Is he even listening?

To say that Basse and I have slightly different understandings of the meaning of "go forwards" would be an understatement! It has led to plenty disagreements between us throughout the years, but not as much this year simply because I have been 100% consistent on making sure that when I give even the slightly leg aid, he shifts his ass!
It has taken me longer that it should have to realise that I very easily fall into the trap of slightly nagging him, even in silly stuff such as just riding a 20 meter circle in walk! 🙄 But like I've always been taught, to keep the horse in front of your leg you have make sure you are not nagging them, or you will teach your horse to ignore you.  Once I picked up on the fact that I'd be nagging him, I went back to using one small aid followed up swiftly by a sharp-er one if he didn't pay attention. And then being still myself.  I've take away my spurs, but I have my whip which I use to tap him if he doesn't move when I ask him to.

So for the last two weeks I've been doing what feels like a million transitions, mainly walk-trot and walk-canter. Canter figure of eights with a simple change over X have been my favourites, so that now Basse already guesses that he needs to do a canter to walk transition whenever I ride a diagonal 👏🏻 #goodboy! Spending a few weeks paying attention to just my leg aids has really helped me to have an easier time riding him now that he's always thinking go forwards rather than him trying to do the bare minimum and I spend all my energy on nagging him. Both rider and horse are much happier! 🦄
Remember that your horse can feel a fly on his side, so he can totally feel your aid, it's just whether he chooses to listen to it or not!


  1. I could have written this myself! I'm still in the "learning" phase of this process, where I'm learning to catch myself nagging and learning how to fix it.

  2. ha i just took off my spurs and picked up a whip too. as a jump rider i tend to feel slightly differently about a "nagging leg" than if i rode straight dressage.... correct or not, i basically always want my leg ON the horse.... but.... i think there's gotta be a balance there and i'm not quite finding it. so yea. it's a constant effort!