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This is a continuation of a series of Articles. 

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part Ten
Part Eleven
Part Twelve

Horse Training - Communication 101
Part  Eleven
By Beverly Whittington

Weight Aids

What are Weight Aids? First you need to remember that the horse reacts to a pressure or aid in a predictable way that is natural or instinctive for a horse. You need to put this into practice when you are applying a weight aid. An often seen mistake is when a rider applies a rein or leg Cue and an inappropriate weight aid. 

For example: 
You are working your horse at the 
shoulder in
To perform the shoulder in correctly, the rider keeps his weight on the outside seat bone. If you shift your weight to the inside seat bone, it forces the horse to move laterally while twisted. The horse will also be likely to drift to the inside instead of maintaining the correct direction of travel. In contrast, when the weight of the body is used correctly, it will increase the horses tendency to step well underneath himself with the inside hind leg as he tries to step under the riders center of gravity.

Centering Your Weight

In order to be effective in the use of weight aids, you need to be aware of WHERE you are caring your weight. One of the best ways to be effective in the use of your weigh, and to achieve the best balance it to "center" your weight. As a riding instructor for many years, I have worked with all types of people in helping them become conscious of their weight placement and how to use the weight aids effectively. One of the best means I have found is "Inserting a crystal ball." 

Once you have your crystal ball turned into a "lead ball" and you can maintain it, you are in a position where you can begin to redistribute your weight to affect the horse. 

Simple Exercises

Put the horse at a walk with mild contact . Sit square in the saddle, insert your crystal ball and fill it. As you ride allow your upper torso and arms from the tip of your fingers through your shoulders to relax. Find your seat bones . Make sure you are maintaining even weight on your seat bones as your horses back moves below you. Pay close attention as the horse moves and you will feel the swing of the body from side to side and back and forth as the hindlegs are lifted and brought under the horse's body. It is important that you allow the small of your back to stay soft and supple to allow your seat to follow this movement. Close your eyes and draw your body upwards from the waist, keeping your back and abdominal muscles strong and elastic, not floppy and not rigid. Stay relaxed, and focus on not clutching with your legs. 

Apply a weight aid by putting more weight on one seat bone. As you do so, the hip on the same side will slightly sink down and the knee position be a bit lower. You should feel your horse begin to "drift" in that direction. You will need to work on this, as the horse must be "tuned" to respond to the subtle cue you are giving.


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