AIDS - CUES - MECHANICS
By Ron McLoughlin
There are five classical ways to communicate with a horse, and only five. They are:
1. Mental Power
2. Weight (seat)
As a rider, you must learn to master all five ways. The first way should be used all the time, with your horse in mind. The basic theory for the second, fourth and fifth, is simple. Keep your weight, legs and hands in the right position, use them passively and be consistent. The third your voice, should be used softly, clearly, consistently, with a limited vocabulary. Now, what is the right position for your hands, legs and weight?
This is the missing link for many riders. You can grasp the principles of the other four ways of communicating to a horse fairly easy. This one is hard. Foremost, your own attitude comes into play. If you don't have a correct attitude, you will not be able to use your mental powers positively. Knowing what you want, putting your mental energy into it, and then matching the horses mental energy is what gives you the movement you want, with the least amount of fuss. (It gives you the 'LET ZONE').
Ron McLoughlin on Tres at the Tres Alamos ranch
What I mean by this is, if you want a 'roll-away', then you must think roll-away. You must picture the perfect roll-away in your mind. You must review all the physical mechanics of the roll-away, then ask the horse to do the move. You must be able to do this in seconds.
You should use your weight sitting as balanced and still as you can. You sit on your two seat bones and your crotch. You will have a little more weight on your seat bones than your crotch. Again, your weight should flow down to your heels, sitting a good deep seat. A line from your ear to your heel, equal weight in both stirrups. Try not to move around too much. The less you move around, the easier it is for the horse to keep himself in balance. Sit up straight and breathe deep and consistently.
Once you have developed a quiet balanced seat and maintain it consistently, you can learn how to use your weight in very passive movements by leaning forward, back, or putting more weight on one seat bone. Good use of weight is being in 'balance'.
As mentioned before, speak softly, clearly, with limited vocabulary, and be very consistent. Of the 5 ways to communicate with horses, the voice is the one we will try to use as little as possible as time progresses. However, with the young horse, it is very important to establish certain 'words' in their brain; as, just speaking the correct 'word' can precipitate the correct reaction, with minimal touch on their mouth.
Your legs should be under your body. As previously mentioned again, there should be a straight line from your ear, through your shoulder, hip, and down to your heel. Yes, women have a harder time acquiring this position. We want a slight bend in your knee. Your toes up, pointing forward, and slightly out. The weight of your body should flow to your heels. There should be NO muscular grip. We want frictional grip, with your knees pointing straight forward as possible.
Your hands should be low, just over the horse's withers. You have to make adjustments for the fork and saddle horn of the stock saddle. The distances between your hands should be approximately the width of the horse's mouth. Put your hands flat, palms down. Then turn your thumbs up to about a 45 degree angle. Your elbows should be to the middle of the sides of your upper body. There should be a straight line from your elbows, to your hands, to the horse's mouth. That will do for the starting point of the correct position of the hands...