Stop Banging Your legs about, This is not the Hockey Pockey…


Recently Batialo was really feeling down. He got a flu from a long trip, and I could feel him (he is a big baby) saying he just wasn’t feeling himself. He just had a small cough really, but he is overly dramatic, and in the work I was being careful not to make him uncomfortable while he recovered.

He did recover, pretty much overnight, and came out one day saying “ye ha, I feel awesome again”…SPIN!! Since then there has been about three spins in a row, and the doctors say I have inflammation of the pelvis, and can’t imagine how horse riding could do that, as it is not a high impact sport like football.

I think in the minds of the “non-horseys” dressage, or horse riding in general, is taking a passive stroll out around on a very relaxing sort of zen field trip.

One thing that you might notice about dressage people is one, they don’t like to stop riding even if they have pain, and two they are a tad should we say over possessive about who can ride (or even touch) their horse.

I may be one of those people, but also because I find the greatest reward not in competing or in any form of success, but in teaching Batialo. I don’t want someone else to hop on and teach him, because when he gets to Grand Prix, I want to say that it was me who got him there, even if it takes me ten times longer than a so called professional (which just means someone who gets paid let’s face it).

So back on we went, and while I am pretty damn uncomfortable, it has been a huge wake up call for my riding. I pretty much get a small jolt of electricity down my leg when I use them, and this small old has reinforced just how often we use the legs unnecessarily. I have to make sure that every little leg aid is worth it, cause well it hurts, and so I have trained myself and my horse, to make really sure every leg aid has a purpose and that purpose is well and truly carried out!

You might say, ah yes hahahah you are a crazy out of control leg thrashing, and ok if you think that, but perhaps if you could imagine tiny bolts of electricity pumping down your thigh when you use your leg, you might be surprised at just how many useless, unwarranted, and unproductive leg aids you are actually giving.

Try to stop using your legs for two circles and see what happens? I meant literally don’t touch the horse at all.

It seems very simple, but quite often we can be hocky pockying ourselves all about on top of our horses, without us even knowing it!

Author: Warney's Whip

Young dressage rider and Equestrian journalist, Sarah Warne (me), grew up on horseback, and quickly inherited her mother’s passion for dressage.

One thought on “Stop Banging Your legs about, This is not the Hockey Pockey…”

  1. Love your blog mate! Wish I could’ve done what you have done! And YES we do over use the legs! Hope it settles though for you!


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