In the February 2010 issue of Horse & Rider magazine, Western pleasure trainer Liz Remphrey shared three common pilot-error mistakes frequently made by novice Western pleasure riders. One of the most common errors: sitting to the outside of the saddle during the lope.
To ask your horse to lope off and to keep him loping with his hocks up and his hind end underneath him, you have to use your rail leg. However, if you shift your hips over to the outside of your saddle and put extra weight in your rail-side stirrup, you risk throwing your horse off balance and making his job more difficult.
One reason novice riders mistakenly put extra pressure in their rail-side stirrup is because they feel that they need the extra weight to give their leg cue extra “oomph.” Solve this problem by practicing the inner/outer leg-strengthening exercise available in this downloadable PDF file.
By increasing your leg strength, you’ll be able to effectively cue your horse using your rail leg, while still remaining centered and balanced in your saddle.
See the February 2010 issue of Horse & Rider to read the feature “3 Western Pleasure Fixes.” You can purchase this issue by calling 877-717-8928 . The article available for download was originally printed in the June 2008 issue of our sister publication Practical Horseman.