Horse Training Tips – How to Feel Your Horse’s Hindlegs

Hrse training tips, How to feel your horse, dressage training, straight horse, laura kelland-may, horse trainer ottawa, horse trainer canada

You Can Feel Which Hindleg is Behind

What ever stage you are riding, you can improve by learning to feel what your horse is doing. If you are an ‘educated’ rider, then feeling which hindleg your horse has left behind will mean you can ask him to take a step forward into a square halt.

If you are a novice rider, developing your feel will give you a head start in preparation for more advanced levels.




How to Educate Your Seat When Horse Training

You can feel which hindleg your horse has left behind at the halt through your seat. Begin at the walk and halt.

  • Stay relaxed and sit in the centre of the saddle. Ask your horse to halt.
  • Once halted, feel which side of your seat and legs feel sightly lower than the other. If your horse halts with one hindleg behind the other, his pelvis will be slightly lower on that side. And your seat bone will be slightly lower as well. This will be even more accentuated if your horse is resting a hind leg.

If you need help ask a friend to watch. When halted stay centred and decide if your horse is halted:

  1. Square
  2. Left leg behind (your left seat bone will be lower)
  3. Right leg behind (your right seat bone will be lower)

Once you have decided, ask your friend to confirm.


Some people find it easier to feel if they close their eyes to feel their seat bones.

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How do you teach your riders to feel what their horse is doing underneath them. Do you have a tip to share with us about how you learned to feel the horse?




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About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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2 Responses to Horse Training Tips – How to Feel Your Horse’s Hindlegs

  1. Anne Gage says:

    Good post, Laura. I teach adult riders and find that when they can’t feel their horse’s movement, it’s because they have too much tension in their hips. I ask them to close their eyes (at the walk) and feel when one hip drops. When they can feel that movement, I ask them to feel when that same hip moves forward. They can only feel the movement when they release tension from their seat/hips. Once they feel the movement of their own hips, they can connect it to the movement of the horse’s hind feet. It’s great watching them “get” the connection. I wrote a blog post about doing this

  2. Laura says:

    Thank you Anne for your comments.
    I find some riders who just look for their posting diagonals just as a result of habit. After posting this out, them looking down, and the reasons why it is not a good thing to do, they teach themselves to feel.

    I agree, having riders close their eyes, is a great way to teach them to feel. Even doing ‘off horse’ exercises is a way to teach riders what happens when they drop their head, lift their hip or stretch their leg.


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