Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Line through the Lane

(Lesson 1)

Eyes front, you ride your horse in a steady rhythm in a straight line. The action seems simple, but horses tend to wander. To guide a horse in this basic exercise requires you to stay alert to each footfall's tempo and direction. You'll feel more comfortable sitting on your horse as you tune in and pay attention to his strides.



Time Frame---Short

A flat place with footing of slightly soft or damp dirt, at least 60 feet (20m) in length, not too close to a fence or wall.
On the dirt, drive a car, truck, or tractor in a straight line for at least 60 feet (20m). The tire tracks will form the lane you'll use in this lesson. If you don't have access to a vehicle, draw two parallel lines in the dirt, about 6 feet (2m) apart.


Step 1:

Walk to the beginning of your lane and cue your horse to halt. Say "whoa", sit deep pull reins softly, and release rein           pressure. Feel how your horse answered your request. Was he willing or reluctant?

Step 2:

Stand up in the stirrups, and reach forward to touch the horse's neck.

Step 3:

Put your hands on the saddle horn. Still standing, look down at your legs. Are your feet directly under you? You may feel more comfortable with your toes positioned just ahead of your knees.

Step 4:

Settle back down in the saddle, and hold your reins in your left hand.

Step 5:

Reach down with your right hand and touch your knee, thigh, and toe. Keep your balance by pressing down in your left stirrup.

Step 6:

Sit up, and switch the reins to your right hand. Reach down with your left hand and touch your knee, thigh, and toe. Keep your balance by pressing down in your right stirrup.

Step 7:

Sit up, and wiggle your seat into the saddle. Hold the reins in both hands, about 6 inches (15cm) apart.

Step 8:

Ask for a crisp walk. Squeeze with both legs to urge the horse forward. Feel your horse's willingness to respond.

Step 9:

Walk on a straight line in the lane. Listen to the walk. Do you hear the steady rhythm, 1, 2, 3, 4? Feel how you move with the horse?

Step 10:

With your right rein, tip the horse's nose to the right. Pull softly straight back (using the direct rein) to bend his neck slowly to the right, still walking forward. Change the bend gradually without changing cadence, and stay in your lane at the same pace. You may have to squeeze with your legs if your horse slows rhythm.

Step 11:

Maintain the bend for four strides.

Step 12:

Gradually straighten the horse so he moves straight for eight strides.

Step 13:

Repeat the bend in Steps 10 and 11 to the left.

Step 14:

Straighten and continue walking to the end of the lane.








Step 15:

Halt at the end of the lane. Say "whoa" and sit deep. If the horse doesn't stop, bump him with the reins and release.

Step 16:

Stand in place while you count to ten.

Step 17:

Resume the walk, beyond the lane, and do a half-circle to change direction.

Step 18:

Repeat the exercise going in the opposite direction.


Horse Sense


Gallop back to The Horse Lover's Corral

Copyright 1999-2003 The Horse Lover's Corral