Palm Partnership Training™

Building a Partnership with Your Horse

lynn palmThe goal for both the bending and turning aids is to control the horse’s body position and his balance. We will use a circle pattern to demonstrate how to correct one of two common problems that occur when trying to keep a horse straight through a turn. This week we will cover the problem called falling out. Many horses have a natural tendency to fall out when turning. It may be more of an issue when turning in one direction rather than the other. It is the rider’s responsibility to anticipate this and know how to correct it using the turning aids.

Start at the walk and prepare to bring the horse on a large circle to the right. Remember this “golden rule” of riding: to turn correctly the rider must get the horse bending correctly first. Before the turn bend the horse using the bending aids (the inside leg and open inside rein) while supporting the bend with the outside leg slightly further back than the inside leg on the horse’s barrel and outside indirect rein against the neck to position him. Use the turning aids, the outside leg and outside indirect rein, to direct him through the turn and follow the circle.

As the horse is turning, if he travels too far off the curve and drifts to the outside (in this example to the right), we say he is falling out. He has lost the proper bend in his body. His head has gone too far to the right while his shoulders and hindquarters have left the arc of the circle to the outside or the left. To correct this, use the left leg to bring the body and hips back to the circle. Use the left rein to bring his shoulders back to the right and on the circle, and to straighten the head and neck from being too far to the right. You still have to support the horse bending right with the right leg and open right rein. Maintain the direction using the bending aids, supporting them by actively using the turning aids.

Change directions through the middle of the circle and repeat this exercise to the left. Use the bending aids (the inside leg and open inside rein) and support the bend with the outside leg and outside indirect rein against the neck. Use the turning aids to ask for the change in direction at the same time properly bending the horse to follow the arc of the turn. If the horse falls out in this direction, use the right leg and right rein to correct the problem. To maintain balance of the horse going to the left, keep the bending aids active (left leg and left rein) and more actively use the turning aids (the right leg and right indirect rein).

Your Next Step…

Once you have practiced controlling falling out on the circle at the walk, repeat the exercise at the trot. The bending and turning aids will be applied in the same manner as at the walk. Keep the horse forward at the trot with the inside leg and use it as the primary bending aid. The inside rein flexes the head inward while the outside leg and rein are the primary aids to keep the horse turning. If he falls out in either direction, use the outside leg and direct outside rein to bring him back on the circle’s arc. Maintain the bend of the horse with the inside leg and inside rein.

The key to success of controlling the horse’s balance from falling out is to recognize where it is happening on the circle. Most commonly a horse falls out as he is going away from a gate, barn, his pasture or paddock. The rider needs to anticipate this. It is a natural tendency for every horse because his herd instinct encourages it. As the next circle comes around if you remind yourself to turn sooner, before the point where the horse tends to fall out, you will improve his balance from falling out.

Lynn’s Training Tip…

My bridleless exhibitions on “My Royal Lark” have caused many riders to ask me if they can learn to ride “bridleless, too.” The answer is YES, if you learn how to do it safely and properly. I like to call this “learning to ride from the waist down” since it demands the effective use of leg and seat aids, rather than the rider’s hands. It’s fun and your horse will love it too!

Bridleless training benefits your riding, too, no matter what type of horse you have or the riding discipline you enjoy. The important benefit of the rider’s use of seat and leg aids is stressed, taking the emphasis off the hand aids, which allows the rider to communicate more clearly with the horse. You become a more confident rider and improve any rider balance problems through your hands. You’ll learn to “read” your horse and understand where he carries his natural balance.

At the clinics at our farm, we will show you bridleless training, which provides excellent training techniques for older horses, for horses that have problems accepting a bit, and for horses that show signs of resistance as a way to get them to slow down and accept what they are doing. I demonstrate the steps that must be followed and carefully evaluated before you advance. Ground training, numerous types of maneuvers, and many steps of training are involved in this unique method.

This can help you mark a new beginning in the relationship you have with your horse. It’s a great training tool to use to add new life to your daily training, sharpen communication with your horse, and develop trust between the two of you.