Simple steps for applying leg pressure

I often get the asked, “How much is ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ leg pressure for my horse?”

In this video, I explain a few simple steps for you to discover how to keep your horse ‘light’ in the sides while you use just the right amount of leg pressure for him or her to get the response you want.


This is Barb and I want to talk to you today about the application of leg pressure.

I’m just going to walk Nic around here, talk and explain what I mean.

One of the questions I often get is wondering if you’re being unkind to your horse about increasing the pressure of leg cues (or use of rein pressure).

It can be challenging to know how much pressure to use when you’re not getting the response you want.

Here is a summary of three key steps to develop light cues and apply just the right amount of pressure:

1. Begin with a light cue.

2. Use just the right amount of pressure (no more or no less) to elicit the response you’re looking for.

3. Release the pressure immediately when your horse responds.

Let’s use the example of the steps to apply pressure for leg cues to increase the speed of a walk.

1. I take a breath and get grounded in my saddle by just feeling my seat bones.

2. I visualize going a bit faster at the walk. I inhale and think, “Energy up.”

3. If that’s not enough, I apply light calf pressure to Nic’s side. That’s because I always apply a light amount of pressure first that I want to be his long term ultimate cue.

4. If he doesn’t respond to the light pressure, I add a slight bit more.

5. If needed, then I add more until he responds. I ask with increasing gradients of pressure. Each horse is different. What is not enough for one horse might be too much for another horse.

6. Then, I immediately release the pressure when he responds.

Leave a comment for me! I love hearing from you.

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2 Comments on Simple steps for applying leg pressure

  1. Pam on Sun, 26th Jul 2020 1:29 pm
  2. Thanks you so much……..always want to hear your helpful information.


  3. Diane Godwin on Mon, 27th Jul 2020 10:06 am
  4. I love NIck’s answer. He is a cool horse. This is perfect time for me. This really reinforces what my trainer has been teaching. It is nice to hear it from someone else and see it. Just makes it all clear and understandable.

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