General Question

Ansible1's avatar

How does a rider control a horse?

Asked by Ansible1 (4841points) July 11th, 2009

As in: left, right, stop, go….I’ve never been on a horse, know nothing about it, always wondered about it. I know spurs might have to do with it but not all riders wear spurs….whats the deal?

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8 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

with the reins and sound commands

tyrantxseries's avatar

and their legs

Darwin's avatar

You use the reins to tell the horse which way to go by putting pressure on various parts of the horse’s neck and face. You can also use the pressure of your knees. Horses respond to voice commands also as well as to shifting of the rider’s weight and the placement of the rider’s hands.

Spurs are not needed in general riding. They hurt the horse especially if the rider isn’t extremely skilled at using them. Generally, spurs make the horse suddenly speed up. A detailed account of the use of spurs can be found here.

For a more detailed account of how to communicate with your horse, read this

rooeytoo's avatar

A lot depends on how the horse is trained, a western working horse responds to different commands than a dressage horse. But in all cases it is a combination of leg and rein and sometimes voice as well. It is hard to out muscle a horse so one must out think them.

babymakedamnsure's avatar

first off this information is coming from someone who has shown hunter/jumpers,dressage, has ridden western and has been riding horses for over 15 years. Riding is a communication through horse and rider. Horses respond to pressure from your back, theighs, calves, heels, and pressure on their mouth which is possible through mechanical steel object called a bit which is linked through leather straps called reins which you hold in your hands between your palm of your hand, ring finger, and thunb. Riding at a competative level is a lot more complicated than a lot of people realize. A good rider communicated through his or her horse through leg and seat ( body position) ques and this goes for english and western. A main goal in riding is to use as little mouth communication as possible. Horses can be trained on voice command but it is very hard to train on voice cammands souly, most horses are crossed trained.

gailcalled's avatar

Here’s another take;

“Riding Lesson,” by Henry Taylor

I learned two things
from an early riding teacher.
He held a nervous filly
in one hand and gestured
with the other, saying “Listen.
Keep one leg on one side,
the other leg on the other side,
and your mind in the middle.”

He turned and mounted.
She took two steps, then left
the ground, I thought for good.
But she came down hard, humped
her back, swallowed her neck,
and threw her rider as you’d
throw a rock. He rose, brushed
his pants and caught his breath,
and said, “See that’s the way
to do it When you see
they’re gonna throw you, get off.”

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

With a 2×4 between the ears. I’m kidding, put those pitchforks and torches away already.

juwhite1's avatar

Horses naturally move away from pressure. All of the physical maneuvers used by riders take this principle into account. I do combine sound cues with physical cues. Any time you are riding, you have two brains at work, and horses are naturally paranoid animals… they are prey animals, and their best defense is flight. They can be easily tempted to run a different direction if they smell a coyote, see a snake, hear a strange sound, etc. Horses have to learn to trust their rider’s cues above their own instincts, and that is not at all an easy thing to accomplish. Imagine trying to drive a car where one person gets the pedals and another gets the steering wheel. The slightest misunderstanding can lead to a major problem. By combining cues for my horses, I avoid confusing the horse, and at the same time, ensure that the horse understands the cues other riders might use on them if they tend to rely only on physical cues, don’t use their legs or seat when riding (common with new riders) or rely heavily on sounds. I want to be sure my horses understand all of those cues, so that any rider will be safe on them.

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