Lyons Training 101
Issue Number: Forty-seven
Staying on Track
Keith Hosman, John Lyons Certified Trainer
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Issue Forty-seven, Part 1 of 1
Turn on a Dime and an End to Dropped Shoulders
Does your horse turn precisely - or drift off his path and turn "later rather than sooner"? Does he drop his shoulders through those turns and cause you to feel like your slipping off to the side? Here's how to get sharp - upright - turns.
Does your horse turn on a dime - or does he just sort of veer off in the opposite direction, looking one way while his feet carry him another? Do you ask for a right turn - and feel the horse continuing "in a glide pattern" to the left as if a plane crabbing off course?
Does your horse stay upright through his turns, carrying his shoulders (and therefore, you) in a balanced frame? Or, does he dip a shoulder as if a race car spinning through a hairpin, causing you to have to repeatedly shift uncomfortably in the saddle to retain your equilibrium?
Here's a quick fix you can employ this very day. But first, a little theory. Extend your left arm out fully in front of you at shoulder level. Think to yourself "I want my arm to move to the right." Take your right index finger and try to position your arm for the turn by pushing your left wrist to the left. What will happen is that your arm moves to the left, the hand and wrist trail, pointing off to the right. This is your horse when it looks to the right (due to rein pressure) while continuing to glide to the left. When you push your wrist, it represents you picking up the rein, trying to turn the horse as we have done traditionally, that is, from the front (trying to turn the whole horse by turning his head and neck).
Now, take your right index finger and push your left elbow to the left. Your elbow will move around to the left (think "the horse's hips), the hand (the horse's head) will be pointed the right way - and the horse (your arm) has little choice but to move in the correct direction. It's just the same as a boat when it turns. The rear end does double-duty, both turning and powering the movement.
From now on, then, as you ride be cognizant as to whether your horse is turning tightly as if on a track - or if he's sliding out. The moment you feel this "slop," take the rein...
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End of Issue Forty-seven, Part 1
Read previous article: Training Magic: Release on the Thought
Read next article: Reins Tell Direction, Legs Tell Speed
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Lyons Training 101: Issue Forty-seven, Part 1
"Fixing Dropped Shoulders and Drifting Turns: Turn on a Dime and an End to Dropped Shoulders"
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