Make sure your horse reacts to light leg aids. Your goal is to “whisper” with your aids and have your horse “shout” his response—Not the other way around!

To check that your horse reacts to light leg aids:

  • Close both legs and see if he immediately responds with a surge from behind as if he’s going to do a lengthening.
  • If he doesn’t, correct him by tapping with the whip or bumping with your legs to send him forward. (The intensity of the correction depends on the sensitivity of your horse.)
  • Then slow down, and RETEST. Ask for the lengthening again with an aid as light as a mosquito bite. (Remember, your horse can feel a fly on his side so he can feel very light aids IF you train him to react to them.)

The key here is to RETEST. Otherwise you’re just teaching him to go forward to the “correction” not from the light aid.