Stop Nagging Your Horse!!

Are you guilty of nagging your horse? I think we all are sometimes…

I sometimes find myself riding around and suddenly wonder why am I kicking and clucking every stride and nothing is happening?!?!

It is really easy to get lulled into this habit and then you are kicking so hard every stride just to keep your horse going. What are you going to do when you need to ride a transition or a half pass or tempi changes?!

Here are some tips for how to install cruise control on your horse so that you can stop nagging:

Step 1 – Get your horse going the speed that you want them to go.

Step 2 – Put your heels down, take your spurs out of your horse, but stay following the motion with your seat.

Step 3 – When your horse slows down without you asking, the correction is that they have to go EVEN FASTER than you originally wanted them to go. For example if you want your horse to trot at 4 mph and they slow down to 3.5 mph, push them up to 6 mph for a half of a lap. There needs to be a consequence for them slowing down more than you wanted!

Here are some things to consider:

  • Notice where in the arena your horse tends to slow down – many horses always slow down when they are headed away from the gate.
  • If your horse makes the mistake of going too fast when you correct them, (like if they canter off when you wanted trot), let them go for a bit.  Don’t right away punish them and bring them back.  If they make the “mistake” of going too forward, this is a good thing!!
  • You must be quick to correct your horse the instant they slow down.  And you must be consistent about this if you want to get your horse to stay in front of the leg.
  • Be sure you have independent aids – when you correct your horse with your legs, you must NOT pull back with your reins and your seat must stay with the forward motion of your horse.

In the end, you want your horse to be a “self going” horse – this is going to be a process if you horse has gotten used to you nagging constantly! You want to use “reminding” aids to keep your horse going forward rather than “supporting” aids.

Hopefully this is helpful!

Let me know in the comments if you find yourself nagging!


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It’s really important whenever you are riding that you have a plan and that you are giving your horse clear direction. You are the leader and getting control of where your horse is going…

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