If your horse doesn’t march with good energy in your free walk or fades too early in your trot and canter lengthenings, try “breathing” your legs during the movement.
To “breathe” your legs:
* Take your legs off of his sides.
* Move them an inch or two back, and place them on lightly again.
“Breathing” your legs does two things.
1. If you’ve been gripping, your horse is probably numb to your legs. Taking your legs off allows you to put them on again lightly so he feels them.
2. Moving your legs back puts them closer to your horse’s “engine” and reminds him to use his hind legs actively.
And, here’s another way breathing your legs can help you. Let’s say you’re coming down the centerline at a show. You halt at X and can feel that your horse is behind your leg. You’re afraid your move-off from the halt is going to be sluggish.
Do 2 things:
1. Breathe your legs.
• Take your legs off of his sides.
• Move them an inch or two back, and place them on lightly again.
2. Push your belly button toward your belt buckle so your body “preceeds” your horse’s actual forward movement.