How to Move A Horse Forward Under Saddle

Have you ever had trouble trying to move a horse forward under saddle? 

Example

Move a horse forward under saddle

You’re riding a school horse around the arena at a trot on the right lead. Every time you pass a corner, you put on the correct canter aids. 

Your outside leg comes back behind the girth. Your inside leg stays at the girth. You sit and squeeze both legs together. 

The horse’s trot picks up slightly but he doesn’t break into a canter. After the 4th or 5th time, you give up because your bum is getting sore from sitting in this quickening trot and you need to collect your bearings since your feet are way too far forwards in the stirrups after bouncing around so much.  

After resting a little bit at the walk, you start trotting again. This time, your instructor is waiting up by the next corner. You do all the same aids but this time your instructor clucks and brings her body energy up as the horse comes by. 

The horse immediately breaks into a canter as he passes by her. He holds the canter for about half the arena and then he spontaneously comes back down into a trot despite the fact that you tried to put on leg as soon as you felt him slow and that you were using your seat properly to keep him cantering.

What do you do? 

The Tricks to Move A Horse Forward Under Saddle


First, it’s important to recognize that the horse is actively asking you at that moment: “Do I really have to trot right now?” 

If you have the ability and the willingness to back up your trot request, then your answer is going to be: “Absolutely you have to trot.” 

So what you’re going to do in this situation is the following: 

#1. Ask the horse to trot with by squeezing your legs, your seat and your energy. You can even cluck a few times to give additional encouragement. 
#2. If you get no response, you’re going to keep the pressure on with your legs, you’re going to keep your seat asking and you’re going to give a tap on the horse’s inside shoulder with the crop. It doesn’t have to be hard at all. 
#3. If you still get no response, you’re going to keep the pressure on with your legs, you’re going to keep your seat asking and you’re going to give a tap on the horse’s hindquarters with the crop.
#4. If even now you get no response, you’re going to tap again combined with a kick. Repeat in quick succession a few times if no response.

Let me know if this helps you out, and if you’re now able to move a horse forward under saddle! Or, if you’re having the opposite, and you’ve got a horse that won’t slow down, have a read of this guide!

– Martina 🐴

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