Horseproblems Australia
Post Office Box Victor Harbor
SA. 5211
(61) 0885521418




John O'Leary


I got this letter today and contained very good questions. Hence this article:


hi hope you can help me... i have just bought a 15 year old arab pony who will not walk forward by herself. she is used to going riding with other horses from her last owner . she will not walk forward alone and just stands there if she is going by herself but is perfect when she goes with another horse.. please help me as I cannot get other people all the time and need to go by myself .. what am i doing wrong???

ps she is agisted with another horse who doesnt get out

Ness xoxoxoxox

Hi Ness. Generally, this is because of one of four things.

  • First eliminate the Veterinary for one of the first symptoms of Veterinary Problems in the Riding Horse is "coming behind the Leg'
  • Either the Horse is confused due to the inexperience of the Rider, where the Rider is riding with A CONTACT   HELP....I CAN'T LET THE REINS GO!!  (Read that) or
  • the Horse is having it over the Rider and is being obstructionist (however always the fault of Humans)
  • or the Horse wasn't broken in properly in the first place and just doesn't understand leg. Yes, it will follow other Horses but when you ask it it doesn't know what LEG MEANS. Therefore, the best course of action is this:

If the Veterinary is understood, and to assist in this email me for the free E-Book


Get a long Dressage Whip and have it out the back of your hand. Sit on the Horse at the halt. Ask lightly with leg (LIGHTLY) When the Horse doesn't respond, then start LIGHTLY TAPPING the side of rump of the Horse (where the engine is), rhythmically, constantly and with passive persistence.


As each few taps pass, increase the pressure or power of the taps. Work on the scale of 0-10. At some point, the Horse will begin doing something. It may:

  • start backing up
  • start kicking at the whip
  • bucking or
  • rearing

If it starts backing up or kicking at the whip, you increase the power of the next tap and just keep tapping, increasing as you go. If the Horse continues kicking, you will quickly but progressively retaliate by  going up the scale to a point where you may be hitting rhythmically but be ready to come back down the scale for any sign of stopping kicking or backing. I repeat, be on a loopy rein. Give the Horse relief for doing something positive, reward it verbally, with a stroke, rest briefly to think and re-commence. Everything in training has to be rewarded, no matter that it is stopping something undesirable. Remember, the power of your training is in the speed of the release so if in doubt, it is better to release for a possible try than miss the golden chance. Many people think that the only thing you should reward with Horses is good stuff but remember, when a Horse stops bad stuff, that is good.

In the end, the Horse will move forward and of course you must reward the Horse by taking away all pressure, no leg on and then repeat the procedure endlessly. Kicking or strong Leg on is completely anti productive here and is often the root cause of the problem in the first place. The more you support Horses with your own legs, the more reliant they become to them and the more you have to work. Riding should not be about working, it is about just sitting there and the Horse traveling ligh beneath you. Don't make a 'rod for your own back'.

 In the end, you will either teach and un confuse your Horse or at least find out something. It may be getting a better look at the personality of your Horse, that you wee the problem in the first place or indeed that the Horse was broken in by accident by Amateurs and doesn't even know that your leg is the accelerator. 

From that day on then, ride with very light leg and only use it when you want something. If you do use it, make dam sure you get a reaction or immediately remind the Horse. NEVER start leg thumping or kicking unless you are wearing spurs and then of course, a gentle reminder at the bottom of those scales is what is needed. Of course, you should never se spurs on a Horse with these specific problems, the whip is the tool of choice but later, on the lazy type of Horse, one that is always going to test your patience by giving you the go slow treatment, the spur is the answer.

Remember though, PLEASURE REINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. You cannot fix such problems with a contact.



"Wear your Heart in your Hands"