From The Masters of Dressage
Horse-quotes from one of the great riding masters of the 1800's, manages to explain in a clear manner, this very tricky subject of communicatiing with the horse through The Aids.
Horse-Quotes--- about The Aids: Gustav von Dreyhausen
"Some riders don’t realize that a condition …for a successful communication with the horse is on the one hand to apply the aids with increasing intensity, as needed, and on the other hand to cease the aid as soon as it is effective, regardless of whether it is a seat, leg, or rein aid."
"Every aid can achieve the exact opposite of its intended effect through exaggeration and poor timing. The continual rein aid lets the horse get stuck and resistant. The poorly timed or rough driving calf can bring disorder into the legs, the gait. The seat that drives too long and too intensively makes the horse roll away on the forehand."
"It is too often forgotten that the horse is no automaton, no machine. He may react mechanically to mechanical aids. But he will react correctly only if they are applied at the right time and with the right intensity. The rider must “listen into the horse”, in order to judge when the moment for an aid has come, which aid is needed and how intense it must be. He must know how to create or wait for the right circumstances, to prepare the horse. Otherwise, even the greatest physical skill and strength would not help him. Being able to let the horse carry oneself correctly under any circumstances, and being able to wait is perhaps the greatest art in riding. One needs first of all a quiet, supple, and firm seat. Any major deviation from the basic form that has been recognized as correct will entail a mistake in the aids and consequently also in the horse’s gait." ~ Gustav von Dreyhausen
Horse-quotes .... The Aids: Theodore Heinze
"The term "aids" refers to the impressions that the rider makes on the horse' s body and mind, which serve to communicate the rider's will to the horse, addressing the horse's sense of touch, hearing, and vision. The aids are subdivided into noticeable and unnoticeable ones, or strong ones and light (gentle, soft, hidden) ones."
"Among the noticeable ones are:
a) The click of the tongue, which is produced by arching the tongue upward to the palate, followed by a sudden withdrawal with a slightly open mouth. The click of the tongue is used to wake up the horse in the gaits, to collect, and to draw his attention to the stronger aid or punishment that would follow if he ignored it. However, the tongue clicking may not be used too often, because the horse becomes gradually indifferent to the constant sound of the tongue, and because it is annoying and indecent, especially in the presence of other riders, whose spirited horses become even more agitated by it. It is also considered an indecency when a person on foot wants to help and support a rider with uninvited tongue clicking.
b) The voice. It is used with a calming tone, with or without stroking or gently patting the neck, the shoulder, or the loin with one hand. With a strict or admonishing tone the voice is raised with naughty, unwilling horses, in order to prevent further antics and to let them know with determination that otherwise a serious reprimand is not far away.
c) Swishing with the birch switch is also an activating aid which is applied by keeping the right hand next to the left one, moving the switch lightly and swiftly from side to side above the horse's neck. The rule is to start with a soft noise that gradually swells in order not to startle the horse.
d) Dropping the whip gently onto one shoulder or the other is an encouragement for the horse not to lag behind with the one shoulder or the other, which is why this aid is also applied in the side saddle for the canter depart.
e) The touch of the lower leg, the most prominent aid, is used to drive the horse forward, to speed up his gait, and to balance him.
f) The feel of one lower leg is applied to prevent the wobbling horse from leaving the track, or to ask him to move in the opposite direction, if the pressure is sustained. The lower legs have to be applied so that the shinbones are closer to the horse's belly than the calves, because if the latter is the case, the legs have to be rotated outward too much, twisted, and the spurs come too much underneath the horse's belly. Following the principle of the balance of the horse's body, according to which the center of gravity is supposed to fall underneath the rider, and the rider forms the lever to maintain the horse machine in balance and to set it in motion, the lower leg aids are best applied at the saddle girth, always gradually increasing and in a screwing motion. Only in exceptional cases are the lower legs applied in front of or behind the girth, which will be explained in due course.
g) Touching the horse's forearms beneath the elbow with the toes is also a driving aid. One uses it to activate the front end, to make the horse who is behind the bit accept the bit, etc. Touching the forearm with the toe is used especially with young, untrained or spoilt horses, in order to ask one shoulder or the other to reach forward more regularly. However, the aid of the toes against the forearms is to be applied and to be allowed only in exceptional cases.
h) The touch of one or both spurs is used to make the horse more aware of the calf pressure. This aid is applied with lowered toes, but not with the toes turned out, because otherwise the spurs touch the too ticklish areas underneath the belly and the horse would be provoked to kick and to engage in other antics. This aid should only be used rarely as well, as it is very effective when it is applied sparingly. However, used too often, it can easily produce the ugly habit of tail swishing."
Horse-Quotes...The Un-Noticeable Aids
"The unnoticeable aids are the following:
a) The subtle movements of the hand that have already been described and which a skilled rider has to apply on a well trained horse.
b) The pressure with both thighs and knees, which encourages the sensitive horse to go forward.
c) The pressure of one thigh and knee is applied to keep the horse on the straight line, when he comes in too much with one hind leg, or to ask him to move sideways, if the pressure is sustained.
d) Pushing the hips forward, together with a slight backward inclination of the torso and the pressure of both knees (depending on the horse's lesser degree of sensitivity both calves squeeze with a screwing motion and gradually increasing intensity during this excellent aid) collects the horse, if the hand resists at the same time. An excellent, extremely effective aid for the skilled rider!
e) The pressure by the ball of the foot onto both stirrup irons. This is applied in order to keep the horse on a straight line or to activate the gait.
f) An increased pressure into one stirrup, on the other hand, brings the horse who had started to wobble on a straight line back onto the track, and the sustained pressure on one stirrup makes him step sideways. However, the aids of the knee pressure and stirrup stepping require the most sensitive horses, whereas on insensitive horses they remain without the desired success." ~ Theodore Heinze "Pferd und Reiter oder die Reitkunst in ihrem ganzen Umfange".
Horse-Quotes for Riders
Horse-Quotes for Training
Return to --Horse-Riding-Tips ...The Aids