a specific location and having a certain set-up of objects. You want to make it as similar as possible when you ride as it is on the ground.
2. Practice the behaviour on the ground using these cues. This also makes it the ‘hot behaviour’ of the moment and keeps it at the forefront of your horse’s mind. This will mean that she’s more likely to offer this behaviour when you mount.
3. Mount and return to the location or set-up you have just been practicing the exercise at. Give your cues, such as voice or rein cue, as you have practiced on the ground. Reward your horse for any try in the right direction and build from there.
You can see this process in action as I teach Rowan how to rein-back when I’m riding, from a back-up cue on the ground.
The entire session is in our Riding with Connection Home Study Course in the CT Club.
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