Learning to use horse riding aids is very important if we want to master the art of riding. The horse must be trained to obey them, so we, the rider, must also be trained to know when to apply them.
The natural aids are: the legs, hands, weight of the body (through the seat) and of course, the voice. The artificial one's are whips, spurs and martingales etc.
When my dad is working with a horse or pony, he always uses a soft and reassuring tone of voice. It seems to calm them down much faster and helps build their confidence. Ponies have an excellent sense of hearing and we must never ever use our voice loudly to growl them.
Using the weight of the body is a great way to change the balance and direction of our pony. If we don't use our weight properly, we can upset the pony's natural movement.
It took me quite awhile to keep my weight even on both seat bones and to follow the movements of my pony by using my weight in the direction required without of course, wiggling too much on the upper part of my body.
Knowing how to get your horse or pony moving in the right direction, or to speed up by using your legs, is very valuable to know. I never had to motivate my first pony to move faster, because she always had a natural fast pace.
But with some pony's or horse's, you may need to carry a small stick or schooling whip. A touch with a stick to reinforce a light leg aid can be helpful.
Learning to use the hands is essential. Hands should never be busy, but mainly passive. Its better to use the legs more than the hands.
The amount of resistance of the hand must never be more than the resistance of the horse, and should stop straight away when the horse stops resisting. If you are using your legs, you should not be pulling on the reins.
Do you have any tips to share with us? Or maybe you would like to add an interesting story about using horse riding aids?